Coastside Farmers Market field notes
My, my, look at the thyme! Here it is already the fist week that the lil’ darlins head back to school. I have yet to get used to the notion that school begins before Labor Day weekend. This dates me, I know, but there it is.
Back to School time always reminds me of Pop & Gump, my two grandads. Pop was a coppersmith, Gump was an educator. We spent our summers on Gump’s ranch out in hinterlands of the California Oregon border, and lots of fall and spring weekends out at Pop’s Shack in the wilds of Pescadero. They were both remarkable gardeners and serious eaters and hilariously funny. Plus, they were both awfully smart, and figured out ways to get the grandkids to do the awful job of slug-slaying or snail squashing with perverse glee so the two of them could concentrate on the finer points of cultivation from the shade of the satsuma trees.
We had a little garden, big ol’ apple trees and a teensy vineyard at Gump’s Ranch; he made truly awful wine but great vinegars, and grew lots of lettuces and tomatoes so we always had really tasty summer salads. He grew all kinds of weird things that no one ever heard of 40 odd years ago, but are all the rage now, cippolini onions, lemon cucumbers, jerusalem artichokes, white eggplants. Blackberries grew all up and down the creek that ran by the house, and when we were done with our chores in the garden, we’d spend the hot afternoons in bouts of berry-picking and river romping until it was hard to tell if it was the cold, cold water or the dark sweet berries that turned our lips and fingers blue.
Gump’s cousin married a terrific man named Amedeo. who became our much beloved Uncle Avocado over time. Amedeo Gado was an amazing gardener who came up to Gump’s ranch every now and again toting descendants of the seed garlics, leeks and asparagus corms he first brought from Italy at the turn of the last century . A two man perpetual motion machine, the two of them would get in spirited and spectacular arguments about "the arrangement of the fields" - all the while working, sweating, laughing while cursing in Italian ( which was funny, since my Gump was Irish - you try cursing in Piemontese with a brogue, I dare ye). It was glorious. So were the resulting fruit of their labors.
Pop, my Mom’s Dad, grew prize winning peonies, the sight of which, to this day, make me a little misty. Much to our Mom’s delight, Pop declared himself In Charge of the fruit that went in our school lunches, and once a week would head off to the produce terminal in The City and pick up a lug of the best stuff he could afford. We’d always have pomegranates in our Back-to-School lunches, and were the envy of the block. But pomegranates don’t come into to season until September, apples after that and citrus is a winter fruit, so what’s a kid to do for school lunch fruit when you have to go back in the middle of August?
Asian pears, plums, nectarines, peaches and pluots are the answer, All are yummy, tasty, tidy and thanks to a cool growing season this year, available a bit late into the season this year, due to the cooler than usual spring and summer. Grapes are coming on nicely, too. Apples and pears are a bit farther down the road, but there’s plenty to pop in the lunchbox right now, and some fab-o melons to cut up for breakfast. By the way, melons with fresh basil, arugula and goats cheese make a sock-o salad for you to enjoy whilst the lil’ darlin’s are in class. Because as I recall, as soon as the kids go back to school, the sun comes out in earnest, and those cool summer fruit salads start coming in mighty handy. But I have noticed they don’t go over so well with the lunchbox set, and more’s the pity. But dash some of Triple J’s plum vinegar over a combination of a sliced peach, yellow plum and pluot, crack some of Home Chef’s amazing tellicherry peppercorns, pile it on a plate with crispy greens from Green Oaks Creek or 5th Crow with some of Eda’s arugula, and whooo boy. Hot fun in the summertime for you, and your colleagues at the first PTO lunch of the new year.
This week, the good people at Coastside Hope are conducting a Back-to-School Clothing drive on Saturday in Half Moon Bay. The hope is to help some of our struggling neighbors get their growing children sorted out in just a few pieces of new clothing for the new term. If you have surplus, New children’s clothing - pants, tops, t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, socks, children’s sizes from 7-16, or can contribute a few dollars so we can shop for them, please bring them to the Market on Saturday. And also be sure to say hello to the folks at the Coastside Land Trust in Half Moon Bay, and look for a schedule of upcoming shows with The Spindrift Players, and checkout what’s going on with the Pacifica Peace People on Wednesday. Thanks, once again to everyone at Timberlake-Forrest for sponsoring the non-profit booths in both markets for the remainder of the season.
AND _ Big Thanks to Suzan Getchell-Wallace of Fahey Properties, our friendly neighbor in Pacifica and the Friends of the Farmer’s Market who assure that we always have the resources we need to ensure we have really good music at our Markets. This week Anna Laube returns to Half Moon Bay, and Gerry Basserman will bossa your novas off in Pacifica on Wednesday.
See you at the Markets!
Coastside Farmers Markets
May to December
In Half Moon Bay @ Shoreline Station
Saturdays, 9 am to 1 pm •
In Pacifica @ Rockaway Beach
Wednesdays, 2:30 -6:30pm