Field notes: Coastside Farmers Market


By on Fri, July 31, 2009

Lots of big news for our little Market!  Sunset Magazine just singled us out as being one of the 4 best Farmers Markets in the Greater Bay Area, and "Worth the Trip" for some of the finest, freshest truly Local produce you can get in the region. 

To say we are tickled pink does not quite cut the mustard, but it does put the strawberry on the shortcake, Sally! Thank you from the bottom of our bushels to all of you FOFM’s for helping us grow into the little gem we’ve become over the years. 

And, speaking of strawberry shortcake ( which I have not done often enough) have you ever put fresh lavender buds into a mason jar with about a cup of cane sugar, put a lid on it, and left it in a sunny window for a day or two?  No?  Well, try it.  Because when you open the jar the next day, and use a few spoonfuls of the perfumed sugar to sweeten some fresh cream, sprinkle another scant tablespoon over a few baskets of halved strawberries, and the rest in your shortcake dough, well the whole creation escalates from the sublime to the resplendent, and many an argument or quotidian concern dissolves over dessert.  Or breakfast if you, like my friend Bonnie, are a bit of a pessimist. Really, it will cheer you up and make you believe in the rest of the day, even if the day ahead involves repairing a garbage disposal.  Which my Sunday does, so I’ll be picking up lavender and berries on Saturday, of that you can be certain.

The question is what kind?  The great thing about our markets is that you can take the opportunity to really get in there and notice the differences in the varieties of strawberries our unique coastal environment so generously supports.  Right now you can try the Seascape and Albion types and see which you prefer.  See if you can taste the sea air infused in the ones grown on the ocean in Pescadero, or the warm sunny fragrance of those grown a little further inland north of San Gregorio.  Fair Warning: Once you’ve really tasted a really fresh and carefully grown strawberry, you will become reluctant to disappoint yourself with the sorry substitutes on offer in the stupor-markets, so if you are smoothie dependent, I suggest buying a few cases in the coming weeks and freeze them so you don’t suffer overmuch when winter sets in.

Cool Trick:  Cut off the stem end and place the berries on a cookie sheet and freeze’em for about an hour that’a'way.  Then transfer them into smaller containers, and then when you need them, they are easy to work with.  And you don;t have to wait till winter to wow folks.  Use a whole frozen strawberry in your sangria - or in your Lavender Lemonade.  Remember those buds in the sugar?  Strain them out, and make a cup of tea with them.  Add the tea ( without the buds) to your next buket of lemonade and watch in wonder as the color emerges, and your delighted guests stare in wonder at the beauty of it all.

This week: The good folks from the Half Moon Bay Library will be telling tales out of school on Saturday, Pacifica’s Jay Howlett entertains the masses on Saturday and again on Wednesday, the good folks from El Centro de Libertad join the fracas on Saturday, when you can make a luminaria to light the way of the Half Moon Bay Relay for Life team, and a young pair of twin sisters conduct a drive for school supplies at our Pacifica location this coming Wednesday on behalf of Puente de la Costa Sur.  All of this thanks to our generous cadre of sponsors including but never limited to Loefler-Little Food Coaching and my pals at Studio 4 Pilates, who both have a wonderful approach to managing the aftermath of shortcake recipe test case results -

See you at the Market - - -

Erin Tormey
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