Field Notes: Coastside Farmer’s Market


By on Fri, November 20, 2009

Hang on to your HellyHansen’s Marketeers, as today is meant to bring a mighty blow and significant rain to the area this evening. 

Could mean that tonight will be a great time to gather up all the odd vegetables and ends of breads, leftover smidgens of sauces and make a winter stew to warm your bones.  My Good Ol’ Mom used to make a concoction she called Cream of the Week every Friday before the Big Shop on Saturday morning, and I am thinking a version of same would do me a world of good now.

I grew up in a household that strained to contain 5 kids, an ersatz big brother, the occasional wayward cousin and several exchange students. I had one older sister, and the rest were boys. Always boys, boys everywhere.  Hungry, merciless predators of the Frigidare all.  They would, could and did eat everything in sight as soon as it hit the table. Its a perfect wonder to me that anything missed their attention, but I guess the truth is that many of us don’t quite know what to do with that one extra onion, escaped bunch of kale or few orphaned carrots, now slightly bendy and a bit past their peak.  My Mom did.  Whether guided by industry, frustration or sheer panic as the teeming hordes began lurking about the scullery by 4 in the afternoon, she’d sort of tip the refrigerator, shake out the odd bits, pile them all into one big soup pot and turn on the stove.

She was the only Mom on the block to make her own croutons, and we were eating what they now call bruschetta long before it became the darling of swank bistros. What else do you do with the tail ends of perfectly good bread and 2 withering tomatoes and 8 folks to feed? Well, you toast the former, chop the latter and add some herbs, a dash of vinegar and a dollop of olive oil to the ‘maters, then pile them on toast and there you have it.  A nice cool foil to the warm rich stew and everyone is happy. 

I could never figure out how it could be that no matter what went in the pot, it came out being very tasty. Over the years I have developed the theory that most of us have a kind of Taste Preference Range.  We tend to use a similar, comforting and familiar combination of ingredients and seasonings in most of our meals, so when you pile all the leftovers in a pot, most of the time you’ll end up with a satisfying ragout of sorts, the only downside of which is that you can’t re-create a truly outstanding Cream of the Week.  It’s all about living in the moment I suppose - Dang! Another fundamental truth revealed. 

Anyway, it seems like tonight will be a good night to tidy up the fridge, make a nice pot of soup with the results, and settle on down to planning your Holiday Meal Series, version 2009.  Then come on down to the Market and pick up a whole new collection of goodies for your Thanksgiving meals, and include plenty of opportunity for leftovers and surprises, and some really really good cookies. Ever had a brown sugar macaroon? 

This week expect a generous selection of squashes, spuds and spinach, the tag end of the green beans and cranberry shell beans.  These little wonders are as close to a local cranberry as you can get, but trust me when I tell you they perform quite differently as a relish than the customary cranberry - most of which now grow in Oregon, doncha know.  I didn’t until recently.  Isn’t life full of surprises?

One surprise will be our musical entertainment this week in Half Moon Bay, as Pacifica’s own Jay Howlett, recently returned from a surprise run to Austin, TX will be taking the stage in Half Moon Bay,  followed by the oh so nifty Dave Crimmen will keep things hoping on Wednesday in Pacifica, for which we are ever-grateful. We are also grateful for the support of the Friends of the Farmer’s Market, which ensure that there is always at least a little bit of cash on hand for our performers.

Thanks again to the good folks at Timberlake Forrest, the Pacifica Relay for Life Team, and Fahy Properties for being a great neighbors in Pacifica, and once again to The Carrubba family for donating the space for the Half Moon Bay Location.  And Thank You to each and every one of our Market Sponsors.  As the season wanes your support makes all the difference. I’d list y’all individually , but this is already going to get me in the soup with my editors—-

BTW _ Since the people keep asking, here’s the Answers to some recent Burning Questions:  We are open every Saturday and Wednesday through and including Saturday, December 19th.

About Wednesday : Yes we are open this week at 2:30 as ever, but will be closing by 6PM from here on out.

About Next Season:  The target date for 2010 is May Day, May Day!  for Half Moon Bay, and Cinco de Mayo for Pacifica - - - more on next year later!

See you at the Market!