Fieldnotes: Coastside Farmer’s Market


By on Fri, October 23, 2009

I trust that one and all survived the Cavalcade of the Colossal Cucurbits, Typhoon Tuesday and the astonishing results of the great Pumpkin Weigh Off without incident or regrets.  Congratulations are due once again to Ms Eda Muller on her triumph of gravitas and beauty!  Ms Eda won the local division of the weigh-off doncha know, and in doing so broke a record for the county and outweighing her loving husband Farmer John’s entry by a mere 1%.  All very exciting! But if you ask me, what really put her pumpkin in a league of its own is that hands down, that punkin’ was by far the prettiest orange-est, roundest, actual pumpkin-looking dang punkin’ I have ever seen make it into the gargantuan category.  A Marvel to view, and while it will make for a lovely display and a fine dwelling for disavowed wives from nursery rhymes, these stunning feats of agricultural acumen taste terrible.  Plus, I was told as a child never to eat anything bigger than my head, and that has always seemed like good advice.

So - what to make of all the different types of pumpkins and pumpkin-like squashes rolling into the Market these days? Muffins, for one thing, pies for another and soups are a perennial favorite.  But to really appreciate the flavor and difference of fall squashes, I like to pick up a strange looking rumpledy looking thing I have never tired before and try it on for flavor, as opposed to size.

In my experimenting I have found that just about every kind of late season squash, when sauteed up with some leeks and sweet red peppers and piled over pasta with a garnish of toasted pumpkin seeds make for a really tasty, very simple and beautiful fall supper.  Try this combo over Santa Cruz Pasta Co.‘s Red Pepper Paparadel and you are on to something, Elmer. It looks like a plate of fall sundown, just astonishing and gorgeous. Plus, very tasty and oh so good for you.

You can shred a butternut squash into a pan of sizzling diced onions and mushrooms scented with fresh sage, put a heavy plate on it, turn it once and brown the other side, then cut it into wedges and top with a dollop of Harley Farms fromage blanc.  Try this with a salad of fresh spinach and arugula, over which you have poured a combination of steamed purple cauliflower and romesco, lightly marinated while warm in a fig vinegar vinaigrette, a toasted slab of 8 grain bread, and it easy to convince even the most recalcitrant of your friends’ grown children that there is a reason to spend more time preparing food than you do eating it.  And that cloth napkins are worth the effort.

This Week:

The remarkable women from the Coastside Chapter of the AAUW have made a batch of really yummy pumpkin bread to follow up your meal, and you can get some this week only in Half Moon Bay.  The Fly on the Wall Art Studio makes its Beastie-ly debut this week, and the folks form the High School Water Polo Team have a pretty neat thing going on too!  They are raffling off a Tour of the Tunnel for 4 lucky folks, and you can pick up your tickets at the Half Moon Bay Market on Saturday, and in Pacifica on Wednesday. I have mine!

Thanks once again to Sam’s Chowder House and our pals at Huck Finn for helping to make it all possible, and to the Friends of the Farmer’s Market for supporting our local musicians Raymond and Helen this Saturday, and Pacifica’s own Don Rowell Trio on Wednesday.

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