Guys! Have you been to SMFM lately? Me neither! It’s tough to pull away on a Wednesday morning to get to Santa Monica for the week’s best farmer’s market. We rely on farm direct deliveries and our vendors to make the trek for our kitchen each week. Last week we went ourselves and it is always just such a joy to talk with the farmers who work so hard to bring superior produce to this market.
We got to visit Coastal Farms this last summer (see it here) when Farmer Mark’s tomato crops were just getting started. Now they are coming to an end but he has these gorgeous winter squashes that look like Adam Silverman ceramics with all of their pores and vibrant colors. We picked up 50 pounds of them to use for events featuring our October Menu items.
Across the way is Windrose Farm. Remember when we visited their beautiful farm here? Several of our favorite farms use organic farming practices but are not certified organic. The buzzword of “organic” is great when farms can get certified, but many choose not to yet still utilize organic practices. Why? It’s complicated, but I love how Windrose summarized it on the chalkboard up there. And p.s. seconds may not win a beauty contest but they taste as good as their better looking sisters so know that organic farming practices means holes, discolorations, malformations, and maybe even a worm (aka protein). To fully support these small farmers, we need to buy their seconds.
Yes, you may recall talk about these sweet, firm tomatoes (see here). They are called “Juliet” and are in limited supply from Windrose. We bought them out last week. We’ll see what Sarah comes back with this week.
Drake Farms! Another favorite! I mean, how could it not be, see our visit here. Dan doesn’t come to the market himself to sell but his trusted representative Deborah does and she is very well versed on all their practices. Dan waited a long time to be able to sell at at SMFM because Laura Avery, the director, is very selective in who she allows in. She does several farm visits herself to ensure that her high standards are met as you can see by proud banners across nearly every table, “We grow what we sell”. This is why we drive to Santa Monica on Wednesdays. It’s the most strict market in Los Angeles that hosts real farmers.
Mc Grath Farms, our friends! We visit their farm a lot since it isn’t too far. We even cooked a dinner right on their farm. They have open farm days regularly to bring children to come and pick strawberries. It’s so fun. Their Early Girls make the very best jam. I kept telling Sarah that so she bought a few cases.
That’s Alex Weiser up there before I said hello. He has a few plots of land with his family but he ventured out on his own with land to raise livestock and wheat (see it here). He doesn’t sell it at SMFM but everything on his table is phenomenal.
See Canyon is another favorite and these braeburn apples are all the more precious because it is the last of them. It’s also the last we will be seeing this farm table at SMFM for the year. They are in a cool canyon that uses no irrigation which has always worked out, even with little rain, but not this year with all of the heat. Farmer Mike says there were hardly any buds at all on his heat ravaged trees, and that it will take about 15 inches of rain to get his farm back to normal.
And JF Organic Farm! We paid a visit last week to two of their three plots of land operated by Farmer Luis and his family. I so look forward to sharing with you how they are dealing with the drought, and also photos from all the animals laying those gorgeous eggs.
Every plot of land is so different! Farmers working sustainably are constantly being challenged by weather, insects, labor, expenses, land leases, etc, etc. Yet these farmers that we feature love what they do and keep at it, trying to figure out solutions. Please help us to support them by shopping at SMFM or by eating at restaurants who do. Let’s create a demand for their important work that respects the land, listens to it, and then adapts.
The survival of small farms depends on us.