We are so fortunate to have farms that directly delivery to us from their soil to our kitchen three times a week, but we also go to the SMFM each Wednesday where all the best chefs go. Our chef Matt relishes in visiting the Wednesday market so he can speak with our favorite farmers directly like Farmer Romeo of Coleman Family Farm here. These visits are such an intimate way to connect with and appreciate the source of all of our raw ingredients.
Remember our recent visit to Peads and Barnetts in Valley Center? There’s Farmer Oliver up there showing me his beautiful drought-tolerant protea flora. I can’t get enough of them! His varieties are so unusual and they last for a few weeks cut in water. His most popular selling items (besides these beauties) is his bacon and his pork chops which are other worldly. You haven’t had pork until you’ve tried his.
Jimenez Farm also sells meat cuts (pork, lamb, chicken, sheep) as well as vegetables at SMFM, but I started to notice a pretty spring trend this last Wednesday of flowers at all the stalls, like these sweet peas. I wanted them all! Organic flowers are typically a (gorgeous) byproduct of farming as they attract bees and ladybugs.
Enchanting (and edible!) roses from Lily’s Farms are so pretty in their inconsistencies. Lily’s Farms is known for their variety of heritage eggs like the precious pale blue Aracunas that are in season right now until winter chill sets in.
This Yarrow is so abundantly big and cheerful from Windrose Farm! Remember when we visited their farm which made us feel like we were in a fairy wonderland? Also, if you want to grow this drought tolerant plant that comes in all sorts of colors, check out our post on this “friendship plant” here.
When left in the ground to keep growing, artichokes will eventually bloom into a dramatic flower like you see above from Mc Grath Family Farms. They also sell bright, towering sunflowers and bunches of edible lavender.
Onions always seem like a flower to me, especially those from Coastal Farms which look like big water balloons and are the pride of Mark from Coastal Farms. We visited his farm this year to see for ourselves their growing process.
Farmer Laura of JJ Lone Daughter’s Ranch gives our chef Matt a rundown of her exceptional avocados and how each of her many varieties differ between taste and texture. We also use her juicy, vibrant citrus and mulberries.
Also selling avocados and citrus is Bernard Ranch. We grabbed the remainder of these spectacularly red blood oranges that will be so glamorous on our popular fruit platters. They come in very limited quantities so Sarah always scoops them all up with their berry-like flavor.
Our berries right now are coming from Murray Farm because they are all so plump and complex. There’s an Olallieberry sighting up there which is exciting because their season, much like those white mulberries, is so short making them little treasures to cherish.
We have been getting most of our tomatoes right now from Wong Farms, but it is their last week at the market. We really loved the Sugary Cherry Tomatoes this year that are oblong and firm so they were great in pico de gallo that we make gallons of each week. In July Wong Farms will be back with mangoes and there is always a line to get them. They even restrict the amount each person can buy which is so democratic.
JF Organics delivers to us twice a week because they have such an abundance of offerings from their two properties that we visited here and here. Farmer Luis tells our chef Matt how his third property in Chino where he does all of his packaging and has gone through the tedious paperwork and fees to become certified organic, faces a large fine unless they move their facility. The area is becoming developed with residential housing and they are squeezing out shops such as theirs that work late hours. Moving means that JF Organics loses it’s property-based certification that it worked so hard to get. How is a small farmer like Farmer Luis supposed to weather this arcane yet prevalent challenge of space and property? We assured Farmer Luis that we would continue to support him as much as we do now even if he loses his certification because we know his practices and integrity won’t change. We’ve seen the commitment in his eyes first hand. This alone, is reason to shop at farmers markets to engage with farmers and understand their obstacles, to make the effort to know where your food comes from, and vote with your fork. Celebrate the food makers who shout out their farmers, it’s not hip, it’s a critical act to work to amend our broken food system. We all have the power to make change. Please march along side us and others in this mission to fight big agriculture.
Photos: Yolk & Flour