Seasonal Pantry: Why farmer's markets are the perfect place to find fall veggies
Sunday morning was warm and bright, with fall’s chill vanishing as the sun rose higher in the sky. By noon, it was as warm as a midsummer day. At the Sebastopol Farmers Market, vendors’ stalls dazzled the eye and teased one’s appetite as summer’s bounty intersected with fall’s.
At The Patch’s stall, heirloom tomatoes covered the inner tables, with summer squash, onions, green beans, colorful sweet peppers, potatoes, garlic and what may be the last of the year’s corn ringing the tomatoes on the outer edges of the booth.
Across the walkway, the Triple T Farms booth glowed with yellow, orange, red, and green chiles, some of them very hot, perfect for fermenting and making your own hot sauce. Red H Farm had beautiful peppers, too, including shiny poblanos that will soon be transformed into a potato-poblano stew in my kitchen.
Apples, apple cider vinegar, apple sauce, several varieties of pears, persimmons, Cheddar cauliflower, all manner of braising greens, lettuces and lettuce mixes, spinach, Italian parsley, mushrooms, freshly harvested lamb, delicious linguiça, Paul’s Smoked Salmon, and Joe Matos cheese all shimmered in October’s golden light.
Why would anyone choose to shop in a florescent-lit indoor store when this glorious alternative is available throughout the county nearly every day of the week? The last time I counted, there were more than 15 farmers markets each week. A few have already closed for the year and seasonal closures will continue, but, by year’s end, we’ll still have about seven that operate year round.
As much as we love our farmers markets, they are not as crowded as they should be. In a Saturday market in Sacramento a few weeks ago, I could hardly make it through the crowded walkways. I hear the same thing from friends and colleagues who visit other communities throughout the country. Farmers markets are thriving, with enough customers that vendors typically sell out by day’s end.
What’s up, Sonoma County? I think it’s the abundance itself that sometimes lulls us into a sort of voluptuous lethargy.
“If I don’t go today, I can go tomorrow,” we say to ourselves if we’d rather sleep late, sit in the sun and read, or tend the garden. I’m as guilty as the next person, and then suddenly my refrigerator is empty and my produce baskets hold nothing but a few dried leaves. And then, off I go.
This breakfast is similar to the breakfasts you find in the United Kingdom, though they are typically accompanied by some sort of bread, too, which you should add if you want. I prefer Revolution Bakery’s Whole Wheat Sourdough, cut thick and slathered with good butter.
Farmers Market Breakfast
Makes 1 serving, easily doubled
— Butter or bacon fat
1 garlic clove, crushed and minced
1 small potato, quartered lengthwise and very thinly sliced
— Kosher salt
1 3- to 4-inch piece of linguiça, cut in half lengthwise
2 eggs, beaten
1 thick tomato slice, from a dense-fleshed heirloom tomato
— Hot sauce of choice
Put a dollop of butter or bacon fat into a large heavy skillet set over medium heat. Put the sliced potato on top of it and corral the potatoes with a small lid. Cook for about 6 minutes, uncover, and turn the potatoes over. Season lightly with salt.