Thursday, March 21, 2013

This Week at the Farmers' Market


That's me in the corner ...
My local farmers' market is growing as the weather warms. New vendors are showing up every week, and the vendors who have been around prior are bringing in new and exciting produce. This week I made some belly-warming discoveries.

I *Heart* Cherimoya!
I was picking out some lemons when I had a "what the hell is that" moment. It was my first sighting of the fussy-to-grow but oh-so-delicous cherimoya fruit. Only found in California from March through May the cherimoya has a flavor that I found to be like a savory pineapple with a texture similar to a pear. It's probably a good thing that this fruit is so rare because otherwise I might eat nothing else, except perhaps ...

... Salami!
My next welcome discovery at this week's market was a salami vendor. Oh, the torture of sampling variety-after-variety of cured meat before finally deciding on this ... would you believe, spicy yet complex and delicate in flavor ... handcrafted Calabrese from Alle-Pia Fine Cured Meats of Paso Robles, CA.

"Created with love" by Owner/Chef Antonio Varia and his nephew Alex Pallini of the Buona Tavola restaurants, this sausage and the other Alle-Pia offering that I sampled at the stand were wonderful, hormone and antibiotic-free  examples of what salami should be. In fact, all of the small-batch sausages that I tried demonstrated a richness and depth of flavor that big-commercial salami can't match. It was a tough decision. If I'd thought that I could have eaten them quickly enough I may have taken them all home.

What's new at your farmers' market?