There are many reasons I feel fortunate to be living in Culver City. Yet another one is because I am within walking distance of the Tuesday afternoon farmers’ market. These markets pop up all over Los Angeles on different days bringing locally-grown fruits and veggies and other fresh delights to the various neighborhoods.
I don’t shop there every week—in fact, sometimes too many weeks go by because I can’t get home early enough, or I have something I am working on and don’t want to break my concentration. But I go at least once a month and lately I have been trying harder to plan my time so I can get there every other week—at least, that’s my goal.
This month I was there two weeks in a row—yippee!!
I buy everything from avocado honey and Korean ginger to orange cauliflower, yellow chard and purple carrots. Once in a while, if I am feeling naughty, I buy a flan or green corn tamale. And I love to buy cut flowers as they are so cheap.
Today I made a pretty good haul. Yardlong beans, fava beans (which I eat English-style, the shell along with the bean), dark orange carrots (these should be roasted or grilled, not eaten raw), a goat yogurt drink, goat cheese (I love the pungent taste of goat products), an heirloom beefsteak tomato, a peach, a nectarine and something in between, two ears of corn and a bunch each of snapdragons and irises…
…and some unidentifiable Chinese leafy greens with tendrils. I like to experiment with new things. The man told me the name but I immediately forgot it. But he said it was somewhat sweet tasting. I sauté everything with olive oil and chopped fresh garlic so how bad can it be? We will see.
I always look for the certified organic or pesticide-free produce. Last week I bought four ears of corn— two certified organic at a dollar each and two locally grown (but not organic) for 75 cents each. They were all half white/half yellow, my favorite kind.
The first thing I noticed when I shucked them was that the organic corn had bigger, irregular kernels. The other corn had smaller kernels in regimented rows.
The other difference was that the organic corn came with an addition at no extra cost—a big fat caterpillar! I have a secret method of disposing of caterpillars but I won’t divulge what that is in case my neighbors happen to be reading this… oops, just kidding!
I sprinkled the corn with olive oil and granulated garlic and baked it in the oven, finished off by a few minutes of grilling. I rubbed some fresh lemon slices into the kernels and dabbed a little butter (from free-range grass-fed cows, of course) all over. I took a few bites of the organic corn and a few bites of the non-organic.
Let me tell you, that extra 25 cents per corn cob was more than worth it. The kernels were moist and rich. The other corn was good—really good—but could not compare in texture or flavor to the organic.
So this week I just bought two organic ears of corn. Above is a photo of one I just shucked with the lucky prize inside! Isn’t he cute? I was talking to another customer who, upon seeing a caterpillar nestled in the corn said, “Now I feel bad as the caterpillar needs to eat too!” Yes, caterpillars are part of the ecosystem but most people are too eager to live critter-free and poison everything in sight, including us humans who end up eating the produce.
I try to cook everything that needs to be cooked the same night, or at least within 24 hours, then divide it up into meal-size portions for freezing. Items like leafy greens or green beans or brussel sprouts, for instance, I sauté very lightly so they can be re-heated without over-cooking. I store the cooked food in glass Pyrex containers (NEVER EVER freeze anything in plastic!). I own about a million of them and never have enough… They go straight from the freezer into the microwave for quick defrosting… or under a hot tap. But usually, when I have thought ahead, I defrost in the fridge or at room temperature.
The other purchase from today’s shopping expedition I want to mention is the goat yogurt and cheese I bought from Soledad Goats. As well as producing milk and cheese, they are also a goat rescue farm!
I stole the photo above from their website so it is their copyright. I have had enough of my photos appropriated by other people without proper acknowledgment, so I always have to point that out.
As soon as I arrived home I slurped down some of the yogurt and tasted the cheese. Both amazingly delicious. I will definitely be back for more of that but they have other goat products that I want to try.
Now I will leave you here so I can go roast the caterpillars… er, I mean the ears of corn… And I hope to see you next Tuesday afternoon at the Culver City farmers’ market!
(Photos copyright roslyn m wilkins except where otherwise noted.)