This morning I went to the Burbank Farmer's Market around 10am, and had trouble finding parking. I was shocked at how much more congested the area was than last weekend. The streets surrounding the market were blocked off, and it turned out there was a big street fair that combined the annual Burbank Fire Department's "Fire Service Day" with other events.
My gardener friend is out of town this weekend, and I missed the South Pasadena Farmer's Market, so I picked up a dozen eggs this morning at the Burbank market ($2.50). The previous sentence reflects my order of preference for where I obtain my eggs.
The eggs at the Burbank market are from Mike & Son's Eggs in nearby Ontario. They are simply marketed as being "chemical and hormone free" - suggesting they come from caged hens. In searching for more information on Mike & Son's Eggs, I found that this fellow local LA blogger shares my preference for free range eggs instead - both in terms of ethics and egg quality.
I also picked up two cucumbers for $0.75 each, a bunch of carrots with tops for $1.00 (for the horse), three small avocados for $1.00, and five large carrots (for me) and three small tomatoes for $2.60 total. My total spending this morning was $8.60.
This week, I noticed several vendors offering sweet corn for the first time this year. Many vendors are still carrying asparagus, and broccoli, which are done for the season in my friend's garden. I also saw a lot of cauliflower, parsley, beets, leeks, artichokes, brussels sprouts, zucchini, potatoes, sweet potatoes, celery, and of course lots of strawberries and citrus.
I did not do a good job with my menu planning this week. I had intended to browse around the farmer's market and remind myself of what was in season or coming into season, buy a couple kinds of vegetables, and work out a dish from there - while not buying so much that it would go to waste.
I went over to a friend's house last week. She was going out of town the next day, so she loaded me up with things from her fridge that would expire in her absence. Some of it was already going bad. I managed to sort the items into things I could still eat, things I would feed to my horse*, things I would freeze and save for my worm bin, and lastly, items that would go in the Bokashi bucket. When I buy fresh produce, I obviously want to eat as much of it as I can, and let the animals (and microbes) do disposal duty - and not buy so much that it goes directly to compost.
While I did get fresh veggies for snacking on at work (the carrots and cucumbers), I somehow left the farmer's market this morning without any asparagus, zucchini, or other vegetables I could use in cooking a main dish! I got too carried away with taking notes, and lost sight of my goal of finding ingredients to cover my week's meals.
I was trying to avoid picking a dish from my cookbooks and going on a scavenger hunt for ingredients that were out of season, imported, or expensive. But today's (lack of) strategy did not work for me. Before next week's markets, I need to browse my cookbooks and mark recipes that use ingredients that I know are in season, and make a shopping list.
While I was browsing the market today, I also took a closer look at the information on the Burbank market's cheese vendor. Spring Hill Cheese is located in Petaluma, near San Francisco, and about 400 miles from Los Angeles. I was pleased to be able to find additional information about Spring Hill's farming practices online, at the "Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture" (CUESA)site. The cheese is produced in-house from the milk of Jersey cows who freely graze on pasture from January - July. The feed they consume during the dry months is also grown on-site. I will definitely be buying more cheese from this vendor.
For reviews of farmer's markets in other regions, check out the Farmer's Market Report, too!
* In case anyone needed clarification - my horse gets plenty of his own hay and grains daily. The things I save for him (like pieces of watermelon rind and apple cores) are just treats! They are never frozen, or kept in the fridge longer than a couple days - unlike the scraps I save for the Bokashi or worm bins.