Thursday, May 25, 2006

farmer's markets... at home and abroad 1

I am blesses to live so close to Santa Monica. They have a bi-weekly farmer's market which are both awesome; the wednesday one is more so than the saturday one. I try not to miss the wednesday market. I go every week with great anticipation as each week or every other week brings its suprises- a parade of seasonal fruits, vegetables and flowers. Last week I saw the first cherries. In France its "le temps des cerises". Here in Southern California the time of cherries comes earlier. There's always the ubiquitous strawberry that California is known for. We've just finishes eating apples and mandarins and we're anticipating the arrival of apricots. Apricots have softer skins and are picked when pretty green and sold in the stores. They are not worth eating. To eat a good apricot you must look for them at farmer's markets where they are ripe, sweet and juicy. For this reason, I never miss a farmer's market during the short apricot season. Next comes the nectarines and peaches especially the white varieties. They are to die for. In fall I eagerly await the "Autumn Royal" grape that is so sweet and awesome. I saw a guy buying 4 lbs once. I asked him how many people he was buying for; he said, for one. Then we see the seasonal vegetables, the baby artichokes, calabrese broccoli, all kinds of salad greens, heirloom tomatoes; the kind you see in seed catalogs. Also we see a progression of seasonal flowers. A few weeks ago most shoppers have been walking home with armloads of lilacs and apple blossoms. I stop every time to smell the multi-hued pea blossoms. As the weather warms up, the different summer flowers will come in season even faster. I see stuff found only in European markets; wild asparagus, white asparagus, purple potatoes, baby potatoes of every shape and alpine strawberries. I love both the red and white alpine strawberries and the red and yellow raspberries. I eat them dipped in Lite Cool Whip. I go through a few tubs of Lite Cool Whip every year. The L Brea bakery makes a brioche that is comparable to the ones I have eaten in France. I am always munching on a brioche when I'm at the Santa Monica farmer's market on wednesdays. I love living where I live; its a short bus ride sway from Santa Monica. It costs $1.25 per ride, a bargain in today's world.

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