Updated 2008-10-19 20:50:41 ID=157:3

© 2008 The Romantic Table
©2008 The Romantic Table 2008-10-19 20:01:06:62
©2008 The Romantic Table

Cools weather crops are now abundant in the Farmer's Markets.

Farmers Market Report October 18, 2008

The best of Fall is here! The best cooking squash, pumpkins and peppers have arrived!

We arrived a little later than usual at the market. though it was busy, it was very easy to navigate, shop and buy the items we needed.

First stop was at Olde Port Fisheries booth from Avila Beach. They were loaded with several kinds of fresh, locally caught fish and we didn't have the usual line of customers waiting! We needed Rock Cod for our Rock Cod Chowder - we weren't disappointed. The fillets were beautiful and reasonably priced at $8.99 per pound.

Next up was the Charter Oak Style Beef and Lamb booth. We were looking for Lamb Shanks, which they normally have, but were currently out of. We ordered four one pound shanks for next Saturday. Now that it's getting colder, we want to make some Lamb Shanks "Osso Buco" style. ( braised lamb shanks in tomatoes served traditionally on soft polenta or saffron risotto.) Traditional Osso Bucco is made with veal shanks. Fresh veal is hard to fine locally, but lamb is an excellent substitute.

©2008 The Romantic Table 2008-10-19 20:50:13:64
©2008 The Romantic Table

Elizabeth Kendall of Dos Pasos Ranch at Templeton Farmer's Market
I had called ahead of time Friday to Elizabeth Kendall of Dos Pasos Ranch in Cambria. Elizabeth had told us previously about "Buttercup Squash", an especially sweet variety, like a butternut, only better. We have been waiting months for Buttercup Squash to come in season. Finally, her buttercup squash is in season now and she brought several today for us to choose from. We bought three. We're been craving our season's first sweet squash ravioli and can't wait to try out our recipe on these local favorites.

Elizabeth will be bringing some sweet cooking pumpkins next week to market. --We're hoping to make a sensational pumpkin soup this season, now that we've located a source.

On we shopped. Down the way, we met up to Chef Gregg Wangard from Pismo's Marisol Restaurant at the Cliffs and North County Farmers Market Manager Sandra Dimond helping him pull his "shopping cart". The Chef's cart was brimming with produce. After discussing his days selections and the recipes he was planning, he gave us a hot tip. He told us that down the way, at the Dragon Spring Farm from Cambria booth they had some dynamite Spaghetti Squash he had served the night before with a duck confit and other delectables from his "pantry". It was a hit with his customers. That set my brain spinning out an idea for some interesting recipe idea using spaghetti squash -instead of confit (which I usually do not make -a girl needs to watch her calories!) maybe a duck ragu or salmis hunter style to top it off.

We tagged along with Chef Gregg to Ralph Johnson's booth, a grower from San Luis Obispo-Los Osos. Mr. Johnson grows special crops specially for Chef Gregg. He had purple carrots for Chef Gregg, as well as a variety of tender miniature Romaine Lettuce, perfect "heart size" without the waste of throwing away all the tough outside leaves just to get to the good stuff.

Today Ralph's booth also had twelve different varieties of peppers. He's the one that has the beautifully straight Anaheim peppers we like to use for Stuffed Anaheim Chile Peppers, Santa Cruz Style.

©2008 The Romantic Table 2008-10-19 20:44:58:63
©2008 The Romantic Table

4-H'er Louis Lindsey at Templeton Farmer's Market.
After visiting with Chef Gregg for a few minutes, we started back to the car. On our way we passed by the 'Bounty of the Valley's' booth that had some good looking organic cauliflower and broccoli. We've been thinking about making a cheddar and broccoli-cauliflower cheese sauce for some cellentani (corkscrew) pasta. We bought one of each vegetable and inquired where their farm was. We were surprised to learn that they travel all the way from San Ardo and King City. They go to just two local markets; the Templeton one on Saturday and the one on Monday at Los Osos-Baywood Park. They go to those markets specifically because a lot of the county's best chefs attend those to buy ingredients for their menus.

As we were nearing the end of the food booths in the Park, we happened to see a small table set up on the grass staffed by a young 4-H 'er, Louis Lindsey and his mom Jennny. We were intrigued by what he was selling. He was taking orders for different varieties of Christmas wreaths and centerpieces. He is selling these to help finance his 4-H beef project. The wreaths and centerpieces are quite striking and are priced in the twenty to thirty dollar range. if you'd like to see samples of the wreaths, you can see them on-line at www.mickman.com or by going to the Templeton Farmers Market where. Louis will be happy to show you the different wreaths in the company's full-color brochure. The wreaths will be shipped directly to your home from Minnesota where they are made. If you'd like to help Louis or ask him any questions about the wreaths in the meantime, you can give him a call at 805 462-9546.

All in all it was a good morning. Both my husband and I are excited about thinking up a right recipe for the spaghetti squash ---and we can't wait to make Buttercup squash cappellacci (looks like a large tortellini)!

I hope that your produce shopping is as fun and enjoyable as ours was!

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A tip from Sue!

Eating well with no guilt!

For those health-conscious, alternate a "healthy meal" just before and after a "splurge meal." You can enjoy the food much more when you're not plagued by guilt! And this keeps you on a self-imposed "mini-diet" and maintains your weight much better than if you haphazardly eat at random.