Updated 2008-12-23 17:51:59 ID=237:3

© 2008 The Romantic Table
©2008 The Romantic Table, Buying fresh persimmons at Templeton Farmers Market. 2008-12-23 17:49:10:96
©2008 The Romantic Table

Buying fresh persimmons at Templeton Farmers Market.

Farmers Market Report December 20, 2008

It was a beautiful crisp cold winter morning but this Farmers Market we found a lot of fresh produce to celebrate about.

Arriving about ten we were cold--but "good cold." Feeling more and more like Christmas we set out to see what the market had "in store" for us this week.

There were some vacant spaces where some of the booths didn't make it this week and there was plenty of parking. All the shoppers were bundled-up in their winter sweaters and jackets and were all content to browse and make the most of their Farmers Market experience.

The craft-people had lots of potential gifts for last-minute shoppers (knitwear-hats, scarves, gloves and handmade jewelry) as did produce booths that had wreaths, and boughs to lend a little festive spirit to any home. There were several ideas for inexpensive culinary gifts! Raw and wild honey given with a selection of teas, organic nut meats and dried fruit, a selection of extra-virgin olive oils, a small basket filled with dates, flowers, and potted plants.

We started off by checking in with Charter Oak Style Meats, confirming our lamb order and buying some more of her delicious meaty smoked pork hocks. The hocks that we had purchased last week were absolutely delicious and made the best split pea soup we've ever had!

Next up we bought some more of Dragon Springs Farm delicious Fuyu persimmons for our salads. To use them, you peel and slice them with a spinach salad, or just snacking. Balsamic vinegar goes especially well with them. One of the best things about persimmons is that they keep really well if stored in a cool room -and they're very inexpensive because most people don't know what to do with them!

Next up, we were so happy to see that the See Canyon Apples booth made it again to market. We stocked-up with enough apples for our week.

While I was doing the buying, my husband went ahead and scouted the vendors for good finds. He came back and told me that he had seen some gorgeous golden beets at Bautista Farms booth. Now we really know this booth well. We have purchased from them for years, but I have never profiled them. With fewer shoppers today, now was a good opportunity to ask a few questions about their farm.

©2008 The Romantic Table, Manual Bautista of Bautista Farms 2008-12-23 17:51:28:97
©2008 The Romantic Table

Manual Bautista of Bautista Farms
The farm is run by owner Manual Bautista. He has been going to all the Farmers Markets from Paso Robles to Lompoc since 1989. Though he is not totally organic, he uses minimum pesticides on just a few selective crops. He has year-round produce available. He has many vegetables such as "baby" and large varieties carrots, cabbage, golden beets (the brightest gold and so delicious!) red beets, Swiss chard, celery, radishes, cauliflower, turnips, spinach, mixed greens, lettuces to name just a few and then of course strawberries! - His farm is located at 2496 Huasna Road in Arroyo Grande. It does not freeze where he is located. If you have questions about his produce, you can reach him at 805 801-0206. I finished up by buying two bunches of the brightest golden beets and greens I had ever seen, and at two dollars a bunch, that's a real steal!

After that we made a quick stop at the "date and flowering cactus man" Dave Billington's booth. His dates are so delicious and much better then candy or a cookie for a quick "pick-me-up!" We stocked up on dates and then headed back to our car. Shopping for fresh produce is fun but with the chill starting to get to us, we couldn't help but think about sitting in front of a nice fire with some good coffee at home.

Now that it's so close to Christmas, I am finally getting butterflies about the season. I don't know what about -It's surely not because of a "lot" of gifts under the tree! We really cut back this year. We had to! Besides, the excitement of Christmas just didn't seem to manifest itself this year. Everyone is having a hard time! It's like Christmas was a "secret this year!" I'm sure that it's because of the economy and the estate of affairs being so bleak. We're all waiting for the next "shoe" to drop!

As I said earlier this season, with things so tight, this is a good year to hit the "reset button" and re-exam our priorities and values. It's a good year to "stay local", "buy local" and hunker-down with all those that mean the most to you.

See you next week and Merry Christmas!

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A tip from Sue!

Mark perishable ingredients

When ever you bring home a brand new spice, oil, vinegar, flour, sugar or other perishable ingredient, mark the bottle/container with the day’s date with a felt tip pen. Most "permanent markers" will write on just about any container.

That way if you don’t use it very much, but it’s been opened, you know how fresh it is. For an important meal don’t “submarine yourself” by using past expiration ingredients that have long lost their fresh taste and flavor.