Updated 2009-01-04 20:24:24 ID=254:3

© 2009 The Romantic Table
©2009 The Romantic Table, The weather was cold at Templeton Farmers Market, but there was a good supply of Winter greens available. 2009-01-04 18:26:42:101
©2009 The Romantic Table

The weather was cold at Templeton Farmers Market, but there was a good supply of Winter greens available.

Farmers Market Report January 3, 2009

A bright sunny day in January gets us out early to the Farmers Market to check on all the "regulars" and get some Farmers Market goodies for a "best of Farmers Market" basket as a bread and butter gift.

Waking up early this bright sunny morning we got off to an early start to stock-up on some fresh produce for ourselves as well as a "bread and butter" gift for our hosts at their home later today.

We first hit Gary Billington's Sunrise Desert Tropical booth for some of his delicious dates. I've come to especially like his Medjools dates. They're a large chewy date with lots of flavor. They go especially well with coffee and almonds. We've been enjoying them daily for a perfect finish to our lunches. The other varieties that he carries are the Barhi (which melt in your mouth and have a smooth vanilla flavor and are my husband's favorite), Dayri which are smaller and compact, and the Neglet Noor (the common one found in stores year-round.) We bought extra dates for the "best of Farmers Market basket" that we're putting together for my brother in-law and his wife who have invited us to their home for lunch today.

While we were chatting with Gary about his dates, Chef Greg ( of Pismo's Marisol Restaurant) and his wife Chef Kelly( of the Paso Robles Inn) walked-up. We asked Chef Greg what he thought were good finds this week in the Market. He told us that the Bautista Farm booth from Arroyo Grande had some great produce and that they always have great greens this time of year because it doesn't freeze there. He also said several vendors had great Fuyu Persimmons this week, and of course some dynamite arugula and greens at the Bounty of the Valley booth.

Just next to Gary's booth was Cecila Garcia, co-owner of NPO Organic Pistachios. Last week we tried her pistachios and found them very fresh and flavorful and wanted more of their nuts before their crop runs out. And so fresh and pure at eleven dollars for two pounds, we plan to stock up with several bags for our lunches and also another item for our basket.

©2009 The Romantic Table 2009-01-04 18:27:03:102
©2009 The Romantic Table

Teresa and Roberto of Twin Berry Farms from Santa Maria had flats of fresh strawberries!
We noted that Chef Greg had two flats of fresh strawberries in his cart, so next we went in search of who had fresh strawberries available on such a cold day. A couple of booths down we found beautiful fresh strawberries at the Twin Berry Farm booth. We spoke a couple of minutes with owners Teresa and Roberto. Roberto said their farm is located in Santa Maria, off of Highway 1. It does not normally freeze there so they can grow strawberries year round. The farm phone number is 805-448-4304

Next up we wanted a few more persimmons to get us through the week. So we went to our usual vendor: Mike Broadhurst from Dragon Spring Farm from Cambria. He told us that next week (the 10th) will be the last of his crop of persimmons-though other vendors will still have a good supply. The persimmons taste absolutely delicious on a winter salad of spinach or arugula. The best vinaigrette we've found to toss them with is Balsamic vinegar and a little extra-virgin olive oil. Normally for "just us" we usually use a flavorful aged mild Balsamic vinegar just "straight" on the leaves and persimmons. However if you're using a sharper balsamic vinegar, then you need to tone the vinegar down with a bit of olive oil mixed with it before adding to the salad.This is this month's featured salad. We also bought some of Mike's wife's Citrus Marmalade made from their own organically grown fruit: a blend of Valencia oranges, Lisbon lemons and Ruby Star grapefruit for our gift basket.

Winding our way down, we stopped at the Bounty of the Valley booth from the San Ardo-King City area. (Just north of us.) Co-owner Julie said that they have greens year-round. Today they had Broccoli at $1.50 a pound, and Romaine,Spring Mix and Arugula for $ 5. 00 per pound. The Arugula looked especially good so we bought a little to try for our salad tonight.

Then going down toward the meat and seafood booths, we stopped at Bens Custom Meat Cutting (from Atascadero) for some of his Basil Garlic sausage to try in a red sauce this week. He has many varieties of sausage, as well as duck breasts, all kinds of pork and beef, and occasionally game. He's located at 6100 Rocky Canyon Road. His phone number is 805 466-2103.

With our finds in our bags, and because we needed to get home and finish off our gift basket before having to leave for our luncheon, we decided to call it a morning and head for home.

It had been great seeing all our market-friends. Though it was cold, we still found a lot of "good eats" to make us glad that we live here and have access to the best of the California Central Coast!

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A tip from Sue!

The difference between white, black and red pepper

Do you know the difference between white, black and red pepper?

White pepper gives you an "immediate hot." Black pepper develops more slowly as you chew, while red pepper has a delayed kick or hotness.