Updated 2009-04-20 10:42:47 ID=372:3

© 2009 The Romantic Table
©2009 The Romantic Table, Lots of Fresh Strawberries are available now at Local Farmers' Markets. 2009-04-20 10:39:35:139
©2009 The Romantic Table

Lots of Fresh Strawberries are available now at Local Farmers' Markets.

Farmers Market Report April 18, 2009

A warm late Spring day brings out more shoppers and more late Spring produce, strawberries, and the first blueberries of the season.

We arrived at the Templeton Farmers Market about nine-thirty. We noticed a sense of energy and more hustle and bustle by the shoppers as they meandered among the different produce booths. The lovely warm Spring morning had delivered the shoppers to the market earlier today.

We waved to Debby Paver of Charter Oak Style was busy selling her lamb, pork and beef to some customers.

Oak Hill Mushrooms had several varieties of wild mushrooms for sale. Just down from her, was the (new to the market) Paso Almonds booth. They were busy, but next week we'll have to check in with them and find out more about their products and prices. I know from experience that their Paso Almond Bark is absolutely delicious! We were excited to see them there!

Down at Mike Broadhurst's Dragon Spring Farm booth, we stopped and chatted a bit with Mike. The big news is that it's "Blueberry time" again! Just a little past 9:30 and he was already sold out of them! They're very sweet, grown locally at his Cambria farm. Priced at $4.50 a pint, you need to savor every single one. He'll have them now for the next six weeks or so. Mike also has some gorgeous blood oranges for $2.00 a pound and lemons priced at two for $1.00. We bought some of the blood oranges and plan to use them in an unusual salad with fennel this weekend.

We continued on, and asked Carlos at Stoltey's Honey booth, if he had anything new. He drew our attention to their Bee Pollen that they're selling for $4.00 a quarter pound bag. While we were there, it was being snapped up by customers as fast as he could make change! If you're into homeopathic cures, this should be at the top of your list to check out. According to Carlos, bee pollen is good for about anything that ails you-especially allergies! You take just a quarter of a teaspoon daily. And this bee pollen is very fresh from the Stoltey's honey bee farm in Atascadero.

Down we walked some more. Strawberries are really coming into their prime now and several vendors were selling them. We stopped at the Twin Berry Farm booth, tasted a sample which were sweet and bought a three-pack for to have strawberry shortcake this weekend. We haven't had any yet this year, so we're really looking forward to them!

On we walked. At "Big John's Produce" from Santa Maria, we spotted some gorgeous Golden Beets with great-looking greens, perfect fro one of our favorite pastas, Golden Beets with Pappardelle Pasta . We bought two bunches priced at only $2.00 a bunch. We haven't had beet pasta for some time. So this is another idea for dinner this week to look forward to!

We passed by the NPO Organic Pistachios booth and saw that Donna was busy selling her organic pistachios. With the nation-wide recall of grocery-store pistachios, this is a great marketing boon for these two Paso Robles retired nurses-turned farmers! Check them out!

Then finally we were so happy to see the return of Ralph Johnson and his San Luis Obispo- grown organic greens, herbs and other produce. We bought some great-looking and smelling fresh oregano to use this weekend as well as some dandelion greens to use in a pasta. Ralph is very entrepreneurial in growing "cutting-edge" produce that many of the Central Coast's best chefs swear by. He does a lot of custom-growing for the local chefs as well.

Looking at the time, we best be on our way. On the way home, I had to pick up my German Shepherd from the kennel before it got any later.

This time of year, new varieties of produce start showing up every week. -And they're coming into their prime now. So if you haven't been to Farmers Market recently, you have a lot to look forward to! Hope to see you next week!

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A tip from Sue!

Get a Black Pepper Mill

There's nothing that substitutes for freshly cracked black pepper. You can find pepper mills in all price ranges. Just get one that looks like it will hold up well over continual use. Freshly cracked black pepper can really enhance the smell and final taste of a recipe!