Yesterday I introduced you to the Bay Area buzz machine that is the San Francisco Underground Farmers Market, an under-the-radar bake sale of sorts that's been getting plenty of attention from San Francisco foodies. I was slightly skeptical of the event — as I am with many faddish food concepts — but in the end I was the one who had to concede. While the crowds were out of control, the food was, for the most part, the stuff that dreams are made of. If you were salivating over the currywurst and bacon IPA caramels, here you'll see even more.
If you thought street food was too elusive to track down, then get ahold of San Francisco's latest pretty young thing: the underground farmers market. The idea was first introduced to San Francisco last December by Iso Rabins of wild foods community ForageSF. Frustrated with his inability to get a booth at the city's established farmers markets, Rabins organized a private local foods fair — publicized only by word of mouth — that didn't require artisan vendors to obtain permits from the city's health department. The concept turned out to be a hit with the community. It's only been six months and ForageSF has already held three underground markets, including one that took place this week, with twice as many vendors and three times as much turnout. After eating my way through the prepared foods portion of the market, I caught sight of the line, which had grown to as long as a city block — a reminder that the early bird gets the worm. See what I filled up on when you keep reading.
Here's a guaranteed recipe for a successful event: round up all of the city's top bartenders and put them in a magnificent outdoor space with sweeping views of the Bay as a backdrop on one side, and all of San Francisco's downtown on the other. Add Spring's best market ingredients, from rhubarb to strawberries and Spring peas. What do you get? CUESA's Farmers Market Cocktail Night: a smashing party that's sold out every year. Last night, like the many years before it, was no exception, with incredible flavor combinations that I'm still dreaming about. See the best takes when you keep reading.
Spring started on Saturday and along with longer days and warmer weather, I look forward to the new produce! The farmers markets will be filled with the bounty of the season, but do you know which ingredients reach their peak in March, April, and May? Find out now and take my quiz. I'll list an item, and you tell me if it should be coming soon to grocery stores. Ready? Go!
The Atlantic finally broached a rather touchy question I have quietly wondered for a long, long time: are CSAs a ripoff? In case you aren't familiar with a CSA, short for "community supported agriculture," it's basically a service wherein you buy a subscription of locally grown or raised produce, eggs, or meat and receive a share every month. I know the concept furthers the idea of good, clean, and fair food — yet at the same time, I've always found the prices to be outrageous and, quite frankly, beyond my means. I'd rather just head to the farmers market. What about you?
Source: Flickr User erin.kkr
Although I thoroughly enjoy grocery shopping, I like to make my trips to the store quick and efficient. It's my philosophy to get in, get the goods, and get out. To ensure that my market experiences are smooth, I always put together a detailed list on a large, blank sheet of paper that's organized by section of the store.
The produce goes on one side of the paper, the dairy items on another, the dried goods on another, etc. All of the ingredients are grouped together in order of where they come in the store. Since I enter my grocer near the veggies, I start with produce. It takes a few more seconds to compile my list, but the extra time is worth it because I don't zigzag (or wander aimlessly!) through the market.
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The length of this year's Winter is getting to me. Lately, during my weekly farmers market trips, I've been on the lookout for newly-released fruits and vegetables in an attempt to spice up my dinner repertoire. This week, I spotted baby bok choy — a fantastic alternative to other prolific Winter leafy greens like kale and chard. If you spot it, pick up a bunch and learn how to prepare it when you read more.
Until I walked past a bin of them on my last trip to the Chinese market, I'd completely forgotten about daikon radishes. The long, white vegetable, which looks like an oversize carrot, isn't that prevalent at Western markets, but is a staple in Asian cuisines. Although the milky-fleshed daikon can be found year-round at some grocery stores, the vegetables are sweetest and mildest during the cold weather months. If possible, shop for them at an Asian supermarket, where they're likely to be fresh, as they may grow bitter with age. Store them in a cool, dry place, where they'll keep for several weeks. If you're new to cooking with radishes, the concept may seem daunting, but this peppery giant is surprisingly versatile. To learn a few ways to enjoy it, read more