Farmers’ Market Haul – February 16th, 2014 – Atwater Village Market

Farmers' Market Haul

Going to the farmer’s market is like a ritual for me.  I have gone to a market nearly every week for probably 5 or 6 years now.  I used to work at a few different markets, helping shy farmers sell their gorgeous organic vegetables. That’s actually were I met my boss and mentor for whom I currently work.  I’ve just continually been pulled back, week after week, season after season.  I feel a sense of community at the market, I feel connected with the food I eat and the people who produce it.

Now I’m to the point where I feel very strange if I don’t go to a market first thing on a Sunday morning, I usually pick between the Los Feliz or Atwater Village.  Both are great, but Atwater is a little bigger and busier so it depends on what mood I’m in.  I often have to stop by a mid-week market as well, just to hold me over until the next Sunday, some of my favorites in my area are Barnsdall Park on Wednesdays, Silver Lake on Tuesdays, or Echo Park on Fridays.

This is such a big part of my life that, for the most part, went unshared on the blog.  So to in an attempt to highlight where I get my seasonal produce and local animal products I’ll be starting a series where I can share some of my farmers’ market hauls with all of you.

Feel free to ask questions and offer suggestions in the comments section.  Let me know what you got at the market this week and how you’ll be using it!

 

Assorted fruits and vegetables

Vegetables and Fruit: carrot, apple, avocado, cauliflower, onion

I always need a few different fruits and veggies to last me at least until mid-week.  At home I still had some kale, broccoli and celery left over from my last market, otherwise I would have gotten some type of green vegetable.

Cauliflower used to be low on my list of vegetables I would buy, I only occasionally roasted it and always preferred broccoli anyhow.  But ever since I’ve discovered mashed cauliflower I use it almost every week.  It’s an amazing to be able to make Shepard’s pie without potatoes, but I actually used this one to make a creamy blended soup with some of the carrots.

Carrots, along with celery and onions, are staples that I try to always have on hand.  All together they are often called mirepoix and used as a base for starting soups and sauces or to accompany different roasted meats.  The flavors just go together so nicely, it’s an easy way to start nearly any dish.  I always save any trimmings or skins from these for broth, which I seem to be in a constant state of making, more on that below.

Avocados I like to have on hand for quick snack options.  Half of an avocado dressed with a little balsamic vinegar, olive oil and sea salt is one of my favorite little bites, but I also slice it up to top several different dishes, particularly eggs, tacos, salads or soup.

The apples also make quick snack options, and pink ladies tend to be my favorite because they are so sweet and flavorful.  I usually toss one in my purse and while at work I’ll slice it up and enjoy with a handful of raw walnuts or almonds.  If I’m really in a hurry then no slicing is even needed!  This time of year I also like to saute some apple slices up with onion and/or fennel, often to top a warm kale salad with some toasted pine nuts.

 

Bee Pollen

Bee Pollen

I take a teaspoon on this stuff every morning.  It’s a great source of amino acids and B vitamins, thus it gives a nice balanced boost of energy when taken in moderation.  Bee products that are local to your region also help to immunize you to local allergies; this includes honey, royal jelly and bee pollen.  There are many reasons to take bee pollen, I wrote about 20 benefits on the MamaFloat blog if you are interested in reading more.

This is a pretty large quantity of bee pollen, but I go through quite a bit so it makes sense for me to buy in bulk.  You probably want to start with a smaller package if this is your first time using it, like 2 or 4oz.  Keep it in a sealed container in the freezer for prolonged storage, I transfer mine in mason jars.

I don’t love the flavor so I wash it down with some water, but some people like to eat it with yogurt and fruit in the morning.  However you get it down, I highly recommend it!

 

Eggs

Pasture rasied eggs

Eggs are obviously another staple, I probably don’t have to tell you how to use eggs, but I would like to talk a bit about the quality I look for.

I search out pasture raised chickens and eggs because animal products are nutritionally superior when the animals they come from have a balanced traditional diet and plenty of outdoor time and fresh air.  By balanced traditional diet, I mean what those animals have been raised for generations before factory farming came about.  Chickens used be a common backyard animal, fed veggie scraps and weeds from the garden, allowed to eat bugs where ever they could find them, and in exchange we got eggs and eventually meat.  Compared to the corn and soy meal which is usually fed to factory farmed poultry, a traditional chicken’s diet provides many more vitamins and minerals.  And compared to crowded and dirty indoor conditions that factory farms product, the increased outdoor time that pasture raised animals are allowed results in higher vitamin D production and cleaner/healthier animals, all of which is passed on in their animal products.  You can see a big difference just in the dark rich yellow color of pasture raised egg yolks, but research shows their health benefits as well.

I am a big fan of La Bahn Ranch, which I can find at the Atwater, Los Feliz or Barsndall Farmers’ Markets.  I get at least 2 dozen eggs every week and usually a whole chicken, but they sell out fast so sometimes I have to settle for a bone-in breast, thighs or some chicken livers.


As an added bonus, I am able to cut down on the waste of egg cartons.  I used to save my old ones and bring them back every week, but they eventually got too dirty to keep using and I was not able to clean them as they were usually made of a papery cardboard material.  That’s when I decided to get these amazing washable and BPA-free reusable egg containers.  I can wash them out, stack them, keep my eggs safe from smashing, and it still fits the extra large size I like to get.  I am so surprised when vendor tell me I’m the only one who brings these to the market.  Why aren’t we all using them?

 

Bones for broth

Pasture raised pork bones

Last but certainly not least, BONES!  I discussed how to make your own bone broth and why it’s so good for you in previous posts, so it’s no wonder I make a pot of it once or twice a week.  I often roast a chicken and use the leftover bones from that to make a broth, but I always want to find bigger bones to make another batch with since they contain more marrow, one of the most nutritious parts of an animal.

Jimenez Family Farms is one of my favorite places to get meat and bones.  They usually have lamb, pork and chicken, but occasionally you can find goat, rabbit and quail.  I have gotten lamb bones from them before but this was my first time trying pork bones.  Lucky for me they had quite a bit of meat still on them, so I was able to pull the bones out of the crock pot after cooking for about 6 hours, get a little bit of melty pulled pork off the bones to enjoy with dinner, then return the bones to the pot to finish cooking.

Ultimately, I ended up cooking the broth for 72 hours, which I usually do for bigger bones like these.  They made a delicious broth, some of which I used to make that cauliflower and carrot soup I discussed above.

Comments

2 Responses to “Farmers’ Market Haul – February 16th, 2014 – Atwater Village Market”
  1. I love this idea of detailing your farmer’s market finds…I’m nearby in the valley, but I’ve been to your market many times!

Leave A Comment