Oh, summer! The markets are pulsing with ripeness. Every color in the rainbow is on display, from sunny yellow summer squash to royal purple eggplants. Now is the time to cook. Or not. There are so many juicy vegetables to eat raw, there's never been a better time to make salad for dinner.
As for fruit, well, let's just say you may want to make that a fruit salad for dinner. I've been eating berries and stone fruit by the handful this week - for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Here are my picks for the best of the best at this weekend's Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.
If you've only eaten okra in a bowl of gumbo, it's time to broaden your horizons. Yes, okra is viscous, but keep it in check by gently sauteeing whole pods instead of sliced. Look for okra that is bright green and firm. Try sauteing with onion, olive oil, ground cumin, coriander and chile peppers for an zesty side dish.
Arctic Sweet White Nectarines
Bella Viva Orchards
I entered nectarine nirvana this week with my first bite of an Arctic Sweet white nectarine. Holy moley! My only regret is that I didn't buy more of them. The ones for sale on Tuesday were perfectly ripe and ready to eat on the spot.
I've been sampling these for a few weeks, and I'm happy to say that now is the perfect time for McGinnis' raspberries. Don't even think about cooking these beauties. Eat them out of hand, or with a spoonful of cream.
CandyCot Fruit Company
While we're on the subject of sweetness, let's talk about apricots. CandyCot apricots, like the name implies, are a super-sweet breed of stone fruit. Bred from seeds originating in Asia, John Driver spent 10 years developing his six varieties of apricots that he named CandyCots. Michelle at the CUESA information booth told me it could be their last week at the market for a while, so don't miss out!
What's on YOUR shopping list this week? We'd love to know!
About this column:
I am a gluten-free chef who supports local agriculture. I visit the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market faithfully every Tuesday and Thursday, and most Saturdays.
A lot of the fun of shopping at a farmers market is seeing the produce evolve over the weeks and seasons and finding the perfect moment when a fruit or vegetable is at its prime.
In this Friday column, I share my thoughts of which farms' crops are at their very best.