My friend Gigi is an avid farmers' market shopper who loves to cook. When she invited me to go along with her to the Sunday Sacramento Farmers' Market, I was delighted. It meant getting up early on a Sunday but it was totally worth it because we get to buy our food from the farmers who grew it!
The Sunday Sacramento Farmers' Market is the largest outdoor market I have ever seen. You can find it under the freeway in Sacramento every Sunday. There are actually two markets here, one that's Asian and one that's Californian.
Both markets get crowded really fast, so we arrived early to get the best selection. The Asian market was really interesting. There were so many foods that I hadn't seen before, including Chinese broccoli, sweet squash, purple yams, fresh beans, and hot peppers. Gigi bought some peppers to make sauce and I decided to experiment with the Chinese broccoli, sweet squash, and purple yams.
Gigi and I both said we wouldn't buy too much but we always end up making several trips to the car! The beautiful produce and bargain prices are just too tempting to resist. In this market, we can expect to save at least half of what we would pay in our local stores. Parsley was only 50 cents for a large bunch (versus $1 when I see it in the produce aisle) and small tomatoes were only $1 per pound. Since we go home with so much, we always work on cooking our haul into sauces and dishes that we can freeze and serve later.
This week we noticed that the tomatoes were very plentiful, so I got 4 pounds of tomatoes for just $5. I decided to make sauce with them, so I got onions, peppers, garlic, and basil too. If you're patient with me, your scrolling will be rewarded with some great new recipes for that haul.
Strawberries and other fruits were very fragrant and still in season, so I picked up some of them too. The strawberries were such a good price that I got 3 boxes and made them into a gel sauce that could be used right away or frozen for later. Members can get an exclusive look at that very recipe!
Speaking of sauce, the apples and raspberries were plentiful enough to not only eat fresh but also to make a glorious pink raspberry apple sauce. The basil got pureed, turned into pesto, frozen, then cut into cubes that could be reheated for fall. Meanwhile, the farmers' market carrots are perfect for grating into salads. Oh, and remember when I said your patience would be rewarded? Here's what I did with the tomatoes. First I made a fresh tomato salad plate from the fresh tomatoes, basil pesto, goat cheese, and wasabi-coated almonds.
The remaining tomatoes got broiled and pureed into sauce. Here's a PDF handout with the recipe -- it's one that you won't want to miss!
For more farmers' market and cooking resources, visit the Nutrition Education Store! Here are some of my favorite materials...
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Judy’s passion for cooking began with helping her grandmother make raisin oatmeal for breakfast. From there she earned her first food service job at 15, was accepted to the world-famous Culinary Institute of America at 18 (where she graduated second in her class), and went on to the Fachschule Richemont in Switzerland where she focused on pastry arts and baking. After a decade in food service for Hyatt Hotels, Judy launched Food and Health Communications to focus on flavor and health. She graduated with Summa Cum Laude distinction from Johnson and Wales University with a BS in Culinary Art, holds a master’s degree in Food Business from the Culinary Institute of America, 2 art certificates from UC Berkeley Extension, and runs a food photography studio where her love is creating fun recipes.
Judy received The Culinary Institute of America’s Pro Chef II certification, the American Culinary Federation Bronze Medal, Gold Medal, and ACF Chef of the Year. Her enthusiasm for eating nutritiously and deliciously leads her to constantly innovate and use the latest in nutritional science and Dietary Guidelines to guide her creativity, from putting new twists on fajitas to adapting Italian brownies to include ingredients like toasted nuts and cooked honey. Judy’s publishing company, Food and Health Communications, is dedicated to her vision that everyone can make food that tastes as good as it is for you.