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!
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