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Market Watch: Cayenne Peppers, Grape Sorbet and Fresh Almonds

If anyone has the inside sccop when it comes to the Ferry Plaza Farmers market it's Lulu Meyer, associate director of market operations at CUESA. You'll see her at the market, rain or shine. Every week, she'll be giving us her short list for the market—just in time for Saturday shopping. Go to cuesa.org for more information about farmers, what's in season and market goings-on.

 

June Taylor recently started selling a traditional British game and meat accompaniment known as Damson plum cheese. Similar to quince paste or Spanish membrillo, June’s fruit cheeses contain no dairy but are in fact made from reducing fruit and sugar to a thick paste-like consistency before it is poured into molds and sliced into wedges. June uses Damson plums sourced from Tory Farms to create her version of this English treat, and her version is just perfect with a nutty cheeses and charcuterie.

CUESA recently led a farm tour to the almond orchards at G.L. Alfieri Farms in the Central Valley where the farm has been bustling for the last month or so as the new crop of almonds are being harvested. The Central Valley is home to some of the greatest production of almonds in the world and every year from late August to late September, Gary’s crew shakes the almonds from their trees, then leaves the nuts to try in sun for a day before gathering them up and taking them to the hulling facility. The nuts are packed and brought to market where Gary can always personally be found convincing you to sample the finished product.

Every week at the new Thursday Ferry Plaza Market Scream Sorbet offers tastes of their positively scrumptious flavors of the day. Scream’s emphasis is on the best seasonal offerings and unusal combinations and each flavor of sorbet is made in small one quart batches, guaranteeing amazing, artisanal quality. This week I’ll be looking forward to an after lunch treat of either the Bronx grape or Piel de Sapo melon sorbet. You can get a heads up about Scream’s market offerings before you get to the market by checking out the Thursday market specials page on the CUESA website.

Another Thursday market treat—the chicharrones at 4505 Meats—wouldn’t be possible with out spicy fresh cayenne peppers from Tierra Vegetables. While most of the secrets to these addictive fried wonders are classified, Ryan Farr, 4505’s owner and grill guru, recently told me he uses Tierra’s golden cayenne to turn up the spice. Cayenne peppers are crazy hot; fresh varieties can be pickled, dried or turned into your own homemade hot sauce.


At Happy Quail Farms this time of year you can find bunches of fresh Myoga or Japanese ginger flowers. Myoga looks like a very small endive and has a milder ginger flavor than other varieties but a crisp texture and fresh flavor. Sliced thinly like a scallion Myoga is a traditional garnish for Miso soup and is great with fish and seafood dishes.