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Market Watch: Chef Annie Somerville Gets the Goods

Every week, Lulu Meyer brings us the best of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. Shop on!

Annie Somerville, the executive chef at Greens Restaurant, was all smiles as she loaded her chef cart with spring produce at a recent Saturday market. Between vendors’ stalls, Annie stopped to catch up with colleagues like Aziza’s Mourad Lahlou, and Poggio’s Peter McNee. She was also on the hunt for ingredients to complete the menu item she was planning for the Star Chefs and Vintners Gala, a benefit for Meals on Wheels, to be held the following night. Annie had been charged with creating an appetizer for the Gala’s reception and she was planning to top Little Gem lettuce leaves with fresh goat cheese, peas, shaved beets and fava beans and then drizzle each one with Meyer lemon juice and fresh herbs.

Annie’s restaurant career began when she joined the staff of Greens in 1981 and trained with chef Deborah Madison. In 1985, Annie accepted the role of executive chef and it’s one she’s maintained for 25 years, all the while continuing to innovate and to expand on the vegetarian fare the restaurant is known for. Her commitment to supporting local farms and using the best seasonal ingredients is evident in the ever-changing menu at Greens. Here’s what was on Annie’s list this week:

•    Garlic scapes from Thomas Farms
•    Little Gem lettuces from Star Route Farms
•    Bordeaux spinach from Everything Under the Sun
•    Fromage blanc from Cowgirl Creamery
•    Fresh shallots from Dirty Girl Produce
•    Fava beans from Iacopi Farms

Annie is a die-hard market shopper who rarely misses any of the three weekly markets. On Saturdays she takes her time selecting the perfect ingredients. She can also spend hours making the rounds, visiting with farmers, and chatting about how things are going on the farm. She’ll also tell anyone who asks about what looks the best to her that day. Annie’s enthusiasm and excitement are quite infectious and it’s easy to see why she’s a favorite among our farmers, our market staff and her fellow chefs.