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Market Watch: CUESA's Epic 2013 Summer Celebration Is Around the Corner

As we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, it’s only natural for the revelry to continue at CUESA’s 3rd Annual Summer Celebration. For this year’s event, we’re planning a special evening to pay homage to the various “families” that have helped make the market a success over the years. Star chefs and bartenders from more than 40 of the city’s best restaurants will focus their palates and talents on six culinary families—berries, nightshades, grains and legumes, alliums, leaves and flowers, and of course stone fruits—creating original tastes that celebrate the height of the summer harvest.

Batter Bakery chef and owner Jen Musty will be one of nine chefs representing the berry category at the Summer Celebration this year. She’s currently exploring ice creams made with a range of berries from Yerena Farms for a bite-sized ice cream sandwich. Brett Emerson of Contigo will be one of the chefs charged with highlighting tomatoes and peppers for the nightshade category. His bite will be a Boquerón, or marinated anchovy, with a pisto made with peppers, zucchini, and house-preserved Dirty Girl tomatoes.

Brett Emerson of Contigo

Robin Song, executive chef of Hi-Lo Barbeque and Hog & Rocks, will be working with alliums (onions and their kin) for his bite. “I’m still playing with my idea, but I’m looking at representing the allium family with a little caramelized onion jam and possibly experimenting with some onion seeds as well,” he told me. Local Mission Eatery chef Jake Des Voignes will serve up a bite that highlights some of his favorite stone fruit from Hamada Farms. At the market, he said, “I’ll be doing a squid salad with chile pickled onion, white nectarines and a Noyaux aioli made from apricot kernels.”

The leaves and flowers group will be represented by the chefs from Namu Gaji, Central Kitchen and others. Ichi Sushi chefs Tim Archuleta and Erik Aplin are no strangers to using leafy herbs and micro-greens, which you can expect to see in their delicately prepared nigiri. Lastly, grains and legumes will be highlighted at the event by chefs from Beretta, Abbot’s Cellar and Barbacco, to name a few.

Guests will feast on unlimited food and drink at the themed tasting areas, and all proceeds from the night provide much-needed support for CUESA’s ongoing education initiatives, including free cooking demos, kitchen skill-building classes, Schoolyard to Market, Food Wise Kids and sustainability scholarships for farmers.

For more details about the Summer Celebration, including a complete list of chefs, bartenders and participating wineries and breweries, visit the CUESA website. Tickets are $125 ($85 of which is tax-deductible), but Market Watch readers can use special promo code “marketwatch” to get $25 off now through July 2. For a chance to win a free ticket to the event, enter our Summer Celebration photo contest.