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Market Watch: French Plums, San Marzano Tomatoes and Sunshine

Every year around this time, French prune plums make a brief and glorious return to market each year but only for a limited time. With their concentrated sweetness and easy perishability they are usually only sold in their dried and preserved states. However, for the next few weeks you can visit the Glashoff Farms stand and get them freshly picked and in their prime.

The San Marzano tomatoes at Everything Under the Sun’s stand looked and tasted so incredible this past week that I decided to schlep home 25 pounds to roast and pack away for the winter. Nothing beats the flavor of slow-roasted tomatoes, and with their meaty texture and mild acidity San Marzano’s are the perfect sauce tomato. So after a leisurely day spent filling the house with the aroma of freshly roasted tomatoes, I am well stocked and ready for a time (not so far from now) when tomatoes won’t be found around every corner of the market.

Truly sustainable food is not only healthy, humane, and environmentally sound, it's also socially just. In honor of Labor Day, on September 10th, from 6:30 to 8:30 pm, CUESA is hosting a panel discussion to highlight the workers who feed us. Four labor experts will tell success stories of advancing working conditions in the fields and discuss how concerned eaters can stand up for fair food. The panel will be followed by a short reception with farmers’ market snacks. The event is free and open to the public and will take place in the Port Commission Hearing Room, on the second floor of the Ferry Building in San Francisco.

The blood red flesh and mottled crimson skin of the Elephant Heart plum is truly striking. This heirloom variety is heart-shaped with a rich firm flesh and a perfect balance of sweet and tart! They’re wonderful when added to an arugula salad or turned into a  fresh fruit tart but also delicious all on their own. Stop by Blossom Bluff Orchards booth this week to get your hands on this late summer beauty.

Janet Brown and Marty Jacobsen of Allstar Organics have been making salts and sugars using the wonderful herbs and vegetables grown on their Lagunitas property for several years ago. Recently Janet found a recipe for an 18th century butchers salt that was an aromatic mix of sea salt, thyme, marjoram, sage and rosemary and decide to add a pinch of lavender as well for a creation she calls French herb salt. Similar to an herb de Provence mix this savory salt concoction is great for seasoning meats, fish or chicken. I used it to season a couple of batches of my roasted tomatoes last weekend with marvelous results.