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Market Watch: National Farmers Market Week

With August 1st being the kick off of National Farmers Market Week, it’s the perfect time to forget the grey skies, come down to the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market or visit a market in your neighborhood to take home the best of the mid-summer harvest.

Despite the unseasonably cool weather, summer crops are making their way to the market and new varieties of peaches, nectarines and plums are appearing every week. Corn is at its sweetest right now, while eggplants and peppers of all colors are here in abundance. The cooler temperatures have meant a delay in many varieties of field-grown tomatoes and snap beans, however. The folks at Dirty Girl Produce tell me that the haricot vert, normally seen in June, won’t be making their way to market until August and the famously delicious dry-farmed Early Girl tomatoes are still a week or so off.

Other fruits and vegetables that have just started to appear and will become more abundant in August include many varieties of melons, new potatoes, okra, cucumbers and grapes. Devoto Gardens in Sebastopol will be picking the first crop of Gravensteins in the next week with other early apple varieties soon to follow. Summer flowers at their peak in August include the dazzling array of Dahlia’s from Thomas Farms, Sunflowers from Eatwell Farms and Gladiola’s from McGinnis Ranch. At Massa Organics outside of Chico, farmer Greg Massa is preparing to harvest this year’s almonds and at Knoll Farms, Kristie and Rick Knoll are hoping for their second fig harvest by mid-month.

If hearing about all this abundance makes you a little anxious, never fear. We’ll show you how to preserve some of your favorite summer produce to enjoy well into the fall and winter. On Saturday, August 21st, CUESA will be hosting a Preservation Festival. Sherri Vinton, author of Put’Em Up, will be manning our booth in the south driveway with tips and suggestions for do-it-yourself canning.

Here is what I’m looking forward to in the month of August:

Bronx grapes and Paw Paw’s from Lagier Ranches
O’Henry peaches from Frog Hollow Farm
Thai chile peppers from Chue’s Farm
Yellow Finn potatoes from Thomas Family Farms
Zante currants from Tory Farms
Watermelon from Hamada Farms