The chef’s carts were loaded down with heirloom tomatoes this week as the first of the field grown beauties started to make their debut. Chef Chris Cosentino of Incanto Restaurant in Noe Valley was seen snapping up flats of a variety called Prospect at the Balakian Farms booth to use on his menu in a dish featuring smoked escolar and charred Padrón peppers. Farmer Ginger Balakian grows over 15 varieties of heirloom tomatoes on her farm including Green Zebras, Watermelon Beefsteaks and Yellow Brandywine.
At the Happy Quail Farms booth, farmer David Winsberg is selling his latest pepper cultivar, the Guernica. The mild Guernica pepper—named for a town in the Basque region of Spain that was bombed during the Spanish Civil War—is generally prepared in a similar way to the Padrón pepper: lightly charred and then tossed in olive oil and sea salt. David tells me after trying these peppers on a family trip to Bilbao last spring he decided to grow them on his own farm. While the Padrónes can occasionally have quite a bit of heat to them, the Guernica’s are consistently sweet and mild and the larger peppers are marvelous stuffed with goat cheese and fried.
Eatwell Farms has debuted their new line of beverages called Drinkwell Soda all made from fresh local ingredients many sourced directly from their own farm. Drinkwell Soda is made with live probiotics, similar to those used in yogurt production, which help to improve digestion and revitatlize and refresh the body. These lightly effervescent sodas—a result of the process of natural lacto–fermentation—can also make for an unusual cocktail mixer. Stop by the Drinkwell Soda booth to try flavors such a lavender, lemon-verbena, and rose geranium.
I'm bowled over by the Strawberry Cling peaches at K & J Orchards. A white peach variety, it's named for the red strawberry-like color surrounding the pit. K & J tells me to choose peaches that are slightly under ripe with just a tinge of green to the flesh and a speckling of light brown sugar spots. This delicate peach is also perfect for a batch of homemade preserves.
Snap beans are back at Dirty Girl this week and I am already crazy about this year's Romano bean harvest. The Romano variety is similar to a green bean but larger, flatter and with a meatier taste. They are the perfect summer salad addition but work well sautéed and roasted too. Look for these beautiful Italian beans alongside other favorites such as the yellow wax and haricot vert at Dirty Girl’s booth every Saturday and now on Thursdays too!