Last week marked the official start of summer, one of our favorite times of years at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. Sweet Brentwood corn from G & S Farms, organic blueberries from Sierra Cascade Blueberry Farm, white apricots from Candy Cot Fruit Company and the first field-grown cherry tomatoes from Eatwell Farm were all auspicious indicators that the season is starting off on the right foot. CUESA will be showcasing the bounty of the season at our second annual Summer Celebration on Sunday, July 15th.
Cherry season is in full swing at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and, with new varieties popping up each week but only a handful of weeks left in their short season, now is the time to get your fill. There are over 15 varieties of cherries to try and buy from a dozen different farms. Many of these varieties, like Brooks, Lapin and Rainier, are already available at Paoletti Farm, K & J Orchards and Frog Hollow Farm.
One of my favorite times of the year at the market is when the first cherries of the season show up at the Hamada Farms’ stand, signaling the first stone fruit of the season. This week raspberries will be available at Yerena Farms, and some early varieties of peaches will be on hand from Kashiwase Farms, which returns to market this Saturday.
At the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market, chefs and shoppers have been enjoying the height of asparagus season, but it looks like we may only have about six more weeks of it, according to farmer Roscoe Zuckerman. While it’s rare to see a chef at the market without a flat or two of asparagus on their carts, it is toward the last half of the season that they start to load up on the exotic purple variety called Viola, grown at Zuckerman’s Farm.
Chef Adam Dulye was excited to get his hands on fava beans from Star Route Farms at the market this week. Young favas, he told me, are one of the spring vegetables he looks forward to most each year. Since taking over the kitchen of Monk’s Kettle he has used the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market to inspire and guide his menus, which put a seasonal and local spin on classic gastropub fare. In addition to the favas, he also had spring onions, peas, mushrooms, strawberries, English peas and baby carrots on his shopping list this week.
Like many of the chefs who shop the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market each week, Bill Corbett, Executive Pastry Chef of The Absinthe Group, uses the seasons to help shape his creations. This time of year, the market is filled with all the veggies that make savory chefs swoon, however, for a pastry chef, this seemingly bountiful season can be more challenging. Winter citrus is slowly starting to wind down, and there are few fresh fruit options beyond cold-storage apples and pears for chefs like Bill to choose from.
Allison Mountford, executive chef and owner of Square Meals, and Sarah Henkin, her new operations director, were at the Thursday market recently to shop for ingredients for their weekly changing menu. Allison started Square Meals shortly after graduating from culinary school in 2006 and the business has since grown from a private chef service to a brick-and-mortar establishment in Polk Gulch, which opened last December.
If you’ve ever dreamed of running off to France, Italy or even West Marin to try your hand at cheese making, we have just the thing for you. On April 17, CUESA will once again partner with Urban Kitchen SF for the second in a three-part workshop series focused on cheese. April’s class will be led by Louella Hill, aka “The Milk Maid,” who will guide us through the ins and outs of making French-style Crottin and Tomino.