Farmer’s Market Finds: Orange Raspberries, Gravenstein Apples, and a Field of Lavender

I had a crazy June- teaching six classes weekly at Mission High School, going to school, commitments for each weekend, and life in general had me on my toes. I am looking forward to a more mellow July. The first weekend of July was perfect. On Sunday, Satish and I went up to Sebastopol to visit one of my instructor’s farmhouse. Nori has a large lavender field that needed harvesting and she invited her students for an u-pick. On the way to her farmhouse, we stopped by the Sebastopol farmers market. Nori had told me it’s large and I thought it would be a good idea to pick up lunch to eat at the farm.

apples

For the last three years, I have mostly only highlighted farmer’s markets in San Francisco. It’s always a good surprise when I do visit farmer’s market outside of the city. Even though apples and pears will not be available at most farmers markets until late August, Sebastopol’s farmers market already had these fruits. The town is known for their Gravenstein apples and you can see apple trees all over  town.

raspberries

There were all sorts of berries, such as these orange raspberries. They are sweeter than red raspberries.

chiliChili peppers.

Plums

These are all varieties of plums, which I haven’t seen in the city’s farmers markets. Definitely eating the rainbow here!

Photo Jul 07, 12 38 43 PMThese huge things caught my eye- I thought they were large oysters or seashells. Turns out they are mushrooms. Wild.

entertainmentThe Sebastopol farmers market is run every Sunday in the town’s plaza. They have entertainment such as belly dancers, too!

After getting fruit and food to eat and share at Nori’s farmhouse, we made the short drive over there. Nori’s place is gorgeous, with lavender bushes lining the driveway up to the house. I had brought a book to read out poolside while I bathed in the warm sun that San Francisco desperately lacks. Though, I got too caught up in the conversations and touring the farm to pull out by book. Nori is growing a few varieties of squash and apple, pumpkin, jicama, strawberries, loganberries, amongst the vast lavender field. I, somehow, did manage to get sunburned shoulders.

pumpkin

loganberriesI would declare loganberries my new favorite fruit, except they are so hard to come by. I can’t wait to have my own farmhouse. One day.

lavenderThere are two varieties of lavender on the property. The Grosso variety (pictured) is much darker and fragrant. It also gives out more essential oil than the Provence variety. Lavender can be used in cooking. My favorite way is to add a few sprinkles to omelettes and asparagus. Lavender has a very calming effect and is recommended for people who are feeling anxious, nervous, or stressed. While in college, I used to rub lavender oil on my stomach to ease symptoms of IBS.

There were thousands of bees throughout the fields. Bees are so crucial to our environment and food supply and it was really nice to see them buzzing happily. They are actually quite harmless. Checkout the Instagram video I took while picking lavender. You can actually here the harmonious buzz of the bees.

Photo Jul 07, 3 37 27 PMWith a tiny bundle of lavender next to my bed, I will have a restful night’s sleep. I am using the rest to make lavender salt and to give away to friends. There is nothing more therapeutic than sharing!

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Farmer’s Market Find: Lavender and Mint

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San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market on a Saturday afternoon.

It’s been two weeks since I made it to the farmers market and almost a month since I’ve been to the Saturday Ferry Plaza Market. I like to visit this market once a month to stock up on things that I can’t normally find at the Fort Mason Farmer’s Market. After a really stressful workweek, I was looking forward to hanging out at the market yesterday. Though, I made a rookie mistake and went one hour before closing time. Almost everything was picked over or just gone. Also, there were more people then usual at the market since the weather was super nice. Short spring dresses and sandals nice.

I was being hard on myself for showing up so late to farmers market and started to explain the farmer at Eatwell Farm about my morning. All he said was “It’s okay, it doesn’t really matter.” I smiled and agreed. He then asked to see my wrists and dropped a few droplets of lavender essential oil onto them. That just made my day.

I love cooking with lavender. It adds magic to food. Even though culinary lavender isn’t expensive, it tastes luxurious. And  you only need a little bit for flavor. I discovered the power of lavender in food while in college when I made a simple meal for a friend using Herbs de Provence, which has lavender as one of the herbs in it. He was really impressed and couldn’t put his finger on that flavor. Lavender has been my secret ingredient eversince. Lavender has also long been used for its medicinal properties in Eastern medicine. I suffered from Irritable Bowel Syndrome  (IBS) in college and natural remedies were my best cures. I used lavender in a variety ways to soothe and calm my system. Lavender helped me sleep easier, reduced my stomach spasms, and aided  in concentration. (Ayurvedically, IBS is experienced by Vata constitutions and lavender is balancing for Vatas.)

Unfortunately, I didn’t any pictures of the lovely lavender Eatwell Farms had. I did buy a bunch and will save 1/3 of the flowers for cooking and put the rest on my bedside stand.

I also got my hands on really fragrant herbs.

Flowering sage- Eatwell Farms

Spearmint- Star Route Farms

Sadly, I found out that last week was the last of the Cara Cara oranges. They were my best fruit find in the entire last year. If I had known, I would have had Satish stop by the market last week and grab as many of the Cara Caras as possible. At least cherries are here now.

I went a little late, so the cherries were practically all gone.

Since we have been working around the clock, popcorn has become our go-to snack. I would never eat processed, microwaveable popcorn. We pop ours over the stove. It takes two minutes and we can flavor it with whatever we are in the mood for: extra virgin olive oil, Irish butter, lavender salt, smoked paprika, etc.

Blue popping corn makes a for a great, whole grain snack.-Tierra Vegetables

I also bought hummus to snack on with vegetables -Affi’s Marin Gourmet

Sweet William flowers, the same ones Kate Middleton used in her wedding bouquet to marry Prince William at the Royal Wedding. (We also released the Royal Wedding game.)

The warm weather made me crave a refreshing, crisp salad. -Twin Girl Farms

Fiddlehead Fern- Far West Fungi

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