Last weekend I visited my local farmers market. I needed to stock up on a few items and I wanted to see and share with you what was in season. I live in a small beach side community about one hour north of Los Angeles. Our area is known for its rich top soil and long standing farming families, some of which I am lucky enough to be related to. These men and women work tirelessly day in and day out to feed our community, as well as working with distributors to ship our County’s bounty all over the United Stated and the World.
Strawberries grown on the Oxnard plain make the long journey to Japan, South Africa and even Russia.
Citrus grown in Santa Paula, Piru, Ventura, Oxnard and Ojai become treasured sunshine jewels to those in Alaska, Canada and even England.
Root vegetables grown in Camarillo, Ojai and Somis sometimes grace the plates presented by famous chefs at the Oscar after parties, Governors Balls and even meals served at the White House.
Flowers from the Ventura County fields and green houses find their way as part of the New Years Day Celebration on floats for the Tournament of Roses Parade held in Pasadena, California.
Sometimes the season is truly giving with crops of artichoke from Somis, Ojai and Moorpark. But usually we receive our artichoke crop from the Monterey County area.
I hope these photographs inspire you to get out tomorrow and visit a farmers market or farm stand near your area. Go meet the farmers, taste their food and better yet buy their food. Help keep farmers farming! This profession is a treasured way of life that is in trouble due to lack of water in some areas, restrictions and regulations and the growing number of imported fruits and vegetables .
I don’t know a farmer around that does not like a thank you, in fact they love it. All a farmer truly wants is good weather, water, a market to sell his or her product to and some simple thanks for all their hard work; especially the hard work of their farm hands and managers that make their profession and way of life possible. Have yourself a wonderful weekend, I hope the sun is shining and the temperatures are not too hot for you. I would love to hear about why your area Farmers Market is special, I’m always up for a road trip you never know where I might show up next.
Citrus and Fennel Salad
- 2 fennel bulbs, thinly sliced, fronds saved for garnish
- 2 oranges; blood orange, Valencia orange or navel orange
- 2 tangerines; murcotts, Dancy, golden nugget or Yosemite
- 1 shallot minced
- zest of one lemon
- zest of one orange
- 1 teaspoon of fresh thyme leaves
- Salad Dressing
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil or citrus infused olive oil
- 2 tablespoons of citrus vinegar, champagne vinegar, pineapple vinegar or pear vinegar
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- juice from 1 lemon
- Place the thinly sliced fennel in a large bowl along with the oranges, tangerines, shallots, zest and fresh thyme. In a mason jar or small bowl add all the dressing ingredients and shake or mix well, pour dressing over the salad and toss gently. Arrange on a platter and garnish with the fennel fronds.
- Serve with a very cold, crisp Viognier wine or sparkling water with citrus slices.