Saturday, May 19, 2007

Peased to Meet You

This morning I put on my pea shirt with the slogan, "Peased to Meet You", with the hopes of finding peas at the market. I parked in a different place than usual and guess what? I saw the Nielsen Ranch sign and got excited at the prospect of potatoes. Boy, was I surprised when I saw that they didn't have potatoes but instead had peas, both English and sugar snap (edible pod), and favas (which are not of interest to me because they are too much work). Carey wanted to know if I could stand at her booth and advertise peas with my shirt. (I didn't do that but mentioned my peas to numerous shoppers.)

Her husband Robert told me that he just finished planting potatoes 2 days ago and that they'll have 14 varieties this year, including red, white and blue for July 4th. I am looking forward to it so I might be able to make my red, white and blue potato salad.

I bought both types of the delicious peas which was a great start to my market morning.

Although, I was quite tired from doing a cooking demonstration last night for Women's Night Out at Kaiser Permanente in Santa Rosa, I got to the market early. About 100 hundred women were at the Kaiser event and I'd have to say that it was a success. I got home around 9, had to unpack and it left me dragging a bit.

At the market, I still had enough energy to help my friend Larry of Triple T Ranch and Farm, after I snagged a number of baby artichokes. Oh, I just love the veggies of spring. Larry also had beautiful red spring onions, asparagus and a new crop that's similar to broccolini (which is trademarked) called Happy something which I just call happiness or "beyond broccoli". I will eat well in the next few days.

At Orchard Farm I got some "mandrake" carrots that really looked like people pulled from the ground. No mistaking that one of them was a male carrot. (If I had a camera, I'd show you.) They were sweet to eat and interesting to see.

In addition to great veggies, there was summer fruit: apricots, cherries, peaches, nectarines and sweet as can be strawberries. At last night's event which was called Greens, Grains and Chocolate: The Path to Women's Health, we finished the evening with organic strawberries and dark chocolate. The local strawberries were incredibly sweet.

My fellow presenter, Melanie Larsen, MA, RD, asked me to address the issue of buying in season. So I went on a few minute rant about shopping at the farmer's market and buying locally. I explained that it's next to impossible to get really ripe strawberries (or any fruit for that matter) at the supermarket or natural food store. They don't travel well. In fact, one of the peaches that I bought this morning had to be eaten as soon as I got home because it got bruised, and I was pretty gentle with it. Just imagine what would happen with commercial shipping and handling.

I want to continue to encourage you to buy as fresh and local as you can. And if you can get your produce unsprayed or organic, that's even better, especially for strawberries and other produce on the Environmental Working Group's Worst 12 list (Check out it out at I know that cherries are on it and I have been told by Brenda, who works the cherry booth where I buy, that no harmful chemicals have been used by her "uncle". I hope that's true. I justify my eating them this way: they are fairly expensive so I don't buy lots at a time, and they aren't in season for that long so I don't have continued exposure, should I be poisoning myself unwittingly. I am paying attention and like everyone else, I have to make choices about what I eat. Fresh, ripe cherries are hard to resist.

Now, I shall turn my attention back to my sweet and delicious peas, which I added raw to the Quinoa with Spring Onions and Herbs that I cooked up last night. This is real food at its best.