Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Encino Farmers Market

Let me just start this off by saying that I really am in a state of severe loathing over the state of most produce you get in the markets these days. Tasteless, textureless, underripe, waxy, pesticide-laden, no-nutrients-having, soulless crap.

I remember long ago when I was little, tomatoes were red, I mean DEEP ruby red, and tasted sweet and juicy and delicious. It was actually difficult to slice them because they were so soft and juicy. They actually added a special something to a salad besides just chunks of filler. You twenty-somethings reading this probably won't be able to relate since you may have never had one of these. You can't get those anymore these days unless you grow them yourself. Even my beloved Trader Joe's, who I love more than my luggage (you know I'm ripping off Steel Magnolias when I say that, and if you don't know, go see that movie, like, STAT so you will know what deep level of love that is) -- even my beloved Trader Joe's has fallen short of the mark when it comes to edible produce. Even their organic selections are prepackaged so you can't choose what you want, underripe and then going bad in a couple of days anyway. Just... crap. What has happened to produce in California? Aren't we like, a huge hub of agriculture in this country? Why are we given so much garbage to eat that is supposed to be "six or more servings a day" --?? I just don't understand it.

I had visited our Farmer's Market a year ago when we first moved into the house and Derek's parents came to visit. I took D's mom there, and we checked it out and had a nice time (remember that, Sue?) -- lots of lovely, local, organically grown gorgeousness EVERYWHERE. I'm ashamed to admit, I hadn't been back since. Until Sunday.

I hopped on my trusty super cute pink bike now outfitted with a super cute basket for schlepping things (courtesy of Kristi), cruised on over, and loaded up on delicious red strawberries, avocados, cabbage, leeks, radish sprouts, lemons, bagels for Derek, two kinds of dates, chirimollas (I didn't know what they were either, but that's the beautiful thing about the farmer's market -- they will let you taste anything before you buy. Chirimollas are this delicious fruit, not unlike a mango, that you slice open and just eat/suck out the contents. Not very graceful to execute, but really good. Kind of like a cross between a mango and a banana.)

Oh, and I also picked up a cute little Japanese hand-painted fabric fan for $3. Not too shabby.

The Farmer's Market has grown since I was last there. More booths with competing produce to choose from, a mariachi band playing and singing walking around, a bounce house for the kids. It was a carnival of wholesome goodness.

I would have picked up flowers, but I thought that would be WAY too over-the-top Suzy Sunshine action going on -- me on my cute pink bike, fresh produce and flowers spilling out of the basket, me grinning like a total spaz in a tampon commercial or something. No way, man. I have to keep my hardcore street edge intact.

The Encino Farmers Market: Go get your produce on!

Encino Farmers Market
17400 Victory Blvd. (at Louise)
Encino (818) 708-6611
8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sundays


bee said...

It's been about a year since I went to my local farmer's market -- the stuff I like tends to be on the pricier side for some reason -- why aren't blood oranges, for example, the same price as regular ol' naval oranges?! ;)

CaliValleyGirl said...

Omg, Becky! I go there all the time with my mother. She is there every Sunday. In fact, I was talking to her this Sunday and she was talking about a plant she had purchased there that morning...I will ask her if she saw a hottie on a pink bike!

About produce being plastic and inedible now: I have this great book called Fading Feast, and it talks about disappearing regional foods in America, and one of the things they talk about is the American persimmon. Apparently it is a much better version of the Japanese persimmon, which is the one that we usually get, however, the only problem is that it doesn't travel well, and doesn't last that long...thus it pretty much only grows wild now, because no one is interested in growing them. And you can only get it if you go to Tennesee and hunt around people's backyards, and then beg for one....lol. It's so sad that there is succulent fruit and vegetables out there, but we city dwellers will only get the stuff that travels well.

I don't know if this is true, but my father told me that iceburg lettuce is actually a cross between cabbage and lettuce. I knew that it was bred in the 1920s, bc it was easier to transport, but I didn't think cabbage was its "father".

Anyhoo....have fun on Kauai...can't wait to hear about it, and if you have any questions, just ask!

Valley Girl said...

Oh. My. God. Becky, look at her butt.

Derek's Grammy in Chico has a ginormous persimmon tree, and whenever we go visit her, we feast on them and take a bunch home. Dried persimmons, persimmon cookies, and just straight up. You're right -- they're awesome but really hard to come by.

I printed out the info on Kauai you sent me eons ago. I can't wait! 2.5 more days! I plan on visiting their farmers market, fo sho!