It's That Time Again!

Melons are back!  There is nothing better on a hot Summer night than a cold piece of melon and we are ready to hook you up.  We have six different varieties of melons this year: Sugar Queen, Cavallion (French Melon), Ogen, Aravah, Sugar Cube, and Anana.  Each one has a different flavor and taste, but all are sweet and sugary.  My favorite melon is probably the Sugar Queen, it even has 'sugar' in the title.  There really is something for everyone here.  So come down to the farmer's market this week and give them a taste.


Better Late Than Never!

After an unavoidable delay (see my April 14 post, "The Big Wind") our world famous melons are hitting the farmers' market table today (eh, a little hyperbole never hurt anyone)! The first melons to show up will be our Cavaillon melons with Arava melons likely to available at this weekend markets (check out the Farmers' Market page).  Shortly thereafter, we will have available Ananas, Ogens (check out the photo below clipped from the produce industry paper, The Packer), and market favorites, Sugar Queen melons.  

This particular crop of melons is particularly near and dear to my heart.  After the first transplants were literally blown away, we babied these melons like nobody's business.  I even got my son to help prep the field for irrigation and brave southern San Joaquin heat to hand cultivate the pesky pigweed (brutal stuff!).

So, wait no longer, summer is about to begin at a farmers' market near you!


Worth A Good Cry

Summer means sweet onions and we don't want to disappoint.  After curing our onions out on the field, they are finally ready for you to eat!  This season we will be harvesting the popular sweet Bermuda onions, the Spanish Yellow, Sierra Sweets (which are a maui type), and red Chianti onions.  You have to try each one because each one has a different robust flavor.  

In conversation with Esther Weiser yesterday, she mentioned that not enough people eat onions as a main dish. So she gave me this recipe for all of you to try:

Balsamic Sierra Sweet Onion Blossoms

-8 large Sierra Sweet Onions

-Course salt and freshly ground pepper

-2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

-about 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

-1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf Italian parsley

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Oil the bottom of the baking dish or pie dish large enough to hold the onions in a single layer.

Working with 1 onion at a time, peel the skin from the top of the onion, trimming off the long hairs but leaving the root end intact.  Using a sharp knife and starting at the stem end, cut the onion into eights or tenths almost through the root end.  Be careful not to cut all the way through.  Using your thumbs, pull the onion open slightly to form a blossom shape.  Set the onions, root ends down, in the prepared dish; they should be touching but not packing too tightly.  Season with salt and pepper to taste, then drizzle with the vinegar and olive oil.

Roast until the onions are tender when pierced with a fork and the tips are browned, about 35 minutes.  Transfer to a warmed platter and garnish with the parsley.  Serve immediately.


A Potato By Any Other Name

Laker Bakers, Zebra Potatoes, Pinto Potatoes, all working names for an experimental potato variety we've been tasked to test market by a breeder that I met a while back at a local potato trial.  I would reveal the breeder's name but, well, I'd have to, well, you know.  Last year's trial was small and we didn't get enough information so we decided this year to try plant a bit more.  The acreage planted, and the amount yielded, was relatively small but so far, I'd have to say that the response has been very enthusiastic!  So here's the deal, we need any of you who have tried (fill in any of the working names) to give us any and all feedback you might have.  What was your first impression?  How did you prepare it?  Most importantly, how did you like it?  Post your thoughts in the comment section of this blog or email us at  We will convey your thoughts to our breeding partner and maybe next year this very unique potato will have a proper name.  It's in your hands!


Menu Minuet Panel Event

This week I had the honor of being on a panel discussion, titled "Menu Minuet" with Chefs Akasha Richmond, Mark Peel, and fellow farmer Romeo Coleman, at the Santa Monica Public Library.  We had an enthusiastic discussion about farming, seasonal produce, and the challenges of menu planning.  Moderating was Jonathon Gold, Puliitzer Prize winning writer for the LA Weeekly.  In the packed  MLK auditorium were many familiar happy faces from the Farmers' markets. We sat down and talked and shared our passions for the food that we grow and eat.  Chefs stressed how important it is to use food seasonally at it's peak.  Once that was unanimously agreed on, we celebrated about how for 12 months a year California farmers have the best, most flavorful diverse produce in the country, if not the world and how forutnate we are to have this Mediteranean climate.  

We also reminisced about the early days of the Santa Monica Farmers Markets and how it has evolved over the years.  With Farmers and Chefs continually callaborating on seasonal menus, it has really transformed what we grow and offer to all and what has been created this wonderful symbiotic relationship.  They depend on us and we depend on them.   The time just flew by!   We could have talked about fresh produce all night.  At end of the discussion, the audience recieved delicious seasonal treats from the Chefs. What a great time!  It's such a pleasure to farm, grow good food for flavor and for a community that really appreciates it. Thanks for all the love and support.