Recent Event Highlights: May Market Report #6 - What to buy this week!, Market Report #2: Catalan Artichokes, Introducing The Farmers' Market Report with Bill Fujimoto, and 5 more...
Created by Oliveto on May 19, 2010
Last updated: 06/04/10 at 02:40 PM
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We headed inside for this week’s report because it was just too darn rainy & cold. Bill showed us some of the best (i.e. crunchiest) cherry varieties currently available at farmers’ markets and local supermarkets. He also makes some predictions about what all this rain means for the upcoming summer crops (e.g. don’t count on serving corn for Father’s Day).
At the restaurant, we’ve been collecting information on how this year’s super-saturated spring has effected some of our farmers and we plan on posting their reports some time next week.
In the meantime, Happy Memorial Day!
Last Saturday we hit the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market with Bill Fujimoto. And no, we didn’t suffer a caterpillar attack. That fuzzy business in the upper right hand corner is due to some unfamiliar equipment. Apologies for the distraction. Moving onward…
As the spring rains have finally started to subside (at least for today), many crops are just now beginning to get their first exposure to serious heat, which in turn leads to superlative flavor. A great example of this are the Seascape strawberries from Lucero Farm. Another great example of this is Pastry Chef Jenny Raven’s Seascape strawberry ice cream.
We visited the Berkeley Farmers’ Market last Saturday with Bill Fujimoto and got a look at what’s in season right this minute & what will be even-more-in-season by the end of this week. We also got an insider’s tip on a savvy way to save some money during this time of year.
Tim Mueller took some time to talk to us on Saturday at the Berkeley Farmers’ Market about what is going on & what is going IN to the ground at Riverdog Farm. The first plantings of summer’s big ticket items including tomatoes, sweet corn, and beans will happen over the next few weeks. While crops planted last fall begin to go to seed, the end of March/beginning of April is the last slow time before the busyness of late April begins picking up speed through May, until we reach the full-blown madness of summer in June. In the meantime, Tim and Trini still have their hands full with loads of favas, asparagus, beets, and carrots, not to mention chickens and hogs.
Tim also gives us a briefing on some of the fall-out from last December’s cold snap, and explains how the effects of those frigid temperatures are still being felt.
For this week’s market report Bill Fujimoto stopped by the Oliveto kitchen. While the Oliveto kitchen is not exactly a farmers’ market, Chef Paul Canales sources some extraordinary produce directly from smaller local outfits that he thought Bill might get a kick out of. Most of these items will appear on the menu the same day they are delivered including some fine arugula rapini from Knoll Farms in Brentwood, fava beans from Star Route Farms in Bolinas, and watercress from the passionate nuts at Sausalito Springs.
Meanwhile, Bill tells us that he’s seen the future…and it is full of cherries.
Yesterday, Bill & Paul hit the Derby Street market just in time to see all the purple asparagus vanish. No bother. There was plenty else to ogle including ‘crazy’ cabbage from Full Belly Farm and beautiful red romaine lettuce from Riverdog Farm. Also some massive goose eggs from Arthur Davis of Ludwig Avenue Farm and a few tips from Chef Canales on how to poach them.
From this point on it only gets better with berry season just around the corner and stone fruits soon after.
Another week closer to spring and another visit to the farmers’ market with Chef Paul Canales and Bill Fujimoto. This week, we hit the Derby Street market in Berkeley to see some truly awesome specimens of artichoke grown by the one and only Maria Catalan of Catalan Farms in Hollister. Paul explains how they will be used in the Oliveto kitchen & gives some good tips on what to do with those tough outer leaves.
Bill makes a case for water damage & reveals the mind-boggling fact that those baby carrots in a bag can stored up to eight months! Yikes.
*Maria Catalan’s stuffed artichokes will be on the menu through this weekend.
Last June we were troubled, as many were, to learn the news that Bill Fujimoto would be leaving Berkeley’s Monterey Market. Bill has been a friend and supporter of Oliveto from day one, and to many restaurants. More importantly, Bill has been a virtual lifeline for many small farmers in northern California and beyond. We were anxious around the possibility of losing such an influential voice and presence in the East Bay food community and eager to keep in contact with both Bill and his wife Judy once it became apparent that a suitable arrangement with Monterey Market would not be forthcoming.
So we were pleased as punch to find our old friend last Thursday arranging pyramids of beautiful produce at Diablo Foods in Lafayette (925-283-0737). Bill has been working at Diablo for the past few months as a consultant. He looks great. He says he feel great. And he already seems to know 87% of his customers by name. In the short time we were there, we learned so much (there is an “official” navel orange for Chinese New Year!) and we were so inspired by that contagious-Fujimoto-enthusiasm, we decided we needed to create a mainline to the source. Who better to tell us what we should be shopping for than Bill himself? So, we’ll be posting Bill’s Farmers’ Market Reports - full of fun facts, shopping tips, and insightful observations throughout the spring and into the summer. We’ll go shopping with Bill at some of our favorite farmers’ markets in the East Bay and find out from the expert what to buy and how to buy it. Alongside that, we’ll get Chef Canales’ take on how to cook and eat it! Should be fun…