Santa Monica Farmers Market
Santa Monica, Calif.
Arizona & 3rd Street
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Market Notes: The price of strawberries has
dropped sharply in the last month. The cheapest today sold for
$2.50 for a three-pack. Another table was selling two three-packs
for $7. But Harry's Berries of Oxnard was stubbornly sticking
with its price of $10 for a three-pack of seascape berries, which
are reputedly better than the more shippable commercial varieties. I
went for the cheapest and came home with three three-pack trays (see
below) for $9.50.
Mark Thompson, publisher of this Web site
What I Bought:
The name is somewhat
controversial, since these onions haven't gotten within 3,000
miles of Maui. They're supposed to be so sweet that you
can eat them like an apple. But this particular so-called
Maui-type onion proved to have a bit of a spicy bite to
it. It was certainly milder than a supermarket storage
onion. But at $1.50 per pound, this single giant onion
set me back $2.95, which made it a bit overpriced, in my book.
I had never seen this cylindrical variety before. Because of
their shape, they are faster cooking and therefore work better than round beets
when prepared in my favorite way: roasted in olive
oil, salt and pepper for a long time, an hour or more, until they
carmelize and get chewy.
I've never seen long-stemmed
artichokes in a supermarket. But they're quite common in
farmers markets this time of year. The stems, once the
tough, stringy outer layer has been peeled off, are edible and
just as tasty as the heart. This purple artichoke was
described by the vendor who sold it to me as a French variety
with a distinctly better taste than plebian American green
artichokes. I bought a long-stemmed, conventional green one,
cooked them both and frankly, I couldn't tell the difference,
even though the purple one was twice the price.
Price: $2/each for long-stemmed
purple artichokes; $1/each for large long-stemmed green ones.
These are hydroponically grown outdoors in the desert near the Salton
Sea, west of Palm Springs, Calif., by the Wong family. They're the
only tomatoes worth buying this time a year, in my opinion.
Greenhouse tomatoes hardly have a hint of good ol' summertime tomato
taste, in my opinion. But these are perhaps 75 percent as tasty as
Price: $2/pound or $3 for a two-pound
Don't forget that
the entire thing, pod and all, is edible.
Price: $1/bunch (two large leeks)