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Market Report
Santa Monica, Calif.
Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2005


The Market:
Santa Monica Farmers Market
Santa Monica, Calif.
Arizona at 2nd Street
8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
(310) 458-8712

It's the time of year when just about everything seems to be in season. You'd have to eat a dozen meals a day for a week to sample everything. I pass up all the tomatoes because I'm getting lots from my garden. Pears have arrived in the market, but I pass them over as well, because they'll be around for awhile. Struck by the variety of beans in the market today, I go on a bean kick, and grab a handful of half a dozen varieties of fresh beans, and pick up some freshly dried black-eyed peas for good measure. 

Marketgoer:  Mark Thompson


What I Bought:

(left to right) Black-eyed Peas, Baby Limas, Soybeans, Blue Lake Green Beans, Yellow Wax Beans, Italian Yellow Romanos, Green Romanos

Price: $2/lb. for Blue Lake and green Romanos
$3/lb. for black-eyed peas, baby limas and yellow Romanos
$3.50/lb. for yellow wax beans
$4/lb. soybeans

O'Henry Peaches (back) and an Indian Blood Peach

According to my Internet quest for histories of the Indian Blood peach, it is actually classified as a "white peach," despite the purplish tint of its flesh. White peaches are low in tart-tasting acid, so they're generally sugary sweet. But Indian Blood peaches are rather tart. Go figure. As for the origin of the variety, Peter J. Hatch, director of the Monticello Gardens at Thomas Jefferson's estate, wrote in 1998 that Jefferson acquired a "blood" peach tree in 1807 from a Washington nurseryman. Some experts have asserted that its ancestor was a French variety known as Sanguinole. At about the same time, Jefferson acquired some "black" peaches from Georgia. Hatch doesn't say whether Jefferson crossed the two varieties, but he writes, "Today the peach is known as the Indian Blood Cling, a name that unites the 'Blood' peach of the French Sanguinole with the 'Indian' peach that grows wild in the southeastern states of Georgia and Florida and was obtained by Jefferson as the 'black plumb peach of Georgia.' " The flesh is "pleasantly flavored and brisk" and is a "fine peach to eat out of hand but is mostly used for pickling and preserving."  My opinion? The Indian Blood was certainly good and has a unique taste. But these O'Henrys were outstanding, and the better of the two, particularly considering the price.

Price: $2.25/O'Henrys
$3.50/lb. Indian Blood Peaches

Indian Blood (right) and O'Henry Peaches


I bought these okra in homage to my favorite city, beleaguered New Orleans. I didn't take the time to pick out little ones. Even though the big ones are likely to be rather woody, it shouldn't matter because I'm going to stew these in a gumbo -- in homage to New Orleans. [Sept. 18 Update: Only two of these pods -- the longest of the greens and one of the larger reds -- were tough to slice, so I discarded them. All of the others were so tender that they dissolved in my gumbo, which leads me to believe that even the tough ones would have softened up.]

Price: $2/lb.

Assorted Zucchini and Summer Squash

Price: $2/lb.

Bell Peppers (left), Round of Hungary Peppers (top right), and Chili de Padron Basque Frying Peppers

The two heirloom peppers, on the right in the photograph, are from Coleman Family Farm. The Round of Hungary peppers, which look like oversized pimento peppers, are sweet. The Basque peppers are said to vary in degree of heat. According to the label on the table, the larger they are, the hotter they get. With the bells (and I bought six or eight hefty ones today), I'm going to make pickled pepper-onion relish.

Price: $.50/each for bell peppers.
$2/lb. for Round of Hungary peppers
$3/lb. for Basque peppers

Chinese Eggplant, Basil

These are summertime staples. With the basil, I'll make pesto or one of the other sauces from this basil recipe list. I picked out an eggplant that was a bit fatter than the ones I usually select because I plan to pickle it, using this excellent recipe, and for that purpose, I've saved an olive jar that is the same diameter as the fattest part of the larger eggplant.

Price: $1.75/lb. for eggplant
$1.50/bunch for basil

Copyright 2005 Seasonal Chef