Special events & announcements
Citrus festivities at the market ~ Feb 7
Come celebrate the California fruits that bring sweetness, tang, and a little bit of sunshine to the winter table. Get your dose of C with CUESA as we kick off another year of culinary education at the farmers' market.
- 10 am – 1 pm: Citrus tasting challenge
Try a dozen citrus varieties and play a matching game
- 10 am – 1 pm: Kitchen techniques gallery
Learn about zesting, candying and other kitchen citrus tricks
- 10 am – 1 pm: Orange smile digital photo booth
Smile wide with a wedge of citrus in your mouth, and we’ll email you the snapshot!
- 11 am – 11:45 am: Cooking demonstration
Alessandro Cartumini of Quattro Restaurant and Bar at Four Seasons Hotel Silicon Valley will prepare salad and pasta featuring citrus
- 11:30 am – 12:30 pm: Meet the citrus farmer station
Food from the Heart ~ February 13 & 14
On Friday, stroll the Ferry Building's candlelit Nave, where the merchants and restaurateurs of the Marketplace will offer seasonal hors d'oeuvres and Napa Valley Vintners will pour wine from several wine bars. Proceeds benefit Slow Food SF. On Saturday, the Marketplace and the farmers' market will be brimming with heartfelt foods, farm fresh flowers and gift ideas. Valentine face painting & craft tables will also be available for kids and those young at heart.
Hands-on Artisanal Cocktail class ~ February 21
Join author Scott Beattie and distiller Marko Karakasevic in CUESA's Dacor kitchen from 2 to 4 pm. Participants will make three citrus-based drinks (Meyer Beautiful, Pelo del Perro or "Hair of the Dog," and Bleeding Orange) and learn about small-batch distilling. Instruction also includes side recipes, garnish how-to, foams, and rim sugars/salts. Drinks will feature Charbay spirits and fresh, seasonal fruit from the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market. Signed copied of Beattie's book, Artisanal Cocktails: Drinks Inspired by the Seasons from the Bar at Cyrus, will also be for sale. The class is $25 per person, and all proceeds benefit CUESA. Learn more or buy tickets here >
Fresh Food from Small Spaces talk ~ March 4
Join CUESA for an evening talk by Author R.J. Ruppenthal, who will discuss his new book Fresh Food from Small Spaces: The Square-Inch Gardener's Guide to Year-Round Growing, Fermenting, and Sprouting. The event will take place at 6 pm in the Ferry Building's Port Commission Hearing Room.
The Food Wise Booth is here!
Last Tuesday, CUESA's market chef, Sarah Henkin, gave out samples of polenta with cranberry beans and sauteed greens (see recipe in sidebar). She also had recipe cards to hand out and answered questions from curious shoppers. Stop by next Tuesday from 12-1 to see what she'll make next!
Feature: Carbon Farming
Note: This is the first in a series of articles highlighting the themes raised at the 2009 Eco-Farm Conference. In the weeks to come, keep your eyes out for features on water, the next generation of farmers, and food safety.
Can something be old as dirt and the next big thing? According to Helge Hellberg, of Marin Organic, it can.
“I believe the sustainable food movement will be focused more and more on soil,” Hellberg told a group of farmers, food producers, educators and advocates at a panel on carbon sequestration at this year’s Eco-Farm conference. “Farmers,” he added, “are crucial because they’re the ear to the soil.”
Well-managed, fertile soil has always been the foundation of sustainable agriculture. Recently, it is also being seen as a pivotal component in the mitigation of climate change. The Marin Carbon Project, a collaboration between Marin Organic, scientists at UC Berkeley, and ranchers in Marin, among others, aims to identify land practices that capture and store carbon in the soil.
Why store carbon in the soil? Changes in land use and land management (such as industrial agriculture practices, which have stripped a great deal of the arable land in this country of its nutrients) have accounted for around one third of the greenhouse gases that are currently in the atmosphere. Returning to practices that create fertile, nutrient-rich soil not only benefits the food system, it also pulls a percentage of that carbon into a solid form. (See more on the carbon cycle here).
According to Becca Ryals, of UC Berkeley, the Marin Carbon Project is focusing on two promising techniques: the addition of organic amendments (compost) and keyline subsoiling (a form of low-disturbance tillage that loosens soil 12-18 inches down, allowing water to drain deep into the soil, as seen in the above photo). One of the project’s two test sites is the Carbon Farm, a 539-acre pasture in Nicasio. The farm is owned by John Wick & Peggy Rathmann, who set out to preserve and manage their land ecologically. The native grasses on their farm, like in most rangeland ecosystems, are important because many of them have long, perennial roots that store a considerable amount of carbon underground.
The Carbon Project is measuring and comparing carbon in the soil over time in plots where composting, and subsoiling are practiced. “We hope to produce scientifically sound data that we can then bring to rangeland managers so that they may also want to do sequestration projects,” said Ryals.
Many in the room were optimistic about the power of this fairly simple science. Wick read the following quote by Australian author Allan Yeomans, whose father invented the keyline system and Yeomans Plow: "If the organic matter in the top foot of all the world's field and pasture soils were increased by 1.6%, the greenhouse effect would be back to near normal."
Jeffrey Creque, Ph.D., an environmental agriculture consultant who has worked with Wick and Rathmann in developing the Carbon Farm, also rang in. “For anyone who’s been farming organically for any length of time, [carbon sequestration in soil] is not a surprising development, but it’s also a pretty exciting time for farmers and ranchers,” he said.
Creque pointed to the USDA’s recent addition of an Office of Ecosystem Services and Markets. The new office will offer financial incentives for land owners to provide clean water and air, wildlife habitat, and carbon storage by recognizing that these crucial aspects of sustainable farming are indeed “services.”
Carbon sequestration will be the first ecosystem service examined by the new office.
Helge Hellberg says Marin Organic is also developing models for how to apply carbon sequestration to California’s Assembly Bill 32, which was passed in 2006 but has yet to be implemented. AB 32 aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 — an initial reduction of approximately 30 percent, followed by an 80 percent reduction below 1990 levels by 2050.
Marin Organic is also working on a carbon auditing system for businesses in the area as well as a carbon labeling program – which would identify products as carbon neutral or carbon negative.
Beyond providing a possible financial boost for farms and ranches already using sustainable practices, Hellberg believes the nation's focus on carbon will have an even greater impact. “Pesticides essentially kill carbon,” he says. “A carbon credit system could offer conventional farmers incentive to transition to organic."
This is the most up-to-date information about which sellers will be attending the market as of Friday. If there are no changes to a seller's status, they will not be listed. You'll find a list of which farmers regularly attend each market here. Please understand that there are often last-minute changes—it's the nature of farming!
Saturday, January 31
In: Happy Quail Farms
Out: Bernard Ranches
Tuesday, February 3In: Critical Edge Knife Sharpening, Snyders Honey
Seasonality synopsis for February
Returning, plentiful and/or at their peak this month:
Asparagus, avocados, hot house tomatoes, ranunculus, plant starts, root vegetables, green garlic, cippolini onions, nettles, braising greens, chicories, broccoli, carrots, tulips, narcissus, mushrooms, Meyer lemons, fresh herbs, leeks, grapefruit, kumquats, fennel, flowering branches, Brussels sprouts, oranges
Winding down/limited supply:
Apples and pears (only available from cold storage), some citrus varieties including pomelos and clementines, winter squash, kiwis, persimmons
Vendor and value-added farm products not to be missed (weather willing): Meyer lemon and rosemary campagne from Della Fattoria, coastal sage soap from Juniper Ridge, dried Thai basil from Allstar Organics, quark from Spring Hill Cheese
Featured recipes for February:
Leek and Rapini Fritters from Angelo Garro with Nikki Silva & Davia Nelson, The Kitchen Sisters, authors of Hidden Kitchens.
Grilled Radicchio Salad with Pink Grapefruit, Pink Peppercorns and Garlic-Tarragon “Ranch” Dressing from Eric Tucker of Millennium Restaurant.
Nettle Gnocchi from Christophe Hille, formerly of A16 Restaurant
Hearty Brown Rice, Butternut Squash, and Kale Soup from CUESA's market chef, Sarah Henkin (prepared for the Food Wise Booth on Jan 20, 2009).