Special events & announcements
Menu of entrées for the Sunday Supper ~ September 30
You've seen the appetizers and the first courses for our Sunday Supper, and this week we are unveiling the array of entrées being created for our important fundraiser on September 30. The event is only three weeks away and we'd love to see you there. Seats are selling fast, so make your reservation now >
Rick Hackett, MarketBar
Braised Rabbit with Balsamic, Pole Beans and Cherry Tomatoes
Josef Desimone and Sean Thomas, Google Culinary Team
Pork Leg Confit with Sour Apple Trotter Gravy, House-Cured Guanciale and Roasted Grape Relish, Quinoa Faranata with Black Pepper Oil and Pecorino, and Sautéed Greens
Nate Appleman, A16
Mixed Grill of Pork and Sausage Spedini
with Roasted Grapes, Chicories and Mosto
Bridget Batson and David Gingrass, TWO
Braised Oxtail and Heirloom Tomato Stew with Fresh Paperadelle, Lemon Ricotta, Basil, and Parmesan Cheese
Stuart Brioza, Rubicon
Figwood Smoked Chicken with Prosciutto, Roasted Figs,
and Jerusalem Artichoke Gravy
Daniel Patterson, Coi
Poached and Seared Chicken with Vadouvan
and a Stew of Fresh and Shelling Beans
Jonnatan Leiva, Jack Falstaff
Grilled Local Albacore Tuna with Charred Fennel, Sweet
and Spicy Peppers, and Salsa Verde
Annie Somerville, Greens Restaurant
Late Summer Gratin of Eggplant, Peppers, Fennel, Piquillo Peppers, Roasted Tomatoes, Grilled Torpedo Onions, Vella Mezzo Secco, Basil and Goat Cheese with Roasted Fingerlings, Summer Squash, and Cipollini Onions
Craig Stoll, Delfina
Pork Arista with Fresh Shelling Beans
Staffan Terje, Perbacco
Heirloom Tomato-Braised Fish
with Garlic, Herbs, and Confit Potatoes
Tune into West Coast Live tomorrow, September 8
Maggie Gosselin, CUESA staff member and co-creator of the Local Foods Wheel, will be on the nationally broadcast radio variety show West Coast Live tomorrow, September 8. West Coast Live will be broadcasting from the Ferry Building every Saturday from 10 am to 12 pm for the next three weeks, and you can be part of the live audience and see some of your favorite CUESA employees, Ferry Plaza Farmers Market sellers and other inspiring guests. Tune in by radio to KALW 91.7. More information is at www.wcl.org.
Mendocino Wine by the Bay
On Sept 15, across the street from the market at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, KGO radio is sponsoring Mendocino Wine by the Bay, presented by the Mendocino Wine Growers Foundation. Enjoy a festive afternoon of great wine and food featuring 45 wineries and 200 wines. Part of the proceeds from the event benefit CUESA. Click here for more information >
There's even more going on!
In addition to the many events that we announced in last week's e-letter, we've just learned of a few more:
The Brentwood Agricultural Land Trust is holding its annual Harvest Celebration on Saturday, September 22. The fundraising feast will feature local foods and celebrate the people who produce them. Click here to learn more>
Saturday, September 8 ~ Market to Table events
10:30 am - Meet the farmer
Donna Pacheco of Achadinha Cheese Company
11 am - Seasonal cooking demonstration and book signing
Sondra Bernstein and John Toulze of the girl & the fig restaurant and co-authors of the girl & the fig cookbook
Saturday, September 15 ~ Pepper Festival!
10 am to 1 pm - Pepper tasting
Try all manner of peppers: sweet, hot, roasted, powdered, and more. Location: South Driveway, near Eatwell Farm
10:30 am - Meet the farmer and farmhouse cooking demonstration
David Winsberg of Happy Quail Farms talks about growing peppers and demonstrates roasting and other pepper recipes.
11:30 am - Cooking demonstration and book signing
Marie Simmons, Author of Fig Heaven: Seventy Recipes for the World's Most Luscious Fruit will sign her cookbooks and demonstrate a dish that features peppers.
Tuesday, September 18 ~ Easy Market Meals
11:45 am, 12:15 pm, 12:45 pm & 1:15 pm - Enjoy a cooking demonstration by Gary Bulmer, Chef at Williams-Sonoma, featuring the seasonal, regional ingredients found at the Tuesday market. Each attendee leaves with a sample, a recipe, and a suggested shopping list. This is our last Tuesday cooking demonstration of the year!
All events take place in our Dacor teaching kitchen in the arcade north of the Ferry Building's clock tower unless otherwise noted.
CUESA volunteer Margo Whitmire wrote this week's feature.
A smattering of plum trees heavy with ripe fruit grows around the edges and throughout the middle of Hidden Star Orchards. “Go ahead, take a bite,” urges Johann Smit, wincing at his own bite and tossing the plum aside. If the fruit isn’t great, it’s because it is literally for the birds. These plums act as a buffer crop to deter wildlife from eating valued crops like the Smits’ Yakata Fuji and Pink Lady apples. “You want to work as much as you can with the wildlife,” says Johann. “As long as it’s sweet, they’ll eat it.”
Johann’s buffer crop is just one of many creative techniques that we learned about on a CUESA-organized farm tour of Hidden Star Orchards and Lagier Ranches two weeks ago. Both small farms have found inventive ways to keep their land, crops, and businesses thriving.
While about 50 attendees walked the orchards enjoying handfuls of just-dropped almonds and sips of apple cider, Johann Smit (who runs Hidden Star Orchards in Linden with his parents John and Clazien and other family members), and John Lagier (who operates Lagier Ranches in Escalon with his girlfriend Casey Havre) showed us around their farms. Both operations, despite a deep-rooted history of conventional farming on their respective lands, were inspired to make the modern move toward organic farming out of concern for the health of their families.
Lagier Ranches, which stands firm amidst sprawling housing developments in the Central Valley, transitioned to organic practices in the early 1990s. Converting his 200 acres of almonds, cherries, Bronx grapes, pawpaws, and assorted citrus and berries to organic was “a steep learning curve,” says John. The fourth-generation farmer converted five acres of his almonds at a time, sending his trees into shock at first because they were used to a feast of chemical fertilizers. “I didn’t know what I was doing, basically,” he says. The almonds now flourish on a chemical-free diet. Instead of applying synthetic fertilizers, John grows as much biomass as he can--a mixture of annual and perennial clover and bell beans--and adds organic amendments to impart needed nutrients like nitrogen into the soil.
Fifty percent of John’s almonds are Nonpareils, the industry standard variety and the “sweetest and best-tasting,” he says. He makes the most money from this sought-after variety, but also grows Butte and Carmel almonds, the latter of which has the highest oil content and is perfect for his popular almond butter. Since Nonpareils are not self-fertile, the other two varieties also provide the pollen that enables the Nonpariels to bear fruit.
Before enjoying a lunch made with farmers’ market ingredients in the shade of John’s cherry trees, our group paid a visit to the resident weeder geese, the husbandry of which is largely a responsibility of Casey’s. A small army of Toulouse, Embden and Chinese Swan geese combats the invasive Johnson grass, which John says is the biggest threat to his cherry orchard. The geese are moved every four days, leaving weed-free ground behind. At least 120 days before the cherry harvest, the geese are removed and sold to Thomas Odermatt of Roli Roti for his rotisserie.
After a dessert of homemade pawpaw ice cream and berry pie, we headed over to Hidden Star Orchards. Johann described the transition to organic agriculture that is underway on their land. He talked about what it takes for a small farm to survive in a globalized food system and emphasized the importance of finding reliable local markets. The ranch depends on farmers’ markets for over 90% of its sales.
The Smits also invested in a $25,000 cider press for the apples that don’t pass cosmetic muster in the marketplace. Until recently, the Apple Cider Project was run by a boys’ home on the ranch, wherein the kids helped create, market and sell the cider. Today, about 30% the family’s apple yield goes to secondary products like apple cider.
Another way that waste is reduced at Hidden Star Orchards is through an agreement with a local hog farmer. Because of health codes, windfall apples, regardless of their condition, cannot be sold. Instead of letting these apples rot on the ground, The Smits give them to a hog farmer who uses them for feed. In exchange, the Smits get as much pork as the family can eat.
In addition to buffer crops, one of the most effective methods the Smits have found to discourage birds is a sound system in their grape vineyards that imitates the distress call of a bird being stalked by a predator. The noises, which can be heard from within a seven-acre area, have reduced grape damage significantly.
Hidden Star Orchards can be found selling apples, grapes, cider and dried fruit at the Tuesday and Saturday markets; Lagier Ranches sells its almond butter, pies and grapes only on Saturdays. Look for Lagier’s Nonpareils in the coming weeks, and Hidden Star’s Yakata Fuji and Pink Lady apples in October.
This is the most up-to-date information about which sellers will and won't be attending the market as of Friday, when we send this letter. If there are no changes to a seller's status, they will not be listed. To find out which farmers regularly attend each market, click here. Please understand that there are often last minute changes--it's the nature of farming!
Saturday, September 8
In/Returning: Rancho Gordo, The Apple Farm, Viccolo Pizza, Madison Growers, Massa Organics, Capay Canyon Ranch, Flying Disc Ranch, June Taylor Company
Out: Bernard Ranches
Tuesday, September 11
In/Returning: Everything Under the Sun
Out: G&S Corn