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You can learn a lot about a city based on it’s farmer’s markets – in fact, it’s one of the first places I like to explore when I travel. Not only do you get an idea of the seasonal produce but often times there are local bakers and independent businesses sharing their delicious wears…not to mention food trucks!
My husband and I recently bought our first home and moved into a new neighborhood of Los Angeles: Pasadena. Where it isn’t incredibly far from where we had been living for years, it was still a city that we didn’t explore that often. So you better believe one of the first things on my to-do list of getting to know the new location was checking out my weekly farmers markets. Lucky for us we have 4 that happen throughout the week, but my favorite (and largest) one happens on Thursday nights in South Pasadena.
The mushroom lady alone is worth the visit…especially in late spring when she has some freshly harvested fiddle heads – which if you live in Southern California, you know how hard it is to get a hold of these babies.
Not only have I discovered new vendors (hello hummus man!) but recently I also discovered a new vegetable I’d never had before: Amaranth. I was immediately drawn to it’s appearance, as a food stylist colorful produce can make or break a dish…and let’s be honest, lettuce (or any greens for that matter) aren’t the most fun to shoot. But what has had me coming back to this farmer’s stall (and requesting she continue to sell it) is the flavor.
Softer and more subtle than spinach, Amaranth is sweeter and holds its shape better when sautéed. Consider me smitten – there will definitely be some recipes in the near future in case you get your hands on some of your own!
Fresh baked bread…(donuts!) and even a woman who plays the ukulele… this is my kind of market. Especially with a killer tapas happy hour around the corner and a darling French Cafe & Market if you should happen to crave a glass of Rosé and some cheese to bring back home….that is if you’re still hungry after scouting the food trucks.
Speaking of food vendors…I think my love affair with this market was confirmed when realizing that Shucks Oyster Bar is banging out the most delicious slurps each week. The cucumber mignonette will be making an appearance at home this summer for sure…so definitely get in line for a half dozen before getting lost in the aisles.
I think the best part about discovering this new market is that it has become a weekly tradition for my husband and I. It’s not like we’ve not visited markets together in the past, because every Sunday we strolled through the Atwater Scene…it’s fun to know that there are so many around town and each with their own personality.
And where my market haul has been especially good this early summer – it’s good to know that you can always get a healthy dose of veggies from Naked Juice when you don’t have time to blend them up yourself. But if I were you, I’d still make these juices a staple to your morning smoothie routine…because sometimes it’s okay to take a shortcut while staying healthy (especially when they use quality ingredients) – especially on those busy mornings when it’s easy to skip.
Here’s to exploring your local market…and maybe a few new ones on your upcoming travels….I’m looking at you Maui!