Local Bounty: July 1
Stehly Farms Market
Most people wouldn’t think of Bay Park as a food desert. But when you think about it, it’s not exactly overflowing with markets. There’s Siesels, of course, but that’s more butcher shop than grocery.
Jerome and Noel Stehly, brothers and partners in Stehly Farms Organics, live in the area, and when they got to thinking about it—and talking to parents at the local school where their kids go—they realized they had an opportunity to make an impact in the area and feature local farmers and artisans, as well as their own products. Like the late SOL Market in Liberty Station, it would be an opportunity for shoppers who couldn’t make it to a farmers market buy the items they want when they want it.
So, the 1,000-square-foot shop, Stehly Farms Market, opened in mid-June next door to Andre’s Cuban restaurant. And not only does it have many of the products you’d see at your local farmers market—Majestic Garlic, Bella Vado avocado oil, Bread & Cie breads, Spring Hill cheese, PB Peanut Butter, and Jackie’s Jams—it has a great selection of organic produce. Some, like the mushrooms from Meadow Mountain Mushrooms as well as varied produce from Be Wise Ranch and Suzie’s Farm, are local, others like stone fruit may be from other parts of California—but from small family farms, emphasizes store manager Andru Moshe. Even the bananas and other imports from Ecuador and Peru, she says, are strictly fair trade products.
Then there are the staples. A rich assortment of cheeses from Italy, as well as California, Strauss Family Creamery milks, artisan Italian pastas, a variety of spices and dried herbs, Bob’s Red Mill grains and flours, olive oils, vinegars, salts. In short, they pack a lot into a small space that also includes a large marble-topped table for cooking demos.
Need an assist with your shopping list? They even have a printed form you can use to help remind you how to stock your pantry. Don’t see something you need? Just let them know, says Moshe. It’ll help them learn what the demand is as they place orders.
Stehly Farms Market is located at 1231 Morena Blvd.
I’ve long held that the best eggs in San Diego are raised and sold by Schaner Farms. So, here’s the deal. The Schaners and the Stehlys are cousins. Peter Schaner’s brother David works with Noel and Jerome and one of his responsibilities is raising the cage-free chickens—the same breeds the Schaners have. So their eggs—from Ameraucanas, Brown Leghorns, and Barred Rock breeds—are just as fabulous. $6.50 a dozen
Red Wine Vinegar
When I told Moshe I was trying to single out three products to focus on, she took me straight over to the shelf of vinegars, pulled down a bottle of Aceto Vivo and opened it up. Then she poured a sample for me to taste. It’s a strong, full-flavored vinegar produced and bottled for Stephen Singer (Alice Waters’ ex). Once you taste this vinegar, which is made from oak-aged Tuscan wine, you’ll find it difficult to go back to the bland commercial stuff. I added it to a vinaigrette and to a sauté of Di Ciccio broccoli and it perked them both up. $18.99 for a 750 ml bottle
Di Ciccio Broccoli
Stehly Farms Market has much of the produce you’d want and expect to find but this box of vibrant green broccoli stood out. Tiny florets are dominated by a profusion of leaves and thin stems. This is an heirloom sprouting broccoli that goes back to 1890 in Italy and not easy to find (some folks will try to sell side shoots of regular broccoli as Di Ciccio). Moshe told me she blanches them, then does a quick sauté in olive oil with minced garlic and red pepper flakes. I tried it, adding toasted pine nuts and a little of the Aceto Vivo. Brilliant! $5.99 a pound