At The Market
What to watch for this month
[ IN SEASON ]
March is a transitional month, like pubescence for produce. We’re tired of root veg, but strawberries haven’t come of age. Thanks be to peas—the hint of light, sweet green we crave as days grow warmer. Eat whole sugar snaps raw, chop into salad, or lightly steam. For English peas, channel your inner grandma and sit with a bowl to shell them. Add the peas and a little water to a skillet, cook until the water evaporates. Or live dangerously with a knob of butter and sea salt. Sauté briefly, eat, and smile. Spring is almost here.
[ BITES ]
The Reel Deal
So your fridge looks like it swallowed a farmers market, thanks to your CSA box. But you’re forced to hit the grocery store for a protein—retail price-hike included. SD’s Poppa’s Fresh Fish Company wants to change that with Fishscriptions, a seafood CSA loaded with catches-of-the-week (some local, some not). Depending on the size of your box, you’ll get wild fresh salmon (frozen when out of season); live clams, mussels, oysters, crabs, and lobsters; and frozen-at-sea shrimp and scallops. One box could yield the perfect cioppino feast or beachside barbecue. The price ($25 or $35) is 20 to 25 percent less than retail, and the eco impact (fuel, packaging) is much less than a typical grocery filet. poppasfreshfish.com
[ MARKET WATCH ]
With the debut of Claravale Farm at the Hillcrest farmers market, it’s only a matter of time before hipsters co-opt the milk-moustache, too. The organic dairy (est. 1927) drives down from San Benito County every other weekend to deliver raw Jersey milk (whole and nonfat). Raw milk? It’s pure cow-to-wow. No pasteurization, which cooks off nutrients, vitamins, and enzymes. Always sold within three days. They also sell cream, goat’s milk, ice cream, and, occasionally, cheese. It’s hard not to love their sleek, returnable glass bottles and old-fashioned metal carriers (yes, for sale). If you’re crazy for compost, you can even buy Bossie’s manure. Also available at Ramona Natural Foods. claravaledairy.com
[ COOKBOOK ]
Unquenchable: A Tipsy Quest for the World’s Best Bargain Wines
Natalie MacLean’s Unquenchable ($24/Perigee) makes me thirsty. It also induces wanderlust—for vineyards in sunny, sensuous Provence; hot, arid South Africa; Argentina’s wide-open pampas; or Australia’s dusty outback. MacLean delves into the origins of grapes popular and arcane, from pinot noir (the “heartbreak grape”) to Niagara’s icewine and Sicily’s plummy Serra della Contessa. Name brands are eschewed in favor of undervalued gems. MacLean’s website (nataliemaclean.com) is a popular resource for deal-conscious oenophiles, and Unquenchable holds true to that vision with introductions to some captivating, underrated winemakers.
» BY CARON GOLDEN, an expert on local
markets and farms. See more of her Local Bounty
finds every week here.