Monday, April 28, 2008
sweet berry heaven
Mmmm, strawberries. As it turns out, Watsonville's Tomatero Farms doesn't just sell at the Grand Lake farmers' market, they sell at my local down the hill, the Alemany Sat morning market, where everyone was basking and strolling in the sunshine. Well, some of us were basking. The rest were stuffing mad handfuls of sugar-snap peas into plastic bags and stowing 10-lb nets of oranges into granny carts. The last of the Sevilles were on display, along with a shriveled Buddha's Hand or two.
(Speaking of which, I ended up chopping up my BH and adding the blanched bits of rind to my kumquat marmalade. A mistake! This BH, perhaps all BHs, had a strong, camphor-ish scent, and made the whole batch of kumquat marm taste like Vick's vapor rub. Eucalyptus marmalade! Not the tastiest thing for toast.Next time, should there be one, I'm sticking the whole thing in a jar of vodka and making citrus liquor. Another kind of medicine...)
But I saw a flat or two of red berries behind the lettuce (flat whorls of red butter lettuce to make you weep) at Tomatero, and asked the price. Turned out they were just a buck a box, because they had been picked Wed. and were looking a little ratty by Saturday. Personally, I like a superripe, wine-dark berry, so with a little picking over it was cheap sweet heaven.
What other good things? Meatloaf on a rainy night at Blue Plate, with mashed p'taters and green beans, and the best smoky bacon ever. They do a salad that comes with a gorgeous burnished strip of bacon laid over the top of it, and that's reason to eat your rabbit food right there. Being on a fridge magnet with my pal Molly, advertising the Sundance Saloon (motto: "Building Community, Two Steps at a Time"), a fab country-western hangout over on Barnveldt St, near the produce district off of Bayshore. Hot coffee and warm apricot turnovers from the Liberty Cafe bakery on a sunny weekend morning.
Garden lilacs that smelled like lilacs, at Heartfelt on Cortland, and a blowsy three-buck bouquet of lavender-pink garden roses that smelled like roses, from one of the vegetable stands at the Alemany market. Essays about owls and poetry about snakes from Stanley Kunitz. Hearing about rabbit, Powell's, and absinthe up in Portland. Serving hot homemade herb biscuits to the plant-sale crowds at the Homeless Garden Project, and feeding the farmies with fresh strawberries, roasted squash, lentil soup and homemade rolls. Being sprung from the chocolate mines for the next four days, and going back down to the farm to cook again.
And of course, Cookie Fairy!