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Markets & Stores

Marin Farmers Market joyful report (long)

Al@Fairfax | May 22, 200503:32 PM     2

Perhaps the first beautiful weekend of the season moved me, but my rain or shine every Sunday trip to the Marin Farmers Market seemed more beautiful than ever today. This is a transitional period between the late spring and early summer harvests and the choices were rich indeed. Throngs of people were in such a good mood (parking was hard, the only down note) that the produce inspired joy was contagious.

Iacopi Farms has wonderful English peas in the shell, not as petite as a few weeks ago but so delicious that the shelling on a day like this seems more a happy pastime than a chore. They, and many others also have loads of favas. There were early tomatoes too; I got some from Bruins Farms in Winters, which used to be the only good hothouse tomatoes but now have competition from other growers. I also got some beautiful fresh-picked Shanghai bok choy from one of the two Asian produce stands and a bunch of jumbo Delta asparagus from Zuckerman's (what they grow while waiting for the potatoes, I guess.) Solano Mushrooms had nice fresh porcini (Boletes) and great looking morels for far less than those groceries which carry them and in better condition as well.

There used to be one seafood stand, Mission Fish, a broker for several fishing sources. Now there are three. I got a Chinook (King) salmon roast from Mission to poach this evening. It is $6.95 a pound this year, due to the Klamath River water war, but still a bargain. Marin Sun Farms now has fresh as well as frozen beef plus their pricey farm eggs.

The last few months have seen one good change in the market, the addition of individual bakery stands instead of one bread broker. This has encouraged some desert specialists and other bakers who did not used to be available here. Flour Chyld desserts and Panorama breads are welcome although my market favorite bread remains Brickmaiden from Pt. Reyes Station. There is a charcuterie stand, Fabrique Delices, which I have not tried and would like to hear Hounds opinions of their offerings. Roli Roti is always a great fallback when you don't feel like cooking.

Finally, I must mention a specialist in European-style desserts available only at the Thursday and Sunday Marin Farmers Markets: Room for Dessert is owned by Rene Matthew, a lovely Brit who makes fabulous creams and creme brulee and chocolate lava cakelets, among other things. She is a real find.

It is almost summer and spring is here at last. A great day at the market!

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