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Markets & Stores 3

Marin Farmers Market report--long; I can't help myself

Al@Fairfax | Jul 25, 200406:56 PM

Another beautiful Sunday, another brief debate with self about whether or not to activate the body and get to the Marin Farmers Market before the crowds. Imaginings of dinner win out over dislike of jostling. Market opens at 8am and can be jammed by 10, but my wife and I get there (Marin Civic Center) by 9:15.

We have been happy to find the Brentwood corn lady offering yellow corn--you know, the real stuff. But today only the super sweet white corn is available so we pass, with the promise that more yellow will be coming in a week or two. Just as bad money drives out good, sweetness drives out flavor it seems. But peaches are a different story. We can get varieties impossible to find in groceries, like the early season Suncrests and the now arriving O.Henrys, and just to see the piles of them is worth the trip.

It has been hot enough east of the Bay area the past few weeks for the tomatoes finally to begin to taste like tomatoes, though maybe still a bit behind schedule. Again the piles of varicolored heirlooms and the perfect red Early Girls are a fabulous enough vision to make the trip worth it even if I were not about to buy several pounds, carefully chosen by my wife, an extremely meticulous patron of produce who insists on carrying her treasures in bags separate from our other purchases which I carry, so she can prevent bruising them.

The wild and cultivated mushroom stand has beautiful and huge morels, chantrelles and miatakes as well as the regular portobellos and agaricus. We stop at Iacoppi's, the Half Moon Bay growers of fine peas and beans for our weekly fix of English peas and also, at last, fresh cranberry beans. We will be shelling this week, certainly, and loving it. There is also Marshall's honey stand, a must, with honeys from very specific Marin locations with amazingly different tastes and degrees of sweet (where it properly belongs, I may add).

The baked good stand freatures breads by Acme, Artisan, and the other usual suspects as well as my favorite breads from BrickMaiden in Pt. Reyes Station, where Celine the baker took over the brick oven where Chad and Elizabeth (now of Tartine) got their start in the Bay area. Mission Fish is a few feet away and we get a large salmon roast, center cut chunk, to either grill wrapped in nori or poach, and will eat for several meals this week along with the vegetables we have purchased. And isn't salmon always better at room temperature the next day? With some fresh tomato vinagrette, a la Paul Bertolli?

There are processed foods for those who want them, grilled Aidells Sausages, fresh popped popcorn, Donna's Tamales, but I usually pass by these treats to run home with our treasures. Except on those occasions when I cannot resist the wonderful smell coming from the Roli-Roti truck which is a large movable rotisserie with a huge plastic chicken on top that a Swiss fellow has managed to park where the aroma of the roasting, revolving Fulton Valley hens coated with his grandmother's herb recipe drives marketeers crazy.

I had more to post but I can't. I have to go eat now.

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