I trekked out to the Santa Monica farmer's market this Saturday to see if Spring has, well, sprung (at least food wise). I had the highest hopes given what was going in yards around Los Angeles. Wisteria and jasmine are blooming all over LA and the flowers (both the sights and the scents) are absolutely incredible.
Things were looking good upon arrival. The farmer's market flower vendors were selling buckets of cherry blossom branches and one of the first farmer's tables I stopped by had English peas. They weren't as sweet as could be, but they were very fresh - not starchy at all.
A few tables farther in and we ran up against some huge globe artichokes and beautiful thin asparagus. Asparagus, like peas, deteriorate quickly after picking, which is why Spring at the farmer's markets in California is such a special time.
Harry's Berries is going strong. Their strawberry season starts in late February and really starts to peak in April. We are almost there. Harry's prices have always been the highest in the market but they generally deliver the most consistent quality for lesson known, sweeter varietals like the Gaviota strawberry. If you go, however, be sure to ask to taste one of the strawberries to make sure you like them. There are some other strong strawberry vendors at the Santa Monica farmer's market that have a cheaper product and you just might like their strawberries better.
We haven't hit the total jackpot yet. I stopped by the mushroom vendor across from the Arizona Ave. Röckenwagner because he sells ramps every year. No luck. There were only two tables selling either English peas or sugar snap peas and only a few more selling asparagus. And the really big guns, like green garlic, baby fennel and the ramps, were still missing. These true harbingers of Spring have a few weeks, or more, to go.
"A couple weeks for the ramps" the mushroom vendor promised. Let's hope nature let's him keep his word.
For a bunch of photos of the different fruits and veggies, click here: