This is the Monthly E-Newsletter of Contra Costa Certified Farmers' Markets for Friday, March 16, 2007
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From Chef Lesley Stiles:

Grilled Asparagus w/ Shaved parmesan and Balsamic Vinegar

2 pounds asparagus ends trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
A chunk of reggiano parmesana for shaving (use a vegetable peeler to shave)
Kosher salt
1 to 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Toss asparagus in a bowl with olive oil and salt to coat.
Grill on low heat on a gas grill or on the low temperature end of a charcoal grill.
Grill until the outside skin begins to blister and turn bright green.
Remove from heat and place on a platter. Shave cheese on and sprinkle with balsamic and a little more salt to taste.
Serves 4.

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Risotto with Green Garlic and Asparagus

2 stalks spring onion with the red bulb showing, washed and sliced all the way up the green
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ½ cups Arborio or Carnaroli rice or you can substitute barley for more fiber and protein
About 6 cups stock, heated
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound asparagus, sliced in ¼ in pieces
4 stalks of green garlic, cleaned and sliced all the way up the green
6 ounces of grated parmesan cheese
3 tablespoons chopped parsley
Kosher salt and freshly grated pepper

Heat olive oil in a deep, heavy sauce pan. Add onions and sauté for about 4 minutes until they begin to caramelize. Add the rice or barley and sauté for 3 to 4 more minute until the rice becomes opaque and starts to brown. Add a cup of stock and let it come to a boil. Stir well and reduce heat slightly to a simmer. When stock is almost absorbed add another cup and let absorb. Add another cup and keep repeating until risotto is creamy and almost soft. Turn off heat and in another sauté pan heat the olive oil and sauté green garlic and asparagus until both are bright green. Stir into rice and season with parsley, salt and pepper. Serve with grated cheese.
Serves 4

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More recipes
CCCFM Welcomes New Participants:

Coming soon in March and April:
Antioch Kabob House
Featuring a delicious mix of Afghan Cusine.

Tracie's Gourmet Specialties
Featuring organic, vegan Granola that is free of wheat, oil and refined sugar.

Pasta Queen/Pappardelles Pasta
Featuring 100 different flavors of dried pasta!

Dean Dolan
Backyard gardener Dean brings his extensive knowledge and numerous variety of vegetable plants he grows in Hercules, CA.
From the General Manager, Jessie Neu:

The "New Organic" is now called "Buy Local." Learn the truth about the organic label and the pleasure of direct connections that "Buying Local" gives you. Read more about it, in the March 12, 2007 issue of Time Magazine. Look for the Big Red Apple on the cover of

On March 31st 1927 Cesar Chavez was born. He would have been 80 years old this year. He was the co-founder of the National Farm Workers Association in 1962 with Dolores Huerta. He advocated for the improved working conditions for farm / agricultural workers in this country... this included periods of rest, sanitation facilities, and protection from pesticides for workers' seemingly basic conditions. In honor of Cesar Chavez, spend some time working in a garden this month. Lesley is looking for much needed help in the local school gardens CCCFM is sponsoring. Volunteer NOW. Viva Cesar Chavez!
To learn more about Cesar Chavez, the United Farm Workers Union, visit

Jessie Neu can be reached at
In this Issue:
Next issue of The Lettuce Leaf Newsletter will be on April 13.
Walnut Creek:
3/18 Jump In
3/25 Susan Holland
4/1 Jane Decuir
Manager: Keith Farley. E-mail:
Market Hours: Winter hours 9 am to 1 pm thru April.
Important note: The market will be closed April 8.
Cooking Demo: Fresh Asparagus with Chef Lesley Stiles 10am - 12pm.
The Frequent Shopper Card (from Nov. thru April);
Year-Round Parking Validation;
The Veggie Valet booth.

From Keith Farley, Manager:
Greetings Lettuce Leafers! For you who missed it in the last Lettuce Leaf, we have taken the newsletter to a once a month schedule for the winter. This will save us time and money and save you the need to read how you should eat local (you should) and buy local (you should do this too) every week. So once a week I want you to tell everyone in your household to eat local and buy local until we go back to a more frequent publishing schedule. I will be checking...

And now the big news! CCCFM and the City of Walnut Creek have nailed down the new site for the farmers' market. As all of you know by now, the Walnut Creek Farmers' Market will move to a new location when the library project gets underway. In a process that has taken nearly two years we have settled on the new location. The new location is on North Locust from Giamona running north to Lacassie. While this location will not have the ambience and charm of our current location it will afford us the opportunity to grow and to offer you more choice when shopping. It will be a street location so we will be closing the street from the above mentioned intersections. This will not interfere with the existing businesses on North Locust since Locust will remain open from Civic to Giamona and around to North Main. We look forward to working with our new neighbors, Cheap Pete's , Walnut Creek Florist, Katys' Kreek, Wooleys’, Walnut Creek Baking Bijan, Skippolinnis, Walnut Creek Honda and of course Growers Square. Be sure to let these folks know how happy you are to have the farmers' market there on Locust when you visit their establishments.

Why North Locust? Well, a couple of reasons,
the historical connection, the Growers Square area, back in the day, was the produce hub for all of Contra Costa County. All the food grown in the area came here and was packed or distributed for shipment. Hence the name. The ground that TARGET stands on today was once the Tomato cannery back when Ygnacio Valley Road was known as Sulfur Springs road, just drive over the hill to Heather Farms and you'll know where that name came from. As you can see the location is a natural.
2) The amount of space required to operate a farmers' market is considerable and the need to remain central in Walnut Creek was paramount. We had to look at events that are held in Walnut Creek year round and plan around them as well as not having a negative impact on any businesses that may be operating on Sundays. We surveyed locations all over the downtown area and further out and the Locust street location kept rising to the top. It will offer a lot of advantages including MORE PARKING, sorry didn't mean to yell, we will finally cure that darn problem of lack of parking that has plagued us over the last 25 years. With two, count ‘em two parking garages within a block of the market, what more could you want except a chicken in your chicken soup and a horse in your horseradish. Ain't life grand?

When will all this happen? We are still working out the details, but as it stands right now, we will move over the holiday break in December or we may wait until the ice rink closes on the 15th of January 2008. In any case, this coming winter we will pull stakes and hit the road two blocks west and a block north to our new digs.

This was a collaborative effort on the part of City Council and city staff who worked tirelessly with us, hosting meeting after meeting and who patiently educated all involved on the complexities on such a move. A tip of the old straw hat to them and a hearty thanks for all the support during this process. There are still many details to work out, but the hard part is done, we have a home to move to.

I have a satellite view of the area in question so feel free to stop by and a have look this Sunday.

More info.

Martinez, Orinda & Pleasant Hill:
Markets closed for the season
FROM OUR MARKETS by Chef Leslie Stiles
DevotoIt may be a week early but it sure feels like spring has sprung in Contra Costa County. I can always tell when the big, fat shiny black carpenter bees return for the summer to continue on their personal journey to destroy my patio awning. They have been at it for 19 years and it is still standing strong plus I really like the fat little bees. They are friendly and good tenants for their stay. The flowers and blossoms are weighing down Stan Devoto's tables and are a sight to behold. Irresistible in their scent and beauty and the best benefit is that I don't have to pick mine!

Students are feverishly planting in the Troy Spencer Memorial Garden at Pleasant Hill Middle School as well as the College Park High School Organic Garden this week. We are putting in a lot of instant gratification crops for the students to get them into the gardening groove. Radishes and lettuce come up pleasantly fast having the desired effect of firing up even more gardeners at the same time as feeding them. It is with great pleasure that I introduce kids to the delicacy of fresh sliced radishes on a slice of baguette spread with organic butter and sprinkled with fresh snipped chives. As usual they turn up their nose and give me all kind of lip until I have it crossing their taste buds and down their throats and then the smiles and nods come. I love my work.

NEAR received a Very Special Persons Award from College Park High School PTSA for the work we have put into the garden along with Kaiser Permanente employee Eric Nelson. He is a powerhouse and the garden would not be the same without his efforts. We are all extremely grateful for that. We have roped in the art department at CP to get a mural in the garden and if you are feeling energetic, you can stroll by Pleasant Hill Middle and view that garden mural. The poems incorporated into it will blow your mind. Bring Kleenex.

The Walnut Creek Farmers' Market is already busting at the seams with an incredible array of late winter and early spring produce. Green garlic at Mee Vang along with pea shoots and gai lan. The ever popular and charming Louie Checchini is back with asparagus too. In a few minutes there will be fava’s and strawberries with the cherries about an hour behind.
I am grilling asparagus, steaming it with veggie stock, sautéing it with cremini and scrambling it into eggs with dry jack cheese.
I will do a cooking demo with fresh asparagus this Sunday at the Walnut Creek market from 10 to noon. Come down for some samples and recipes.

CCCFM is celebrating 25 years of farmers markets this season. We will open with a huge community party in Pleasant Hill on May 5th and follow with opening Martinez the next day and Orinda on the 12th. We have been busy around here. Activities at all markets will be posted soon!

NEAR is always looking for Friends. As our programs become more popular and more students become involved we need more helping hands to guide these projects along. Please contact us if you are interested in giving some time to working with middle school and high school students in a garden atmosphere. Also if you have other related interests let us know!

Our early time change had the positive effect of changing the hour in the morning that I hike. I found myself on Mt. Diablo for the falls walk an hour earlier than last year at the same time of year. The warm, dry winter with the recent rain and snow has had the affect of creating amazing wild flowers and cascading waterfalls. This, my friends, is in our back yard and easily accessible. If you have not done the falls trail and are able, it is a must see. The hills in Briones and neighboring areas are equally as exquisite. Wildflowers and emerald green carpet are everywhere. Get out and move it or lose it. You can make the time for your health and well being.

Lesley Stiles can be reached at or on the market hotline 925 431-8361
DID YOU KNOW? by Manager Keith Farley
The plans for the 25th anniversary are almost complete and we are going to have a ball at all the markets. Whoever came up with the DUNK THE MARKET MANAGER dunking tank please stop by the market table this Sunday, we need to talk.

We could still use a few more volunteers to help out at the parties drop me a note at and I'll put you to work for a good cause and a lot of fun.

And Deer Hill Ranch offers free horse manure for anyone to use in their gardens. Some poeple also come to Deer Hill Ranch for the wonderful manure produced by their hens which roam around on green grass all day as well as eat only certified organic feed. Since Deer Hill Ranch is a small non-profit, please bring your own container(s) and dig yourself, although they can lend you a shovel.

Please phone Anne Holding on (925) 283-1197 for more information.
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