This is the E-Newsletter of Contra Costa Certified Farmers' Markets for Friday, April 1, 2011
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The Lettuce Leaf


Banner Art

by Chef Daniel Clayton
, Nibblers Eatery & Wine Bar

grilled broccolini


Mee Vang Farm's green garlic
Jim Mckeown's english walnuts,
eureka lemons & limes
and Rio de Parras organic broccolini

1 lb fresh broccolini
(a cross between broccoli & gai lan, but you can use the parent vegetables, cauliflower
all sorts of rapinis, hmong broccoli, asparagus or baby carrots as substitutions in this recipe, alone or as a mixed plate)
xv olive oil, as needed
salt & peppe
r, to taste
green garlic pesto (see below)
preserved citrus confit (see below)

Bring 3 cups salted water to a simmer in a wide pan. Blanch broccolini for 30 seconds, then shock in an ice bath, drain place in a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil to lightly coat, season, and grill over medium heat for approx 1 minute. Top with green garlic pesto & garnish with citrus confit.

Green garlic pesto:

1 bu (1/3 pound) green garlic, whites and stems
1/2 pound fresh walnuts, shelled
1 tsp grapeseed oil
1 cup xv olive oil
salt, as needed
1 teaspoon honey

To make pesto:
Finely slice garlic. Shell walnuts, toast half in grapeseed oil. Chop finely & place in mixing bowl. Pulverize remaining walnuts & garlic in a mortar with a pinch of salt, adding 1T olive oil. When crushed, add to mixing bowl. Stir in remaining olive oil, season with salt and honey. (also good with roast chicken or tossed with flat pasta)

Preserved citrus confit:
2ea fresh lemons & limes
1 cup sea salt
1/2 cup xv olive oil
honey, as needed

To make confit:
Wash citrus & trim stem. Make a 2 inch slit down the side of each fruit, place in a non-reactive glass or metal bowl/jar/cannister. Cover with salt, and let sit for 24 hours. Add 4 cups of water (or enough to just cover), place a weight on the fruit and brine for 14 days. Drain, and cut in a fine dice. Mix with olive oil and add a touch of honey if confit is too sharp. (excellent with hummous & rich seafood)

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Market Fund Raising Booth

Help the planet and your community in reducing, reusing and recycling.... stop by the market information booth to purchase reusable baskets and washable veggie bags.
EBT is available at the Market Managers information table.

Learn more about food packaging and BPA levels in packaged food

The Breast Cancer Fund and Silent Spring Institute conducted a study, "BPA in Food Packaging Study" published in Environmental Health Perspectives, about results in food packaging, containing BPA -such as canned food and polycarbonate plastic.

Make changes to reduce your family’s levels of this chemical linked to breast cancer by using fresh ingredients. Their recommendation is cooking at home with fresh foods and making some very basic changes in your kitchen, such as limiting canned foods, choosing glass and stainless steel food and beverage containers, and not microwaving in plastic.
In this Issue:
Congratulations to Bolani East West Gourmet Afghan Food for setting sales records in local food stores and for expanding to serve southern California. Farmers' Markets are incubators for small business participants...we wish them continued success and appreciate them still being at our markets!

Saturdays 9am-1pm

Open Rain or Shine

OrindaCelebrating 15 years of service the Orinda Farmers' Market opens early on April 2!

Welcome all your favorite farms and vendors and new participants!

Orinda restaurant owner, Mariam Lavecchia and chef from Trattoria Lupetti join the festivities with a cooking demonstration featuring...

L'INSALATA DE ASPARACI (asparagus salad)

3 oz. baby spinach
1 oz Julian cut asparagus
1/2 oz. Kalamata olives
1 oz. fried spring onions
1/2 oz. shaved Parmigiano reggiano

Add Julian cut spring onions with flour, salt, pepper, white wine and deep fry.
Mix blanched asparagus, baby spinach, olives, extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinaigrette, salt and pepper.
Arrange mixture on a plate, top with fried spring onions and fresh shaved Parmigiano reggiano.

Orinda City Council Members will join the festivities on opening day and on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays.

Sundays 9am-1pm
Open Rain or Shine

On March 27th Chefs communed to share their carefully prepared, delicious food.... fresh from the farm ....feeding the people....building relationships!

Featured Farmer: Bruins Farms

It's official – the sun does shine on our markets eventually. The month of March was conducive to filling the reservoirs but a challenge in encouraging shoppers at an outdoor market. Now with the promise of some sunshine, the blossoming trees and newly planted crops will flourish to ensure the market stands are full of in-season produce.

On Saturday, April 2 the Orinda market will celebrate the opening of its 15th season. Any weekend shoppers now have the expanded option of this bustling Saturday market or Walnut Creek’s Sunday market. (More information and directions at

Paul Bruins

The beginning of April also welcomes back hothouse tomatoes – a much anticipated treat after the winter hiatus. Bruins Farms in Winters uses an interesting technology to heat their 2 ½ acres of greenhouses to grow tomatoes. Stop by Paul Bruins stand…. he has a beautiful display of vine-ripened Black Prince and Cherokee Purple heirloom tomatoes and some rich red Beefsteaks. You won't be disappointed with any of the varieties whether you use them as slicers in sandwiches and burgers, diced in salsas or layered with some fresh mozzarella and slivered basil in Insalata Caprese.

Bruins begin planting their tomatoes in late September and by late October it's time to "turn up the heat" in the greenhouses. Looking for a more efficient source of heat during the winter months, Bruins turned to the idea of biomass – a renewable energy source. What he found was walnut shells! Local walnut orchards supply Bruins with walnut shells to burn in his boilers to supply the heat needed for the tomatoes. Harvest begins by mid March and continues to mid-July.

Hothouse tomatoes need the same care as field tomatoes. Do not refrigerate as the flavor and texture of the tomato deteriorates quickly in cold surroundings. Store tomatoes at room temperature, in a single layer so they don’t get crushed under their own weight.

If your overzealous in tomato shopping, bring out the freezer bags. To freeze, simply wash the tomatoes, remove the stem scar and place whole on cookie sheets in the freezer. Once frozen, pop them into the bags and back in the freezer where they’ll keep for up to 6 months. Remove from freezer as needed to add directly to soups, stew or sauces. Remove the skins once they slip off in the hot mixture.

Note: Many of your favorite growers and vendors will be back at the Orinda market tomorrow, April 2. Ledesma Farms, McKeown Farm, Rattos, JM Ibarra, J & J Farms , Ruiz & Ortiz strawberries, Bistro Blends oils and vinegars, fresh eggs, breads and pastries, honey, flowers and new to the market Rio de Parras organic farm, Marthas' Burritos much more.

Enjoy the flavors of spring and see you at the market!

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Feature Content Written by Barbara Kobsar
and edited by Jessie Neu, Executive Director

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© Copyright CCCFM 2011.