This is the Weekly E-Newsletter of Contra Costa Certified Farmers' Markets for Friday, October 27, 2006
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From Chef Lesley Stiles:

Barley with Balsamic Roasted Celery Root, Kohlrabi and Squash

1 ½ cups barley, soaked overnight
6 cups stock
1 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 celery root, peeled and cubed
1 carrot, sliced
2 cups cubed butternut squash or a hard winter squash
3 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
½ cup red or white balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons olive oil
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Fresh grated Parmesana reggiano

Toss all the vegetables with the olive oil, salt, pepper, oregano and vinegar and roast in a 400° oven for 15 minutes. Meanwhile bring the barley and the stock to a boil and simmer until tender about 20 minutes. Add the vegetables to the barley and cook for about 10 minutes more. Serve w/ fresh grated Reggiano Parmesan.
Serves 6

Chinese Broccoli w/ quinoa and Meyer Lemon

1 cup quinoa
2 Meyer lemons
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Kosher salt and pepper

Cook quinoa and when done add a whole bunch of chopped Chinese broccoli and let simmer in the quinoa until bright green, about 2 minutes. If there is still water in your pot, drain well. Put back in pot and zest and juice lemons into pot and add olive oil. Season with salt and pepper.

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This week's essay is from 3rd Prize winner in the Adult Category, Pauline Hartman, Walnut Creek.

What the Farmer's Market Means to Me, my Family, and my Community

Pauline Hartman

I love to wake up on a Sunday morning and look out of my window and see what the weather is going to be like today. Sometimes the sky is a lovely blue with white fluffy clouds, sometimes a fog down to the ground, sometimes a heavy rain with wind, but no matter what the weather, I know that the Farmer's Market in Walnut Creek is waiting for me.

My husband and I drive down to the library parking lot drop off some books and, with our canvas bags, we wander around the stalls looking for the best and the brightest. The smell of coffee, the tamales steaming, the peaches and strawberries and the wonderful ethnic breads and muffins, the colorful and affordable flowers, the colors of the different varieties of tomatoes and mushrooms from huge portobellos to tiny white buttons, the so sweet fresh beetroots and sweet radishes, and just about every vegetable that you could put in a salad, the many sized potatoes, citrus fruits, too many things to remember to list.

We have gotten to know the people at the stalls and get a bright, cherry grin and hello as they recognize us. What a huge selection of food to pick from to last us for the week. There is something different every week, sometimes cooked chicken, barbecue sausages, salmon and crab. Everything is so fresh, picked early this morning or last night. Best corn in town! I see something that I have never had before, and the person behind the scale, cuts a piece and offers it to me with instructions on how to cook it.

Good for the town of Walnut Creek also, as people come from other communities to join us with strollers of bright babies, who love to be coo'd at and young children, sampling wedges of apples and other fruits or vegetables. They take their time going home and stroll down the streets and visit the stores and the many ethnic restaurants downtown.

The best part of the market is making a dinner for friends, who exclaim over the freshness of the food and I can proudly say, "I bought it at the Farmer's Market.

For more essays

In this Issue:
Music: Liedstrand Family Band
Managers: Janice Faust & Karen Stiles. E-mail:
Harvest Festival and last day of the season.
Join us this Sunday for the final market of the season for Martinez. First Night Martinez will have a pumpkin decorating fundraiser at the Martinez Farmers' Market. Come help sponsor a good cause and give the farmers' a good old fashion farewell. See you next Spring!
From Karen Stiles, Co-Manager:
Well all good things come to an end, (for a while anyway).  Sunday is the last day of the market.  I want to thank all the loyal shoppers  who got up Sunday mornings to do your shopping.  We are lucky to have such great farmers to support the market and bring us the freshest veggies and fruit available.  Chef Lesley will be cooking up something tasty and easy with market products this Sunday and we will have Clown Twee Twee as we enjoy our last market of the season.  Delta Moon Soapworks will also be in.  Carla, the soap maker is available to answer any questions you might have.  This soap is made with goat milk and/or olive oil, great for sensitive skin.  The fragrances are outstanding-stop by and smell for yourself.  The web site for Delta Moon Soapworks is  Good stuff!  If you, like me, need to have your market produce year round come on over to Walnut Creek 9am to 1pm Sundays for you market goods.  Exit N Main, left at Parkside Dr., right on Civic to the parking lot behind the tennis courts.  Hope to see you this Sunday and until the first weekend in May 2007 when we reopen, hope to see you at Walnut Creek Market.  Or at Attic Child, Arna's and Fred's work is outstanding, Shakey Hand Galleries, or White Rabbit or an antique store or a fine restaurant or the waterfront, Martinez is a lovely community and I am grateful for all the support of Martinez shoppers and vendors.  See you Sunday!
For more info

Music: Leidstrand Family Band
Manager: Janice Faust. E-mail:
From Jan Faust, Manager:
Last Saturday at the Market I was thrilled to see the first satsuma mandarins at Hamada Farm. I love these juicy little gems. They are easy to peel, have no seeds and are the perfect size for lunches. That's pretty much everything I could ever want in a citrus fruit! I am also really enjoying the berries brought to us by Daisy Ortiz, and I hope this great weather continues so we can have them through the end of the season. I've also been enjoying the pears from Alhambra Valley. Last week I grilled a few with my pork chops and they were great. Vince at Rose Lane Farm has done the difficult work for us-- he has cut and seeded some beautiful winter squash so it is all ready to take home and bake. Vince also has some interesting  pumkins in many unusual colors.  These are not your run of the mill jack-o-lanterns. Our music this week is the Bryan Harrison Band. They are always a market favorite and play music we all know the words to. I'll try not to sing along too loudly! See you at the Market.
For more info

Pleasant Hill:
Music: Paulette Rene
Manager: Karen Stiles. E-mail:
Harvest festival and closing day for the season.
Join us this Saturday for the final market of the season for Pleasant Hill. See you next Spring!
From Karen Stiles, Manager:
Ahh, the last day of the Pleasant Hill Market. We sure had a hot spell this summer-115 degrees at the market and we all came anyway to get the best fruit and veggies available! Thank you to all the shoppers for supporting the small farms and local growers. I'll continue my market shopping in Walnut Creek on Sundays (year round market). From Pleasant Hill Bart continue down Oak Rd. than it becomes Civic Dr., at the fire station on you right take a left into the Civic Park parking lot. I find this lot easy to get in and out of (with the exception of when the ice rink is open). We will have a celebration at the market this Saturday with Chef Lesley doing a cooking demonstration and Twee Twee the clown coming to put smiles on all our faces, young and old alike! Again I want to thank you for supporting the farmers and hope to see you next year (we open the first weekend in May 2007), meanwhile I hope to see you all at the Walnut Creek Market this winter. See you Saturday.
For more info

Keith FarleyWalnut Creek:
Music: Idlel Frets - Blue Grass Band
Manager: Keith Farley. E-mail:
While the cat is away...the mice will play! The farmers and vendors at the Walnut Creek Farmers' Market will be participating in a booth decorating & dress up contest. Help us this weekend with your vote for the best costume and decorated booth! Your vote will give the winner 1 free stall space this Sunday 10/29.
Daylight savings time stops (fall back) on the 29th so when you go to bed on the 28th set your clocks back an hour and enjoy that extra hour. The market hours DO NOT CHANGE until the 3rd of December, so until then we will be open at 8 am until 1 pm.
For more info.
FROM OUR MARKET by Chef Leslie Stiles

As the weather turns chilly and crisp and the persimmons and pomegranates show their jewel like decorations we see another farmers' market season come to an end. The way that we judge a successful season is if there is an increase of shoppers from the year before. We definitely saw some increases at all the seasonal markets. This bodes well for the farmers as well as people getting out to the farmers markets as they are able to discover what real food tastes like. When you are able to identify real food your expectations surrounding anything you eat shoot way up and if yours are up the people you are feeding are going up too. Ideally this kind of philosophy could result in less what I like to refer to as synthetic food intake and more seasonal, living food intake.

I catered a party last night for a French wine tasting. They were pouring very nice wines and wanted specific foods with each one prepared in the classic French tradition. Well this kinda put me in a quandary and I had to weigh my options on sourcing and basic ingredients. I want to retain this client and I do not ever want anyone to taste anything that I have prepared and not really like it. In the last couple of years I've started using whole wheat flour and organic turbinado sugar or sucanat for all my baking. No one has really minded at all and actually I think it tastes better. There are levels and depths to the baked goods that were not there before.

So I have to figure out how to make the French people happy while not compromising my sustainable, healthy principles. I used Holding Angus beef from Hunter Holding in Lafayette for the Beef Bourguignon, organic lamb for the roasted lamb w/ béarnaise on croutons, whole wheat and local, organic eggs, and Alhambra Valley pears for the pear Brulee tarts, I even used whole wheat and organic butter for the choux puffs with fontina and shrimp. Farmers' market potatoes and mushrooms for the truffled potatoes were a no brainer. They were happy and the food was great. I felt like an old country peasant woman spreading her love through food. Felt good.

Seasonal shopping is very important on many different levels not to mention just the flavors. It is becoming increasingly necessary to cut use of fossil fuels and buying out of country produce is not helping conserve that energy a bit. The task and necessity of being able to go to the source of any food is becoming more apparent with the recent onset of e coli in spinach.

When you shop at the farmers market you have a straight line from the money leaving your hot little hand to the soil on the farm where that food was grown, usually within 100 miles of your home. When you buy an anonymous bag of spinach or lettuce or whatever in a large chain, even organic, you can not in most cases even find out the state or country of origin because it has been processed with spinach and lettuce from other growers all over the world in 1 of 3 washing facilities in the nation. It is like all the produce is sent to 3 places and all mixed up and packaged. How can you trace that? We all know how long it took to trace that spinach and in my humble opinion the outcome is dubious at best. People need an answer and some times accept one without question when it is provided by a governmental agency.

The same goes for any kind of processed beef. It comes from all over the world and is processed together so you can not trace a hamburger patty even to a specific country of origin if there is some kind of insidious bacteria outbreak. This is not even touching on the horrific process the cow goes through from birth to slaughter. The more you buy this local stuff, demanding a fresher more sustainable process, the more it will be available. Supply and demand works both ways; you just have to be aware of where your supply comes from. As I mentioned before, even if it is organic, when you are buying from a large source you need to question it. Hell, you need to question your farmers and keep them on it too.

I choose local, fresh, seasonal and a face with a big smile belonging to a person that grew my food ready to answer any questions I may have about their product.

Don't get me wrong, all this propaganda aint just for the environment and health either. I am a chef and live by the grill, oven, pot or bowl and am driven by the taste factor and memories related to specific tastes. When I find said specific flavors and find myself moaning in ecstasy because of it you can bet it aint coming out of no big chain but from a local patch of earth. I guess that kind of thing is what pays the rent around here as well as for the farmers'.

This is still amazing hiking, walking, biking whatever outdoors weather. Use it or lose it!

Lesley Stiles can be reached at or on the market hotline 925 431-8361
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