This is the Weekly E-Newsletter of Contra Costa Certified Farmers' Markets for Friday, December 8, 2006
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Walnut Creek

New Hours:

December-April - Winter Season
9:00am - 1:00pm

Market will be closed on December 24 & 31

These programs are now available in Walnut Creek:
The Frequent Shopper Card (from Nov. thru April);
Year-Round Parking Validation;
The Veggie Valet booth.

For more info

Once again the non-profit groups have joined us for a few weeks to fundraise for their respective causes. Your help is needed!


From Chef Lesley Stiles:

Persimmon Bread with wheat free alternative

2 cups brown rice flour
¾ cup tapioca flour
3/4 cup potato starch
2 ½ teaspoons of xanthan gum (available at Harvest House)
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons fresh grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons fresh ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
3 tablespoons of sucanat (available at Harvest House)
1 cup of melted vegan Earth Balance buttery sticks (available at Harvest House)
2 cups persimmon pulp
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts 2 cups fresh cranberries
½ cup soy milk or bourbon

Preheat oven to 350° and spray 5 small loaf pans or 3 large ones.

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the wet ingredients. Mix lightly and add the walnuts, persimmon and cranberries. Mix up and pour into prepared pans. Bake for 40 minutes or until a pick comes out clean.

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Persimmon Bread w/ Cranberries and Walnuts

Butter and flour either 2 regular sized loaf pans or 6 small size loaf pans. Preheat oven to 350°.

Sift together
3 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 tablespoon of baking soda
2 teaspoons of freshly grated nutmeg
2 ¼ cups sugar

Make a well in the dry ingredients and stir in
1 cup melted butter
2/3 cup whiskey or brandy
2 ½ cups persimmon puree
1 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup cranberries

Bake 45 minutes to an hour testing for doneness with a pick.

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More recipes

Lesley Stiles is a graduate of the California Culinary Academy and the Community Relations person for Contra Costa Certified Farmers' Markets.
She can be reached at, or the market hotline at 925 431 8361.
In this Issue:
Walnut Creek:
Music: Legends of Martinez
Manager: Keith Farley. E-mail:
Market Hours: On Dec. 3rd the hours changed to 9am to 1pm - winter hours thru April.
From Keith Farley, Manager:
We are coming to the end of another year with only two markets left in 2006. The Walnut Creek Market will be closed for the last 2 weeks of the year to allow our farmers and vendors to spend time with family and loved ones during the holidays.

Mother Nature made a liar of me this past Sunday and there were strawberries in the market! Pete Medina of Medina Berry Farm was as surprised as I was. He expects one more week, this Sunday, and that will be the last of them. I can't remember a time we had strawberries into mid December.

Mee-Vang, our Asian vegetable grower, let me know that he will be out of the market until the 21st of January 2007. He wanted me to let everyone know how grateful he and his family are for all the support the Walnut Creek shoppers have given him over the past year and he looks forward to seeing everyone in 2007.

This time of year the parking gets even worse, so please use the alternate parking that is available. The ice rink makes it a little more challenging but if you come out early you will find ample parking close to the market. I will validate your parking in any Walnut Creek parking garage, just bring you parking stub to the market table for a sticker.

The woven market baskets are available again at the market table for only $15.00 and are a bargain at that price. These baskets hold a lot and have long straps so you can use it over the shoulder too. They could make a nice hostess gift with a nice bottle of wine or some market products like jams & jellies inside. Get yours this Sunday.

Remember the market will be closed Christmas Eve (24th) and New Years Eve (31st) and will reopen on Sunday the 7th of January 2007.
More info.

Martinez, Orinda & Pleasant Hill:
Markets closed for the season
FROM OUR MARKETS by Chef Leslie Stiles
Lesley Stiles With all the sunshine we have been experiencing the strawberries are still hanging around at least for one more week. We have been having some quick amazing winter fruit salads around our house with these berries as well as kiwi from Shigley's, Fuyu's, Satsuma mandarins and Stan's apples. Now this is something that you can not go wrong with. These are all fruits that will stay really good for a day two so you can make it ahead for even quicker preparation if more time is what you need. The kiwis are as tasty as I have ever had, this season. Smooth and creamy with aggressive tastes of tropical fruit flavors lingering on your taste buds. Major yummy. Maybe it is because it has been awhile since I had them, lending credence to the seasonal anticipation theory, none the less they have been consistently awesome.

You will not find vine ripened kiwi in the grocery. For large scale distribution and sales they are picked as apples and tomatoes are, way in advance of actual table readiness and gassed for swift ripening on the way to the distribution center and then on to the grocery stores. I say buy local and fresh for optimum flavor, nutrition and impact on the environment. All the better if you get organic.

The little Satsuma's are really showing off now too. The loose skins and no seed factors make them perfect for little hands that may be chilly ripping into a lunch somewhere. Same goes for Stan's apples. He told me last Sunday that these apples are being picked every week and are not in cold storage yet. Yahoo. You can see the sugar lines developing when you cut into them. This here is what I am talking about folks. When you get fresh picked and local foods from your farmers' market it is always a party in your body.

This is the season for parties as we all know, some of us, caterers that is, know better than others but regardless of your job, there are ways to maneuver these parties without becoming physically and emotionally bombarded. If you know your host person well you may know ahead of time the kind of food or wine you will get at the party. Bring a bottle of wine that you know will not give you a ripping headache with the first sip and open it when you get there. Perfectly acceptable behavior and to tell you the truth no one will notice anyway. Be sure to suck down plenty of bubbly, water that is, along with the alcohol. Bring a fruit or vegetable tray and eat it in between warm brie and mushrooms and special brownies. I can say right now from experience that you will be the hit of the party if you bring a tray of seasonal, organic fruit just picked or bought from the farmers' market.

For the first time in a long time there is interest among farmers in the San Joaquin Valley regarding the federal subsidies in the farm bill. About 75 "specialty crop" farmers have organized a coalition and are proposing to the Federal Government subsidies program that they might get a piece of the action. Traditionally the subsidies have gone primarily to growers of 5 crops. No surprise that the crops are corn, soy beans, wheat, rice and cotton. The so called "specialty crop" growers have never been given the subsidies because they have in the past been judged to have gained a higher profit on their crops, so says the subsidies program. The motivation for the coalition's proposal is the huge influx of foreign produce being sold in California. As you might envision, this will not go down well with the mono crop farmers in the Midwest that have had a near monopoly on the subsidies for years. Hoping to evade a huge fight, the coalition from California is earmarking their subsidies as marketing and promotion dollars to be able to sell more local, home grown food as opposed to incredibly cheap produce flooding the market from China and Mexico. I don't know about you but I really do not want to eat "fresh" produce imported from China. The major push is on to Buy Local. The consequences are too scary to even imagine if these small farmers go out of business to cheap, imported, genetically modified food. Can you say Jetsons?

Get out there and walk, ride, run whatever! Use it or lose it!

For more information on the 2007 Food and Farm Bill visit:
Lesley Stiles can be reached at or on the market hotline 925 431-8361
DID YOU KNOW? by Manager Keith Farley
The press release below from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that farmers' markets are on the rise in the U.S. - we knew this. The best source of fresh, locally grown produce is from the farmers directly and the consumers and the farmers are now realizing this. More and more shoppers are turning to the local farmers' markets to purchase fresh produce and specialty food products more than ever.

Every Sunday in talking to the shoppers at the Walnut Creek market I hear that not only are you shopping our markets but are shopping other farmers' markets during the week so that you have a continuing source of "non-store bought" foods. This bears out the results of the USDA survey.

Keep shopping the markets and the farmers will continue to bring their best - it's a good cycle.

USDA Press Release 12/06/2006: New Farmers' Market Statistics

The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the number of farmers markets increased more than 7 percent between 2005 and 2006, preliminary results of a survey indicate.

The new numbers are based on an update of the National Farmers Market Directory by USDA's Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), and the preliminary results of the 2006 USDA National Farmers Market Survey, conducted by AMS in partnership with Michigan State University.

"These statistics show farmers markets continue to be an increasing source of income for our nation's farmers," said AMS Administrator Lloyd Day. "Their popularity with consumers is growing, and buyers enjoy fresh, locally grown products."

The updated directory lists 4,385 farmers markets currently operating in the United States, representing a 7 percent increase from 4,093 farmers markets in 2005. As a result of the strong growth in the number of farmers markets, total sales volumes are estimated at about $1 billion for 2005, significantly larger than the estimated sales volume of $888 million in 2000.

Average sales at individual farmers markets in 2005 totaled about $245,000; average annual sales per vendor totaled $7,108. Marketing opportunities at farmers markets were sufficiently favorable in 2005 that, on average, 25 percent of vendors from surveyed farmers markets relied on these markets as their sole source of farm-based income.
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