GET STONED: Stone fruit, like these Dapple Dandy pluots, are at their peak season at San Francisco's Ferry Plaza Farmers Market (click for a slideshow).
MarketWatch is a monthly report on what's fresh and new at farmers markets in New York and San Francisco. If you've visited a farmers market recently in your own community, tell us what's new in the comments. And, if you have photos, be sure to post them to the MarketWatch flickr pool.
NEW YORK: UNION SQUARE GREENMARKET
"August and September are the most bumpin' times of the year," happily declares Gabrielle Langholtz, Greenmarket Manager of Publicity & Special Projects. Whoa, has hip-hop flava come to the Greenmarket? New Jack Squash? Um, no. Langholtz quickly clarifies that she was referring to the bumper crop of fruit and vegetables on display at the market now and into late summer. Seemingly everything -- from corn to eggplant, herbs, and stone fruit -- is abundant and will stay that way until fall's first frost hits. Bumpin', indeed.
Field-grown tomatoes, artichokes, and shell beans are new to the market. The first lima beans arrived last week, and expect to see cranberry beans, canellini, and soybeans (edamame) soon.
A harbinger of fall, the first new apples have arrived: "greening" variety Lodi apples are bright green, firm, and tart.
Now is the "season" for pastured chicken . Though you can purchase free-range chicken year-round, only now can you buy chickens which have been feeding exclusively on summer grass for their brief lives. Naturally, the eggs of pastured hens are also in their prime, with deep orange yolks.
In terms of ready-to-eat prepared foods, the vegetable farmers at Evolutionary Organics farm have turned their summer bounty of tomatoes and cucumbers into fresh salsa and cucumber salad (flavored with shiso and lemon balm).
Depending on the weather, grapes, pears, quince, and hot peppers should arrive soon. Fatefully, winter squash will also make its appearance.
SAN FRANCISCO: FERRY PLAZA FARMERS MARKET
I was in San Francisco last week and took the opportunity to check out the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market live and in person. I came on a relatively subdued Tuesday when anywhere between 15 to 20 farmers are selling (during the crush of the Saturday market, those numbers nearly triple to anywhere from 50 to 75 farmers). The Tuesday market may be smaller, but the array of produce for sale is no less spectacular. There was an abundance of impressive stone fruit, including some incredibly sweet and juicy Dapple Dandy pluots. Click for a slideshow.
Early Girl Tomatoes have arrived recently, along with sweet baby Roma tomatoes. As in New York, the first hint of fall comes with the arrival of the first apples, native green Gravensteins from Sebastopol.
The aforementioned Dapple Dandy pluots, dried kiwis, and rare Padron peppers; heirloom tomato juice from Happy Girl Kitchen and Burbank plum and Meyer lemon conserve from June Taylor.
Apricots, fresh lavender, fava beans, and peas.
Sources: Gabrielle Langholtz, Greenmarket Manager of Publicity & Special Projects; Lulu Meyer, Associate Director of Operations, Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture.