Note: This post is part of an ongoing report on my efforts to eat locally for the month of May. You can read about my goals, exceptions and guidelines here.
Squash blossoms, debugged.
Wednesday is the farmers' market day in Los Angeles--well, Santa Monica to be exact. It's the day for the biggest and most diverse market in the greater LA region, the one that local chefs go to, the one highlighted each week on KCRW's Good Food. Yet, unless you're the aforementioned chef or collecting unemployment, it's daytime hours make it virtually impossible for us working stiffs to visit.
So, needing to refresh my local produce on Wednesday, I did not take an extra long lunch and head to the beach but instead left work just a tad early and stopped at the much smaller market in the St. Agnes Catholic Church parking lot just before the intersection of Vermont and Adams, a much poorer section of town than tony Santa Monica.
The Vermont/Adams market was all about green and orange. Most stands were awash in either various lettuces, collards, bok choy, cilantro, parsley and other big bunches of leafy greens or piles of oranges. There was a honey guy and an egg gal, and one prepared food stand selling icees and popcorn. Most sellers and customers were Hispanic, and my pathetic Spanish got me the location of most of the farms (predominately Riverside, east of LA, within my 100 mile radius) but not much more than that. One guy had some bunches of what I call snakegrass, he called horsetails. I asked about it and he said people make tea out of it to help with their kidneys.
I picked up squash blossoms, basil, carrots and some large, finger shaped radishes. Squash blossoms were new to me--they smell delightfully squashy and worked well in an egg scramble with fresh basil and chives. I cooked 'em up whole, but first removed the stems and stamen. Mine were also alive with teeny, tiny bugs, so be sure to wash them carefully as well.
Vermont/Adams Farmers' Market
Wednesdays, Sept-May 2 pm-5 pm, June-Aug 1 pm-6 pm
1432 W. Adams, St. Agnes Catholic Church
Just west of Vermont/Adams, on the south side of the street