Sunday, December 2, 2012

Our local super market

One of the many joys of spending the winter in Palm Springs is shopping for fruit and vegetables at the farmers market. This runs every Saturday from 9am to noon in the car park of a largely derelict shopping centre.  I drop Philip off at the gym for his weekly session of zumba (prancing around if you ask me!) then I go off to buy fruit and veg for the week! The range of produce here is amazing - its a super market! No problem buying the ordinary vegetables - cabbages, broccoli, celery and so on - its all here. However a few names are different - coriander is called cilantro, they've never heard of courgettes but call them zucchini, beetroots are called beets and often just grown for the leaves, and salad potatoes are called fingerlings! The challenges of American English.

Early morning marketeering

Then there are the less common vegetables like heirloom tomatoes, all sorts of different squashes, gourmet mushrooms, cheeses, eggs, fresh dates and of course masses of fresh citrus sold by the sack! Other fruit is not quite so varied. There are lots of apples, some pears and there are nearly always strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. It good to see the yellow raspberries also available, although I'm not convinced the taste is any better. There are olive oil products, fresh herbs and a wonderful artisan baker. (Its Sunday morning here and we've just finished the croissants I bought yesterday - yum!)

Johnny's Garden - a small grower!

Heirloom tomatoes - sometimes visually challenged and expensive but the flavour!

Some produce is in very small quantities so arrive early!

Persimmons - (an acquired taste), fresh avocado, ripe limes

Custard squash and stripey aubergines

Carrots in rainbow colours
Another stall to visit early - it always sells out

There is a flower stall with bunches of flowers all at $5 a bunch, the usual things plus lots of sunflowers and tall marigolds which feature in the South American Day of the Dead traditions in November. One nurseryman hauls in a huge truckload of palm trees each week which are generally the common landscape species, so not particularly exciting. I've never seen him sell any. Another grower brings orchids and houseplants. The vivid blue orchids fascinate but horrify me!  I cannot believe they are natural. I guess dyed in a similar manner to the way florists abuse some cut flowers.

Great cheap flowers but the colour mixes - ouch!

The palm man - those silvery ones - so tempting! Are they Chamaerops, Brahea or small Bismarckias?

The orchid man's stand

No - I don't believe the colour!

This is known as a Certified Farmer's Market. Certification simply means that the grower agrees to regular inspections of his holding and has to submit a program of what he intends to grow.  This then gives an assurance to the buyer that the produce has been grown locally by that farmer. The word farmer seems to be loosely interpreted, so an individual growing herbs in his back garden can become a Certified Farmer! Although much of the produce is organically grown or at least grown without the use of pesticides, this certification is different from organic certification.

Similar events do occur in the UK but are often just once a month which is pointless! You can't stock up with fresh vegetables for a month which means back to the supermarkets in between to buys produce from the other side of the world! If anyone knows of a good regular one near Nottingham, do let me know!

1 comment:

  1. Good selection of produce, and was surprised to see palms being sold there as well. The silvery leafed palms looks like Brahea. Those Heirloom tomatoes must have superb flavour!