Some favorite summer sweets, ready to enjoy (from market bag to mouth). While the heirloom tomatoes (top) are sweet enough to eat alone, they are even more delicious with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil, and salt and pepper. Yum.
Photos taken at the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite day to go: always crowded and full of people picking out fresh produce for their Thanksgiving feasts. I love to overhear conversations with shoppers and vendors talking about what they’re making and sharing tips and wishes for a good holiday. The “go organic or go home” apple vendor from Paso Robles gave me the tip a few years ago to use some Pink Lady apples with Granny Smith ones when making apple pie.
We picked up three baskets of Gaviota strawberries from Harry’s Berries at the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market on Sunday and could have easily eaten them all (they’re that good) but managed to save them for dessert. I wanted to bake something and chose the strawberry shortcake recipe from “The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook” by Amelia Saltsman. When her book was first released, I had the chance to spend some time with Saltsman for a interview, shopping with her at the Farmers’ Market as we talked about her recipes and farm-to-table feasting on local and seasonal organic produce.
For the strawberry shortcake, I followed the recipe for the biscuits and whipped cream but, because the strawberries were so perfect as is, I decided against mixing them with sugar (why mess with perfection?). Slice the biscuits on plates, top with sliced strawberries, and finish with fresh whipped cream.
The complete version of this interview was originally published on Greenopia.com
Below, my interview Amelia Saltsman, an educator and the author of The Santa Monica Farmers’ Market Cookbook.
How did you get involved in your line of work?
I thrive on a sense of community— that’s how my connection to the farmers’ market began. I began to write about my experiences and the farmers’ stories and the ingredients themselves and then the farmers’ market became a focal point.
Best part of your job?
When a reader or student comes to a demo or class and says, I can do that. We think everything is so hard and we’re reluctant to change habits and we often think we need to have to do everything all at once or it’s not good enough. But you can do a little at a time.
What’s an eco-friendly gift you like to give?
Small food items that are unique to Southern California. For instance, I love to bring freshly dried dates or special citrus—an offering from my area and something that evokes a sense of place.
Do you have a favorite environmental book?
Omnivore’s Dilemma. I love the way Michael Pollan writes and I think he has the most wonderful way of writing about the issues.
If you were a tree, what kind of tree would you be?
Blenheim apricot tree. We had one in my backyard when I was a kid and my grandmother would come to visit from Israel and make apricot jam. It’s a beautiful tree with sun-kissed fruit.
Describe your path to green: how and when you became eco-conscious.
Flavor. When you look for foods that taste great naturally, everything falls into place. Once I found farmers’ markets in my local community, I never looked back.