Palo Alto Farmers’ Markets: Recent Discoveries and Old Favorites
Each time I go to a farmers’ market I feel like I discover something new and wonderful, whether it be a new kind of vegetable or fruit, or taking the plunge to try something I’ve been meaning to for a long time (this last weekend it was squash blossoms!) or a completely new vendor. This weekend was no exception. I thought I’d share some of my recent discoveries and some old favorites that bring me back each week. These recommendations are for vendors at the 2 weekend Farmers’ Markets in Palo Alto. I’ve included links at the end for more details on each of them if they are new to you.
Happy Boy Farms (California Ave)
They have the most amazing salad greens. And what I love most, is that you can make your own salad mix from the wonderful array of prewashed organic greens each week. They have boxes full of various greens, all prices at $5 per pound so you can pick what you want and how much of each type of green you want. The selection varies each week but so far I have seen baby spinach, arugula, baby gem lettuce, baby lettuces, baby swiss chard and hearts of romaine. Grab a bag and go salad crazy! I love compiling my own salad mix right there. This salad alone would bring me to the market every Sunday.
This past weekend they also had gorgeous squash blossoms! They called to me. I’ve been dying to try cheese stuffed and fried blossoms forever after having seen them made a few times on Food Network. My husband agreed to give them a try, so we added them to our basket! BTW, we cooked them that evening and they were amazing!!
From what I remember, they also have lots of squash, radishes and herbs. During tomato season they tend to have super tomatos too! Can’t wait. They are at a number of other Farmer’s Markets in the area – hopefully one by you!
New Natives (California Ave)
A few weekends the samples at the New Natives stall beckoned me to try some sprouts. They carry a nice variety of organic sprouts and micro-greens. They have wheatgrass too. I left with a bag each of broccoli micro-greens and pea shoots. I’m now addicted to both. The micro-greens are really great in salads. I can’t wait to try them in a sandwich. The pea shoots are fantastic in fried rice. Next time I want to try some of their sprouted peas. Never had them, but trying all things sprouted these days in an effort to up the wholesomeness of what we eat!
Raw Daddy (California Ave)
I haven’t tried too much from them, and honestly I have to say I was a bit nervous too. But my husband has been meaning to and finally did this weekend. He got a Spicy Thai Salad Cone and liked it. While we waited they gave us a sample of their Chocolate Haystacks…YUM! Made with raw cocoa powder and raw coconut, sweetened with raw agave nectar. Very chocolaty with nice texture from the coconut. And they are packed full of good nutrients! I added 2 to my husband’s order. If you like chocolate, I highly suggest you try them! They are rich, so you probably wouldn’t get through more than one at a time. And they melt quickly, so keep that in mind if you plan to bring any home. Before we left we also go a sparkling ginger-lemonade. Crazy refreshing; perfect for the hot morning. I wish they bottled it, I want more! I think I always hesitated because I felt like the menu at the market took me too long to take in. I discovered while researching for this post that their menu is online so you can explore how adventurous you want to be before getting to the market. I may try a sweet cone next time, in addition to getting another ginger-lemonade!
They are also at the Santa Cruz and Berkley Farmer’s Markets. http://www.rawdaddyfoods.com/menu.html
Top Nosh (California Ave)
I discovered them about a year ago. They make gourmet pockets (pies as they call them) filled with high quality, natural ingredients. My favorite is the Chicken with Almonds & Yogurt. Actually, I love it so much I haven’t tried too many others because I haven’t been able to not stray. I usually stock up and get 6 at a time, leaving them in the freezer for when I want an easy dinner – all you need to do is add a side salad!
Oaxacan Kitchen – Serving up amazing Mexican (Palo Alto Downtown & California Ave)
Given the consistent lines each weekend, how great Oaxacan Kitchen if probably not news to anyone. This to show my love and for the few that may have skipped over them due to a line or never been at the market at the right time for a meal or snack, because their food is fresh, delicious and worth a little line. The service is also always pleasant. I particularly love the Tlayuda – unlike anything I’ve had before and satisfying in so many ways. I love how they have broadened my exposure to Mexican food! So next time, bring your appetite! (Side note: since it can be hard to eat at the market with our toddler, I sometimes time it so we’ll be done at the market just before lunch and get my order to go so I can eat it at home)
Gourmet Crepes (Palo Alto Downtown & California Ave)
Much like Oaxacan Kitchen, likely anyone local knows how amazing the crepes are here. They are truly really good – and I have had a lot of crepes in my time, including in France. I do tend to like mine simple so you can actually taste the crepe so I usually stick with the Citron, which is crepe + butter + sugar + lemon. Simple and delicious. I sometimes get their strawberry and rhubarb combo with chocolate sauce. For those who like a more indulgent crepe they have a very wonderful selection of both savory and sweet crepes to delight anyone. And they do not skimp on the fillings! You’ll be happy.
Farbrique’s Delices (Palo Alto Downtown & California Ave)
They have the best Spanish chorizo I’ve been able to find so far. It is cured and ready to eat. It is also the main ingredient in my Portuguese chicken. They have hard to find French goodies like pates, charcuterie and cheeses. They even have duck fat. I searched high and low one day for duck fat, I had decided I wanted baby potatoes roasted in duck fat for Christmas Eve dinner, decadent – yes, but it was Christmas Eve. I had no luck. A few weeks later, my thoughtful husband remembered and asked Fabrique Delices if they had any when he was getting some Toulouse sausage for me for my Sausage and Lentils dish.
Karen Johnson Specialty Cakes & Pastries (Palo Alto Downtown & California Ave)
Everything I have tried has been great. My absolute favorite is their cinnamon muffin… they are so good they are deadly! Treat yourself. You will not be disappointed. We started buying from them because they have a number of items catered to those with allergies, lots of egg/gluten/dairy-free items. Our little girl often had to pass up cookies and cupcakes due to her egg allergy. She now get to enjoy a browned butter shortbread cookie each time we go to the market!
Downtown Market: Sat 8-12 http://www.pafarmersmarket.org/index.html
California Ave Market: Sun 9-11 http://www.urbanvillageonline.com/markets/california.php