Julie Green and Keen: farmers market
Showing posts with label farmers market. Show all posts
Showing posts with label farmers market. Show all posts
This time of year is not only beautiful but a great time at the farmers market.  There are still summer fruits and vegetables and just the very beginning of fall produce as well.  It is the peak harvest time around US and there are so many places to get fresh food around the city.  I recently read this blog post about an “Eat Local Challenge”.

Because this time of year is so good for finding plenty of fresh and locally grown foods, I think it is a great idea.

 Eating locally isn’t as hard as it might seem.  With farmers markets and co-ops there are many opportunities to find local food.  The co-op is a great place to go for ingredients you might not find at a farmers market like flour, spices, or some specific herbs.  At my co-op they label the local products with a green local sticker to make it easier when shopping.

Buy and eating local is not only go for you, it is good for the environment and the local economy.  I always try eating as local as I can to make sure the money I am spending stays in my community and within the state.  The distance to sell and purchase is shorter when eating locally, making the truck and/or transportation costs and emissions significantly lower.

Fruit and coffees are often the only products I buy that are not locally grown, but in those cases I always look for “fair-trade” products.  Fair trade products help the farms, often in third world countries get a better deal for their products.  By purchasing fair trade you are giving the farmers more control of their product and their futures of protecting the environment where they grow.  I believe that nearly everything should be fair trade, we should be treating farmers with respect for their product and letting them take charge of their deserved money.

I know my family won’t have a problem doing this challenge, but I want to challenge all my family, friends, and readers as well.  I pose the challenge to go 30 days eating only foods grown, caught, or raised within your state.  Try educating yourself and your family on the nutritional, economic, environmental, and cultural benefits of eating locally sourced foods.

Give it a try, even if you can’t complete the challenge, try eating as locally and fresh as possible.  When produce is picked and eaten at the height of ripeness it not only is delicious, but it also is packed with nutrients to make you feel great!

Go for it eat locally, I challenge you!

Go Green and Stay Keen,



by on 8/04/2017
This time of year is not only beautiful but a great time at the farmers market .  There are still summer fruits and vegetables and just the...
There is no doubt if you have a family, budgeting is extremely important during grocery shopping.  This morning while I was shopping I ran into one of my good friends and we were joking around that feeding a family needs its own full time job to pay for it…especially growing boys.  After thinking, I realized I do a lot to budget and save a little at the check outs.

I am sure, if you have kids, you already know how to save but why not share a few of my secrets in case you don’t already use them. :)

•    Buying in season and at the farmers market is a lifesaver for me.  It is a great way to get fresh fruits and produce and to save a few dollars.  Buying straight from the farmer or farm cuts down on the transportation costs and also minimizes the harmful emissions from big trucks.  Shopping at the farmers marketing is an experience in itself, full of vibrant foods, interesting people, and plenty of laughs.

•    Instead of getting fancy “super foods” find your own super foods and concoct a super food recipe.  Social media, the news, and word of mouth spreads food hype so quickly it is hard to know what is actually true and what is just made up to make a little extra money.  There are so many wonderful foods that are readily available for a low costs that are high in nutrients.  Skip the hype and go for something that has lasted the test of time.

•    I never skip the frozen section at the grocery store.  Fruits and vegetables that are in the frozen section are always in season.  Because most of these products are picked and frozen during their peat ripeness, they retain all their nutritional values.  They also go on sale more frequently than fresh products, so stock up.

•    Skip the name brand and chose the store brand.  I know there are those products and brands you can give up, but does it really matter what kind of pasta it is or what brand the olive oil is.  Save a few cents goes a long way when you’re shopping every week.  To make sure I am getting a good quality store brand I always make sure the check and compare the ingredients list.  Sometimes the store brand is even healthier!

•    Coupon!  I don’t mean like “Extreme Couponing” but going on the stores website or browsing a paper before heading to the store can help schedule meals during the week in accordance to what is on sale.  Many stores accept competitor’s coupons and online coupons presented on your smart phone to save on paper.

Saving a few extra bucks a week on groceries can go a long way when you are saving up for college tuition.  What are your grocery saving tricks?

Go Green and Stay Keen,


It is about that time of the year again, when I go to the farmers market and start seeing new spring fruits and vegetables.  I am lucky enough to live in a part of the US where we have fresh produce year-round.

California produces about 80% of all fruits and vegetables in the US; so I like to think that we are setting the seasonal standard for the rest of the country.  :)

Spring brings new and exciting flavors to spice up the cooking.  I love the lightness and freshness that spring produce provides to otherwise “heavy” dishes.  I have made of list of fruits and veggies you should begin looking for at farmers markets to “spring into spring” cooking.

•    Artichokes are seasonally harvested in the spring and again in the early fall.

•    Arugula can be found year-round but I believe the taste is richer in the spring and fall.

•    Asparagus is absolutely wonderful in the spring.  The light flavor it brings to dishes is perfect for the season.

•    Fava Beans are sweet and “spring-y” for the season.  They come in soft green pods and are delicious in salads.

•    Green Garlic and Garlic Scapes are harvested and taste best in the spring.  They add a delicate garlicky flavor to spring and early summer dishes.

•    One of my favorite fruits, Grapefruit is juicy and I believe it is the best in the spring.

•    Green Onions and Scallions are perfect now.  I love combining green onions and garlic into salads in the spring.  It provides the perfect flavor for a light tasting dish.

•    Lettuce is sold year round, but spring brings the best flavor and hearty heads.

•    Mushrooms, especially Morel, are at their peak in the spring.  You know I love mushrooms if you read my post about mushroom month.  http://juliegreenandkeen.blogspot.com/2014/09/national-mushroom-month.html

•    New potatoes are freshly harvested young, small potatoes that are excellent in the spring.  They are easy to peel and are very crisp inside.

•    Peas and Pea Pods are harvested in the spring and early summer.  I love pea soup, I can’t wait to get my hands on some fresh peas.

•    Radishes are also seasonal.  They are the best spring through fall.

•    Rhubarb has so many recipe possibilities and it is at its prime in the spring.  I love making rhubarb deserts and adding it to just about everything.

•    Who doesn’t love snap peas?  They are the perfect snacks and are seasonally the best now.

•    STRAWBERRIES ARE BACK!! Strawberries taste delicious in anything and they are in season.  I add them to smoothies, salads, and just eat them plain.

I have been anxious to begin spicing up my cooking with new spring flavors.  I think that cooking seasonally with fresh produce from farmers market is a great way to keep cooking exciting and fresh.  I can’t wait to go crazy at the farmers market and come up with some new recipes!  Have fun eating seasonally.

Go Green and Staying Keen,


Seasonally Spring Foods

by on 3/22/2015
It is about that time of the year again, when I go to the farmers market and start seeing new spring fruits and vegetables.  I am lucky eno...
There is just something about a good soup that warms your body.  I consider myself somewhat of a soup-a-holic, if I had to survive off of one food it would be soup.  There are so many possibilities when cooking it, it can be savory, spicy, light, cold, warm, and the list goes on.  I decided to make my favorite Chunky Pepper Potato soup for dinner tonight so I am going to share a few of my favorite vegetarian soup recipes.

Chunky Pepper Potato Soup


½ cup chopped onion
4 medium potatoes, cubed
1 medium green pepper, chopped
1 medium sweet red pepper, chopped
1 medium sweet yellow pepper chopped
2 cups vegetable broth
3 cups almond milk
¼ cup cornstarch
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper


In a sauce pan cook onion until it is tender and stir in potatoes, peppers, and broth and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Stir in milk and cornstarch and stir until smooth.  Bring to boil and stir for 2 minutes until thickened.  Add the salt, pepper, and cayenne.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup


2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 (1 lbs.) package of frozen pepper and onion stir fry mix
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 tbsp. ground cumin
1 (28oz.) can crushed tomatoes
3 (4 oz.) cans chopped green Chile peppers, drained
4 (14 oz.) cans vegetable broth
1 (11 oz.) can whole kernel corn
12 oz. tortilla chips
1 cup shredded cheese
1 avocado, diced
Salt and pepper to taste


In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil and stir in the pepper and onion stir fry mix, garlic, and cumin.  Cook for 5 minutes until vegetables are tender.  Mix in the tomatoes and Chile peppers then pour in broth and season with salt and pepper
Bring to boil then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
Add corn into the soup and continue cooking for about 5 minutes.  Serve with tortilla chips and top with cheese and avocado.

Cool Fresh Tomato and Avocado Soup- so yummy can you can get almost all the ingredients at the farmers market! :)


4 large tomatoes, chopped
2 avocados, diced
¼ cup red onion, chopped
¼ cup cucumber, chopped
¼ cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
¾ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cumin
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
Handful of sliced romaine lettuce


Combine all the ingredients together, except the avocado, in a large bowl.  Lightly mash with a potato masher and stir in 1 cup of water.
Cover and let chill for at least an hour and then stir in the avocado and romaine lettuce.

I hope these yummy soup recipes ignite the “soup-a-holic” in you!  I know we are going to be eating good at home tonight.

Go Green and Stay Keen,


Ready for another great post on farmers markets?  It is hard not to write about it every time I make a visit.  This morning while mingling amongst a few of my farmer friends, I noticed a couple that appeared to be new to the farmer’s market “scene.”  I went over and introduced myself, it turns out this was their first market.  I shared with them about how much I love buying locally and how farmers markets are the best to do so.  After talking with them, they seemed much more at ease and ready start shopping.

After my encounter with new market goers, I thought it would be great to share a few tips on how to shop at farmers markets if you are new to it and how to experience all that makes it what it is.  So here you go!

•    Go early- I always like to be at the market right after it opens.  There is a large selection and you don’t have to worry about your coveted favorite veggies to be sold out.

•    Bring a few reusable bags to carry your yummy purchases in.  Farmers usually don’t supply their own bags.

•    Bring small amounts of cash.  A lot of famers don’t have change for large bills.  Some larger markets have ATM’s nearby and with technology some farmers even have their own credit card readers.

•    Try new things.  Sometimes the most odd looking vegetable or fruit is the best tasting.  Try new weirdly shaped, unfamiliar or interesting veggies and fruits, your taste buds will thank you!  Every once in a while I find strawberries, like this one, in quite unique shapes.  I sometimes feel bad eating them because they are just so neat.

•    Talk to your farmers!  It is not every day that you get to talk to the person who grew your big juicy tomato. The farmers are often keen to talk with you about their harvests and tell you about the land.  And if you’re lucky, they might even share some of their recipes on how to cook it!  After talking, it is easy to make good food choices and personalize exactly what is on your plate.

•    Ask questions and create a community environment.  Get to know those around you, chat about your best finds, and enjoy the experience.

I’m sure you know from all my posts I really love farmers markets, eating seasonally, and buying locally.  I believe that they are a great place to find fresh, affordable, and delicious fruits, and veggies!

Farmers markets are for everyone!  Don’t be discouraged if you are intimidated on your first visit, trust me, I was too.  I encourage everyone to try to get the most out of local farmers markets and learn to love them as much as I do!

Go Green and Staying Keen,


I love shopping at the farmers market for fresh fruits and vegetables.  It is the perfect place to buy seasonal fresh foods.  The seasons changing set a natural backdrop for what we should be eating.  With fall approaching…well kind of, it’s just my favorite season, I thought I would share how I try to eat seasonally and a few of my fall favorites.  Who is ready for some apple cider and scarfs?

Fall is one of my favorite seasons, the rich trending colors and the unexplainable feeling of warmth makes it my favorite season.  Although San Francisco doesn't have that much of a change from summer to fall, you can still find seasonal foods and cook with the fresh harvests of the season.

It is hard know what foods are in season if you go to a grocery store.  Pesticides, chemicals, and means of transportation allow you to find any fruit or vegetable available the throughout the year.  To truly know what is seasonal I go to the local farmers market.  It is great, you can see what the farmers are growing and harvesting.  CUESA.org is a great website to see what fruits, vegetables, and herbs are in season in the San Francisco area.  CUESA (Center of Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is a great organization that works to cultivate sustainable food systems through the operation of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and its educational programs.
When I go to the farmers market, whether it is for the restaurant or for my personal consumption, I take pride in knowing where my food came from and how it was grown.  I like to ask the farmer questions about the food and how they grow it.  It’s nice getting to know them a little bit before you purchase.  I find it rewarding when I understand the relationship that the food has beyond just filling our stomachs.  When I know where my ingredients came from, I can embrace the passion that went into growing them and express that passion when cooking them.

Fall makes me want to cook warm delicious food nonstop.  When I think of fall I immediately think about apples, pumpkins, and warm spices; coincidentally they are in season too.  One of my favorite desert snacks for fall are Ginger Baked apples.  It is so good, seasonal, and the whole family loves them.  I found the recipe last fall at herbazest.com .  I’m pretty sure I made them at least once a week.  Fall cooking is one of my favorites, check out my Pinterest board for all my favorite recipes.  I promise they are so good; they won’t disappoint you!

What makes eating healthy even more enjoyable is participating in seasonal harvests.  You can appreciate your food and knowing where it came from.  Going to a farmers market isn’t like going to a grocery store, it is an experience like no other.  Check out your local farmers market and share what seasonal fruits and vegetables you find!
Happy almost fall,

Go Green and Staying Keen,

Even when you think you know it all…there are always new things to learn and innovative ways to be creative with your food.  I have been a vegetarian for more than five years and still feel like I keep learning new ways to cook and incorporate different ingredients into recipes.  Everyone at the restaurant is so knowledgeable and happy to share ideas and experiences to all that want to listen.  Working at a vegetarian restaurant has catapulted my learning into something even more than I thought possible.  It is definitely what makes working there so great!  

My brilliant chef has not only been my herb garden instigator, but also been my personal cookbook the past couple months.  He is always suggesting new ways to make dishes and how to add a little “pizazz” to an old recipe.  Somehow he can concoct a fresh recipe out of ingredients you would never thought about putting together.  His enthusiasm for vegetarian cuisine is great for our restaurant’s morale, the patrons who come here, and most importantly their taste buds.
As the manager, I have to learned to wear many hats; public relations, human resources, customer service, contracting food and so many more. I have also learned about sourcing food and what to look out for when purchasing goods.  Our restaurant always strives to yield fresh and original blends of ingredients in every dish.  I enjoy purchasing from local farmers that do not process their products.  By buying straight from the farmers you can be assured they have not be cross contaminated any of the products with meat; which is extremely important in our restaurant.  We purchase a few ingredients from a restaurant distributor, but we always make sure that it has been certified as vegetarian by the American Vegetarian Association.
Farmers Market- Meeting with local farmers

The knowledge I have obtained about foods and herbs from working in the restaurant is abundant.  I have a better understanding of ingredients and how they work in to create an unforgettable favor.  I have learned even more about how different types of foods yield important nutrients that are important in a vegetarian diet. Don’t worry I will post be posting my experiences with you, my friends, and family.
Oh, the things I have learned…J I never expected to learn how to order ingredients for a restaurant or working directly with patrons to create new dishes that appeal to them.  I am proud of how far I’ve come and what still lies in front of me.  I hope I never stop learning! 

Go Green and Keep Staying Keen!


Learning never ends

by on 7/18/2014
Even when you think you know it all…there are always new things to learn and innovative ways to be creative with your food.  I have been a ...