As if the fresh harvests aren’t reason enough to earn our devotion, the Farmers Markets summer Pop-Up Breakfast Series promises delicious culinary experiences. The summer gatherings starting at 10 a.m. are a chance to sit down to a zesty morning meal with friends and neighbors, listen to live music, and share seasonal plates created by top local chefs and graduates of the FoodWhat program. On-site cooking creates mouth-watering aromas that permeate the entire market. Four breakfasts are planned for the summer, $45 each, with the last one—a benefit for special market programs—priced at $75 per ticket. On June 9, join Chef Brad Briske of Home Restaurant as he makes breakfast magic up at the Scotts Valley Market. June 30, at the Westside Market, join Chef Marshall Bishop of Soif. On July 28 Chef Katherine Stern of La Posta will do breakfast honors at the Westside. And the final Aug. 18 Breakfast Pop-Up features the handiwork of Chef Kendra Baker of Assembly.
Sneak previews: on June 9, Briske will be whipping up a luxurious egg salad on Home’s house bread, plus a beef, lettuce and heirloom tomato sandwich with aioli, and dessert of bacon fat shortcake with stone fruit and sauce. On July 28 Katherine Stern plans a breakfast of savory rice porridge with pickled chili, Fiesta Farm chicken sausage, and a sweet finish of almond cake with stone fruit and whipped ricotta. Yes, I am getting hungry. For details and tickets go to santacruzfarmersmarket.org.
Only if your tastebuds are in a coma do you fail to anticipate the seasonal renaissance that happens this time of year at the Downtown Farmers Market. Spring brings the most delicate and sought-after harvests, those primavera specialties that foretell the full blossoming of summer and its robust landscape of fruits, vegetables, herbs, flowers, and their produce friends.
Starting April 4, the Downtown Farmers Market kicks into high gear with its spring/summer hours, 1 to 6 p.m. every Wednesday. The days are longer, and more sun means more everything! Fava beans, strawberries, green garlic, and cherries—these always mean spring to me. It’s been a year since I could inhale the perfume of berries at their very best, and right now they’re all worth indulging. Fresh asparagus is one of the jewels of the spring harvest, and the gorgeous colors of soft multi-petaled ranunculi are impossible to resist. This is the time of year that I can truly adorn my table with fresh flowers, adding visual pleasure to our dinners.
Don’t miss the must-have bok choy blossoms waiting for you at the Happy Boy farm stand. Try them in any stir-fry, on salads, or atop your favorite burger.
Extended spring/summer hours mean you have more time to stroll, graze, and fill your grocery bag at the Downtown Market. Nothing beats locally sourced produce or the best from artisanal chefs. Join me, your friends, and your neighbors in this vibrant tradition.
Dare to Pair
Always so much fun is this chance to check out the intriguing alliances between wines made by the Surf City Vintners group (the ones clustered near Kelly’s on the Westside), and culinary students from the Cabrillo College Culinary Arts Program. Sunday, April 15, graze from noon to 3 p.m., sample the food and wine pairings and vote for your favorites. Tickets ($75), benefit the Cabrillo culinary arts program—lots of wine and lots of seriously woke food. Winners will be announced at 4:30 p.m. during a block-long after party. Wineries include Bartolo, Equinox, Quinta Cruz, Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard, Silver Mountain Vineyards, Sones Cellars, Stockwell Cellars and Storrs Winery. For tickets or more information, visit daretopair.org.