wild food

Edible Plants

Wild Onions: Natures delectable answer to scallions

Todays guest post is from Kevin Feinstein (the leader of our wild food walks), and Mia Adler’s book The Bay Area Forager: Your Guide to Edible Wild Plants of the San Francisco Bay Area. Check at the bottom of the post for a purchase link to their great guide to all things wild and edible!

 

Wild Onion Lily (Allium triquetrum)

Family:  Alliaceae (onion, garlic, lily)

Eurasian Weed


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Wild onions of a sort, are part of the lore and mythology of wild edibles.   Everyone expects them in any foraged dinner of any magnitude, and I get many asking about them in my classes.  This is an Old World and mostly East Coast predilection, where various types of wild onions are available.  In Tennessee where I grew up, in the winter and spring every yard and field would be checked with clusters of a type of wild onion grass.   They were everywhere and were probably the first wild edible I ever tasted.   Ramps of course, a fancy restaurant favorite, are heralded for their culinary experience, but unfortunately are being destructively overharvested in many areas. 

In the Bay Area, however, we really don’t have an abundance of wild onions.  In fact, some would say that we don’t have any at all.   But we do have the wild onion lily, an urban and garden weed that is certainly worth a chapter in the book! 

What does it look like?  Typical onion family look, a monocot, with long grass-like leaves with a flower stalk that shoots up small white, bell-shaped flowers.  Distinguished from other onion family members by its distinctly triangular, wedge, or pyramid-shaped leaves.   All crushed parts of the plant exude a very onion-like odor.   Make sure it smells unquestionably like onion as the death camas lily is a look-alike.

When is it available?   Most of the year, they will go dormant sometimes in very dry or cold weather.  

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Where can I find it?  Lawn and garden weed, parks, suburban woodlands nearly always close to human populations.    If you feel like you are out in the “wilderness” you are probably not anywhere near a wild onion lily.  

How to use/forage:   All parts of the plant are onion-like and edible, the easiest parts to use are the blade-like leaves, use them as you would chives. You can also dig up the corm and eat like a very small onion or use the flower as an edible decoration on a dish.  

Sustainability: This plant can be a super tough and noxious weed once established but isn’t always that abundant.   It is often weeded (or at least attempted to be) out of many lawns, gardens and landscaping situations.  I’ve seen it survive herbicide applications, so beware.   Harvest only when it is clearly growing in large quantities, or only harvest a small amount of the leaves from each plant.   

Much more to learn with their book here: https://aerbook.com/maker/productcard-2066659-4706.html

Recipes

A Summer Pasta Recipe

Oil Poached Albacore

With Sungold Tomatoes, New Zealand Spinach, Sweet Corn and Feta

Every season is great for produce in California, but the bright crispness of summer is something special. Right now is peak time for tomatoes; the corn is sweet, the albacore are running, and one of our favorite local wild greens, New Zealand spinach, is just right. So I figured, why not just add butter, olive oil, thyme, fresh pasta from  Lucca’s, and leave the flavors to shine through? Serves 4 (with leftovers)

 You’ll need:

1.5 lbs. fresh pappardelle (my favorite place to get this is from Lucca Ravioli in The Mission. They sell it in sheets by the pound then you can cut it to your favorite width)

4 ears corn

1 lb. Sungold tomatoes

1/2 lb. New Zealand spinach (forage this by the beach). If you can't find any you can sub in a hearty veg like radicchio. 

1/2 lb. butter

2 quarts olive oil

1 lb. albacore loin

2 heads garlic

Bay leaf

1 bunch thyme (you'll use about a tablespoon when picked)

Mirepoix (1/2 lb onion, 1/2 lb celery, 2 carrots)

1/2 lb. feta cheese

First, you’ve got to poach your fish and get your pasta water going (basically giving your fishy friend a warm oil bath). To save oil, you can also do this in FoodSaver bags sous vide style. If you need to cheat, you can use tuna canned in olive oil. It won’t be quite as tasty, but still pretty delicious. You probably know how to cook pasta, but just in case, get a large pot of very salty water boiling. Cut albacore into 4-inch chunks.

Add garlic and bay to oil in a large pan. You want the oil to cover the fish.

Heat oil to 120 degrees over low heat, and then add the fish. The timing depends a lot on the consistency of the temperature, as well as the size of the fish. You want the loin to cook through without drying out. When the fish pulls easily apart, it’s done, usually after 20-30 minutes. Don’t stress too much, though; it’s a forgiving process with all that oil around.

While that’s cooking, prepare your sauce.

Clean all your veggies, shuck corn, dice your mirepoix, mince your garlic, and pick your thyme.

Now make your sauce: Sweat onion until translucent in oil and plenty of butter. (The butter is going to be what coats your pasta, so be generous.) Add celery and carrot, cook 5 minutes. Add garlic and corn, simmer 5 more minutes. Then add tomatoes and thyme, and reduce heat to simmer while you prepare the fish

By now the fish should be done. Pull it apart into teeth sinkable chunks and mix into sauce. Add salt and pepper to season.

Now throw your pasta into the water and cook until done. (It’ll float and taste delicious). Drain the water, add it to the sauce, and stir gently for 3 minutes until you get a good coating of deliciousness on there. Mix in cheese. And…you’re done! Eat! Add some bread if you like (which I do). If you’re feeling fancy, grill the bread and brush it with fresh garlic. While not many people support the starch-on-starch thing, we all know it tastes great.

Want to learn how to forage your own New Zealand Spinach right here in SF? Take a walk in the woods with our fearless guide "Feral Kevin".

wild mushrooms, Recipes

A Morel Dilemna: AND a recipe

This is a guest post from our fearless mushroom leader Patrick Hamilton  

The snarkiest of mushroomers, and even the most polite and PC picker, will tell you, "Morels grow where they want to grow."

            Simple as that. And difficult as that.

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            After decades of pursuing these delectable fungi, this morel hunter knows full well what others speak of with either despair or hopefulness, in sarcasm or earnestness: morels seem to appear here and there, but not there and here—at least not consistently.

            Or maybe they do. To find out, you simply have to obey the adage all true mushroom people understand: "If you don't go, you won't know!"

            So come on one of our Sierra mountain forays and explore the opportunities to find the ever elusive morel, or maybe even spring king porcini!

            Here's a quick and easy method for what to do with those you might find.

 

-Morels: The Very Best Way-

Serves 2

            Rinse the morels, making sure no dirt is left on the stem bottoms. Then chop or slice a handful into wheels, and put them into a medium hot sauté pan with 1 1/2 tbsp of sweet butter. Cook for at least 5 minutes, mixing a bit. 

            In the meantime, finely chop about 1 tbsp of shallots and toss them in too. Stir, shake, or agitate the pan to mix. Cook for a minute or two. Add a small splash of dry Sherry; mix and cook au sec, then add a nice amount of heavy cream and cook for just a minute or two over low heat.

            Use your best sea salt flakes and fresh ground pepper to finish.

            Serve over great bread (like brioche, but not any strongly flavored loaf) or toast rounds. This will be another one of those voila moments that will make you the most popular person in the kitchen, period. 

            Do share.

Edible Plants

Outtakes from this weeks forageSF Wild Food Walk

We started this past weekend's wild food walk by tasting one of my favorite local plants, the 3 cornered leek (or wild onion lily.) Right now they are in flower, and the white clusters of flowers are not only beautiful, but they pack a nice oniony spice. The greens are also edible and are very mild in flavor. 

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We quickly moved onto to other seasonal delicacies. The nasturtiums we saw, which were looking super robust and healthy, had just revealed a couple of early flowers. Both the leaves and the flowers are edible, and have a nice cress-like spice.

From there we quickly saw oxalis (sour grass) also with a beautiful and tart edible flower. Miner's lettuce, although soon to be gone for season, was still looking succulent and delicious. Chickweed, growing right next to it, was still in its full green glory as well. We only moved about 10 feet before finding stinging nettle, mallow, yellow dock, black sage, and wild radish. We finally made it a little further before discussing the virtues of the only edible fruit we found, the black nightshade. None were quite ripe though. 

Many other plants were discussed, mostly edible. We barely traveled 200 feet before we realized there was enough there for an amazing salad, full of succulent mild greens, radish and nasturtium spice, onion flavor, flowers for visual appeal, and a tart component in the oxalis. This is why Spring is my favorite time of year!

Kevin Feinstein

Recipes

Wild Blackberry Stuffing Recipe

A Wild Stuffing for Thanksgiving

 

While it’s true that there are not too many wild edibles to forage for in late November, even in California (sea beans are past their prime and stringy and miner’s lettuce is definitely past its prime), with a bit of forethought you can bring some of the taste of the summer to your Thanksgiving table. Freezers have made it possible for us to take some of the bounty of the warm season and preserve it for the cooler months.

Preparing a unique stuffing for your Thanksgiving turkey can include blackberries that you harvested during the summer and then froze for later use. Although this stuffing recipe is prepared mostly on the stovetop, I would suggest popping it into the oven for the last 15 or 20 minutes of your turkey’s cooking time, to make sure it’s good and hot and to infuse some of the turkey flavor into it. Try this snappy recipe to give family and friends a real treat on Thanksgiving.

Wild Rice and Wild Blackberry Stuffing: Everyone who loves the distinctive flavor of wild rice will love this stuffing. And, although you will be cooking the stuffing next to your turkey in the last states of the process, you can always dribble a bit of the pan drippings over the stuffing to not only help keep it moist, but also to add a bit of turkey flavor, too. This recipe will provide enough stuffing for about 6 people.

·      ½ cup of wild rice

·      ½ cup spelt

·      ½ cup thawed wild blackberries

·      1 cup chopped pecans

·      1 cup diced carrots

·      1 cup diced onion

·      1 cup diced celery

·      2 garlic cloves, grated

·      ¾ cup chopped parsley

·      1 tablespoon chopped sage

·      2 tablespoons olive oil

·      2 tablespoon water

·      ¼ teaspoon pepper

·      ½ teaspoon salt

Place wild rice and spelt into a large pot and cover with water – make sure there is at least 3” of water over the grains. Bring the pot to a boil, simmer for 2 to 3 minutes, then turn off heat, cover, and allow the pot to sit for 1 hour. After the grains have expanded, drain and set aside.

While the rice and spelt were sitting, you should be getting the other ingredients ready.

Spread the chopped pecans over a baking sheet and give them 10 minutes in the oven at 325 F.

Sauté the vegetables in the olive oil in a medium saucepan about 5 minutes, then cover the pan and allow the vegetables to cook for another 10 minutes until they are tender.

Add the rice and spelt to the vegetables, along with the salt and pepper. Just before putting into a baking dish, carefully mix the blackberries.

Put everything into a baking dish and stick it into the oven next to your nearly done turkey. Make sure to use the pan drippings from the turkey pan to add flavor and moisture to your wild stuffing.

Once the turkey and the stuffing are out of the oven and on the table – enjoy. This is a different approach to the traditional stuffing most of us are used to, but will add a new dimension and taste treat to this beloved holiday, and is undoubtedly one of which the Pilgrims would heartily approve.

 

forageSF

Spearfishing in Mendo with our chef Ty.

Just went on my first spearfishing trip with Ty, our new chef, in Albion, on the Mendocino coast. It was a family affair. I showed up to the campground and was greeted by his brother, his dad, a crew of friends, and burgers smoking on the BBQ.  Freediving is definitely one of my favorite things, and I try to get out whenever I can. There is something incredibly meditative about being underwater without a tank. Nothing mediating the experience except your goggles. Its amazing to get down to the bottom and just pause, resting with the sway of the ocean, quietly drifting with the kelp. Nothing is better. 

Since abalone ("abs" to the veteran), season is closed, we went up to a spot for some straight spearfishing, but I have never seen so many abs before in my life! Amazing abundance. Since I dont have my own boat I usually shore dive (basically just swim off the shore with a float to carry my catch), but taking the boats out this time really opened my eyes to how abundant the seas just beyond a few hundreds yards out can be. The one good size fish I caught, a 24 inch ling cod, was more than enough for a meal for me and my girlfriend. I wanted to treat it lightly, so I sauteed and roasted the filets, and wrapped the head in tinfoil with garlic and roasted that in a 400 degree oven. Delicious ling cod cheeks! Some other divers got scallops, which you'll see me holding in the pic below, but I couldn't manage to get any myself. We had some fresh raw scallop on the beach when we got back, amazing flavor. Fresh, briny, I think much better than cooked. 

Forgot the GoPro this time around, so unfortunately no sea shots, but here's a couple pics of us getting in, taking a superman pose in our suits, and what we caught. Wasn't the best day for fish, but as always any day in the water is a great day.

Iso 

interested in booking a dinner with us: Click here

Recipes, Edible Plants

The Wonderful Wonderful Ramp

pickled ramps

pickled ramps

Ramps are special. We have wild onions in California, but they don’t come close to the taste, texture, and versatility of ramps (don't get me wrong, we have wild mushrooms that East Coasters would kill for). Since all the wild ingredients I use for The Wild Kitchen are local, the closest I ever get to using ramps is the wild onion.  Our wild onion is essentially a scallion, which is how I treat it.  Good chopped up and sautéed, with nice white flowers that I use for garnish. A ramp is a whole other animal.

The roots have a biting onion flavor, and bulblike crunch that begs to be pickled. The greens, which can be grilled, broiled, sautéed or seared, have just the right amount of the bulbs onion aroma, but a great texture that really rounds out a plate. They are a perennial (grow back each year), and the plant that gave Chicago its name. Chicagou was the word for ramp in the local dialect, and an abundant plant in the area when the city was being settled.

I’m back for a week visiting my mom in Plainfield, and wanted to take advantage of the best foraging season on the East Coast.  The prime focus for me was ramps. The woods are amazing in Vermont. The smell of the trees, moss, gurgle of creeks, shade of the maples.  All with the bonus of an abundance of plant and animal life on the forest floor.  I love California, but you just don’t get the same experience in our woods.

toothwort leaves

toothwort leaves

I grew up in Vermont, but my foraging career really started with wild mushrooms on the west coast, so I enlisted the help of a local expert to help me find my prize.  Annie is a local gardner/naturalist/friend of the family, who was nice enough to show me one of her prime spots. Not that they’re hard to find in VT. Ramps (or wild leeks as they’re called here) are everywhere. It would have taken me days to pick even half of what I saw.  Along the way she introduced me to some edibles I’d never heard of.

One was toothwort. It's a 3-leaves low growing plant. It has thin dull green leaves with serrated edges. The roots (and leaves to some extent) have an uncanny horseradish flavor. It’s pretty amazing actually. If I do a dinner in Vermont, this is definitely going to be included on the menu. Maybe a toothwort wasabi with local freshwater trout sashimi….Another thing that Annie introduced me to was the edibility of violet flowers. They don’t grow in abundance, so I would feel uncomfortable collecting them for a Wild Kitchen dinner, but they were great to try. They taste like wintergreen. Pretty cool. Another plant that grows here in abundance is wild ginger. We have this in CA, but I don’t see it much where I forage. There was a bunch on our walk, so I grabbed some of that too.

There's been some recent press on the over harvesting of ramps on the east coast, given their sudden spike in popularity.  As far as I can tell it’s more theoretical than realistic. People see them in stores, so immediately assume they are being decimated. From people I’ve talked to up here, it hasn’t become a problem. I always live by the motto of never taking more than a third of whatever plant I’m harvesting, that way I can be sure it will be there when I return next year.

field of ramps

field of ramps

I dug ramps for about 15 minutes and had almost more than I could carry, so I headed home. I washed them and cut off the bulbs, and for the next 3 days I ate the greens at every meal. Tossed in garlic and olive oil and wrapped in tin foil on the grill, sautéed with salt and garlic with my eggs in the morning, and cut small and used raw to spice up potato salad.   Even then I had a ton left.  Since there was no way I could eat them all before I left (and because I wanted to bring some back west), I decided to pickle the bulbs. Most of the pickles I do are what are known as quick pickles. Basically hot brine that is poured a vegetable, and used within a week or so. I wanted to try something different with these, so I decided to do a proper can.

If you’re reading this blog, I imagine you have some experience canning, or at least understand the fundamental ideas behind it. If not, also cool, we’ve all got to start somewhere.  The basic idea of canning is to submerge a veggie (or meat) into a hygienic environment (often vinegar), then boil the jar to create a vacuum that will push out any excess air. This creates an anaerobic environment where bacteria cannot grow, so preserves food longer. These pickles will last at least a month, or until you’ve eaten them all (which will probably be sooner):

You’ll need:

Food:

2C white vinegar

4C water

1C white sugar

2T mustard seed (“T” =Tablespoon and “t”=teaspoon)

1T fennel seed

2T black peppercorns

4 piece wild ginger root

2T kosher salt

4 piece toothwort root (both optional of course, but if you don’t use them add a small piece of fresh horseradish)

2 lb fresh ramps

Equipment:

4 - 12 OZ canning jars

Water bath canner (if you have it. If not a pot large enough to fit the jars will suffice)

Tongs

1 medium pot

Baking pan or Pyrex casserole

clean ramps

clean ramps

  1. First you want to get your liquids boiling, while they heat up you’ll have time to clean your ramps. Fill your pot with all your picking ingredients (minus the ramps). Bring them to a boil, then turn off heat. Fill your water bath canner up 3/4 with water, and boil. If you are using a pot, fill with water (leaving room for the area the jars will displace). Preheat your oven to 350F

  2. Sterilize your jars: An easy way to sterilize jars is wash them with soap and water, then bake them on sheet pan in the oven at 200F until you’re ready to use them. Got that tip from Slow Jams. http://www.chow.com/food-news/59073/the-easiest-way-to-sterilize-jars/

  3. While those are heating up, clean your ramps. First give the ramps a good wash, peeling off any discolored skin on the root, and snapping the root (not the bulb) off. Then cut off the bulb just above where the green of the leaf begins. Save the leaves. I personally think they’re just as delicious as the bulbs. You can sauté them up for a side dish, or put them on sandwiches. Really delicious.

  4. Now you want to fill your jars. I try to stand the ramps up, with the bulbs all facing down, but that’s really just an aesthetic choice. Just make sure there’s an inch clear below the rim of the jar. Pour over your nearly boiling pickling liquid, adding a root of ginger and toothwort, as well as a spoon of spices, to each jar. Screw on the lid.

  5. Now for the can. If you’re using a regular pot, you’ll want to make sure the jars stand up straight, but that they don’t touch the metal bottom. There are fancy grills they sell for this, or you can do what I do, and put a dishtowel in the water to line the bottom of the pot. Just make sure it’s as flat as you can make it. Place the jars in the water, turn down to a simmer, and “cook” for 15 minutes. Make sure the water covers the jar (this is how you force out the air), add hot water from the tap if it needs it.

  6. Take jars out with tongs, allow to cool, and you’re done! A lot of words for what is actually a pretty simple process. Clean veggies, put in jars, cover with vinegar, and force out air. As they cool you should hear a popping sound of the lid suctioning down. You might not hear the sound, but check to see that the lid is pressed in, that’s how you know the can worked.

If you make this recipe, give me a comment and let me know how it went. I haven’t tried it with the toothwort yet, and I’m definitely excited to see if the wasabi/horseradish flavor comes through. Also, if you've ever pickled the greens, let me know how that went. That's what I'll try next. Ramps!

Iso

dirty ramps

dirty ramps

SF Underground Market

February 5th Underground Market Vendors

The market is at SomArts, at 934 Brannan St, in SF. Starts at 11am, ends at 11:00pm. DAY VENDORS:

Sasonao latin Cuisine  --  Tony Ulloa  --  Nicaraguan cuisine Fresh Bite Bakery  --  Cindy Tsai Schultz/Terry Betts  --  http://www.freshbitebaking.com/ --  baked goods Todd Masonis  --  bean-to-bar chocolate mo foods  --  Caterina Rindi/Jae Brim  --   www.mo-foods.com --  foraged/gleaned pickles & preserves Epicurean Solutions  --  Moira Tocatium  --  Veggie Deli Salads Starter Bakery  --  Brian M. Wood  --  www.starterbakery.com --  bakery Three Bowls  --  Indu Kline  --  Ambrosia - food of the gods James Saltzman's Smoked Bacon  --  James Saltzman  --  smoked bacon & brownies Rokas/Kelli Armonas  --  honey & mushrooms Beet Freaks  --  Sharon Salmon  --  pickles Earth Alchemy Chocolate  --  Susan Marjanovic  --  earthalchemychocolate.squarespace.com/ --  raw herbal chocolate Bread Project  --  Diedre Linburn  --  chocolate chip cookies The Chai Cart  --  Paawin  --  hot chai & chai packets Canvas Underground  --  Peter Jackson   www.canvasunderground.com --  meats & gumbo Raja Sen  --  dal and balsamic vinaigrette Quackery  --  Scott/Ramona  --  kombucha Ben Sawicki  --  flavored kale chips & veggie curry Josey Baker  --  bread Dehesa  --  Edward Lekwart  --  artisan sausages Tamales By Rudy  --  Rudy Santiago  --  burrito-sized tamales German Bread  --  Katrin Staugaard/Daniela Busse  --  traditional German bread & foraged plum jams Le Chaudron Magique  --  Isabelle Sin  --  seasonal jams Kirsten Roehler  --  seasoned goat cheese, seasoned salts & pickled lemons Yaella Frankel  --  chutneys, relishes & salsas Telegraph Hill Coffee Roasters  --  David Oliver  --   www.telegraphcoffeesf.com --  coffee

NIGHT VENDORS:

Flosa Creamery  --  Jordan Grosser  --  bacon-wrapped mochi CoCoTutti  --  Elyce Zahn  --  http://cocotutti.com/ --  caramels, chocolates Jilli  --  Will Schrom and Jacky Hayward--  www.jilli-icecream.com --  sarsaparilla and raw ice cream! Whole Beast Supper Club  --  Kevin Bunnell  --  pig products Lan Kulapaditharom  --  Tawainese: beef/chicken slider & shrimp wonton Lelajay's Ridiculously Good Gluten-FREE  --  Lila Akhzar  --  gluten-free brownie bites Aaron's Almost Better Than Sex Cake  --  Aaron Keller  --  chocolate oreo-toffee cake & beer dogs Sidesaddle Kitchen  --  Laura Miller  --  www.facebook.com/SidesaddleKitchen --  raw vegan pies Mama’s African Kitchen   --  Dupe Bello  --  traditional African curry dishes JazzyB's Recipez  --  Jasmine Ball  --  mac n’ cheese-veggie & w/pork belly A Humble Plate  --  Rathsamee Ly  --  Laotian Food Saucy Dumplings  --  Michael Lee  --  pork & vegetarian dumplings Hella Vegan Eats  --  Sylvester Chitica/James Raushenberg  --  www.hellaveganeats.com --  Vegan deliciousness Luscious Liquids  --  Kathy DeWitt/Tracee Raptis  --  elixirs and such Sajen Foods  --  Morisinah Katimin  --  Gado-gado & satay burger w/peanut sauce (Indonesian street food) Laksa Pho King  --  Stephen Backer  --  Vietnamese Pho & Malaysian Curry Laksa The Occasional Macaron Shop  --  Katie/George Wang  --  www.facebook.com/macaronshop --  macarons Angry Man Eats  --  Paul Midgen  --  chicken & waffles Tamale Nation  --  Alison Greenwood/Maria  --  tamales & empanadas Eric Eberman  --  veggie empanadas Bake It Banana  -- Courtney Dougherty  --  banana desserts

OUTDOOR NIGHT VENDORS: Kitchen Sidecar  --  Katie Kwan  --  www.kitchensidecar.com --  banh mi burger Pizza Hacker  --  Jeff Krupman  --  pizza The Grilled Cheese Guy  --  Michael Davidson  --  grilled cheese Sataysfied  --  Feldo Nartapura  --  www.sataysfied.com --  Indonesian satays Boffo Cart  --  Rhasaan Fernandez/Crystal Williams  -- hot sandwiches & paninis Panguita  --  Andre Joffroy  -- beer battered fish tacos & beef tostadas

thoughts

Out of Chicago and into hell

Hello. Chicago was good. Mainly because I had never really been there before. That sounds negative but isn't. I would have liked more time in Chicago, to really check it out. I spent most of my time foraging (more on that later) and at the taste of Chicago. The Taste is a festival put on for the last 30 years in Chicago that means to....Im not honestly sure what it means to do. It certainly doesn't mean to show the people of Chicago anything interesting about food. Think 40 vendors all selling the leftovers from the Des Moines county fair, and you get an idea of the culinary virtue that is The Taste.  Perhaps unfair ( I did have grilled turkey ribs that weren't too bad), but pretty apt. Its interesting to me that you would put on an event focused on food, and have so little diversity. Or maybe I've just become a food snob in these past years. Ok, onto the interesting stuff.... There were an amazing amount of new (to me) plants in Chicago's parks.  I grew up in VT, so many of the plants ( like milkweed, pictured here)

It was great to walk around with Sunny, that I saw in Chicago we had back home, but this time I saw them with new eyes.  I really only started foraging when I got to SF, so it was really enlightening to learn from Sunny who's knowledge of wild foods definitely surpasses my own (Sunny Savage has a TV show on the Veria network about wild food. She's the reason I was in Chicago, to help her forage and cook). Mine is very SF specific, so I was lost in this new environment.

Overall a good trip, Im in NYC now (where it is 96 degrees,hence the "hell" in the title), but will be back in SF on the 7th. We just posted some new wild food walks on foragesf.com, and look out for an email about some upcoming dinners we're doing mid July.

Also....we're starting the CSF back up! A friend of mine, Kevin Feinstein, who is going to be managing the workings of it in the months to come, so look out for an email about that too.

Well I'm off to meet Ava Chin, a NYC based forager, who writes a column for the NY times.

Also....Just got interviewed for a Times magazine article, so look out for that! Very Exciting. Ok, enough talk.

wild kitchen

June Wild Kitchen pics

Here are some pics from our last Wild Kitchen dinner. If you’re interested in coming to the next one, sign up in the “subscribe” box at foragesf.com, and we’ll send you an email when its coming up. Thanks to everyone who came to the dinners this past Thursday and Friday. It was our first attempt at doing two in a row, and it turned out to be a lot of fun.

photos by Robin Jolin: robinjolin.com

Thanks!

Recipes

Nettle Is Great...Wild Nettle Soup Recipe

nettlesoup

nettlesoup

Nettle is great. Its all around, good for you, plus there’s the element of danger when you’re harvesting. It’s like collecting sea urchins. Will it get you? Are those gloves really thick enough to ward off those spiny stems? A question Ive been forced to answer in the negative far too many times.  For those of you that like a bit of danger with your foraging, but aren’t quite up for wild mushroom collecting or boar hunting, the nettle is a good bet.

Brennessel

Brennessel

There are two kinds of nettle that grow in our area (that area being Northern CA).Urtica diocea, which is also known as river nettle, and Urtica urens, which I call farm nettle, its more often cultivated, and much less intense, cousin.  River nettle is what grows most often in the wild, so that’s what I end up using most of the time. You find it often growing in stream beds and in other moist nutrient rich environments. “Farm Nettle” can also be found wild, although much less often, in what are referred to as “disturbed places”.  Areas where the earth has just been upset for some reason (hint: there’s some in Golden Gate park if you know where to look).

River nettle (diocea) is much more intense than in both sting and flavor. Whereas farm (urens) will give you a bit of a prick to let you know its nettle, river nettle will bite you, a searing pain that, instead of going away after several hours of throbbing, actually seems to turn into a general numbness/tingle for as much as 48 hours (hint: use vinegar to get rid of the sting, or if you’re near a marsh, the goo from the base of cattails works too). If you’re using it in soup, river nettles are really the best.  The intensity comes through in the soup in all the best ways.

With that said, lets get on with it. Go collect some! I wont tell you my spots, but I will tell you that they like to grow in moist, nutrient rich soils.  Try to harvest them before the plant has gone to seed.  As in all plants, you want to collect them when they’re putting the most amount of energy into the part you want to eat…perhaps confusing, but a good principle. When plants are flowering, eat the flower, when they’re shooting up out of the ground in spring, eat the shoot, when they’ve gone to seed, eat the seed (although I havnt heard of people eating nettle seed, I don’t see why not). Enough talk, on to the recipe.

This soup is a real standby for The Wild Kitchen (my underground restaurant).  People love it, so it keeps coming back from month to month while nettle is in season.

You’ll need:

Food:

leek

leek

-1 lb nettle (collect it, or you can often find it at farmers markets in season)

-1 lb russet potatoes

-1 lb leek

-6 Cups chicken stock

-2 Tbsp butter

-Salt/pepper to taste

-Small tub crème fraiche

Equipment:

-Heavy gloves (seriously. If you’re using the thin latex kind, so popular in restaurant kitchens and the nether regions of the airport security line,  wear double, or even triple.  A good thick pair of dishwashing gloves works perfectly)

-Heavy bottomed soup pot

-Stand up or hand (immersion) blender

-Wooden spoon

-Scissors

-mixing bowl

1.First, you’ve got to deal with the nettle.  Put a pot of salted water on to boil. With your gloves on, use scissors to cut the leaves from the woody stem, discarding any brown leaves. Wash under cold water.  Get a mixing bowl, and fill it with iced and salted water. Throw nettle into boiling water for 5 minutes, drain, then immediately place in ice water. This is called blanching and shocking. The boil gets rid of the nettle sting, and the ice water helps it retain its vibrant green color. Once they’re cold, squeeze water out of nettles, and reserve.

2. Cut off the white section of the leeks, slice them lengthwise, and wash very well. Tons of dirt likes to get stuck in leeks, and it’s the last thing you want in your soup. After they’re clean, chop them and reserve.

3.  Dice potatoes.

4. Melt butter in pot over medium heat, making sure not to let it burn. When it begins to bubble, throw in the leeks, cook 5 minutes (if they start to brown, turn down the flame, you want them to sweat).  Add potatoes, cook 5 minutes. Add nettle, cook 5 minutes.

5. Pour in chicken stock, mix, turn up heat until it comes to a boil, then turn down to a simmer.

6. Allow to simmer 20-30 minutes, until potatoes are tender. Turn off heat and either blend with you immersion blender, or if using a stand-up, blend in batches with a ventilated blender (take that little plastic thing out of the middle of the lid), and a towel on top. With the danger sounding too much like you dad, BE CAREFUL!. Hot soup on the face is not fun.

7. When its blended, add two spoonsfulls of crème fraiche, mix. Serve hot with a drizzle of crème fraiche on top. This soup will taste quite “green”.  Crème fraiche will balance it to your liking.

8. Enjoy! And regal your friends with your daring tales of nettle foraging, they’ll be impressed.

thoughts

Should the SF Underground Market be bigger?

market line

market line

The first and most obvious answer to this question is yes.  If one throws an event that draws more people than your space can fit, you move up. Bigger is of course better, and in all things, we want to be as big as we can get. Right? I'm not so sure.

It’s a question I get a lot. People tell me that we need a bigger space, and the running joke seems to be that we should move it to the Cow Palace. Its definitely something we think about not the Cow Palace – when I see the hour and half wait to get in, get angry emails from customers  (actually just got my first one a couple days ago), and patiently explain to vendors for the 20th time that in fact we can’t let anyone else in at the moment, lest we all die fiery deaths as martyrs for the local food movement (translation: we've reached fire code capacity).

We’ve done our best to make the market accessible to as many people as possible.  We started this past December in a small Victorian in the Mission (seven vendors and 150 customers), and moved to a warehouse on Capp St. (30 vendors and 700 customers)— both still not big enough.  When we approached SomArts I thought that was it. There was no way we could overfill that space. This of course hasn’t proven true.

The space we have now, SomArts, is in the range of 5000  feet. That's 35ft wide, and 144 feet long. It's a large space by any measure.

We pay several thousand dollars to rent SomArts for a night and by SF standards, that's very cheap. The next space up in size is about $10,000. That’s before shelling out for a cleaning staff, security, insurance, alcohol license, the band, equipment, and all the other less obvious costs that go into creating an event for 2,000 people.  I don't say this to complain, but to set the stage for a fact: If we got a bigger space, we would be forced to raise the vendor fees. As it is, the vendor fees don't cover the cost of the space, which is why you paid $2 to get in this month. In May, we lost money on the market because the event was free. We don't need to make a killing, but a market that loses money every month will not be around very long.

"But wait,” you say, "a bigger space would mean more people, more people equals more money, so no need to charge the vendors more.” Not necessarily. A larger space would definitely let more people enter at the same time, but the number of people coming in would not be guaranteed to go up by the amount we would need to make it worth the costs.

The current vendor fee is $50, a very low bar for entry into a commercial sales space like ours, but for some of our vendors it’s a stretch to pay that cost. Our vendors are making products that they are passionate about, but are also very expensive to produce. The profit margins are already slim, and it wouldn’t feel right to charge the $100-$300 per stall that a larger space would require.

I like the size it is. The market feels more like a big party, rather than a vast trade show. I like that we can fit upwards of 40 vendors inside and still have room for a couple hundred people, while at the same time being able to see the whole space in one sweep.

I like SomArts. We have a good deal of freedom at SomArts and the people who work there. They are very supportive of our ideas, and seem to genuinely want to make things work for us. No one working on the market has much professional event organizing experience; there are a million random things to think about when planning a market, so getting some help along the way is key. A larger commercial space probably would not offer that kind of support.

I like the idea that in creating a market for the SF food community to come to together, we are at the same time supporting a venerable SF non-profit event and art space. A space that hosts the kind of events that make SF what it is. They go out of their way to court and support burgeoning orgs (like ours) that would otherwise not be able to afford such a professional space, and for that they deserve our support. Every person that walks through their door helps them to get funding from grants as well as the city, so 2,000 people coming through each month at our market gives them some real leverage.

People do have to wait. I don't feel good about it (although most people I talk to seem pretty happy with the whole experience, meeting fellow food obsessives in line is always fun). It’s great that people come out to show so much support, and ideally we wouldn't make them wait so long to show that support.  Note: If you want to miss the lines, come during the day next month, there will be tons of room.

Next months SF Underground Market will again be at SomArts on July 24th(this time on a weekend!).  Although there is often a wait at night (hint: for a more relaxed time, come during the day).  I want to say that I really do appreciate that people wait as long as they do. That kind of support shows the vendors that there is a market for what they make, and encourages them to keep getting better at what they do.  I do believe that bigger is not always better, and there is a really intimate vibe now that I feel like we may lose if we expand. This doesn't mean it will always be there, but for the time being we're staying put.  Let me know what you think. You think we should move? Did you see anything at the last market that needs changing? Thanks for reading, and thanks for coming, see you all next month!

Thanks,

Iso

photo by Robin Jolin: robinjolin.com

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On hunting

Friday I did something I've been wanting to do since I started forageSF, I went hunting....well, seeing as I didn't have a gun, or a hunting license, I suppose hunting wasnt exactly what I did. To be more exact, I went on a hike with some people who were hunting.  Just so you don't get excited, just to be let down, we didn't get anything. We actually didn't even see any in season animals until we were riding home in the car (one of my blood thirst comrades was close to jumping out of the moving car).  In a lot of ways it was hunting though. It was hunting in the way that I felt when I was in the forest. I talk a lot about the way knowledge of wild food changes the way you experience nature. That it gives you a new connection with your environment, and an awareness that a simple walk in the woods doesn't necessarily attain. Its was the same way on friday, but magnified.

We woke up at 3:30am to drive to Napa ( a friendly vineyard owner had given us permission to hunt on her land). As soon as we entered the woods, it was in a different way than I've even done so before. I could hear everything. The rustle of a  salamander crawling across our path at 10 ft pounded my eardrums.  I walked with a quietness and awareness that I've really never felt before. Even though I wasn't going to shoot anything (hunting license issues), I still felt it.  That higher awareness of "getting your eyes on" that we talk about with mushroom hunting.  A focusing of the senses, hearing and seeing with an awareness that many of us never experience.

I of course don't miss the irony that this awareness comes at the cost of killing something. That the connection to my environment is attained through death. This doesn't bother me though. We are animals, and animals survive off other life forms. Be it a carrot, an apple, or a pig. One doesn't have more or less value over the other, and the "nothing with a face" argument has always struck me as strange.

I will hunt again. I will hunt because I like to eat meat. Because I feel like hunted meat is one of the most honest meat to eat, but also to feel the awareness again. The fine tuned sense of place that comes with hunting.

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and the third market is done!

The SF Underground Market has turned 3 (in months, not years).  It began with me and 7 other vendors selling wild mushrooms, jams, pies and corned beef sandwiches in a mission neighborhood home.  The first market had about 200 people attending. By the third, amazingly, it has grown into a warehouse sized behemoth of 47 vendors selling everything from salami to ginger beer to pickled grapes to wild boar, with over 1,200 people lining up outside to get in.

At this market I made salt and sugar cured pork belly buns. People really seemed to like them, which was nice to see, although I need to figure out how to make them faster (some people waited for 20 minutes for a bun). That’s what’s cool about the market; there is this great public that shows up willing to wait a bit longer for something. Almost all the vendors at this market sold out of what they brought; the hot vendors seemed to be the most popular.

The SF Underground Market is a pretty straightforward idea. It was created as venue for all those of us who make stuff. Maybe its jam, maybe its pulled pork sandwiches, maybe its. It’s a space for those of us without the resources to jump through the increasing maze of regulatory hoops that have been imposed on food producers in this great city.  I've given a lot on thought to why so many people come to these markets. Not that I'm complaining, any organizer loves to see people lining up for their event, but people throw food events all the time without this kind of draw.

I think people love the idea of coming out to support people like them.  People who love to make food, have been making it for years, but have never, for whatever reason, been able to make that leap to selling it.  The vendors at my market don't have business licenses or commercial kitchens.  Many of them are 9-5'ers who have had an interest in starting a small business for years, but need a jumpstart to get it going.  Anyone can be a vendor at the SF Underground Market, all you need is a skill and focus.

If you want to be a vendor at the next market, go to http://foragesf.com/market/vendors/faq/

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SF Underground Market March 6th

The next market is here!  The date and location are set..

When: Saturday March 6th from 5-11pm

Where: 9 Langton st (near 7th/Howard) in SF

How: Sign up here for a free membership

This time around we've got twice as many vendors, 3 times as much space (so the lines should be shorter), and more great music and workshops. Come early to avoid the lines, leave late to catch the party.

Vendors:

Pearls Kitchen- Jewish deli fare
Dontaye Ball- pulled pork
Morgan Woolley
greenheartsfamilyfarm- pastured meats
Elianna Roffman & Morgan Lee Woolley -Hawaiian baked goods
Dafna Kory -Jams from locally foraged fruits
Paawan- TheChaiCart- Hot Chai, Chai Mixes, Chai Blends
Dirk -Traditional Veggie German Sausage
James Grossman- “Salumi”
Alice Wilson -Jams, sweet breads, foccacia
Katy McLean & Christopher David -Macaron Parisian macaroons
Michael Christie- Real French artisinal warm Quiche
Kathy Dewitt -Herb & spice blends, sea salts
Jeff Tidwell -Krauts, kimchi and preserves
Margaret Wong -Mushroom spread & dark chocolate almond date balls
Jackie Woods -“delightfully tasty cakes” and cupcakes
Claudia Comerci -Flower & Healing Essences
Valerie Johnson -Multi-grain artisinal gluten free breads, granola, scones, etc
Becky Spencer- (Urban Preserves Jams & Pickles
Erik Kamprud -Fried Chicken & Andouille Sausage gumbo & vegan gumbo
Rathsamee Ly- Laotian sausages & Nam kao
Marisol Kim -100% grass-fed organic beef jerky
Shakirah Simley (Slow Jams) -Jams, preserves, marmalades, spreads & relishes
Katherine Kirby- Granola
forageSF - wild mushrooms and other foraged goodies
Sybil Johnson (Heartbaker) -Baked Goods & Pastries
Jana Blankenship -Soaps, bath salts, scents, balms, candles, etc.
Roger Freely -Indian Street food & Regianal Mexican specialties
Robin Jolin -Peanut brittle, lemonade, sparking lemonade
Linh Nguyen -Vietnamese foods
JD Collins -Salsa dos gringos
Kitty Myers -Jams, marmalades, chutneys, flavored olive oil, etc
Kevin Bressani- Beet kvass
Gabriel Mitchell -Truffles, tarts, caramels
Christina Yu -Cheescake-sweet & savory
Alexis Mian & Elena Herting -Raw, vegan, organic meals, snacks & desserts
Francisco Grajales -Vegan (and some gluten-free) Baked Goods
Erin Murray -Fermented Veggies
Ruza Markov- scones and such
wiley rogers-honey
Rana Chang-kombucha
Ariana Montemayor
Boris Price-demi glace
kate thompson-granola
kim Nguyen
susan marjanovic -Raw Chocolate
Mary Powell

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This months CSF

With all the rain we've been getting, there are an insane amount of mushrooms around, as well as some really nice wild greens.  Below is what came in this months CSF box, as well as a recipe: Golden Chanterelle Mushrooms (Northern CA)

Chanterelles have a wonderful nutty apricot flavor that tastes like fall (at least to me).  Think about the misty mountain oak forests where they are foraged when eating them, it really does make them taste better.

Black Trumpet Mushrooms (Northern CA)

Black trumpets are some of my favorite mushrooms. They have a really subtle smokiness and great texture. I like to sauté them with butter and garlic and eat them straight, but they're also great in soups. To clean, wash them under cold running water.

Black Cod (Northern CA)

This is a really great, very fresh fish. Sauté each side for a few minutes with lemon and butter, this lets the natural taste of the fish shine through. There are some pinbones in this fish, but they come out easily with tweezers.

Miners Lettuce (Santa Cruz)

With all this rain we’ve been getting, the wild greens are going crazy. This is one of my favorites, named for the gold rush miners (who ate it for its high vitamin C content). Miners lettuce  is great in mixed salads or all on its own.

Wild Ginger (Santa Cruz)

Wild ginger has a milder flavor than its cultivated cousin, but can be used in any recipe that calls for ginger. I also really like to make a tea out of the finely chopped root, which helps cure stomaches or motion sickness. Along with the miners lettuce, this also came from a forager down in Santa Cruz.

Oxalis Flowers (San Francisco)

You may know these flowers from the incredibly invasive clover-like plant that runs rampant in San Francisco. Well now you know a way to get rid of it--eat it!  This plant is named for its oxalic acid, which is what makes it taste sour. Eat too much (meaning pounds), and it will mess with your digestion, but throwing a couple of these flowers in a salad adds a really great sour note (and of course, makes it look cool).

Ginger Curry with Pork

If you don't have dried apricots on hand, you can substitute golden raisins instead. Wild ginger livens this dish and gives it a mild, peppery heat.

Yield: 2 servings (serving size: 1 pork chop and 1 cup rice mixture)

Ingredients

2  (4-ounce) boneless, center-cut loin pork chops

1/8  teaspoon  black pepper

Dash of salt

1  tablespoon  vegetable oil, divided

1/2  teaspoon  grated lime rind

1  tablespoon  fresh lime juice

1 1/2  teaspoons  grated peeled fresh ginger

1/2  cup  chopped onion

1/2  teaspoon  red curry paste

1  cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth

2  tablespoons  chopped dried apricots

1  teaspoon  honey

1  garlic clove, minced

1 1/2  cups  hot cooked basmati rice

2  tablespoons  thinly sliced green onions

Preparation

Sprinkle pork with pepper and salt. Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add pork; cook 2 1/2 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove pork from pan. Combine rind, juice, and ginger in a shallow dish; add pork, turning to coat.

Heat remaining 1 teaspoon oil in pan over medium heat. Add onion and curry paste; cook 2 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Add pork mixture, broth, apricots, honey, and garlic; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes or until pork is done. Remove pork from pan. Increase heat to medium-high. Add rice; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, stirring frequently. Serve rice mixture with pork, and top each serving with 1 tablespoon green onions.

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Planning and Hachi

Just met with Noriyuki Sugie to talk about Hachi! Its a guest chef project at Bread Bar in LA that Im going to be doing in feb.  All the talk of PR companies and press releases is not exactly what Im used to, but should be a lot of fun. The concept is that a guest chef comes in once a month and creates 8 dishes (6 savory, 2 sweet), that each sell for $8/each, as well as 3 specialty chef created cocktails ( a lot like the mission street food concept, except that they take reservations, and drinks are $12(( which I guess is pretty standard in LA))).  I guess the idea is to give chefs in LA a chance to get some buzz...since I dont live in LA, Im not sure what it'll do for me, but it will be an experience to be sure. The fact that Ive never really been to LA should make it even more interesting. If you live in LA, you should come check it out, its in the end of feb.

The planning for the next market is going. This should be a good one.  We've got a lot of people writing about it, and over 40 vendors that want to sell their wares, just need to find a space to bring it all together. I have some leads of warehouse spaces in the mission, so it looks like its going to work out. Answering emails is starting to become a full time job, but I may be getting a new intern, so that will help.  I think its really great how interested people are in the market, it seems to have struck a nerve.

Recipes

Venison Stew

This is the recipe I made for the last Wild Kitchen. It takes a bit of time, homemade beef stock and all, but we're all about slow food right?  This is a really amazing soup. Long cooking makes the venison very tender, and the addition of fresh stock gives it a deep complex flavor.  I saved what we had left from the dinner (mostly broth), in canning jars in the freezer. I defrost some over rice and heat it up, it's pretty great just like that.

For the soup:

4 tbsp olive oil

2 lbs Venison stew meat

1 Cup Red wine

1 lb Yukon gold potatoes - quartered

4 Cups flour

Salt Pepper

12 Cups beef stock (see recipe below, although store bought works)

1 Cup chopped onion

1 Cup chopped celery

1/2 Cup chopped carrot

1 Cup chopped tomato (canned works too)

1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme

1 Tbsp  minced fresh rosemary

1 Tbsp minced fresh sage

Wash and thoroughly dry the venison, then roll it in a mixture of flour, salt, and pepper.

Heat a large pot over high heat, then add the oil.  When it is hot but not smoking, sear venison in batches until browned, 2-3 minutes. Don’t crowd the pot, or the meat will stew instead of searing. Remove the meat then add the onions and saute until they begin to color.

Add the celery and carrots. Season with salt and pepper. Saute for 2 minutes. Add the garlic, tomatoes, basil, thyme, and bay leaves to the pot. Season with salt and pepper. Deglaze the pan with the red wine. Add  the beef stock, and bring to a boil.

Reduce to simmer, and cover. You'll want to Simmer the stew for 1-2 hours, or until the meat is very tender. You can add more stock if it evaporates too much.  Add potatoes about 1/2 hr before soup is done, so they don't overcook.

I find this stew is really better the next day. Reheating deepens the flavors, and gives the meat more of a chance to tenderize, but it can be served immediately as well. Enjoy!

For the Stock:

4 lbs soup bones

Sprig fresh thyme

1 Bay leaf

2 Carrots

1 Large onion

2 Stalks Celery

2 Cloves garlic

Preheat oven to 475. (If the beef bones are frozen, let them thaw before you start, this can take a couple hours)

Rough chop carrots, celery, and onion.  Put the bones, onion, and carrots, into a shallow roasting pan, then cook about 30 minutes, or until the  bones are browned, and the onions start to carmalize.

Pour off the excess fat and place bones and veggies in stock pot. Pour 1/2 cup red wine into roasting pan and deglaze over medium heat, scrape bottom of pan, and pour this into stock pot.

Then add the bayleaf, celery, thyme, and garlic to pot. Add 12 C water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and skim fat  regularly.

Cook for as long as you can, I like to cook it for 8 hours, but 5 works. Strain stock, discard veggies and bones, allow stock to cool 20 minutes. If you are going to use stock immediatly, put in fridge to allow fat to settle, then skim off.  Otherwise, put stock into pint ball jars with the fat on top, this helps the stock to keep. The stock will keep for about  a week in fridge, months in the freezer.

Use it in any soup with beef or venison, or cook it down to make an amazingly concentrated sauce.

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"A successful night", or "how the health department showed up at the market, but were very nice"

So the first of many (hopefully) underground farmers markets is over. It was a total success. People showed up, but not so many that the cops came. Vendors brought enough that there was something for the late comers, but just enough so they sold out. The music was amazing (although I didn't get to hear as much as I would have liked, tethered to my vendor table). It was a really cool mix of folks; hipsters, seniors, toddlers, old school hippies, young urban farmer types.

The vendors who showed up were.... Slow Jams-Really great Jam, and Shakirah sold out! - Forage SF - Will Schrom: homemade sarsaparilla - Captain Blankenship: soaps and salves - Garden Fare: edible garden gift boxes - The Golden Crust: pies ($15-20/pie or $3/slice) and chai - The Girl From Empanada (aka. Chile Lindo): empanadas - Lauren & Jon Bowne (aka. Pearl's Kitchen): homemade Jewish deli fare, they had a pasta and cheese casserole - Five Flavors Herbs: wild foraged tinctures - Honey vendor

I think its great that people will come out to support their local producers. The vendors at this market are all pros, they know their stuff, how to make it good, and how to make it safe. The only reason they aren't legit is money. It was great to see them get an opportunity to get their stuff out there, make some cash, and get some exposure.

So....the health department did show up. Was a pretty nerve wracking couple minutes. I've never actually dealt with the health department before, and I must say that I've always had the feeling out them that I do about most government organization, dread. They're scary, showing up with their notebooks, checking boxes, with the power to command an army of police to shut you down....but I must say that the health department was very nice. I was amazed. We had a 10 minute chat about how I might do the market again in the future, and ways to make it more legit. I was totally amazed, and pleased with the interaction. I know what you're thinking, I'm just writing that to suck up, so they won't bust me, but it's true. In the end I wish they hadn't come at all, but if they had to come (because tipped them off!), then I have to say they came correct ("correct" is what the kids are saying these days).

Apparently they showed up because SOMEONE FROM A LEGIT FARMERS MARKET RATTED US OUT!!!! You hear that!? Can you believe it? I can't. What happened to community? Supporting our local food producers? I guess only if they have $100/hr to spend on commercial kitchen space do they deserve to share their products. I'd like to know who did it. I'd like to have a conversation with them. If they had concerns about the market, they should have come to me. We could have discussed ways to make it better, they could have helped rather than sicking the hounds on us. Bastards.

But on a lighter note, everything worked out. I had a really good time, hundreds of people came, we had some drinks, ate some food, met some great people, listened to some music, and made some cash. Doesn't get much better.

If you missed this one, and are interested in finding out when/where we're doing it again, sign up for our email list.

Check out our facebook page for more pics from the market