There are so many great farmers markets or food shopping districts throughout the world. Each one is representational of the community and inhabitants it serves. Whether its Kreta Ayer or Paris’ Rue de Montorgueril home to Bresse chickens and crusty baguettes, they are a slice of everyday life. I love them.
Fresh farmers markets are one of my favorite things on Earth. I get a high from meeting the people who have planted the seeds, toiled the ground and cultivated my heirloom lettuces. I appreciate their hardwork on my behalf and cooking with them. So on my travels, I want to shop and cook what I see but it’s often hard if you are staying in a hotel. Luckily, I’ve visited enough times to several places or lived in areas where I can get around fairly easily on public transportation without a concierge or hotel such as New York’s Union Square or in Turin, home to original Eataly. (Jaw-dropping, if you have never been here, and the city is home to the Slow Food Movement.)
Last year was, strangely, my first time to really visit the farmers market in Ojai, California. One of my best friends, Shelley, had been displaced from her home, and decided to rent a place for two months in the town. We discussed a visit for a couple of nights while I was on my way to Sonoma County for work. And the only thing I wanted to do was to visit the farmers market and cook.
California is home to about 75 % of our nation’s produce and as such this small, hippie-esque town of artists and farmers has access to much of the best organically grown produce in the state, since agricultural country is, essentially, it’s backyard.
We wound up doing making a Grilled “Surf and Turf” with a Cilantro Pesto. Everything being purchased at the Ojai Farmers Market.