This is the E-Newsletter of Contra Costa Certified Farmers' Markets for Friday, March 4, 2011
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The Lettuce Leaf


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Asparagus, pea shoot salad with citrus, spring onions and goat cheese

1 pound asparagus, sliced in 1/2 inch pieces
1 bunch pea shoots, sliced thin
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon seasoned rice vinegar
1/2 cup chevre (goat cheese)
1 Meyer lemon
1 Cara Cara orange
3 stalks spring onion, sliced thin
Salt and pepper to taste

Sautee asparagus and onions in 2 tablespoons of the oil for 3 to 4 minutes until they turn bright green and are still a bit firm. Let cool to room temperature and toss into a salad bowl with the pea shoots. Grate the peel off both the lemon and orange into the salad bowl. Peel the orange and slice into the salad bowl. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze half of it into the salad. Toss in the other tablespoon of olive oil and the rice vinegar. Toss all well and garnish with crumbled goat cheese. Season to taste.

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Grilled asparagus with balsamic vinegar and shaved parmesan

2 pounds asparagus ends trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt
1 to 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 small piece of Reggiano parmesana (use a vegetable peeler to shave ½ cup)

Toss asparagus in a bowl with olive oil and salt to coat.
Grill on low heat on a gas grill or on the low temperature end of a charcoal grill.
Grill until the outside skin begins to blister and turn bright green.
Remove from heat and place on a platter. Shave cheese on and sprinkle with balsamic and a little more salt to taste.

Serves 4.

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Save where you live with the New 2011 Chinook Book previously called the Eco Metro Guide. Save on groceries with the CCC farmers' market coupon. Look for the CCCFM ad and coupon in the 2011 Chinook Book.

Fresh Kiwi

Welcome Dulai Farms from Gridley, to our community!

ECO Bags

Take part and join the Recycle Movement..

Bring out those colorful, reusable bags while shopping at the farmers market and slowly give a break to those white and clear plastic bags. No more crinkly noise, holes in your plastic bag from the weight of too many peaches for the delicious pie you cant wait to bake… reducing plastic bags means reducing clutter in your home and your fridge and helping out the environment. Win- win for everyone.

*CCCFM offers reusable and washable cloth Eco Bags for fruit, veggies, and grains. They are available in 2 sizes at all the market information tables.
In this Issue:

Toyota farm to table tour 2011
is partnering in Walnut Creek with Contra Costa Certified Farmers' Markets Inc. Local chefs and local farmers will join forces to expand your taste bud palette on March 27, 2011, 9am- 1pm. Click here for more details.


WALNUT CREEK: Sundays 9am-1pm winter hours

The Walnut Creek Farmers' Market is Open Rain or Shine.

March ushers in a new season at the market – moving from the chill of winter and tables bursting with citrus and greens to the first flush of local asparagus and strawberries. It's an exciting time to enjoy what’s new at market and to anticipate what each season will bring during the year.

Eleazar and Ana Juarez are one of the latest additions to our group of family farmers at the Sunday Walnut Creek market. Eleazar's history with organic production began in 2004 with the Small Farmer Education Program offered by the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association. Their 5 acre organic farm in Salinas produces year round and this month Ana is behind their stand selling asparagus and baby lettuces along with chards, radishes, spring onions, squash, potatoes and carrots.

The Juarez grow heads of baby lettuce- one of those delightful unique vegetables found at our farmers’ market. Some of the varieties to choose from include Baby Romaine, Red Oak, Butter Lettuce and Red Leaf. In addition to making an interesting statement on a salad plate these heads of baby lettuce offer subtle flavors that can be complemented by a light drizzle of your favorite vinaigrette.

Cecchini and Cecchini Farms from Brentwood are returning with bundles of fresh cut asparagus. The debate continues over which spear size is best – fat or thin! Fat spears definitely have my vote - larger spears of asparagus hold more water so they’re naturally more tender. Growers tell me those pencil thin asparagus spears come from the older, stressed plants, but since these spears have a lower water content they’re a perfect fit with frittatas where the moisture is unnecessary.

Asparagus may be served raw, but blanching for a minute helps to release some of its sweetness. To serve as a cooked vegetable it needs only a minute more cooking time or the once-sturdy spears turn dull and mushy.

Remember simple preparation is best for asparagus.  Bend each spear gently and it breaks naturally between the tender upper green part and the tough white portion at the bottom. Wash under running water to remove any sand that lingers in the tips.

To cook, place the prepared asparagus in an inch of boiling water in a large flat pan or bottom of a roasting pan. Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Drain immediately and serve with a dab of butter or a little fresh lemon juice.

If necessary, store asparagus wrapped in a damp paper towel in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Enjoy and see you at the market!

Eat Right with Color

"Adding a splash of colorful seasonal foods to your plate makes for more than just a festive meal. A rainbow of foods creates a palette of nutrients, each with a different bundle of potential benefits for a healthful eating plan," says registered dietitian and ADA Spokesperson Karen Ansel.

"Food variety supplies different nutrients, so to maximize the nutritional value of your meal, include healthful choices in a variety of colors."

For information on how to "Eat Right with Color," visit ADA's National Nutrition Month website for a variety of helpful tips, fun games, promotional tools and nutrition education resources.

Understand what's killing the Honey Bees.....

The Environmental Protection Agency has the power to investigate and ban the pesticides thought to be responsible and has acknowledged it should look into the causes of "Colony Collapse Disorder" Despite their own scientists' advice and under pressure from pesticides companies, they are slow to act.

Learn more about how to counter the pesticide lobby's pressure and hold the EPA to that commitment.

Market Fund Raising

Market lovers be sure and check out our new CCCFM sales table next to the Walnut Creek Farmers' Market information booth.  At our booth you will find an assortment of shopping bags, from our traditional shopping basket, (a must have for the weekly shopper), to our popular strawberry tote and washable, reusable veggie produce bags. When you purchase these items from CCCFM (that's us) you are helping raise funds for comfort and hospitality for the market you enjoy year-round, thank you in advance for your support!

Feature Content Written by Barbara Kobsar
and edited by Jessie Neu, Executive Director
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© Copyright CCCFM 2011.