Fresh from the Farm by Katie Malich

If you’re like me, your weekly shopping trips are timed around the Tuesday afternoon Culver City Farmers Market. By the time that Tuesday afternoon rolls around, my cupboards and refrigerator are not always completely bare, but they are often full of tid-bits of this and that and some forlorn-looking leftovers. This past week, I’d let my inner Texan rule the kitchen, so the fridge has the last bit of my black-eyed peas with ham hocks. (Shhh! Don’t tell on me … I usually use smoked turkey for that Southern flavor – great flavor and much more heart-healthy, but I was feeling very self-indulgent and nostalgic when I went shopping.) I did cook my healthy greens in an admirably heart-healthy way, but fell behind in my salad-making. So the last of the arugula is bound for the compost bin, along with that half-tomato.
I know that I am going to be busy today at the market. Stone fruit – peaches, nectarines, plums, pluots, apriums, and end-of-the-season apricots – will be at its peak, and fresh heirloom tomatoes are coming into their own. We are seeing wonderful melons, and corn on the cob so sweet and fresh that you could eat it raw straight off the cob. By the time I finish shopping, I’ll be in the mood to extend that summer feeling with some delicious bar-b-que for dinner. But I know that I’m not about to go to the bother of grilling myself. Not after a long shopping trip. Not on a weeknight. Not tonight.
Culver City Farmers Market to the rescue! I’m sure you’ve noticed the wonderful smells coming from the south-eastern corner of Main Street near Culver Boulevard. We are blessed with not one but two grill-masters. You can choose from wonderful Hawaiian chicken (the $12 size is large enough to satisfy a family of four, or one very hungry adult) and fresh grilled sausages, chicken, and more from Candy’s Gourmet meats. Stop by the roasted corn stand, grab some of your favorite stone fruit, and you’ll have a complete meal – and no grill to clean afterward. What could be better than that on a busy weeknight?
Weekends, though, are another matter. Fire up that grill, put on that apron, and try some of the seafood and vegetable recipes in this week’s From the Farmer’s Table. You can find fresh local red snapper at the J & P Seafood truck at the Culver City Farmers Market. You’ll also find summer squash, fresh herbs, juicy lemons and limes, red bell peppers, sweet onions, wonderful tomatoes, fresh-picked mushrooms, everything you need for the vegetable skewers and Catalonian fish sauce.

The Culver City Farmers Market is held every Tuesday from 2 to 7 pm on Main Street between Culver and Venice Blvds.

Katie Malich thanks Daniel N. and his amazing grilled zucchini and Pam T. and her amazing grilled fish for inspiring this week’s column. And she still remembers Rebecca C.’s amazing grilled bison from last summer. Happy birthday, Rebecca!

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