Olive Oil and The Farmers Market

Posted by Olivia on Thursday, January 7th, 2010

Like pretty much everyone else, I have resolved to eat healthfully in 2010. Fortunately for me, really great olive oil makes such a resolution easy. Olive oil is already very heart-healthy , but beyond that, having a bottle of truly delicious EVOO drives me to fill my plate with fresh veggies to eat it with. Beyond salad, simply roasting or stirfrying with olive oil is a healthy and tasty way to create nutritious meals. Since I was already doing something good for myself by vowing to eat healthfully, I figured I'd do my part to take care of the earth by eating locally. Eating locally is green in many ways and limits the carbon footprint of the food I buy. Additionally, it stimulates the local economy when I give money to the hardworking farmers in my region, as opposed to a big grocery chain.

One of my favorite things about eating locally is that it makes for a good excuse to try all kinds of different fruits and vegetables. Sure, carrots grow in my region, but why limit myself to just carrots when I can also get my hands on golden beets, purple cauliflower, red potatoes and rainbow chard? As the seasons change, so does the available produce, so I headed to San Francisco's Civic Center Farmers Market  to pick up some winter veggies to roast with some Mission Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Bright purple potatoes caught my eye, as did gorgeous dark green Poblano peppers, lighter jalapenos and huge stalks of fragrant rosemary. The rosemary was lush and pungent, the Poblanos large and firm—perfect for chiles rellenos. I'd roast the peppers in olive oil, remove the seeds and fill them with soft, fresh cheese and maybe some roasted root vegetables. I'd serve them with freshly-cooked black beans and a Mexican cabbage slaw. My stomach growled just thinking about the possibilties.

I never commit to a produce stand until I've seen what else is out there, so I continued on and checked out another vendor's purple potatoes and jalapenos. It was hard to choose, as they were fairly comprable, but the first vendor seemed to have the fresher produce, so I headed back to pick up some Poblanos, jalapenos, potatoes and some fresh rosemary.

I made my way to another stall with yet more potatoes and picked up some tender, delicate fingerlings, the perfect vehicle for my buttery Mission oil. I'd roast them, coated lightly in oil with a little freshly-snipped rosemary, a few shallots and sea salt and pepper. Truly good olive oil is amazing in this way—there's no need for fancy ingredients when you have something that is so delicious in its purest state. All you need are good, fresh ingredients and simple kitchen tools to create memorable meals that are good for your waistline, your wallet and the earth.

Beautiful fresh mushrooms, cheeses, jams, jelly, even wine filled the 1-block span of stands and kiosks. I made one last stop for some fresh Bosc pears for dessert.

What an invigorating, wonderful way to kick off a healthy new year.


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