Welcome to Four Eyes Forum, a meeting place to exchange news and views on food, food photography, the word on food, food science, style and architecture. Join me, the blogger who wears glasses, in this world as I throw out engaging stuff that I think you'll find interesting, beautiful and delicious. As Charles Dudley Warner, American editor and writer, said,
"Lettuce, like conversation, requires a good deal
of oil, to avoid friction, and keep the company
smooth....You can put anything, and the more
things the better, into salad, as into a conver-
sation, but everything depends upon the skill of
mixing."


That's my job.
-Kristin
khalgedahl@gmail.com


(All photographs, unless otherwise cited, copyright
Kristin Halgedahl Photography 2016)



Saturday, June 11, 2011

SANTA ROSA, CA -- A BREAKOUT FARMERS' MARKET





 I've always shopped farmers' markets, no matter what country I've been in. There's something special about being outdoors, in the fresh air, sun, if you're lucky to have it, and not too hot a sun, with people whose lives are centered close to the yield of the earth. It's a healthier way to shop and eat, it gets cheaper and cheaper  in most parts of the country, and it's a social, cultural and educational endeavor. In its own way, given what I saw today, the experience can rise to a work of art.


I've been a regular at the Santa Rosa market for many years now, and have watched it grow from a steady, small market into what struck me today as a real breakout experience, rivaling any fresh market in the Bay Area. Being there this morning finally gave me pause to wonder what ingredients constitute growth in a farmers' market? Novelty, variety, numbers of consumers and interaction with the vendors are a few components of a robust, thriving  market. There's an energy present; everything's in motion. 


All of these characteristics  were in blazing evidence today. For example, parking has become a challenge due to ballooning numbers of shoppers. As a result,  I had to enter at the back end of the market, and the first new thing I ran into was a mobile brick-oven! It was churning out pizzas at a rate that was utterly remarkable! I asked to jump into the cooking area with the camera and this is what I saw. Fabulous. This is cutting edge stuff!


  



Pizzeria Rosso (I admit it; I, hadn't heard of them) makes a mean pizza, and they cater. It's a big novelty at the market. (707) 486-7528)






















Another indicator that Santa Rosa's Market has 'arrived' is that vendors from Healdsburg are coming down! Mateo Granados (former chef of The Dry Creek Kitchen) was first, with his Mayan cuisine truck, but NOW there's Per le Stelle, of Mora Estate. Owner Fabiano Ramaci was stirring this gigantic Paella pan with great aplomb before offering me a plate






while his wife Alena, CFO, was chatting with customers about the winery's products, some still in prototype, including infused oils in her exquisitely hand painted bottles. For more on these wonderful purveyors,  see perlestelle.com






























And it was raining cherries, Bing, Brooks and Rainier, as it has been pouring rain for months, and that had a thunderous energy to it, that poundage of sweet meat.   
        




And I noticed that more and more vendors are moving to beautiful signage and striking presentation of their products, an appreciated and strategic art worldwide, especially in Asia and Mexico.




    










 I realized today that I'm like a parent who has watched her child reach adulthood. That which has been growing in front of my eyes for several years has come to present itself as a mature, beautiful  adult.  If you're in the Bay Area, the Santa Rosa Farmers' Market is one you'll definitely want to take in -- it's as fine as they come.



Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I have had an unidentified seasonal nostalgia recently, and the dedication to Dianne Jacob's  book, Will Write For Food nails what it is. It reads,
"To my parents, who taught me to appreciate food as a vehicle for memory and identity...."
Cherries, the stone fruit du jour at today's market, do that to me. I grew up summering with my family in northern Michigan and cherries defined the taste of summer, always on the first grocery list in June, heading up the snack list before chips, dips and soda. Traverse City, known internationally as the Cherry Capitol of the World, kept cherries on the table and at the beach through early August. Every summer.
It's no wonder I remain something of a cherry snob here in northern California, not quite believing that they actually grow here -- Central Valley. Rainer Cherries, o.k. They are the stars of the west coast, in my view, and you PAY for them. 
But Michigan cherries still seem the best, maybe because that taste  allows me to see musical notes on the page at summer music camp again, my brother diving under the surface of Lake Michigan in his swim fins again, my mother making a fuss over cherry stains and sand again. Taste triggering memory and identity, Dianne. Yes, summoned now, in every bite.