Membrillo and Orange Raspberries

One of my favorite parts of any farmers' market is finding a treasure. That rare fruit, one of a kind, twisted vegetable that should have grown straight.

This morning it was the perfect paper blue basket of orange raspberries. I cradled them to the car for my Goddaughter's ninth birthday. She devoured them like candy.

Saturday morning at the Pt. Reyes market (my favorite and the last I'll make this year), I found membrillo, membrillo. I didn't hesitate for a second. When in the world will another opportunity to buy quince paste from a woman with a corner store smile selling it from a table in front of a 20 foot wall of hay bales present itself? It's as much art as it is food. And it tastes better than I could have imagined.

Last week the best market treasure was Ann from Brookside Farms in Brentwood. If you are in the area for the Thursday market at the Crocker Galleria stop and say hello to her. She's got her finger on the pulse of nature and the seasons. Everything she, her husband and son grow informs her as she'll happily tell you. And she wasn't just a treasure last week, she is every week.

It's generally the small growers where I find a one of a kind surprise, a piece of something that got to go wild, or was grown with extra affection. I know the markets aren't all strawberries and rose petals. I know the farmers work their asses off but if you ask me that's all the more reason to romanticize and appreciate them.

Besides it makes the food taste even better.

What treasure have you found at the farmers' market recently? Have you ever had membrillo? Orange raspberries?


audrey said...

I love reading about other farmers markets, especially when there's quince paste. I don't think we've got anything nearly as exotic as orange raspberries right now.

Tiffany said...

I've never tried either membrillo or orange raspberries, but I would jump at the chance! I love these farmers markets finds as well. My favorite new find is October Beans, the beans are speckled with bright pink and taste delicious!

Christina said...

I've had membrillo. I've even made membrillo--my husband is Argentinean, so it is a necessary item in this household. Membrillo is, to me, congealed autumn--it is lovely stuff. Thanks for reminding me to keep my eye out for the quince that will be coming in . . ..

Donna said...

I;ve never had either one, although orange raspberries sounds like a little piece of heaven. I've never met a berry I didn't like.

My treasure at the market one week was my first taste of tomatillos. I asked the farmer what they were and she replied, "You can have one. They're not selling anyway!" It's not often you get to meet a totally new taste. I haven't purchased any, yet, but maybe next year I'll make salsa or something.

kale for sale said...

audrey - This is the first time I've seen orange raspberries. They were seriously like jewels and of course all the pictures I took came out blurry.

tiffany - What a great name, October Beans. It's so practical. Yesterday I made a pot of cranberry beans. Yep, the color of cranberries, meaty and flavorful. Now if I can only remember where I found them.

christina - Yes, you're right, the membrillo is autumn. It's red leaves and orange pumpkins, the smell of new rain and the memory of summer condensed into a pink sweetness. I am eating it so sparingly. I've seen a few quince on the market but really not many at all. You'll have to consider a quince tree in your garden.

donna - Isn't it the best when the farmer gives you a piece of fruit? I know they're doing it to make a sale but there's also a kindness and generosity there too which I love. Sometimes I trade places and offer the farmers a piece of fruit. They love it.