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30 Things to do with Peaches

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It’s peach season and we couldn’t be more excited.  The peach, which originated in China about 4,000 years ago are the perfect sweet treat for summer.  With 2.6 grams of fiber, 1.5 grams of protein, no fat or cholesterol and only 68 calories, a peach gives you a nutrient-dense snack that will fill you up. In addition to peaches are loaded with vitamins and may protect you from heart disease and diabetes.  We’re sharing 30 Things to do with Peaches this season!

1. Peach lemonade
2. Peach salsa
3. Peach butter
4. Peach ice cream
5. Peach pancakes
6. Grilled peaches
7. Curried peach sauce
8. Peach cobbler
9. Peach chipotle BBQ sauce
10. Peach spinach salad
11. Peach fruit leather
12. Peach preserves
13. Peach muffins
14. Dehydrated peaches
15. Canned peaches

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Multi-sensory Market Discoveries [Shishito Shitake Shakedown]

Shopping at a farmers market awakens the senses and makes us realize that the exotic is not so far away. It’s a multi-sensory activity where we learn about, interact with, and become part of our surroundings. This week, we discovered that our favorite restaurant treat is available through a few of our farmers: Shishito Peppers!

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Shishito peppers are said to have originated in Eastern Asia. They are part of the Capsicum species, along with bell peppers and cayenne peppers. These crops generally do great in dry, hot climates and get more flavorful with more sun exposure. Lucky us – we’ve got plenty of that! Recently, shishito peppers have gained popularity and can be found usually as a finger-food appetizer at trendy restaurants. We found ours at Al Hamka Family Farm.

Shishito peppers vary greatly between crops – on the same vine, one may be sweet and mild while the one next to it is savory and spicy. That’s what makes them addictive! One local restaurant named them “Russian Roulette Peppers” because you never know what you’ll get, and if you’re into surprises, you’ll be digging for the hottest in the bowl.

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Since they’re so easy to prepare, why not try them at home? Maybe even on the grill! If you’re extra DIY, a lemon aioli is easily prepared in a blender – add a little smokiness or zing with paprika or apple cider vinegar.

To start our shishito dinner, we first reached for an ice-cold beer. Then, we threw our peppers in a grill basket with some lime juice and zest, garlic, soy sauce, black pepper, and canola oil to coat. We used a microplane for the lime zest and the garlic. They cooked on high heat for about 10 minutes, tossing every four minutes or so to ensure an even char. Next time, we intend to take the char even further than this go-around. Having too many peppers and not enough surface area makes for overcooked peppers without much texture – though never lacking in flavor. A nice blended salsa or sauce could be made with these if they do seem overcooked!

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We paired our shishitos with some shitake mushrooms from Southwest Mushrooms and some frozen potstickers. It made for a great weeknight meal that breaks up the monotony of salads, pastas, and meat-centric roasts. Each bite was definitely spicy! Dinner became a competition of how much heat we could handle…so it was nice to get the occasional mild pepper. Leftovers will go into brown rice with a drizzle of Saucy Lips Pineapple Thai sauce for take-along lunches.

Get inspired next time you’re at the Open Air Market by looking out for produce you don’t see year-round. A long, skinny pepper available by the handful? Ask the farmer what they usually do with it, where it comes from, why it thrives in our climate.

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Multi-sensory Market Discoveries [Lemon Verbena]

Shopping at a farmers market is nothing like shopping at a grocery store. It’s a multi-sensory activity where we learn about, interact with, and become part of our surroundings. This week, we discovered a new-to-us herb: Lemon Verbena!

During the last hour of the market, we happened upon Lemon Verbena at Maya’s Farm. We sniffed at the leaves wondering what it was, though the lemony aspect of it was very obvious. It smelled a little more floral than other herbs at the table, though everything at this booth toes the line between flower, herb, and vegetable.

Maya herself convinced us to take it home and experiment! She told us to make a tea with it by simply adding it to just-boiled water (being sure to take it off the heat once we put the leaves in). Lemon Verbena can also be used in salads, with fish and chicken, and whatever else lemon would otherwise be great with. We grabbed a couple bunches of it along with some of the robust rosemary next to it, and flaunted its beautiful smell to friends we bumped into on the way out of the aisle.

Little did we know…Lemon Verbena is highly medicinal! In its thin and bright green leaves, there is a high concentrate of antioxidant compounds, anti-inflammatory, and anti-spasmodic properties. It even moderates appetite and is a great anti-stress agent.

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The tea was refreshing and floral! We ended up specifically craving it over ice at the end of a long, hot day. But it also just made the house smell amazing! Adding a sprig of rosemary was a good move, giving the tea a bit of nuance and a savory touch. Mint would be a natural addition, too. Having a jar of concentrated Lemon Verbena tea is sure to improve Summer. Next, maybe roasted halibut with asparagus–that would go great with Lemon Verbena!
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Multi-sensory discoveries can be made all over the market. Get the most out of the Open Air Market by opening your senses–smell what you see and listen to what you can feel. Ask a farmer or a fellow shopper about their experience, inquire about the story behind a handmade good and truly connect with your local commerce.
Be sure to share your findings with us and the market community on Instagram and Facebook with #lettucemeatdowntown!

A Shout-out to our Growers

Between the weather, the culture and the urban sprawl, being a grower in Phoenix, Arizona is no easy feat. We want to take a moment to recognize the humans that cultivate and tend to the land which grows the food you take home each and every Saturday.

They wake up long before dawn to pack up the goods and display them on tables with labels and a smile.

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They spend hours in the sun on their land, monitoring irrigation, tilling plots, harvesting just-ripened vegetables, and mitigating the strange Sonoran weather conditions.

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They invest their savings in point-of-sales systems, vendor fees, organic certification, and infrastructure construction.

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They are constantly learning and seeking new ways to make their systems work efficiently, get a better yield, and have the best quality product possible–building on generations of skill and expertise.

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They bring the whole family to the market, keeping the farm going for generations and maintaining a farm-to-table culture throughout all age groups.

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They work together, work with their community, and depend on farmers markets to make their hard work truly mean something.

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They provide education and inspiration when it comes to use of the product, helping market-goers try new things and get the nutrition they need.

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They form relationships with local businesses, bringing local produce to chefs and food-lovers all over the valley.

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They encourage us to grow our own food by bringing plant starters and years of know-how.

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They hold farm days and workshops that bring us into their operation and show us the reality of urban agriculture.

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They are families, bands of friends, and bundles of passionate agriculture nerds who look forward to putting in a full day of work in the middle of the city while most people are starting their weekend.

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They don’t cut corners with pesticides or detrimental GMOs, because they know the true value of growing their own food.

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Join us this Saturday for a tribute to our growers at MEET YOUR COMMUNITY: GROWERS EDITION! There will be workshops all day as well as a coffee chat hour from 8am-9am. Network, ask questions and get feedback, or simply shake the hands of your neighbor the farmer!

Locally Sourced + Market Approved

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One of our favorite things at the Market is the fact we get to meet the growers and producers, ask questions and learn how our foods and products are grown and made.  Traceability is important, we should know where our food comes from just the same we like to know it’s organic.  We should be able to see and understand the food chain and what we’re buying and consuming.

Look our new for the Locally Sourced badge at the Market! 

Vendors offering products featuring more than 50% locally-sourced ingredients are being awarded “Phoenix Public Market Approved” badges.  In addition to the nutritional and health benefits, choosing these products keeps even more money in the local economy, leading to a healthier sustainable community.

We have power as consumers and where we choose to use our spending power makes an impact! When you choose to shop local you support.

We love sharing all of the wonderful reasons shopping local is so valuable to our community! Want to read more?  Check out these past blog posts: Why Shop Local?
The Importance of Shopping Local Growers and Producers

Prepare for Citrusocolypse

It’s every Arizonan’s duty to be able to recite the 5 C’s like the ABC’s: Cotton, Copper, Cattle, Climate, and CITRUS!

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In the early years of Arizona’s history, citrus was a major player in the fate of Arizona’s economy. Citrus was brought over to the Southwest in the 18th century by Spanish settlers. As grapefruit in particular gained popularity during the 1930s, more than 1 million crates of grapefruits were produced by our state in the year of 1935.

The industry flocked to Arizona, landing mainly in the Arcadia and Mesa areas, where many groves are landmarks for historic neighborhoods. The sprawl of these neighborhoods and urban areas in general encroaching on farmland is largely why orchards declined heavily in the 1990s.

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Our warm and sunny climate creates a perfect incubator for sweet, juicy citrus of many varieties. Today, shoppers at Phoenix Public Market can find tangelos, kumquats, ruby reds, and so much more in overwhelming abundance at every grower’s stand. The ubiquity of citrus in our Phoenician lives can make the fruit mundane and cumbersome, but there are plenty of ways to enjoy it and reap the nutritional benefits–it’s time to get creative!

Read on for 4 ways get excited about our prolonged and plentiful citrus season…

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Market Recipe: Orange Glazed Radish

Crop of the Moment: Bok Choy

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A staple in Asian cooking, this round-leafed vegetable may be less familiar to American cooks. Here’s what you need to know — including what its name means, how to wash it, and how to use it.

1. Bok Choy’s Name
Bok choy is sometimes referred to as white cabbage, not to be confused with Napa cabbage, which is also a type of Chinese cabbage. There are many kinds of bok choy that vary in color, taste, and size, including tah tsai and joi choi. You might also find bok choy spelled pak choi, bok choi, or pak choy.

2. Its Plant Family
Bok choy might look a lot like celery, but it’s a member of the cabbage family.

3. History
The Chinese have been cultivating the vegetable for more than 5,000 years.

4. Where It’s Grown
Although the veggie is still grown in China, bok choy is now also harvested in America and parts of Canada.

5. Cooking It
Bok choy, known for its mild flavor, is good for stir-fries, braising, and soups. You can also eat it raw. Try this delicious and easy recipe from Bon Appetit

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Market Recipes: Thanksgiving Favorites

True Thanksgiving Tradition- Eating Local

There’s nothing wrong with family traditions, but it’s easy and fun to give those old favorites new life with fresh, locally raised foods. Thanksgiving is the perfect time to choose from autumn’s bountiful cornucopia of locally grown foods from salad greens to root vegetables. The most traditional Thanksgiving menu has its roots in local, seasonal foods.

And there’s even more to be thankful for, because local foods, when grown without synthetic chemicals, enhance our personal health, the health of our farmers, their farms, and our communities. And the virtuous circle expands as local organic foods benefit the soil, air, and water upon which life depends. We’re proud to host three certified organic farmers, along with another ten local farmers who practice sustainable, healthy growing techniques.  Talk to your farmers at the Market, ask questions about how they grow their foods and discover tips on how to prepare the produce at home into the perfect holiday dish.
Check out some of our favorite Thanksgiving sides…
and Italian Heat Apple Stuffing
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