I haven't been getting down to the Saturday Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market as often as I'd like. Too often when the choice is between sleeping in versus getting up and heading down there early enough to actually peruse the market, the sleeping in wins. And with the market's popularity, you really do need to get there early before the sightseeing crowds overtake it.
I usually squeeze in a power walk to the Tuesday or Thursday markets (it's a nice mile walk round-trip from my office, with the way back a mild workout from carrying a sack or two of produce.) But both are mini-markets as compared to the hundred or so stalls on Saturdays.
Last weekend, I was determined to make it happen. We reserved a City Carshare and set the alarm, and thus the plan was set.
In addition to stuffing our expandable reusable bags with avocadoes from Brokaw, goat cheese from Redwood Hills Farm, and artichokes from Iacoppi, I had to stop by June Taylor's table to replenish my jam supply. I'd just finished up a jar of her amazing Santa Rosa Plum conserve. I went with a Gravenstein apple butter instead of a jam. My SO's mom had given me a jar she'd made last year, so I was already a convert.
While at June's table, these little baby bundt cake jelly mods caught my eye. On closer inspection I saw they were fruit cheeses. June saw my inquisitive looks at them, and offered me a taste. In short, they taste like a grown-up's fruit roll-up. And I immediately decided to grab one of the Santa Rosa Plum fruit cheeses to take to Thanksgiving dinner, to pair with some local cheeses.
This was my first encounter with fruit cheese as far as I know, which is osmewhat surprising given how much fruit and vegetable preservation my grandmothers on both sides used to get into. They are a great way to preserve an overabundance of summer fruits, as an alternative to jams and marmalades. And best of all -- you can store them in a dark, cool cupboard until you need them.
I think I'd ike to try my hand at making some next year. They seem like they'd be great hostess gifts for the holidays. And they don't seem to be any more difficult to make than jam, other than the unmolding part. In this age wherein we can do so much quickly and efficiently virtually, including ordering our groceries online, it's little discoveries like this that make taking the time to go out and shop and talk with the artisans and growers at the market such a good expenditure of time.