Sunday, December 25, 2011
Visiting my mother and youngest sister for Christmas in Pasadena, one of my bucket list items was to experience a local farmers market. I love perusing grocery stores and farmers markets when I visit a new place. It is fascinating to see what the exact same store carries in different areas of the country. It is great to see more and more local, organic items from produce to meat to coffee!
Mother and I visited the south Pasadena farmers market on Thursday. It was a well rounded farmers market with prepared food vendors, local produce, local grass fed meat, local raw milk (it is legal in CA to sell raw milk products directly to the public), local olive oil, local honey, live music, and even Santa.
We did several tastings-honey, raw milk, olive oil, and balsamic vinegars.
We enjoyed tastings of honey. It was amazing to taste the fruit or herb that the bee was pollinating come through so strongly in the honey. Bill’s Bees had raw honey harvested from sage, wildflower, and orange pollen. They also had various beeswax beauty products.
The bees are wintering now at their home in Angeles National Forest. They will be brought to the almond farms in February to pollinate the almond trees. Without the bees, there would be no almonds. My mother purchased the wildflower honey.
My mother had been looking for a raw milk source since she moved to Pasadena from Kansas. Organic Pastures had a booth and refrigerated truck with pastured raised raw milk products and beef. The raw milk was delicious! For those that are nervous about raw milk, raw milk has to pass the same bacteria count as pasteurized milk.
We stopped by a local olive oil producer’s booth and enjoyed tastings of their farm raised and processed olive oils as well as high quality, imported balsamic vinegars from Modena, Italy. The Ojai Olive Oil is grown and produced in California’s Ojai Valley.
Only vinegar made to the Italian consortium standards and produced in Modena and Reggio Emilia can be called “Aceto Balsamico Tradizionale.” They are made very differently than others labeled as “balsamic vinegar.” They are a 30% reduction of Trebbiano grapes that is fermented in wood barrels for a minimum of 12 years. A little balsamic vinegar is all that is needed to flavor a dish.
I purchased their French olive oil, a rich olive oil face cream made from all natural ingredients that smelled good enough to eat, olive oil soap which is also great for hair washing, and a balsamic vinegar.