On any other day, California Avenue looks like an ordinary street, however Sunday mornings are something different all together. The crisp air filled with the smell of fresh crepes and ripe persimmons circles around a community of families as they walk up and down the street. A small crowd gathers around to listen to a man who plays the harmonica, keyboard and sings at the same time. Under small white tents, many travel from afar to reach the Palo Alto farmers market where they can sell a variety of local and organic produce. Drawn into the inviting environment, Verde went to check out the market.
Why do you come to the farmers market?
“We chose the farmers market because of the price, the organic produce, and the fact that you are actually buying from the people who are growing it. That way you know where it comes from. Better quality, better price” -Caterina, Palo Alto resident
“We’ve been coming since this market started, which I think was almost 10 years ago. I have to say that I really enjoy the people. It’s so diverse, and it’s a great market” -Tary Blanchard, Old Creek Ranch
How far do you travel to get here?
“Our farm is located in Fresno, in the Central Valley of California. On Saturday we have to leave the farm around 1 in the morning. Then we have a market on Saturday and stay overnight until Sunday. We have a bunch of groups around the Bay Area. We all come from the farm, and spend the weekend at different farmers markets around the Bay Area.” -Mercedes and Peter, Twin Girls Farm
“I come from the Campo Los Gatos area. I’m actually really spoiled; I get up around 7:45 and the farmers market starts at 9. You have to be here at 8:30. Most of the vendors who come here wake up by 5 in the morning” -Erin Small, Small Bees
Oaxacan Kitchen $9[star rating=”4.5″]
At first glance, the taco plate with carnitas is not appealing. The guacamole and salsa has mixed to form an unfortunate color. However the odors coming from the dish are enough to want to pick up the tacos and start devouring them. The first bite explodes with flavor as the well seasoned, juicy carnitas mix with the salsa, guacamole and freshly chopped onions and cilantro. The meat is tender, somewhat fatty and falls apart in your mouth. The guacamole counteracts the spiciness of the salsa while the cilantro ads a really nice balance to the heaviness of the meat. It is argued that tortillas can be the most important part of a taco. Without a good tortilla, the taco falls apart. These corn tortillas were chewy, soaked in sauce and helped the meal feel more substantial. The rice and beans that came with the dish also deserve some recognition. The rice was very flavorful, well cooked with a bit of a chew while the beans were tender yet held their shape long enough.
Normandie Crepe $7[star rating=”5″]
A long line streams from the small, unassuming stand. The front announces the name of the food place, “Gourmet Crepes”, as well as the variety of sweet and savory crepes available. Inside the tent, cooks are moving at rapid speed, smearing batter onto a circular pan with finesse and drizzling chocolate sauce onto banana slices. After about a five minute wait, we walk away with a humble-looking crepe. Next to it, a dollop of pale whipped cream is slightly melted, creating a small pool of cream surrounding the crepe. The first bite offers an array of flavors. The slight crunch and chewiness from the crepe dough plays with the mushiness of the apples to create a symphony of textures. The filling tastes like apple pie with a salted-caramel sauce mixed into it. The crepe dough helps to tone down the sweetness of the filling, and the whipped cream offers a creamy, light contrast to the heavy filling.