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Ripe Now! Leeks

Looking for a veggie that's not quite an onion and not quite garlic, but some sweet spot in between? Well, right now you can find an abundance of leeks at the farmers' markets. 

Leeks are a part of the same genus as onions, garlics, shallots, scallions, and chives (Alliums). They are native to Central Asia, but have been cultivated for thousands of years. They have a sweet onion-like flavor and have a crunchy, firm texture. Generally, the white and light green parts of the leeks are used for cooking. The leaf's dark green portion of the plant, is a little tougher and used more for stocks. Cut leeks into 5-10mm slices and boil, fry, or eat raw in salads. They are very versatile and add a nice kick to your meal. They are a great source of vitamin K, B6, and A, as well as a good source of calcium and omega-3 fatty acids. Leeks were a cultural significant food to the ancient Greeks and Romans and were known for their beneficial effects on the throat. Fun fact: Aristotle credited his clear voice to his diet of leeks. 

You can pick up leeks at all three of our Berkeley Farmers' Markets. Visit Dirty Girl Produce, Oya Organics, Full Belly Farm, Riverdog Farm, Green Thumb Organics, Avalos Farm, and Golden Rule Organics to enjoy all the benefits and fantastic flavor of leeks. 

Easy Eating: Start off your morning with this delicious  persian herb and leek frittata. For lunch, you can try out this fresh roasted leek salad with apple cider vinaigrette. This vegan crispy potato leek rolls recipe would make a fantastic afternoon snack. And finally for dinner, you can try out this leek and potato soup with frizzled leeks recipe

Storage Tips: Store unwashed and untrimmed leeks in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks. You can wrap them in beeswax wraps to help retain moisture. 
Can you give to support the day-to-day operations of the Berkeley Farmers' Markets? Since the start of the pandemic, we've continued to deliver essential services to our Bay Area community, each and every week. We have modified our market operations and increased our staff to ensure customers can shop as safely as possible. This includes facilitating social distancing, managing crowd levels, reducing surface contact by limiting customer handling of produce and changing to cashless transactions when possible, and more. WHY? Small farms are integral to our food system and health. Click the button below and type in "farmers' markets" in the notes to Donate to Keep the Berkeley Farmers' Markets Strong!
Recipe: Creamy Sweet Potato Leek Soup
From The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes: Vegetable Kingdom by Bryant Terry

Ingredients:

Puffed black ginger rice 
1 cup black Forbidden Rice, soaked in water overnight and drained
1 tablespoon ginger juice (from ¼ cup coarsely shredded fresh ginger)
¾ teaspoon kosher salt

Sweet Potato Leek Soup
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chopped leeks (2 or 3 medium, white parts only)
½ teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
5 cups vegetable stock, plus more as needed
1 ¼ pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
¼ cup Cashew Cream
1 tablespoon unseasoned rice vinegar
Freshly ground white pepper

To Finish
1 cup coconut oil, for frying
½ cup minced fresh cilantro
Coconut Cream
Flaky sea salt, for finishing

Directions:

Start the rice: In a small saucepan, combine the rice, ginger juice, salt, and 2 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Quickly decrease the heat to low, cover, and cook until the rice has absorbed the water, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside, covered, to steam for 20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 300°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

With a fork, transfer the rice from the saucepan to the prepared baking sheet. Spread it in an even layer, separating the rice grains as much as possible with the fork. Bake, stirring occasionally, until the rice dries. 20 to 30 minutes. Set aside until ready to deep-fry. 

Make the soup: In a medium saucepan, warm the oil over medium-high heat until shimmering to medium-low, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the leeks are meltingly tender but not brown. About 20 minutes.

Add the stock and sweet potatoes. Raise the heat to high, bring to a boil, then decrease the heat to medium. Simmer, partially covered, until the sweet potatoes are tender, about 30 minutes.

In batches, carefully transfer the soup to a blender and puree until smooth. Return the soup to the pot and stir in the cashew cream and vinegar. Taste and season with salt and white pepper. Gently warm through over low heat; do not allow the soup to come to a boil. Add additional broth or water as needed to thin the soup (it should easily pour from a spoon). 

Finish the rice: Just before serving the soup, line a plate with paper towels. In a wok or small sauce-pan, heat the coconut oil over medium-high heat to 375°F (if you don't have a deep-fry thermometer, drop in one grain of rice to see if it puffs up-if it does, the oil is ready). Working in batches, add the rice to the hot oil and fry until it puffs up, floats to the top of the oil, and has a brownish hue, 15 to 20 seconds. With a stainless steel spider, transfer the rice to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Repeat to fry the remaining rice. Transfer the rice to a medium bowl and stir in the cilantro. Mix well.

To serve, ladle the soup into bowls. Drizzle with coconut cream, and generously top with the puffed rice and cilantro. Finish with a sprinkle of flaky salt and serve. 

Juicing the ginger

The easiest way to get juice from ginger is feeding it into an electric juicer: First, grate ginger knobs on a box grater (the coarse side with big holes works well). You can also pulverize the ginger in a food processor to yield ginger pulp. Next, wrap the pulp in cheesecloth and squeeze to extract as much juice as possible. You can also squeeze the pulp with our hands (skipping the cheesecloth), in batches and then strain the juice of any solids afterward. 


*Photo credit: One Mercantile Goods and Gifts. The Abundant World of Vegan Recipes: Vegetable Kingdom by Bryant Terry is available to purchase at the Ecology Center Store and at  One Mercantile Goods and Gifts
  
Current Vendors

Tuesday South Berkeley
Thursday North Berkeley
Saturday Downtown Berkeley
Billy Bob Orchards
Kaki Farms
Guru Ram Das Orchards
Massa Organics
Oya Organics
Full Belly Farm
Flying Disc Ranch
Blossom Bluff Orchards
Solano Mushroom
Dirty Girl Produce
Kashiwase Farm
Stepladder Creamery
Riverdog Farm
Smit Farms
Avalos Farm
Lou Vue Farm
Blue Heron Farms
Frog Hollow Farm
Lucero Organics
Little Fish Co
Queen of Sheeba Honey
Phoenix Pastificio 
Three Stone Hearth
Soul Flower Farm
Base Camp Bakery
Bolani
Fruit Tree Smoothies
Tamales La Oaxaquena 
Andy's Thai
Donna's Tamales

Hudson Fish
Happy Boy Farms
Green Thumb Organics
Massa Organics
Golden Rule Organics
Pomo Tierra Orchard
E&H Mushroom Farm
Riverdog Farm
Frog Hollow Farm
Kashiwase Farm
Phoenix Pastificio 
Big Little Bowl
Donna's Tamales
All Things Sharp
Morell's Bread
Upland Apiary
Three Stone Hearth

Vang Family Farm
Billy Bob Orchards
Avalos Farm
Kaki Farm
Good Faith Farm
Guru Ram Das Orchards
Golden Rule Organics
Lifefood Gardens
Flying Disc Ranch
Gattonelli
Achadinha Cheese Co.
Hudson Fish
Kashiwase Farm
Happy Boy Farms
Stepladder Creamery
True Grass Ranch
Solano Mushroom
Riverdog Farm
Smit Farms
Four Sisters Farm
Frog Hollow Farm
Pomo Tierra Orchard
Higher Land Coffee
Tony's Kettle Corn + Crepes
Andy's Thai
Tamales La Oaxaquena
Cafe Zambala
All Things Sharp
Beber Almond Milk
Big Little Bowl
Your Way to Life Granola
Queen of Sheeba Honey
Soul Flower Farm
Laguna Gardens Bakery
Cultured Pickle Shop
Morell's Bread
Obour Hummus
Phoenix Pastificio
Bolani
Coracao
Primavera Tamales
Bun Bao
Abrothacary
Get started on your shopping list! Our partner at Seasonal Bay Area tracks down each of our vendors every week to get an up-to-date list of what will be for sale at our Tuesday South Berkeley and Saturday Downtown Berkeley markets. Click the link below to find out what's in season this week!


Want to learn more about what's in season? Check out Andrea Castillo'
Seasonal, a deeply-researched newsletter that connects you to the Bay Area food system, one fruit and vegetable at a time. Nourish your inner food nerd!

Ecology Center's 50th Anniversary Friendraiser Celebration
Free Community Event
Live Stream

Join Us:
Saturday, December 5

Main Event:
7:00 - 8:00 pm PT (Free)

Green Room:
6:30 - 7:00 pm PT (Ticketed)


It's been 50 years since our incorporation as a non-profit in 1970! Please join us in celebrating a rich history of bringing active solutions to the environmental challenges that our communities face.

Our Annual Friendraiser event will be both a fundraiser and 50th anniversary celebration that will feature key figures from Ecology Center's past and present, a performance by award-winning singer-songwriter Jennifer Johns, a silent auction, a gift give-away to all who attend, a Green Room Dinner option, and more. This is a free community event that is sure to add cheer to this winter season.

Since 1970, the Ecology Center has provided a place where people go for practical alternatives, reliable information, and a community invested in developing healthy, sustainable, and environmentally responsible ways of living. 

Please click on the button below for more information and to register:

Holiday Food Drive at the Berkeley Farmers' Markets!


Looking for a way to support your community and your local farmers at the same time? Berkeley Farmers' Markets are collecting donations at all three of our markets. All donations will be used to purchase bulk produce at wholesale prices from our farmers. These purchases will be donated to Berkeley Food Network for distribution to food-insecure families and individuals before the winter holidays. Stop by the info booth to donate by card, cash, or check. Direct produce donations will be accepted on pick-up day, Tuesday, December 15. Thank you for supporting your local farms and the Berkeley community!
Saturday Market Consolidation

Starting this Saturday, the Downtown Berkeley Farmers' Markets will be consolidating the market back to Center Street (all vendors will be on Center Street). We will be continuing to maintain rigorous safety guidelines. We are grateful to the City of Berkeley for allowing for the temporary expansion. Below is where all the vendors will be located. Vendors that have been relocated are highlighted in teal:

Winter Changes at the Berkeley Farmers' Markets

As public health officials understand more about how the coronavirus is primarily transmitted (via person-to-person contact, rather than surfaces) the Berkeley Farmers' Market will be allowing some customer self-service at vendor booths at all three of our markets starting Tuesday, December 2, 2020. While some booths will continue the "vendor-service" model, the customer self-service booths will be well marked with prominent signage and monitored by both vendors and market managers. This change will allow customers to select their own products, similar to the experience of shopping at a grocery store. Loose items will be pre-bagged or utensils like tongs will be provided and regularly sanitized by the vendor. There will be a strict you-touch-you-buy policy. All other COVID-19 precautionary measures (including but not limited to: customer distancing in booths, regulating the number of customers in the market at one time, wearing masks, and regular surface sanitation) will be maintained and strictly enforced. We hope this change will expedite customer shopping at the market, reduce farmers and vendor staffing costs, and allow for a safer environment overall.

If you have any questions about these changes, please email us at farmersmarkets@ecologycenter.org
Staying Safe

Wearing a face mask and social distancing are required to shop at the Berkeley Farmers' Markets per City of Berkeley COVID-19 safety guidelines. We enforce a limit on the maximum amount of customers in market at one time in order to ensure space for social distancing. This means we may have a line to get into our market at the entrances. If you are feeling sick or may have been exposed to COVID-19, please stay home. 
Open Positions


The Ecology Center is seeking to fill two food and farming program positions. Both positions support the work related to the California Alliance of Farmers' Markets (the Alliance) a statewide farmers' market industry group, founded and led by the Ecology Center. The Alliance is dedicated to promoting the direct farmer-to-consumer relationship, supporting small independent farmers, increasing the integrity and securing the future of Certified Farmers' Markets throughout California. The Program Manager also coordinates and leads projects and program efforts to advance CalFresh/SNAP access and healthy food incentives statewide and nationally in a farm-direct setting.
BERKELEY FARMERS' MARKETS HOLIDAY SCHEDULE:
 
Tuesday, December 22, 2020 will be the last open Farmers' Market in 2020.

We will be closed for a winter break on the following dates:
Thursday, December 24th
Saturday, December 26th
Tuesday, December 29th
Thursday, December 31st

The first open Farmers' Market in 2021 will be
Saturday, January 2, 2021
 
We wish you a safe and happy winter season
and look forward to greeting you at the Berkeley Farmers' Markets.


Farmers' Market Hours & Locations
EBT and WIC Fruit & Vegetable checks gladly accepted and Market Match incentives distributed at all markets.
South Berkeley
Tuesdays, 2 - 6:30 pm
Adeline St. at 63rd St., 
Berkeley
North Berkeley
Thursdays, 3 - 7 pm 
Shattuck Ave. at Vine St., Berkeley
Downtown Berkeley
Saturdays, 10 am - 3 pm
Center St. at MLK Jr. Way, Berkeley
[Photo credit: Berkeley Farmers' Market Staff, One Mercantile Goods and Gifts]