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Ripe Now! Spinach

In the midst of the rainy season, cool-weather crops are thriving this time of year. One of those vegetables that we know and love is spinach! Native to Persia about 2000 years ago, spinach was then brought over to India and China and then became popular throughout Europe and the Arab Mediterranean. It is a member of the amaranth family (Amaranthaceae) and has a deep green color with ovate to triangular leaves. 

The leaves of the spinach plant are enjoyed raw, steamed, or preserved through such techniques as canning and freezing. Spinach is about 90% water and 3% protein, and is a great source of vitamin C, b vitamins, potassium, and dietary fiber. Spinach is known to have high levels of iron, calcium, and vitamin K; however, it also contains absorption-inhibiting substances, like oxalates which prevent or decrease vitamin/mineral absorption. Combine raw spinach with a fat, like olive oil, or an acid, like citrus, in order to digest these nutrients better. Or use a quick cooking method, like blanching to break down the oxalates but retain the nutrients

You can get spinach at all 3 of our Berkeley farmers' markets now at Happy Boy Farms, Riverdog Farm, Full Belly Farm, Oya Organics, and Avalos Farm.

Easy Eating
Spinach can be enjoyed throughout all the meals of the day. For breakfast, try out this satisfying mushroom and spinach frittata recipe. For lunchtime, you might want to bite into this flaky and savory  Spanakopita (Greek spinach pie). A super in-season and super-delicious side dish is this wilted spinach and bok choy with grapefruit and sesame recipe. Finally, this vegan red lentil spinach soup will warm you up on the chilly nights ahead.

Storage Tips
Store loose in an open container in the crisper. Keep cool as soon as possible. Spinach loves to be cold. Find out more about how to store your fruits and veggies here
Recipe: Herbed Butter Bean Paté with Leeks and Spinach 
From Whole Food Cooking Every Day by Amy Chaplin

Makes about 2 ¾ cups | Serves 4 to 6

Butter Bean Paté Ingredients
3 cups cooked butter beans or two 15 ½-ounce cans beans, drained and well rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon finely grated or pressed garlic 
½ teaspoon fine sea salt, or more to taste 
Freshly ground black pepper

Other Ingredients

1 tablespoon extra-virgin coconut oil
1 medium leek, sliced (2 heaping cups)
¼ teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
4 cups baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill
Freshly ground black pepper

Directions 

Put the beans, olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper in a food processor and process until completely smooth, with a fluffy whipped texture; this will take a couple of minutes to achieve. Season to taste with more salt and pepper if necessary. Leave the mixture in the food processor. 

Warm the coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and salt and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and cook for another 5 minutes, or until the leeks are soft. Add the spinach, cover the pan, and let the spinach wilt for 3 minutes. Remove the lid and stir until the spinach is cooked. Transfer the leeks and spinach to the food processor, add the lemon juice and dill, and blend until smooth. Adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper to taste. 


* Whole Food Cooking Every Day by Amy Chaplin is available to purchase at the Ecology Center Store 
  
This Week's Vendors

Tuesday South Berkeley
Thursday North Berkeley
Saturday Downtown Berkeley
Kaki Farms
Massa Organics
Oya Organics
Brokaw Ranch
Avalos Farm
Full Belly Farm
Flying Disc Ranch
Blossom Bluff Orchards
Solano Mushroom
Dirty Girl Produce
Kashiwase Farm
Stepladder Creamery
Riverdog Farm
Smit Farms
Frog Hollow Farm
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

Vendors out:
Good Faith Farm

Little Fish Co.
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


Brokaw Ranch
Kaki Farm
Good Faith Farm
Guru Ram Das Orchards
Golden Rule Organics
Lifefood Gardens
Flying Disc Ranch
Gattonelli
Achadinha Cheese Co.
Little Fish Co.
Kashiwase Farm 
Stepladder Creamery
Solano Mushroom
Riverdog Farm
Smit Farms
Four Sisters Farm
Frog Hollow Farm
Bariani Olive Oil
Soul Flower Farm
Pomo Tierra Orchard
Higher Land Coffee
Tony's Kettle Corn + Crepes
Andy's Thai
Tamales La Oaxaqueña
Cafe Zambala
All Things Sharp
Beber Almond Milk
Big Little Bowl
Your Way to Life Granola
Laguna Garden Bakery
Cultured Pickle Shop
Morell's Bread
Obour Hummus
Phoenix Pastificio
Bolani
Coracao
Primavera Tamales
Bun Bao

Vendors out:
Avalos Farm
Happy Boy Farms
Miss Bee Haven Honey
Bring Home a YEA Farm Box!
Sourced from the Berkeley Farmers' Market, Powered by Local Youth

Order your fresh, in season, locally sourced Farm Box online between Monday and 9am Thursday for curbside pick up on Saturday at the Berkeley Farmers' Market.

To learn more and to place an order, visit the YEA Farm Box website
Looking for a way to give back to your community in this challenging time?
Become a volunteer at the Berkeley Farmers' Markets! As an essential service, the Berkeley Farmers' Markets continue to provide fresh, healthy food for the community and a livelihood for small and mid-scale farmers. We have implemented extensive operational changes to protect customers, farmers, and staff, and to mitigate the spread of disease, and so volunteers are needed more than ever to help support staff in implementing these.
If you are healthy, not in the high risk category, and not living with high risk people, please consider volunteering at our three weekly farmers' markets.

Volunteer tasks include:
  • Supporting the development and execution of a curbside pickup or box-style produce pick-up program (in development)
  • Greeting customers at market entrance and providing them with info on the social distancing requirement
  • If needed, supporting staff in queueing customers at the market entrance, if the number of customers already in the market exceeds our maximum crowd count.
  • Hanging signage in the market
  • Monitoring vendor lines, helping customers know where to wait, and thanking customers for adhering to the social distancing guidelines
A short, virtual volunteer training will be scheduled prior to working at the market. Shifts start 30 minutes prior to market opening time, and length can be flexible depending on availability. Our three markets operate year-round, rain or shine:
  • Downtown Berkeley | Center Street @ M. L. King, Jr. Way, Saturdays 10 am - 3 pm
  • North Berkeley | Shattuck Avenue @ Vine Street, Thursdays 3 pm - 7 pm
  • South Berkeley | Adeline Street and 63rd Street, Tuesdays 2 pm - 6:30 pm
In addition to supporting the community in accessing healthy, farm-fresh food, the benefits of volunteering 5+ hours include an Ecology Center Membership. Contact mariana@ecologycenter.org to sign up!
Big Gardens in Small Spaces: The Adventures of Container Gardening

If you don't have a lot of space or want to grow your own food without being overwhelmed by a big garden, this is the class for you!
"Compost Gal" Lori Caldwell will cover topics such as types of containers, maintaining soil fertility, best plants for container gardens, watering and crop rotation will be covered. It's a great way to start a garden or add on to maximize your existing garden possibilities.

Growing in containers is a great way to start a garden or add on to maximize your already existing garden possibilities! We have scheduled this class for February so you'll be able to get your containers ready for spring planting.

Lori Caldwell, is an Alameda County Master Composter, a Stopwaste Educator, a Bay-Friendly Qualified Landscape Professional and an avid edible gardener. She has been teaching sustainable gardening classes since 2007.


Saturday | February 13, 2021 | 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
Online Event


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. 



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 Rose St., Berkeley
Downtown Berkeley
Saturdays, 10 am - 3 pm
Center St. at MLK Jr. Way, Berkeley
[Photo credit: Berkeley Farmers' Market Staff]