Vegetable economics

Last week we talked about the overflowing bounty now on display 
at our farm and all the farmers markets stands, and indeed this is that time 
of summer when we get almost giddy about fresh produce.
You can so easily go to the farmers market (or your backyard farm) 
without a specific plan of what you will cook and as you gather what's available, 
your meal will start coming together in your mind. 
(Check out this video from Zagat shopping a Farmers Market with a chef):
All good tipsthat is, if you can make it home 
with your treasures before stealing some bites. 
Recently at the Tuesday Farmers Market in Sonoma, a customer 
was inquiring how to store the raspberries he was buying. 
The farmer smiled and said, "Who knows? Most everyone just 
eats them before they get home." 
We know what he means, as our raspberries from the farm 
often don't survive the trip to the restaurant and not because 
they are too delicate to travel, just too delicious to resist!

these managed to make it to the restaurant
and you can enjoy the Summer Crisp of local berries with lemon verbena ice cream
now on the menu at the girl & the fig
Considering how irresistible all the fresh vegetables are this time of year 
and even though we know you are  getting creative, we wanted to share 
some great tips for freezing produce (yes, you can). 
Ok, it's true it may seem like blasphemy to talk about freezing produce 
now when everything is so fresh, but it's a good solution to 
the "I couldn't stop myself from buying everything in sight" affliction 
(or when you can't keep up with what you are growing), 
and later in the year, you'll be glad you did. 
This step-by-step process from what to select, how to cut, blanch and freeze 
is courtesy of Kenji Lopez-Alt, Chief Creative Officer at 

hard to resist buying it all, right?
On the subject of "vegetable economics," there's also the idea 
of using all the parts of the vegetables you have.
San Francisco Chronicle food writer Tara Duggan has a new book, 
Miriam Morgan explains it this way: "Head-to-tail cooking, the term 
for using every part of the animal, is the mantra of 
sustainably conscious chefs these days. 
Now, a new book translates that into the vegetable realm...
Celery leaves? They go into slaw. Apple peels and cores? 
Make a jelly and flavor bourbon. Too many lemons? Here's how to freeze the zest.

Along with the recipes, the book weighs in on how to 
evaluate organic versus conventional produce; store and prepare produce easily; 
and add meat, fish and chicken into the picture."
There are more good tips on how to use all of a vegetable, including a few recipes.

radish leaf salad with corn, tomatoes & salted cucumbers
photo by Clay McLachlan for San Francisco Chronicle

Our chefs know all these tricks and continue to be creative 
all the time with the bounty we bring them from the farm.
They know all about what to do with lots of cucumbers and tomatoes
including the current salad of the season: cucumber vinaigrette, summer herbs, 
lemon cucumber, snap peas, a recent soup special and this week's Plats du Jour entree.
 tomato cucumber gazpacho at the girl & the fig
this week's Plats du Jour features a tomato tart
And they are always inspired by what is currently growing at the farm.
Now, our popular Panisse Cake, which at other times of the year 
is presented with chickpea purée, sautéed garden chard 
and marinated sheep's milk feta is now served 
as basil panisse cake~ tomato coulis, cherry tomatoes, 
marinated feta, mizuna, featuring our current garden stars.

Our panisse cake this past winter

current version of Panisse cake using the farm's
basil and tomato 

What are you growing at your farm or finding at the farmers market
that is inspiring you right now?
And do you have any tips for what you do when you have too much?


  1. I loved reading this! This is precisely why your food is so delicious.

    I want to tell you that we have since moved away from the Sonoma area. We've been living in another state for 1 year, and not a day goes by that we don't miss NorCal and it's beautiful produce and food. So much so that we're in the process of trying to move back. Your restaurant will be first on my list when I get back :)

    Thanks for sharing, Sondra :)
    Christina Lane

  2. Christina, what a wonderful note-thank you so much for posting this. Having the farm and sharing the experience with others in the blog bring us so much joy--but nothing more so than taking care of people like you at the restaurant. We can't wait to have you back!