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July 4, 2013 - 2:06pm
Christopher S.

Keep the Independence Day celebration going with an all American barbecue from the Little Italy Mercato. Start with grown in the USA veggies like sweet corn from Kawano Farms, summer squash and onion from Sage Mountain Farm, and green beans from Suzie’s Farm. (click links for recipes!)

Carnivores can grab grass fed ground beef for burgers from SonRise Ranch (we top ours with organic cheddar from Spring Hill Cheese), pastured beef tri-tip from Da-Le Ranch, or locally made sausages from the Meat Men. Find free roaming chicken at Descanso Valley Ranch or Spur Valley Ranch, and get great grilling and basting sauce at Bistro Blends or Gourmet Delights.

Make BBQ season great this summer!


August 14, 2012 - 10:19am
Chris S.

Find the Meat Men’s provocatively named salamis at the North Park Thursday Farmers’ Market, including Naughty Constable (with caraway and juniper berries), Tasty Treason (cardamom and orange), and the Juicy Scandal (spicy red chile and cinnamon). They’re made in San Diego with naturally raised pork free of hormones and antibiotics, and they make an excellent appetizer platter paired with Brigante pecorino from Taste Cheese, sliced apples from Smit Orchards and a branch of grapes from R&L Farm. Fresh sausages include the gouda filled kasekrainer and bratwurst with cheddar. Order one ready-to-eat in a fresh roll with Albert's special sauekraut and variety of mustards. 

Find more fresh sausage at Da Le Ranch, as well as pork, beef, lamb, bison, chicken and rabbit raised in Lake Elsinore, California. Da Le offers individual cuts of meat, weekly or monthly subscription boxes that contain a mix of meat and poultry, and whole or half animals by special order.

Want to eat your meat without doing the cooking? Stop by the Not So Fast food truck and try one of their tasty menu items using Open Space grass fed meats. Chip's Beach Eatz' pulled pork sandwich is another tasty market meat treat!

The taste of meat from the North Park Thursday Farmers’ Market can’t be beat!



July 18, 2012 - 12:17pm
Chris S.

Fresh okra is here at African Sisters, Proios Farm and JR Organics at the North Park Thursday Farmers’ Market! Try tossing a few lightly with California Olive oil, grill quickly on a hot grill, sprinkle with coarse sea salt and eat! For fans of Cajun and Creole cuisine, okra season means gumbo time. Lucky for you, the North Park Farmers’ Market is loaded with great ingredients for the perfect bowl. Find onion and garlic at Proios Farm, celery and cayenne peppers at Suzie’s Farm, green onion at Valdivia Farm and tomatoes at Kawano Farms. DaLe Ranch has naturally raised chicken and the Meat Men supply spicy fresh and cured sausage. If you’re new to gumbo, learn some technique and check out a recipe, but remember the key is to use great ingredients and have fun! 

Shop Little Italy for the Win!

February 4, 2012 - 6:47am
Brijet M





Score a big win with your Super Bowl party guests by shopping the Little Italy Mercato today. “Lucky” ticket-holders will be bundled up in big coats, hats and mittens in Indianapolis with a predicted high in the low 40’s. Really lucky fans here in sunny San Diego can enjoy the big game in tees and sandals, so think about picking up some organic Viva Pops for dessert, along with gooey bars from Olive Oil Cafe (you'll never guess they're gluten-free.)

Start with your appetizers - grab a few baguettes from Bread & Cie and infused oils for dipping from Gianni’s or California Olive. Choose manly cheeses like Fiscalini aged cheddar, Mimolette or Ewephoria (great with beer!) from Taste Cheese and fill your shopping bag with scarlet grapes from Smit Orchards. Forget the fried potato chips and salty dips! Pick up fresh crunchy carrots, celery and sugar snap peas from J.R. Organics, Maciel Farms or Gilbert Quintos to dip in some chipotle Bitchin’ Sauce and hummus from Baba Foods or Lisko Artisan Deli. While you’re at the Bitchin’ booth- grab some extra tubs to spread on your pre-game sandwiches, grilled chicken or fish! Poppa’s Fresh Fish will supply the oysters.

Speaking of the grill, get in on the biggest grilling day of the year with some kickin’ sausages from SonRise Ranch or tri tip and ribs from Da-Le Ranch. Make it a great ‘Half-Thyme’ meal with spices from Thyme of Essence for your grilled meat or veggies.

Not hosting the game this year? Bring a tin of honey cinnamon or spicy roasted almonds from Hopkins AG and a bottle of San Diego merlot from Triple B Ranches for the host. You’ll be Most Valuable Guest, for sure.


Do You Feel Lucky?

December 30, 2011 - 6:13pm
Catt W


Every culture has traditional foods for inviting luck in the New Year and whichever you choose the Little Italy Mercato offers all the ingredients you need for January 1st eating.

In Italy, as in many cultures, pork is usually on the menu since pigs move forward and represent the fat of the land. Conversely, finish that lobster on New Year's Eve. They move backwards and are considered bad luck on New Year's Day. Ditto chickens and turkeys that scratch backwards, but we're thinking rabbit would be auspicious. Along with the pork, Italians eat lentils symbolizing money, like the beans and peas that many cultures consume.

We're going for the version that started in the Southern United States. Buy Susie's Farm's fresh black eyed peas; they cook up much faster than the dried ones. Suncoast Farms offers a variety of dried beans, so pick your favorites. Add sausage from SonRise Ranch or pork chops from Da Le Ranch. For traditional Hoppin' John, add rice.

We'll be cooking it all up with a mess of greens, representing paper money. Germans typically eat cabbage or sauerkraut and Happy Pantry has you covered there. Boiled or sauteed collards, kale, chard or even spinach will work, and JR Organics, Suzie's, and Sage Mountain Farms offer a wide variety. Add a chopped onion and some crushed garlic. We like the kick of a sliced jalapeno or other chiles. Cornbread from Belen Bakery will round out your meal. Then just sit back and welcome good fortune in 2012!


Get Sauced at the North Park Farmers' Market

August 11, 2011 - 9:56am
Carolyn K


Tomatoes of all shapes, sizes and varieties are in abundance at local farmers' markets now, but this luscious season won't last forver. While those heirlooms are ripe and ready, you need to stop by  Suzie's Farm, JR Organics, the Produce Stand, Kawano Farm or Valdivia farms and pick up all the ripe and ready tomatoes you can find. Then, proceed to get sauced! 

We've picked a few great recipes from clever bloggers; use these or your own family favorites. Start with the basic marinara sauce, perfect for topping fresh pasta from Lisko Artisan Deli. Proceed to homemade ketchup  and pizza sauce (just add veggies to make a perfect pie). Don't stop there, there's tomato soup and salsas! Think of the endless possibilites you'll have spicing those sauces up with sausages from Da-Le Ranch, and infused salts from Salt Farm. Most of these sauces freeze well so you can stay sauced for the rest of the year!



July 1, 2011 - 2:46pm
Hillary E.

Zucchini, yellow crookneck, pattypan and 8-ball, oh my! The summer squashes are making their appearance on the scene and at the Pacific Beach Tuesday Farmers’ Market. Tender and small, these guys are ripe for the picking, and eating too!

The pattypan and yellow crookneck squash from Kawano Farms are as sweet as can be. Steam them, sautee them or throw them on the grill. Any way you eat it is sure to be delicious. The zucchini from Maciel & Family is perfect for stuffing with a little chicken sausage from SonRise Ranch and some wild rice. Or go raw and dip slices in Bitchin’ Sauce’s vegan, raw and gluten-free spread.

Farmers like Suzie's Farm are putting to good use more than just the fruit of the plant, they sell the squash blossom as well. Try them in a quesadilla or omelette, or stuff them with Nicolau Farms garlic and chive chevre and sautee lightly in olive oil for an appetizer that will impress.

Go ahead, get your squash on!


May 5, 2011 - 4:01pm
Hillary E.

This Sunday is Mother's Day so come and take a stroll (bring your Mom!) from Kettner up to Union to find that perfect little something or pick up the trimmings for a special brunch. There are bunches of fragrant lilacs from JR Organics and pretty bouquets of oriental lilies from Dramm & Echter and truffles from Eclipse Chocolat, but that's really just the beginning. From trinkets to treasures, there's something for every Mom just to say, "thank you for being you"! Ceramics from The Wheel and fun jewelry from LilyGirl are just a few ideas. Make a giftbox of spices from Just Spice or a basket of baking supplies and jams from Sustainable Pantry and Really Good Jam. Desire Tablecloths has beautiful kitchen textiles that anyone would love.

If it’s brunch ingredients you’re scouting for Paradise Valley has fresh – we’re talking squeezed right before your eyes - orange juice. Pick up a dozen eggs from Descanso, ciabatta from Belen Bakery, Springhill’s organic sage cheddar and sausage from Son Rise Ranch and make Mom a savory strata. All you need is a bag of coffee beans from Café Virtuoso to complete the picture.

Mom spent years taking care of us - when we were sick, when we were hungry, when we just needed a hug - and though we know you should celebrate mom everyday, let the Little Italy Mercato make this day extra special.

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