Farmers Market Travels & Lemon Verbena

I happen to love farmers markets and not only because I like to support local farmers but because often times it’s a learning experience. The farmers want to have you try their produce, its like a show and tell of FRESH food. When I’m on a mission for specifics I go to the smaller farmers market in Larchmont, CA. Smaller usually allows me to get in and get out and get to know the vendors. On the occasion I am in the mood for just an outdoor fun shopping trip, and that’s what I did this past Sunday.

The farmers market in Hollywood (located on Sunset and Vine) is more than double the size of the Larchmont one. It’s often overwhelming for me so I avoid it when it gets hot out. Me, heat and a mass of people just never end well. Luckily for everyone, including my partner in crime “The Professor”, Sunday was a brisk day out. As we made our way through the market, or rather I say as I tried to keep up with fast walking professor I started to stumble upon some fun new produce I’ve never seen before. The first one we were curious about was something called a pineapple guava and I have to say it was pretty awful. It tasted all wrong and extremely tart.  I couldn’t even hide my squint eye to tart facial expression from the distributor. There are just some fruit blends that do not work and this was one of them! The next we tried an early avocado, much smaller than average avocados called a Topa Topa. This was utterly delish! What set itself apart from other avocados was that it has a smooth skin on the outside with a larger pit and a more watery texture to the flesh inside. You could even eat the skin from it too! I also got introduced to my new favorite fall fruit… Persimmons. They almost look like an heirloom tomato with the crunch of an apple. I’m not actually sure if I like them or if I am just really curious as to the taste and that’s why I like them. Either way I’m munching on one right now.

The highlight from my whole adventure had to be this new herb I found called Lemon Verbena (1 bunch for $1!!). I could practically smell it before I even walked up to the table. The lemon smell was vibrant and fresh I just had to have it. Farmers Markets are a great place to find fresh herbs and spices the only downside is that they will go bad faster than your normal store brought brand. I used the Lemon Verbena the second I got home. We were told by the supplier that it’s great for teas and that’s exactly what we did.

Lemon Verbena Tea:

Put one bunch of verbena into 32 oz. of water and put it on the stove to boil. Keep your eye on it because right before the water starts to boil, turn it off, cover it and let it simmer for 3 minutes. Strain the leaves and serve with a little honey.