One of My Weekly Pleasures

Farmers’ markets are a pleasure that we just cannot deny ourselves.  It feels wonderful to know that we are eating healthy and supporting the local economy.  The farmer’s market in Encinitas is a colorful display of organic fruits and vegetables just beckoning us to “come taste and take me home”, which we do and always walk away spending more than we had intended.

I am always on the hunt for nutritional finds and it was to be the jujube fruit on this trip.  Also called the Chinese date, it is a small fruit with red skin, whose inside is similar to an apple.  It tastes best when dried; is an excellent source of vitamin C; and has long been considered a sleep aid according to Chinese alternative medicine.  A bag of them finds their way into my cart.

Being a great lover of artisanal cheeses, farmers’ markets are a great place to find these local delicacies.  Spring Hill Cheese, in Sonoma County, provided some creamy, pungent samples of their cheddar.  What sets them apart is their certified organic designation; use of Jersey cows instead of Holstein, producing richer, higher nutritional cheeses; and creation of “truly raw” cheeses, never bringing the milk over 100º during the cheese making process.  This cheddar will pair perfectly with a spinach quinoa salad recipe that we love.  My taste buds are already singing!

Terry and I have become hooked on Lära Bars, discovered some time ago while searching for healthy hiking snacks.  When I stumbled upon recipes for homemade Lära Bars, I was in heaven.  They are unbaked treats that come in many, many flavors, with typically only 4 or 5 ingredients, allowing for a quick sweet-tooth fix.  The sweetener base is dates instead of other processed sugars, and ground nuts instead of white or wheat flours.  Finding dates at the farmer’s market, I knew what I would be whipping up later in the day.

Here are a few of our favorites:

NOTE:  I use twice the amount of lime juice as called for and unsweetened organic coconut.  I also just roll the batter into bite-size balls, place in a container, and pop into the frig.  Quick, tasty little decadent treats!

I am already looking forward to next weekend and new discoveries.

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