Photo Op: Sacramento Farmers Market

There is something about heading over to the Farmer's Market on a early Sunday morning that lifts up my spirits. It starts off quietly, with my Trader Joe's tote bag in hand heading out the door. I feel the dew still settling and the birds waking. The crisp air touches my face as I get to my car for the five minute drive. I crack the windows and turn on the CD player to Paul Nutini's "Autumn Leaves". Perhaps a but corny, but then again, I am a sentimentalist. I pick up my friend Leanne, and we talk about our daughters and how they are fairing with this thing called "adolescence". Approaching the market, we find the closest spot we can. And then we are there: The bustle of people, (many we know and say an early morning "hello"), the beautiful colors everywhere, and the smells of lavender, basil and onions.

We each have our favorite vendors that we visit. For me it is the ladies who sell the avocados and strawberries. Leanne is looking for blueberries and squash...harder to find now that Fall is here. But the tomatoes....the beautiful heirloom tomatoes, neither of us can resist.

And the mushrooms are plentiful and perfect.

The pears in Fall are one of my passions. We will bake them in an apple pie, or put them in a salad with roasted walnuts and Gorgonzola. The vendor here gives away whole pears to sample. Smart vendor, I bought quite a few: Bartletts, and one I have not tried called the Seckel pear.

Then there were pumpkins...beautiful pumpkins of all sizes and colors. Two very large and perfect pumpkins came home with me to rest on the front porch. And a few of the little one for my table.

The scent of fresh bread wafts deliciously through the air. Coffee and croissants are breakfast for many here.

Gourds are coming in season, and a large Butternut Squash makes it into my bag.

Coming home and unloading all of my bags is always heartwarming. The girls and I decide what we will make for dinner.

Dinner later that night is Potato Leek Soup and a salad of fresh baby greens with avocado, oranges and roasted pine nuts. A day well spent.

For more information about the Sacramento Farmer's Market click here. It is the largest Farmer's Market in the region. As one of the vendors aptly put it, "it is the Grand Daddy of Farmer's Markets". Perhaps, most importantly, it is locally grown....and that is a good thing.

Recipe for Potato Leek Soup

from The Ultimate Soup Bible

by Anne Sheasby


2 ounces, 1/4 cup butter

2 leeks, washed and thoroughly chopped

1 small onion peeled and finely chopped

12 ounces potatoes, peeled and chopped

3 3/4 cups chicken or vegetable stock

1) Heat 10 oz. (2 tablespoons) butter in large pan over medium heat. Add the leeks and onion, and cook gently for about 7 minutes until softened

2) Add potatoes to the pan and cook for about 2-3 minutes, then add the stock and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for 30-35 minutes until potatoes are tender.

3) Season to taste and remove from heat. Chop and stir in the remaining butter.

4) (I add this step) Puree mixture in blender or food processor until smooth, then serve!