Cambrian: Opinion

Meet Me at The Market: Cambria’s Farmer’s Market offers ingredients aplenty

The Cambria Farmer’s Market provides ingredients for a number of great recipes.
The Cambria Farmer’s Market provides ingredients for a number of great recipes. Special to The Cambrian

Resolving to eat more healthily in 2019? Walk that talk at Cambria’s Friday Farmer’s Market in the Vets Hall parking lot from 2:30 to 5 p.m. and discover the bounty of fresh produce, food products and flowers currently provided by 36 purveyors!

As Cambrian reporter Kathe Tanner quips, you know you’re a Cambrian if you spend an hour at the market: 10 minutes shopping and the rest of the time visiting with friends. See you at the market... “Rain or Shine!”

Did you know that Cambria’s Farmer’s Market is one of the earliest in San Luis Obispo County? Originally, Michael Limacher sold his produce from Charan Springs Farm behind the brick bank building around 1982. Esther Rigoni of “Esther’s Garden” remembers driving up from Arroyo Grande with her garden produce and flowers in 1983. Everyone agrees that the Farmer’s Market as we know it today was founded and certified in 1985.

That means all the produce sold are grown by the farmer selling it.

Michael turned the market over to Jane and Jack Gibson who managed it until Carol and Mike Broadhurst assumed leadership. Today, their son-in-law Jeff Nielsen manages the market, which has been sponsored by the Lion’s Club for many years. Please clarify or correct our collective memory if you can add to our narrative.

The Cambria Farmers Market is our town treasure. Vow to visit the wide variety of booths soon, perhaps tomorrow. If you are not up to date with cooking and planning nutritious meals for health and wellness, here is a preview of what you will find in the final winter months with suggestions and simple recipes to try.

If you are new to the market scene, begin with a purpose. Think about what you like to eat and maybe a meal you would like to prepare. Understand that plants have six parts: roots, stems, leaves, flowers, fruits and seeds, which include nuts. Using all of them in a week is a fun way to play the eating game and balance your diet.

Tomorrow as I fill my market basket, I will be thinking roots: Carrots and onions look good for carrot casserole. Nice with steamed broccoli laced with lemon butter.

Stems: Celery comes to mind with a smear of nut butter and the crunch of celery with almonds, so buy some garlic, green onions and chives.

Leaves: Lettuces, spinach and chard become great green salads and California quiche, so buy a dozen eggs.

Flowers: No, I’m not talking roses, but they’re in the market too. Broccoli florets steamed, stir-fried or cold, marinated in vinaigrette dressing, provide a bouquet of nutrients.

Fruit: Spaghetti squash is a surprising substitute for pasta ladled with homemade or prepare marinara sauce. Cold marinated broccoli completes the meal with perhaps a wedge of bread from “Breaking Bread.”

Seeds: Almonds, for the celery with almonds and munching out-of-hand, pack a powerhouse of protein, fiber and a host of antioxidants.

Check-out all the prepared food stalls and purveyors of a wide variety of edible products.

Flowers perk up the spirit of the market place The aroma of BBQ wafts across the parking from Linn’s grills. Friday at the market is not to be missed.

Carrot Casserole

3 cups mashed carrots steamed or boiled

1 cup (4 ounces) cheddar cheese, grated

1 cup milk

2 tblsp. onion, grated

1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper

1/2 cup dry bread or cracker crumbs, reserving some for the top

Mix all together and spoon into a 2-qt greased casserole. Sprinkle with remaining crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Serve with steamed broccoli. Delicious leftover! Serves four.

Celery with Almonds

2 cups celery, cut in 1/2 inch pieces or 3-inch long strips

1-1/2 tblsp. butter

1/4 cup chopped green onions, with tops

1 tblsp. chives, minced

1/2 small clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted

In a skillet, melt butter and add celery. Stir over low heat about 3 minutes. Add onions, chives and garlic, and stir a minute. Mix in toasted almonds. Nice with chicken and rice. Serves 2-3.

California Quiche

1 pound Swiss chard, chopped or (a mix of zucchini, crookneck and patty pan squash)

1/2 onion, thinly sliced

4 eggs

6-ounces Swiss cheese, grated

1/2 tsp. each dried basil, oregano and salt

Steam chard or squash with onions until wilted, but not over cooked. Beat eggs; add cheese, chard and seasonings. Pour mixture into greased 9x9 baking dish and bake at 325 degrees about 40 minutes or until set. Serves 4.


6 tblsp. high quality olive oil

2 tblsp. red or white wine vinegar (or substitute fresh lemon juice)

1/4 tsp. each salt and pepper

Dash of tarragon or chervil (optional)

Mix ingredients in a glass jar with lid. Shake well. Use as needed over crisp salad greens or marinate leftover broccoli. Yields 1/2 cup


Use remaining eggs to make an herbed omelet with 1 tblsp. of Parmesan cheese or hard boil to use in Egg Salad, deviled eggs or eaten just plain.

Meet Me at the Market again soon for the late spring report and summer forecast. Nancy Allen’s column is Special to The Cambrian. Send comments to