I am always amazed by the abundance and variety of what’s for sale at the Napa Farmers Market. From peaches to beans to eggs, everything is in season and fresh. Don’t worry, apple lovers. This year’s crop will be harvested soon and back for you to buy.
But even though the best local foods are all around me, everyone who knows me can vouch for the fact that I really do not look forward to making dinner. For a non-foodie, non-chef like me, it can be a little bit intimidating trying to decide what to fix.
Luckily, at the market, I am surrounded by the solution. Did you know you could roast pretty much any vegetable and meat on a sheet pan? You can put everything in the oven at the same time and, like magic, dinner is served.
The farmers market has many vendors with fresh vegetables perfect for this dish. I like to use potatoes, carrots or turnips, onions and garlic. Peel, slice and season them to your taste, and you can’t go wrong. Check out Gauchito Hill Farm, Long Meadow Ranch, The Patch or Big Ranch Farm for these basics. For protein, I like to use chicken thighs or pork loin. The Napa Farmers’ Market has added several vendors with just the right cuts of meat to roast alongside vegetables.
Have you ever noticed how much better vegetables taste with a little olive oil on them? Our market has a wonderful local producer, Atlas Peak Olive Oil, with both buttery and grassy styles. I like the buttery type myself. They also have some great packaged seasonings that you can rub on your meat before roasting. One of the market’s newest farmers, The Little Guys has beautiful herb plants. Break off a few sprigs to add to your dish.
Don’t forget to get some greens for a salad while at the market. You can even add some Achadinha cheese or sliced pears to it; Arceo Ranch has beautiful pears right now.
Pick up some zinnias or cosmos from Arceo while you are at it. Devoto Gardens is also back with beautiful blooms for your home.
Of course, these suggestions are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to using your magical roasting pan. Try roasting tomatoes or green beans. Everything comes out of that pan so sweet and delicious.
I know that for those of you who enjoy improvising in the kitchen, my discovery of pan-roasting is old news. But for those of us who don’t have that cooking gene, it is indeed magic. Take it from me that the Napa Farmers Market is the place to solve your dinner-making problems. You can get everything you need and more, and you can purchase it direct from the growers who work so hard to bring you farm-fresh ingredients every Tuesday and Saturday.
Chef’s Demo: Giovanni Guerra, chef and owner of Foodshed in Napa, will demonstrate a favorite recipe at the Napa Farmers Market on Saturday, August 5, at 11 a.m. The demonstration is free and the recipe will be provided.
One-Dish Garlic and Herb Pork Tenderloin
This recipe is adapted from www.theseasonedmom.com.
1 1/2 pounds small red potatoes, in bite-sized pieces
4 carrots, peeled and sliced into bite-sized rounds
1 onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 whole pork tenderloin
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 sprigs fresh thyme
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a jelly-roll pan or other sheet pan with cooking spray.
In a bowl, toss the potatoes, carrots, onion, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper until well coated.
Rub the pork with your favorite seasoning and place in the middle of the pan. Arrange the vegetables around the pork and tuck the herbs among the vegetables.
Place the pan, uncovered, in the oven and roast until the pork is cooked through, 25 to 35 minutes. An internal temperature of 150 degrees F is sufficient. Let the pork rest 10 minutes before slicing.
Serves 3 to 4