Leeks are this week’s Fresh Pick of the Week at the Coachella Valley Certified Farmers’ Markets. With their unique combination of vitamins, minerals, flavonoids and other sulfur-containing nutrients, Leeks are a healthy addition to anyone’s diet. Like their cousins, garlic and onions, Leeks belong to the vegetable family called the Alliums. They have a mild, onion-like flavor, and are popular additions to a variety of recipes. They are a key ingredient in classic Vichyssoise, they can be sauteed and served as a delicious side item, they can be used as a stock base, or even mixed into salads and eaten raw.
Leeks enjoy a long and rich culinary history. Thought to have originated in Central Asia, they have been cultivated in this region and in Europe for thousands of years. Leeks were prized by the ancient Greeks and Romans and were especially revered for their beneficial effect upon the throat. The Greek philosopher Aristotle credited the clear voice of the partridge to a diet of Leeks, and the infamous Roman emperor Nero supposedly ate them every day to make his voice stronger. The Romans are thought to have introduced Leeks to the United Kingdom, where they flourished because they could withstand the shorter growing season, and cold winters. Leeks attained a particularly esteemed status in Wales, where they now serve as the Welsh country's national emblem.
Did you know: Wild Leeks, known as Ramps, are much smaller in size, but have a much stronger, and more intense flavor. Once vilified for their effect on the breath of anyone who ate them, they have now become quite the favorite of Chefs and food enthusiasts. Ramps are available for a short period of time each year, and are often widely sought out when they are in season.
Price: $2 per bunch
All Certified Farmers’ Markets accept CalFresh EBT Cards, WIC Farmers’ Market Checks, and Senior Farmers’ Market Checks. The Markets also offer Market Bucks that can be purchased using charge cards or cash, then used at the market for purchases.
Palm Desert Certified Farmers’ Market: NEW HOURS in Palm Desert only (8:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.). The Market is held at 72-599 Highway 111 (adjacent to the Palm Desert Chamber of Commerce).
Palm Springs Certified Farmers’ Market: The Market is held at 2300 Baristo Rd. (adjacent to The Camelot Theatres)
La Quinta Certified Farmers’ Market: The Market is held in Old Town La Quinta at 78100 Main Street (off Calle Tampico).
The Certified Farmers’ Markets are the Coachella Valley’s only State and County Certified Farmers’ Markets. That means all the fruits, vegetables, meats and other products that are on sale at the markets have been grown on California Certified farms. In addition, almost all the farms are located within a 90 mile radius of the markets (thus reducing the carbon footprint), and many of the products sold are “USDA Certified Organic.”
The Certified Farmers Markets are sponsored by the Palm Springs Cultural Center, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, which was established to encourage the development of the cultural arts in the Coachella Valley with a specific focus in the areas of film, fine art, live performance, dance, music, and community festivals. The Center is dedicated to advancing education, to nurturing community-wide participation in the cultural arts, and to sponsoring scholarship awards for deserving individuals.