State Street Farmers Market + Squash Blossoms in Santa Barbara

The Tuesday market in the 500 and 600 blocks of State Street is one of our favorite markets in the Santa Barbara area. It is quintessential Santa Barbara; where international students, tourists, families and busy office workers all end up on a Tuesday evening, gathering produce and sampling juicy fresh fruits among the shops and restaurants of downtown.

After gathering our produce, we all like to meet for a happy hour and a light dinner at Pierre Lafond Bistro or Blush, two local restaurants with outdoor seating right in the midst of the action. We find that planning something wonderful mid-work week gives us something to look forward to on Monday, and by Wednesday, it’s almost the weekend again.

If you have never tried squash blossoms, you have a few more weeks this season to make it happen. The blossoms are attached to the end of very young summer squash and are often forgotten by home gardeners and farmers, who let the blossoms dry and fall off as the squash matures. But squash blossoms are considered a delicacy and are so delicate and perishable that they are generally only available in farmers markets. Harvesting squash blossoms is also a great way for vegetable gardeners to control bountiful squash harvests. You can stuff your blossoms with a bit of cheese and bake or fry them or put them in pasta sauce or quesadillas. You should be able to find them in Santa Barbara markets until Thanksgiving.

This week, alongside our squash we picked up some cucumbers from Tom Shepherd and some beautiful French green beans from Given's farms. And of course, juicy fuji apples from the organic apple people. There is something wonderful about coming home with produce from the farmers' market. We find we enjoy our produce even more completely.

See you next week!