Saturday, August 22, 2009
San Diego Detour—Chino Ranch
Chino Ranch Farms. Located in the midst of one of San Diego’s most exclusive suburbs, Rancho Santa Fe. The Chinos run a quaint produce stand called the Vegetable Shop.
Chino Ranch gained national prominence when Alice Waters of Chez Panisse discovered the exceptional produce. She now has weekly shipments of Chino produce delivered to the Berkeley restaurant. Currently on the menu are Chino’s lima beans, which are literally HUGE and will probably change your notion of the frozen pasty lima beans you may be used to…
Wolfgang Puck also uses Chino Farms produce at his Spago Beverly Hills Restaurant: Chino Farms Heirloom Tomato Soup, Roasted Chino Farms Beet Layer Cake…
The Chinos practice sustainable growing practices—labor-intensive cultivation methods and extreme devotion to harvesting only the best tasting produce.
Both Laurel Miller from the Oakland Tribune and I agree on the exquisite: “Rows of sparkling clean lettuces -- the Chinos grow 60 varieties -- lie next to pristine microgreens and herbs; snowy, baby icicle radishes, purple kohlrabi, burdock root, baby cauliflower in purple and apricot-hued "citrus" varieties; cardoons, red and Thumbelina carrots; warty-looking, dusky blue, hard squash; freshly scrubbed Jerusalem artichokes; Brussels sprouts the size of marbles; and containers of fresh, shucked heirloom shelling beans of every imaginable pattern and hue.”
I tried some of their strawberry figs! The riper and squishier the better! And they really had a hint of strawberry flavor, too! I also tasted these big, fat figs that I believe are called king figs? Either way they were yummy!
My family bought some tiny little colorful tomatoes, which were just so cute and tasted divine! Big tomato flavor! Very fresh. We devoured the little basket in one sitting; it was like eating healthy jellybeans!
If you are in the San Diego area and are a fan of pretty views and fresh produce, it is worth it to swing by the modest Vegetable Shop at Chino Farms.