Peppers from Happy Quail Farms

Much is written about the San Francisco Farmer’s Market but nary a word about the humble little Menlo Park Farmer’s Market. Held every Sunday in the parking lots between Santa Cruz Avenue and Menlo Avenue, this little market has grown in the past fifteen years from just a few stands with kettle corn, pomegranate juice and a smattering of produce to a vibrant, active organic market complete with political campaigning, 20 foot high buffaloes and protesting grannies.

The first booth I stopped at was Happy Quail Farms located just over 101 in East Palo Alto. All their produce is organic, naturally grown right there.

Kate from Happy Quail Farms

Little Gems – squash from South Africa

Zapallitos – Argentinian summer squash

The next stand was Heirloom Organics with a stand so gorgeous, I thought for a moment that I was back in Provence. Grant Brians leads this Hollister farm with 90 percent heirloom variety vegetables.

Not to be forgotten is Ella Bella Farms and their gorgeous heirloom tomatoes. Ella bella is a small organic family farm in Corralitos (south of Santa Cruz) run by Brandon and Michelle Ross specializing in a variety of organic berries and specialty tomatoes.

I’m not sure if having sharp knives next to the political tables is such a good idea but so far no incidents.

Other prolific produce…

Everything you ever wanted to know about buffaloes…

And the most heartwarming sight of the day – Grannies for Peace!


Happy Quail Farms
804 Greenn St, East Palo Alto 94303

Heirloom Organics
Grant Brians, Hollister
web site

Ella Bella Farms
Brandon and Michelle Ross
Corralitos, California

Menlo Park Farmer’s Market 16 September,2006Cucina Testa Rossa

  • Anita

    It’s been 10 years since I lived in Menlo, but I still remember this great little gem of a market. My husband and I still talk about “the corn lady” — a farmer (who I hope is still there!) who exorted her customers: “Don’t cook my corn! Just heeeat it, and eeeat it!”

  • cucina testa rossa

    Hi Anita – That’s a perfect way to describe it, it is a little gem. I don’t recall seeing “the corn lady” but the next time I am back, I will definitely make a point to seek her out. L

  • wendygee

    great pix! the colors are amazing…feel like I got an authentic visual tour.

  • cucina testa rossa

    thanks wendy! the peppers were so gorgeous i wanted to bite into one.

  • shuna fish lydon

    my god girl but you have outdone yourself on those photos!!


Cucina Testa Rossa

After a decade in Silicon Valley, Laura traded her keyboard for a cutting board and moved to New York City to immerse herself in food and wine studies and restaurant operations. She graduated from the French Culinary Institute where she studied under Master Chefs Jacques Pépin, André Soltner, Alain Sailhac, and Master Sommelier Andrea Immer. While in New York, Laura cooked with some of the world’s most highly acclaimed chefs including Mario Lohninger (Danube), Morimoto, Mark Franz & Emily Luchetti (Farallon), Michael Romano (Union Square Café), Mario Batali, Marcella Hazan, Jonathan Cartwright (White Barn Inn), Martin Heierling (Bellagio), Dave Pasternack (Esca), Richard Reddington (Redd, Auberge du Soleil), and the legendary Alice Waters (Chez Panisse).

After working as the Back Kitchen Chef of Jacques Pépin’s PBS cooking show, “Fast Food, My Way”, Laura moved to France to cook her way around the country. She cooked at the Cannes Film Festival, then to the northwest corner of France, to Britanny, to cook on a lobster boat, then east to Paris to the world famous Pierre Hermé Patisserie where she made thousands of his macarons every day! Laura cooked for the fabulous Olivia de Havilland and interned at 3 Michelin Star Le Cinq under Chef Philippe Legendre and Pastry Chef Fabrice Lecleir. Laura was the executive chef and cooking instructor at the DaVinci Code chateau outside of Paris where she was on set during the filming of the movie.

In Fall 2007, Laura worked on Jacques Pepin’s most recent PBS television series as prop and food stylist. “More Fast Food, My Way” should air in the Spring of 2008. “My Keyboard for a Cutting Board ~ Adventures in a French kitchen v1.0”, Laura’s first book highlights her first three months cooking in France, was published in Summer 2006. Convivialité is her second book and will hopefully be published in the fall.

Laura now splits her time between Paris and the San Francisco Bay Area doing private chefing, teaching cooking classes and leading market tours when in Paris. Bon Appetit!

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