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Wednesday, August 18, 2010

WHAT'S UP WEDNESDAY: Finding the Freshest Veggies at Chino Farm in Rancho Santa Fe

Rode my scooter to Chino Farms
THE PLACE:  Chino Farms
6123 Calzada Del Bosque
Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067
(858) 756-3184
THE VIBE:  Chefs, local foodies, and farmers
THE COST:  Expensive and cash only

San Diego has a lot more farming going on than you might think.  Chino's Farm is the famous vegetable stand that all the best chefs in San Diego and beyond know about.  It's mentioned in Anthony Bourdain's latest book, Wolfgang Puck and Alice Waters all swear by it, chefs line up early to get the best and most unusual fresh produce in the morning.

Which is why you shouldn't drop by until later.  Much later, say noon.  Those who walk away from Chino Farms saying things like these are the Vegetable Nazi's or how unhelpful they are came at the wrong time.  Let's put it this way, you're standing in front gawking at the squash and George's at the Cove's chef is waiting behind you.  You're like the guy who got into the express "10 items or less" line at the supermarket with a cart filled to the top with groceries. So seriously, come later and they'll treat non-chefs like you and me nice.

The produce is incredibly fresh and beautiful.  And expensive.  Look, I'm just warning you to bring lots of cash as it's pretty easy to blow through $30 without thinking.  And like the markets in Paris, you don't grab and squish and sniff the produce, you point to what you want and they'll help you out.

So take the scenic drive into Rancho Santa Fe, into farm country, and visit the Vegetable Store that has made veggies into an art.  Chino Farms doesn't claim to grow the best vegetables, only the best they can produce.  And that seems good enough for the chefs and food lovers who religiously flock to this place.

Wally's on vacation for the next week or so but will return soon with more Tacos, food blogs, stories and pics from around San Diego.  Until then, visit my site at Local Wally's Guide to San Diego.

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