Several years back, Erik and I lived up the coast a bit in Santa Barbara. And, I must say one of the only things I miss about this city is their Farmer's Markets. (We often say Santa Barbara is a wonderful town for which to spend a weekend, but not nearly as great of a place to live - for us, anyway.) Six days of the week you can find a kick-ass, outdoor-market happening somewhere in this small town. This week on a visit to the City, and market, they had everything from citrus, berries and greens, to oysters, raw milks, walnuts, and eggs.
The way Santa Barbara sits, lends itself not only to attract vendors from it's immediate farming land (and sea), but also from it's neighbor to the south: Oxnard. And, they get vendors from just over the mountains that are farming the San Joaquin Valley. While the markets are happening every day, the Saturday morning market is the bee's knees. It is the place to be on a Saturday morning; well, we think so, and it is really what draws us back for a visit. If you're ever in the vicinity, you must make some time for a visit to this gem. You won't be disappointed.
And then you have the oyster man. The oyster man farms his shellfish just off the Santa Barbara coast, and officially runs the The Santa Barbara Mariculture. His oysters are absolutely delicious, and can be found in restaurants peppered all over Santa Barbara. Here you see him giving a tutorial on how to shuck his oysters. And oh, that hat - I think the hat makes it all just a little bit better. He's also the one that taught us to grill our oysters. You place them directly on the grill, cup-side down, and cook for 8-10 minutes. The heat from the grill essentially poaches the oysters in their own juices, and the steam from the inside pops open the shell. No shucking involved. Grilled Oysters coupled with a Mignonette Sauce is an absolute favorite of ours when we can get our hands on them. (while erik loves raw oysters, I now call the grilled oyster my favorite after developing a terrible allergy to raw shellfish.)