A taste of Eastside farmers’ markets.
By Samuel Temblador
The Detroit Red, the most common variety of beet, sounds like a tough street name for such a sweet vegetable. “Any dark red or purple colors of any vegetable are anti-cancer,” said Sabrina Bohn of Shear Rock Farm, who has a stall at the Echo Park Farmers’ Market. Beets have a sweet earthy taste when eaten raw, but according to Bohn are much healthier raw. Bohn went on to mention a popular Beet summer salad which is made with shredded beets, lemon juice, salt, and pepper.
For shopper Carlos Luque’s mother, who has liver cancer, beets have become a potential palliative for his mother’s condition. They are a regular part of her diet and Luque says it seems to be helping. “We put it in a juicer and extract it or she’ll sometimes eat it raw on salads,” said Luque.
Borsch, a traditional Eastern European beet broth based stew, is a dish shopper Gregory Buby enjoys making. The stew takes two hours to prepare and is as sweet and earthy as the beets used to make it. It may include some kind of meat and usually various other vegetables such as cabbage, potatoes, and tomatoes as well.
You can also “incorporate the greens into a salad or sautee them with olive oil, salt, and garlic,” said Buby.
After doing some research online, shopper Han Nguyen, who’s been a vegetarian for nine years, is looking forward to using the Detroit Red to make red velvet cupcakes.
Shopper Meg Glasser prefers the golden beet variety over the typical Detroit Red and likes to have her beets several ways. Glasser describes the golden beet as “a little bit more mild” and “not as earthy tasting as the red ones.” Like most other shoppers, Glasser will add beets to her salads but she also likes preparing a roasted golden beet curry that includes goat cheese, carrots, sweet potatoes, and cumin. To complete the meal, you could wash it down with beet juice.
“It’s a nice healthy juice, I usually put carrots in there, but if you want to take it to the next level you could add kale,” said Glasser. To keep beets crisp longer for her cooking, Glasser always separates the root from the greens.
The true charm of the gritty, earthy Detroit Red lies not in it’s sweetness but in its versatility.
The Echo Park Farmers’ Market is held every Friday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. in the municipal parking lot south of Sunset Boulevard between Logan Street and Echo Park Avenue.
Samuel Temblador is a UCLA student from South L.A. interested in journalism and communications.