Category: Market Days


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KCRW Gets Our Italian Soda Recipe

January 5, 2016

Recipe: Union’s Pomegranate-Orange Italian Soda

Posted January 1, 2016 by Camellia Tse
Bruce Kalman picks up his pomegranates from JJ’s Lone Daughter Ranch

This week at the Santa Monica Farmers Market, we met up with Chef Bruce Kalman of Union in Pasadena and Knead & Co., his brand new pasta bar and market that’s slated to open in Downtown LA’s Grand Central Market on January 11.
Among other things, we found him shopping this week for pomegranates from JJ’s Lone Daughter Ranch. Combining the best of this season’s fruit, his sous chef, Cassy Pugh, and general manager, Francis Castagnetti, Jr., have come up with a freshly squeezed Pomegranate-Orange Italian Soda that is a must-try at Union.
While everyone might have his or her own technique for deseeding pomegranates, Bruce begins by slicing them in half. Then, holding one cut-half so that it’s facing down into a bowl, he taps the back of the pomegranate with a wooden spoon until the seeds fall directly into the bowl. Some suggest using a bowl of water to avoid staining your hands while gathering the seeds, but Bruce prefers not to. Instead he picks out the white pith so as not to lose any of the essential pomegranate oils. He then blends the arils in a Vitamix and strains the mixture through a cheesecloth-lined sieve, which he reduces to create a pomegranate syrup for the soda’s base.
Union’s Pomegranate-Orange Italian Soda
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“Friendsgiving” Farmers Market Trip

October 28, 2015

Our “Friendsgiving” to benefit Green Wish is coming up on November 15 and we are already gearing up. Chef Kalman recently took a trip to the South Pasadena Farmers Market to talk ingredients with his event cohorts and plan out the menu. Joining him on this field trip were Ed Begley, Jr., Raphael Sbarge, Sharon Lawrence and Scott Harris. Please enjoy lot of great pics from their trip below.

“Friendsgiving” is happening at Union on 11/15 and seats are limited. Reserve your tickets today by contacting









































Union loves Santa Monica Farmers Market

August 6, 2015

Did you know that it’s national farmers market week? We love our local markets and you can find us every week picking up the flavors that will inspire Chef Kalman to bring you some of your favorite dishes.
The Santa Monica Farmers Market has been nominated by USA Today as one of the top farmers markets in the US.  Please vote by following the link below – and note that you are allowed to vote daily!  Voting goes until August 17th. With your help, they have a good chance of winning, so thank you in advance.  And please be sure to share!

Vote at this link!

You guys know we love Weiser Family Farms. Please meet Sir Sid Weiser, the man who started it all. He’s got an amazing variety of eggplants this week.
We picked up some Shoshito peppers…
and lots of fingerling potatoes for Chef’s Gnocchi.
Over at Wild and Local Seafood, Captain Ben had something special set aside for us… this giant, 42 lbs sea bass. Karl, our line cook, could have waltzed with him. This fish was caught only two days ago off the coast of the Channel Islands. Who’s coming in for fish tonight?!
From our friends over at Tenerelli Farms...
We’re picking up our peaches and nectarines, which they have for days. And boy are they sweet.
These beautiful, plump blackberries are from 2 Peas In a Pod Farms where they’ve got berries for days. And they taste just as good as they look.
Our friends at Schaner Farms provide us with a lot of our herbs including basil, and lemon Verbena which our man, Dan is modeling for us here. You can smell the fragrance on these herbs before you see them.
These Schaner Cipollini onions will get used in the gnocchi and the risotto.
Munak Farms is providing us with these green zebra tomatoes that will become the caprese salad. Aren’t they beautiful?
At Coleman Farms we picked up a giant sack of these beautiful radicchio which will be used with our nectarine dish.
Dan gets to pick the table flowers. Today he’s getting sunflowers from McGrath Family Farms and these Craspedia blooms, chosen because of their sunny disposition and because they last forever.

At market with Chef Kalman

June 12, 2015

This week we’re at the market with Chef Kalman again, picking up fresh ingredients for Union’s menu. It’s the best time of year to buy local as everything is in season and the flavors are out of control. Do yourself a favor and make a date to dine with us. Chef Kalman is inspired and as a result, everyone wins! /

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A beautiful pallet of duck eggs from Jaime Farms which will get used on our Asparagus dish. The yolk in duck eggs is richer and the protein is firmer.

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Garlic, Basil, Opal Basil and Cipollini Onions all from Schaner Farms.

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This is Casi from Life’s a Choke Farms where Chef Kalman buys his asparagus. Isn’t she nice? Let her sell you some artichokes. They’re in season and beautiful.

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It’s no secret that we love Captain Ben and Wild Local Sea Food. They are one of the most sustainable fishing companies working today and can tell you exactly when and where each fish was caught. Captain Ben and Angel show off their giant Rock Cod and Vermillion Salman which Chef Kalman served for dinner the same night we bought it.

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Chef Kalman uses his pickling techniques on raisins from Peacock Farms.


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Remember that piece Food and Wine did on Chef Kalman’s fennel sorbet? We source the fennel from J. F. Organic Farms. The edible fennel is used for the salad and then the stalks, which would usually be thrown away, are juiced for the sorbet. We also buy our arugula from these guys for the salad.

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It’s an awesome time to buy stone fruit and everything at Fitzgerald’s is a winner. Chef Kalman took home a pallet of Fiesta Gems. They taste as delightful as they sound. You can read more about Fitzgerald at our feature here. 

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The berries are everywhere and these blueberries and Ollalieberries from Two Peas in a Pod Farms are just out of this world.



“Root to Leaf” — Chef Kalman on KCRW Market Report

June 1, 2015

Laura Avery speaks with Chef Kalman at the Santa Monica Farmers Market about how he’s making an effort to eliminate food waste in his restaurants. His efforts include using “ugly food”, juicing pea pods and composting among.

“When we juiced the pea pods, the flavor was so incredibly sweet. It had this essence of garden, of Earth, and it was so wonderful.” — Bruce Kalman



“Our waste stream is very minimal. If I could pickle egg shells and make them edible, I would.” — Bruce Kalman

At Market with Chef Kalman

May 28, 2015

We’re at the market every week picking up fresh produce to bring you the best of what local farmers have to offer. We love all of our suppliers and encourage our eaters to shop local, eat fresh and make friends with the people who are growing your food. When we asked what Chef Kalman was most excited about this time at the market, he said “everything!”. Please enjoy some pics of what’s in season and being served at Union. — All pics from the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market.

A basket full of goodies from our time at market.

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These purple potatoes will go into the Little Gem Salad.

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Red shallot onions from JF Organic Farms. 

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Squash blossoms from JF Organic Farms which will be sauteed.

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Mike and Dan pick up the goods.

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Flowers for the tables from Peads and Barnetts.

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Asparagus from Life’s a Choke Farms.

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Bruce picks a handful of beautiful nasturtium from Coleman Family Farms.

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When you’re at the market, say hi to Laura! She knows everything about the market and is very nice.

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Peruano Beans from Two Peas in a Pod and Mama’s Preserves.

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English peas for the Spring Panzanella Salad. Chef Kalman also juices the peapods as a way to eliminate food waste.

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Gi-normous mulberries so good Chef Kalman calls them “F*cking awesome”.

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Meyer lemons from J.J.’s Lone Daughter Farms for that amazing Meyer Lemon Panacotta.

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Fitzgerald’s Farms: Farmer’s Market Favorite

July 10, 2014


I love Fitzgerald’s because he’ll tell me what the best is right now… and the flavors.

Chef Bruce Kalman

J. Fitzgerald Kelly has owned Fitzgerald’s Farms since 1972. This week Fitzgerald’s Farms has nectarines, peaches and plumcots. Here’s what he had to say about each.


It was a perfect nectarine summer. They were superb from the very beginning. They hold up when cooking.


The peach we’ve got is a phenomenal eater, but not a good cooker because every bite is a different flavor.


Plumcot is a manufactured word. People make up new fruits.

Fitzgerald turned us on to Floyd Zaiger, specifically. Mr. Zaiger is a biologist who invented a slew of new kinds of fruits. Some of which, Fitzgerald sells at his stand.

If you see any fruits with a “Zee” in the name, like “Zee lady” or “Zee Diamond” Peaches, that’s him.


The box of gorgeous fruit Union bought from Fitzgerald's
The box of gorgeous fruit Union bought from Fitzgerald’s

Fitzgerald’s Farm has also been covered by the LA Times, which you can read here and NPR, which you can listen to here.

Categories: Market Days

Maggie’s Farm: Farmer’s market favorite

July 2, 2014

“After one week stuff gets bigger.”

— Nathan Peitso

This week, Maggie’s Farm has charente melon, treviso radicchio, sugarloaf radicchio and espelette peppers.

Nathan took the farm over from his dad 6 years ago and loves the job. When asked what he likes about farming, Nathan said it lets him work in the hot sun, which is way better than working in an office.

“I can really see the fruits of my labor.”

Touche, Mr. Peitso. Touche.

The farm has previously been written up by the LA Times back in 2002, and again in 2013.

From the article – Farmers Markets: The family behind Maggie’s and Kenter Canyon farms
April 20, 2013|By David Karp


Many of the greens sold by Maggie’s are hand-harvested near the stem, for a cleaner cut and longer life than mechanically harvested leaves, Nate says. Maggie’s offers its own special blends, like its signature stellar mix, including red and green lettuces, marigold and calendula petals, dill, chives, parsley and basil.


Radicchio from Maggie's Farm
Radicchio from Maggie’s Farm

Categories: Market Days

Cherries are here!

June 4, 2014

Every week, Bruce and Mike scour the local farmer’s market stalls for ingredients that will create the best flavors for Union’s new and standing dishes. And when it comes to purchasing ingredients, Bruce likes the best of the best. He won’t settle.

Here’s what they picked up this week:



– Cherries are finally in season and our chefs grabbed a bunch from Murray Family Farms for their braised pork bellies with roasted cherries. Said Mike, “After weeks and weeks of peaches and nectarines, I’m excited to see some cherries.”


– Excited about the small cherry tomatoes he found, Bruce plans to use them for Union’s new pick-up lunch menu or to pickle them cold to use in his crudo plate. Bruce is famous for his pickling.

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“I’ve never seen them this big!” – Bruce Kalman

Lemon Cucumbers

Her Produce had these giant lemon Cucumbers. They’ll be used in
Union’s to-go market salads.

Mustard leaf, celery and sage

– At Windrose Farms, Bruce chooses mustard with lots of flowers
and color and only picks the most vibrant bunches.


– Right now, Dates by Davall is the only stand that’s got them as
the season’s just starting.

Walla walla and pearl onions

– Bruce wants to mix both red and white onions to create flavor
and visual texture.

Join us for lunch Mon-Fri, 11:00am-2:00pm and dinner Sun-Thurs, 5:00pm-10:00pm & Fri-Sat, 5:00pm-11:00pm. You can make reservations here.

Categories: Market Days