Farmers market produce dangles a carrot in front of Zarah Khan

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Paul Thurston of Laubacher Farms braved the extreme weather to bring his carrots to market. Photo by Gillian Ferguson/KCRW

Newly-minted executive chef Zarah Khan is carrying the torch of Rustic Canyon’s vegetable-forward cuisine. Market correspondent Gillian Ferguson caught up with her at the Santa Monica Farmer’s Market where she is shopping for carrots for a chicken dish. The root vegetable appears on the plate in four ways including a muhammara, which is traditionally made with red peppers and walnuts, roasted carrots tossed in carrot molasses, and a carrot top yogurt. She is using red Kyoto and nance carrots from the Garden Of.

Paul Thurston of Laubacher Farms in Ventura made his market debut last week and says the farm is “like a mud puddle” after the heavy rains. Thurston grows row crops including carrots, beets, herbs, and greens and anticipates his land received 4½ inches of rain during the downpour. What is there to look forward to this spring? He’ll be bringing down baby broccoli, pea greens, green garlic, and kalettes  — a type of Brussels sprout crossed with kale — from Camarillo.

Rustic Canyon’s chicken and carrot dish uses the root vegetable in four different ways. Photo by Zarah Khan.