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Big Sur - Hiking Andrew Molera State Park

One of the great delights of living in the Bay Area is the proximity to the natural beauty of California and it's hard to beat the stunning drive down Highway One to Big Sur. This is certainly one of the iconic American road trips, but for me the joy of being in the area is getting out of your car and hitting a trail, so you can be "in" the landscape rather than just looking at it from the asphalt. 

Spring Markets

The sun may be weak but the produce in the markets screams spring! These purple artichokes were the size of a cantaloupes. We haven't seen  artichokes  on many menus, but most restaurants are featuring the first crop of asparagus. The white asparagus below have a wonderfully subtle flavor and I think of them as a quintessentially French vegetable. A few weeks ago the New York Times described them as "France's Spring Treat". They're fabulous but expensive, even at the market, a real spring treat.
The markets are also full of a changing display of flowers with peonies and lilacs coming into their short season.
We caught the tail end of the market in the provincial town of Beaune when we visited Burgundy. I loved the care they take to display all their vegetables in baskets, the displays alone tell you this is a wealthy area.
The vegetable seedlings below reminded me of Annie's Annuals in California, though it's much cheaper to buy your tomato plants and annuals at the markets here.
Who could resist these peonies? They'll be even more gorgeous when they come out....