Monday, March 28, 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Eating Seasonally Even in California

My favorite season of the year is here ~ spring! Its temperate weather and lovely showers make everything so green. This post goes out to my follower who wanted to know how to eat seasonally and locally; which I find is the best argument for shopping at your local farmers market. The Bay Area really stands out to me, with its die-hard farmers (i.e. Happy Boy Farms ~see audio interview below) who are champions of the seasonal vegetables. To them we give praises for teaching us to be more in touch with the natural cycling of Earth and climate. But, California is very unique. In this “Golden” state where 80% of all fruits and vegetables in the US come from, we are fortunate to be allowed the luxury of a longer growing seasons and great variety of year around fruits and vegetables. Of course, this also makes eating seasonally all the more confusing.


Your local farmers market is the perfect place to find seasonal fruits and vegetables, straight from the farmer himself. I often get excited finding new vegetables at my local farmers market. You’ll find me asking the farmers themselves for easy to make recipes, just as I’ve shared with you on previous videos. In my current attempt to eat seasonally, I struggle with tomatoes only being around in summer. Of course tomatoes can be found all year around in any major supermarket where they transport them from warmer climates, or grow them in green houses. In making this list, I was surprised to find strawberries come in the spring not in summer.  Notice also, that wild mushrooms are in season in spring, but cultivated mushrooms are grown year around. In this process I discovered an an unfamiliar vegetable ~Kohlbari. This German turnip is a species of wild cabbage. The taste and texture of Kohlbari is similar to those of broccoli stem or cabbage heart, but milder and sweeter. Likewise for Radicchio, I was unfamiliar. This plant sometimes known as a Italian chicory, is a  leaf vegetable with white veined red leaves. It has a bitter taste that mellows when it is grilled or roasted. The case in point is to be adventurous, and discover something amazing in eating seasonally.

The following two lists are for California produce found year around and in the spring:







Year Around

Arugula (best in spring & fall)
Beets
Belgian Endive (best in fall & winter)
Broccoli (best in fall & winter)
Cabbage (best in fall & winter)
Carrots
Cauliflower (best in fall & winter)
Celery (best in fall & winter)
Collard greens
Lettuce (best in Spring)
Mint
Mushrooms (Cultivated)
Oregano
Parsley
Sorrel
Spinach
Sprouts
Thyme
Watercress

Spring

Apricots (late in season)
Artichokes
Asparagus
Cherries (late in season)
Fava Beans
Fiddleheads
Grapefruit
Green Onions
Kiwis
Kohlrabi
Kumquats (late in season)
Leeks
Lemons
Morels
Mushrooms (wild)
Nettles
New Potatoes
Onions
Oranges (Valencia variety)
Peas/ Snap Peas/Snow Peas
Radicchio (early in season)
Radishes
Rapini
Rhubarb
Scallions
Spring Onions
Sting Nettles
Strawberries
Sweet Onions
Turnips 

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Grand Lake Episode 9

Heavenly Barlovento Chocolates found at the Grand Lake Farmers Marrket this Saturday!  Watch interview of owner Pete Brydon, who makes artisan chocolates, inspired by cacao from Venezuela and local fruits from Berkeley and Oakland Farmers Market!