New Year, New Products to Try at the Farmers’ Market
This is a good year to expand your horizons by selecting, preparing, and partaking of unique produce that you haven’t tried before. Add some lovely new flavors and textures to your cooking and your family and friends will be there for it! Experiment, taste, and enjoy!
Uncommon produce from the farmers’ market can make your meals a veritable delight of flavors and textures. Expand your cooking horizons this year and try some new and tasty fruits and vegetables. Your resolution should be to excite the taste buds and enlighten your family about all the wonderful produce out there!
This interesting produce comes from many sources, especially from farmers of different cultural backgrounds. California is especially fortunate in the availability of uncommon produce because of our immigrant culture. Most of this produce cannot be found at the grocery store, especially when it comes directly from the farm to you!
Take a look at each farmers’ booth and find something you haven’t tried before. It’s like a tasty treasure hunt! Something that piques your interest and intrigues you to find out more about it might lead to new and exciting recipes! The farmers will be glad to help you select something and tell you how to cook with it.
Bok Choy (year-round): Mounds of fresh bok choy and baby bok choy can be found at the markets. With their mild flavor and lovely green and white color, they’re great for stir-frying and soups. Many farmers carry this product. Xiong Farm and Franklin Thor Farms are among those who have this.
Gai Lan (year-round): This Chinese broccoli can be used the same way as Western broccoli, but cooks quickly. It has long stems with florets near the top and wide leaves. Use steamed, roasted, or stir-fried. Look for Hmong/Southeast Asian growers to grow this. FT Fresh Produce and Cheng Farm can supply you with this broccoli.
Napa Cabbage (winter): Larger and looser leafed than standard cabbage, they have an elongated shape and pale yellow-green leaves with white near the root end. Makes a great cole slaw! Avila Farm and KYK Produce carry this especially nice cabbage.
FingerLimes (winter): Measuring about 2 to 3 inches long, finger limes resemble jalapeños or gherkins. They’re filled with tiny, juice-filled lime-flavored beads (vesicles) that spill out when you slice or snap open the fruit. Originally from Australia and the rainforests of New Guinea! Country Rhodes Farm grows these tasty digits!
Sugar cane (winter): This is the stalk from which processed sugar is derived, but eaten in its natural state. It is native to the warm temperate and tropical regions of India, Southern China, Brazil, and New Guinea. Sugar cane was brought to the Americas in the 15th century, by way of Portuguese traders. Thao Farm and Vang Farm supply us with sugar cane.
Cherimoya (winter/spring): A heart-shaped fruits that have a scaly, greenish skin and creamy, white flesh. It has a soft custardy flesh that tastes like a pear with hints of mango, pineapple, and coconut. This fragrant fruit is native to Central and South America. Find these at Bernard Ranches.
Kohlrabi (fall, winter): It looks like a little Sputnik spaceship with stems coming straight up from the round body. It grows in green or purple. A wild ancestor of kohlrabi is believed to have originated in Central Europe. Swank Farm and KYK Farm grow these.
Celeriac (summer, fall, winter): It looks like a knobby brown root and has an earthy taste with a slight hint of celery flavor. The texture is close to a turnip or potato. Find celeriac at Oya Organics.
Chayote Squash (summer): Chayote plants grow on climbing vines, Originating in Mexico, they are used in dishes throughout Central and South American cuisines. The texture is similar to an unripe pear and mild squash flavor. Three Brothers and Yia Moua Farms.
Quelites (year-round): Many farmers grow wild Mexican greens called quelites. They are the young, tender parts of edible plants traditionally used in Latin cuisine. They are slightly bitter and herby. They include purslane, epazote, nettles, and lambs quarters. FT Fresh Produce and Living Green Micros carry a variety of different quelites.
Turn up the edible excitement this year and brighten up your everyday cuisine with some unique and delicious products. You never know what other amazing products you’ll find at the farmers’ market! Follow us on Facebook as we introduce you to more unique products!