pro­duce varieties

  • Sum­mer Jams

    Music venues and out­door con­certs get a lot of traf­fic all sum­mer long. Indi­vid­ual tastes run the spec­trum from rock, blues and coun­try to reg­gae, pop and rap.

    Clas­si­cal sum­mer choices fea­ture Mozart and Bach. If sym­phonies and operas don’t res­onate, try a dif­fer­ent type of sum­mer jam.

    Peak of sea­son fruits beg for pre­serv­ing in some fash­ion. We can’t eat it all no mat­ter how hard we try. Jams, jel­lies, com­potes and mar­malades allow the essence of sum­mer to be cel­e­brated in a jar.

    Sin­gle small batched jams can be achieved in a short period of time, mak­ing the process rel­a­tively pain­less. In just an hour of invest­ment, fruit can be trans­formed in to a mag­nif­i­cent jarred treat.

    Like most other food endeav­ors, we get out of it what we put in to it. Qual­ity going in means qual­ity in the jar. Pick or pur­chase high-​quality fruit at its peak for fla­vor, tex­ture, and color. Skip mushy, over­ripe, and dis­eased fruit.

  • Sumo Power

    Sumo Cit­rus are also known as “deko­pon,” which is a Japan­ese ref­er­ence to the dis­tinc­tive top knot of the fruit.

    This triple hybrid cit­rus fruit is a cross-​breed of navel oranges, pomelo and man­darin oranges.

    They were first devel­oped in Japan in 1972 with tra­di­tional plant-​breeding tech­niques. When Cal­i­for­nia farm­ers began to grow the seed­less fruit, they trade­marked the name “Sumo Cit­rus”.

    The name is an obvi­ous play on the phys­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics of the well-​known sumo wrestlers in Japan. The fruit is large in size, round in shape and instantly rec­og­nized by their top knot accent, which is the sig­na­ture hair­style of the wrestlers.

    Seedlings were first imported into the United States in 1998, but because the Sumo Cit­rus is one of the most chal­leng­ing vari­eties to grow, and requires at least four years to pro­duce, it wasn’t until 2011 that they became avail­able to the pub­lic.

    The fruit’s extremely del­i­cate skin is eas­ily bruised and sun­burned. Cal­i­for­nia farm­ers are ded­i­cated to the pam­pered and painstak­ing atten­tion required of Sumo Cit­rus.

    Trees are hand-​pruned to allow for more sun­light to reach the fruit as it grows. Left to ripen on the tree, they are then hand-​picked when ready. They are har­vested in small totes instead of big bins as other cit­rus fruits. Floated into the pack­ing line to pre­vent bruis­ing, they are then hand-​packed into car­tons.

    The seed­less cit­rus is super easy to peel and eat. The zip peel makes them con­ve­nient for lit­tle hands or any­one really who finds it tedious to peel a reg­u­lar orange.

    Sumo Cit­rus are low in acid­ity, mak­ing them a good choice for those who can’t tol­er­ate a higher level of fruit acid.
  • Sun­ny­side Up

    Hun­ker­ing down to avoid the win­ter dol­drums requires a cer­tain amount of self-​awareness. Dreary, cold Jan­u­ary days sup­press high spir­its and kill spunk.

    Need a quick boost? Skip the day spa and go straight to the fruit bowl. A shot of sun­shine and bright­ness is just a peel away.

    Cit­rus ther­apy invig­o­rates the senses and tricks the mind into ener­gized, warmer thoughts.

    A sim­ple act of reach­ing for any type of cit­rus– orange, man­darin or grape­fruit– sets a tone for self care and good health. This choice, above other salty or sweet snack options, rein­forces good behav­ior and new year res­o­lu­tions.

    Break­ing open the skin of any easy to peel cit­rus fruit releases a burst of oil. Aro­matic and clean, the fra­grance is at once wel­com­ing and familiar.
  • Sweet Bell Pep­pers from Baloian Farms

    Fresh tips for enjoy­ing bell peppers.

  • Switch­ing Gears

    Fall menus dic­tate a change of gears. Espe­cially when it comes to choos­ing fresh ingre­di­ents.

    Crav­ings begin for com­fort­ing soups, stews, casseroles and heartier dishes. New recipes get put into the week­night rota­tion.

    Web searches surge for slow cooker and Instapot ideas. The last of sum­mer pro­duce and new fall har­vest items pair well with legumes, rice, noo­dles, and grains.

    Triple digit tem­per­a­tures still linger in some parts of the coun­try. Once those finally fade away, we’ll jump right into col­or­ful autumn cook­ing. Soul sooth­ing foods are a tem­po­rary relief from the daily stress encoun­tered dur­ing these trou­bled times.

    The phys­i­cal engage­ment of increased peel­ing, chop­ping and shred­ding takes the edge off a day of work or life stress. Fol­low­ing a recipe or try­ing a new cook­ing tech­nique puts focus on some­thing other than our­selves. A tri­umphant new dish con­tributes to nour­ish­ing body and soul.

    Sweet pota­toes, kohlrabi, cab­bages, pome­gran­ates and per­sim­mons brighten up the fall pantry. Intro­duc­ing new greens and adapt­ing recipes to feed the fam­ily rein­vig­o­rates our enthu­si­asm. We can all use a boost to shake up the rote work of meal­time prepa­ra­tions.

    There have been a parade of new cook­books released this year. Many of them are plant-​centric and breathe life in to the ordi­nary way we approach widely avail­able veg­eta­bles.

    Red, green and orange bell pep­pers, chile pep­pers, corn, avo­ca­dos and cel­ery are all year round ingre­di­ents. How we bring them together for a sea­sonal riff is nuanced in roast­ing or pureeing.
  • Taste Cal­i­for­nia

    Cal­i­for­nia avo­ca­dos have arrived! They are gen­er­ally avail­able from April to Sep­tem­ber, but for the nearly 5,000 grow­ers in the state, the avo­cado sea­son is a year-​round endeavor.

    Farm­ers walk their avo­cado groves every month to check on the trees, assess weather affects and grove con­di­tions. They must ensure avo­ca­dos are on the right track for pro­jected har­vests. Each stage in the growth cycle is crit­i­cal.

    Avo­ca­dos, grown on trees, have a tree growth cycle with six stages: flow­er­ing, shoot growth, root growth, fruit set, fruit growth, and har­vest.
    That’s a lot to watch and care for dur­ing each sea­son.

    Cal­i­for­nia pro­duces about 90 per­cent of the nation’s avo­cado crop. Ninety-​five per­cent of Cal­i­for­nia avo­ca­dos are the Hass (rhymes with pass) vari­ety.

    The Hass vari­ety accounts for about 80 per­cent of all avo­ca­dos eaten world­wide. By now, most of us under­stand that an avo­cado is actu­ally a fruit.
  • The “Lini” Cousins

    Sweet­Stem Cau­li­flower is a bras­sica veg­etable, like broc­coli, cau­li­flower, and Broc­col­ini.

    “Caulilini”, as it is named by pro­duc­ers Mann Pack­ing, is visu­ally quite sim­i­lar to Broc­col­ini. It has an open flo­ret struc­ture and long edi­ble stem.

    There are still a few dis­tinc­tions worth not­ing. Unlike BROC­COL­INI® baby broc­coli, which is a hybrid of broc­coli and Chi­nese kale (gai lan), CAULILINI® baby cau­li­flower is 100 per­cent cau­li­flower.

    Another dif­fer­ence is that it also grows in heads, not sin­gle stalks. The result­ing flo­rets offer vari­a­tion in shape and size that also set it apart from Broc­col­ini.

    With its sweet, slightly nutty fla­vor and ombre col­or­ing (the stem turns bright green when cooked while the flo­rets stay light), CAULILINI® baby cau­li­flower brings a “wow” fac­tor to the plate.

    A favorite cook­ing method is grilling. It’s also deli­cious sautéed with plenty of gar­lic, roasted, or even raw as a unique addi­tion to a cru­dité platter.
  • The “S” Word

    Sprouts are those skinny lit­tle veg­etable threads that are high on nutri­tion­als. They begin as seeds. When those seeds are exposed to the right tem­per­a­ture and mois­ture, they ger­mi­nate into very young plants. These ten­der young ten­drils are the edi­ble sprouts.

    Com­mon sprout vari­eties include grains, beans or leafy sprouts. Three of the most pop­u­lar bean selec­tions are alfalfa, soy and mung bean sprouts. They can be served raw or lightly cooked.

    The crunchy, tasty good­ness of bean sprouts can be incred­i­bly ben­e­fi­cial to over­all health. They are packed with plant pro­tein, con­tain no fat, and are very low in calo­ries.

    While sprouts have been a part of East Asian, Indian sub­con­ti­nent and Mid­dle East­ern cui­sine for thou­sands of years, they’ve only recently become pop­u­lar in the rest of the world, includ­ing the West.

    Edu­cated fans know that eat­ing sprouts can help pro­mote good health. At the same time, there is quite a bit of debate and dis­agree­ment regard­ing the safety of bean sprouts.

    Like any fresh pro­duce that is con­sumed raw or lightly cooked, sprouts carry a risk of food­borne ill­ness. Unlike other fresh pro­duce, seeds and beans need warm and humid con­di­tions to sprout and grow. These con­di­tions are also ideal for the growth of bac­te­ria, includ­ing Sal­mo­nella, Lis­te­ria, and E. coli.

  • Vari­ety Mel­ons

    How to pick the per­fect melon; dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing vari­eties; prepa­ra­tion & storage.

  • Water­mel­ons: Yel­low & Black

    Dif­fer­en­ti­at­ing water­melon vari­eties and fla­vor; cre­ative use of the rind.

  • Wed­ded Bliss

    Sum­mer wed­dings take on a spe­cial glow given the venue selected. The happy cou­ple go together like peas and car­rots.

    Those two veg­eta­bles aren’t exactly known for being sum­mer pair­ings, though For­rest Gump thinks they are still a match made in heaven.

    Corn and toma­toes, toma­toes and cucum­bers, cucum­bers with sweet red onions make solid sum­mer mar­riages.

    As chefs and cooks look to step up their weekly menu offer­ings, the best inspi­ra­tions come from avail­able, local, in-​season ingre­di­ents. Recipes, new and revived, get updated as more vari­eties of breads, cheese, oils and spices get our atten­tion.

    Suited to sum­mer pair­ings are the fruits and veg­eta­bles we see grouped together on farm­ers mar­ket tables. Green beans, sum­mer squashes, toma­toes, sweet and hot pep­pers, egg­plants, basil, mint and chives piled high tickle the cook­ing gene.

    Cre­ative ideas swirl around flat­breads and pizza, gaz­pa­cho and cold chow­ders, grilled veg­gie med­leys and chilled herbal potato sal­ads. Allow regional or global cuisines to push the direc­tion on even the most mun­dane mid­week din­ner plans. Bring sum­mer travel back to the table.
  • Win­ter Delights

    Another four to five weeks of win­ter ahead means there is still plenty of time to enjoy late sea­son cit­rus fruits.

    The increas­ing demand for man­darins is tes­ta­ment to the per­fect gem of a snack or lunch box treat.

    Man­darins are known for their sweet fla­vor and dis­tinc­tive fra­grance. Easy peel skins and bite size seg­ments make man­darins a pop­u­lar go to pick for cit­rus fans of all ages.

    Lucky that there are late sea­son vari­eties to grab our atten­tion amidst the crowded space of apples and pears. These juicy fruits can be added to every­thing from fruit sal­ads to stir fries — jams and pre­serves to win­ter cock­tails.

    One late comer, that is new on the scene at this point in the cit­rus har­vest is the Gold Nugget man­darin. Cal­i­for­nia grown, this seed­less, sweet tan­ger­ine named after its bright orange, slightly bumpy rind.

    This hybrid is a cross between two non-​commercial. It was devel­oped by the Uni­ver­sity of Cal­i­for­nia at River­side. The Gold Nugget is a great juicer, aver­ag­ing a 50 per­cent juice con­tent. The fruit itself has a deep orange color inte­rior flesh with a mod­er­ately fine tex­ture. Pro­fes­sional taste pan­els con­sider this to be one of the very best fla­vored cit­rus’ in the world with a rich, full-​bodied taste.
  • Yel­low Water­mel­ons

    Learn fun tips for using yel­low watermelons!