Fresh News



Not every­one is blessed with the tal­ents of a great pas­try chef. A chem­istry class at times seems eas­ier than fol­low­ing an elab­o­rate dessert recipe.

Not to worry. That same casual approach to sum­mer din­ing allows for sweet for­give­ness when it comes to summer’s famed desserts.

Pair­ing the best exquis­ite sea­sonal fruits with the sim­ple, rus­tic meth­ods of care­free desserts require almost no kitchen skills.

Light-​hearted clas­sics include fruit galettes, clafoutis, crisps and cob­blers.

The impre­cise, free-​form galette is more of an imper­fectly shaped pie or tart — filled with the good­ness of sliced berries, cher­ries, peaches, nec­tarines, plums, pears, apri­cots, apples, rhubarb or any com­bi­na­tion of on-​hand sum­mer fruits. The dough is folded in on itself giv­ing it an irreg­u­lar, but entic­ing look to the pastry.

Read more: Sweet Forgiveness →

Grilling, smok­ing and bar­be­cu­ing are all pre­ferred meth­ods of sum­mer­time cook­ing.

If you are the cook, you have a “secret sauce” of some kind in the out­door cook­ing arse­nal. Shar­ing it with oth­ers depends on how close to the vest you want to play it.

Those of us merely the lucky recip­i­ents of good food cooked by oth­ers can only imag­ine what goes into the secret sauce. A hint of honey, a hit of ginger…sweet apri­cots or plums all just a guess.

Mas­ters of mari­nades and glazes typ­i­cally have a “go to” one that can be applied to a choice of poul­try, fish, pork, beef or veg­eta­bles. Divulging any fam­ily recipes might be tricky.

A quick inter­net search results in thou­sands of rec­om­men­da­tions for rich, lusty, sticky sauces that can be appro­pri­ated as our own.

Read more: Secret Sauce →

One great aspect of sum­mer din­ing is the obvi­ous, more relaxed approach to meals. “No fuss” and “effort­less” are hall­marks of any indeli­ble al fresco lunch or sup­per in July.

Whether a crunchy radish or car­rot is plucked from our own gar­den, pur­chased from a sea­sonal farm­ers mar­ket or for­aged from the pro­duce aisle of a local gro­cer, they get sliced the same.

In sum­mer, straight­for­ward ingre­di­ents and sim­ple serv­ings lead to plates that are an invi­ta­tion to relax and chill out.

Noth­ing for­mal is required. Take note of com­pat­i­ble part­ners or oppo­site attrac­tions. Bright col­ors, var­ied tex­tures, a dip or spread here, a bowl of olives or Mar­cona almonds there and “voilà”.

The point of eat­ing, after all, is to nour­ish, restore and replen­ish. What we eat mat­ters more than how it is served. The plate itself is only a visual invite. If it looks good, we want to dive in.

Read more: Chill Factor →

We’ve said it before-​California grows over 400 dif­fer­ent crops, some grown nowhere else in the coun­try. A few crops include wine and table grapes, almonds, arti­chokes, cit­rus, straw­ber­ries, and walnuts.

Cal­i­for­nia pro­duces nearly all of the country’s almonds, apri­cots, arti­chokes, dates, figs, kiwi fruit, nec­tarines, olives, pis­ta­chios, prunes and wal­nuts.

Fifty eight coun­ties make up the lush Cal­i­for­nia land­scape. All but three con­tribute to the total agri­cul­tural econ­omy. Once tran­si­tion hap­pens from win­ter crops in Mex­ico mov­ing north, the fer­tile Cal­i­for­nia soil pro­duces a bounty for our nation’s hun­gry tables.

Pick any county in the sum­mer­time to find a work­ing fam­ily farm. We speak of “locale” when we men­tion who or where the mel­ons, onions, squash and green beans are com­ing from.

“Brent­wood” is syn­ony­mous with “super sweet“ white corn. Located in Con­tra Costa County, this delta town is steeped in a rich agri­cul­tural heritage.

Read more: Cal­i­for­nia Postcard →

The Sum­mer of Love was a social phe­nom­e­non that occurred dur­ing the sum­mer of 1967. As many as 100,000 peo­ple, con­verged in San Francisco’s Haight-​Ashbury dis­trict.

Tie-​dyed cloth­ing, love beads, men with long hair and a mantra of “free love” char­ac­ter­ized the coun­ter­cul­ture hip­pie groups that flocked to the city. A swirl of art, pol­i­tics, music and rev­o­lu­tion was in the air in 1967.

Among other notable shifts in tra­di­tions, this was the period in time that influ­enced our cul­ture in the food move­ment and pol­i­tics toward nat­ural, organic and veg­e­tar­ian diets in Amer­ica.

The pol­i­tics of food remain cen­tral to those con­ver­sa­tions hap­pen­ing in Cal­i­for­nia regard­ing organic farm­ing, sus­tain­abil­ity, improv­ing child­hood nutri­tion and the obe­sity epi­demic.

Present day activism rises from the national trend toward local, sus­tain­able and con­scious eat­ing. Con­sumers want to know what they’re eat­ing, where it comes from and how it is pro­duced.

Lucky for us then that locally grown actu­ally means we’re able to enjoy mel­ons, stone fruits, sweet corn, beans, pep­pers, toma­toes and pota­toes that are actu­ally grown and har­vested close by.

Read more: “Sum­mer of Love“ →

A rene­gade herb that will hap­pily take over any untended gar­den bed, mint is a sta­ple of sum­mer eats and drinks.

Look­ing to exact a sense of culi­nary cool, calm, sweet or fresh­ness? Mint is indis­pens­able and with­out sub­sti­tute.

The entic­ing aro­matic gets its scent from the oil in the leaf, men­thol.

A wide vari­ety of mint plants exists, ready for use in the kitchen. The two most com­mon are prob­a­bly pep­per­mint and spearmint and the more rare curly leaf, pineap­ple and gin­ger mint.

Get to know the nuanced dif­fer­ences so appli­ca­tions into sal­ads, starters, sides, entrees, drinks, cock­tails and desserts are best suited to spe­cific fla­vor pro­files.

A few top mints to get to know: Spearmint. Most com­monly used in cook­ing for many noto­ri­ous mint recipes, includ­ing lamb, spring rolls, veg­eta­bles (like peas, car­rots, pota­toes, beans and cucum­bers), tabouli salad and favorite sum­mer cock­tails like moji­tos and mint juleps.

Read more: Mint Takeover →

Dads have that rep­u­ta­tion for being “super-​heroes”. That does not mean they have to eat like Super­man, right?

Dads are just reg­u­lar peo­ple look­ing to stay fit and healthy for their fam­i­lies. They do like to eat, drink and be merry when the oppor­tu­nity strikes.

Upcom­ing Father’s Day is a per­fect chance to share good food with the fathers in our lives. Like most hol­i­day cel­e­bra­tions, the ways we make merry are diverse and unique.

Every­day dad food does not trans­late into “cheese, bacon and burg­ers”. Tra­di­tional fare from days long past was largely meat and pota­toes basics for Dads. Maybe for most con­ven­tional men, that would still be typ­i­cal.

New dude foods, pre­pared by using the fresh­est ingre­di­ents, strike a cord with those favorite fam­ily tra­di­tions and deliver full of fla­vor on the plate.

By exam­ple, Pops might like a nice ravi­oli with red sauce, skil­let chi­laquiles or mar­i­nated skirt steak on Father’s Day. Cook­ing at home can be a group effort. “No fuss” should be the mantra of the day, but if a lit­tle extra effort is made, we’re good!

Read more: Dad Food →

A plant-​based diet can boost opti­mum health, decreas­ing the risk of heart dis­ease, Type 2 dia­betes, and cer­tain can­cers.

The main advan­tages with a plant-​based diet seem to be related more to the foods con­sumed (eat­ing plenty of veg­eta­bles, fruits, whole grains, beans and nuts) rather than those foods avoided (pri­mar­ily meats).

Stay­ing at a healthy weight is eas­ier on a plant-​based diet and menu. A “less meat, more plants” style of eat­ing can improve qual­ity of life.

Asso­ci­ated ben­e­fits include the reduc­tion of inflam­ma­tion and dis­eases attrib­uted to inflam­ma­tion. Lower cho­les­terol and blood pres­sure lev­els are oth­ers plus ups seen with plant-​based food choices.

There are many dif­fer­ent types of plant-​based diets. The three most com­mon ones are: Vegan: No ani­mal prod­ucts such as meat, eggs, or dairy prod­ucts. Lacto-​vegetarian: No meat or eggs, but dairy prod­ucts are accept­able. Lacto-​Ovo-​vegetarian: No meat is con­sumed, but dairy prod­ucts and eggs are allowed.

Read more: Fork “Over” Knife →


David John dif­fer­en­ti­ates var­i­ous yams and sweet potatoes.



David John explains what Smit­ten Apples are, how they taste and how they com­pare to other apples.



David John talks about what to do with Cal­abaza and Red Kuri Squash. Try it!



How Sat­sumas are dif­fer­ent from other cit­rus fruits.



How to pick, store, and 3 ways to use fennel.



David John III explains how to pick, clean, eat and use the cac­tus pear.



David John explains the his­tory and cur­rent state of Apple Hill apples.


Dan Chan (Pres­i­dent) and Tom Chan (CEO) with Sacra­mento Food Bank & Fam­ily Service’s Kelly Siefkin (far left) and Blake Young (sec­ond from right)
Last week, Farm-​to-​Fork and Food Tank hosted the inau­gural food sum­mit called Farm Tank in Sacra­mento. Look­ing to fur­ther offer indus­try mem­bers oppor­tu­ni­ties to learn about the unique per­spec­tive of Cal­i­for­nia food and agri­cul­ture, Gen­eral Pro­duce par­tic­i­pated in Farm Tank in many ways. We really wanted to pro­vide an exhil­a­rat­ing expe­ri­ence that will advance con­ver­sa­tion around access to healthy food. All of the thought­ful con­ver­sa­tion and edu­ca­tion that tran­spired those few days could poten­tially improve our local food system.

Read more: Farm Tank Sum­mit & On the Plate 2016


Chilean Navels are in sea­son and bet­ter than ever!



David John III dif­fer­en­ti­ates figs: Brown Turkey, Kadota, Tiger Striped.



David John III explains how to choose, ripen, use and enjoy this sea­sonal treat!



Learn about this sea­sonal root veg­etable: what it is, what it tastes like, how to use it.



Learn all about this sea­sonal fruit: what it tastes like, how to choose, store and use it.



All about River Bartlett Pears.



Learn about California’s rich agri­cul­tural industry.



What are “Jimmy Nardello” sweet pep­pers and how are they used?



Learn fun tips for using yel­low watermelons!



Learn all about Pluots!



All about Maitake mush­rooms: what they are, fla­vor, how to use them and storage.



David John offers ideas for enjoy­ing this year’s Cal­i­for­nia blue­berry crop.



David John dif­fer­en­ti­ates heir­loom toma­toes in looks and taste; what to know about stor­ing tomatoes.