What’s in Season? Melons, Peaches, and Cucumbers

What’s in Season? Melons, Peaches, and Cucumbers By Barbara Kobsar | Illustration by Charmaine Koehler-Lodge Melons Fresh-picked, vine-ripened melons roll into the market in large crates, ready to offer a quintessential taste of summer. But how do you pick out the best? The heaviest melons are the juiciest! If it’s a cantaloupe or Persian melon,…

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What’s in Season?

Produce harvested at its peak is your sure bet for flavor and freshness. By Barbara Kobsar | Illustrations by Charmaine Koehler-Lodge   By 7am on a typical Sunday at the Walnut Creek Farmers’ Market, Regina Gonzalez and the Garcia brothers, Julio and Adolfo, are unpacking, sorting, piling, and laying out their array of fresh organic vegetables…

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What’s in Season?

By Barbara Kobsar | Illustration by Charmaine Koehler-Lodge The holiday season is an especially good time to appreciate our farmers’ markets and the local growers, makers, and farm workers who supply so much valuable food to our communities every week through good times and bad. Paulina LaBelle and Alfredo Gonzalez are among the many helping…

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What’s in Season?

Produce harvested at its peak is your sure bet for flavor and freshness. By Barbara Kobsar Illustration by Charmaine Koehler-Lodge   August Plums please the palate this month with their slightly tart or sweet honey notes. Over 200 types are grown in California (we see only 15 to 20 of these) and make up 90%…

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What’s in Season?

Produce harvested at its peak is your sure bet for flavor and freshness. By Barbara Kobsar | Illustration by Charmaine Koehler-Lodge May Something unexpectedly sweet is at the farmers’ market right now. Known as Sweet Imperial, Vidalia, or Walla Walla—depending on whether your sweet onion hails from Southern California, Georgia, or Washington state—it’s also called…

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What’s in Season?

Produce harvested at its peak is your sure bet for flavor and freshness. By Barbara Kobsar | Illustration by Charmaine Koehler-Lodge   February Dense in texture but mild in flavor, cauliflower offers endless possibilities in salads, pastas, soups, snacks, sauces, hummus, and even mac and cheese. We find it in a myriad of colors these…

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What’s in Season?

Produce harvested at its peak is your sure bet for flavor and freshness. By Barbara Kobsar | Illustration by Charmaine Koehler-Lodge November Root vegetables like beets, parsnips, turnips, horseradish, daikon, radishes, and potatoes are the market stars this month. So are sweet potatoes, which come in two main types: The golden-skinned, pale-fleshed varieties tend to…

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What’s in Season?

Produce harvested at its peak is your sure bet for flavor and freshness. By Barbara Kobsar | Illustration by Charmaine Koehler-Lodge PEARS It’s pear season! One of the earliest European-variety pears to arrive at market is the Bartlett, easily recognized by its bell shape, semi-soft flesh, and yellow-to-red skin color. The green-skinned d’Anjou; small, sweet…

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What’s in Season?

  Produce harvested at its peak is your sure bet for flavor and freshness. By Barbara Kobsar | Illustration by Charmaine Koehler-Lodge May It’s caneberry season, and if you love those delicious blackberry hybrids—like Boysenberries, olallieberries, and Loganberries—you’ll want to head out to the farmers’ markets or Brentwood u-pick farms right now to get some.…

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What’s in Season?

By Barbara Kobsar Produce harvested at its peak is your sure bet for flavor and freshness. February Hear that familiar “snap” coming from the kitchen? It means the new crop of California asparagus has arrived. Asparagus breaks naturally between its tender and tougher portions, so it needs only a quick bend to snap it in…

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What’s in Season?

Story and recipe by Barbara Kobsar Illustration by Caroline H. Gould Choosing produce harvested at its peak is your sure bet for flavor and freshness. AUGUST Now is the time to buy “shellies” (or “shuckies” or “shellouts,” as shelling beans are sometime called), since you might find some at the “in-betweener” stage at which they…

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What’s in Season?

By Barbara Kobsar Choosing produce harvested at its peak is your sure bet for flavor and freshness. February At the market, arugula may appear under names like garden rocket, roquette, or rucola. Regardless of what it’s called, this leafy green offers some of the same heat and peppery flavor as its radish and watercress relatives.…

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What’s in Season?

By Barbara Kobsar Illustration by Carol H. Gould Choosing produce harvested at its peak is your sure bet for flavor and freshness. November Root for roots this season! Look-alike cousins, turnips and rutabagas thrive during the cooler seasons. Turnips take only 50 to 60 days from planting to produce the familiar globe-shaped white roots with…

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What’s in Season?

WHAT’S IN SEASON? BY BARBARA KOBSAR • ILLUSTRATION BY MARGO RIVERA-WEISS Choosing produce harvested at its peak is your sure bet for flavor and freshness. NOVEMBER In season now, pomegranates and sweet potatoes are two must-haves during Thanksgiving month. Pomegranate seeds enhance the appearance and taste of many dishes, and the juice is great in…

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What’s in Season?

BY BARBARA KOBSAR ILLUSTRATION BY MARGO RIVERA-WEISS Choosing produce harvested at its peak is your sure bet for fabulous flavor and freshness. May Small grow pots of herbs and greens, such as those sold by Mariposa Microgreens, have become a popular item at farmers’ markets. If you have one, you’re happily snipping tender and tasty…

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What’s in Season

BY BARBARA KOBSAR ILLUSTRATION BY DAWLINE ONI-ESELEH When you’re at the farmers’ market, it’s all about what’s in season. Choosing from items harvested at their peak is your sure bet for fabulous flavor and freshness. NOVEMBER/DECEMBER Kiwifruit, those fuzzy little fruits with the big flavor and great nutritional value, are ripe and ready. Cut and…

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WHAT’S IN SEASON

BY BARBARA KOBSAR ILLUSTRATION BY MARGO RIVERA-WEISS When you’re at the farmers’ market, it’s all about what’s in season. Choosing from items harvested at their peak is your sure bet for fabulous flavor and freshness. FEBRUARY/MARCH Spinach and Swiss chard continue to enjoy the cooler weather. When bunches of small garnet-red round beets arrive with…

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WHAT’S IN SEASON?

BY BARBARA KOBSAR ILLUSTRATION BY MARGO RIVERA-WEISS When you’re at the farmers’ market, it’s all about what’s in season. Choosing from items harvested at their peak is your sure bet for fabulous flavor and freshness. AUGUST/SEPTEMBER Summer crops linger as midsummer fog backs off and our hot and sunny season arrives. It’s harvest time for…

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What’s in Season

Winter Greens By Barbara Kobsar | Illustrations by Helen Krayenhoff Cool winter months bring out a hardy group of green-leafed vegetables that are stars in the nutrition department, and their robust bite-you-back flavors are just what we need to liven up soups, stews, and sautéed dishes. Some of these greens, such as kale and collards, are…

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What’s in Season? Nuts!

By Barbara Kobsar with Illustrations by Helen Krayenhoff With the shortening days of autumn, the falling of the leaves, and the distant thunder of the holiday season, I’m reminded that it’s time to gather nuts. It’s not just about squirreling them away, however. Nuts in the shell are at their freshest and best only once…

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WHAT’S IN SEASON

Asian Vegetables By Barbara Kobsar and Cheryl Angelina Koehler | Illustrations by Zina Deretsky   When the popular summer crops, such as corn, beans, and tomatoes are nowhere in sight, our East Bay farmers’ markets are overflowing with leafy greens. Hand-drawn signs that say bok choy, choy sum, gai lan, gai choy, mizuna, or tatsoi indicate…

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Seven Stars of Spring

    Jessica Prentice, Maggie Gosselin, and Sarah Klein created the Local Foods Wheel to help us all enjoy the freshest, tastiest, and most ecologically sound food choices month by month. Here are Jessica’s seven best bets for the spring season. You can learn more about the Local Foods Wheel and the group’s other ventures…

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What’s in Season? Fennel

By Barbara Kobsar You can’t miss it. Fennel grows wild all over the East Bay, showing off its feathery plumes along roads and trails. The wild, or common green fennel, which perfumes the air with its sweet licorice-like scent, is a perennial herb of the carrot family. Like its cousins, parsley, dill, chervil and anise,…

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What’s in Season?

  Pass the Peas, Please BY BARBARA KOBSAR     It’s a riotous sea of green out there as peas flood the markets in spring. Farmers’ markets are prime spots to find the freshest peas—from the soft green tender pea shoots with blossoms attached, to plump, brilliant-green sugar snaps and their flat cousins, the snow…

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What’s in Season?

Kiwifruit  By Barbara Kobsar   In other parts of the country, it can be an arduous task shopping for produce in the winter. Not so here in the East Bay, where farmers’ markets continue to showcase in-season produce from farms operating year-round. Choices may differ from what we find on our summer shopping sprees, but…

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What’s in Season?

Citrus By Barbara Kobsar       The citrus scene in the East Bay seems to be ever-expanding. When I was growing up, there were two choices in the orange department: Navels most of the time and Mandarins during the Christmas season. Both remain favorites, but there’s so much more to enjoy these days. Climatic…

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What’s in Season: Peppers

  By Barbara Kobsar Photos by Helen Krayenhoff   In California, peppers are the quintessential fall fare. Red, orange, and yellow bell peppers mirror the colorful hillsides while mildly spicy to blazing-hot chili peppers warm the soul. Peppers slowly ease us into the cooler months, but shout out loud that fall is here. Peppers are…

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What’s in Season?

By Romney Steele | Photos by Carole Topalian Winter in California brings more than just colder weather. Among the glad tidings are the promise of spring on the way and an abundance of locally grown winter produce at our grocery stores and farmers’ markets. Alongside the chard, kale, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts are freshly sprouted…

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What’s in Season

Persimmons & Pomegranates  By Barbara Kobsar I look forward to the Fall months as much for the seasonal produce as for the radiant colors. As I give a final sigh for the last harvest of California stone fruits, a fresh crop of picture-perfect persimmons comes along to fill the void. On my daily travels around…

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