TREND V. TRADITION
According to the National Restaurant Association the top three trends of 2010 are 1. locally sourced produce 2. locally sourced meat and seafood and 3. sustainability. The truth is before we had national and international distribution channels to source food for our menus and homes, there were markets that we shopped and waters that we fished locally. These trends are not new. They are in fact at the root of our culinary traditions. The global food chain has endangered local small farmers, markets, ravaged the waters and polluted land, air and sea. Can conscience and a desire to support local communities overcome cheap prices for cheap food and greed? Can a trend that evolved from what was once tradition become the protocol for what we eat? If it is simply a trend now it could ultimately become the model for the way we live tomorrow. The conversation will continue. The trend will persist. Sustainability and farmers markets are building momentum. A chef has a responsibility to the community, to the farmers, to the growers, to guests and ultimately to themselves. Where do you stand?
GREENS GREENS GREENS:
Mustard Greens: Coastal Organics
Red Mustard Greens: Windrose Farm
Braising Greens Mix: Rutiz Farms; a blend of delicious young greens – Hon Tsai Tai, Komatsuma, Red Russian Kale, Green and Red Mustard, and Tatsoi
Giant Nobel Spinach: Just seven years after its release the Giant Nobel was chosen as an “All-American Selection” winner in 1933.
Green Gem Lettuce: Coleman Family Farms
Red Frill Mustard: Windrose Farm
Rapini: Windrose Farm
Bloomsdale Spinach: Tutti Frutti Farms
Local Truffles (only 2 more weeks!): both white and black, roughly the size of walnuts and sold by the ounce are available at the farmers market via Clearwater Farms. The white truffles have an intense fragrance and an mild flavor of butter, fresh-roasted hazelnuts, and dried morels with a hint of garlic. with a rather short shelf-life. The black truffles are pungent; the flavor is a strange mix of pineapple, mushrooms and chocolate. These truffles are sniffed out from the forest ground by trained dogs that find the richest mature truffles that release a musky aphrodesial scent. Imagine, fresh domestic truffles harvested from Douglas Fir woodlands! A rare treasure, indeed…
Tutti Frutti and Life’s a Choke are harvesting chanterelle mushrooms!
Chanterelles do not discriminate in their “plant relationships”. Their mycelial threads can be found intertwined with the roots of hardwood trees, conifers, shrubs and bushes. They specifically thrive on old deep, leaf “litter”.
Schaner Farms has green garlic!! fresh hen eggs and beets! Coastal Organics has beautiful lettuces, mustard greens, mediums sized white, pink and gold beets, red and green chard and baby broccoli. Baby artichokes are on hiatus until mid-January. Blood oranges, meiwa and nagami kumquats have arrived!
Rain is expected mid-week, which will give the farmers some reprise to harvest before a potential rainy-day market.
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WINTER CROPS:
Bacon and Fuertes Avocados, Cabbage, Cardones, Baby Cauliflower, Celery Root, Cherimoyas, Citrus: Buddha’s Hand, Grapefruit, Meyer lemons, Mandarins, Kumquats, Blood Oranges, Pomelos, Tangelos, Dates, Escarole, Fennel, Kale: Black, Peacock, Kohlrabies, Leeks, Mushrooms: Black Trumpet, Chanterelle, Oyster, Shitake, Nettles, Parsnips, Radicchio, Radishes, Sapotes, Sorrel, Sweet Potatoes, Swiss Chard, Turnips, Winter Squash
Allow this to be your navigational guide to menu-making and spontaneous cravings, getting what’s in season locally and just one chapter of living, breathing sustainability.
Citrus has taken over the market landscape!
Blood oranges, cara cara oranges
Lee, kishu, satsuma and clementine mandarins, pomelos, oro blanco grapefruits, meyer lemons, bears limes, kaffir limes – it’s time for our favorite winter fruits!!! and finally…..kumquats!!! both meiwa and nagami!
Sugar Snap Peas: Rutiz Farms – snappy, succulent and sweet!
Windrose Farm has greens, greens and more greens!! Spinach, Red Mustard, Green Mustard, Mizuna, Rustic Arugula and…..
Oriental Mustard Green Mix:
RANCHO DEL SOL IS BRINGING US THE CITRUS OF THE GODS: KISHU TANGERINES – SWEET, PETIT AND SEEDLESS!!
GARCIA ORGANICS – FUERTE AVOCADOS!!!
The fuerte avocado was once the gold standard cultivar of avocados in California. It has a rich, creamy flavor with notes of hazelnuts and a clean, grassy finish.
POLITO FARMS HAS ORO BLANCO GRAPEFRUIT AND CLEMENTINE MANDARINS!!
COLEMAN FARMS – STINGING NETTLES, TOKYO LONG JAPANESE ONIONS ARE GORGEOUS AND A GREAT WINTER FRESH ONION! PEACOCK KALE, PORTUGESE KALE, FRENCH SORREL, CARDONES, FRISEE, RED FRILL MUSTARD IN BUNCHES, SPIGARELLO AND PERSIAN WATERCRESS
MCGRATH FARMS HAS THE BABY RED AND WHITE SCALLIONS! THEY ALSO HAVE RAPINI and MY PERSONAL FAVORITE: PEA TENDRILS!!
JAIME FARMS HAS THEIR BABY CARROTS IN 4 COLORS AND THEY ARE CUTE!!! ALSO, BABY GOLD TURNIPS AND RED KURI SQUASH!!
BEYLIK HAS THE HARDY AND RELIABLE JAPANESE TOMATOES AND PERSIAN CUCUMBERS
No more Persimmons! No more Apples, Figs, Shelling Beans. Winter squashes are dwindling. Currently only large artichokes are available.
Baby Broccoli!! – Coastal Organics, Weiser Family Farms, Coleman Farms, Rutiz Farms…..
Red Frill Mustard – McGrath Farms: is back!
Black Radishes – McGrath Farms
Watermelon Radishes – McGrath Farms
Red Okami Spinach – McGrath Farms
Japanese Turnips – McGrath Farms
Red Bok Choy from Coleman Farms! – Also known as Red Violet Tatsoi Hybrid, this is a unique bok choy vartiety The shiny leaves range in color from red-violet to dark purple, and they hold their color well even in the summer heat, although this variety also tolerates colder temperatures. Lightly textured, the spoon-shaped leaves have a mild mustard flavor.
Duck Eggs – from Ramona Duck Farms!! Larger in size than chicken eggs, the whites of duck eggs tend to be a bit more thick and opaque and the yolks are a striking yellow. As the bird is naturally wilder, duck eggs typically have a stronger flavor compared to that of a chicken egg.
Black garlic is cultivated and harvested right here in California and it is waiting to allure you…
Japanese Tomatoes – Beylik Farms: I love this meaty& hefty number. Thanks to being grown hydroponically in Southern California, it is available year-round!! Nicknamed “Tough Boy” for its temperature resilient texture and succulence!
Beck Grove – Fallbrook, CA:
Beck Grove, Fallbrook is home to a 100% certified biodynamic and organic orchard/farm. Biodynamic farming stimulates and supports soil fertility through the use of farm-produced manures and composts. Beck Grove has a singular cow that meets all of their manure needs. I was there and the scent was in the air. Their orchard was converted from an abandoned avocado farm to the 33 acre orchard where over 15 different fruit crops, most of which are unique to the produce landscape, yet perfect for a chef’s palate. There grove spirals east to west and north to south with rows upon rows of fuyu persimmons, pomegranetes, kumquats, kaffir limes, blood oranges, satsuma tangerines, meyer lemons, bearrs limes, passion fruit and minneolas. As with many growers, due to water restrictions the orchard faces serious consequential decisions of having to let some of the land go wild as they will not be afforded the water resources to feed all of their crops.
kaffir limes – indulgent, fragrant, sexy, sweet, zesty are just a few words that come to mind when thinking about this exotic citrus that is finally finding its way to a more “global” stage.
Beylik Family Farms – Fillmore, CA
Persian Cucumbers – petite and crunchy! No seeds=sweet!
Japanese Tomatoes – “Tough Boy” brings hefty flavor, succulence and meatiness.
Yellow Tomatoes – sweet, tangy and heartier than your average yellow tomato!
Coastal Organics – Oxnard, CA
Cavalo Nero Kale
White and Pink Turnips
Baby Carrot bunches!
Also being harvested at Coastal: red and green chard
HUGE Collard greens
sweet mixed small lettuces (by the case)
White, Gold and Pink beets
Coleman Family Farm – Carpinteria, CA
Pirella Lettuce – A mild-flavored limestone variety originally developed in Kentucky to withstand the heat!
Deer’s Tongue Lettuce – Triangular shaped leaves give this loose-leaf lettuce its distinct look and name. The leaves are tender, mild, succulent and have a melt-in-your-mouth flavor.
Red Butter (Piret) Lettuce – you won’t find this anywhere else! Award-winning for its taste and texture, Pirat is a butterhead variety that has tender and sweet red-tinged leaves with a snappy succulent blanched heart.
Freckles Lettuce – Freckles! Sweet leaves, crispy inside. Perfect lettuce for salads mixes.
Lollo Rossa Lettuce – A red leaf lettuce variety, the distinct red color increases and becomes more intense in this remarkable lettuce when confronted with severe cold or heat.
Frisee – An early Italian variety Endive known for its decadent sized head and self-blanching heart. Its leaves are long and mid-toned green with a white fleshy ribs. Wonderful sweet and mellow flavor.
Treviso – Gorgeous, green and red and a hearty crunchy leaf. Has a tendency toward bitterness. Soak the greens to remove unwanted astringencies.
Red Bok Choy! – Also known as Red Violet Tatsoi Hybrid, this is a unique bok choy vartiety The shiny leaves range in color from red-violet to dark purple, and they hold their color well even in the summer heat, although this variety also tolerates colder temperatures. Lightly textured, the spoon-shaped leaves have a mild mustard flavor.
Tokyo Negi Japanese Onions – Long and sleek with tubular tops and offering just a essence of an onion bite, this Japanese staple is sweet in a savory way.
Red Frill Mustard –
Persian Watercress – A.K.A. “Shahi” the peppery frilly leaf that has a similar shape to wild arugula, yet it is more fragile and “cressier” in flavor.
Stinging Nettles –
Fallbrook Mushroom Farm – Fallbrook, CA:
A field trip to Fallbrook Mushroom Farm is an educated journey into a virtual Chinese forest where mushrooms where dominate the landscape. Long and narrow, screened barns are home to thousands upon thousands of oyster “spawns” and shitake logs. The mushrooms are cultivated on agro-waste (which is essentially recycled agricultural food sources) in spawns filled with rice, grains, cotton, straw, wheat, millet and maize that serve as the mushrooms’ food and protein source. The spawned bags (see picture above) are stored in low-lit raised shelving as they begin colonizing. They are watered from a sprinkling system above daily to retain the appropriate levels of moisture for the mushrooms to grow prolifically. Harvests occur approximately every 60 days and are picked before the mushrooms begin to spore. The most effective way to harvest the mushrooms is to remove the entire colony from the spawn’s stem so that a new crop can grow all at once. One spawn bag can cultivate about 3-5 harvests.
Baby Oyster Mushrooms – These mushrooms are harvested at a younger age than their sand dolllar counterparts. They have a mild and delicately earthy flavor. The stems, although still a little chewy are far more edible than a matured oyster mushroom stem. They have more adaptable cooking applications at their younger age.
peewee shitakes – 100% edible!!! Tiny, thin and tender stalks and a meaty cap make for an amazing mushroom experience! The mushrooms are harvested the SAME day they arrive in your kitchen. And their local!!!
The shiitakes are farm raised and harvested on protein filled cedar logs. The logs can produce over 4 pounds of mushrooms over their lifetime. They are also 100% recyclable. Once the logs are exhausted they can be used for composting or as a natural fertilizer.
What is unique about Fallbrook Mushroom Farms besides the information that I shared with you? Well, considering that 85% of the world’s oyster mushroom production comes from China and the fact that the oyster mushroom is the third largest cultivated mushroom, having an oyster mushroom farm in our own back yard is simply a privilege. Fallbrook Mushroom Farm is a pristinely run organic family farm. They harvest their mushrooms the same day we have them delivered and they are harvesting the mushrooms smaller so that they are more tender and the mushrooms themselves are higher yielding. The mushroom caps range in sizes from button to half-dollar versus SAND dollar, making them the only oyster mushrooms known to be picked at that size. You can do so much more with these mushrooms than adding them to “Hot Pot”. *available by the pound or by the five pound flat.
Garcia Organic Farm – Fallbrook, CA
Fuerte Avocados – This former market gold standard was displaced by the Hass avocado because of its thicker skin and ability to handle being shipped to distant marketplaces.
Meiwa Kumquats! Pop in your mouth, eat, Repeat! Sweet!!
Cara Cara Oranges –
Meyer Lemons –
Kishu Mandarins –
Cocktail Grapefruit –
Developed in the 1950’s, the Cocktail Grapefruit is actually a hybrid of Siamese Sweet pommelo and Frua mandarin. As it was never officially allowed for release, the hybrid escaped from the University of California Riverside.
Gloria Tamai Farms, Oxnard, CA
Heirloom Cherry Tomato Mix
Wild Arugula (bunches)
Jaime Farm – Ontario, CA
Mixed Baby Bunch Carrots – beautiful yellow, orange, red, and purple haze carrots with tops
Baby Gold Turnips –
Rainbow Chard – striking colors, hearty leaves.
Red Kuri Squash – Bright red-orange, this outstanding hybrid squash has a brtight orange skin with light green highlights. Red Kuri squash produces a meaty flesh. Weighing four to seven pounds, its rich flesh offers a delicious sweet nutty flavor that is reminiscent to that of chestnuts.
J.J.’s Lone Daughter Ranch
Bacon Avocados – This avocado is a mid-winter green variety. It is a good quality medium-sized fruit averaging 10-12 ounces. The Bacon has a sheen green easy peeling skin with a flavorful, smooth and creamy flesh.
Zutano Avocaods – Shiny green skin, pale light and fluffy flesh, sweet but not oily. Skin retains its green color even when ripe!
Walnuts – grown in the Santa Rita Hills at Rancho La Viña; these are addictive!!!
Life’s A Choke – Lompoc, CA
Lyon Artichoke with stem– large and in charge! This is a very jumbo, round, meaty variety from Southern France that yields a whole lot of heart!!
McGrath Family Farm – Camarillo, CA
Pea Tendrils –
Black Radishes –
Japanese Turnips –
Rainbow Chard –
Beets: Chioggia (Candy Stripe), Forono, Gold, Red & White – Forono Beet produces smooth, cylindrical shape beets–for perfectly round slices every time.
Rapini Spigariello and Sessantina Grossa
Red Okami Spinach (3 lb. Box) – Delicate lovely, baby red spinach produces rich green spear-shaped leaves with tender contrasting red edible stems and offer a mild spinach flavor.
Mixed “Saute” Greens (3 lb. box) – A gorgeous mix of flavorfull and spicy baby greens suitable for salads and light sautéeing. In the mix: mustard greens, mustard frill, dandelion greens, arugula and tatsoi.
Wild Arugula (3 lb. box)
Mike and Son Egg Ranch – Ontario, CA
Brown Eggs farm fresh eggs that are unequivocally delicious with gleaming yolks! Each egg is individually candled! (5 doz case only)
Polito Family Farm – Valley Center, CA
Oro Blanco Grapefuit – golden-flesh, sweet and juicy
Clementine Tangerines –
Perfection Tangerines – seedless, sweet and perfect!!!!! This tangerine makes other tangerines seem…well…less than perfect.
Pudwill Farm – Nipomo, CA
RANCHO DEL SOL – Jamul, CA
Kishu Mandarins – Seedless and very easy to peel, golf ball size Kishu mandarins (tangerines) offer a sweet and tangy flavor. Measuring typically about two inches in diameter, the skin is exceptionally loose. The flesh is a beautiful bright orange and super juciy.
Italian Sorrento Lemons
Cara Cara Oranges!
Duck Eggs – Larger in size than chicken eggs, the whites of duck eggs tend to be a bit thicker and the yolks are a striking yellow. Duck eggs typically have a stronger flavor compared to that of a chicken egg.
Rutiz Farm – Arroyo Grande, CA
Persian Watercress– a unique variety, with a wonderfully spicy-sweet kick
Baby Green Romanesco –
Baby Calabrese Broccoli – available sporadically until late fall..
Savoy Spinach – cut in small clusters of 3-4 leaves – beautiful!!
Sugar Snap Peas –
Schaner Farm, Valley Center, CA
Hen Eggs – limited
Tutti Frutti (Italian for All Fruit) – Santa Barbara County and Carpinteria
Chanterelle Mushrooms – If carefully harvested so as not to disturb the ground in which the mycelium (the vegetative part of the mushroom) grows, chanterelles will reappear in the same places year after year.
Tutti Frutti also has other miscellaneous herbs and root vegetables. – check out their website!
Baby Broccoli –
Mixed Heirloom Potatoes – Fingerling sized heirloom variety of six different potatoes, including french fingerlings, Russian bananas, King Edwards, All blues, Ruby crescents and red thumbs.
Red Thumb Potatoes – Red skinned on the outside, and pretty in pink on the inside
Russian Banana Fingerlings – oh so creamy..
La Ratte Fingerlings – Nutty flavors, stand out fingerling, one of the best potatoes, ever!!
Chiogga, Gold and Bull’s Blood Beets by the bunch
Braising Mix Greens -aka field greens, the mix varies but the greens are a hearty blend of baby sweet chards, kales, mustard greens and tatsoi
Oriental Mixed Greens -a perfect combination of loose leaf red and green frill mustard and mizuna
Rustic Arugula – loose leaf, frisee style and perfectly peppered!
White Tepary Shelling Bean – These miniature beans native to North America vary in shape from oval to round and nearly flat. Often their white flesh will be faintly dotted with specks of red and brown. They are rich, creamy and nutty in flavor.
Yasutomi Farm – Pico Rivera, CA
Baby Bok Choy – Baby bok choy’s attractive three to four inch long green leaves with characteristic succulent white stems offer a tender texture and mild, sweeter flavor.
Baby Celery – Fresh, sweet, herbaceous with leaves about the size of cilantro or parsley, baby celery delivers an intense celery flavor that is much stronger than mature celery.
Green Onion Chives – comin soon! mild, sometimes sweet green onion and chive hydroponic hybrid. great shelf-life too!
Miners Lettuce – It’s hydroponic!!! It’s an heirloom European seed. Unlike wild Miners Lettuce, this cultivated variety has a milder sweeter mache-like flavor than its more bitter counterpart. Its stems are thin, crunchy and equally edible as the tender leaves.