Sporting vibrant red coats with black spots, ladybugs are as enchanting as they are vital to sustainable farming. They are perhaps best known for their ability to ward off pesky aphids from devouring valuable crops. This is one of the sustainable methods used by Mariquita Farm, which takes its name from the Spanish word for “ladybug”. Mariquita is an organic operation located in Watsonville, CA, approximately 90 miles south of San Francisco, and their greens, lettuces, peppers, berries, and more are a constant fixture of our produce section. They’re an incredible source for Italian varietal vegetables throughout the year.
Among the wonderful bounty of their harvest right now is rapini, a bitter green in the broccoli family. According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, spring is a time for cleansing and preparing for the warmer summer months (or in our case, cool and foggy months). Bitter foods like rapini stimulate the gallbladder to produce bile, which acts to cleanse the body of toxins.
As a part of our Spring menu, we are using organic rapini from Mariquita Farm in our Orrecchiette Pasta Salad, now available in the deli. Serve with pasture-raised chicken or wild Alaskan Halibut for a real treat! We also have rapini available in the produce department if you’d like to cook some up at home.
And while you’re chowing down, remember to thank those little red bugs!