Daylight light savings has brought the darkness upon us, but local farms are still shining bright! Thanksgiving is just around the corner–we’re smack dab in the most exciting time of year at the Market. Matt and I as produce buyers are dedicated to bringing in as many tasty local veggies and fruits as possible, giving you the opportunity to whip up the best side dishes and desserts you can imagine.
Balakian Farm in Reedley has been driving over 250 miles each way over the past 9 years to supply us with their pomegranates and persimmons for the holidays. Everyone should have at least a few of the “Wonderful” pomegranates as a center piece on their table–they’ve been eating so well this year! The Fuyu persimmons are nice and tree-ripe, eating great out of hand. The Hachiyas take a while to ripen, so we take it upon ourselves to start this process for you, hoping to sell a good amount of them extra soft and ready to make persimmon bread.
Frog Hollow Farm in Brentwood always has the best pears for fruit platters and baking; the Warren and Taylor’s Gold are perfect pears for a fruit platter, their silky smooth flesh and sweet flavor always a treat. The Bosc is probably the best cooking pear from Frog Hollow, and has good sugar even when firm. And our little friend the Seckel pear will be the first goodies you see when you enter the store, so grab a handful and enjoy.
Apple pie time! DeVoto Gardens in Sebastopol is just finishing up their harvest; Stan promised us that he’ll have plenty of their fresh picked Rome apples for Thanksgiving week, which are great for pies. Hidden Star Orchard in Linden just started bringing us their beautiful Pink Ladies, and we have a good supply of Fuji and Granny Smiths.
We’ve worked hard in recent months to build a new farm-direct relationship with Vincent Family Cranberries in Oregon, a small family farm that harvests amazing cranberries to sell fresh and as bottled cranberry juice. Cranberries are one of the crops that have been taken over by large companies like Ocean Spray, and it’s really challenging to know where most of the cranberries we consume come from. This holiday season, Vincent’s fresh cranberries will be ingredients in both the Creamery’s desserts and our deli’s seasonal menus, as well as sold fresh in our produce department. We’ll also be carrying three of Vincent’s Cranberry juice blends!
Black Sphinx dates are back! These little nuggets of creamy caramel-like goodness are a perfect complement to any Thanksgiving feast. Also, for the first time we are getting farm-direct bulk organic medjool dates from County Line Farm. And Capay Farm will start harvesting Satsuma Mandarins in mid-November, just in time for turkey day.
Chicories are a great way to spice up your feast; Mariquita Farm in Watsonville specializes in Italian varietals, and always grows the most tender and flavorful bitter greens. Andy’s escarole has been unreal this year–each head makes up to 2-3 salads. Escarole leaves are the least bitter of the endive family, very tender and sometimes a bit crunchy. Escarole is perfect in a salad and really delicious when braised or added to a soup.
The Rainbow Chard and kales growing on our Sonoma farm are just getting big enough to bunch, so we should have a good supply for Thanksgiving week. We also have a few plantings of arugula that are coming on just in time! Look for beautiful greens from Tomatero Farm in Hollister and little gem lettuces and arugula from Martin’s Farm in Salinas.
This will be the first Thanksgiving that we’ll have over 500 pounds of local organic brussels sprouts from Rodoni Farm in Santa Cruz. Brussels are very challenging to grow organically in the Bay Area due to pests, so get them while you can. As for root veggies, we’ll have plenty of parsnips, rutabagas and turnips, and Mariquita is about to start harvesting and their extra-sweet yellow and orange Chantenay Carrots.
David Little’s dry farmed potatoes are freshly dug up in Petaluma, and always the most flavorful potato of the season. The dry farming really makes the Yellow Finn and Mountain Rose potatoes sweet; they’re great roasted or mashed. The Red French and Yellow Laratte fingerlings have less starch, and are perfect for roasting. We’ll still also have a big display of Russets from Noonan Farm in Oregon.
This year we’ll be highlighting three varieties of sweet potatoes (not to be confused with less-flavorful yams, to which they’re not even related!) from Doreva Farms in Livingston: the dark red-skinned Beauregard, Red Garnet, and the light skinned Hannah Sweets. All three offer classic flavor and texture; don’t be afraid to cook them up together!
Wild mushrooms are always a nice addition to your holiday gravy. We’ve been getting a steady supply of Yellow Chanterelles from the Northern California, and we’ll have plenty of Far West Fungi’s Shitakes.
Last but not least is everyone’s favorite winter veggie, the winter squash. Full Belly Farm and Happy Boy Farm have been harvesting all kinds of perfectly ripe winter squash, from the Delicata that roast up so well (skin and all) to the Butternut, a staple in our kitchen for their butternut and apple soup. Also look for Blue Hubbard, Kabocha, Spaghetti and Red Kuri–we have your every squash need covered!