Sweet Potato or Yam?
Tuber tutorial — here’s what you need to know!

If you’re a little confused about the differences between yams and sweet potatoes, you’re not alone. Many of us think about fluffy, soft orange yams topped with marshmallows served at Thanksgiving — but chances are, you have never tasted a true yam. What we call 'yams' are in fact sweet potatoes. And sweet potatoes are not potatoes. But many stores use the terms ‘yams’ and ‘sweet potatoes’ interchangeably to describe these tubers. Why?

Winter Squash
Fall Harkens Arrival of Winter Squash

The Fall farmers market is full of colorful displays of many varieties of winter squash in all shapes and sizes — from familiar pumpkins and butternut squash to more exotic items like turban and kabocha squash. Our market chef, Andrew Cohen, shares his tips for selecting the best winter squash.

Ruby Jewels of Autumn

Many scholars believe that the forbidden fruit that Eve could not resist was a pomegranate, not an apple. The name comes from Middle French, pomme garnete, which means ‘seeded apple.’ Whether you enjoy snacking on the tangy, juicy arils (seeds) or sipping a glass of juice, pomegranates are one of the healthiest foods you can eat!

Brussels Sprouts
A Very Healthy and Versatile Vegetable

A relative newcomer to the vegetable world, Brussels sprouts have only been around for five hundred years, whereas there are records of cabbages that go back three thousand years. Why the name ‘Brussels’ sprouts? It is thought that they have always grown near Brussels and they became associated with the area. Thomas Jefferson was an avid farmer, and his are the first records of Brussels sprouts in North America from 1812.

Edible Paradise :: Seasonal Cooking

MBCFM Recipes

From Our Markets to Your Table

Edible Paradise celebrates the year-round abundance of the highest quality, freshest food grown on the Central Coast by our family farmers at the Monterey Bay Certified Farmers Markets. If you enjoy preparing and eating locally grown food, this blog is for you!

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Welcome Chef Ellie Lavender

Chef Ellie Lavender

Let me introduce our newest contributor to the Edible Paradise team — Chef Ellie Lavender. Ellie is a vegan chef who specializes in Mediterranean cuisine. You cannot miss this lively French lady at the farmers market — the space around her literally vibrates with her exuberant spirit when she visits with farmers and vendors, and she is very likely carrying a gift of some of her famous handcrafted chocolates to share. Continue Reading →

Meyer Lemons —A California Favorite

California Grown Meyer Lemons

The Meyer lemon owes its presence in the U.S. to an USDA agricultural explorer named Frank Meyer, who discovered it in 1908 during one of his expeditions to Asia to collect new plant species. Among the 2,500 plants he introduced to the U.S. was the unusual thin skinned, lemon-orange citrus cross, which became the Meyer lemon, named in his honor. Continue Reading →

The Secret to Making Great Soups

Making Homemade Stock

Whether you call it ‘stock’ or the trendier term ‘bone broth’ — healthy and flavorful soups start with a nutrient and mineral rich base of good stock. Bone based stocks provide minerals such as calcium, magnesium, silicon, sulphur, phosphorous, and other trace minerals. Stock can be made with left over bones from dinners or you can purchase bony parts of chicken, turkey, beef, or even fish to make stock. With the cooler fall weather, this is the ideal time to make a big pot of stock for making hearty soups, richly flavored gravies, and side dishes. Homemade stock is simple to make and the secret to creating great tasting soups. It adds a depth of flavor to homemade soup that commercially produced stock cannot. Continue Reading →

Mushrooms — Earthy Hidden Treasures

Monterey Winter Mushrooms

Did you know the Monterey Bay area is the second largest producer of mushrooms in the US and third in the world? Pennsylvania, where mushroom farming was pioneered, ranks first in the US for mushroom production. The Chinese learned mushroom farming in Pennsylvania for shiitake production and are the number one producer in the world.

What were once exotic are now commonplace — shiitakes, oysters, cremini, chanterelles, and Portobellos. Most varieties can be found at the Aptos Farmers Market. New Natives offers shiitake and oyster mushrooms, and Blanca at Global Mushroom carries Portobello, cremini and white button mushrooms. Continue Reading →

Holiday Gifts From Your Kitchen

Homemade holiday gifts

holiday gifts made with love

If you are pondering making holiday gift ideas for friends or coworkers, you might not have to go any further than your own kitchen for inspiration. Ingredients like dried fruits and nuts are plentiful at the farmers markets, just in time for making some delectable confections or savory snacks.

Late fall and winter fruits make excellent fruit butters and chutneys. When elegantly wrapped or bottled, homemade products from your kitchen make memorable gifts. Here are some of our favorite recipes and gift ideas — Continue Reading →