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.

Pomegranates
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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Pomegranate — The Original Forbidden Fruit

pompom1

Pomegranate – The Original Forbidden Fruit

The name “pomegranate” derives from Latin pomum (‘apple’) and granatus (‘seeded’). Jewish scholars believe that the pomegranate was the original “forbidden fruit” of the Garden of Eden. The pomegranate has been a prominent symbol in many religions and cultures since Biblical times, when Moses promised his followers that they would find the fruit in the Promised Land, to the 18th century, when Spanish sailors introduced it to the southern United States. Cultivated since ancient times, the pomegranate is native to the region from Iran to northern India. The pomegranate is now cultivated widely in California and Arizona for juice production.

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Apples – A Pajaro Valley Legacy

Pajaro Valley Apples

Pajaro Valley Apples

Did you know that the Pajaro Valley used to be the apple capital of the United States in the early part of the last century? One historical account from 1894 described one apple packer that shipped roughly 6.5 million pounds from the Pajaro train station to the east coast. Without a doubt, the Pajaro Valley has played a significant role the apple industry.

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The New Oil Boom — California EVOO

CALIFORNIA EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

CALIFORNIA EXTRA VIRGIN OLIVE OIL

When you think of “olive oil,” what geographic area comes to mind? Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal…or California? Most Americans would think of one of these four European countries because they produce 93% of the world’s olive oil. You may find it surprising that while the golden state produces only a tiny percentage of olive oil for the US market, it produces 99% of all Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) made in the USA. Continue Reading →

Cherries —Six Short Weeks of Sweet Cherry Bliss

Sweet California cherries

Sweet California cherries

Cherries are one of the most anticipated summer fruits. The short California cherry season generally begins in mid May, hits its peak by the end of May, and tapers off considerably by mid June. However, the 2015 season arrived three weeks earlier than usual due to the strange weather pattern we’ve been experiencing. Little rain and mild winters have resulted in fruit being ripe and ready to harvest much earlier.

In an article by Mike Hornick,  The Packer explained the 2014 cherry crop disaster. “Last year was a near crop failure,” Rich Sambado, sales manager for Stockton-based Primavera Marketing Inc. “This year looks a lot better but is not a huge crop.” Continue Reading →

Avocados — The Perfect Food

California Grown Avocados

As Californians, we have so many things to be thankful for when it comes to fresh food. Avocados are certainly one of those things, and at our farmers market, we have three vendors supplying us with these sublime fruits. Given that California produces 95% of the avocados in the USA, this is not surprising.

The Haas avocado is the most widely grown, as it is worldwide. Overall, the Haas accounts for 80% of avocados grown. At one time, there were about 100 varieties grown in California, with the majority of them in the Santa Barbara/Ventura area and further south. Things like ease of growing and shipping account for the diminishing numbers, but also some of the older varieties have been eclipsed because their flavor is simply not as tasty as the Haas, Bacon, Fuerte, Gwen, and Reed varieties seen most commonly. Continue Reading →