Have these pandemic days got you feeling like your meals are lackluster? Tired of cooking the same things? No worries! That’s why eating with the seasons is not only healthy, but also keeps cooking exciting. Now that the weather has warmed up, we can add the sweet and strong flavor of basil to our dishes! Click on the image to find recipes, as well as Berkeley Farmers’ Markets maps, current vendor lists, news, and more.
A symbol of fruitfulness and prosperity, pomegranates, abundant with ruby jeweled seeds, are a true market treasure. Native to Iran and India, pomegranates are available from September to December here in California. Pomegranates are unique in that they can be grown directly from seed unlike most other fruit trees, which are usually grafted to produce consistently delicious fruit.
Okra, some love it, some hate it, some haven’t yet tried it. Now is the season to make up your mind on the matter or even change it! Okra is an edible seed pod from a flowering plant in the mallow family (hibiscus, cacao, cotton, etc.). It is grown in subtropical, tropical, and warm temperate regions around the world, while originating by the Nile River in the region that is now considered Ethiopia.
The autumnal equinox is this Tuesday, and the start of the new season coincides with the start of apple season! Apples are one of the most popular fruits consumed in the U.S. Apples originated in the wild in the mountains of central Asia, and began to be cultivated in Turkey. There are more than 7,500 cultivars of apple trees.
As blueberries, peaches, and melons start to disappear from our markets, the thought of summer’s abundance of fruit ending can seem sad. Yet, Mother Nature provides solace in the happy arrival of a delicious fall fruit, pears!
The end of summer can feel like a loss to many of us; however, it can also feel like the most abundant time of year at the farmers’ market. Now we are able to get the fruiting vegetables that bask in the heat all summer long to ripen. One of these fruiting veggies is the eggplant!
Peppers, also known as the genus Capsicum, is a flowering plant in the nightshade family. They are a complex vegetable (or fruit depending on how you look at them) with various bright colors, shapes, and flavors from sweet and mild to super spicy. There are about 20-27 species within the Capsicum genus, and South America has the highest diversity in wild growing peppers (Bolivia) and cultivated varieties (Peru).
Tomato, is it a fruit or a vegetable? An argument as old as time. Although we do use tomatoes as a vegetable in a culinary sense, they are indeed a type of fruit. Tomatoes come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. In fact, there are about 1,000 varieties of tomatoes in cultivation. You can find a plethora of different types of tomatoes at the farmers’ market, ranging from early girl, sungolds, and heirloom varieties, just to name a few. There is nothing quite like a freshly picked tomato straight from the farm. Come to our markets and bask in the glory of peak tomato season.
Oh my, figs! The warm summer months bring the first harvest of these rare and versatile gems. Figs are surprisingly sweet, yet lusciously complex. These babies are available at Berkeley Farmers’ Markets through September. Figs are a high source of potassium and fiber, which may have a positive effect on blood sugar and weight management. Even more reason to indulge!
Tomatillos also known as the Mexican husk tomato or groundcherry is a part of the nightshade family (think tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, potatoes). The wild tomatillo was found all around the Americas, but had the most diversity in Mexico. Scientists have even discovered a tomatillo fossil in Patagonia dating back to about 52 million years ago! So yeah, they’ve been around awhile.
Nothing feels more like summer than biting into a soft, fresh peach — quenching your thirst on those hot summer days while getting a little boost of sugar when the sun is wearing you down. Peaches require a delicate touch: you have to handle it tenderly, like it’s a prize possession. Where you get your peach from matters, and since California is the nation’s largest producers of peaches, you should have no problem finding high quality peaches locally, from June-October. White peaches are known for their sweetness, while a hint of acid gives yellow peaches a complex flavor ideal for cooking and baking. You can find new varieties arriving at the farmers’ markets each week, come by and find your perfect peach!
‘Tis the season for the Cucurbitaceae family! This plant family includes some excellent foods, such as gourds, cucumbers, and melons. Within this family is a very special food, the bitter melon (also known as bitter gourd)! If you haven’t seen a bitter melon before, it’s like a funky-looking cucumber with an intricate skin. It grows on a vine and is typically harvested when the plant is green with a slight yellow hue. When the plant is fully ripe it bursts open on the end, exposing the large, red seeds inside.
What a sweet time of year it is! Berries and stone fruit are in full swing, and while peaches often take the summer spotlight, you shouldn’t miss out on the pluots!
Click on the image to find recipes, as well as Berkeley Farmers’ Markets maps, current vendor lists, news, and more.