Hungry for some rocket? No, I’m not talking about space aviation. Rather, some spicy leafy greens. Arugula (also known as rocket in places like the U.K.) is a vegetable in the brassica family, alongside broccoli, kale, and cabbage. Native to the Mediterranean, Arugula was traditionally used as an herb, grown in gardens or collected in the wild. Now, it’s available widely in grocery stores and farmers’ markets, as well as grown in the wild in Europe and North America.
Sure the winter months don’t have fresh and tantalizing tomatoes and crisp and juicy peaches, but what about a little earthy and crunchy root vegetable goodness? These winter months are a perfect time to incorporate some more root vegetables into our diet, and one of those vegetables that is abundant at the farmers’ market is beets! Beets are a round root vegetable that has a leafy top. They were first cultivated in ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece for their leafy greens. During the Roman era, they started to be cultivated for the root. The whole plant is edible and packed with vitamins and minerals, and affordable to boot!
In the midst of the rainy season, cool-weather crops are thriving this time of year. One of those vegetables that we know and love is spinach! Native to Persia about 2000 years ago, spinach was then brought over to India and China and then became popular throughout Europe and the Arab Mediterranean. It is a member of the amaranth family (Amaranthaceae) and has a deep green color with ovate to triangular leaves.
Looking for a fruit that is sour, sweet, and bitter all at the same time? Well, a grapefruit can be all of those things and more! Grapefruit is a hybrid between the sweet orange and the pomelo. It is a subtropical citrus that can range in taste from sour to semi-sweet, and somewhat bitter. Grapefruits have a yellow skin, and the pulp varies in color depending on the cultivar (from white to pink to red). Grapefruits do not resemble grapes, but rather got their name because they grew in a grape-like cluster. They have half the amount of citric acid as lemons or limes and about twice the amount of citric acid as oranges.
Looking to try out a new leafy green vegetable? Well, bok choy (Cantonese for “small white vegetable), also known as pak choi or pok choi, is at the height of it’s season! Bok choy is a winter-hardy green in the Brassica family. It is native to China since the 5th century AD and is a type of Chinese cabbage that is a popular veggie in Asian cuisine. Bok choy has a white or light green stem and dark green leaves and grows in a cluster. The texture is crisp and crunchy and has a spinach-like taste with a mild bitterness.
Want the perfect fruit to clear out 2020 from your system? Well, luckily lemons are pouring into the market right now to help you with that cleanse. Lemons grow on a small evergreen tree and are native to South Asia. The lemon tree can produce fruit year round, but produces the most fruit in late winter and early spring. You can find Eureka and Meyer lemon varieties at our markets.
‘Tis the season to enjoy delicious meals surrounded by glowing lights and presents. And although this year we may not be able to get together with family and friends for the holidays, we can still enjoy the foods that feel like home. One vegetable in season right now that can bring that sense of comfort and goodness is the sweet and starchy sweet potato!
Did you know walnuts are not actually nuts? Much like almonds, walnuts are in fact the edible seed of a drupe (other common drupes include peaches, dates, and cherries). They have a multidimensional flavor: buttery richness from their high fat content, earthy and slightly sweet with a touch of bitterness from the tannins in their papery skin.
Sure cabbage is great, but have you experienced all that a napa cabbage has to offer? Napa cabbage is a type of Chinese cabbage that has it’s origins in East Asia in the 15th century. It then spread to Korea and Japan, and also became a popular crop in Europe, the Americas, and Australia in the 19th century. Fun fact: Napa cabbage is thought to have originated from natural hybridization of turnip and pak-choi.
Looking for a veggie that’s not quite an onion and not quite garlic, but some sweet spot in between? Well, right now you can find an abundance of leeks at the farmers’ markets. Leeks are a part of the same genus as onions, garlics, shallots, scallions, and chives (Alliums). They are native to Central Asia, but have been cultivated for thousands of years. They have a sweet onion-like flavor and have a crunchy, firm texture.