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Posts Tagged ‘Local Fruits’

PostHeaderIcon Local Farmers Markets Prepping for Spring/Summer Sales

It’s that time of the year again….local farmers and artisan specialty vendors getting ramped up for the launch of their produce and goods at local farmers markets.  Lucky enough, many farmers markets are year round in California.  What lies ahead are some amazing spring vegetables, fruits, artisan meats and cheeses.  The highlight of shopping the market experience is what you get to take home with you and create fresh ingredient dishes.  Trying to find a market in your local community being offered once a week is the key to always having the freshness for your kitchen.  We are lucky enough in Sacramento County where there is a certified farmer’s market almost every day of the week!

          SUNDAY MARKETS

Sacramento Central
If you can manage to wake up early on a Sunday morning, make your way to the Sacramento Central farmers market where you’ll find many Asian produce. Shoppers will find great prices at this Midtown market, which is among the larger markets in the area.Guide Tip: Get here early. Since this is a popular market, on a few of my visits, some vendors ran out of food.

  • Location: 8th and W streets, underneath Highway 80
  • Hours: 8 a.m. to noon, open all year

          TUESDAY MARKETS

Roosevelt Park
Roosevelt Park is among two farmer’s markets along P Street. Along the perimeter of the park, shoppers can buy vegetables, fruits, nuts, meats, herbs, flowers, baked goods and cheeses.

  • Location: 9th and P streets
  • Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., from May through October

Fremont Park
Just down the street from Roosevelt Park is Fremont Park. Vendors are spread along the perimeter of the park.Guide Tip: Finding a parking space can be a challenge at both of these parks. If you’re lucky, you’ll find a metered spot. Remember to keep track of the time to avoid getting a ticket.

  • Location: 16th and P streets
  • Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., from May through October

          WEDNESDAY MARKETS

Casear Chavez
Caesar Chavez Memorial Plaza is abuzz with shoppers from area office buildings at this downtown market.

  • Location: 10th and J streets, in front of City Hall
  • Hours: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., from May through October

THURSDAY MARKETS

Capitol Mall Market

  • 6th Street and Capitol Mall
  • Hours:  10am – 1:30pm, from May through September

Downtown Plaza Market

  • 4th and K Streets
  • Hours: 10am – 2:00pm, from May through September

East End State Capitol Park

  • 15th and L Streets, (Between L & N Streets)
  • Hours: 10am – 1:30pm, from May – September

 SATURDAY MARKETS

Oak Park Farmers’ Market

  • McClatchy Park, 35th Street and Fifth Ave
  • Saturdays, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Sunrise Station Market

  • Folsom and Sunrise Blvds, Rancho Cordova – Light Rail Station
  • Hours:  8:00am – 12:00pm, Open Year Round

Experiencing a Farmer’s Market through a chef’s eyes is an incredible experience.  Being introduced to local farmers and artisans.  Tasting, touching, smelling….it all is about growing your knowledge on how to pick out seasonal produce, how to use that produce in your home and receive some creative ideas on using the benefits of the produce to your advantage.  Sound too good to be true?   A new tour is being launched in downtown Sacramento by Local Roots Food Tours;  Market to Plate Executive Lunch Tour.  Beginning May 2nd and offered every Wednesday and Thursday throughout the spring/summer growing season, participants have the opportunity to be treated to a VIP Farmers Market Tour followed by a 4 course lunch with a wine pairing.  2 popular executive chefs will be taking fresh local ingredients from the morning’s local market and creating a wonderful lunch for all participants.  Get up close and personal with these two chefs.  Learn tricks and trades on how to pick out the best produce and fruits at this year’s farmers markets and receive recipe ideas to use in your own kitchen.  For more information on how to be a part of this unique and inspiring walking food tour please contact Local Roots Food Tours:  1-800-407-8918 or visit their foodie friendly website at:  http://www.localrootsfoodtours.com

 

 

PostHeaderIcon Market-to-Plate Executive Chefs Tour Launches in Sacramento!

Come join Local Roots Food Tours as we get up close and personal with local farmers, vintners, and executive chefs in our new Market-To-Plate Executive Chef’s Tour! This tour takes you through a popular downtown Sacramento farmer’s market, Cesar Plaza Farmer’s Market or East End Capitol Park Farmer’s Market and then into a four course, four star dining experience prepared by two local executive chefs!

This tour is a culinary and educational adventure. Participants are guided through an open-air market, where you can chat with the farmers and producers as the aroma of herbs and flowers waft around you. You’ll learn about what’s in season and how to choose and prepare foods from their seasonal harvest. We will meet local olive oil producers, lavender and flower producers, meat producers, and other artisans – in short, people who love to work with and talk about food! A shopping experience like no other!

Our tour continues with a 3 course exclusive lunch prepared by Executive Chef Michel at Morgan’s Restaurant (a four star, hidden gem restaurant serving farm-to-table ingredients). Lunch will be prepared using fresh local seasonal ingredients. Chef Michel will educate participants on how to use the produce they purchased at the morning market and share his culinary wisdom and passion for fresh, local ingredients. Definitely an up close dining experience! Lunch will be paired with a selected local wine.
Click to learn more!

PostHeaderIcon Spice Zee, Cherums and Plerries…Hybrid Fruit in California

You ask, what’s a plerrie anyway?  Or you could ask; “What do you get when you cross a plum with a cherry? A hybrid fruit of course!

Hybrid fruit is a potentially lucrative, and delicious, market. Fruit growers are motivated by the lure of inventing a product that commands premium prices, from 50 cents to $1 or more per pound than conventional fruit. The breeders are also aiming for fruit that will have a longer harvest period to be available to shoppers longer. And with the rise in cooking styles that celebrate the ingredients, American consumers are demonstrating a willingness to spend more on food and a desire to hear the stories behind their produce.
Click to read more

PostHeaderIcon Apricot and Lavender Chutney

Apricot and Lavender together…..who would have thought!!

APRICOT and LAVENDER CHUTNEY

2 tbsp butter, 1/2 leek, diced

1 tsp. lavender flowers, chopped

4 cups apricots, pitted and sliced

1 tsp honey, salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan, heat butter and lightly saute leeks, about 5 minutes.  Add lavender and cook until fragrant.  Add apricots and continue to cook until just heated through.  Season to taste with honey.  Add salt and pepper.

Remove from heat and set aside.


California Apricots are in season!  Local markets are offering some of the sweetest apricots in the area.  Are you ready to start using such an amazing fruit in your kitchens?

The apricot is one of California’s prized specialty crops.  In fact, California produces a remarkable 95+% of all the apricots grown in the United States.  There are over 300 growers producing apricots from orchards covering 17,000 acres in the San Joaquin Valley with the leading production area being Stanislaus County.  California apricot growers produce a number of apricot varieties.  The most dominant variety planted and produced in California today is the Patterson developed in 1969 by Fred W. Anderson.  A consistent producer and very versatile, the Patterson is used for canning, freezing, drying, concentrate and fresh shipment. Eagerly awaited as one of the first summer fruits, the apricot has a relatively short fresh season.

APRICOT SHOPPING TIPS:

  • Look for plump, fairly firm fruit with an orange-yellow to orange color.
  • Fully ripe fruit is soft to the touch, juicy and should be eaten as soon as possible.
  • Keep apricots cool to prevent over ripening.  Store ripe apricots in the refrigerator where they may keep for up to a week.
  • Place hard apricots in a paper bag and let ripen for a day or two.
  • To freeze fresh apricots, simply half the fruit and place on baking sheet until frozen. Then pack in a plastic freezer bag.
  • Avoid green fruit which will not ripen.

DRIED CALIFORNIA APRICOTS
It takes about six pounds of fresh apricots to make one pound of dried apricots.   A concentrated source of fiber, dried apricots enjoy the distinction of being one of the most nutrient-dense dried fruits.  Sweetly tart, they are lauded for their flavor as well as their excellent snacking and baking possibilities.

PostHeaderIcon Fresh Berries Make Delicious Fruit Syrups

There are some delicious berries and melons at the markets and stores right now…think outside of your recipe file and try these delicious fruit syrups.  Take advantage of their natural sweetness to sweeten your pancakes, crepes, ice cream and other fruit and veggies!

Homemade fruit syrup is easy and economical, It can also be very nutritious. Save your wine bottles for beautiful containers to fill with richly colored fruit syrups. Use them yourself, or give them away as gifts.

Instructions

Things You’ll Need

  • Fruit
  • Sugar
  • Water
  • Stainless Steel Pot
  • Strainer

    1. Prepare your fruit. Berries should not need to be rinsed with the exception of strawberries. Cherries, plums or grapes can be rinsed. Citrus foods should be peeled. Just think ahead. If you are planning on using the remaining pulp for a jam or spread, then remove any stems or cores or pits. If you are discarding the pulp, then you don’t have to quite so much preparation.                                           2. Measure the fruit into a stainless steel pot and either crush or chop. Add one cup of water for every 4 cups of fruit. Put over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cook until the fruit is soft and has lost its texture. If the fruit is non acidic, like blueberries, add a little fresh lemon juice for tartness.                                               3. Pour the contents of the pot into a strainer set over a large bowl. Pour back into the pot and add sugar, bringing back up to a boil. Skim off any foam that collects and boil for 1 minute.                                                                                           4. Pour into suitable containers and refrigerate. If you wish to preserve it for several weeks or months, use a hot water bath method of canning and seal. For those interested in keeping a little fruit in their syrup, just add a few tablespoons of the pulp back into the hot syrup.

  • Mint And Orange Syrup Over Raspberries

    • simple syrup (see above)
    • 1 small bunch peppermint
    • zest of one orange
    • juice of 1/2 orange
    • pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Turn down heat on the simple syrup once sugar has dissolved.
  2. Add mint, zest, orange juice, and salt to simple syrup.
  3. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Remove big pieces of mint and drizzle over raspberries. Garnish with a mint sprig.

Thyme And Lime Syrup Over Melon

Ingredients:

  • simple syrup (see above)
  • 1/2 bunch of thyme (still on twigs)
  • zest of one lime
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • pinch of salt

Directions:

  1. Turn down heat on the simple syrup once sugar has dissolved.
  2. Add thyme, zest, lime juice, and salt to simple syrup.
  3. Let simmer for 10-15 minutes.
  4. Remove big pieces of thyme and drizzle over melon. Garnish with a thyme sprig and gooseberries.

PostHeaderIcon Who’s Going for the Cherry Bing?

Just when we’ve had our fill of citrus and the apple bin is beginning to bottom out, the most wonderful event happens. Cherries, the first of the early spring fruit, begin making their showy appearance.

Farmers grow several varieties of sweet cherries here in California. The first to arrive are Burlats, a cherry used to help pollinate Bings. They are smaller and softer than Bings. Next to arrive are Brooks, which look like a cross between a Bing and a Rainier. Bings show up around the end of June, followed by Rainiers.

By far the most popular and most anticipated, however, are Bings. They are the largest of the cherry varieties and have a dark, mahogany red color. Rainiers are slightly smaller and have golden skin with a pink to red blush.

The Bing season is short so when the cherry sign goes up at the produce stand near your farmers market don’t hesitate to get in on this amazing fruit while it is available. The best way to enjoy them is fresh, right off the stems. Yum!

Fresh cherries will keep about two to three weeks in cold storage. No matter what type you buy, they should be firm with bright green stems and should look shiny. They are loaded with lycopene, which scientific studies have linked to improved heart health, vision and immunity and also a reduction in cancer risk. Some studies show that cherries might have a positive effect on arthritis pain as well.

Think about buying extra for freezing. It’s easier to use frozen cherries if they are pitted. First rinse them under cool, running water and use a cherry pitter that works like a paper punch. If you don’t have a pitter, you can use a sharp paring knife to slice the cherries in half. Twist the halves apart and remove the pits. To freeze them, just place them in freezer bags.  Frozen cherries make awesome smoothies. Simply toss them into a blender with some other fruit and a splash of soy milk and blend until smooth.

Chocolate-dipped cherries

Who says chocolate-dipped strawberries should get all the glory? Cherries are wonderful with a little dressing up.

If you have a pound or two of fresh cherries, you’ll need about six ounces of semi-sweet chocolate, white chocolate or milk chocolate chips and 1/2 teaspoon of shortening. The shortening is optional, but it does help prevent the chocolate from crumbling when it sets up again. Wash the cherries and dry them thoroughly with paper towels. Save any cherries without stems for another use. You can remove the pits before dipping or leave them in. If you use a cherry pitter, remove the pits from the side so that the stems stay attached.

Place the chips and the shortening in a heat-proof bowl. Place the bowl over hot, not boiling water, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not touching the hot water. Stir the chips with a wooden spoon until they melt.

One-by-one, hold the cherries by the stems and quickly dip them into the melted chocolate. Place the dipped cherries on a foil-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until the chocolate is firm.

Dipped cherries should be stored in the refrigerator and used within two days. Note: If you did not pit the cherries before dipping, you should let your guests know before serving them.

Source: California Cherry Advisory Board

PostHeaderIcon Strawberry, Rhubarb and Caramelized Onion Sauce

Onions, salt and pepper with fruit? You bet! The salt and pepper intensify the good flavor of the ripe fruits. The aromatic onions, which get sweeter and subtler the slower you cook them, balance the flavors. Spoon this lovely sauce over pork or chicken. But my favorite is too slather it over soft, ripe cheese (such as Carolina Moon!) or smear it on bread.
Ingredients
1 small onion, halved and thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
2 slender stalks rhubarb, cut into 1-inch slices (about 1 cup)
2 teaspoons local honey
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3 cups sugar
1 pint strawberries, hulled and halved (about 3 cups)
Grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper

Toss the onion with 1 teaspoon of the oil in a small bowl. In another small bowl, toss the rhubarb with the remaining teaspoon of oil.
Heat a saute? pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute? for 2 minutes. Add the rhubarb and saute? until it appears moist, about 3 minutes longer. Add the honey, increase the heat to medium-high and cook stirring constantly until the rhubarb softens, about 6 minutes. Add the lemon juice and sugar, increase the heat to high and bring to a boil. Add the strawberries and lemon zest, decrease the heat to medium and simmer until the berries soften, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Cool, store in glass jars and refrigerate for up to 2 months. Makes about 2 pints.

PostHeaderIcon Community Volunteers Rally at Harvest Sacramento


Harvest Sacramento harvests unwanted fruit from neighborhood trees for donation to local food banks. This project of Soil Born Farms germinated from a seed planted by two area residents, Mary McGrath and Robin Aurelius, who were pained by the sight of rotting oranges piled in the streets of East Sacramento every Spring. In early 2009, a grassroots campaign to harvest oranges in the McKinley Park area engaged over 30 volunteers and donated about 3000 pounds of fresh citrus to the Sacramento Food Bank. From this success it was apparent that with more organization and effective outreach, substantial contributions of fresh fruit and vegetables throughout the entire year could greatly enhance the offerings of local food assistance agencies. The true strength, longevity and effectiveness of this project will be directly proportional to the level of direct community involvement, so please Get Involved and Donate.

  • Harvest Totals

    So far in 2011…27,065 pounds of oranges, lemons, grapefruit, tangerines, tangelos, kumquats, and pomelos.

    2010-18,783 pounds
    2009 -20,022 pounds

Volunteer opportunities in Sacramento:

Saturday April 23rd from 10 am to 2pm (REGISTER)

Saturday April 30th from 10am to 2pm (REGISTER)

We will meet at our Farm on Hurley Way harvest from trees in fairly spread out area…potentially including East Sacramento and Fair Oaks in addition to the Arden-Arcade/Carmichael area.  We will be carpooling in harvest groups to each location, so if you have a vehicle that can cary fellow volunteers, we may ask for your help.  Volunteers should park at Jonas Salk High Tech Acadamy (2950 Hurley Way) parking lot.  There is a stop light at the entrance to the school and you will see the back side of the farm to your left as you enter into the actual parking lot.

PostHeaderIcon Spring Family Fun at California Nut Festival!

The mission of the California Nut Festival is to help consumers connect with local farmers and learn about the locally grown food available in the North Valley, and support the continued development of the Patrick Ranch Museum to preserve and interpret the agricultural history of the Sacramento Valley, including social, cultural and economic aspects.  The 2011 California Nut Festival is set for April 16, 2011, 11am – 4pm at Patrick Ranch Museum in Chico

Tickets now available – $25/person. Click here to buy yours today!
Tickets for children 7-12 available for $10 at the event.
Children 6 and under are free!

Attendees have the opportunity to elevate their knowledge of culinary skills and locally grown foods, while also gaining a clearer understanding and appreciation of all that goes into producing the food they eat.   Local executive chef, Michael Tuohy, from Grange Restaurant & Bar in downtown Sacramento will be one of the guest chefs participating in cooking demonstrations during this all day event.

Proceeds from the California Nut Festival benefit the Patrick Ranch Museum for the purpose of preserving and interpreting the agricultural history of the Sacramento Valley, including social, cultural and economic aspects.

The California Nut Festival began as a series of events including a blossom tour, spelling bee, book club and chef demonstrations that took place over the course of a two week period, but lacked a single event that brought consumers and local farms together in a meaningful way.

The new California Nut Festival (CNF) is the vision of a group of community volunteers who wanted to bring an upscale food and wine event to the North Valley to celebrate the heritage and provide much needed fundraising to the Patrick Ranch Museum. Kathy Chance, committee chair, states, “We want to increase awareness and consumption of our local products as well as bring people together with the farms in a fun and festive atmosphere.”

Email
CaliforniaNutFestival@live.com

PostHeaderIcon Greek Yogurt is the New “IT”

The yogurt industry has experienced a bit of a Renaissance and there’s one main reason for that: Greek yogurt. According to a report in Business Insider, Greek yogurt sales have shot up 100% every year for the past three and now make up 19% of all yogurt sales. What makes this remarkable is that Greek yogurt is ultimately more expensive than traditional yogurt. So, consumers are willing to shell out the extra money for this product. Why?

For one thing, it has higher protein content than a traditional yogurt. Many people now elect to make Greek yogurt the backbone, if not the entire, meal. The perception is that Greek yogurt is actually more filling than traditional yogurt. Companies began by pushing the yogurt to “rich women looking for low-fat, high protein food.” The strategy seems to have worked. Prices have begun to decrease and more people seem to be embracing the trend.

One particularly interesting part of the research is how few of Greek yogurt consumers seem to like the taste. Most people responded that they eat it primarily because of its health benefits, and are not motivated by its nutritional value.

Greek yogurt is thicker and richer than regular yogurt, and typically contains lower sugar, higher protein and higher amounts of probiotics. Greek yogurt brands include Fage, Chobani and Oikos. Here’s how they stack up to the regular stuff:

-Fage Total 0% (per ounce): 15 calories, 0 grams fat, 1 gram sugar, 2.5 grams protein, 3 percent of daily calcium requirements

-Dannon All Natural Nonfat, plain flavor (per ounce): 13 calories, 0 grams fat, 2 grams sugar, 1.5 grams protein, 5 percent of daily calcium requirements

As far as bacteria are concerned, Greek yogurt can contain up to six strains of probiotics, while regular yogurt usually contains just two. These high levels aid in converting milk lactose into lactic acid, making it easier to digest, especially for those who are lactose intolerant.

If you’re new to the Greek yogurt bandwagon, we say Chobani is the best Greek yogurt: creamy, mild and available in many different flavors (honey is our favorite). If you have a more advanced palette, Fage is slightly tangier and a bit sour (i.e., more authentic). Either way, Greek yogurt reigns supreme over regular yogurt when it comes to taste, nutrition and probiotics.

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It is about time that something like this is available in Sacramento! Lisa is an engaging guide with a positive attitude and lots of history at the tip of her tongue. She leads her groups on a culinary discovery walk of downtown residential areas near the capitol, talking about the city's history and stopping at local restaurants, bakeries, coffee houses and delis for foods that delight and surprise. The walk is flat, easy and punctuated with stops that make it a delight on a fine day. Top that with discount coupons for future visits and you'll discover new favorite haunts. Bravo, Lisa!
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