Fresh News



Essen­tial to any good cook’s essen­tial ingre­di­ent list is the globe onion. A well stocked pantry will have on hand at the very least, one or two vari­eties.

The two main types of globe onions are pun­gent and mild. Both are clas­si­fied into either long-​day or short day bulbs, the length of day­light time required for the actual bulb to form.

Mild vari­ety onions are typ­i­cally large and juicy with thick rings and thin, papery skins that peel eas­ily. They can be cooked, but are the likely can­di­dates to be used raw on sand­wiches, in sal­ads and the like. These are the ones that make great onion rings.

Unfor­tu­nately, mild onions are very poor “keep­ers”. Even in ideal stor­age con­di­tions, they will only main­tain their eat­ing qual­ity for a cou­ple months. Ide­ally, a wind­fall of mild onions can be pre­served in pick­les, sal­sas and chutneys.

Read more: The “Cure“ →

Just when that reser­voir of sup­per ideas runs dry, it’s time to cir­cle back to the cue line on past great per­for­mances.

Quiche is one of those for­got­ten dishes that deserve a chance to rejoin the menu lineup.

Spring ingre­di­ents seem to lean in to the con­cept of quiche done right. A lus­cious pie filled with savory, cooked to per­fect, ingre­di­ents.

Aspara­gus, peas, spinach, mush­rooms, alli­ums, scal­lions and fresh herbs make for a bright start to a sen­sa­tional din­ner. Let’s face it, brunch or lunch are fair ter­ri­tory for a good tast­ing quiche, too.

Any excuse for home­made pie crust gets star sta­tus. The shell should be par-​baked first to get a solid, firm tex­ture going prior to fill­ing with dairy and sup­port­ing cast members.

Read more: Back to “Q“ →

Once a har­bin­ger of spring, aspara­gus is now avail­able nearly year round with imported prod­uct from Peru and Mex­ico.

Even so, when fields in Cal­i­for­nia begin to sprout up ten­der tips, by early April, it’s indica­tive of a sea­sonal shift in local eat­ing habits.

An ele­gant veg­etable with long, ten­der shoots that are gen­er­ally cat­e­go­rized as white, pur­ple and green vari­eties, all belong­ing to a plant in the lily fam­ily.

The shoots of the green and white vari­eties are usu­ally hand-​harvested when the stalks reach a height of around eight inches and are one quar­ter to half inch thick. The com­pact, tightly packed leaves (resem­bling scales) at the top of the stalk are prized for their soft, to crunchy tex­ture and mild, provoca­tive fla­vor.

Green aspara­gus is tra­di­tion­ally the most com­mon vari­ety grown in the United States. Pur­ple or white aspara­gus is usu­ally avail­able on a lim­ited basis in spe­cialty and farm­ers markets.

Read more: Aspara­gus Tips →

It won’t come as a sur­prise that color has a pro­found effect on mood. With Spring in gear, plan to lift more than a mood by sur­round­ing work and home spaces with bright flow­ers, flow­er­ing plants and pot­ted herbs.

Plac­ing pots of color in work envi­ron­ments and around the house can seri­ously boost pro­duc­tiv­ity and con­tribute to our men­tal clar­ity through­out the day.

While there are many high-​tech ways to improve air qual­ity, one refresh­ingly easy method is to bring liv­ing plants into our liv­ing spaces. Bet­ter indoor air qual­ity helps to keep the immune sys­tem strong. Breath­ing fresher air is invig­o­rat­ing and bright­ens up the day.

Read more: Mood Swings →

Brus­sels sprouts and cau­li­flower have enjoyed the recent lime­light with chefs and home cooks.

The hum­ble car­rot is wor­thy of some kitchen love and atten­tion.

Car­rots are at their sweet­est in spring, when their bright col­ors and del­i­cate fla­vors shine.

They are ten­der enough to enjoy raw in sal­ads and yet hearty enough for roast­ing, pick­ling, mash­ing and purees. Soups and stews are made bet­ter when car­rots take the stage.

Juic­ing car­rots, alone or with other fruits and veg­eta­bles, is a game chang­ing spring rit­ual for those look­ing for a sea­sonal cleanse or detox. Their inher­ent, earthy sweet­ness bal­ances other flavors.

Read more: Team Carrot →

Dragon fruit is a beau­ti­ful, exotic fruit grown in South­east Asia, Mex­ico, Cen­tral and South Amer­ica, and Israel.

While not com­mon­place, they seem to be show­ing up a lot lately in gro­cery stores across the nation.

This trop­i­cal cac­tus fruit is del­i­cately sweet with a mildly acidic fla­vor, rem­i­nis­cent of water­melon, cac­tus pear, and kiwi.
The fruit comes in three col­ors; two have a pink outer skin, but with two dif­fer­ent col­ored flesh (one white and the other has a red inte­rior. The third one has an exte­rior yel­low skin with white flesh.

All three types have tiny, edi­ble black seeds (very sim­i­lar to those found inside Kiwi). The seeds should be chewed in order to be fully digested.

Less well known as other pow­er­house fruits, dragon fruit qual­i­fies as a Super­food. Some­times known as pitaya, this trop­i­cal delight is giv­ing acai a run for its money. Com­pa­nies like Pitaya Plus sell juices, smoothie packs, and even pitaya bowls.

Read more: Meet the Dragon →

Before we know it, Cal­i­for­nia grown cit­rus fruits will have to make room for cher­ries, berries and stone fruits. For now, the plea­sure is in cit­rus.

Good news then that Cara Cara and blood oranges are not the only hand fruits we can indulge in for the next few weeks.

The Golden Nugget man­darin is an excep­tional, late sea­son vari­ety that is worth the recent atten­tion and new found pop­u­lar­ity.

Char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally, it is roughly rounded in shape and rather bumpy in exte­rior tex­ture. Its skin is golden orange, aro­matic and easy to peel. Its eas­ily seg­mented flesh is deep orange, ten­der, juicy, extremely sweet and always seedless.

Read more: Gold Nuggets →

The National Mango Board has launched a new mar­ket­ing cam­paign, renam­ing the Ataulfo mango vari­ety to Honey mango.

Over the years, the Ataulfo name has been repeat­edly reported as hard to pro­nounce for United States con­sumers, retail­ers and food­ser­vice users.

They’ve had a bit of an “iden­tity cri­sis” with other names attached to them as well. Cham­pagne, yel­low, young, baby and Adolfo are all name tags placed on this beloved sweet piece of fruit.

Dif­fi­culty with the name has cre­ated some missed edu­ca­tional oppor­tu­ni­ties for this pop­u­lar Mex­i­can cul­ti­var.

A main dif­fi­culty in the name has been a bar­rier to pur­chas­ing for those U.S. mango lovers con­fused about the mango. Using Honey mango is a consumer-​friendly way to improve the honey mango aware­ness and purchases.

Read more: Call Me “Honey“ →

With Spring just a cou­ple of weeks away, the taste for spring veg­eta­bles gets ampli­fied. Work­ing those veg­gies on to the plate is easy when we put them on pizza.

Aspara­gus, arugula, leeks, arti­choke hearts and mush­rooms are very strong top­ping con­tenders for spring piz­zas pies.

Other choices may take some finess­ing and more care­ful han­dling. Fen­nel comes to mind. This spring bulb with fronds has the power to intim­i­date.

Even so, with just the right cheese part­ner and some grilling with onions, this one becomes a win­ner for any Fri­day night.

Roasted egg­plant is another fan­tas­tic spring pizza top­per. Lay­er­ing the egg­plant slices with loads of roasted gar­lic, feta cheese and pine nuts keeps it true to its Mediter­ranean roots.

Read more: Pizza Possible →

Encour­ag­ing an appetite is hardly the worry for most healthy indi­vid­u­als. Too many of us are try­ing to squash our food crav­ings.

For oth­ers, it can be quite a chal­lenge to coax eat­ing for sus­te­nance and nour­ish­ment.

Nearly every­one knows a friend, neigh­bor or fam­ily mem­ber who suf­fers from lack of inter­est or desire to eat or drink.

Typ­i­cally, this is due to a tem­po­rary set­back, like hav­ing the flu or recov­er­ing from den­tal work. The con­di­tion is short term and nor­mal eat­ing pat­terns will resume.

Dimin­ished appetites from chronic con­di­tions (aging and dis­ease) jeop­ar­dize opti­mum health and often indi­cate some­thing more seri­ous can be at work. Depres­sion, sad­ness, grief and health dis­or­ders are all on the table when the will to eat goes south.

Read more: Heal­ing Kitchen →

A mid-​winter slump begs for more choices in the week night meal rota­tion. Soup and sand­wich riffs take some pres­sure off any­one respon­si­ble for putting food on the table.

Afford­able and sat­is­fy­ing, a grilled cheese sand­wich and tomato soup combo are pretty hard to beat.

Their warmth and com­fort goes past those Campbell’s Soup com­mer­cials. Think of other nat­ural pair­ings and get into the spirit of a lunch or din­ner that don’t require much home­work.

Explore cream of cel­ery, French onion, Thai aspara­gus, veg­etable, potato — leek and mine­strone soup pro­files. A vast cat­a­log of recipes are avail­able to assist.

Spicy ver­sions of tor­tilla, Mul­li­gatawny and pho take us to great exotic tastes from around the world. Chile pep­pers, curry, lentils, gin­ger root, mush­rooms and gar­lic make for excep­tional soup starters.

Read more: Soup Plus Sandwich →

Nearly any­thing stuffed will con­vince us that there is a cel­e­bra­tion in the mak­ing.

That could mean an easy week­night din­ner party if the vehi­cle used for stuff­ing is a por­to­bello mush­room.

In North­ern Italy, this over­sized mush­room is called “cap­pel­lone” which means “big hat”. It makes sense as the shape resem­bles a large cap or top­per (just right for stuff­ing).

To be clear, once a cri­m­ini mush­room reaches between four to six inches in diam­e­ter, it is offi­cially called a por­to­bello or porta­bella. Yes, they are one in the same vari­ety, with a dif­fer­ent matu­rity level dic­tat­ing its name.

A porta­bello is rec­og­nized by it’s open, flat sur­face (cap). Because it’s left to grow larger, the gills are fully exposed. This means that some of the mushroom’s mois­ture has evap­o­rated. The reduced mois­ture con­cen­trates and enriches the fla­vor and cre­ates a dense, meaty texture.

Read more: Good Stuff →

Tulips carry a very sto­ried past. They have the abil­ity to cap­ture hearts (and break them), make for­tunes (and lose them), inspire poetry and art and influ­ence cul­ture.

The tulip orig­i­nated cen­turies ago in Per­sia and Turkey, where 80 or so wild vari­eties were grown in very arid regions.

The tulip in Iran (Per­sia) rep­re­sents par­adise on earth and of hav­ing divine sta­tus. Euro­peans gave tulips their name, mis­tak­enly, derived from the Per­sian word for “tur­ban”.

As Euro­peans began tak­ing to tulips, the flower’s pop­u­lar­ity spread quickly, par­tic­u­larly in the Nether­lands where a phe­nom­e­non dubbed tulip mania set in at one point dur­ing the 17th cen­tury. The Dutch use a tulip to rep­re­sent a human’s brief time on earth.

Tulips became so highly-​prized in the 1600’s that prices were sent soar­ing and mar­kets crash­ing. Tulips are now grown through­out the world, but peo­ple still iden­tify cul­ti­vated vari­eties as “Dutch tulips.”

Read more: Per­fect Love →

Few hum­ble ingre­di­ents pro­vide such com­fort and sus­te­nance as greens and beans.

By beans, we nat­u­rally mean legumes– that class of veg­eta­bles that include lentils, peas and beans of all types.

Can­nellini, Ital­ian, chick peas (gar­banzo), black, white, navy, north­ern, lima, fava, Adzuki and but­ter top the list of pow­er­house beans.

Legumes are typ­i­cally low in fat, con­tain­ing no cho­les­terol, and are high in folate, potas­sium, iron and mag­ne­sium. A good source of pro­tein, legumes can be a healthy alter­na­tive to meat.

Due to their blend of fiber, pro­tein and nutri­ents, legumes aid in blood sugar reg­u­la­tion more than almost any other food group, a key qual­ity for dia­bet­ics and those con­cerned with main­tain­ing sta­ble insulin response.

Read more: Greens & Beans →

Good­bye mon­key, hello rooster”. The Lunar New Year begins on Jan­u­ary 28, with fif­teen days of cel­e­bra­tion and feast­ing ahead.

Shrug off the shenani­gans of 2016 (those mis­chie­vous­ness mon­key traits) and usher in the con­fi­dence of the rooster.

Always well dressed, other rooster traits include loy­alty, talk­a­tive­ness, punc­tu­al­ity, hon­esty and hard-​working dis­ci­pline.

As the two week Spring Fes­ti­val cel­e­bra­tions take place, fam­i­lies and friends travel great dis­tances to be together over shared meals and spe­cial events.

Read more: Rule the Roost →

No sur­prise that the Fit­bit App was one of the top ten free apps down­loaded after the Christ­mas hol­i­day.

No doubt, there are many other cool ways to track fit­ness on var­i­ous devices these days. Any­one with a smart­phone is capa­ble.

Get­ting moti­vated and set­ting goals are what is required for a road to well­ness.

Real­is­tic, approach­able tar­gets will be the ones that stick. A thirty minute a day min­i­mum approach to exer­cise is a good start for those more seden­tary folks. Walk­ing is an activ­ity that is acces­si­ble to most every­one. No mem­ber­ships required.

The gen­eral rec­om­men­da­tion is to walk 10,000 steps per day. This is a good goal for some­one just get­ting started. Fit indi­vid­u­als can and should strive for more.

Read more: Road to Wellness →

Tart and tangy, with an under­ly­ing sweet­ness, win­ter grape­fruit offer bright­ness to the cold days of Jan­u­ary.

This juicy piece of cit­rus shines by pro­mot­ing good nutri­tion while deliv­er­ing a zippy taste.

Orig­i­nally known as “the for­bid­den fruit”, grape­fruit made its way to the United States in the early 1800’s via the Span­ish and French set­tlers who brought seeds to Florida.

From there, Span­ish mis­sion­ar­ies are cred­ited for bring­ing grape­fruit west to Texas, Ari­zona and Cal­i­for­nia.

Although avail­able year-​round, they are in sea­son and at their best from win­ter through early spring.

Read more: Bright & Tangy →

Gath­er­ing twelve round fruits on the eve of a new year is said to usher in pros­per­ity and good for­tune. Let it roll.

Eat­ing round fruits for each month rep­re­sents a healthy approach to the new year. It may be daunt­ing if all done at one sit­ting, unless berries or grapes are avail­able.

Lucky for us that so many globe-​shaped fruits are read­ily avail­able nearly year-​round.

These days, apples and oranges are almost taken for granted. They get packed in school lunches every day with hardly a thought. Okay, so maybe they do get sliced into smiles or smaller por­tions. They start out as a round piece of fruit.

Grapes, pears, quince, cran­ber­ries, kiwi, per­sim­mons, mango and pome­gran­ates are sea­sonal choices that fit a resolve to improve monthly intake. Some of these, while sourced from around the world, will take some plan­ning month-​by-​month to work into the meal rotation.

Read more: Going Global →

Where there is clut­ter, even valu­able things lose their impor­tance. Where there is too much, noth­ing really stands out.

The essence of the Japan­ese aes­thetic “MA” (pro­nounced “maah”) — is a con­cept of the pure, and indeed essen­tial, void or space between all things.

MA is the absence or empti­ness that is full of pos­si­bil­i­ties. It brings a promise yet to be fulfilled.

As we close this year and look to the one ahead, clear­ing space for more mean­ing­ful things to exist goes beyond any one culture.

Tak­ing a page from aspects in Japan­ese cul­ture gives every­one a chance to pause in the hec­tic pace of daily life.

Read more: The Last Bite →

Avail­able in a wide range of options– fresh, frozen and dehy­drated forms, spuds are a go to ingre­di­ent when it’s time to innovate.

From side dishes to center-​of-​the-​plate, they hold their own no mat­ter how they are featured.

Pota­toes remain one of America’s most pop­u­lar and beloved vegetables.

The case for most valu­able player is backed up by solid nutri­tion and ample ver­sa­til­ity. Pota­toes play an impor­tant role in a bal­anced, healthy diet.

Read more: MVP’s →

Aro­matic fresh herbs wear a lot of hats dur­ing the hol­i­day sea­son. Pur­posed for culi­nary, orna­men­tal and even some med­i­c­i­nal assign­ments, they add an earthy delight to any party.

Clas­sic hol­i­day recipes call for pars­ley, sage, rose­mary and thyme. Mint, sage and oregano are cus­tom­ary for roasted meats, poul­try and game.

In the spirit of cre­at­ing new tra­di­tions, sprigs of mint and stems of rose­mary are found at mimosa bars and on hol­i­day cock­tail stations.

Short­bread cook­ies and starter appe­tiz­ers sur­prise guests by dec­o­rat­ing morsels using finely chopped green herb leaves and flow­ers. This lends visual appeal and inter­est­ing flavors.

Cheese plates and party nib­bles ben­e­fit from rose­mary skew­ers as a way to mas­ter fin­ger foods. The ever­green pine-​like, pun­gent herb is a fine addi­tion to rus­tic hol­i­day breads and rolls.

Read more: Herb Appeal →

Hol­i­day gath­er­ings require some imag­i­na­tion when it comes to con­tribut­ing to potlucks, office par­ties or more fes­tive social events.

Tra­di­tional fare is mak­ing room for the crowded space of deca­dent indulgences.

Fresh pro­duce is cen­tral to lux­ury bites of hand-​dipped choco­late figs, pears, kiwi and citrus.

The time-​honored cus­tom of mak­ing can­died fruits is regain­ing pop­u­lar­ity. Fruits retain their vivid color once steeped in a sim­ple syrup. Booze it up with spir­its (rum, vodka or bour­bon) in the liq­uid mixture.

Read more: Yule­tide Eats →


David John dif­fer­en­ti­ates var­i­ous yams and sweet potatoes.



David John explains what Smit­ten Apples are, how they taste and how they com­pare to other apples.



David John talks about what to do with Cal­abaza and Red Kuri Squash. Try it!



How Sat­sumas are dif­fer­ent from other cit­rus fruits.



How to pick, store, and 3 ways to use fennel.



David John III explains how to pick, clean, eat and use the cac­tus pear.



David John explains the his­tory and cur­rent state of Apple Hill apples.


Dan Chan (Pres­i­dent) and Tom Chan (CEO) with Sacra­mento Food Bank & Fam­ily Service’s Kelly Siefkin (far left) and Blake Young (sec­ond from right)
Last week, Farm-​to-​Fork and Food Tank hosted the inau­gural food sum­mit called Farm Tank in Sacra­mento. Look­ing to fur­ther offer indus­try mem­bers oppor­tu­ni­ties to learn about the unique per­spec­tive of Cal­i­for­nia food and agri­cul­ture, Gen­eral Pro­duce par­tic­i­pated in Farm Tank in many ways. We really wanted to pro­vide an exhil­a­rat­ing expe­ri­ence that will advance con­ver­sa­tion around access to healthy food. All of the thought­ful con­ver­sa­tion and edu­ca­tion that tran­spired those few days could poten­tially improve our local food system.

Read more: Farm Tank Sum­mit & On the Plate 2016