Fresh News



The fleshy green spears of aspara­gus are all at once suc­cu­lent and ten­der. They have long been con­sid­ered a true sea­sonal del­i­cacy.

This highly prized veg­etable arrives with the com­ing of spring. When the shoots finally break through the soil and reach their peak har­vest length, we are ready to enjoy locally grown aspara­gus.

In Cal­i­for­nia, the first crops may be picked as early as Feb­ru­ary. The sea­son gen­er­ally is con­sid­ered to run from April through May. Like most things in agri­cul­ture, Mother Nature is in charge.

In the Mid­west and East, the sea­son may extend through June or July.

Under ideal grow­ing con­di­tions, an aspara­gus spear can shoot up to be eight to ten inches tall in a 24-​hour period. Each crown will send spears up for about six to seven weeks dur­ing the spring and early summer.

Read more: Spring Forth →

Kids of all ages have per­fected the art and tra­di­tion of egg dying for Easter.

From waxy pen­cils to small tablets of color, not much has changed in the dec­o­ra­tion process. Or has it?

The kitchen pantry is a stu­dio of nat­ural ingre­di­ents and inter­est­ing col­ors wait­ing to be used. Com­mon food items, and food waste in some cases, will trans­form an ordi­nary hard boiled egg into a beau­ti­ful show­piece.

Nat­ural dying ele­ments have long been used in fab­rics and paper. Porous eggshells invite color no mat­ter the source.

Red cab­bage and beets, brown, red or yel­low onion skins con­tribute to an array of egg color pos­si­bil­i­ties. So will cof­fee, tea, and dried spices.

Read more: A Few Good Eggs →

A 300 mile radius, or less, to define locally grown may not mat­ter much to those that are able to pick straight from a hoop house out back every­day.

That real­ity doesn’t exists for most fresh pro­duce cus­tomers.

For three sea­sons out of the year, regional grow­ers make it easy for us to scratch our local itch. That fourth sea­son is tougher to rely on for close to home grown.

Liv­ing in the mid-​west, or other cold belt states, poses real chal­lenges for sourc­ing fresh pro­duce from inside the USA dur­ing win­ter.

Cal­i­for­nia, Ari­zona and Florida man­age to eek out a fair amount of crop pro­duc­tion through the dead of win­ter. The desert regions (Yuma and Huron) do the heavy lift­ing for Ari­zona and Cal­i­for­nia let­tuce and wet veg­etable production.

Read more: Transitions →

Sig­na­ture dishes are those that proudly rep­re­sent the best efforts of a restau­rant, chef or cook. They reflect a sense of place, ingre­di­ents that work well together or reflect a shared food mem­ory.

We know that Aunt Alice’s potato salad will always be served at Sun­day sup­per or at the church pic­nic. No one can top banana cream pie from XYZ’s famous restau­rant.

The dishes we fondly remem­ber may have cer­tain emo­tional attach­ments. A young per­son going fish­ing with a favorite grand­dad looks for­ward to the hand­made pocket sand­wiches that get packed along for lunch.

Grandmother’s sig­na­ture falafel pita is wholly embraced partly because it tastes so ter­rific. The rest of the clamor is due to the cir­cum­stances in which it was enjoyed — who it was shared with, the expe­ri­ence in which it was eaten, the excite­ment of being out­doors, etc.

Sig­na­ture dishes are con­sis­tent. They are largely fail proof due to rep­e­ti­tion. By mak­ing some­thing over and over again, a per­son gets to labor over a recipe and then own it. Exper­i­ment­ing with that one spe­cial com­po­nent might put a sig­na­ture stamp on it.

Read more: Sig­na­ture Fails →