We read that how Amer­i­cans eat has def­i­nitely changed. Most con­sumers still believe in and aspire to an ideal — a healthy meal, made from scratch, and enjoyed with oth­ers.

This ideal meal was born of a time when three square meals a day was pre­pared at home on a rou­tine basis.

Home cook­ing was typ­i­cally done by mom, right? That was at least two gen­er­a­tions ago and times have changed, along with what we eat, how we eat and who we eat with.

To grow up in a cook­ing house­hold, meant that moms, aun­ties, grands and greats shared kitchen secrets and meth­ods to favorite fam­ily recipes.

Chop­ping, mix­ing, stuff­ing, fold­ing– all actions over­seen by the seniors in the room. Cab­bage rolls, stuffed pep­pers or squash, ravi­o­lis, pot­stick­ers, Baklava, no mat­ter the eth­nic back­ground, foods that we love required prepa­ra­tion scrutiny by those who came before us.

This teach­ing work­shop allowed for learn­ing other life skills along the way, but cook­ing and bak­ing were para­mount. Cher­ish­ing a miss­ing loved one who has passed on is as sim­ple as mak­ing one of their sig­na­ture dishes.

Read more: Wax­ing Nostalgic →

There is no deny­ing the visual cues of Autumn. Trees and leaves are turn­ing color. Darker morn­ings greet us with fewer day­light hours left for leisure. Farewell sum­mer.

Crisper, cooler night­time and morn­ing tem­per­a­tures are just what is needed to bring on our most favorite fall fruits.

A wide array of veg­eta­bles, décor items and flo­ral selec­tions vie for atten­tion this time of year. Think about col­or­ful and tasty first fall bites.

Crunchy and crisp, juicy and sweet are descrip­tive words for the Hol­i­day Seed­less grapes that are just on the scene. They make grape fans of those look­ing for a sweet tooth solu­tion.

Eat­ing pat­terns and cook­ing meth­ods fol­low the steady pro­gres­sion into fall food choices. Bak­ing, broil­ing and brais­ing, segue nicely from out­door bar­be­cu­ing and grilling. Cal­i­for­ni­ans will con­tinue to cook out­doors year-​round.

Glide back into the kitchen with new crop apples, Brus­sels sprouts, pump­kins, per­sim­mons, hard squashes and pomegranates.

Read more: Fall Forward →

Cal­i­for­nia farm­ers have been cul­ti­vat­ing grapes for well over two cen­turies. The fresh grape boom struck the golden state in 1839 when a for­mer trap­per from Ken­tucky, William Wolf­skill, planted the state’s first table grape vine­yard in the once Mex­i­can colo­nial pueblo now known as Los Ange­les.

An agri­cul­tural entre­pre­neur, Wolf­skill was the first farmer to ship fresh grapes to North­ern Cal­i­for­nia. From there, the idea was expanded and the first twenty two pound box of Cal­i­for­nia grapes shipped to Chicago in 1869, via the then “new” transcon­ti­nen­tal rail­road.

The gold rush may have ended, but the grape rush con­tin­ues. Today, over 99 per­cent of com­mer­cially grown grapes in the United States come from Cal­i­for­nia.

With over 70 vari­eties grown, and more on the way, these vari­eties include seed­less and seeded grapes in the green, red and blue-​black color cat­e­gories.

The Cal­i­for­nia table grape har­vest sea­son typ­i­cally begins in May, but more than half the crop is shipped from Sep­tem­ber and after­wards. Out of the 65+ com­mer­cial vari­eties of fresh table grapes, 49 of them are avail­able dur­ing the September-​through-​December time period, includ­ing 14 major vari­eties. That’s a lot of late, great grapes.

Read more: Late, Great, Grapes! →

Chili pep­pers are a sta­ple of most Mex­i­can food recipes. The sheer pop­u­lar­ity of Mex­i­can cui­sine and the ever grow­ing His­panic pop­u­la­tion in the United States make chili pep­pers an essen­tial daily ingre­di­ent.

Fresh chili pep­pers are gen­er­ally avail­able year round. They are grown in Cal­i­for­nia, New Mex­ico, Texas, and Mex­ico. Dried chili ver­sions are also avail­able year-​round.
California’s extreme sum­mer tem­per­a­tures are con­ducive to grow­ing a wide vari­ety of mild to very hot spec­i­mens. Cul­ti­vated in a full range of sizes, shapes, and degrees of hot­ness, the num­ber of vari­eties is impres­sive.

The head-​scratching comes with try­ing to prop­erly iden­tify the var­i­ous pep­pers by name and fla­vor pro­file. It gets com­pli­cated when the name of a pep­per may vary from region to region. The name changes again when the pep­per goes from being fresh to being dried.

With a vari­ety of heat lev­els and fla­vor pro­files, ver­sa­til­ity is a key attribute of both fresh and dried chili pep­pers.

Har­vested through­out the sum­mer, some green chili pep­pers are left on the plants until autumn. They will go from bright green in color to their final hue of yel­low, orange, pur­ple or red, depend­ing on the variety.

Read more: Dial It Up! →

Sweet­Stem Cau­li­flower is a bras­sica veg­etable, like broc­coli, cau­li­flower, and Broc­col­ini.

“Caulilini”, as it is named by pro­duc­ers Mann Pack­ing, is visu­ally quite sim­i­lar to Broc­col­ini. It has an open flo­ret struc­ture and long edi­ble stem.

There are still a few dis­tinc­tions worth not­ing. Unlike BROC­COL­INI® baby broc­coli, which is a hybrid of broc­coli and Chi­nese kale (gai lan), CAULILINI® baby cau­li­flower is 100 per­cent cau­li­flower.

Another dif­fer­ence is that it also grows in heads, not sin­gle stalks. The result­ing flo­rets offer vari­a­tion in shape and size that also set it apart from Broc­col­ini.

With its sweet, slightly nutty fla­vor and ombre col­or­ing (the stem turns bright green when cooked while the flo­rets stay light), CAULILINI® baby cau­li­flower brings a “wow” fac­tor to the plate.

A favorite cook­ing method is grilling. It’s also deli­cious sautéed with plenty of gar­lic, roasted, or even raw as a unique addi­tion to a cru­dité platter.

Read more: The “Lini” Cousins →