This tropical fruit delivers super sweet notes of banana, pineapple and pear, all rolled into one. Averaging about the size of a softball, and possessing vibrant green bumpy or smooth skin, cherimoya can be perfectly round, heart shaped, or have a unique physique, depending on the variety. When ripe, the fruit will give to the touch much like an avocado. Cut in half and scoop out the flesh with a spoon or add to recipes, especially baked goods. For the Fix of the Week on page A7, I whipped up some Cherimoya Pancakes. Available from a number of local growers at the Tuesday Santa Barbara, Wednesday Solvang, Thursday Carpinteria, Saturday Santa Barbara and Sunday Camino Real farmers markets. About $5 per pound.
Thriving this time of year, fresh celery is a must-have ingredient for those of us who prepare soups and stews on a regularly basis through the winter months. Whether making a homemade chicken noodle soup, chowder, or beef and vegetable stew, celery adds a wonderful flavor to the liquid. The lighter stalks toward the center of the bunch tend to be the most tender, so I often reserve those for raw preparations. It’s packed with essential vitamins and minerals, along with dietary fiber, so it’s also ideal for juicing. Fresh celery can be found from a number of local growers at the Tuesday Santa Barbara, Wednesday Solvang, Thursday Carpinteria, Saturday Santa Barbara and Sunday Camino Real markets. Certified organic available. About $2 to $3 per bunch.
From late spring through the end of summer, the Two Peas in a Pod stand is popular for its rotation of about a dozen varieties of fresh berries. Now that the season has come to an end, you can still get the essence of its farm-fresh berries in its large selection of Mama’s Preserves. One of my kids’ favorites is this strawberry-raspberry blend. Smear on a PB&J sandwich or bagel with cream cheese, or even use as a dessert topping. Available at the Tuesday and Saturday Santa Barbara markets. About $10 per 8-ounce jar.