The most desirable and highly produced variety of avocado, the true season for this local favorite runs from about April through early October.
With a vibrant green flesh, this fruit is creamy, with nutty, mildly sweet and buttery notes throughout.
Mostly enjoyed in their raw state, they are ideal for use to top a sandwich or burger, in ceviche, added to a mixed green or grain salad, blended into a salsa, or simply hit with a little lemon juice that’s seasoned with salt and enjoyed right out of the peel.
I often add avocado to hot dishes, such as soups, stews,and chilies, but this should be done just before serving as the tannins in avocados can deliver a bitterness when exposed to too long periods of heat.
You can find delicious Hass avocados for the months to come at most weekly Santa Barbara certified farmers’ markets. Price averages $3 per pound, or $1-$1.50 each.
Sweet Italian basil
With large broad leaves, this is the most commonly encountered type of fresh basil found at the local Saturday Santa Barbara, Sunday Camino Real, Tuesday Santa Barbara, Thursday Carpinteria and Friday Montecito farmers’ markets.
Incredibly aromatic and flavorful, Italian basil delivers pleasing notes of anise, citrus and clove.
I most commonly add basil to a homemade bruschetta, salads and sandwiches.
Basil is also nice when tossed in moderation to a fruit salad, particularly the fresh peaches, nectarines and cherries starting to enter our markets.
Add fresh basil to pasta sauces, or use it to top a pizza or as a topping for avocado toast.
Price averages $2 per bag or $2.50 per bunch.
The first round of freshly harvested certified organic mulberries are being plucked from the trees and brought to our Saturday Santa Barbara farmers’ market thanks to Mud Creek Ranch of Santa Paula.
Not botanically classified as a true berry, instead this sweet fruit is a collection of many tiny individual fruits wrapped around a central stem.
The inner stem is edible and usually consumed with the fruit, with the exception of the very base portion.
The color of mulberries can vary depending on the variety, ranging from white, pink, red and purple, with some variegated combinations.
More sweet than tart, they are delicious to eat as they come, work into preserves, pies, beverages or as an ice cream topper. They are also a nice antioxidant-packed addition to mixed green salads, or for use in reduction sauces for meats — most notably chicken, lamb and pork preparations. Certified organic mulberries cost $7 per 6-ounce container.