French herb chèvre
For those even remotely fond of goat cheese, this product from Drake Family Farm of Ontario, Calif., is a great find.
Soft balls of pasteurized chèvre are preserved in jars of oil infused with a flavorful combination of culinary herbs that includes basil, chives, parsley, marjoram, rosemary and tarragon.
Incredibly soft and spreadable, this cheese makes for a fun addition to a charcuterie platter, or in a unique salad preparation such as this week’s French Herb Chèvre and Watermelon Salad, the Fix of the Week. The product is available at the Saturday Santa Barbara farmers’ market, and the price is $15 per 8-ounce jar.
Anaheim chili pepper
With the pepper season just starting to take shape, I encountered more than a dozen varieties at the local farmers’ markets this week.
One of my grabs was this Anaheim Chili Pepper. Mild and crisp, the peppers are typically harvested in their light green state, although the later season harvest transforms into red when left on the plants to mature. Great for grilling, sautéing or stuffing, they can also be enjoyed raw. You can add them to a homemade chili, or a black bean and corn salad for a nice layer of crunchy texture and flavor.
They’re currently available from the Beylik Family Farm of Fillmore, as well as a number of other local certified agricultural producers. Price averages $4 per pound.
Cranberry shelling beans
Most are focused on the array of fresh eating beans right now where the entire pods are consumed, but you can also find the first shelling beans of the year.
Once home, the beans within can easily be removed from the pods treated similarly as you would any dried bean variety. Because they are super fresh however, instead of the usually hour-plus of simmering for dried beans, these become tender in less than half the time. The pods of these cranberry beans are yellow with a splash of pink across the surface. The beans themselves are more of a cream hue although also with the pink streaks.
Grown and harvested by Two Peas in a Pod Farmers of Arroyo Grande, they can be found at the weekly Saturday Santa Barbara farmers’ market. Price is $5 per pound.