Farmers have been actively harvesting their annual garlic harvest over the past month, yielding firm heads of one of my favorite culinary condiments.
Garlic is a member of the allium family of vegetables, sharing the likes of onions, leeks and shallots. It is something I make sure to have in hand in the kitchen whenever possible.
Garlic is used to flavor soups and stews, rice dishes, meat and veggie preparations, as well as salsas, sauces and spreads. I prepared a garlicky halibut ceviche for the Fix of the Week on A4.
With dozens of varieties available throughout the season, cured garlic can currently be found from a number of local producers at the weekly Saturday Santa Barbara, Sunday Camino Real, Tuesday Santa Barbara, Wednesday Solvang and Thursday Carpinteria farmers markets. Price averages about $1.50 each.
Organic ambrosia melons
This melon is absolutely superb, one that I look forward to each year from local farming legend Tom Shepherd of Shepherd Farms.
Beyond being aromatic, melons possess a vibrant orange flesh and a rich sweet flavor profile. The flesh is somewhat soft and excellent simply scooped out of the rind with a spoon. You can add melons to a smoothie, chilled melon soup or a fruit salad.
An excellent source of vitamins A, C and B6, melons are also rich in potassium and dietary fiber, making for a healthy addition to your seasonal diets. They’re currently available at the weekly Saturday and Tuesday Santa Barbara Certified farmers markets. Prices average $2-$4 each, depending on the size.
Toro de oro peppers
“Toro de oro” means “golden bull,” and these elongated golden-orange hues peppers are reminiscent of a bull’s horn. Very sweet and crisp, they possess a thinner flesh than that of a bell pepper.
The peppers are excellent when sliced and added to a salad, sautéed with onions and mushrooms to top a grilled steak, or when blistered and peeled and worked into a blended sauce or spread. They are also a nice colorful addition to a raw vegetable tray with hummus or ranch dressing.
Grown, harvested and sold by Beylik Family Farm of Fillmore, toro de oro peppers can be found at the weekly Saturday Santa Barbara, Sunday Camino Real, Thursday Santa Barbara and Friday Montecito farmers markets. Price averages $4 per pound.