This variety of cabbage is reminiscent of romaine lettuce, bok choy and green cabbage, all rolled into one with regards to both textural and flavor properties.
Delivering a nice tender crunch, it’s ideal in both salads and stir-frys. This week I used it as the base of a Chinese Chicken Salad, the Fix of the Week.
This low-calorie food source is rich in vitamins C and K, as well as many other essential vitamins such as riboflavin, pantothenic acid, pyridoxine and thiamin.
Also commonly referred to as “Chinese” cabbage, it is currently available from Her Family Farm, Moua Family Farm and Tutti Frutti Farm at the weekly Saturday Santa Barbara, Sunday Camino Real and Tuesday Santa Barbara farmers markets.
These giant heads of cabbage, about twice the size of a head of romaine lettuce, average $3 to $4 each.
Also commonly referred to as “dragonfruit,” this unique subtropical specimen is quite the seasonal find.
Pitaya is recognized by its bright pink skin and lime green leafy extensions. Once sliced open, the edible flesh is exposed; it’s packed with small black seeds.
The seeds are enjoyed with the flesh, which is texturally comparable to kiwifruit. The flavor is similar to that of a mild melon.
Some varieties possess a cream-colored flesh, while others are deep purple or pink.
Native to Central and South America, pitaya grows quite well in our moderate coastal climate.
To enjoy, simply slice pitaya in half lengthwise and eat the flesh with a spoon. I like this fruit slightly chilled in the refrigerator.
Pitaya is currently available from Rancho Santa Cecilia of Carpinteria at the Saturday Santa Barbara, Sunday Camino Real, Tuesday Santa Barbara, Wednesday Solvang and Thursday Carpinteria farmers markets.
Price is about $6.99 per pound.
Little gem lettuce
This variety of lettuce looks like a miniature head of romaine.
The leaves are very compact, yielding a nice texture and flavor. They’re often described as somewhere between a romaine lettuce and a butter lettuce.
This variety is ideal as a general salad green, and it’s my go-to for a Caesar salad. But it is also nice when cut in half, drizzled with olive oil and seasoned, before charring it briefly on a hot grill.
You can also serve the little gems sliced in half and topped with blue cheese dressing and bacon, as you would iceberg lettuce. Then you eat on a plate with a knife and fork.
You can currently find little gem lettuce at all weekly Santa Barbara certified farmers markets from several local producers.
Price averages $1 each.