Early harvest zucchini
This variety of summer squash is just starting to emerge from several local farmers, and it’s available at most weekly Santa Barbara certified farmers’ markets.
Technically a fruit, this summer “veggie” is at its absolute best at the very beginning of the season when it is incredibly tender, flavorful and subtly sweet.
It’s excellent when grilled. This week I prepared some zucchini chicken taquitos, the Fix of the Week, on the next page.
Add this zucchini to a pasta salad, sauté it or incorporate it into an omelet, or enjoy it raw with your favorite hummus or enjoy it grilled. This low-calorie food source is nearly 94% water, yielding a decent amount of vitamins A and C, iron, calcium and dietary fiber. Price averages about $3 per pound.
Lemon grass, so-called because of its citrus taste, is a key herb in Thai, Indonesian and Indian cooking, and it is widely used in curries.
It harmonizes well with coconut milk, especially with chicken or seafood. The stems are also used in teas or used in pickles and in flavoring marinades. Its medicinal properties are diuretic, tonic and stimulant.
It promotes good digestion, and a tea of lemon grass with ginger has been used for relief of menstrual troubles and nausea. Use only the lower bulbous portion of the stem. It can be pounded and used whole or cut in slices.
When wrapped in a paper bag, lemon grass stems can last two to three weeks in the refrigerator.
It’s currently available from both Her Family Farm and Moua Family Farm at the weekly Saturday Santa Barbara and Sunday Camino Real Marketplace Farmers’ markets. Price averages $2.50 per bunch
Organic strawberry juice
With all of the farmers’ certified organic, gaviota and seascape strawberries picked fresh for market, any of their perfectly ripe berries left over at the end of the farmers’ market day are brought back to the farm to their certified kitchen. That’s where they’re transformed into either their wonderful preserve, sorbet or this tasty strawberry beverage.
Delivering a rich strawberry flavor, this is an excellent drink to enjoy on a warm afternoon or to use for cocktails, particularly vodka or rum-based drinks. It’s available at the weekly Saturday Santa Barbara, Tuesday Santa Barbara and Friday Montecito farmers’ markets. Price is $4.50 per bottle.