These dates are the sweetest bite you will encounter at the farmers’ markets throughout the year.
Growers in the Coachella Valley, Palm Desert and surrounding arid zones of California have just about wrapped up their annual harvest of fresh dates.
Ranging in color from a light caramel hue to a dark brown, this somewhat smaller variety is quite soft with a very smooth and creamy consistency when eaten.
With notes of molasses and honey, they are nice when paired with both savory and tart components to balance out their intensity.
This week I used my honey dates in a sautéed carrot and honey date salad, the Fix of the Week, below.
You can incorporate dates into a host of desserts or chop and work them into a stuffed mushroom mixture. They’re available from Dates by Daval and Flying Disk Ranch at all weekly Santa Barbara Certified farmers’ markets. Price averages $7 per basket.
I purchased these massive fresh yellow carrots from Her Family Farm this past week, and they delivered wonderful notes of sweetness and earthy properties. Some went into a split pea soup, the others in a verde chicken chili.
Whether roasted, sautéd, shredded or juiced, yellow carrots notably contain high levels of the carotenoid lutein, a pigment similar to beta-carotene that is absorbed as Vitamin A in the body. They are also a great source of potassium, calcium, and dietary fiber. You can currently find yellow carrots at all weekly Santa Barbara certified farmers’ markets.
Certified organic is available. The price averages $2.50 per bunch or pound.
Piedrasassi Wine and Bread currently has some of the most delicious pizza dough I’ve encountered. You’ll find it at the Saturday Santa Barbara farmers’ market weekly.
This dough is really easy to prepare. Simply put a light layer of flour on a flat surface and onto the dough and roll out. Add your favorite sauce and toppings, and place it on a baking sheet or pizza stone in a 450-degree oven for about 12 minutes. Note that cooking time can vary so I usually check the status after about 10 minutes and rotate if needed.
This past week I topped my pizza with a homemade sauce, farmers market pork sausage, sliced poblano pepper, sliced onion, and finished with some fresh cilantro once out of the oven. It’s a great way to get the whole family involved in the cooking process.
Price is $5 per 10-ounce bag or two bags for $9.