Category: Featured Produce

Green Beans

Green Beans

Green beans, also known as snap beans because they “snap” when broken, are harvested when young, when the beans inside the pod are small and tender and the pods are thin. They are very low in calories (about 44 per cup) and loaded with nutrients such as vitamins K, A, and C, fiber, folate and anti-oxidants. (more…)

Tomatoes

Tomatoes

The tomato, like the eggplant, is a member of the Solanaceae, or Nightshade family.  While tomatoes are closely associated with Italian cuisine, they are native to western South America, but cultivated in Mexico because the Mexican Indians were intrigued by this fruit since it resembled the tomatillo which was a staple in their cuisine.  With the discovery of the New World, tomato seeds were brought back to Spain, beginning the introduction of the fruit into Europe.  Tomatoes made their way to North America with the colonists who first settled in Virginia. (more…)

Rainbow Carrots

Rainbow Carrots

Did you know that carrots are not originally orange?  That’s right.  The original carrot, which dates back more than 4.000 years to Afghanistan, was purple.  The orange carrot didn’t come into being until about 400 years ago, when Dutch farmers bred the carrot to be orange – their country’s color.  Today, carrots have been bred in a rainbow of colors, which makes them much more fun to eat, not to mention, more nutritious. (more…)

Eggplant

Eggplant

Eggplant is a member of the Solanaceae, or “nightshade,” family of vegetables, which also includes tomatoes, sweet peppers, and potatoes. As you already noticed, they come in a variety of shapes and colors. While the varieties exhibit slightly different tastes and textures, generally eggplants have a pleasantly bitter taste and spongy texture. (more…)

Summer Squash

Summer Squash

Welcome to Summer Squash season!  As you may have noticed already, summer squash appears in a variety of shapes and colors, the most prevalent being the well-known green zucchini, the straight or crooked necked yellow squash, and the round, flat, often scalloped edge, patty pan squash.  All these varieties are tender, warm-season vegetables that differ from their fall and winter cousins in that they are selected to be harvested while still immature.  Thus the entire vegetable, rind, flesh, and seeds, can be eaten. (more…)

Fennel

Fennel

Fennel, also known as sweet fennel or finocchio, originated in the Mediterranean and is popular in Italian and Scandinavian cooking. Closely related to parsley, carrots, dill and coriander, this aromatic vegetable is the swollen, immature stem of a large, feathery bush. The young stems of the plant overlap at the base to form a bulb with white-to-pale-green ribbed layers. Although the stalks are similar to celery both in their appearance and in their crunchy texture, all parts of the plant (bulb, stalks, and fronds) have a pleasantly sweet anise, or licorice-like flavor, and are edible. (more…)

Swiss Chard

Swiss Chard

Swiss chard, along with kale, mustard greens and collard greens, is one of several leafy, green vegetables often referred to as “greens.” It belongs to the same family as beets and spinach and shares a similar taste profile. Chard is a tall, leafy vegetable with a thick, crunchy stalk (akin to celery but less stringy) that comes in white, red or yellow with wide, fan-like, ruffled leaves that are similar to spinach but chewier. Regardless of the stalks’ color, they have similar flavors and cooking properties, although the white stalks are most tender. Very tender leaves can be added directly to green salads. (more…)

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi is neither a root nor a leafy vegetable but a swollen stem (a member of the cabbage family) that grows perched on top of the ground.  This versatile veggie is underutilized in the U.S. but is common in Central Europe and Asia.  Some claim it tastes a little like a turnip, others like a cabbage. Not surprising since it was bred from a combination of the German “kohl” (cabbage) and “rabi” (turnip). It is an excellent source of potassium and vitamin C and also includes some calcium and vitamin A.  The taste and texture is similar to that of a broccoli stem, accented by radish, but is much sweeter and milder. (more…)

Hakurei turnips

Hakurei Turnips

Hakurei turnips are a Japanese salad turnip. They are sweet and much softer than a regular turnip, and rarely need to be peeled; just wash and trim the root ends. The leaves are also edible but should be eaten within 1-2 days. Wrapped tightly in plastic, the turnips can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week (but you will enjoy them more if you eat them right after the sugar snaps!). (more…)

Sunchokes

Jerusalem Artichokes (aka Sunchokes)

Sunchokes, of the sunflower family, are native to North America where the natives called them “sun roots” before European settlers arrived. Samuel Champlain, a French explorer found them in Cape Cod in 1605 and pronounced them similar in taste to artichokes. But why “Jerusalem artichokes”? They don’t come from Jerusalem nor do they look like artichokes. There are a few theories: when first discovered people started calling them “girasole” (or flower that turns looking for the sun) which eventually became “Jerusalem”. Another possibility is that as sunchokes became the staple food of the first European pilgrims in North American soil they named it as food for the “new Jerusalem”. (more…)