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Market Watch: 5 Farmers Market Must-Haves

Even in winter, the variety of produce at the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market is ever-changing. While root vegetables, winter squash and citrus seem to dominate the market right now, there are also many other seasonal, straight-from-the-farm offerings worth adding to your weekly shopping list. Here are five not-to-be-missed items at the market this February.

Cara Cara oranges: A variety of navel orange, the Cara Cara has a salmon-pink flesh and is sweeter and lower in acid than most navels. A great snacking orange, it also works well in sweet or savory preparations. Some of my favorite ways to enjoy the Cara Cara’s flavor are in a fruit curd or tossed with shaved fennel, torpedo onions, olives and a simple vinaigrette. At the market you’ll find this late-winter citrus favorite at Hamada Farms and Twin Girls Farms.


Puntarella: In the cooler months, members of the chicory family are at their very best, and one of my favorites is the puntarella variety. With its peppery flavor and slight crunch, the puntarella is a fantastic winter salad addition and is especially nice when paired with stronger flavors like anchovy, a salty ricotta salata or a bright citrus vinaigrette. Find this pointy tipped gem at Dirty Girl Produce, Tierra Vegetables, Marin Roots and County Line Harvest.

Flowering branches: Right now, many of the market’s stone fruit and apple growers are pruning their trees to get ready for the spring blossom. This means an abundance of flowering branches –peach, plum, cherry, quince and apple blossoms—will make their way to market. With their delicate blossoms,
dramatic flair and staying power, flowering branches would make an excellent alternative to more conventional Valentine’s Day flower choices. Find flowering branches at Devoto Gardens, Hamada Farms and K & J Orchards.

Kiwi: As the season for persimmons and pomegranates comes to an end, it’s nice to have a fruity alternative to citrus. Sweet, juicy and chock-full of vitamin C, kiwi is a nice addition to yogurt, in a smoothie or as a mid-day snack all on its own. Find them now at Brokaw Nursery and Four Sisters Farm.

Hard cider: During the fall, the Devoto Gardens stand is the place to go to get your hands on some of the tastiest varieties of apples. Last year farmer Stan Devoto’s daughter Jolie and her husband Hunter embarked on a mission to create a hard cider made with the farm’s Gravenstein variety. The result of their hard work is Apple Sauced, a crisp, dry cider that is perfect for sipping alongside wintery kale salads, braised dishes or with a nice hunk of farmstead cheese. Pick up a bottle at Devoto Gardens.

To find out more about what’s in season and for tips on selecting, storing and cooking with some of winter’s best offerings visit www.cuesa.org.