Marianne’s Pantry

 
  1. All plants form a continuum. First one flowers then the next, the next and so on. For instance, in most places crocuses and daffodils are the first flowers to bloom in spring (late winter here). Forsythias are early too. In orchards, cherries blossom before almonds, and peaches are ready before apples.

  2. Produce is more or less the same way. But small climatic changes and modified growing conditions have extend many a vegetable’s natural growing season.

  3. Here is a list showing the order that we here in the Central Valley see our vegetables and fruits come in. The order may differ in your area and also may include some crops we don’t see around here. This should still be a valuable guide to help you get connected with a more local outlook on produce purchasing and meal planning.


Spring Produce


We are so spoiled here in California’s Central Valley. We don’t suffer for a lack of delicious, locally grown produce here like much of the rest of the country does. Nonetheless, as the weather warms and the sun intensifies, our winter crops begin to go to seed and a whole new crop of wonderful favorites come in.

Enjoy these heralds of the warm season. Spring is also a good time to clean out the pantry of grains and canned goods (by making delicious meals with them, of course) and to eat down the freezer as well. This way, you’ll be ready to freeze some of summer’s bounty when it comes around!


Spring Vegetables

Artichokes    •   Asparagus   •   Broccoli   •   Cauliflower   •   Fennel    •   Fava Beans

Green Almonds   •   Sugar Snap & Snow Peas

Wild Mushrooms

Porcini    •    Cocora    •    Morel

Alliums (Onions)

Leeks    •    Green Garlic    •    Red Onions    •    Spring Onions

Root Vegetables

Beets    •    Carrots    •    Celery Root (from fall)    •    Parsnips (from fall)

Greens

Beet Greens    •    Swiss Chard   •   Kale    •    Mustard Greens

Bok Choy    •    Baby Bok Choy

Lettuces    •    Arugula    •    Spinach

Parsley    •    Cilantro    •   Dill   •   Mint

Late Spring Vegetables (mid-May++)

Basil    •    Green beans    •   Zucchini


Spring Fruit

Meyer Lemons    •   Oranges    •    Strawberries

Late Spring Fruits (mid-May++)

Apricots    •    Cherries   •   Nectarines    •    Plums


Local “Dry” Produce

Dry Legumes

Grown over the summer, harvested, dried and shelled in the fall for year round use.

These can be found in the shell or “fresh” shelled in the fall.

They cook in a fraction of the time. The flavor is wonderful.

Marianne offers several great heirloom beans grown within miles of her home.



Runner Cannellini    •    Good Mother Stallard    •    Rio Zape    •    Black Valentine    •  

Canario    •    White Romano    •    Christmas “Lima”    •    Borlotti


Fall Harvest - available year round, but find them local and you’ll love the taste

Walnuts    •    Almonds    •    Pistachios   •   Oregon Hazelnuts

Buy Almonds and Hazelnuts from Marianne


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Summer Produce

Early Summer Vegetables

  1. These are found here  in the early summer, but it just gets too hot here for them come August.

  2. If you live where it is cooler, you may still get them in the peak of the summer.

Onions    •    Beets    •    Carrots    •   Turnips

Lettuces    •    Chard


Vegetables

Fresh Garbanzos    •    Basil   •    Zucchini / Summer Squashes    •    String beans

Cucumbers    •    Corn    •    New Potatoes    •    Fresh “dry beans”

Tomatoes    •   Eggplant    •    Peppers

Winter Squashes    •   Tomatillos


Fruit

Valencia Oranges    •    Strawberries    •    Blueberries    •    Cherries

Apricots    •    Blackberries / Raspberries etc...    •    Peaches / Nectarines

Plums    •    Melons    •    Figs (differs locally)    •    Eureka Lemons

Bartlett Pears    •    Apples


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Fall Produce

Coming to an end…

Green beans - mid-Oct

Eggplant - Nov 1

Peppers - red, yellow, poblano - late Nov

Tomatoes - green + final ripe ones - late Nov

Fall Harvest  -  keeps until February or March

Winter Squashes

Chop - Butternut, Kabocha

Mash - Banana, Hubbbard, Kuri, Pumpkin

Roast - Delicata, Butternut, Kabocha

Stuff - Acorn, Delicata, Kabocha

Fall Harvest - enjoy now!

Chestnuts     •     Tomatillos

Sweet Potatoes     •     Russet potatoes

Brassicas - harvesting through February/March

Broccoli     •     Broccoli Rabe

Brussels Sprouts    •     Cauliflower

Cabbage - Curly, Green, Red, Napa, Savoy

Harvesting mostly until April

Celery    •    Celery Root    •    Parsnips

Fennel    •    Leek     •     Endive, Frisse, Chicory

Beets    •    Carrots

Wild Mushrooms (need rain)

Greens - now until  May/June

Beet Greens    •    Chard     •     Kale    •    Mustard Greens

Bok Choy    •    Baby Bok Choy

Lettuces     •     Arugula    •    Spinach

Parsley    •    Cilantro


Fall Fruit

Coming to an end…

Grapes    •    Melons - Nov 1

Figs - differs locally

Fall Harvest - enjoy now

Pomegranates (Oct-Dec)     •     Cranberries

Dates    •     Persimmon(Nov/Dec)     •     Kiwi (Dec-Jan)

Fall harvest that keeps until February or March

Apples - try to find local sources!

Pears

Anjou - soft like Bartlett

Bartlett–soft yellow reddish

Bosc – tan, crunchy

Comice – juicy, a bit yellow

Late Fall & Winter Harvest- eat one or more a day!!

Satsumas/Mandarins

Meyer Lemons

Tangerines/Oranges

Grapefruit, Pomelo, etc...

Fall Harvest - available year round, but find them local and you’ll love the taste

Walnuts    •    Almond

Pistachios    •    Dates



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Winter Produce


Here’s what is “local” during the coolest months

in California’s Central Valley and Coast region.

If you live elsewhere, your list may differ. Keep in mind, however, that

growers are working to extend these limits, especially those selling at farm stands,

farmer’s markets and local grocers.

To find the best local produce, shop at local outlets.


Brassicas

Broccoli    •    Broccoli Rabe    •    Brussels Sprouts    •    Cauliflower

Cabbage - Curly, Green, Red, Napa, Savoy

Roots / Tubers

Beets    •    Carrots    •    Celery Root    •    Parsnips

Russet Potatoes    •    Sweet Potatoes    •    Yams

Cooking Greens

Beet Greens    •    Chard    •    Bok Choy

Kale    •    Mustard Greens    •    Escarole    •    Chicory

Salad Greens & Herbs

Lettuces    •    Arugula    •    Spinach    •    Parsley    •    Cilantro

Other Winter Vegetables

Artichokes    •    Celery    •    Fennel    •    Leek

Chestnuts    •    Porcini Mushrooms (wild)

Winter Squash

  1. These are grown in the summer and harvested August to October (think pumpkin patch). They store well, so are termed “winter” squash.

  2. Choose your squash based on how you plan to use it.

Chop - Butternut    •    Kabocha

Mash - Banana    •    Hubbbard    •    Kuri    •    Pumpkin

Roast - Delicata    •    Butternut    •    Kabocha

Stuff - Acorn    •    Delicata

Dry Legumes

Grown over the summer, harvested, dried and shelled in the fall for year round use.

These can be found in the shell or “fresh” shelled in the fall.

They cook in a fraction of the time. The flavor is wonderful.

Marianne offers several great heirloom beans grown within miles of her home.



Runner Cannellini    •    Good Mother Stallard    •    Rio Zape    •    Black Valentine    •  

Canario    •    White Romano    •    Christmas “Lima”    •    Borlotti



Winter Fruit

Citrus

Satsumas    •    Mandarins    •    Oranges    •    Tangelos

Grapefruits    •    Pomelos    •    Meyer Lemons

Kiwi

Persimmons (November -  January)


The rest of the fruits listed below are harvested late summer and fall, but since they keep well,

they are greatly enjoyed over the winter.

Pears

Anjou - like a Bartlett but less delicate

Bartlett – green/yellow with speckles- luscious, juicy, easy to bruise.

Harvested in the Rio Vista / Delta area from mid-July to mid-August

Bosc – tan, roughish skin, crunchy when ripe

Comice – juicy, a little yellow

Apples

There are 2500 varieties of  apples grown in the US with orchards in most states.

Find an apple farmer near you, and try out  their varieties.

Nuts

Walnuts, Almonds - harvested all around Stockton

Pistachios - San Joaquin Valley

Hazelnuts - Oregon’s Central Valley

Dried Fruits

Dried Fruit can be found in every grocery store and may come from anywhere in the world.

If the fresh fruits are grown in your area, chances are an enterprising farmer dries them.

Seek these folks out and enjoy the bounty they offer you from your own region.


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So, What grows When, anyway?