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Top 10 Most Underrated Health Foods

by | Mar 5, 2014

Photo by Michael Hodge

We already know that food manufacturers and the media tend to exaggerate the benefits of popular health foods, but what about all the wonderfully healthy foods they ignore?

It’s time to shine the spotlight on 10 of my favorite healthy foods that never get the attention they deserve.
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Farmers Market Update: Cheap Eats

by | Jan 3, 2010
Brussels Sprouts Stalk

Brussels Sprouts Stalk

Holiday spending making you wish you didn’t have to buy food the rest of the month?

You’re in luck, the farmers market in January is full of healthy, delicious and very affordable produce. This weekend I spent about half of what I do during a normal week in any other season.

Shanghai Bok Choy

Shanghai Bok Choy $2

Napa Cabbage $1

Napa Cabbage $1

My guess is winter produce is cheaper than spring and summer produce because it is more sturdy. During the summer, stone fruit (peaches, plums, etc.), berries and delicate greens are extremely perishable. They are also sweeter, so probably more labor intensive to grow (I’m just speculating here, farmers please feel free to chime in).

Sweet Potatoes and Acorn Squash

Sweet Potatoes and Acorn Squash

Winter Produce

Winter Produce

Whatever the reason, the food is cheap now at the farmers market. But don’t let that fool you into thinking it isn’t tasty. Hearty greens, root vegetables and squash are perfect soul-warming food for this frigid weather.

It’s win-win!

Fennel Bottoms

Fennel Bottoms

The star of the season is brassica, also known as cruciferous vegetables. These are generally what we think of when we say “leafy greens.” Examples of brassica are broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, turnips, kale, etc.

Purple Kohlrabi and Kale

Purple Kohlrabi and Kale

Organic Broccoli

Organic Broccoli

It’s pretty common to not like these vegetables, so I won’t hold it against you if you just grimaced a little. But if you have only had them frozen or from the regular grocery store I urge you to try brassica again at your local farmers market.

When brassica are grown with care they are sweet and not bitter, tender and not tough. They are really delicious, probably my favorite. But I hated them as a kid. I urge you to give them another chance if you don’t love them already.

Audrey II

Audrey II

It’s also a great time to get onions, leeks, shallots and garlic. Not surprisingly, these make your brassica taste even better.

Dirty Girl Shallots

Dirty Girl Shallots

Twisted Leeks

Twisted Leeks

But life isn’t all about Brussels sprouts and broccoli this time of year. Citrus fruit is taking the market by storm, bringing a splash of warm color to cool weather.

Citron

Citron

Blood Oranges

Blood Oranges

I grew up in Southern California so I’m a little picky when it comes to citrus, but I had my socks knocked off today by the clementines at Olsen Organic Farm. You can’t go wrong with any of the clementines in San Francisco right now, but these were truly special. The flavor was so rich and concentrated. In my hypnosis I bought a huge bag of them.

Olsen Organic Clementines

Olsen Organic Clementines

Tropical fruits are also popping up at the farmers market. Today alone I spotted mango, kiwi, Malaysian white guava and white cherimoya. Too bad there wasn’t any bikini weather to pair with them.

Malaysian White Guavas

Malaysian White Guavas

Kiwis

Kiwis

And of course this time of year there are always persimmons, apples, pears, and pomegranates, though the seasons are winding down.

I didn’t get a picture, but the chanterelle mushrooms were also particularly spectacular.

Can you still find fresh veggies in your city? What’s your favorite?

Today’s Purchases:

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Farmers Market Update: Brassica!

by | Dec 6, 2009

Turnips

Turnips

This weekend was the Brassica Festival at the San Francisco Ferry Plaza Farmers Market.

Brassica

Brassica

Brassica Bash!

Brassica Bash!

Brassica is a genus of vegetables in the mustard or cabbage family that includes cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, turnips, bok choy, kohlrabi and Brussels sprouts. They are also known as cruciferous vegetables, and I adore them.

Curly Kale

Curly Kale

Broccoli Crowns

Broccoli Crowns

In honor of the festival I stocked up on two kinds of kale, collard greens, broccoli and kohlrabi. I resisted Brussels sprouts since I got them last week. The great thing about brassica vegetables is they are very affordable, usually less than $2/bunch.

Kohlrabi

Kohlrabi

Generally I am spending a lot less money at the farmers market now that summer is over. I attribute this largely to the lack of berries and stone fruit. Oh, and my $10/week tomato habit has now dried up. But I can’t complain at all.

Daikon, Kohlrabi and Sunchokes

Daikon, Kohlrabi and Sunchokes

Baby Bok Choy

Baby Bok Choy

Citrus, especially the mandarins, are marvelous this season and getting better every week. Pomegranate seeds are by far my favorite thing on my breakfast. Pears from Frog Hollow Farm are freaky good.

Persimmons. Almonds. Walnuts.

I think I’m falling in love with autumn in San Francisco.

Kiwi

Kiwi

Mandarins

Mandarins

Hachiya Persimmons

Hachiya Persimmons

Almonds

Almonds

I finally got some kiwi this week. If you’re a kiwifruit fan, you absolutely must go try the ones from Four Sisters Farm, they have an unbelievable flavor that is almost floral. I had no idea kiwi could be so complex. These are really special.

Many of the farms are offering gift wrapped items for the holidays. Most of these things are pretty cute, probably delicious and something to consider if you’re shopping for any foodies.

Holiday Foodie Gifts

Holiday Foodie Gifts

Or for that person who has everything, you could always just get one of these giant parsnips. They are about the size of your head. Who doesn’t need jumbo parsnips?

Giant Parsnips

Giant Parsnips

Exactly.

Today’s Purchases:

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