Author Archive | Jamie Collins

WHAT’S IN SEASON: PARSNIPS

Celebrating a deceptively delicious and versatile winter root

parsnips

PHOTOGRAPHY BY CAMILLA M. MANN

Parsnips are one of my favorite root vegetables as their flavor is sweet yet complex and complements so many winter dishes. I’ve enjoyed them roasted with other roots for as long as I can remember, but my very first time cooking a rabbit is when I really fell for them. I wrapped the rabbit in bacon and roasted it in a pan filled with chunks of parsnips, butternut squash and purple sweet potatoes that I had covered in coconut milk seasoned with nutmeg and cardamom. There was no going back—I was in love with the deep earthy flavor and buttery sweetness that the parsnip deployed and the way the coconut milk turned the roots into a rich … Read More

Continue Reading ·

WHAT’S IN SEASON: FARM TO LUNCHBOX

A farming mom’s own strategies
for getting the healthful, delicious fall harvest
into your kids’ lunches—and their stomachs

wisFarmbox

PHOTOS BY JAMIE COLLINS

I have always been interested in nutrition, so when I started my farm 15 years ago, I chose to grow the most vitamin–rich varieties of produce that I could find. I planted red bore kale and cosmic purple carrots because of their high anthocyanin properties. The greens I grew were ones I knew to be chock full of vitamins, like pea shoots, dandelions and spinach. I’ve even harvested edible farm weeds like stinging nettles and purslane for their substantial vitamin B and omega 3 content. I’ve appreciated the abundance and nutritional value of the food I’ve grown, but it wasn’t until I had my boy that I realized … Read More

Continue Reading ·

WHAT’S IN SEASON: NOPALES AND PRICKLY PEARS

The dual-purpose cactus

wisNopalesManfred Warmuth harvests a cactus paddle from his garden.

Ever notice large stands of cactus with hot pink fruit growing randomly alongside farm fields in the Monterey Bay area? These are nopal cactus, native to Mexico and planted by farm workers who brought them here from their home country. With uses that range from a hangover remedy to a blood sugar regulator, this prickly succulent is finally getting some recognition, thanks to a few creative local food and drink producers who take on the tough job of spine removal, and turn the paddles and the sweet fruit into brilliant products.

HISTORY

The Opuntia cacti, commonly called nopales in Spanish, refers to the fleshy cactus pads that bear sweet-tart magenta fruit called tuna in Spanish, and prickly pears … Read More

Continue Reading ·

WHAT’S IN SEASON: FENNEL

An overabundance of an unusual
crop leads to love in the kitchen

wisFennel

Photography by Patrick Tregenza

I first learned about fennel—a subtly licorice-flavored, sweet, juicy white bulb with feathery, dill-like fronds and tasty seeds, flowers and pollen—in 1997, during a road trip to the Mexican border with a college agriculture class.

I distinctly remember the farmer who was giving the tour being ultra-exuberant about the health benefits of fennel as he used his knife to cut open bulbs for us to try.

The flavor didn’t knock my socks off that day, and it wasn’t until I overplanted the crop last year that I finally found my appreciation for fennel. Something that tends to happen when a farmer ends up with too much of a certain crop is that they end … Read More

Continue Reading ·

WHAT’S IN SEASON: Brussels Sprouts and Kalettes

Putting the spotlight back on one-time Central Coast star

wisBrusselsSprouts

Photography by Angela Aurelio
Recipes by Tony Baker

My first experience with Brussels sprouts was straight out of the can when I was a kid. The gray, stinky mush turned me off for many decades until about five years ago, when I had a delicious Brussels sprouts and bacon experience at Thanksgiving dinner. Ever since I’ve been enjoying them and experimenting with various preparation styles. The only thing I don’t love about them is that it’s hard to find them grown organically.

The plant that was bred to be the Brussels sprouts we know today probably originated in Ancient Rome. It wasn’t until the 13th century that they were grown in Belgium, and, hence, were named for the county’s capital. Interestingly, … Read More

Continue Reading ·

Facebook

Twitter