At The Original Farmers Market, Los Angeles, we think nothing in the world tastes better than fresh-picked fruits and veggies, especially those that have matured right here under the California sun.
If, like us, you prefer to buy your fruits and veggies when they are the freshest off the farm, here’s an insider’s guide to the best produce available in September.
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With its high temperatures and low humidity, Southern California’s Coachella Valley (near Palm Springs), has the ideal climate for growing dates, which is probably why it’s the nation’s leading producer of this healthy snack. Labeled a superfood, dates are high in antioxidants and fiber and they have even been certified by the American Heart Association as a heart-healthy fruit. They are also high in fluorine, which can help strengthen tooth enamel.
Dates are an incredibly popular fruit. In fact, 3% of the world’s farmland is covered by date palm. The fruit does suffer from a bit of an identity crisis, though. Although they are often considered a dried fruit, they are actually a naturally dry fruit. While most fresh fruit are 75 to 95% moisture, fresh whole dates contain less than 30% moisture.
We can’t think of a better time to celebrate the tasty mushroom than September, which has been designated National Mushroom Month. Whether you like them long and narrow, like the enoki mushroom, or full-bodied and flavorful, like the portabello mushroom, there’s always a new way to sample the versatile fungi. In fact there are said to be 10,000 known species of mushrooms in North America, although, of course, not all are edible. While Pennsylvania’s Chester County is the leading producer of mushrooms in the nation—accounting for nearly 50 percent of the country’s annual crop—California clocks in as the second-largest producing state.
Although they aren’t technically plants—they’re from the fungi family—mushrooms are rich in vitamin B, vitamin D and potassium, and are said to help people get a better night sleep as well as boosting learning and memory.
Interestingly, the largest organism on earth is a mushroom. The honey mushroom, believed to be more than 2,400 years old, occupies nearly four square miles in Oregon’s Blue Mountains.
Special treat: Portobello mushrooms are the perfect breakfast food especially when you order the Portobello Benedict at Marmalade Café. This savory vegetarian dish is served with three poached eggs, grilled Portobello mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes and Hollandaise sauce.
California plays a starring role in the history of olives in the United States. The country’s first olives appeared at the San Diego Mission in the late 1700s. The state’s sunny days, cool nights and fresh air make for the perfect growing environment for these tasty treats. Today, thousands of olive farms crisscross the state’s inland valleys, most of them operated by hardworking, independent farmers, who pick the fruit by hand.
While California produces 99 percent of the nation’s olive crop, it accounts for less than 1 percent of the global yield. (The world’s leading producer of olives is Spain, which is home to more than 215 million olive trees.) In California, harvest season begins in September and runs through November, although olives must also undergo a multi-day curing process before they can be sold.
Special treat: If you love olives as much as we do, the best place to indulge is at the expansive mix-and-match olive bar at Monsieur Marcel Gourmet Market.
Seasonal Veggies Harvested in September
Artichokes, Asparagus, Beets, Bell Peppers, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chile Peppers, Corn, Cucumbers, Lettuce, Mushrooms, Onions, Potatoes, Snap Beans, Spinach, Squash, Tomatoes, Zucchini
Seasonal Fruits Harvested in September
Apples, Avocados, Blueberries, Cantaloupe, Dates, Grapes, Honeydew, Lemons, Oranges, Pears, Plums, Raspberries, Strawberries, Watermelons,
Read about what’s in season in October at our Market Buzz blog now