Buttermilk Dressing – An American Classic
Although better known as “Ranch” dressing to most, buttermilk dressing is the original name of this American classic developed in 1954 by Gayle and Steve Henson. The couple owned and ran Hidden Valley Guest Ranch, a dude ranch (of sorts) outside of Santa Barbara, where folks came to hike, fish and go horseback riding. It was a favorite hot spot for UCLA and UCSB students in the 50s and early 60s.
The Story Behind Ranch Dressing
In 1949, Steve worked in Alaska as a plumbing contractor in remote areas of the frozen outback with a crew of workers. It was there that he created his dressing concoction to improve the salads and the morale of the men he fed. “It’s tough to feed men in those bush jobs,” Henson said. “If they don’t like something, they’re as likely to throw it at the cook as they are to walk out cursing. I had to come up with something to keep them happy.” His secret? He mixed mayonnaise with buttermilk and whipped it until it had a creamy consistency and added a little seasoning and herbs.
Stone Fruit Season Is Here!
Stone fruit season has arrived and we have a stunning variety of sweet, juicy peaches, plums, nectarines, apricots, pluots and apriums at the farmers markets. Did you know California grows about 90 percent of the nectarines and plums grown in the US, and produces about 60 percent of all the peaches?
With over 200 varieties of peaches, 200 varieties of plums, and about 175 varieties of nectarines, it's easy to get confused about the flavor and color characteristics! Here’s a quick reference for stone fruits.
Peaches and Nectarines
There are many varieties of peaches and nectarines, but they fall into one of two categories: yellow or white flesh. Yellow peaches and nectarines are ready to eat when they yield to gentle palm pressure and have a balance of sweet and tart flavors. White peaches and nectarines are naturally sweeter and can be ready to eat when still firm and crunchy.
Monterey Mushrooms — The Fungus Among Us
RECIPES: Balsamic Roasted Portobello Mushrooms, Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Portobellos, Basic Balsamic Marinated Mushrooms, Roasted Cremini Muhsrooms and Asparagus, Braised Boy Choy with Shiitake Mushrooms, Braised Greens with Shiitake Mushrooms topped with Baked Fennel and Parmesan
Did you know the Monterey Bay area is the second largest producer of mushrooms in the US and third in the world? Pennsylvania, where mushroom farming was pioneered, ranks first in the US for mushroom production. The Chinese learned mushroom farming in Pennsylvania for shiitake production and are the number one producer in the world.
What were once exotic are now commonplace — shiitakes, oysters, cremini, and Portobellos. And they can all be found at the Aptos Farmer’s Market. New Natives offers shiitake and oyster mushrooms, and Blanca at Global Mushroom carries Portobello, cremini and white button mushrooms.
What’s in a name? Cremini, button, white, Portobello—these are all types of button mushrooms, or Agaricus bisporus – the domesticated version of Agaricus campestris, the “field” mushroom. Although there are some differences in texture and depth of flavor, they all have the same flavor profile. And regardless of the names, creminis, the coffee colored button, given the right conditions, grow into Portobellos.
American Extra-Virgin Olive Oil? Yes!
In 1997, Ridgely Everss DaVero extra-virgin olive oil, produced in northern California, won a blind tasting in Italy. This triumph was a result of a revival of the American olive oil industry that began in the 1980s. Producers started reviving old trees they found on their properties, imported new trees from Italy, and began to focus on producing olive oil that would be world class. Each year, more acreage is planted in olive orchards and more oil produced. The California Olive Oil Council, a trade organization started in 1992, developed a seal certification program to set standards for extra-virgin olive oil. If an oil passes certain laboratory tests and is deemed defect free and fruity by a panel that tastes the oil blind, the producer can affix a seal to the bottles stating that it is extra-virgin. This helps the shopper, who is confronted by numerous bottles of olive oil on store shelves, make a choice.
Power Up Your Diet with Microgreens!
RECIPES: Microgreens with Curry Vinaigrette, New Native's Bean Dip, Spicy Asian Pea Shoot Stir-Fry, and Seared Ahi and Microgreens Salad with Lemon Infused Daikon Red Onion Slaw, Stacked Beet, Avocado, and Mixed Microgreens Salad
Here's an easy way to improve your diet – add microgreens.
Ounce for ounce, microgreens provide more nutrients than any other natural food known. Microgreens are seedlings (young plants) between seven and ten days old that have sprouted from seed, but don't yet have true leaves.
These super-food seedlings are naturally high in quality protein, vitamins, minerals, trace elements, enzymes, and anti-oxidants, and have few calories and no cholesterol.
We are fortunate to have New Natives at the Aptos Farmers Market year-round, selling a wide variety of organic microgreens – a true living food.