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    Farmers Market: How We Holiday – Diverse Food Traditions

    By Debra Morris–

    Holiday customs in California are as diverse as its population. Many wonderful and eclectic food traditions have been brought to our shores and incorporated into our everyday lives from people around the world.

    We are fortunate to have a climate that allows for fruits and vegetables to be grown and harvested throughout the year in California and it has allowed these new inhabitants to easily grow their distinct and varied produce in a new country. We are also lucky to be the recipients of their hard work and delicious produce!

    Favorite foods this time of year consisted of recipes featuring winter squash, persimmons, pomegranates, Brussels sprouts, citrus, and potatoes (based on those that were most mentioned in early recipes). The Castro Farmers’ Market is closed for the season, but you’ll find this delicious produce at the Divisadero Farmers’ Market, DMV parking lot, 1377 Fell Street, every Sunday, 10 pm to 2 pm. At Inzana Ranch from Hughson you’ll find citrus, J&M Farms from Hollister with Brussels sprouts, and many other fantastic producers selling only the best products.

    Ashley Olivera-Cortez, Direct Marketing Coordinator, says her family’s favorite thing to do is “watch football, drinking mulled cider, and watch movies. We make our traditional roasted Garlicky Brussels Sprouts With Bacon and Pecans.”

    Another member of our staff, Mia Simmans, Market Manager, says she and her family “light the candles for Hanukkah and make latkes.” Her favorite thing about working at the farmers’ markets this time of year is the festive feel they have.

    Jason Rodriguez, Market Manager, says, “My family gets together to make the traditional tamales at Christmas—and I get to taste-test them!” He also loves all the winter squash available during December.

    Regional Manager, Lis Garon, mentions, “My family and I typically make pancakes the day of Christmas and drink mimosas, Irish coffee, eggnog, or hot toddies. I love my mom’s prime rib recipe and I love the beautiful wreaths sold at farmers’ markets.”

    Dimitri Hagnéré, Market Manager, states his family piles in the car and tours Candy Cane Lane and looks at holiday lights. “We have Dungeness crab and hot cider for the holidays and I make cannoli from scratch, a family tradition.”  

    Others enjoy seeing their family, having cookie baking sessions, playing Santa for the kids, and savoring the holiday atmosphere that permeates the air.

    There are as many different traditions as there are families, each one unique, and each one familiar. We hope you hold on to your traditions and enjoy this holiday season with the ones you love. Happy Holidays from all of us at PCFMA!

    Ashley’s Garlicky Brussels Sprouts With Bacon and Pecans

    Fresh Brussels sprouts halved, about 2 pounds (de-stem and remove outer leaves)
    6 to 7 slices of bacon, thick-cut
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    3 to 5 cloves garlic
    ¼ cup pecans
    1 teaspoon salt
    1 teaspoon pepper
    3 teaspoons dried thyme
    2 to 3 teaspoons dried oregano
    2 to 3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
    3 to 4 teaspoons maple syrup
    Grated Parmesan cheese for serving (optional)

    Preheat oven to 350°F on middle rack. Use a baking pan or casserole dish to roast.

    Cut stems off and remove outer excess leaves on sprouts; cut in half. Mince garlic and rough-chop pecans. Coat everything with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season with salt, pepper, thyme, and oregano. Transfer to baking pan/casserole dish and roast for 17–20 minutes.

    Cook bacon in a frying pan, just enough so it’s still flaccid but fully cooked through. Rough chop bacon into pieces and transfer to pan with sprouts. Toss in the bacon and drizzle over balsamic vinegar. Roast for another 5–8 minutes.

    Remove from oven and drizzle on maple syrup and toss. Add grated or shaved Parmesan, if desired, before serving.

    Debra Morris is a spokesperson for the Pacific Coast Farmers’ Market Association (PCFMA). Check out the PCFMA website for recipes, information about farmers’ markets throughout the region and for much more:

    Published on December 2, 2021