A new year is upon us, and this year Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association celebrates 25 years of bringing you fresh California produce to certified farmers markets in your neighborhood, delivered directly from farmer to you.

Celebrate with us as we offer special anniversary events at your market.

Right now there is fabulous citrus available, just in time to keep all those winter colds at bay. Loaded with vitamin C and antioxidants, it's a tasty way to prevent illness.

Diaz Farms and Aoyama Farms will have navel oranges, tangerines, blood oranges, kumquats, lemons, grapefruit and pomelos at their booths. J&J Ramos Farm also has a nice variety of juicy citrus.

Farm-fresh eggs are here at Great Valley Poultry for a little protein in your diet. Nunez Farm and Halog Farm have very fresh vegetables like spinach, cauliflower, beets, broccoli, onions, carrots and more for fiber and other nutrients. And Bistro Blends has good-for-you olive oils and balsamic vinegars that make any salad or marinade taste great.

There are delectable whole grain and whole wheat breads at Michelle's Golden Brown Breads, and sweet local honey from Diablo Creek Apiary.

Fontana Farms has wonderful jams and sauces made with fresh fruits and spices. They also have delicious omega 3-rich nuts for snacking.


Advertisement

And don't forget to de-stress this month after a busy holiday season with some soothing handmade soaps from Delta Moon Soapworks. Bouquets of fresh cut flowers at Ochoa Nursery or a gorgeous orchid from Rose Mae Orchids will brighten your day.

There's nothing more important to your health this year than getting lots of fruits and vegetables, whole grains and fiber into your diet, and the farmers market is the place to go for all good things local.

So eat healthy! And come help us celebrate 25 years of serving the community with fresh produce, fun events and great music. See you at the market!

Oven-Roasted Beets With Citrus Vinaigrette

3 large beets (about 1½ pounds total), washed and trimmed

½ cup freshly squeezed blood orange juice (from about 3 medium blood oranges)

¼ cup freshly squeezed grapefruit juice (from about 1 medium grapefruit)

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1 small lemon)

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon Champagne vinegar or white wine vinegar

6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground pepper

1 teaspoon blood orange zest

½ teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Wrap the beets individually in aluminum foil. Place them seam side up on rimmed baking sheet and roast until fork-tender, 45 to 60 minutes, depending on size of beets.

Carefully open the packets, draining off any juice inside. When the beets are cool enough to handle, remove the skins and discard; chop the beets into ½-inch chunks.

Combine the blood orange, grapefruit and lemon juices in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer gently until reduced to ¼ cup. Remove from the heat and whisk in the honey and vinegar. Add the oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until emulsified. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Toss the beets with the blood orange and lemon zests and ¼ cup of the vinaigrette; marinate for at least 20 minutes. Garnish with the thyme before serving.

-- Recipe: "Grow Cook Eat,"by Willi Galloway

Farmers markets are open rain or shine.

  • In Martinez, the Sunday market is 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. year-round, at Main and Estudillo streets. The Thursday market, held on Court Street between Main and Escobar streets, is closed for the season and will return in the spring.

  • The Pleasant Hill farmers market, held on Crescent Drive at Monument Plaza, is closed for the season and will return in the spring.

    Visit www.pcfma.com or call 800-949-FARM (800-949-3276).

    The Time is Ripe is a monthly column written by Vince Scalise, market operations manager, and Debra Morris, promotions coordinator, for the Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association. Contact them at mrcarrot@pcfma.com.

    ---