The holidays are upon us. December at your farmers markets offers a few winter surprises to add to your festive holiday table.

Newly arrived citrus and kiwifruit are now available.

There are great baked goods, grass-fed beef from Divide Ranch, olive oils, honey, cheese from Spring Hill, eggs from Great Valley, dried fruits and nuts, and other products to make your holiday entertaining easier and tastier.

There are even gourmet hot foods ready to take home for a quick meal on these very busy days.

The market is also a great place to shop for interesting gifts.

The market has delightful gift sets and specialty items like handmade soaps from Delta Moon Soapworks, olive oils and vinegars from Bistro Blends, sauces and jams from Fontana Farms, and honey from Diablo Creek Apiary.

There are baskets of winter fruits you can put together or baked goods, honey and jams for a breakfast gift basket.

Or put together a salad basket filled with fresh greens, veggies and a bottle or two of gourmet salad dressings from Virginia's Live-a-Little Dressings. Even a bread/cheese/olive oil basket would be nice.

The market is a foodie's heaven!

Don't forget to stop by Sunrise Nursery and Ochoa Flowers for holiday flowers for your home.

They will also have poinsettias to scatter around the house.

Gather up several bunches of their gorgeous blooms and take them to a nursing home or hospital to brighten someone's holiday.

Try these simple side salads to brighten up your holiday meals.

They're full of flavor and full of vitamin C to ward off winter colds.

Citrus Red Onion Salad

4 oranges (about 18 slices)

1/2 cup red onion (sliced)

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon red pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

Arrange orange slices in a single layer on a platter. Top evenly with onion.

Sprinkle with salt, black pepper, and red pepper. Drizzle with oil. Serve immediately.

Pomegranate, Orange, & Kiwi Salad

1-1/2 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes (crushed)

1/4 cup olive oil

6 cups mixed salad greens

2 oranges (peeled, sliced)

4 kiwifruit (peeled, sliced)

1 medium pomegranate (seeded, about 3/4 cup seeds)

To make dressing, combine vinegar and next three ingredients; whisk in oil. Toss greens with 2-1/2 tablespoons dressing; arrange on a serving platter.

Alternating, arrange orange slices and kiwi slices over greens. Drizzle with remaining dressing. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds.

Happy Holidays! See you at the farmers market.

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 is closed for the season and will return in the spring.

  • The Martinez Kaiser Permanente farmers market is closed for the season and will return in the spring.

  • The Pleasant Hill farmers market 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 Debra Morris, promotions coordinator for the Pacific Coast Farmers' Market Association. Contact her at debramorris@pcfma.com.