What’s in Season in Southern California?

A Fall Produce Guide

Grab a scarf and a pumpkin spice latte, after a very hot and sunny summer, fall is finally here. As we say goodbye to stonefruit and berries, we thought we’d put together a handy list of what’s in season in Southern California this fall, how to use them, beloved fall recipes, and some of our favorite local farmers who grow the best fall produce!

What's In Season Los Angeles, Apples

Apples

A is for Apple. Apples seem so common here in North America, and if you’re used to shopping at giant commercial grocery chains, you may not even realize that apples have a season, but they do! Apples, especially here in Southern California, are only in season during the fall months, as they need cool crisp temperatures to really thrive.

If you’ve ever thought apples were mealy and flavorless… you’ve been eating the wrong apples! All of the many varieties we carry during the fall and winter months are crisp, sweet, and juicy because they’re grown right here without GMOs or preservatives and are delivered to your door within 3 days of being picked.

Throughout the season you can expect to see Fuji, Gala, Braeburn, Honey crisp, Pink Lady, Pink cripps, and Granny Smith among others. *Natural and Organic California Apples come in a variety of sizes, some as small as a golfball.

How to Use

We’re sure you know how to eat an apple at this point… but remember there are hundreds of other ways to enjoy these delicious fruits. Bake them into applesauce, make caramel apples for Halloween, add them to your Thanksgiving stuffing, or bake delicious pies and tarts! Try one of our favorite seasonal recipes Easy Apple Tarts.

Easy Apple Tarts

How to Store

Apples can be stored for relatively long (3-4 months) periods of time. Cold storage at low refrigerator temperatures is able to help minimize loss of nutrients. In addition, it’s helpful to maintain some moisture in the cold storage area, for example, by the inclusion of damp cheesecloth in the crisper bin of a refrigerator.

Our Farmers

Fair Hills Apple Farm – Paso Robles, CA  Fair Hills Apple Farm planted their first apple orchard in May of 1992. Their land is located at the three-way intersection of Hog Canyon, Estrella, and Jardine Roads. The Estrella River basin offers a unique climate with hot sunny days and cool nights that are perfect for growing apples, stone fruit, and grapes.

Ha’s Apple Farm – Tehachapi, CA Ha’s Apple Farm is husband and wife team whose passion for zero-waste farming has lead to world-famous apple butter, fruit rolls, apple chips, and apple cider vinegar!

 

 

what's in season southern California Brussels sprouts

Brussels Sprouts

The most adorable in the cabbage family, Brussels sprouts are an absolute staple of the fall season. Although native to the Mediterranean (where they have been popular since Ancient Roman times), in North America they are actually famously Californian. Today, California is responsible for nearly 90% of all North American Brussels sprouts!

How to Use

Brussels sprouts, luckily, are one of the few veggies that don’t lose any of their nutritious value when cooked (whether steamed, roasted, or sauteed). And that is a very good thing because they have a famously bitter taste.

To start, cut away any surplus stem or hard end to the bulb. Remove any leaves that have been damaged in transit, rinse the bulb and slice in half (or quarter depending on your preference and this size of the bulb).

The easiest way to make brussels sprouts is to toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper and roast in the oven until golden and slightly crispy. They can also be steamed and then sauteed with onions and bacon (yum!). Their strong savory flavor pairs really well with a dark sweetness like brown sugar, molasses, maple syrup, or balsamic vinegar.

Just be careful not to overcook! You may think the longer you cook, the better, but that’s actually wrong. When overcooked the buds become gray and soft (due to their glucosinolate sinigrin, an organic compound that contains sulfur) hence the strong eggy smell that so many people associate with the veggie.

Roasted Brussels with Onions and Apples

How to Store

Keep unwashed and untrimmed Brussels sprouts in the vegetable compartment of the refrigerator. Stored in a plastic bag, they can be kept for 10 days. Once cooked, eat brussels sprouts within 24 hours, and avoid re-heating to ensure the sulfuric flavors don’t develop.

Our Farmers

Gaytan Family Farms, Mira Loma, CA –  Gaytan Farm’s produce is cultivated in Mira Loma, Aguanga, Santa Maria, and Chino on a total of twenty-five acres of farmland and using techniques based on more than twenty-five years of experience. This provides their customers with foods that are top-notch in freshness and taste. Gaytan’s produce ranges from the most common vegetables to specialties.

 

Carrots

Carrots, and other related roots like parsnips, beets, and turnips, are a signal that the season of fall is underway. Whether nibbled on as a snack, roasted as a holiday side dish, or eat raw in a fall salad, carrots are one of the earth’s healthiest foods.  Low calorie, great for eye health and full of essential vitamins and minerals!

Carrots actually come in a wide variety of colors! The reason we associate carrots exclusively with the color orange goes back to Holland in the 17th century when the royal House of Orange decided to cultivate only orange carrots. Their brilliant and bright color became an unofficial symbol of their reign. While we do carry many local orange varieties, you may also see purple, white, or yellow from time to time.

How to Use

We all know carrots are delicious and sweet just as they are, but with such a great fall flavor, they’re often underused. A simple roast in the oven and carrots are transformed from sidekick to star! Try roasting them with butter and dill, or cumin and curry, or try our Thanksgiving inspired sweet carrot recipe below.

Rainbow Roasted Carrots with Raisins

How to Store

Despite their density, carrots are actually very high in water content and are prone to try out quickly (leaving them skinny and soft). First, if they do come with green tops, remove them. The green tops, if left uncut, will suck all the moisture from the carrot, making them soft. Do not wash, rinse or cut until ready to cook. If left in the crisper drawer in an open paper bag, they can last for over a week.

Our Farmers

Lakeside Organic Gardens – Lakeside Organic Gardens takes pride in growing a wide offering of organic produce on family-owned and operated farms across California. Dick Peixoto, the owner, personally walks his fields daily to guarantee our 45+ organic vegetables are held to the highest quality and food safety standards.

 

 

Persimmons

With their rich notes of nutmeg, it’s no wonder persimmons are of California’s favorite fall fruit. There are hundreds of different kinds of persimmons, but these are the two you are most likely to see here in Southern California. They are both delicious with notes of cinnamon and brown sugar, but when and how you eat them makes all the difference!

How to Use

HACHIYA:

Hachiya Persimmons have an oblong acorn shape, coming to a point at one side. When these fruits are fully ripe they will be a deep dark orange. Eating them before they are ripe causes a very unpleasant dry-mouth, so make sure it’s ready! Another hint is that they give to your touch, like an overripe tomato. Their flesh will have a jelly-like texture. Most people enjoy Hachiya persimmons pureed and baked into sweet and savory pastries.

FUYU:

Fuyu persimmons are flat bottomed and look like orange tomatoes or mini pumpkins. They should be firm to the touch, like an apple. With a thin skin and crunchy, sweet flesh that tastes like nutmeg and cinnamon, you’ll love this fall fruit! Definitely, don’t hesitate to eat these little cuties, they’re perfect when they arrive. Just remove the leaves, give them a quick rinse, slice them up or eat them right out of your hand skin and all!

Persimmon Muffins with Cream Cheese

How to Store

Leave Hachiya persimmons out on the countertop to ripen until soft, while Fuyu persimmons should be eaten while still firm. To prolong their life you can put them in the refrigerator, although they will begin to lose their natural sweetness after 4-5 days of refrigeration.

Our Farmers

Pedro’s Organic Ranch – Fallbrook, CA Pedro’s Organic Ranch is located in Fallbrook, California – the “Avocado Capital of the World.” In addition to the rich avocados, Pedro also grows premium exotic fruits like dragonfruit, passionfruit, persimmons, and pomegranates. The farm is pesticide-free and chemical free, ensuring that customers get the freshest, organically grown produce.

 

 

Pears

Another common American fruit you may not realize pears have a season if you’re used to shopping in large commercial supermarkets, but pears are actually a rare treat here in Southern California. Requiring cold ground temperatures, most of the year we receive our pears from the east coast or Washington state, but during the fall and winter months we’re lucky enough to get delicious Red Anjou, D’anjou, Green Bartlett, Red Bartlett, and Bosc Pears from local farmers!

We also get Asian pears from local farmers, although they have different flesh and properties than typical pears. Large and round, Asian pears combine the sweetness of pears with the juicy, tartness of an apple.  Featuring less of a “neck” and short, squat green body, their flesh is juicy yet crisp, like a Fuji apple. Due to this texture, they last much longer than a typical pear.  A great source of vitamins B and C, they’re a perfect fruit for eating raw or adding to salads.

How to Use

Fresh pears are delicious eaten raw after gently rinsing the skin. Since their skin provides about half of the pear’s total dietary fiber, it is best to not peel the fruit. Cut the pear into pieces, you can use an apple corer, cutting from the fruit’s base to remove the core, and then cutting it into the desired sizes and shapes. Once cut, pears will oxidize quickly and turn a brownish color.

 

Pork Chops with Roasted Fennel and Asian Pears

How to Store

Pears do not ripen while on the tree. For the best flavor, allow pears to ripen in a warm, sunny area for several days or until the neck of the pear yields to pressure. To ripen pears, store them at room temperature in a sealed plastic bag with a couple of ripe bananas. When the pear is ripe, refrigerate until you are ready to eat it.

ASIAN PEARS: Asian pears, on the other hand, need to be refrigerated. Eat within a week alone or in a salad!

Our Farmers

Ken’s Top Notch – Dinuba, CA  Ken of Ken’s Top Notch believes that if he can’t build or grow it himself, his projects are far less meaningful. Over twenty years, his passion for farming blossomed as he provided Californians with over ninety varieties of fruits all year round. Always an experimenter, Ken’s Top Notch has proven to be the perfect on-site laboratory. Try his apriums, mango nectarines and, our personal favorite, emerald plums!

 

Pomegranates

This superfood is actually one of the world’s oldest and most celebrated fruits, dating back Persia, Ancient Rome, the Egyptians, and even Jericho. Hailed for its healing powers, it was known as a symbol of prosperity! We just like it because it’s beautiful, healthy, and bursting with flavor!

How to Use

Crack open and peel apart to get to the beautiful ruby seeds. Eat the seeds raw or add to yogurt, smoothies, fresh fall salads, or try our pomegranate old-fashioned.

Pomegranate Old Fashioned

How to Store

Whole fruit can be refrigerated and will keep as long as 2 months. Fresh seeds or juice will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Pomegranate arils can be frozen for later use.

Our Farmers

Pedro’s Organic Ranch – Fallbrook, CA Pedro’s Organic Ranch is located in Fallbrook, California – the “Avocado Capital of the World.” In addition to the rich avocados, Pedro also grows premium exotic fruits like dragonfruit, passionfruit, persimmons, and pomegranates. The farm is pesticide-free and chemical free, ensuring that customers get the freshest, organically grown produce.

 

Green Beans

Did you know green beans are actually fruit!? I know, right? Also called French Beans or String Beans, they are actually just the unripe fruit of a normal bean. But we won’t hold it against them, we love them as they are! These Blue Lake Green Beans are deliciously crisp and tender!

How to Use

Green beans are actually really simple to make! Simply snap off the ends of the bean and give them a quick rinse. Next, you’ll want to steam the beans. Many cooks rely on a steamer basket, but we find steaming green beans directly in the skillet works just as well (and spares us from cleaning extra dishes later on). Then add whatever butter, oil, herbs, and seasonings you like! Or try our fall-inspired chicken with grape gravy and green beans below!

Roasted Chicken with Grape Gravy and Green Beans

How to Store

Store your unwashed fresh beans in a reusable container or plastic bag in the refrigerator crisper. Stored this way they should last about seven days. Don’t wash until you’re ready to use them. Like many fruits, the delicate skin will start to spoil if it comes into contact with moisture. Didn’t get to use your green beans and afraid they’ll go bad? Not to worry. Freeze them! Rinse them, let them drain in a colander, cut the ends off and place in a plastic bag in the freezer. Whenever you’re ready they’ll taste good as new.

Our Farmers

Lakeside Organic Gardens – Lakeside Organic Gardens takes pride in growing a wide offering of organic produce on family-owned and operated farms across California. Dick Peixoto, the owner, personally walks his fields daily to guarantee our 45+ organic vegetables are held to the highest quality and food safety standards.

 

 

Winter Squash

Although they may be called “winter” squash, these gorgeous gourds are actually a symbol that fall is here and winter is coming! Pumpkins, butternut squash, acorn squash, delicata squash, and kabocha squash can all be expected to pop up across Southern California from mid-October through the winter.

How to Use

While winter squash come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and flavors, they all can be cooked in relatively the same way. A simple slice through the middle (removing the seeds and pulp) and then roasting in the oven until soft, is a great technique to soften their dense flesh. From there you can sautee cubes with your favorite fall flavors or blend into a delicious soup.

Spicy Acorn Squash Soup

How to Store

Store your fresh, uncut winter squash in a cool, dark place, such as a basement or closet, where sunlight won’t hasten its ripening. Under the right storage conditions, winter squash should last two to three months. Once cut and/or cooked, squash can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.

Our Farmers

Stehly Organic Farm – San Diego, CA  Third generation farmers, Noel and Jerome Stehly, operate out of San Diego County with a focus on organic growing.