Sometimes they are tiny, not even as big as a gumball or a large cherry tomato. Other times you find them when them when they are slightly larger, giving you two, maybe three bites at most.
Pomegranates have become a favorite winter fruit, gracing salads and juice aisles across the country. The name pomegranate comes from Medieval Latin meaning “seeded apple.”
The exotic fruits grow on small shrub-like trees that lose their leaves as the fruit ripens. In fall and winter, you’ll often see the twisted trunk and naked branches dotted with the large ripening fruit. Because they are drought tolerant, they are a popular crop in California and other Mediterranean climates where they thrive.
Persimmons are intriguing and perplexing fall fruits. Their attractive deep orange skin is hard to miss, yet they are often passed over as being too strange. Most common here in Santa Barbara are the Japanese Hachiya (a rounder, more acorn shape) and the Fuyu (with a squat shape and flat bottom). There are two types of persimmons: astringent or non-astringent.
Figs (from the Ficus family) are a beloved fruit in Santa Barbara and are a rare treat, since their season is short. When picked ripe, the tender skins don’t lend well to travel and so are best eaten no more than a day or two after they are picked. While dried figs are available year-round, they simply don’t compare to the flavor and texture of a fresh one. Perhaps this is why Ancient Greece had laws forbidding the export of the best quality figs.
Melons. Basil. Strawberries. Tomatoes. This is the peak of summer eating.
Here at The Santa Barbara Company, we have developed a bit of a passion for the pickles from Pacific Pickle Works. We have friends and family stopping by, marching into the kitchen and opening our refrigerator in search of them. We leave them on the counter to snack on while we cook. Since they have so few calories, they are the perfect quick, wholesome and refreshing appetizer. And we like to keep them on hand as an impromptu housewarming gift. They are fabulous alongside some spiced nuts, Ojai Olive Oil or a bottle of wine.
The Tuesday Farmers Market in the 500 and 600 blocks of State Street is one of our favorite markets in the Santa Barbara area. It is quintessential Santa Barbara—where international students, tourists, families and busy office workers all end up on a Tuesday evening, gathering produce and sampling juicy fresh fruits among the shops and restaurants of downtown.