Stehly Farms Organics is currently selling some golden nugget tangerines at their shops and, for a limited time, cara cara naval oranges, known for their seedless red flesh and sweet tang. Large, buttery Reed avocados are expected to hit around mid-March.
Suzie’s Organic Farm is in the midst of its February–June harvest of Albion strawberries, including opportunities to pick them yourself on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Now is the time to pick up green garlic and to watch out for a beautiful incoming crop of tatsoi, a Chinese mustard green good for salads. All the above will be available at farmers' market stands, grocery stores, and area restaurants.
JR Organics reports beets are coming into season, soon available via the Escondido farm’s market stands and community-supported agriculture program. Red carrots are also on tap, and sugar snap peas are making an earlier than usual appearance this year.
Adam Maciel Organic Farm in Bonsall also reports snap peas and seasonal leafy vegetables, including butter lettuce, collard greens, and cabbages. Broccoli is also in season, and its cauliflower-like cousin romanesco, which is easy to spot with its fractal-shaped green florets. Maciel market stands will also feature some kohlrabi, the German “cabbage turnip.” Kohlrabi leaves make a decent substitute for kale, while its bulb resembles broccoli stem and takes well to roasting. It’s common in Europe, and Maciel says its been gaining interest among local foodies.
Be Wise Ranch says they’ve also begun harvesting strawberries and will continue for the next four months, with the season peaking in April. In the nearer term, don’t sleep on snap peas and bok choy — these limited items will only be around a couple weeks at groceries carrying Be Wise produce.
One of San Diego County’s largest and oldest organic farms, Be Wise Ranch grows on 250 acres in Escondido’s Santa Fe and San Pasqual Valleys. Bill Brammer started the farm with 20 acres in 1977 and still retains some of his original employees nearly 40 years later. Best known for its strawberries and heirloom tomatoes, the farm also grows leafy greens including kale, chard, and lettuce; and root vegetables such as carrots, beets, spring onions, and fennel.
Be Wise ships produce to several states — Texas, Colorado, through the upper Midwest and down the East Coast. While it no longer participates in farmers’ markets, its produce is also well distributed locally, primarily at independent groceries throughout the county, including Jimbo’s, Barons Market, Stump’s Family Marketplace, Frazier Farms, and Cream of the Crop. It also turns up at Whole Foods and People’s Co-op, and in packages of strawberries and heirloom tomatoes at Trader Joe’s.
A wider range of fruits and vegetables turn up in Be Wise CSA boxes, which are often supplemented by produce from smaller farms in the area. Be Wise also donates produce to some local schools and to the Jacobs & Cushman San Diego Food Bank — the county’s largest hunger-relief organization.