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Embrace the vegetables of November

National holiday, local produce

San Diego grown herbs including sage, rosemary and bay leaves (parsley and thyme not pictured).
San Diego grown herbs including sage, rosemary and bay leaves (parsley and thyme not pictured).

The Thanksgiving holiday was specifically built around the harvest of local produce, so perhaps mmore than any other month it makes sense to embrace San Diego grown vegetables in November.

Make that herbs and vegetables. Using fresh herbs is the easiest way to elevate your Thanksgiving cooking, and make your house smells great in the process. Several local farms routinely offer herbs through their farmers market stalls and community-supported agriculture programs, particularly this month, when San Diegans are looking for traditional turkey roasting aromatics, and cooking up big portions of stuffing.

Sage tops the list of locally-grown herbs to watch out for, along with (of course) parsley, rosemary, and thyme. They don’t get as much love in popular music, but oregano and bay leaves make a thyme substitute when it comes to adding floral fragrant notes to any number of dishes. Gilbert & Lee Quintos Farms stands offer pesticide free versions of most of these herbs in November. If you’re looking for certified organic, try JR Organics, Adam Maciel Farm, and Suzie’s Farm, which also has lemon verbena to give citrus notes to your bird.

Don’t forget to include celery with your herbs, garlic, and onions — the stalks don’t just add a satisfying crunch to stuffing, they’re also an aromatic mainstay for turkey day feasts, available from Gilbert & Lee, Maciel, and Stehly Farms.

Winter squashes are a natural fit for Thanksgiving meals, whether you incorporate them into soups, vegetable roasts, or in a pumpkin spiced pie. They’re prevalent all over the county these days, whether you’re looking for the usual acorn or butternut. Stehly Farms market also features the sweet potato-like delicata and kabocha varieties, and both Maciel and Suzie’s will likely still have baking pumpkins for that pie.

Stehly shops also feature white and orange sweet potatoes, whether or not you’d rather call them yams on the plate. Other locally grown root vegetables to consider are turnips, beets, carrots and parsnips — the first three easy to find at Maciel and Suzie’s booths, and all plus the latter at JR’s. Maciel’s also got chives, always so good, however you cook your potatoes.

Cruciferous vegetables are also coming back through the winter. Spinach still seems to sell out fast, but there’s always plenty of kale, a fair amount of cabbage, chard, occasional broccoli, and Kawano Farms has small Brussels sprouts.

Kawano also has late season tomatoes, including small, round, and sweet Japanese tomatoes, plus brandywine and Cherokee purple heirloom varieties. These may not read traditional Thanksgiving, because most parts of the country can’t pull off tomatoes this time of year, but these still taste fantastic.

More traditional are green beans, carries by both Kawano and Maciel. To keep your beans and casserole dishes interesting, you can mix it up with the very similar yellow and purple wax beans — though don’t be too disappointed that the purple ones turn green when you cook them. If color’s what you’re after, pick up some edible flowers from Suzie’s Farm to dress any dish on the table.

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San Diego grown herbs including sage, rosemary and bay leaves (parsley and thyme not pictured).
San Diego grown herbs including sage, rosemary and bay leaves (parsley and thyme not pictured).

The Thanksgiving holiday was specifically built around the harvest of local produce, so perhaps mmore than any other month it makes sense to embrace San Diego grown vegetables in November.

Make that herbs and vegetables. Using fresh herbs is the easiest way to elevate your Thanksgiving cooking, and make your house smells great in the process. Several local farms routinely offer herbs through their farmers market stalls and community-supported agriculture programs, particularly this month, when San Diegans are looking for traditional turkey roasting aromatics, and cooking up big portions of stuffing.

Sage tops the list of locally-grown herbs to watch out for, along with (of course) parsley, rosemary, and thyme. They don’t get as much love in popular music, but oregano and bay leaves make a thyme substitute when it comes to adding floral fragrant notes to any number of dishes. Gilbert & Lee Quintos Farms stands offer pesticide free versions of most of these herbs in November. If you’re looking for certified organic, try JR Organics, Adam Maciel Farm, and Suzie’s Farm, which also has lemon verbena to give citrus notes to your bird.

Don’t forget to include celery with your herbs, garlic, and onions — the stalks don’t just add a satisfying crunch to stuffing, they’re also an aromatic mainstay for turkey day feasts, available from Gilbert & Lee, Maciel, and Stehly Farms.

Winter squashes are a natural fit for Thanksgiving meals, whether you incorporate them into soups, vegetable roasts, or in a pumpkin spiced pie. They’re prevalent all over the county these days, whether you’re looking for the usual acorn or butternut. Stehly Farms market also features the sweet potato-like delicata and kabocha varieties, and both Maciel and Suzie’s will likely still have baking pumpkins for that pie.

Stehly shops also feature white and orange sweet potatoes, whether or not you’d rather call them yams on the plate. Other locally grown root vegetables to consider are turnips, beets, carrots and parsnips — the first three easy to find at Maciel and Suzie’s booths, and all plus the latter at JR’s. Maciel’s also got chives, always so good, however you cook your potatoes.

Cruciferous vegetables are also coming back through the winter. Spinach still seems to sell out fast, but there’s always plenty of kale, a fair amount of cabbage, chard, occasional broccoli, and Kawano Farms has small Brussels sprouts.

Kawano also has late season tomatoes, including small, round, and sweet Japanese tomatoes, plus brandywine and Cherokee purple heirloom varieties. These may not read traditional Thanksgiving, because most parts of the country can’t pull off tomatoes this time of year, but these still taste fantastic.

More traditional are green beans, carries by both Kawano and Maciel. To keep your beans and casserole dishes interesting, you can mix it up with the very similar yellow and purple wax beans — though don’t be too disappointed that the purple ones turn green when you cook them. If color’s what you’re after, pick up some edible flowers from Suzie’s Farm to dress any dish on the table.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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