Digging into New Projects and Fresh Fall Flavor

Written by Madison Lisle

fall 1

Today I felt a change in the air that I have been looking forward to for a month. That time between summer and fall is one of anticipation and expectance. I felt the shift today and everything has changed. Apples are now the fruit of choice and red wine is starting to sound more appetizing than white (red in the winter, white in the summer, am I right?).

As the heat fades, I have started to make my time indoors the time to pick up projects I have not seen in a year. Reading books that feel cozy in a comfy chair with a cup of tea. Knitting a sweater still half-finished from the winter before that is begging to be completed. There’s something about autumn that makes turning over a new leaf not just a part of the weather change, but an essential part of creating a better you at the beginning of a new phase of the year. Fall may be the precursor to the hibernation of winter, but there’s no reason not start something new just in time to enjoy it for the rest of the season. Whether it’s morning yoga or finishing that sweater, fall is the perfect time to make it happen.

And none of the autumn vibes would be complete without the hearty and warming produce of the season. Colorful squashes, protein-rich beans, juicy apples, and softened kale grace the table with jewel tones and velvety textures.

So dust off your fluffiest scarf, excavate your wool sweater, start something new, and while you’re at it, dig in to the season’s best produce over candlelight with your beloved.

Full Belly Farm (Guinda):

  • Dino/lacinato kale
  • Collard greens
  • Green chard


Sierra Nevada Cheese Co. (Willows):

  • Hatch chile jack ultra creamy and smooth texture that melts beautifully with a pleasantly mild taste. Full of flavor without the spice!
  • Crème fraiche made from local cream, rich in fat (about 40 percent), and cultured to a slightly nutty, tangy/tart flavor. Its texture is thick and silky.

Elegant Beans and Beyond (Sacramento):

  • Black Valentine medium-sized black bean, turning purple-black when cooked. Meaty texture, nutty flavor, cooks quickly.
  • Green black-eyed peas Earthy, sweet flavor and buttery texture.
  • Green flageolet small, pale green bean used often in French cooking. Holds shape well when cooked.
  • Hisatsu red a Native American bean originally from North Dakota. Nutty flavor, dark red color, medium size, and similar in texture to kidney beans.
  • Jacob’s cattle plum, white-and-red speckled, kidney-shaped bean. Full flavored with rich aroma. Holds shape under long cooking.
  • Pebbles colors ranging from white to black. Tender skin and mild flavors, makes an excellent salad bean.
  • Runner cannellini very smooth texture, full body, and nutty flavor.
  • Snow cap white and tan coloring and creamy texture. These beautiful beans retain markings after cooking.
  • Sunset runner Medium-sized purple and black bean with a creamy texture and distinct flavor. Excellent when used as a baked bean.
  • Christmas Lima large, flat bean, bicolor-cream with dark maroon splotches. Has a buttery texture and chestnut-like flavor.
  • Black Calypso distinct white and black markings with a nutty, slightly oniony flavor and texture that is more crumbly than creamy. Best for baking and soups; simmer slowly so they don’t break.

Larsen Apple Barn (Camino, Ca):

  • Gala apples
  • Jonathan apples
  • Golden delicious apples
  • Mutsu apples
  • Jonagold apples
  • Granny Smith apples
  • Rome apples

gala apples 1386386 1920

Stillwater Orchard (Courtland):

  • Bartlett pears
  • Red stark crimson pears
  • Bosc pears
  • Comice pears
  • French butter pears
  • Seckel pears

Ray Yeung Heirloom Tomatoes (West Sacramento):

  • Red kuri squash
  • Kabocha squash
  • Delicata squash
  • Butternut squash
  • Acorn squash
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Toy box tomato case
  • Green tomatoes
  • Green zebra tomato
  • Carolina gold tomato
  • Pink brandywine tomato
  • Cherokee purple tomato
  • Black prince tomato
  • Shady lady true vine ripe tomato
  • True vine Roma tomato
  • Slim Roma tomato
  • Pineapple tomato
  • Black pineapple tomato
  • Black zebra tomato
  • Giant black zebra tomato
  • Evergreen tomato
  • Patty's striped beefsteak tomato

acorn squash 1497141 1920

Del Rio Botanical-Organic (West Sacramento):

  • Finger limes, clamshell
  • Mixed medley cherry tomatoes
  • Baby mixed squash
  • Toy box squash
  • Squash blossoms
  • Salad mix with petals & herbs
  • Braising mix
  • Arugula
  • Red frisée

Dragon Gourmet Mushrooms (Sloughhouse):

  • Oyster mushrooms
  • Shiitake mushrooms
  • Eryngii/trumpet royale mushrooms
  • Brown beech mushrooms
  • White beech
  • Lion's mane

Riverdog Farms-Organic (Guinda):

  • Mixed eggplant
  • Listada de gandia eggplant
  • Graffiti eggplant
  • Jimmy Nardello peppers
  • Gypsy peppers (colored)
  • Padron peppers
  • Shishito peppers
  • Yellow finn potatoes
  • German butterball potatoes
  • Nicola potatoes

Castaneda Bros. Produce (Vacaville):

  • Toy box case
  • Italian squash
  • Yellow squash
  • Gold bar squash
  • Sunburst squash
  • Summer squash
  • Ronde Nice

Dwelley Farms (Oakley)

  • Pluots
  • Cranberry beans
  • Bluelake beans
  • Romano beans
  • Yellow wax beans
  • French beans

Champagne Poached Pears

(courtesy of Scott Turnipseed, Chef, Produce Express in Sacramento)

4 Bosc pears halved, peeled (NOTE: Store in cold water with lemon juice while producing the poaching liquid.)

1 cup champagne or sparkling white wine

1 cup apple cider

2 tablespoons lemon juice

3/4 cup sugar

1 stick Mexican cinnamon

TECHNIQUE: Bring the liquid to a boil, drain and add the pear halves and bring to a low simmer for 8-10 minutes. Pierce pears with a knife to check for tenderness, they will cool in their liquid so checking tenderness is vital. When the pears are cool, remove them from the poaching liquid, save the liquid and strain it through a sieve or cheesecloth. Bring the liquid back to a boil and thicken by reduction, or you can also thicken the sauce with a cornstarch slurry to your liking.