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Vegetables & Produce Books


AndrewM
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It all depends on where you live.

Most states' Dept. of Ag. have some sort of guide, as do large local farmer's markets.

For example, here in Ontario we have: http://www.foodland.gov.on.ca/availability.htm

I think the book Flavor by Rocco DiSpirito (yeah, that Rocco) has a chart in it that lists produce by the seasons, but also has a list of things that were once seasonal but are now available in decent quality pretty much year round (such as oranges. lemons etc) either due to long distance transport or greenhouse growing. A bit of a different take on the idea of seasonal, but (for certain things) a valid one.

Cheers,

Geoff Ruby

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  • 7 months later...

Hi All,

I didn't have any luck searching. Does anyone know of a book or website that has items organized based on their seasonal best availability? The Chez Panisse books do it in a limited way for veggies and fruit. Is there a "bible" on this subject or is it live and learn.

Thanks!

-Mike

-Mike & Andrea

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You'd still have to do some additional research (hanging out at the Union Square Greenmarket always works), but another place you may find some general guidance is in Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page's Culinary Artistry. There is a section in the book that lists ingredients, their season and "classic" flavor pairings.

Just another place to look :smile:

Cognito ergo consume - Satchel Pooch, Get Fuzzy

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Hi All,

I didn't have any luck searching.  Does anyone know of a book or website that has items organized based on their seasonal best availability?  The Chez Panisse books do it in a limited way for veggies and fruit.  Is there a "bible" on this subject or is it live and learn.

Thanks!

-Mike

Here's what's available at Verrill Farm in Concord, MA by month. They may be a few weeks behind what's available in NYC, but it should be close. In addition, it's an interesting web site to explore. My only relationship with them is that I'm a very happy customer.

Jim

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The Packer

Produce Marketing Association

Both of these sources are highly reccommended by my product knowledge professor. I have skimmed through each groups guide and there is A LOT of information to gather, more than you could even use.

The Packer is exceptional well guide book to have. It even has standard shipping sizes for restaurant (bulk) purchase.

You really can get all the information you need about produce from these sources. See if you cant get yourself a guide book.

Edited by chiantiglace (log)

Dean Anthony Anderson

"If all you have to eat is an egg, you had better know how to cook it properly" ~ Herve This

Pastry Chef: One If By Land Two If By Sea

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I found this book to be very useful:

Fresh from the Farmers' Market: Year-Round Recipes for the Pick of the Crop

ISBN: 0811813932

The recipes are organized by season, and simple, but interesting to an amateur like me, and the book also contains lots of information about how to select and store your farmers' market finds. I refer to it all summer long.

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When epicurious.com was fairly new (ca. 1995?), they had a wonderful resource that gave you exactly what you want: a map of the entire country and weekly updates on what was available during a given week.

I agree with the advice about Union Square market and becoming familiar with resources your local markets provide. Here in D.C., interested shoppers receive weekly updates by email and can plan accordingly.

In addition to the great recommendations you've received thus far, I'd like to add Elizabeth Schneider's reference books, especially Vegetables from Amaranth to Zucchini, though it doesn't really respond to your question about growing seasons. Perla Meyers was kind of a pioneer when she came out with The Seasonal Kitchen. A return to Fresh Foods more than thirty years ago. To prepare for whatever month features Tuscany in the cooking threads of the Italian forum, you might check out this, although it's not the chef-authored cookbook/family memoir that I sought.

Edited by Pontormo (log)

"Viciousness in the kitchen.

The potatoes hiss." --Sylvia Plath

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I have found that you can usually find out seasonal produce information for your region by poking around the websites of state agriculture departments and cooperative extensions (a title usally, though not always, associated with the agriculture departments of universities).

Each of these sites are organized differently, and sometimes require a little spelunking to track down the relevant info. For instance: I hit the New York State Agriculture and Markets website just now, and they didn't have seasonal info right on their site (that I could find). However, through their links page I found the Farmer's Market Federation of New York, which includes this Harvest Calendar. You'll no doubt want to do a similar exploration through the website for New Jersey's agricultural department as well.

Edited by mizducky (log)
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Along lines similar to what jmcgrath and mizducky have already suggested, another way is to look at websites of local farms that have community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs. Many of them have great websites that highlight what is available locally through the seasons.

Local Harvest has a great website that allows you to search for CSA's and small farms in your geographical area within the U.S.

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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  • 1 year later...

I'd consider "How to Pick a Peach" by Russ Parsons. click

Not only will you get good tips on how to store fruits and vegetables but you will learn about the best tasting varieties and when they are at their peak. It's a wonderful book!

"Under the dusty almond trees, ... stalls were set up which sold banana liquor, rolls, blood puddings, chopped fried meat, meat pies, sausage, yucca breads, crullers, buns, corn breads, puff pastes, longanizas, tripes, coconut nougats, rum toddies, along with all sorts of trifles, gewgaws, trinkets, and knickknacks, and cockfights and lottery tickets."

-- Gabriel Garcia Marquez, 1962 "Big Mama's Funeral"

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Hey folks, I could use a book with info on veg mainly in terms of proper storage, how long it's good for etc...not so much how its cooked...TIA.

The Field Guide to Produce may fit your needs. A typical entry includes:

- General Description

- Alternate Names

- Season

- Purchasing (what to look for, what to avoid)

- Storage

- Tips on preparation, serving suggestions, and flavour affinities.

Also (although it doesn't discuss storage):

The New Oxford Book of Food Plants While this has less in the way of practical tips, it is a very readable reference that covers the botany, nutrition and use of food plants.

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I just got a copy of Vegetable Love last week - haven't cooked anything from it yet, but I have started going through it and the post-it notes are going on lots of pages.

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