Nancy Nunez

Nancy Nunez of Tu Universo Farms at the St. Helena Farmers’ Market.

Locally grown fruits and vegetables are tastiest and healthiest when consumed at their peak of ripeness. That means eating lots of the same things in a short period in time, so the challenge becomes finding new ways to serve them.

The asparagus season is winding down. I’ve enjoyed them steamed, grilled and shaved raw. Before they disappear, I’d like to share a lesser known recipe – bacon-wrapped cheesy asparagus snacks. Cut the spears into 3-inch pieces. Mix softened cream cheese with grated sharp cheddar and garlic powder. Place a teaspoon of this cheese with the asparagus and wrap with a strip of bacon cut to fit. For crispy bacon, pre-cook it on a stove top, making sure to keep it soft enough to be pliable. Bake the bundles seam side down for 20-25 minutes in a 400 degree preheated oven. Serve warm.

Happily, strawberries enjoy a long growing season in Northern California. After consuming lots of them au naturel, enjoying them in shortcakes and sliced in green salads, I tried roasting them. I tossed the berries in black pepper, added balsamic vinegar, placed the berries with their juice into a baking pan, and baked in a 375-degree preheated oven for 10 minutes. Their wonderful sweet-savory taste complimented both cubed cheese and hummus. And talking about hummus, The Hummus Guy offers so many flavors that you’ll never tire of it. Pep up the standard crudité with Black Bean Chipotle, Jalapeño and Cilantro or the Roasted Red Pepper Hummus.

A recent Market addition, Ray Ray’s Tacos, inspires creativity. On opening day, their “Taco of the Week” was a fantastic combination of braised carnitas, pickled kumquat, purple cabbage, cilantro and cotija on a corn tortilla. Wow!

We invite you to join us at 10:30 on Friday, May 24, when Mike Solaegui of The Perfect Edge will give you hints on “sharpening your knives” as he kicks off our Summer Lecture Series.

Kids will enjoy “Seeds of Change” projects with Market Educator Arwen Gallenkamp from 9 to 10. Turby Leather and Neve Brothers Flowers will be making their Market debut and Dominque’s Sweets will be at the Market with delicious fruit pies, pastries and French macarons!

The St. Helena Farmers’ Market is held in Crane Park every Friday from 7:30 a.m. to noon through Oct. 25. For the most up-to-date information on weekly events, please visit us at sthelenafarmersmkt.org, sign up for the Market’s weekly online Newsletter or follow us on Facebook or Instagram.

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Stacey Bressler is a vintner and member of the St. Helena Farmers’ Market Board of Directors.