Spring produce at Long Meadow Ranch

Spring produce from Long Meadow Ranch is now available at the St. Helena Farmers' Market, which is open from 7:30 a.m. to noon, Fridays at Crane Park.

One of the joys of shopping at the St. Helena Farmers’ Market is discovering the specialty items our vendors provide. A recent discovery is the fantastic Chalapeño bread from Upper Crust Bakery.

A modern interpretation of the buttery, sweet egg bread traditionally prepared by Jewish families for the Sabbath and holiday celebrations, this loaf packs a punch with the addition of spicy jalapeño cheese. It tastes new, but still has the classic braided loaf appearance that my Grandma said represented intertwined arms symbolizing love.

Several products have become staples in my pantry. The Mandarin Orange with Chili and Garlic jam from Wild Pear Co. shows up in a wide range of dishes from chicken salad to pork chops. It’s also great in dips or just spread on toast. Contimo’s Pimento Cheese updates the southern favorite with local California ingredients. It’s not only wonderful as a dip for veggies or crackers, but has now replaced tomato ketchup as my favorite burger topping.

Another terrific find is Long Meadow Ranch’s preserved Meyer lemons. I love the added flavor boost they give to salad dressings, aioli, or roasted vegetables like cauliflower and broccoli, but I rarely take the time to ferment my own. Problem solved. Try a dollop of preserved Meyer lemon aioli with the fabulous smoked salmon from Santa Rosa Seafood for a guaranteed crowd-pleaser.

It’s always great to start the day with a healthy green juice, and The Fruit Tree’s Ginger Green Smoothie is a favorite. Made with 100 percent organic kale, spinach, strawberry, apple, pear, lemon and mint, I find that adding some ground nutmeg really makes the flavors pop.

My new favorite non-alcoholic cocktail is Summer Passion from Napa Valley Tea. This delicious blend of beet root, papaya, grapes, carrots and oranges makes a beautiful rose-colored warm-weather mocktail when poured over ice in a tall glass with a sprig of mint for garnish.

This week several new and returning vendors make their debut at the Market. Stop by to welcome Arceo Ranch, Be Here Farm and Nature, A & Bee Provisions and artisans FLWR Napa Valley and Simplegood. Bring the kids to join Market Educator Arwen Gallenkamp for hands-on “Seeds of Change” projects from 9 to 11:30 a.m. and Kids’ Story Time from 9:30 to 10 a.m.

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, 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 member of the St. Helena Farmers’ Market Board of Directors.