Seasonal produce now at the Santa Monica Farmers’ Markets: Persian CucumbersSmall, 6-8 inches long, smooth skinned, medium green cucumbers. Skin is very thin and the seeds are small so the entire vegetable is edible. No peeling is required. Tender, crisp flesh and delicious, fresh flavor. These greenhouse cukes are hydroponically grown in Fillmore by Beylik Farm. The hydroponic growing method uses a water solution in a sterile growing medium so the plant receives all the nutrients it needs without being grown in soil. A new greenhouse design at Beylik’s farm may ensure that the greenhouse cukes will be available all year round. Japanese CucumbersVery similar to the Persian cukes, but a little longer with pointier ends and a shinier green skin. Wong Farm grows these cukes hydroponically outdoors near the Salton Sea. These cukes are thin-skinned with crisp, tender white flesh. Lolla Rosa LettuceA ruffled, dark magenta lettuce that attains a darker shade of red during cold weather. This is a small leaf lettuce that is delicious and crisp, and that makes a startling presentation on the plate. One entire head will make one nice salad. All that is needed is a good simple olive oil and vinegar dressing. Available at Coleman Farms stand. RadicchioA slightly bitter Italian salad “green” that is primarily purple in color. Two types are available at Coleman Farm’s stand at the Wednesday Santa Monica Market – a round, ruffled, rose-shaped head called Rosa di Verona, and a long-leafed Treviso variety. Both types of radicchio can be grilled, or simply chopped and added to salads for extra flavor. They pair well with salty, dry cheeses and toasted walnuts or pecans.Four-inch tomato plants are garden-ready. Windrose Farm from Paso Robles is starting to bring in their tomato plants. Out of a total of 200 varieties of heirloom and standard hybrids, Barbara and Bill Spencer will have several on hand each week at the market. They print a helpful tomato guide that defines the tomatoes by color, taste and texture so you can customize you personal tomato patch according to your own desire. From a single patio plant to a garden of wonders, now is the time to get your tomato garden started. If you plant now, you can be harvesting tomatoes by Memorial Day.Going, going…some farmers are running out of the incredibly sweet Oro Blanco grapefruit – a white-fleshed variety that is unbelievably sweet this late in the season. If you haven’t tried an Oro Blanco yet this year, be sure to grab one. You will wonder why you waited so long!
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