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Farmers’ Market Report: Meet Your Farmer:

Who: Rancho La Vina

Where: 185 certified organic acres of walnuts in Santa Barbara Wine Country between Buellton and Lompoc.

What: Rancho La Vina grows certified organic walnuts on land that is what remains of the Santa Rosa Land Grant which they purchased in the 1860’s. Walnuts have been growing on this land since 1869. Visit Chris at their Farmers Market stand on Wednesday and Saturday Downtown and you will find a variety of walnuts: raw, toasted, cold smoked, spiced (with sugar, cumin, and cayenne), and cocoa chipotle, as well as their wonderful walnut oil. Walnuts are a super food and the highest non-animal source of essential fatty acids and second only to rose hips in antioxidants.

Why: Chris loves the customers at the Santa Monica Farmers Markets. He says they are wonderfully, honest, health conscious people. He also loves to shop at the Markets. Be sure to ask Chris for walnut and walnut oil recipes, because he is a wealth of information! Walnut oil is great for sautéing and stir-frying because it has a higher smoke point than olive oil and it is also great for salad dressing. Here is another great recipe from Chirs:

Avocado, Chevre, & Walnut Salad

• 1 ripe avocado

• 2 Tbsp. chevre

• 1 Tbsp. walnut oil

• 1 cup toasted walnut pieces

• salt and pepper to taste

Peel and slice avocado and arrange on a serving plate. Crumble chevre over avocado slices. Sprinkle with toasted walnuts and drizzle with walnut oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

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