by Lisa

One of the great things about eating locally and seasonally is that every few months or so, a “new” food comes into rotation, giving everyone, but especially the kids, a much needed change. When a food comes into season–like cherries or pomegranates or persimmons–it’s almost like a holiday. The kids reminisce about their favorite foods in off-season and look forward to what’s coming next.

One doesn’t often think of nuts as a seasonal product, but they are, and we are lucky enough to have a farmer at our market who brings fresh nuts year round to market.  He brings, from Winters, CA, amazing value-added products like tamari or wasabi or cinnamon, or orange honey almonds; barbecue, lemon-chili, garlic and italian herb pistachios; some nuts are shelled, some unshelled, some are raw, some are roasted, some are salted, some are not.  We’ve yet to meet a nut we don’t like around here, and very often the kids take them for snack to school.

But one of the very best things at this stand are the fresh, unshelled walnuts.  They are markedly different-fresher, more flavorful–than store bought, pre-shelled walnuts. When the new crop comes in, in late winter, I can buy a very large bag of thin-shelled walnuts for just a few dollars. At home, I pour the bag into the bowl that in other seasons holds cherries or plums–and leave out the nutcracker and an empty bowl for shells and let the kids snack on them whenever they want. Ella, especially, cannot get enough. She eats them for snack, for appetizer, for dessert.   And I don’t mind one bit.