One thing I love about the market is how it expands my sense of what is local. Driving back from a recent trip to the desert, the hours were full of sand and bare, rocky terrain, blending to the flat drone of 99. When I finally came into the farming communities south of Salinas and King City, I felt a visceral sense of home, though I was still almost 2 hours from my destination. But the long rows of lettuce, the tilled, black soil, the sense of green and growing things, the blue east side of the Coast Range looming to my left, all combined to make me feel as though this place, so rarely a destination for me, was part of my sense of home. On another occasion, passing long rows of peach trees blooming in Reedly, Ca, I recognized the trees that produce some of my market favorites from Lone Oak Farms and felt that same surge of connection, though I was again hours from home.
California is a diverse and complicated state, full of microclimates that favor some crops over others. A complex web of climate, real estate prices, water resources, crop prices, demand, and transportation logistics determines what gets grown where. We’re lucky to live within a few hours’ drive of some of the best growing grounds for stone fruit, melons, citrus, and other succulent, heat-loving delights.
This month’s feature includes produce from the Central Valley, so central to the agricultural heritage of our state, and to the flavors of summer, we so look forward to.
Sure, we have all seen salsas with a bit of fruit added. A hint of sweetness can balance a fiery heat; Mango Habanero is a classic combination for this reason, as it pairs the sugary mango with a fruity, blisteringly hot pepper. These salsas are all well and good; we’re not going to stop making them anytime soon. But what we have here is something different.
Stonefruits replace tomato for the body of this recipe, but this is no jammy spoonful of fruit. Diced serrano and bell peppers add color and heat, and minced shallot adds the allium notes. Cilantro and lime juice round it out, but there’s another heat, humming in the background, not usual for salsa…but perfect, here, somehow. Can you find it on your tongue?
Serve this salsa as a snack with crisp corn chips, alongside grilled vegetables, or atop fish or barbecued chicken. Inspiration for this recipe came from Naturally Nourished: Healthy, Delicious Meals Made with Everyday Ingredients, the new book from Sarah Britton of My New Roots: Inspired Plant-Based Recipes for Every Season fame.
Prepare the ingredients as directed. Wash, pit, and dice the stone fruit into very small pieces, then transfer them to a large bowl.
Add the chile, bell pepper, shallot, ginger, cilantro, lime juice, and salt.
Toss gently and adjust the seasoning as needed, then let the salsa to stand at room temperature for 20 minutes, to allow the flavors to meld.
This salsa does not keep long, so make it in small batches for fresh use.
It’s part of our mission here at Mountain Feed to help you make delicious, sustainable, homemade food more often. Stop by and say hello on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Or, as always, you can do it the old fashioned way and come by the store to speak with one of our in-house experts.