farmer fresh  by Deb Morris

Each year, as the holiday season comes around, we scramble to put together baked goods, family meals, and gifts for all those on the wish lists. One of the favorite items this time of year is nuts. Their versatility makes them a must have. Nuts are included in baking, side dishes, salads, appetizers, and as snacks.
Walnuts are the oldest food trees we know of. The Romans called them “Jupiter’s royal acorn.” They were traded along the Silk Road, eventually traded along the sea routes to other nations. The walnut was first cultivated in California by the Franciscan fathers in the late 1700’s and planted next to the missions. They flourished in this Mediterranean climate and by 1870 modern walnut production began.
Walnuts are considered one of the healthiest fats that should be incorporated into your daily diet. They are filled with omega-3 fatty acids. The walnut is a fantastic source of protein, fiber, magnesium, and phosphorous. By adding a small handful of fresh California walnuts to your diet every day, you’ll get the nutrition your body needs in a tasty package. Here are 10 ways to get an ounce or two of walnuts into your meals.
1. Toss a handful of walnuts on a pear, goat cheese, and spinach salad.
2. Make pesto with walnuts instead of pine nuts for a delicious earthy taste.
3. Make walnut butter to spread on crostini or use as a dip for veggies.
4. Grind them in the food processor to give salmon or other fish a crunchy crust.
5. Sprinkle walnut pieces into your yogurt or cereal in the morning for a burst of energy.
6. Add walnuts to stuffing mix for the holidays.
7. Use them in baking for a crispy healthy crunch.
8. Stuff dates with walnuts for a quick, energy boosting snack or a tasty party appetizer.
9. Toss with a tiny bit of melted butter and sprinkle with brown sugar, roast at 350⁰F for 10 to 15 minutes.
10. Make your own trail mix with raisins and other dried fruits, and a bit of salt.
You can find an assortment of nuts at the Concord Farmers’ Market. Every Tuesday Winters Fruit Tree brings an array of flavored and plain almonds, pistachios, and walnuts all ideal for you to add to your favorite recipes. Plus, you support your local farmers’ market.
Find more recipes at! Think nuts when you’re doing your holiday shopping. Your guests and family will approve. Happy Holidays!