One of the difficulties that arises when I cook is not being able to find particular ingredients. Most often, the item is one of a few featured in a recent issue of a food magazine I enjoy, and because the content is seasonal, one would believe that finding those ingredients might be easier.
Unfortunately, it isn’t true, and when it comes time for me to cook something new, I have to drive to several stores to find what I’m looking for — if I can find it at all. When I am able to locate that one special ingredient, I’m left wondering where it was grown, and by whom, annoyed that most often, it isn’t from anywhere near San Diego. Thankfully, I have a new venue to track down those one of a kind ingredients when it comes to fresh fruit or vegetables: Specialty Produce.
Last week, I had the opportunity to visit Specialty Produce and tour their facility in Middletown, an industrial sort of neighborhood relatively close to the airport and downtown. It’s a bustling place where employees are either wheeling unique merchandise through the warehouse, or monitoring phones and computers taking orders from local chefs and other merchants.
Here was finally a place I could get chervil, or purslane, or chanterelles when no one else has them. And there’s a great section with produce from area growers with items I’ve never seen before — like Red Frill Mustard and Watermelon Radishes. It was like being in a candy shop when you’re a veggie lover like me — the only drawback is that one can only purchase so much fresh food and still be able to enjoy it within the next day or so.
The best way to utilize this great San Diego resource if you’re an avid home cook like me is to check out what’s in stock using their website. It will tell you not only what’s in stock, but what’s in peak season and at the height of quality. Nutritional information is also available which is something I always keep my eye on.
Along with the mustard and radishes I mentioned above, I brought home Black Kale, Yellow Foot Chanterelles, Green Garlic, Oro Blanco Grapefruit, and some cute little Hauer Pippin from Windrose Farm in Paso Robles.
Oh the fun I’ve had cooking with this food…