Eating Seasonally: December

Baby, it’s cold outside and we’re craving hot soup loaded with fresh market vegetables. Whether it’s a roasted butternut squash bisque or hardy vegetable soup, you’re sure to find plenty of fresh locally grown options at any of our area farmers markets.

Winter Soups

A wide variety of winter squash are still available and nearly all of them are perfect to simply roast and purée for a delicious winter soup. Fall root vegetables are at their peak with some of the sweetest carrots of the season, piles of potatoes, and even a few surprises like sunchokes. All are great additions to any soup or stew.

Beautiful winter greens like Rainbow Chard and Red Russian Kale can easily be added to any soup. Simply separate thick stems from the leaves and chop them both, sauté the stems in the beginning with your onions, celery, carrots and toss in the leafy greens near the end when you’re adjusting your seasoning.

Citrus is Here

The first citrus of the season are hitting market stands. Lemons, limes, and mandarins are here, with oranges, grapefruit and pomelos soon to come.

Mandarin varieties

  • Satsuma- sweet with almost no seeds
  • Clementine- sweet and slightly tart with few seeds
  • Tangerine- sweet and tart with seeds


  • Erika- tart with thick skin and few seeds
  • Lisbon- tart and juicy with smooth skin and very few seeds
  • Meyer- tart and slightly sweet with seeds (mandarin/lemon cross)


  • Persian/Bearss- large and juicy with almost no seeds
  • Key/Mexican- small and slightly bitter with seeds
  • Keffir- sour with thick bumpy skin (leaves are used more often than fruit)

Try Something New

Sunchokes, also called Jerusalem Artichokes, are not artichokes at all. In fact, they are often mistaken for ginger root. These starchy tubers are the roots of a close relative to the sunflower and are one of a few vegetables that were actually farmed by Native Americans. Sunchokes have a sweet nutty flavor with mild artichoke notes. These knobby roots can be added to soups, roasted, pureed, fried, pickled or sliced thin and enjoyed raw. Bring home a few from the market this week, we highly recommend it! 

Get Them Before They Are Gone

December might be your last chance to enjoy two of our favorite ultra-seasonal fruits. Pomegranates and persimmons are the fruits of fall but unlike apples, these do not store well, so get them while you can.

We’ve put together a seasonal shopping list to help guide you through the month. Take THE LIST with you to your neighborhood farmers market or Sacramento’s Natural Foods Co-Op.


butternut squash
swiss chard
Meyer lemons
Get them before they are gone: Fuyu persimmons, pomegranates
Try something new: sunchokes

Photos | Kyle Hagerty