Mussels

Freshly harvested for the farmers market each week, these mussels are, without a doubt, the best I've ever had. A quick, five-minute steam in your favorite broth or stock is all you need for a great appetizer. Or serve over pasta with lemon grass sauce, fresh garlic and heirloom tomatoes, as seen in the Fix of the Week on page D6. Loaded with protein, mussels are available at the Saturday Santa Barbara market. $4 per pound.

Lemon grass

This native to India, traditionally used in Thai and other Asia-style dishes, really packs flavor. Perfect for stir-fry, soup and most seafood dishes, just a single stalk goes a long way in adding a hint of lemon. Although the entire stalk can be used, be sure to slice it very thin before adding; when it's too thick, the texture is less than ideal. Available from Her Family Farm at the Saturday Santa Barbara and Sunday Camino Real markets. About $2 per large bunch.


Lipstick peppers

These delicious peppers, grown by Rudy Domingo in Arroyo Grande, are sweet and crisp. They are perfect for stuffing, chopping over salads, roasting, grilling or incorporating into a sauce. They are excellent sources of essential nutrients and have three times as much vitamin C as citrus fruit. They are also a good source of beta-carotene and offer good amounts of fiber and vitamin B6. Available at the Tuesday Santa Barbara and Saturday Santa Barbara markets. About $2 per pound.

Sam Edelman, general manager, Santa Barbara Certified Farmers Market Association; photos by Robby Barthelmess, NewsPress