Organic mint

With the sun shining through our Southern California winter, local herbs are thriving in the frost-free zone. Fresh mint is surprisingly still in abundance this time of year, with a refreshing flavor packed into its large green leaves. Perfect for adding to salads, sliced fruits, and grilled meats and veggies. It also combines nicely with fruit juices, garlic and honey to make a delicious marinade for Tropical Mint Chicken, the Fix of the Week on page D8. Spearmint and peppermint varieties are available. Organically grown by Earthtrine Farm of Ojai. Now at the Tuesday Santa Barbara and Saturday Santa Barbara farmers markets. About $1.25 per bunch.

Pecans

You'll really notice a difference in the quality of these nuts this time of year, when they are at their freshest. Pecans are an excellent source of protein and fiber and contain iron, calcium, vitamins A, B and C, and potassium and phosphorous. They are also cholesterol-free, while the fat is mostly polyunsaturated. Grown by Avila and Sons Farm and available at the Tuesday Santa Barbara, Wednesday Solvang, Saturday Santa Barbara and Sunday Camino Real markets. $9 per pound.

Local mushrooms

We have some exceptional mushrooms right now, including shiitake and oyster as well as those highly sought wild chanterelles (Saturday market only). Perfect for sautčing, roasting or grilling, fresh mushrooms add a great texture to dishes. Available at the Tuesday Santa Barbara, Wednesday Solvang, Saturday Santa Barbara and Sunday Camino Real markets. About $6 to $15 per pound, depending on the variety.