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It’s no wonder Italians have a romance with food when the family of vegetables known as Italian vegetables – including Artichokes, Brussels Sprouts, Fennel and Cardone – are so flavorful and versatile.

Some call Italy one great vegetable patch as Italians grow many different types of vegetables and turn them into delightful side dishes that can double as a main course.

In California, the climate is very similar to the mild, temperate growing regions of Italy. This type of weather has allowed Ocean Mist Farms to grow a variety of Italian vegetables since 1924.

Over the years, we have developed a library of easy-to-follow recipes that include your favorite Italian vegetables. Delight your friends and family over the holidays with healthy, colorful and delicious Italian dishes such as our Cardone Quiche, the perfect dish for Sunday brunch. Cardone adds a wonderful flavor to a brunch staple and many people consider it a delicacy!

Brussels Sprouts are a perennial holiday favorite. Try our Shredded Brussels Sprouts recipe for a healthy salad option or our Brussels Sprouts and Apple Sauce recipe for a twist on comfort food during this chilly season.

Fennel is a favorite in Italian kitchens because of its ability to enhance and blend with other flavors. Try one of our Fennel soups like the Fast Italian Wedding Soup with Spinach & Fennelor our Crock Pot Carrot-Butternut and Fennel soup. Right now you can find convenient two-bulb clamshell packs of Ocean Mist Farms Fennel at Trader Joe’s.

If you are unable to find any of these Italian specialty items, request them from the produce manager at your preferred grocery store. Let them know you connected with the grower, confirmed they are in season and available to order.

We know many of you have family traditions using these unique Italian vegetables. Please share them with us by submitting a recipe on our website. Eating your vegetables can truly be a pleasure when you serve hearty, flavorful dishes with Ocean Mist Farms’ Italian vegetables!

‘Tis the season for holiday gatherings. Whether you entertain formally or casually, these practical tips will help you make get-togethers memorable.

The Right Size
The secret to a successful holiday gathering is orchestrating the occasion so it doesn’t stretch your resources and you feel comfortable and in control. Here are a few tips:

  • Limit the size of your gathering so you can manage your guests easily.
  • Plan festivities that fit your budget and schedule.
  • Choose decorations and tableware that fit your lifestyle. If you enjoy collecting elegant crystal and china, use your holiday gatherings to show off your treasures. But if informal is more your style, create a festive atmosphere with informal fabrics and china, or paper and plastic dinnerware.
  • Select your guest list carefully. Include a variety of ages and a good mix of listeners and talkers.
  • Invite guests by mail, phone or e-mail invitations. Make sure your invitations include all the important information: date, time, place, address, phone number and an RSVP request. Include a map showing how to get to the event location.
  • When it comes to table coverings, use your imagination – just about anything goes. For formal occasions, use fine linen, lace or heirloom quilts. At informal get-togethers, turn to homey place mats, holiday runners, large printed handkerchiefs or even big squares of colorful paper.

Planning the Menu
Choose a menu that pleases your guests, but doesn’t keep you locked away in the kitchen.

  • Build menus around dishes you know how to make and add one or two new recipes.
  • Plan as many make-ahead dishes as you can. That way, you’ll have time to enjoy your party.
  • Combine foods with contrasting colors, textures and temperatures. Avoid dishes that are all the same color or all creamy or all crunchy.
  • Plan a combination of hot and cold foods.

We have a large number of creative and delicious holiday recipes on our website. Visit therecipes page and click on the holiday recipes icon for the full list!

Make Your Guests Feel Welcome
Set the stage for your party with touches that add to the feeling of fun. Items such as luminaries lighting the front walk, a festive door wreath or candles and flowers throughout the house create an inviting atmosphere.

At the end of the gathering, treat guests to small favors that they can take home as mementos of the event. A small bag of nuts or candies, a colorful ornament, a frame for a wallet size photo or a small decorative candle are all inexpensive gifts.