Veggies on Parade

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Gung Hei Fat Choy! (Literally “Congratulations and be prosperous!”) Happy Year of the Tiger! Chinese New Year is a spring celebration, sometimes called Spring Festival, and is the most important holiday on the Chinese calendar. It is held after the fall harvest and before the start of the spring planting season and brings hopes for a good harvest in the year to come. This lunar year began on Feb. 14 and ends two weeks later. The start of the holiday is marked by family gatherings and lots of food cooked to be shared. Firecrackers are used to scare away bad spirits from the old year and reach a crescendo with Chinese New Year parades like the one in San Francisco, which dates from the 1860s and is the largest outside of China. For the parade on Feb. 27, a 250-foot "Gum Loong," or gold dragon, will snake its way up Kearny Street to scare away bad spirits, thank the gods for a good harvest, and wish everyone peace, prosperity, and good luck.

bok choy

This week FruitGuys Buyer Rebecca North selected vegetables for a New Year's party-in-a-box. From the chilly north, beautiful Savoy Cabbage grown by Short Night Farms in Dunnigan (Yolo County) and Purple Kohlrabi from the mineral-rich soils at Comanche Creek in Chico (Butte County). Central Coast areas of Watsonville (Santa Cruz County) and San Juan Bautista (San Benito County) are producing tender Mei Qing Baby Bok Choy, plus the festive Watermelon Diakon. To get the all-important ginger, Rebecca reached out to Kolo Kai Organics on the beautiful sunny island of Kauai, Hawaii.

All entrants in this week’s Veggie Parade can be parlayed into festive meals. FruitGuys Betty Hui's favorite New Year’s dishes are Savoy Cabbage with mushrooms, steamed baby Bok Choy with oyster sauce, and stir-fried Kohlrabi. Betty reminds us of some important traditions to keep in mind for the celebration:

1. Red envelopes are given by married couples to kids and unmarried people.

2. Tangerines, oranges, and pomelos are good luck fruits.

3. Fireworks are to scare away evil spirits so good fortune will come to you.

4. Red is the good luck color. Don't wear white, as it means death.

5. Clean, clean, clean your house. This will bring in the New Year with good luck and fortune.

6. Eat noodles during this time, as they signify a long life.

7. Respect elders and say "Gung Hei Fat Choy."

8. It's bad luck if you drop or play with your chopsticks.

A New Years wish to you and yours for a prosperous and healthy New Year!

- Heidi Lewis


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