With the cookies and cocktails of 2006 behind us, whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables finally get their due.
What to Look For
Charentais melons, a.k.a. cavaillon, are often considered monarchs among melons. Choose a heavy-feeling fruit with a slightly soft rind and a sweet, musky perfume and serve as is, with prosciutto, or in desserts (recipe) ($5.99 each at Citarella).
Dried coco rose beans can be simmered even without advance soaking to silken perfection. Unlike other dried beans, which are often shriveled and broken, these cocoa-colored French legumes are glossy and plump, with hints of chestnut and a meaty taste that makes simple soups shine and is richly satisfying on its own (recipe) ($2.99 per 500 grams at Fairway).
Old line heirloom navel orange trees, grown from a mix of sweet and sour rootstocks, produce large fruit with dense, sweet-tart segments. Peel and eat the oranges or use their juice to brighten savory dishes like these bay scallops (recipe) (widely available).
Casino di Capraficos farro pasta has a suaver texture than most whole-wheat pastas. (Farro, or emmer wheat, is an ancient strain that has been a staple since Mesopotamian times.) To appreciate the clean taste of the grain, toss lightly with olive-oil-based sauces or just sprinkle with Parmesan and pepper ($5.99 per 500 grams at Zabar's).
Ripe for the Moment
The jewel-colored fruit juices bottled by Lembachhof of Austria evoke late summer, just in time for winters slog. The pear-elderberry juice is a syrupy, fragrant blend. The so-called apple forest juice is crisper, with a hint of berry and a sprightly apple flavor ($2.59 per seven-ounce bottle at Fairway). Zoe Singer