Translated from Italian as “little arms or little shoots,” broccoli is eaten by many different cultures in many different ways. This hearty vegetable is in the brassica family, and is most closely related to cauliflower, (both are essentially the bud of a flower that will otherwise bloom and seed if left to grow). Unlike cauliflower, which prefers mainly cool climates, broccoli can thrives in many different regions of the world. That said, broccoli best in the winter when the cold weather helps it retain its sugars.

When buying broccoli, the stalk, leaves, and florets should be fresh, firm, and brightly colored, with tightly closed buds. Avoid broccoli with a woody stalk or yellow florets. Store broccoli in the fridge, preferably in the crisper. Blanching this vegetable will preserve the color (unless it’s the purple variety, in which case it will turn green when cooked, regardless of the method). When boiling, use a larger of quantity of water; it will minimize the odor. Avoid covering broccoli in a pot with a lid as it causes its color to fade. Steaming this vegetable is the best way to preserve its color, flavor and nutrients.

In Season

January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December

Recipes with Broccoli

Roasted Broccoli with Meyer Lemon and Pistachio Salsa

Robin Song, Hog & Rocks

Low-Sodium Broccoli Leek Soup with Sun-Dried Tomato Oil

Elianna Friedman, CUESA’s Market Chef

Crustless Veggie Quiche

Amy Fothergill, The Family Chef (

Broccoli and Escarole Pasta

Sarah Henkin, CUESA’s Market Chef.

Articles about Broccoli

July 25, 2014

The Great Tomato Debate

Confused by terms like heirloom, open-pollinated, hybrid, and GMO? We’ll help you sort them out.

July 18, 2014

Meet Marcy

CUESA is excited to welcome our new executive director, Marcy Coburn! Find out what inspires her work.

July 11, 2014

Farm Tripping

Summer is prime time for agritourism. Here’s our list of local U-picks, tours, and other farm fun.

July 09, 2014

A Fond Farewell from Critical Edge Knife Sharpening

Bob Kattenburg retires after 19 years as the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market’s knife sharpener.

July 04, 2014

On the Farm at Marin Roots

Take a behind-the-scenes look at organic veggie growing with the young farmers at Marin Roots Farm.


CUESA (Center for Urban Education about Sustainable Agriculture) is dedicated to cultivating a sustainable food system through the operation of the Ferry Plaza Farmers Market and its educational programs. Learn More »