What's Tasty at Sigona's Farmers Market

July 11, 2012

Best Dried Apricots in the World on Sale at Sigona’s

John Sigona’s Pick of the Week

Locally Grown Dried Apricots

On special right now through July 24th:

6.5 oz. Large Size Blenheim Apricots: $2.99 (Reg. $3.99)
10 oz. Large Size Blenheim Apricots: $4.99 (Reg. $5.99)
19 oz. Large Size Blenheim Apricots: $7.99 (Reg. $9.79)
Bulk Extra Large Size Blenheim Apricots: $9.99 lb. (Reg. $13.99 lb.)

These are the very best dried apricots in the entire world!

No kidding!

We really do have the very best locally grown dried apricots you’ll find anywhere. They’re fantastic because they are:

  • An heirloom Blenheim variety
    • The Blenheim heirlooms have the best flavor of any other variety: a perfect sweet/tart balance featuring smooth, delicate excellence.
    • Blenheims are grown specifically for drying
  • From the local Santa Clara and San Benito Counties
    • Ideal weather—warm late spring/summer days, cool evenings
    • Cool days and evenings in the off season—good for hibernating
    • Soil is excellent for nourishment and healthiest growth possible
    • These two counties are unsurpassed for ideal conditions for growing Blenheim apricots. They’re better than anywhere else in our state, country or in the world!
John outside with produce

John Sigona is the dried fruit & nut buyer for Sigona’s Farmers Markets in Palo Alto and Redwood City, Calif.

Besides the great taste, just 2 oz. of our Blenheim dried apricots provide nutritional and health benefits; a few examples based on a 2,000 per day calorie intake includes:

  • 58% Vitamin A
  • 20% Iron
  • 16% Fiber
  • 4% Iron
  • 4% Calcium
  • Help with constipation
  • Help ease digestion

Our Blenheim apricots are a tasty treat eaten out of hand, but they can be used in cooking in many interesting ways. (Check out our recipes for additional tasty ideas.)

  • With wild rice and chicken
  • In an elegant sweet potato dish
  • In couscous (with chopped onions and spices)
  • In a Chinese salad
  • Chicken or turkey salad
  • Apricot pie or tart
  • And much more!

June 27, 2012

Raw California Whole, Jumbo Pistachio Meats on Sale at Sigona’s

John Sigona’s Pick of the Week

California Whole Raw (Jumbo Size)

Pistachio Meats

Regularly $6.99 

On special right now for $3.99 (6 oz. container)

Raw pistachio meatsOur raw pistachios are coming from a family owned and operated farm in Terra Bella, California. These pistachios are of the finest quality in the world. They’re jumbo sized and picked at full maturity to assure excellent flavor.

Raw pistachios are full of extraordinary nutritional benefits. Here are some of the reasons why they are so good for you:

A (1) oz. serving of raw pistachios provides 10% of the daily value for:

  • Dietary fiber
  • Vitamin B6
  • Thiamin
  • Phosphorus
  • Copper

Raw pistachios are rich in:

John outside with produce

John Sigona is the dried fruit & nut buyer for Sigona’s Farmers Markets in Palo Alto and Redwood City, Calif.

  • Phytosterols, which directly aid in lowering cholesterol levels
  • Monounsaturated (healthy) fats
  • High quality plant source of protein, providing essential and non-essential amino acids

Try raw pistachios in:

June 13, 2012

Medjool Dates on Sale at Sigona’s

John Sigona’s Pick of the Week


Best Price Ever!

California grown, jumbo

Medjool Dates

A 15 lb. box for just $3.27 per pound – that’s only $49.00 – an unheard of, excellent sale price for these dates.

Sale ends June 25th so load up now!

Medjools store excellently in the refrigerator (up to 3 months) or in the freezer for up to 8 months.

Try eating them directly out of the freezer – excellent!

Some Nutritional Facts

  • High fiber: six grams per three oz. serving
  • Good source of potassium, iron and copper
  • Excellent source of magnesium (10% per three oz. serving)
  • Medjool dates consist of 2% protein


  • Room temperature—good for at least (2) weeks
  • Refrigeration—good for 2-3 months
  • Freeze—good for 6-8 months
John outside with produce

John Sigona is the dried fruit & nut buyer for Sigona’s Farmers Markets in Palo Alto and Redwood City, Calif.

Eat ‘em up! Medjools are an excellent, healthy alternative to sugar or honey when diced and mixed with:

  • Oatmeal
  • Cereals
  • Muffins
  • Cookies
  • Trail mixes
  • Fresh fruit Smoothies
  • Yogurt
  • Cottage cheese

Stuff Medjools with cheese and enjoy! It’s easy: simply slice lengthwise, remove the pit and add in a slice of:

  • Soft goat cheese (my # 1 favorite!!)
  • Cream Cheese
  • Monterey Jack
  • Sharp cheddar
  • Blue cheese
  • Or dice any of the following and mix with cheese before stuffing:
    • Spicy jalapeno peppers or any hot pepper of you choice
    • Granny Smith apples
    • Any favorite raw nut—like almonds, walnuts or pecans

May 16, 2012

Dried Calimyrna Figs Packed with Antioxidants

John Sigona’s Pick of the Week: Dried Calimyrna Figs

Central California 

Jumbo Dried Calimyrna Figs 

Reg. $5.99 (10.5 oz. container)

On sale for $3.99

Simply the very best…luscious, rare, jumbo-sized Calimyrna figs…you’d be hard pressed to find these incredible California whole dried figs anywhere but at Sigona’s Farmers Market.

Many of you have asked that I put our jumbo-sized Calimyrna dried figs on sale again. Lucky for you I’ve secured another great buy — so, once again, here is your requested special price!

Dried California Calimyrna figs are of superb quality. They’re big and plump, versatile, healthy and absolutely delicious. They are a delicious, nutritious treat to be enjoyed in numerous ways:

  • Easy to stuff with your favorite cheese: try a few with Gorgonzola and walnuts or pair with any type of goat cheese and serve alongside walnuts/pecans
  • Wrap them with prosciutto and serve with blue cheese
  • Blend up a fig-banana smoothie
  • Chop them up for a fig-nut sandwich
  • Add diced figs to a goat cheese pizza
  • Bake up a cambozola and fig pizza on focaccia bread
  • Snack on them out of hand
  • Add chopped figs to cereals or other fresh fruit smoothies

    John outside with produce

    John Sigona is the dried fruit & nut buyer for Sigona’s Farmers Markets in Palo Alto and Redwood City, Calif.

Also, check out the following nutritional info is from the California Fig Advisory Board:

  • Fresh and dried figs contain disease-fighting antioxidants
  • Fresh and dried figs contain good amounts of calcium
  • Fresh and dried figs contain good amounts of potassium
  • Fresh and dried figs contain good amounts of iron
  • And—lots of dietary fiber

May 2, 2012

Tea Steeped with Sigona’s Dried Fruits

John Sigona’s Pick of the Week

My wife Agueda and I enjoy a nice cup of tea now and again, but last night I mixed things up for a surprisingly unique treat.

I tried experimenting with a mix of my favorite bulk tea and Sigona’s diced, dried fruits.

I mixed a number of Sigona’s unique dried fruits in with the tea leaves and let them steep together before straining. To our delight, this mild and healthy blend was quite delicious and satisfying.

The recipe is easy-breezy. You can use some or all of my dried fruit suggestions, depending upon your desired degree for complexity of flavors. Here, basically is how I created a wonderful after dinner brewed tea.

  • As many tea leaves, or single sachets, for as many cups you’re preparing (I suggest red, white or green tea)
  • About 2 TBL per person of a mix or combo of the following, diced, all natural, nothing added, no sulfur…
    • Dried Fuji Apples
    • Dried Granny Smith Apples
    • Organic Goji Berries
    • Dried White Nectarines
    • Dried Yellow Peaches
    • Dried Bartlett Pears
    • Dried Hachiya Persimmons
    • Dried Navel Oranges
    • Dried Lemons
    • Dried Pineapple
John outside with produce

John Sigona is the dried fruit & nut buyer for Sigona’s Farmers Markets in Palo Alto and Redwood City, Calif.

Simply dice the dried fruits and mix with the dried tea leaves. Pour hot water (no hotter than 200 degrees) over the blend and let sit for 3-4 minutes (I added one-fourth teaspoon coconut sugar for myself; my wife was fine without the sugar). Strain the mixture into tea cups, sip and enjoy.

If you like it, mix larger quantities of the ingredients together in a canister that seals well and store it in the cupboard. It should retain its freshness for at least 5-6 months.

By the way, the listed dried fruits, except the goji berries and pineapple, are grown, dried and processed in Central California by my longtime friends’ family-owned and operated ranch.


Sigona’s Dried Fruit and Nut Specials: May 2-8, 2012

Sigona’s Dried Fruit and Nut Specials: May 2-8, 2012

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

April 18, 2012

John Sigona’s Pick of the Week: Crystallized Ginger

John Sigona’s Pick of the Week: Crystallized Ginger


Crystallized Ginger

Reg. $7.99, 9 oz.

On sale for $5.99

Our crystallized ginger is an excellent, absolutely superb, hard-to-find item with lots of health benefits.

It is harvested in Australia while very young so that it is soft, tender and meaty – it’s not stringy at all! This makes it recognized as the finest in the world as it’s masterfully dried to perfection.

Our crystallized ginger has a terrific balance of sweetness with a delightful, spicy kick, just as any good ginger does!

Besides snacking, use this for any recipe calling for ginger. For a tempting treat try dipping in melted dark chocolate.

As with fresh ginger, dried ginger has many medicinal properties:

  • Can help alleviate various causes of nausea
  • Can help aid the digestive process
  • Can help alleviate other stomach issues
  • Can help alleviate colds
  • Can help ease sea sickness, morning sickness or car sickness
  • Can help with menopausal issues
  • Can help ease headaches

John Sigona is the dried fruit & nut buyer for Sigona’s Farmers Markets in Palo Alto and Redwood City, Calif.

April 4, 2012

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s for Passover and Easter

In the Kitchen with Sigona’s for Passover and Easter

When it comes to food, this time of year is one of the most meaningful and festive as the next week marks one of the most widely observed times of the religious year for Christian and Jewish families. Our Sigona family knows more about the Easter foods and traditions, but two things are common to both feasts:  food and family.

Easter recipes from Sigona’s Family & Friends

Grandma Pauline’s Traditional Sicilian Stuffed Artichokes

John Sigona, Jr.

Family recipe from John Sigona, Jr., co-owner

This artichoke recipe evokes vivid memories of my childhood when our extended family would visit my grandmother Pauline, my mom’s mom, and gather around the table set with a huge platter of these stuffed artichokes. Everyone would sit together and reach in to pluck off a leaf – it really brought the family together. Artichokes take a while longer to cook when prepared this way, but each petal bursts with layers of flavor so it’s worth it! Stuffs four large artichokes. – John Sigona, Jr.


  • 4 large artichokes (slice off the top 1 inch of the entire artichoke, use scissors to cut the tips off of each leaf and then slice off the stem/bottom so it sits up straight)
  • 1-1/2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup Sigona’s fresh press extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 of one onion, diced
  • 1.5 oz. anchovies, cut into pieces
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 lemon

Directions:  In a medium sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic, onions and work for 1-2 minutes, being careful not to burn the garlic. Stir in the anchovies and melt into the oil. Cook for about 2 minutes.

Add in the breadcrumbs and reduce heat to low. Season with salt and pepper. Stir to bring the mix together. Turn off the burner and then stir in Parmesan. Set mixture aside.

Fit a large pot with a steamer basket and fill with about an inch of water and the juice of 1 lemon. Cover and bring the water to a low boil so it creates steam.

To stuff the artichokes, start at the crown and peel back a petal to make a little pocket. Fill the pocket with a small spoonful of the breadcrumb mix – remember you have 4 artichokes to stuff so measure spoonfuls accordingly. Move to the next petal; repeat until the entire artichoke is stuffed.

Set stuffed artichokes upright on steamer basket and steam until a leaf pulls out easily. Begin checking at about 35 minutes. When done, place on serving dish alongside an empty bowl to dump used leaves.

Gloria’s Mama’s Capirotada – A Mexican Bread Pudding

Gloria Gandolfo

Family recipe from Gloria Gandolfo (part of the Sigona’s family for more than 25 years).

My mother has made this bread pudding at Easter for as long as I can remember, and it’s something our family looks forward to each year. To make it unique and festive, she dots the top with Easter-colored food coloring. This traditional Mexican dessert is flavorful, rich, sweet and comforting, and is best served warm. – Gloria Gandolfo


  • 6 cups day-old French bread (be sure it’s not sourdough), sliced and cubed
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 3 cones of piloncillo (or 2 cups brown sugar)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp anise seeds
  • 2/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup raisins, soaked in warm water to soften
  • 1/2 cup Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (or Queso Fresco, crumbled) Note: my mother usually sprinkles a bit more cheese on top when the pudding is done baking, so add an extra 1/4 cup of cheese if you plan do to the same.
  • 1 TBL orange zest
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1/4 cup sherry

Note: Some recipes call for apples. If using, peel, core and chop 2 large sweet apples, such as Fujis.

Directions: In a large bowl, combine almonds, raisins, zests and 1/2 cup cheese (and apples, if using). Stir in cloves and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a large sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat. Add in the bread and work until just golden. Then add in the fruit mixture and remove from heat.

Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine water, anise seeds, piloncillo (or brown sugar) and cinnamon stick. Boil gently until the liquid becomes syrupy, about 6 minutes.

Prepare a large baking dish by rubbing bottom and sides liberally with butter. Pour half of the bread mixture into the baking dish and top with half of the syrup mix. Repeat with the remaining bread and syrup.

Bake for 35 minutes 350 degrees.

While the pudding is baking, beat egg yolks in a medium bowl until foamy and smooth. Whisk in the milk, salt and sherry until smooth. Pour over partially cooked bread and bake for another 25-35 minutes or until top is golden. Sprinkle on more cheese if desired. Serve warm.

Grandpa John Sigona Sr.’s Easter Gnocchi

Carmelo Sigona

Family recipe from Carmelo Sigona, co-owner

I’ve got to say my father started me cooking at a very early age. I remember some of the first meals I cooked for the family were enjoyed and I got the kudos. Thus began my enthusiasm for experimenting with cooking.

I’ve been cooking potato gnocchi for some time, but only this Easter have I asked my father for his recipe.

Now, with my father at 87 years old, my conversation starts with him saying, “Carmelo you’ve got to feel the dough. Do you know what I mean?”

I smile and say, “Yes, dad, continue.”

We’ll I’ve decided to morph my dad’s scant directions with a few tips I’ve learned along the way to present to you a very simple, easy gnocchi recipe. – Carmelo Sigona

First, a few tips:

  • Potato selection: I love Yukon gold potatoes for their consistency and sweetness but almost any kind of potatoes will do.
  • Boiling potatoes: Boil them with skin on; this will keep the potatoes from absorbing too much water. Also don’t overcook: just until fork tender. You don’t want waterlogged and soggy potatoes.
  • Peeling potatoes: Peel the potatoes warm and keep them warm when working them.
  • Preparing potatoes: Use a potato ricer or strainer to keep the potatoes light and airy.
  • Making the dough: When working the dough, add just enough flour to bind the mixture. Don’t overwork the dough. You want your gnocchi light.
  • Cooking gnocchi: When cooking, have your water boiling gently. A high-rolling boil will destroy these tender morsels.

OK, now the recipe


  • 3 potatoes, boiled, drained, peeled and riced/strained as suggested above.
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 2 eggs slightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

Directions: Combine ingredients in a bowl and gently mix with your hands (dust your hands with flour to help with mixing). Next, flour your counter top and hands and dump the combined ingredients onto the floured counter. Divide dough into small portions.

Roll out each portion with your hands until you have achieved the “snakes,” about ½ inch thick.

Once these are rolled out, cut into about 1/2 inch pieces.

You’ll notice some gnocchi have a ridged design – this is done by rolling the gnocchi over the backside of a fork prongs. You don’t have to roll the gnocchi over the backside of the fork to achieve the ridges; it’s not necessary, but it’s a nice touch if you wish. To do so, lightly roll over the backside of a fork on each gnocchi to imprint those little ridges.

In a large pot of gently boiling water, put small batches of gnocchi into the water for 30-45 seconds until it comes to the top (similar to how you know ravioli is cooked).

Drain and set aside.

Enjoying gnocchi

Now there’s a couple of ways to go from this point.

I like to have my sauce warm and ready to add the cooked gnocchi right in. I like to use a creamy Gorgonzola, using one of our may Gorgonzolas from Italy, or a butter and sage sauce, my two favorites. You can also use a basic marinara sauce. Just ready and place the gnocchi right into the sauce.

You can also place gnocchi into an ice bath to stop the cooking, drain and set aside for when you are ready to put into a sauce and serve.

Either way once you plate the gnocchi top with a little extra Parmigiano Reggiano and serve.

Paul Sigona

Paul Sigona’s Baby Artichoke Sauté

As luck would have it, Easter and the peak of local artichoke season is about the same time of year. I made this baby artichoke sauté for Easter once years ago and now it’s the dish everyone expects me to bring to the feast. It’s simple, but the garlic and olive oil add depth of flavor. – Paul Sigona, co-owner

What you do: Choose the smallest baby artichokes you can find. Trim them down until you reach the smooth, tender leaves. Cut in half and sauté in olive oil and minced garlic until browned and warmed through. They will have a firm and somewhat crispy texture.

The real secret here is not parboiling the small artichokes. The texture you’ll experience is similar to the grilled artichokes you’ll find in Sicily. It’s that easy. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Passover Recipes from Sigona’s Family & Friends

Special thanks go out to Sigona’s shoppers Helen Steinberg and Mrs. Ella Potash, from the Redwood City Jewish Center (www.jewishredwoodcity.com), for sharing these recipes.

Beautiful blossoms are a sure sign of spring.

Beet, Fennel & Jicama Slaw

Now that it’s getting warmer the beets and fennel are great. Doesn’t this salad sound fantastically fresh and delicious!

For the salad, gather even amounts of:

  • Raw red beets
  • Jicama
  • Fennel

For the dressing, you’ll need:

  • Fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Sigona’s Fresh Press EVOO
  • Salt & pepper

Directions: Julienne even amounts of raw red beet, jicama and fennel. Place the beets in a bowl of cold water before mixing with the other vegetables so that they don’t color the other vegetables.

Make a dressing with 4 to 1 ratio of olive oil to lemon juice. Season with salt. Mix salad and serve chilled.

Traditional Charoset

A little history: Before the main course at a family Passover, the family — along with friends and others who join them — retell the story of liberation from slavery in Egypt and they use special foods help tell the story. One of these is Charoset, a mixture of fruit and nuts. It symbolizes the mortar the Hebrew slaves were forced to make to build in ancient Egypt.

When most American Jewish families sit down to their family Seder, the Charoset is a mixture of apples, nuts and wine, while other Jewish ethnicities favor different ingredients. For example, Sephardic Jews, those who come from Spanish, Arabic or Mediterranean lands, often use what’s popular in their own countries, such as dates or figs, pomegranates, pine nuts or even coconut.


  • 5 large Red Delicious apples, cored, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 cup walnuts, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sweet wine

Directions: Combine the apples with the walnuts. Slowly add the wine. Mix to combine. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Chicken Soup


  • One (1) 3 pound Rocky Jr. whole bird chicken, quartered
  • 2 potatoes
  • 2 onions
  • 5 carrots
  • 1 sweet potato
  • Water to cover
  • 2 tablespoons salt

Directions: Peel all vegetables. Slice carrots and chunk potatoes. Place chicken and vegetables in 6-quart pot. Add salt and water to cover. Bring to boil. Lower flame and simmer an additional 1 1/4 hours.

Passover Sponge Cake


  • 7 eggs, separated
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 cup potato starch, sifted twice
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

Directions: Begin by separating the seven eggs and placing the whites in one bowl and the yolks in another. Add the 1 whole egg to the yolks and set aside.

Beat the egg whites until stiff, gradually adding sugar. Set aside.

Beat yolks in their bowl. Add lemon juice. Gently fold yolks into whites. Gradually fold potato starch into batter.

Pour into ungreased tube pan and bake at 350F for about 70 minutes. Remove from oven and invert cake to cool.

Modern Potato Pancakes (Latkes)

Who says you always have to peel potatoes! These potato pancakes are different because you don’t have to peel the potatoes; you just prepare them in the blender, so it’s easy too! Recipe courtesy of Helen Steinberg.


  • 2 cups raw baking potatoes, unpeeled (2 large potatoes)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1/4 – 1 cup matzo meal
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Cooking oil for browning

Directions: Cut potatoes into the shape of French fries, placing the cuts in a bowl of water as you go. Drain and dry very well.

Put ingredients in the blender in the following order: diced onion, eggs, drained and dried potatoes, seasonings and then meal. Cover and turn on blender, stopping after all potatoes are ground up (about 1/2 minute). If mixture is too loose, add another cut of potato and add to the mixture. Drain off excess liquid.

Drop by tablespoonfuls into hot oil and brown on both sides. The latkes may be placed under the broiler for a few minutes to drain off excess oil. Serve with applesauce or sour cream.

Cook’s note: If preparing these any other time besides Passover, adjust recipe as follows: 1 TBL flour or matzo meal, plus a pinch of baking powder if desired.

Helen’s Green Apple Applesauce

There’s little to no sugar in this recipe, which makes it more figure friendly. Variation on Theme (similar to Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony): you may also add cooked plums, peaches, pears, cherries or apricots to apple mixture. Either cook separately or together. Recipe courtesy of Helen Steinberg.


  • 12 green apples, unpeeled*
  • A pinch of sugar (or Stevia or organic agave syrup)
  • A pinch of cinnamon, optional, to taste
  • Water to cover apples

*Cook’s Note: If you do not have a Foley Mill, you’ll have to peel the apples and puree them in a blender.

Directions: Core and dice apples. Place in a big soup pot with sugar and cinnamon. Cover with water and bring to a boil. When soft, drain and process in a Foley Mill to an applesauce consistency.

March 28, 2012

Sigona’s Dried Fruit and Nuts March 28 – April 3,2012

Sigona’s Dried Fruit and Nuts March 28 – April 3,2012

Click image to enlarge

Click image to enlarge

March 21, 2012

John Sigona’s Dried Fruit Pick of the Week

John Sigona’s Pick of the Week

All Organic, Dark Chocolate Goji Berries

8 oz. container: Reg. $8.99, On sale for $6.99

12 oz. container: Reg. $12.99, On sale for $9.99

Want an unusually healthy sweet treat—something that you’ll love eating and feeling good about?

Then try our all organic, dark chocolate goji berries—they are incredibly nutritious and exceptionally delicious!

You’ve heard about the health benefits of dark chocolate everything from how it can improve your mood, give a feeling of pleasure, increases your circulation, fights aging, boosts your brain power, lowers your blood pressure, is full of antioxidants,  lowers cholesterol—the list of health benefits goes on and on.

The benefits of goji berries are also extensive and legendary—2.5 times more antioxidants than blueberries, rich in vitamins B6 and Thiamin, contains 18 amino acids, 21 trace minerals, iron, beta-carotene and more.

Combining organic dark chocolate with organic goji berries is a winning combination for all of us—and an excellent nutritional treat that is not to be missed.

John outside with produce

John Sigona is the dried fruit & nut buyer for Sigona’s Farmers Markets in Palo Alto and Redwood City, Calif.

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