These should never be overlooked at farmers markets as they are an exceptional source of complex carbohydrates as well as protein. Dried lima beans, harvested typically around late fall each season, actually contain a higher proportion of protein than any other plant food. Although the protein is incomplete, it can easily be complemented by serving the beans with rice or other grains, nuts, that supply the missing amino acids. They are also the plant kingdom's second-best source of dietary fiber (wheat bran is number one), and half of that is soluble fiber. Hand harvested and sorted by local Carpinteria Farmer Tom Shepherd, these deliciously creamy beans can be found at the Tuesday Santa Barbara, Thursday Goleta and Carpinteria, and Saturday Santa Barbara farmers markets each week. Perfect for making a healthy warm bean salad as seen in this week's Fix. Price is only $2 a pound while supplies last.

Hydroponics Tomatoes

If you're starting to miss those tasty outdoor-grown tomatoes, there is still a great locally grown tomato option available at your local farmers markets. Beylik Family Farms produces some of the best hothouse tomatoes around, sheltered from the rough winter elements. The flavors are impressive to say the least, harvested ripe off the vine. You can find a great array of Big Beef, Cluster, Sungold, Japanese and Premium varieties at most of our weekly farmers markets. Price averages about $3 per pound this time of year, depending on the variety.

Sweet Navel Oranges:

It is that time of year when those exceptional navel oranges start rolling into our local farmers markets. This super-sweet and easy to peel variety is perfect for the kids, and a sure way they get their needed vitamin C. But a small orange (about 5 ounces) also contains generous levels of folate (folic acid), potassium and thiamin, as well as some calcium and magnesium. Oranges have become America's No. 1 source of vitamin C intake, and are great whether sliced, juiced or used as an exceptional marinade or salad dressing. Available at all weekly farmers markets, prices range from 30 cents to $1 per pound depending on the bulk of your purchase.