Brussels sprouts are one of those vegetables that people love or hate. Unfortunately, many people learned to hate this lovely vegetable because of how they were cooked -- or rather, overcooked. For every minute Brussels sprouts are overcooked, their skunky factor doubles, so go easy with that cooking time.

Brussels sprouts are grown from Half Moon Bay to Salinas. They love the moist, cool, coastal air. That's what makes them sweet -- and some of the newer varieties are much milder and sweeter than what you remember from childhood. The fresher they are, the sweeter and more tender they are -- and the quicker to cook. These days, you can find Brussels sprouts still on the stalk at grocery stores and farmers markets. Peak season runs from now through April, with prices running $1.69 to $1.99 per pound, or $2.49 to $2.99 per stalk.

Michael Marks is the marketing manager for FreshPoint.

In the Bins
Celery
Salinas, Oxnard
$1.49 to $1.79 per bunch
Tips: As soon as you get them home, cut the stalks into 4-inch sticks and refrigerate them in an airtight container filled with water, so you always have a quick crunchy snack.
Sweet potatoes
Livingston
79 cents to $1.49 per pound
Tips: If you are cutting your sweet potatoes for a recipe -- as opposed to baking them whole -- look for the jumbo size, which is a better deal.
Holiday seedless grapes
San Joaquin Valley
$2.49 to $2.99 per pound
Tips: The last of these beautiful big red California grapes are disappearing from markets. Get them while you can, because the Chilean grapes that follow will cost more.