Women’s history month, International Women's Day and Mel’s birthday all align next Wednesday. So we’ve put together a melange of Mel’s favorite tastes, created by inspiring, talented women, who hail from all over the world.

You might remember Yonette Alleyne’s Caribbean Gourmet stand that anchored the south end of the Atwater Farmers Market for over 6 years. Well Mel, missing that scratch made soul food, followed her craving to Yonette’s new brick and mortar cafe at Blossom Market Hall in San Gabriel. You can make the trek to SGV for Yonette’s wide smile and warm embrace, but we’re bringing her Guyanese food to you. Mel finds her braised oxtail stew to be “one of the tastiest and most comforting bites in all of southern California." Yonette is also making us a batch of coconut curry loaded with vegetables. Both can be served with her coconut rice with pigeon peas to make a meal. And for your freezer, she’s making us Jamaican style patties- traditional hand pies packed with either spiced ground beef or vegetables in a flaky pastry dough.

Mel has long hungered to collaborate with Diep Tran, the chef/owner of the now closed but much missed Good Girl Dinette in Highland Park, food writer and restaurant workers’ rights advocate. So this week, we’re bringing Mel’s wishes to fruition with a taste of Diep’s delicacies. Hanoi-style marinated pork belly two ways- minced and sliced- comes ready to be cooked at home and served together for complimentary complexity. You can wrap the pork in rice paper to make Vietnamese fresh rolls with lettuce and herbs from the produce box, or serve it over rice or rice noodles. However you savor it, serve it with Diep’s pickled green papaya and cashew nuoc cham, her elevated take on the essential Vietnamese condiment made with Red Boat fish sauce, chili, garlic, vinegar, sugar and coconut water. Diep is also making a batch of emerald scallion oil which you can incorporate into your rolls or use to dress and dazzle crisp raw vegetables, cooked potatoes or any of this week’s raw provisions: organic, semi-boneless half chickens, local halibut or wild shrimp.

Back by popular demand, Mel’s making meatballs with grass-fed beef and ground pork, packed in sauce and ready to heat and serve or freeze. We have Rustichella’s slurpable bucatini pasta to go with it. And for you farm box veggies (or even proteins) Mel’s making a batch of her beloved lemon vinaigrette.

We’re restocking our supply of Proof’s granola. Not only is this one of our favorite products, but it comes from one of our most inspired collaborators. In 2010, Na Young Ma opened Proof and established one of the best bakeries on the east side. Then in 2021, she transitioned the bakery to a cooperative business model that is 100% worker owned.

And since it’s Mel’s birthday, we’re getting birthday cake and black and white cakewiches, tiny layer cakes individually wrapped in foil, from Cake Monkey, another woman owned business.

For something to sip on, we’re excited to introduce Lorin Winata’s Melati botanical spirits. A few weeks ago, Lorin happened upon the Farm to Curb stand. We exchanged produce and conversation, and before long we were tasting and then buying her non-alcoholic spirits. Made with 26 healing botanicals from in and around Lorin’s ancestral farmland in Indonesia, each sip is juicy and floral, bittersweet and herbaceous. Like so many things we love, it greets you with a familiar taste, then takes you somewhere exotic and new.