Northern California is covered in walnut trees. So why do we restrict ourselves to scattering the nuts onto salads or mounding them on cheese plates?
For the superb walnut butter ($9 for 8 ounces at farmers' markets), fifth-generation farmer Mollie Sitkin toasts transitionally organic Chandler walnuts just enough to retain their sweet, buttery character. You can buy the butter presweetened, but when we smeared some of the plain stuff on a piece of toasted levain and topped it with sea salt and wildflower honey, we practically started speaking in tongues.
Almost hidden among the citrus fruits and berries at the Glashoff Farms stand at the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market are brown tins of roasted-walnut oil ($10 for 8.5 ounces, or $12 for 12 ounces online), which the Suisun Valley farm has been pressing for two harvests now.
Made with small, robustly flavored Franquette walnuts, the toasty oil adds a subtle but perceptible depth to everything it encounters: vinaigrettes, roast asparagus, even fingers.