Broccoli is a member of the cabbage family, and a close relative of cauliflower. It is available throughout the year but because it grows better in cool weather it’s least abundant in July and August. California is the heaviest producer but Texas, New Jersey, Oregon, Florida, and Pennsylvania produce large amounts of broccoli. When buying look for a firm, compact cluster of small flower buds, with none opened enough to show the bright yellow flower. Bud clusters should be dark green or sage green, or even green with a decidedly purplish cast. Stems should not be too thick or tough. Avoid broccoli with spread bud clusters, enlarged or open buds, yellowish green color or wilted condition. These are signs of over maturity and over-long display. Also avoid broccoli with soft, slippery, water soaked spots on the bud clusters. These are signs of decay.