California grown cauliflower is available year-round but is especially abundant in the spring and fall. It is grown in the Monterey, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, Imperial and Fresno counties. These areas meet the temperature requirements for successful growth, around 60 degrees Fahrenheit. In addition to being easily affected by temperatures that are either too hot or too cold, cauliflower must be grown in a particular type of soil, with a pH level of about 6, in order to thrive. Unlike its brassica oleracea cousins — such as broccoli, kale and cabbage — most cauliflower is white. Though it also comes in purple, orange and green varieties, the type we know best maintains its pale hue because of the dark green leaves that surround it while it grows. These leaves serve as sun protection, meaning that no chlorophyll is produced. Thus, the cauliflower’s white color is upheld, making it the optimal choice for starch substitutions. The hue of the vegetable also comes into play when selecting a cauliflower at the store. It is important to seek out tightly compact heads of uniform color, with no soft or discolored areas, as they may indicate rot.