Then, on a cold day last winter in New York City, where I now live, a friend handed me a jar of pickled carrots from Happy Girl Kitchen Co., in Aromas, California. I had to admit that the bright orange spears, packed with slices of jalapeño and wisps of flowering thyme, looked alluring. I pulled one out and took a bite. Unexpectedly crunchy and sweet, with a subtle vinegar tang, it actually tasted like a carrot—and more. With its overtones of fresh-picked herbs and its jalapeño kick, it tasted like my home state. Intrigued, I ordered more Happy Girl pickles: Italian beans fragrant with coriander and basil leaves and mixed baby summer squash steeped in honey, thyme, and turmeric.