Archive for 2010
This year California had an exceptionally large crop of avocados – we call this a bumper crop. The first California product came out of the San Diego area in February this year, and has since moved up to the Santa Barbara region, then Cayucos. Next week we will start receiving product from our final California grower, who is located in Cambria. We expect to get product from this region into the first week of the New Year.
The quality of the California grown avocados is extraordinary. Although product is now available from Chile and Mexico, there is no question that the California product has superior flavor and texture. It is at the peak of its maturity, whereas the Chilean and Mexican product has not developed the same oil content or full flavor.
However – it is very important to eat late season California grown avocados while they are firm! Earl had an experience last week, where he had an avocado that barely gave to the touch, yet it had a creamy texture and was perfect for eating. If you wait until they are on the softer side, the fruit will be overripe.
Next year’s crop is expected to get an early start, so we may only have a month or so gap before we get the first product of 2011 from San Diego. However, now is the time ton enjoy fully mature, high quality avocados from California – enjoy!
Although valencias are commonly referred to as a summertime orange, production can begin as early as March and carry through to the New Year. Valencias’ large window of availability is mostly attributed to multiple growing regions that produce at different times throughout the year. We expect to see them through December.
We have already introduced the satsuma mandarin – these are eating well, and quite balanced for the first fruit of the year. Quality and flavor will only get better as the harvest continues, and sugar levels become higher. Earl has already beaten cold symptoms once thanks to their high concentration of synephrine! Product is currently coming from Lincoln, CA and Yolo County, CA.
Clementines are the next variety of citrus appearing in our warehouse. This intensely sweet mandarin variety is much loved, like the Satsuma. It is a small to medium sized fruit, with a rich, aromatic flavor. They are very juicy, and have a bright red-orange color skin. Seediness varies depending on whether a pollinizer is nearby. Easy to peel, and extremely tasty, we’re very excited to have them in house – but be sure to get them while you can! They are usually only available for about 4 weeks. They are currently coming from Kingsburg, approximately 20 miles Southeast of Fresno.
Over the coming months, we’ll be sharing information about different varieties of citrus as they continue to emerge. Stay tuned for info on Kinnow, Page, Fairchild, Dancy, Daisy, Cara Cara, Bloods, and more. We will also comment on production in Arizona, Texas, Florida as well as it comes on the scene.
In the meantime, get your doses of locally produced Vitamin C!
Satsuma mandarins are one of our favorite citrus varieties at Earl’s. Each October we start counting down the days until they show up in our warehouse. Satsumas are a small, easy to peel, seedless, bright orange fruit. They have a delicious sweet, sprightly flavor and are packed with Vitamin C. Satsumas come into season each November, and are available through late January or early February.
Satsumas essentially herald the citrus season in California. They are typically the first type of citrus to appear on the market. While you may also see navel oranges available in the next week or so, the first navels are merely a shadow of what they are later in the season, when the fruit is more mature. The early season navels that become available in November hardly represent the juicy, sweet fruit that many associate with this citrus variety. Nonetheless, navels usually begin shipping before the Thanksgiving holiday. We suggest using navels to enhance your holiday table displays, but to hold off on eating them until mid/late December when the quality improves.
It’s no coincidence that when we are on the threshold of a seasonal change, and entering the cold season, various citrus varieties emerge to help us build up our defense. Satsumas in particular, pack a big jolt of synephrine, a natural antihistamine that relieves cold and allergy symptoms. This makes them nature’s perfect gift for staying healthy in the winter months.
At Earl’s Organic Produce we get most of our satsumas from Side Hill Citrus in Lincoln, California. Rich Fererra, the owner of Side Hill, is a 4th generation family farmer in Placer County. In 1975, he bought the original 17 acre ranch with only 100 Satsuma mandarin orange trees. Today Side Hill Citrus has grown to 48 acres and over 2,000 Satsuma mandarin orange trees. When harvesting his Satsuma mandarins, Rich will go through his orchard up to 10 times to pick the best pieces of fruit. He color hand picks each piece, resulting in a full color, highly flavored, sweet piece of fruit going to market.
Check out his website for more information, and get ready to enjoy Satsuma season!