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Archive for April, 2012

California Hass

Nothing is better than a California Hass when it is perfectly ripe! The Mexican avocado season is now done and we can look forward to enjoying California Hass avocados.  The southern fruit available March to September from San Diego up to Santa Barbara has good size and availability.  The northern fruit available June to December from Santa Barbara up to Santa Cruz will have smaller sizes now because they will mature later in the season.  An early forecast predicts a 15% increase from last year and the season will run through December but check back in August for an update.

Check out the California Avocado page for some great recipes

Blueberry Alert!

Blueberry alert! The bottom third of the San Joaquin Valley from Madera to Bakersfield is harvesting blueberries.  This is a wonderful time of year but beware!  Late spring rains have brought some crop damage so the market could have some compromised fruit and undoubtedly lower prices.  Check the product at the store, ask for samples and keep a keen eye out for soft and moldy blueberries.  Check back for more updates during the season.

California Avocado Season Has Arrived!

The Mexican avocado season is now done and we can look forward to enjoying California Hass avocados.  The southern fruit available March to September from San Diego up to Santa Barbara has good size and availability.  The northern fruit available June to December from Santa Barbara up to Santa Cruz will have smaller sizes now because they will mature later in the season.  An early forecast predicts a 15% increase from last year and the season will run through December but check back in August for an update.

Check out the California Avocado page for some great recipes

www.avocado.org

Domestic Apples and Pears almost done

The supply of domestic apples and pears coming out of cold storage is finishing up.  There will be limited apple and pear choices until the 2nd week of May when we will start seeing imports from New Zealand, Chile and Argentina.   We can look forward to domestic apples starting up again in the August/September time frame.

Driscoll’s Organic Berries

Driscoll’s farms started in the Pajaro Valley near Watsonville in 1944 by Ed Driscoll and a group of growers.  Now a 3rd generation family business with 100 years of berry growing experience, they breed their own varieties and work with independent growers.  Driscoll’s mission is to delight berry consumers with only the sweetest, juiciest and most beautiful berries year round.  Driscoll’s organic berries include strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries and are grown mainly in Baja, Oxnard, Santa Maria, Watsonville and Salinas in California, Oregon, Washington, New Jersey, North and South Carolina and Florida. Earl’s Organic has been buying and selling Driscoll’s berries for over 10 years.

Driscoll’s consists of a group of independent farmers under one great label with great standards.  Driscoll’s works directly with each grower every step of the way from preparing the fields to harvest time.  Their unique connection to farmers allows farms of any size to access a global market with state of the art techniques and technologies. There is great pride for each grower that Driscoll’s works with and some pickers have even moved on to be partners.

Driscoll’s controls which flowers to pollinate and all cross pollination is done by hand.  There are over 200 seeds on the outside of a strawberry and over 200 variations of berries. Every year Driscoll’s develops new seedlings and only 1 % may advance to the next level.  Each variety that is developed and grown is patented so only they can grow that variety. All varieties are tested so that the grower will have a handbook on how to grow the particular variety chosen for that year. It must have the flavor Driscoll’s is looking for in order to go forward.

Driscoll’s has one of the best global food safety programs through GLOBAL GAP and uses good agriculture practices to prevent microbial contamination. Each year they have over 1000 of their own and independent 3rd party audits.  They will stop harvesting if anything is found not 100% up to food safety regulations.

The biggest enemy of fruit is field heat and on a typical day the inside of the fruit is 110 degrees.  The fruit is moved to a cooling facility immediately after picking to take the heat out which maintains an optimum shelf life.  Each crate is carefully monitored and uses mobile logistics to track the berries through the whole system all the way to the customer.  Driscoll’s has state of the art energy efficient cooling systems with huge fans that pull the field heat out of the berries, lowering the internal fruit temperature from 110 to 32 degrees in just 2 hours and in most cases the berries are loaded on trucks to the market the same day they are picked.

Driscoll’s uses Tectrol to maintain the quality and freshness of their strawberries during transportation. Once properly cooled down the pallets are wrapped in plastic and taped up.  They put a needle into the plastic to suck the air completely out and then replace the air with carbon dioxide.  The hole is taped up and the strawberries are held in a state of suspension for up to 10 days. The strawberries will not mature and start to break down during that time period.  Once they arrive at their destination and the plastic is broken on the pallets the strawberries will start their normal course of maturity.

Berries have a lot of flavor and color and are great in appetizers and main dishes. Driscoll’s is committed to expanding their organic practices and they are always looking for better yield, appearance and flavor in their berries. Good looking and good tasting berries keeps the consumer coming back from a brand they can trust.

You can find Driscoll’s blueberries, strawberries and raspberries at Earl’s right now!

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