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Archive for August, 2012

Operations Team Completes Pallet Jack and Forklift Training

Congratulations are in order to Earl’s Organic Operations team for successfully completing pallet jack and forklift training! Employees received a certificate upon completion. Pablo Ruiz, Food Safety Manager, trained the Operations team in safety rules and regulations including an intense driving training program on an obstacle course in the Earl’s parking lot.  The training also included audio visual instructions, a written test and hands on training.

Pablo Ruiz handing out certificates

Dane Young recently joined Earl’s Organic from the retail side of the business. Now he works in the middle of the night and when most people are sleeping Earl’s is busy with forklifts and pallet jacks moving heavy pallets of produce off of trucks from the growers into the warehouse or loading produce from the warehouse to trucks delivering to retailers from Arcata to Santa Cruz.  He was most surprised at the volume of product moved at Earl’s warehouse compared to the retail side.  The large pallets need to be moved around by pallet jacks and forklifts because they are so heavy.  “It is important that Earl’s Organic warehouse workers know how to use heavy machinery.”  Dane feels confident that Earl’s training course provided him with the necessary information and hands on training he needed to be a safe and skilled equipment operator.

Dane Young

Congratulations again to everyone in the Earl’s warehouse who received their certificate!

Earl’s Organic Operations Team



 

Flame Grapes

Flame seedless grapes are available from May-November. Did you know that 99% of the grapes commercially grown come from California? There are over 70 varieties of grapes grown.

Check out our latest blog on sweet California grapes.

 

 

 

Sweet California Grapes

Lately produce departments are overflowing with beautiful red, green and black grapes.  Over 99% of the grapes grown commercially in the United States are from California.  Grapes are grown in the 450 mile long by 50 mile wide area between Sacramento and the San Joaquin Valley regions and in the Coachella Valley in Riverside County.  Grape Season begins in May down in Coachella Valley which includes Palm Springs and the Salton Sea, with early varieties like the seedless red Flame and green Sugarone.  As the weather gets hotter in July the San Joaquin valley starts producing varieties such as the seedless green Thompson and red Crimson.  Grape season continues into January with red Crimson and the black Autumn Royal to name a few.  There are over 70 varieties grown and more are constantly being developed.

Seedless red Flame, Black Summer Royale and Green Sugarone grapes

Click here to learn more about the most popular California grape varieties.

California’s mild winters with mostly sunny days make it the perfect location for growing grapes.  Cold and wet weather is the worst thing for grapes. If there is too much rain during the growing season the grapes won’t have a chance to dry out.  This can cause mildew, resulting in stunted berry growth and cosmetic damage.  Organic growers will use a dusting of sulfur to dry out the mildew.  Unfortunately this can result in some scaring on the grapes and thinner skin which causes some grapes to rupture and split. This means a smaller crop of grapes and higher prices.

Grapes are always picked ripe and do not ripen off the vine. Look for grapes with green, pliable stems and plump berries.  See a powdery-white coating on the grapes?  That’s bloom and it’s good!  Bloom is a naturally occurring substance that protects grapes from moisture loss and decay. Grapes keep for up to two weeks when stored and handled properly.  Grapes should always be refrigerated to maximize shelf life.  Store grapes unwashed and rinse before eating.  Like most berries, grapes tend to absorb odors.  Try to avoid storing them next to things like green onions or leeks. (www.freshcaliforniagrapes.com)

Larger grapes do not always mean they are sweeter. Try the tiny champagne grapes for a sweet snack.

Champagne Grapes

They are perfect as is, dropped in a glass of champagne or use them to decorate a cake.  All grapes are also delicious as a frozen snack, tossed in a salad or served on a cheese platter.

Earl will be speaking about grapes this Saturday on An Organic Conversation.  Check it out live in San Francisco on KNEW 960AM from 10-11am or download the pod cast later if you miss it. An Organic Conversation also airs on other stations throughout the country. All stations are listed on their website.

Gorgeous Purple Peppers

Gorgeous purple peppers! Try a colorful variety of peppers in your next summer salad.

 

 

“Summer Olympic Games” Nightlife Event

The Thursday Nightlife 21+ event at The San Francisco Academy of Sciences this week had a “Summer Olympic Games” theme.  The admission fee is only $12 for the general public and $10 if you are a member.  Add lots of good food, cocktails made with Earl’s Organic produce, a live DJ and rooms full of summer games like bocce ball and Berlin Style Ping Pong and you have a fantastic fun filled night.

Earl, Dane and Kathy

Earl’s Organic handed out over 1200 delicious slices of Burkart Farms late harvest Summer Lady peaches.  Burkart is located in Dinuba, CA near Fresno where the hot days and cool nights develop the sugar levels a peach needs for that delicious peach flavor and aroma.  Late harvest peaches have been on the tree longer which means a more solid peach with less moisture but full of flavor.  “This is the best peach I have ever had” was repeated many times during the evening.  The Summer Lady freestone peaches fall away from the pit easily once you cut it in half and make them a delicious snack to eat anytime.

Susan, Dane and Kathy

 

Other exhibitors included Steven Raichlen, author of The Barbecue! Bible and host of Barbecue University on PBS.  He taught the smoky art of summer barbequing, and the anthropological origins of this delicious tradition. Plus, SCRAP, located just down the street from Earl’s, had all the materials you could need to make your own Olympic flag.

Cocktails made using Earl’s Organic Produce were available in 4 bars around The Academy of Sciences. My personal favorite was the Tea Thyme!

LOBBY BAR – TEA THYME

Skyy Vodka, Tea-We English Breakfast Tea & fresh lemonade Served over ice with Earl’s Organic Thyme

SWAMP BAR – BRONZE MULE

Wild Turkey 81 Bourbon, Mixi’s True Fermentation Ginger Beer, lemon juice, Peychaud’s Bitters & Earl’s Organic Mint

AQUARIUM BAR – GOLD MEDAL MARGARITA

featuring El Jimador 100% Agave Tequila, Earl’s Organic Watermelon, lime juice & Tres Agaves Agave Nectar

PLANTARIUM BAR – SUMMER GAMES SANGRIA

Featuring Mixi’s cardamom Infusion of El Jimador Tequila, extracted Earl’s Organic Strawberries, pineapple, local white wines & Tres Agaves Organic Agave Nectar

We all had a great time sampling delicious peaches and sharing why you should eat organic.  If you would like to keep up with what is going on seasonally and in the organic world follow us on our Facebook and Twitter. We look forward to joining the Academy of Sciences for their Fall harvest event.

Susan and Pablo

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