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Archive for 2013

Kaffir Limes Seasonal Eats

What kind of green bumpy fruit is this?  Smaller than your average lime, Kaffir limes are covered in bumps and incredibly aromatic.

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Kaffir Limes

What kind of green bumpy fruit is this?  Smaller than your average lime, Kaffir limes are covered in bumps and incredibly aromatic. If you rub the lime between the palms of your hand it releases an amazing fragrance.   The rind is often used in Lao and Thai curry paste and the leaves from the Kaffir lime tree are used in Thai and Vietnamese cooking.  The zest pairs well with rum cocktails. The flesh contains very little juice and is considered too acidic to use for cooking, but I personally like to mix the juice from half a kaffir lime and a little zest with hot water and honey on a cold day. Keep a kaffir lime on your desk work. The uplifting fragrance will brighten your day.

Happy New Years from everyone at Earl’s Organic!! We wish you a healthy and happy 2014.

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THE GREAT FREEZE OF 2013 – OR WAS IT???

By Robert Lichtenberg- Head of Purchasing

In February, 2011 there was a freeze of historic size – record low temps in the Imperial and Yuma Valleys, Northern Mexico and the upper and mid Baja peninsula.  Basically if a veg crop was not in a protected environment – i.e.  greenhouse or shade house- it was damaged. This occurred at a point in the season where warm weather veg had already been planted in the Californian deserts.

This year the frost of 2013 lasted for multiple days and nights, though it did not go as far south as before and the lows were not record lows. Frost damage occurs as a result of a combination of things; the actual temperature, the duration of that temperature, the soil moisture and the age of the plants. Some crops, like kale, can freeze solid, thaw out and be fine; this process can happen multiple times and the kale will actually become sweeter. For other crops, one event below 32 degrees is basically a killing frost for that item, resulting in black and dead crops.  Summer squash and tomatoes are very good examples of cold sensitive crops.

This year on the wet veg front, we have seen some damage on celery and romaine mostly consisting in light tip burn and slight epidermal peel.  Green and red leaf lettuce seems OK.  There have been some reports of lost cauliflower crops. The desert and Yuma wet veg crops are just in the beginning of harvesting from the first plantings and supply still seems strong.  An overall “rough” appearance is to be expected on leafy items for the next 2-3 weeks.

Citrus in the lower San Joaquin Valley was affected to some degree – these include but not limited to – Murcotts, Grapefruits, Satsumas and Navel Oranges. These crops are still being evaluated and it will take 2-3 weeks to fully understand the extent of the damage.

As always we will do our best to keep you informed.

Announcing Tutti Frutti Organic Heirloom Pomodoro Sauce

Old World Recipe

New World Flavor!

Chris Cadwell from Tutti Frutti Farms has partnered with Chef Michael DePaola to create an organic heirloom pomodoro sauce bursting with dry-farmed, vine ripened tomato flavor. Dry farming brings out the plump, juicy, intense flavors that Tutti Frutti tomatoes are known for. Chris harvests the tomatoes once a year at the peak of ripeness to showcase their natural sweetness. The onions, basil and garlic in the sauce are grown exclusively by Tutti Frutti Farms for this unique, one of a kind sauce.

A fifth generation farmer, Chris Cadwell and his wife, Cornelia, started Tutti Frutti Farms (Italian for “all fruits”) in 1988. They have been dedicated to strictly organic growing practices from the start, specializing in heirloom tomatoes.

Michael DePaola and his family have owned Family-Style Italian Restaurants in Santa Barbara for the last 32 years. Through their businesses the Cadwells and DePaolas have had a long lasting relationship. They have now collaborated to bring you this organic Pomodoro sauce – combining a classic recipe with fresh, ripe tomatoes grown exclusively in Central California by Tutti Frutti Farms.

Now available at Earl’s Organic.

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Imported Blueberries In The Off Season

During the winter months most of the blueberries you see in the grocery store are from the Southern Hemisphere, where our winter is their summer.  Chile is the largest blueberry producer in the Southern Hemisphere followed by Argentina and New Zealand.  Blueberries are shipped either by boat or airplane to the United States depending on what part of the import season we are in.  Blueberries shipped by plane will be more expensive but fresher and blueberries sent by boat will be less expensive and not as fresh due to the shipping costs and travel time of the two methods.

From November to January the supply of imported blueberries is limited as the season begins. The supply is not large enough to fill a boat so the blueberries are shipped by airplane to Los Angeles, arriving within a few days of being picked.  After going through customs, the blueberries will be put on a truck for San Francisco, taking about a total of 5-7 days to reach your grocery store from the time they are picked.  Blueberries will be available through January in 4.4 oz and 6 oz clamshells, increasing to 8 oz clamshells or larger as supply increases and the season continues.  As supply picks up at the start of the year, blueberries are shipped by boat in a controlled climate of 33 degrees Fahrenheit, taking about 3 weeks to arrive on the West Coast.

Blueberries will be coming out of the Southern Hemisphere through March when the domestic season starts up again. Occasionally if the weather is warm enough we will receive a shipment of California blueberries from Forbidden Fruit Orchards in February.

Blues cropped for blog

When choosing blueberries look for firm, plump, fragrant, dark blue berries with a dusty white bloom. The white bloom is the blueberry’s natural protection against the sun and is a sign of freshness. Always check the underside of the container for any wet spots or staining. Discard any soft, moldy, or crushed berries.

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