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Archive for May, 2013

California Cherries

California’s cherry season is very short and only lasts for about 4-6 weeks depending on the weather. Next week will be some of the last cherry picks of the season and you should be able to find Bing cherries until mid-June.  Don’t miss out on the last of the California crop! Click here for the full blog.

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California Cherry Season Ending Soon

California’s cherry season is very short and only lasts for about 4-6 weeks depending on the weather. Next week will be some of the last cherry picks of the season and you should be able to find Bing cherries until mid-June.  Don’t miss out on the last of the California crop!

The Pacific Northwest will continue the supply of cherries through the remainder of the season. We expect them to start end of next week, overlapping with the California crop for a short time. There is a slight chance there could be a gap of cherries due to the recent rain up in the Pacific Northwest. It is too early to tell at this point. Check back for weekly cherry updates.

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Urban Remedy Goes National

Urban Remedy, a 100% organic cold pressed juicing company began on the West Coast in San Rafael, CA just across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco.  Neka Pasquale, a certified Traditional Chinese Nutritionist and healer began Urban Remedy out of the belief that “food is medicine”.  Earl’s Organic is proud to sell Urban Remedy the organic produce for their juices. We have witnessed incredible growth in the amount of organic produce they are buying from Earl’s as Urban Remedy has grown to a nationwide company. Now no matter where you are in the country you can have their juices delivered overnight.

Urban Remedy offers 3 different juicing cleanses based on your level of juicing experience. The signature cleanse is the most popular plan and includes a variety of fruits, veggies and nuts which are designed to cleanse and boost energy levels, promote weight loss and anti-aging, flush the body of toxins, lower inflammation, cleanse the live and colon and deliver antioxidants just to name a few benefits.

Each plan includes 6 juices per day with easy instructions on how to prep for your cleanse and the order in which to drink the juices. Robert, head of purchasing at Earl’s and his wife just finished the 3 day Urban Remedy Signature cleanse.  Robert says he “feels great” and was never hungry during the cleanse. The juices were “great tasting” with delicious blends including celery, beets, carrots, parsley, chia seeds, ginger, lemon, raspberries and as a fellow co-worker I can confirm he is glowing today!

Check out their website at www.urbanremedy.com for information on the different cleanses and how to order.

Signature Cleanse www.urbanremedy.com

Signature Cleanse
www.urbanremedy.com

 

Memorial Day Celebration

With summer looming around the corner there are so many great delicious choices for your Memorial Day weekend celebration. Stone fruit is plentiful.  Early peaches and nectarines are sweet and juicy. Earl’s has both yellow and white varieties. Did you know that nectarine is just a peach without the fuzz? Handle them carefully ,keep at room temperature until ripe and eat within 2 days.

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California cherry season just started and only lasts 4-6 weeks depending on the weather. Bing cherries are arriving at Earl’s just in time for the holiday weekend. We can look forward to California cherries going until the middle of June and then the supply will be coming out of the Pacific Northwest. Don’t have a cherry pitter? You can use a paper clip for fuss-free pitting. Watch the easy how to video here.

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Berries are abundant. How about some sweet, plump blueberries? 1 cup of blues = your antioxidants for the day. Blueberries are now available in 6 oz and pints.  Sweet, succulent strawberries can be found everywhere.  I love them sliced with a little honey and vanilla and topped with ricotta cheese mixed with lemon zest. Did you know that each strawberry has about 200 seeds and it is the only fruit with the seeds on the outside?  Raspberries are perfect out of hand or sprinkled on top of a honey and thyme custard drizzled with honey.

Sweet corn on the cob is here just in time to grill it and serve with a cilantro lime butter. Don’t be afraid if you find a small worm at the top of your organic corn. This is common because pesticides are not used. Just trim off the end and start cooking.

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Watermelon is the perfect refreshment on a hot day. Watermelons are available with seeds or without. Have you ever tried a yellow flesh watermelon? The sweet and juicy flavor is not to be missed. How skillful are you at cutting up a watermelon? Watch this fruit ninja as he cuts up a watermelon in under 30 seconds.

Check our weekly specials on our website for a full list of our great deals.  Some of the specials this week on the fruit side are blueberries, peaches and nectarines. On the veg side specials include California green beans from Brentwood and Coastal View Produce asparagus. Impress your friends by how easy and delicious grilled asparagus is with just olive oil, salt and pepper.

Have a great holiday weekend and be sure to share your recipes on our Facebook.

The Hands That Feed Us

Coastal View Produce, located in Gonzales, is one of California’s largest asparagus operations. Although asparagus fields are not the most attractive crop, the CVP land falls idyllically in the Salinas Valley framed by rolling green hills and blue skies. The Salinas Valley, like most valleys, holds nutrient rich soil and the coastal influence produces a moderate climate and extended growing season, making it a prime location for an asparagus crop.

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Brian Violini and his brother Kurt inherited the farm land that has been in their family for three generations. They have been farming their whole lives and have grown up to produce the best asparagus we at Earl’s have ever tasted. Asparagus falls on the list of “Clean 15 fruits and vegetables”, meaning that even conventional asparagus crops don’t require excessive use of pesticides and herbicides. Brian says it’s relatively uncommon for him to use agro-chemicals on his conventional crop at all. The only difference between his conventional and organic crop is the occasional use of non-organic fertilizer that he uses at the beginning of the season to jump start the growing process. The lack of aggressive pests, little need for fertilizers, and the minimum amount of watering required make asparagus a relatively low maintenance crop. The majority of the labor needed for asparagus cultivation comes from the frequency of harvesting required. Asparagus can grow as much as 10 inches in a single day, making it necessary to harvest regularly- as often as every day during warm spells.

 

However, the most striking thing about asparagus cultivation at CVP is not the speed and ease at which the harvesters chop the spears using unique asparagus harvesting tools, nor the calculated manner in which they rotate fields to optimize soil fertility and field productivity, but the speed and complexity of their packing facility. Have you ever wondered how your bunch of asparagus gets so uniform in width and length? Does someone sit there with a ruler measuring the diameters of the thin green stalks and bundling the perfect pieces by hand? Unless you’re buying your asparagus from your neighbor’s back yard, chances are they’re not.

 

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Asparagus Seedlings: it takes two years after planting to produce spears.Asparagus Shoots: each underground crown produces 2-3 pounds of asparagus every week.Asparagus Shoots: each underground crown produces 2-3 pounds of asparagus every week.

 

The asparagus enters the packing shed from the field in crates where it is rinsed and distributed on a conveyor belt. The stalks are then arranged side by side with their tips aligned and run through a slicer where they are all cut to identical lengths. After they have been sliced they are carefully laid into sizing cups (horizontal half pipe shaped receptacles that fit one spear each). The cups then travel on a conveyor belt through a computerized sizer which takes a picture of each spear, determines its size (small, standard, large, x-large, or jumbo), and communicates to the sizing cup the spear’s measurement. The belt of sizing cups then travels down a line above a series of long metal shoots, each shoot designated for a different sized spear, and when each horizontal cup reaches the appropriate shoot, it turns vertically and deposits the asparagus into the receptacle at the bottom of the shoot. When the collection of spears at the bottom of the shoot reaches one pound, they are bundled with rubber bands and sent down another belt at the end of which they are packed into 11 bunch boxes and sent to the cooler to await distribution.

This incredibly complex process runs almost effortlessly with human hands and machines working in unison. Next time you pick up a bunch of asparagus, be sure to take a moment to appreciate the extensive handling process that bunch has been through before reaching your hands.

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