Archive for October, 2013
HAPPY HALLOWEEN from everyone at Earl’s! Have you carved your pumpkin yet? Perhaps maybe made a delicious soup and served it in individual small sugar pie pumpkins? Pumpkins are great for cooking, roasting the seeds for a delicious snack, carving a creative design on for Halloween, as well as looking pretty on a holiday table or in your entrance way.
All pumpkins regardless of size or color are cultivars of squash but not all squash are pumpkins. Pumpkins along with all other squash are native to North America and part of the Native American Indians “Three Sisters” planting which also includes beans and corn. They are a very old crop and seeds have been found in Mexico dating back to 7,000 BC.
Pumpkins biggest market is for processing including canned pumpkin pie filling. At times the weather will adversely affect the pumpkin crop and many children are sad. Lucky for everyone this year is looking good for supply on the west coast. I personally have a Fairytale, Sugar Pie and a Jack-O-Lantern on my front porch ready for the festivities tonight.
Fun Facts: Pumpkin festivals are all the rage – carve em – chuck em – grow the biggest. The world record is held by Ron Wallace from Greenfield, Rhode Island with a pumpkin that weighed in just over 2,009 pounds! Contrary to popular opinion witches cannot turn you into a pumpkin though Jack-O-Lanterns will protect your house from demons
Sugar pies continue to grow in popularity. They are bred to be sweet dry fleshed with a small seed cavity which means more flesh to eat, at a perfect weight of 3-5lb. Pumpkins can be stored for many months if kept at about 65 degrees F. The orange color of pumpkins tells you that they are chock full of beta-carotene, an important antioxidant. One of my favorite winter recipes is Coconut Curry Pumpkin Soup. Please share your favorite pumpkin recipes on our Facebook.
Written by Robert Lichtenberg and Susan Simitz
Earl’s Organic introduces its Safety and Sustainability Committee! Earl’s recognizes the committee as an integral part of our efforts to create a wholesome and sustainable food system that works not only for food producers and consumers, but everyone in between. We believe that everyone must be accountable for the consequences of their own actions. For us this includes being conscious of the social and environmental impact of our business operations. We believe that as a company we have a responsibility to look after our workers as well as the environment at large, and focusing on both personal accountability and teamwork, the Safety and Sustainability Committee has been tasked with the essential duty of increasing the overall health and wellness of our working environment.
You might remember back in the Fall of 2011 when Earl visited Cuyama Orchards in the remote mountainous area of Cuyama, surrounded by the Los Padres National forest in Santa Barbara County. It is that time of year again and Cuyama is growing some of the most delicious California apples on the market. Cuyama is located at an elevation of 3200 feet which brings warm days and cool nights for the dormant/chill hours apples need. In addition the abundant native water supply and rich mineral soil produce quality harvest organic apples.
We have been busy in Earl’s kitchen taste testing Fuji apples from various growers. The Cuyama Fuji apple stood out with a well-balanced flavor that finished strong. It also scored a whopping 21 in the Brix Refractometer test which measures the level of sugar in a piece of fruit. To give you an idea of how high that is, apples are rated on a scale from 6 with low sugar to a high of 18. 21 is off the charts!
The colder the weather the higher color an apple will develop. Earl’s feels that the California Fuji is lighter in color compared to the Northwest Fuji’s because the difference in climate means more chill hours which brings a darker color to the Fuji apple. That being said we feel that the Cuyama apple is one of the best California Fuji apples out there and it continues to make its mark on consumers everywhere. Cuyama also grows Granny Smith, Arkansas Black, Pink Lady and Crimson Golden apples.
As a reminder California apples are winding up. Now is the time to get them! The Oregon and Washington season has already started. If you missed our blog about California apple grower Rider and Sons out of Watsonville, California now is the time to read about their many varieties including the delicious Fuji apple. The cooler weather in Watsonville brings out the vibrant color in apples giving Fujis a deeper red color. Click here for the full blog.
Rainbow Valley Orchards has developed special breast cancer awareness packaging for their 2 lb cello bags of lemons during the month of October. In the past few years RVO has had some very close people in their lives deal with cancer. The RVO family has partnered with The City of Hope to fight cancer through healthy eating. RVO asks you to invest in yourself. Eating an organic diet can help to prevent Cancer and help those who are affected to recover. Look for RVO organic lemon bags in your local retail store.