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Archive for 2014

Temperatures Drop in California

If you woke up this morning and felt that it was colder than usual you weren’t imagining it. Temperatures have dropped down in California, especially in the desert. The last few mornings saw frost and ice in Coachella and the Imperial Valley. Coachella hit a low of 16 degrees today! Northern Mexico also has had lower temperatures than normal. Plants can be severely damaged if harvested before they thaw out so growers will need to wait to harvest until late morning. Most of the wet vegetable items that are grown in the desert can take quite low temperatures and will recover even when frozen. The cold weather reduces the number of hours they can harvest a day.  We can expect availability to be tight, prices to go up and quality defects on leafy items.

Most vegetables are comprised mainly of water and water expands when it freezes causing various types of defects. Epidural peel occurs when the outer layer of the leaf freezes, partially dies and then begins to peel. The leaf will have a translucent look. Tip burn happens when the leaf cells break down from extreme temperature causing the outer edges of the leaves to turn black. Cracking can be seen along the stem or ribs and slight frost damage is noticeable on outside leaves.

More weather and produce updates to come as we begin the new year.

Everyone at Earl’s Organic wishes you a healthy, happy and prosperous 2015!

Winter Citrus Harvest Update

In our last few blogs we discussed how the heavy rains in California could possibly affect the citrus harvest. The fruit becomes waterlogged which can cause mold, possible rind breakdown also known as “clear rot” and a shorter shelf life.  All of that water also disperses the sugar and dilutes the flavor. The growers need to wait until the fruit dries out and the sugars are redistributed before picking again. Picking the fruit after the rain can leave bruise marks on the fruit and the oil from the workers hands can change the skin from orange to yellow.  Only time will tell if the fruit has been affected and just now we are noticing some bruising on fruit that was picked last week during the break from the rain. As mentioned before we may or may not see gaps on varietal citrus in the coming weeks as the heavy rain continues.

The biggest side effect from the rain we have seen is from Side Hill Citrus in Lincoln, north of Sacramento. Side Hill Satsuma mandarins, a favorite of everyone at Earl’s, ended a few weeks early this year.  There was too much moisture in the fruit due to the rains and the fruit itself lacked the flavor that everyone has come to expect from the grower Rich Ferreira. We hope that you had a chance to try this incredible piece of fruit while it was plentiful.

Winter is citrus time so don’t despair. We have many more varieties in which to look forward. California Navels are coming on stronger and getting sweeter with every land. The outside of the blossom end looks like a human navel and that is how the name came about. Their thick skin allows them to fend off serious water damage and protects them from extreme cold weather.  Navels are easy to peel, seedless and are best for eating out of hand. Navels can be juiced but need to be consumed immediately or the juice will turn bitter because of the compound limonin found in the pith. Navels are currently coming out of the central San Joaquin Valley in the Porterville area. The season runs from November through April, with peak supplies in January, February and March coming from the San Joaquin Valley and San Diego County.

Navel cropped_2

Clementine Mandarins are that perfect small to medium piece of fruit to throw in your bag for a snack later.   The amount of seeds depends on if there is a pollinator nearby.  They are easy to peel with an extremely sweet and juicy, beautiful orange flesh.  Clementines come from a group of varieties and are also known as the Algerian mandarin in California.  They are coming out of the central San Joaquin Valley and the season runs November through January. Their thin skin means that they are likely to encounter issues with the wet weather.

Clementine (1)

 

The Page Mandarin will be available in limited quantities from the Fallbrook area in San Diego County. The Page is a cross between a Minneola tangelo and Clementine Mandarin. Usually seedless with a fantastic rich flavor you can pick them out easily by their bright orange red skin. The season runs from December to May.

Citrus Buying Tip:

During this rainy season we recommend buying less citrus and buying more often. The fruit won’t hold as long so keep what you buy in the refrigerator.

As you know by now produce is weather dependent and supply can change as fast as the weather. We can look forward to Minneolas and Blood Oranges coming around the end of December or beginning of January. Learn about the different varieties of citrus and what to expect in terms of flavor profiles and supplies in future blogs.

Page Mandarins

Page mandarins have a deep bright orange skin. They have incredible flavor and are usually seedless. Pages are a cross between a Minneola tangelo and Clementine mandarin. Pages are the next best thing now that Satsuma season is almost done.

Page Mandarin

Heavy Rains Hit California

California continues to be inundated with heavy rainfall and flooding in some areas. As we mentioned in our weather update last week the citrus harvest could be affected by the rain.

BUYERS BEWARE:

We may or may not see gaps on varietal citrus coming out of the San Joaquin Valley in the coming weeks due to the rain. In particular we are looking at Navels, Cara Caras, Clementines and Pummelos. Growers need to wait until the fruit dries out to pick because the flavor has been diluted and the moisture in the fruit can cause skin issues and breakdown. Click to learn more about how the rain affects the citrus harvest. 

We will know more about inventory quantities next week. Stay tuned for updates.

Navels Sundance

Asian Pears

Asian pears are firm to the touch with the crisp texture of an apple and the juiciness of a pear. They can grow quite large and are round like an apple and have a yellowish green or brown russet skin like a pear. It is no surprise that they are also known as an apple pear.
Click to read the full blog.

Asian Pear twitter

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