WEEKLY SPECIALS | SEASONAL CALENDAR | GROWER MAP

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Archive for January, 2014

Cunningham Varietal Citrus

Varietal citrus from Cunningham Farm, located in Southern California, is coming on strong.  George Cunningham along with his wife Gail and son Greg have been growing organically for over 30 years.  Cunningham Farm is located in a secluded valley next to the Cleveland National Forest between Fallbrook and Temecula in San Diego County. Cunningham Farm grows a number of products including Meyer lemons, Cocktail Grapefruit and Satsuma Mandarins, now available at Earl’s. Coming very soon are Page and Fremont Mandarins followed by Meiwa Kumquats in February and Golden Nugget, Honey and Yosemite Mandarins and Blood Oranges in March.  This is the time of year when George is out there harvesting with his crew all of the different citrus that we now have in our warehouse.  Don’t miss this opportunity to literally enjoy the fruits of a single family farms labor.

Cocktail Grapefruit Very sweet with no acidity and can have many seeds.

Cocktail Grapefruit
Very sweet with no acidity and can have many seeds.

Meiwa Kumquats Round with a spicy and sweet rind and flesh

Meiwa Kumquats
Round with a spicy and sweet rind and flesh

Seasonal Eats Page Mandarins

Blood Orange The Moro variety is the most popular with flesh that ranges from light organish red to a dark purple the longer it stays on the tree.

Blood Orange
The Moro variety is the most popular with flesh that ranges from light organish red to a dark purple the longer it stays on the tree.

Date Shortage

Dates are grown in 2 major areas of the world, the California desert in Coachella near Palm Springs and on the North Coast of Africa, think Egypt, Morocco and Algeria. Both areas had major weather related damage this year creating a massive supply shortage.  As a result there was a huge international pull from the California supply, creating an even bigger deficit.  This is a prime example of supply and demand.   At times we have experienced a challenge in sourcing supply and the consumer will notice a price increase due to the limited amount of California dates.

Date Palm Wikipedia Public Domain

Pummelos

Pummelos are the largest fruit in the citrus family and are very popular in Asia. Pummelos can weigh up to a few pounds with shapes ranging from tear drop to round.  All pummelos have a thick but easy to peel rind but the flesh can be white or pink, sweet or sour and can have a little or a lot of seeds depending on the variety.  Pummelos are best recognized by their refreshing, clean citrus fragrance. Turn the pummelo over and smell the blossom end for a strong burst of a citrus scent unlike any other.

In California the Chandler is the most commonly grown variety both commercially and with the home gardener.  In 1961 UC Riverside developed the Chandler by crossing the slightly acidic Siamese Pink Pummelo with the Siamese Sweet Pummelo.  The Chandler can be as big as a volleyball with a thick rind that needs to be carefully peeled away to reveal the sweet, crisp pink flesh inside.  The sweet flavor is well worth the effort it takes to get to the fruit.

Pummelos are so popular for Chinese New Year that a small part of the crop grown in Southern California is specifically for the Asian community in San Francisco and other parts of California. Chinese New Year falls on January 31st this year.

THE PUMMELO CAN BE CUT OPEN AND SEGMENTED IN 4 EASY STEPS

First cut off the top of the pummelo.  I recommend making a cut at least half inch deep because the rind is so thick.

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Secondly make 4 scores with a knife around the sides of the pummelo so you can easily peel back the rind. Wedge your fingers between the pith and the fruit and gently peel back each segment.

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Now the fruit should be easy to remove from the rind. Using your fingers again gently pull the fruit apart like an orange until you have two halves.

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Lastly using your hand or a knife peel away the pith surrounding the fruit and separate the segments of fruit.

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The Chandler pummelo is picked when the skin is greenish yellow but they have the best flavor when the rind has developed more of a yellow color. Pummelos are related to the grapefruit but they are not as juicy and the segments are best eaten out of hand, in a salad or try adding it to a smoothie. The rinds can be used to make candied pummelo and are sometimes used in Asian cooking.

Normally you will find pummelos in season from early winter to spring all depending on supply and demand and what regions they are coming from.  When choosing a pummelo, or any citrus, you want to pick one that is heavy for its size and free of bruising. It should also smell great!  I recommend buying a few extra pummelos to put in different areas of your house. The fresh citrus smell acts as a natural air freshener. You can also cut up the rind after peeling it and place it in a bowl in the bathroom.  The citrus scent will go on long after the fruit has dried out. Don’t store pummelos out on the counter unless you plan to eat it that day. Pummelos can be stored in the refrigerator for a little over a week.  Click here for some delicious and healthy smoothie recipes.

 

Peruvian Grapes are here

California grape season is officially over and we are now transitioning to Peruvian grapes.  This is the first year that organic Fair For Life, grapes from Peru have been available.  Fair for Life certified by IMO Switzerland, guarantees fair wages, good working conditions and social responsibility at each and every stage of production and throughout the distribution chain. For the full post click here.

Seasonal Eats Sugraones Peruvian Grapes

 

 

Peruvian Grape Season

California grape season is officially over and we are now transitioning to Peruvian grapes.  This is the first year that organic Fair For Life, grapes from Peru have been available.  Fair for Life certified by IMO Switzerland, guarantees fair wages, good working conditions and social responsibility at each and every stage of production and throughout the distribution chain.

Earl’s first shipment of sweet, crisp and flavorful green seedless Sugraone grapes will arrive next Monday and supplies will last for about 3 weeks.  Sugraones will be followed by red globe seeded grapes, with exceptional size, color and flavor towards the end of January and will continue for about 2 weeks. For those of you who want to maintain your grape displays now is a great time to make the easy switch.

Earl’s will have grapes from Peru sporadically through March, followed by a small gap before grapes from Mexico arrive in mid-May. The Mexican season could be as short as one or two weeks.  As soon as California season starts up at the end of May we will only be buying California grapes.  Stay tuned for updates on when the California season starts up again.

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