Archive for August, 2014
California apple season has officially started and one of the first varieties harvested is the incredible stunning Pink Pearl heirloom apple. The speckled pearly green skin is tinged with a pink blush and the deep pink flesh has a crisp and tart-sweet flavor. They are perfect for baking because they hold their shape and retain their beautiful pink color even when cooked.
Pink Pearls were developed in Northern California in 1944 by a man named Albert Etter, using another red-fleshed apple called Surprise as a seedling. Earl’s heirloom Pink Pearl apples are coming from Rider and Sons out of Watsonville, California. Jim and Dick Rider are fifth generation orchardists and their grandfather, Homer, was one of the pioneer fruit growers in the Watsonville, California area. Heirloom apples can be odd shaped and have russeting around the stem bowl. Russeting occurs when the wind blows and causes the apples to shake and brush against the stem and leaves. This only enhances how unique heirloom apples are and in no way affects the flavor.
They are only around for another week, so don’t miss this opportunity to try them! They make a beautiful pink apple sauce or try an apple tart for the Labor Day holiday to really show off the beautiful pink color.
The Peony® large size makes them very impressive with the average grape measuring over an inch long. They are also one of the sweetest grapes commercially grown. Their incredible grape flavor, similar to a Concord grape, is outstanding!
Peony® blue/black seeded table grapes from Schellenberg Farms in Reedley, California are back again this year! The Peony® large size makes them very impressive with the average grape measuring over an inch long. They are also one of the sweetest grapes commercially grown. Their incredible grape flavor, similar to a Concord grape, is outstanding! When you bite into a Peony® you will be so taken by the fruity grape flavor that the tiny amount of seeds won’t be very noticeable.
Rick Schellenberg found a single bud sprouting from a spur of the parent grapevine growing grapes that looked different than the other grapes on the vine. In vine breeding terminology this is called a mutation or a “sport.” These unusual grape berries were noticeably sweeter than those from any other bunch on the vine, and so the Peony® was born.
The Peony® grapes are only around for a limited time, so don’t miss out.
The Hass avocado season is coming to an end much earlier than usual in most regions in California. In the last two years we have seen the California avocado season extending into September/October. This year we experienced a smaller crop in volume in part because it was an alternate bearing year. Combined with the drought and lack of water for irrigation, the California avocado supply was sparse. Avocados are heavy water users and can require up to 300 gallons a week in hotter weather. When they don’t receive the necessary amount of water the fruit will not size up. We saw the evidence of this in an abundance of smaller sized fruit.
At the end of the season we can see avocados from Northern California, think L.A. up to Santa Cruz, and Southern California, think Riverside and San Diego County to the Mexican border, all mixed in together in an avocado display. Avocados from Southern California have been on the tree for a longer time and are more mature, meaning they ripen quicker, have a higher oil content and should be eaten firm. The flavor is outstanding this time of year but don’t wait until they are too soft or they will be rancid. A sign of a very mature avocado with a high oil content is when the green/yellow flesh turns to a duller, almost mustard color. The Northern California season starts later so the fruit has been on the tree a shorter period of time and should be eaten riper with a little give. The problem is that you don’t know where your avocado is coming from most of the time. The level of maturity depends part in how long it has been on the tree, what region it is from in California and where in the season we are. Having avocados from 2 regions, means that we have 2 seasons and 2 levels of maturity overlapping in the same display.To confuse things even more we will soon see some overlap with Mexican avocados so it is best to start a discussion with your produce person about where their avocados are from.
Storage and Eating Tips:
*Store at a moderate temperature of 45-55 degrees. Putting avocados in the coldest part of your refrigerator will “burn them”.
*Black spots that appear in the flesh are caused by storage in cold temperatures so make sure to take the avocado out of the refrigerator to finish ripening.
*Eat firmer than usual and experiment with the ripening time.
We can look forward to the California season starting up again in February out of San Diego. Follow our social media pages for produce updates.
Green Gold Organic Farms was a dream of three friends who met playing softball in San Luis Obispo, located about half way between San Francisco and Los Angeles. They were all looking to do something on their own and wanted to start their own business. Melding backgrounds in construction and project management with a passion for agriculture the next logical step was for Matt, Brian and Levi to start their own farm.
Brian and Levi both graduated from the Construction Management program at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo. Matt graduated from the ALBA educational farming program and also completed his Food Safety certificate at Hartnell College of Agriculture. ALBA, located on the central coast of California, offers a 10 month program comprised of a 6 month educational course in the classroom followed by a 4 month hands on farming course. After the completion of the 10 month course, Alba leases out a parcel at a discounted rate for the student farmer to start his/her production. The graduates are then free to sell their produce to ALBA and/or directly to other customers.
Matt started leasing land from ALBA in Salinas as soon as he graduated and began experimenting with what he wanted to grow and honing his expertise. About a year later in March 2013 Green Gold Organic Farms was founded. The first year was spent forming the business, building the brand and developing their label. They now have 2 acres of organic strawberries and unique sweet mini bell peppers.
Green Gold has big plans for growing their business. Next steps in 2015 are to lease additional land back where they started in San Luis Obispo in addition to another 1 ½ acres on their property in Arroyo Grande. They have a business relationship with Central Coast Grown (CCG), a non-profit modeled after ALBA. They plan to add another acre each of strawberries and mini bell peppers and hope to add avocado and citrus trees to the mix.
Matt is the Ranch Manager while Brian is the Project Manager and Levi helps with the management and acquiring new property. However the reality is that everyone does everything including pulling weeds and picking berries on the farm. Earl’s Organic is proud to be supporting aspiring farmers!
NOW AT EARL’S ORGANIC
*Strawberries 12 x 1# clamshells/case means a lower price per clamshell!
*UNIQUE NEW Mini Sweet Bell Peppers 18 pints/case
Green Gold reduces waste by using less packaging materials
Contact your Earl’s Organic sales rep for pricing