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Archive for August, 2015

Fall in Love with Snack Sized Kiwi Berries

It is no wonder that the small kiwi berry tastes just like the kiwi fruit we know and love, as they are both members of the Actinidia genus family. Kiwi berries are considered a cousin of the kiwi, and are also known as the hardy kiwi, artic kiwi or baby kiwi. This tiny, delicious piece of fruit is about the size of a grape, has no fuzz on the outside and can be eaten whole.

POP THEM IN YOUR MOUTH AND ENJOY!

Kiwi berries are native to southern China, Korea and Russian Siberia, similar to the Kiwi fruit. They require 150 frost free days of growing which is best suited to the temperate zones of the North East and North West. Kiwi berries naturally protect themselves from bugs and animals because they taste horrible during the maturation process. A single vine can grow up to 20 feet in just one season and one plant can produce up to 1000 pounds of fruit a year! Earl’s Organic Kiwi Berries are grown about 30 minutes south of Portland in Wilsonville, Oregon.  The season starts in late August and can go through October.

Kiwi berry photo grid 2015

Ripening and Storage Tips

Kiwis berries are picked hard and ripened off the vine. They ripen at room temperature and are ready to eat when the skin turns a darker green, wrinkles and gently yields to touch. Similar to a kiwi they will be slightly acidic until ripe when they will be very sweet. You can store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks but I doubt that will last that long.

Kiwi berries are a healthy snack and packed full of nutrition. uprchlická krize They have twice the Vitamin E of an avocado with only 60% of the calories, 5 times the Vitamin C of an orange and more potassium than bananas. Eat them fresh out of hand, add them to a salad, bake them in muffins or muddle them into a cocktail.

Tutti Frutti Late Summer Farm Tour

Written by Anthony Mirisciotta.

We began our farm tour in the morning hours on Wednesday after meeting up with Chris Cadwell at the hotel and jumping into his Honda truck gently coated with a shield of dust. Chris’s blond hair curled and fell nearly to his shoulders onto his orange T-shirt that read “Baja Sur” probably obtained on a fishing trip long ago. The first fields took us down 101 North to Los Olivos, where we were still under the early morning fog, just starting to show some breaks in the sky. “I remember this field” Ethan proclaimed from the backseat next to me “this was the field filled with bins and bins of onions” he said as he motioned out of the window towards the field. Chris pulled the truck off to the right side of the road as a dust cloud kicked up behind us, whoosh. We all jumped out of the truck and headed into the first Tutti Frutti field walk of the day.

The Boys

Chris Cadwell, Anthony Mirisciotta and Ethan Abendroth from Earls

This first field was filled with later crop peppers, the plants were all looking great and just starting to produce their first fruits. The varieties included- Cayenne, Jalapeno, Green Bells, Serrano, maybe a couple others that will pop up later! This was the field that all of his sweet onions were in not very long ago, after pulling all of those, he planted these peppers right after them. Just behind this pepper field in the same location was one of the first plantings of winter squash. Most of these plants were dead at this point with the fruits cut and scattered about, ready for picking and packing. We were able to check out a few bins and boxes that were already packed up for shipping!

After this we headed down the road a few miles to the “monster pepper field.” This is where the world famous tequila peppers are coming from right now. That is the name of the variety, they actually do not start on the plants as green, they start a whitish almost transparent and turn lavender, to full purple then on to being and orange/red if left on the plants. The tequila’s were planted next to some large orange “mandarin” bells and red lipstick peppers. Then we walked back to where the real magic was happening with the habaneros and jalapenos. These were planted before the previously mentioned peppers, and it showed. Chris had these all staked and roped together, so they grow in an actually hedgerow shape when successful. They produced this great canopy of leaves, and underneath that canopy the fruits were growing like I had never seen before. Jalapenos were growing in bunches, just packed upon one another, with great size to every single pepper.

Zillion boxes of Jalapenos

Jalapenos

 

Peppers like shade, and staking them in this manner allows them to grow together and block the heat from the soil and plants. If you were to reach down into the canopy towards the soil, you could feel the temperature change out of the sun, really phenomenal stuff! He has about 8 acres here of these wildly producing jalapenos, most of which were grown for someone that processes them, but because of the outstanding yield this year, a lot are going to come to us at Earls!

After Los Olivos, we took a trip to the heart of Tutti Frutti and visited the Lompoc fields. All of these fields are on Santa Rosa Rd, and run along the Santa Ynez River. This river had run dry for a long time due to the drought, BUT as of recently the county had released about 7 feet of water from a dam upstream, and this allowed water to flow in the Santa Ynez filling aquifers, wells and this dry river valley. About 4 feet of water was still running through this river during our trip, appeared almost as a mirage. We walked several fields of beautiful winter squash and pumpkins. All that we just getting ready to be harvested and shipped to Earls! We saw the beautiful next round of heirloom tomatoes that were planted 3 rows at a time under large shade houses that held the heat significantly but shaded the tomatoes from the direct sun.

We walked and discuss plans and harvests into the fall, more zucchini quickly manifested itself into the plan. ruské zpravodajství Chris is expecting and planning for a wet winter, it may slow things down in the spring, but his is prepared and should have no problems working around it.

It was a true pleasure and treat for me to get back into the fields and reconnect with what we are all doing here, and why. The wealth of experience and knowledge that Chris, Robert and Ethan have to share when walking the fields is extensive, and I’m very excited that I was there to take it all in.

Tomato Field

Tomato Field

 

Second Crop of Figs

We are now in the peak of the 2nd crop of figs that have the rich honey sweetness we associate with delicious figs. Figs love the hot days and warm nights and are grown mainly in the central valley around the Fresno/Madera area to up north of Sacramento in Corning.  Maywood Farms in Corning, CA, Stellar in Madera, CA and Susie Bee farms from Chowchilla, in the central Joaquin Valley, bring you some of the best organic figs. California ranks #1 in US production of figs and produces 100 % of the USA’s dried figs and 98 % of fresh figs.  Click here to learn more fig varieties. 

 

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Organic California Keitt Mango Time

The long awaited California Keitt mango season is here!  It is the only organic mango variety commercially grown in California as far as we know. Deemed as one of the best tasting mangos by many people, this domestic tropical fruit is impressive in both its strikingly large size and beautiful green color. 

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Keitt mangos have virtually no stringy fibers and a thin pit which means more fruit to devour. This unique domestic mango does not have to travel far and is left on the tree until it has developed a high level of maturity and sweet flavor. California Keitts are grown in the Coachella Valley, which runs for about 45 miles in Riverside County from Palm Springs to the northern part of the Salton Sea.

Keitts are also extra special because they are not subjected to the stress of a hot water bath, as most imported mangos are, contributing to a delicious eating experience.  Almost all imported mangos are hot water treated to eliminate fruit flies and fruit fly larvae. The mangos are put into hot water bath (115-118 F) anywhere from 90-120 minutes.

Ripening Tips

*Don’t be deterred by the Keitt’s green skin which stays green even when ripe. 

*Ripen your mangos up on your counter at room temperature. Mangos do not like the cold and can develop chill damage if stored in the refrigerator.

*You will know they are ready to eat when they yield slightly to gentle pressure.

The season is very short and lasts only about 4-6 weeks so don’t miss out this delicious juicy California grown tropical fruit!

Blueberry Update

The California blueberry season finished up around the end of June with a smooth transition into the Pacific Northwest supply out of Oregon and Washington in early July. There are different pack sizes at different times of year reflecting supply. Bigger pack sizes are seen during peak production times. Up until the end of July we were carrying 6oz, pints and 18oz packs. Offering your customers a variety of pack sizes has proven to increase sales.  As we go into August, supply is starting to decrease and we are moving into only 6oz packs. At the end of the season we may see 4.4oz packs depending on supply.

The heat brought on blueberries early this year and we are wrapping up earlier than usual.  We have seen the effect of the warmer weather, lack of chill hours and drought in stone fruit and avocados just to name a few. Stay tuned for more blueberry updates.

Blueberries350

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