Archive for August, 2016
The best tasting Jonagold apple is back from 5th generation orchardists, Rider and Sons. Located in Watsonville along the Central Coast of California, Rider and Sons is the only California grower we know that picks the Jonagold apple at its optimum maturity and flavor. The best tasting Jonagold will have developed a beautiful golden background before it is picked. This means it has been on the tree longer and has more flavor. Jim Rider says “the apples are ready to be harvested when they have a hint of yellow in the background color.” Most growers pick it too early when the background is green and the flavor has not developed. This has been our experience of the Pacific Northwest Jonagold.
The Watsonville area has a unique microclimate with cooler summer weather similar to San Francisco. This allows them to grow better quality apples and harvest closer to peak maturity more than warmer climates. Jonagolds require special care and attention and are selectively picked riper than most areas could. The fruit ripens slower in the cooler climate and develops the complex flavor components that can be lost with higher temperatures. Rider’s philosophy is to get them off the tree, picked and packed within a day or two and shipped immediately to be sold quickly at optimum maturity. Rider’s workers are trained to pick slowly with an eye for detail and will pick the orchard several times in order to deliver a riper, sweet and better tasting fruit. Their goal is not to store it for months and months.
Jim Rider calls Watsonville the Napa valley of apple growing areas. The apples have a more intense flavor and better quality because of the cooler temperatures. Click here for an interview with Jim Rider in the Jonagold orchards. In our own history as the apple season goes up to the Pacific North West, the flavor and quality of the Jonagold is not duplicated. Enjoy California apples during the short but sweet season. We expect supply to last for about 3 weeks. Look for the Jonagold apple on Earl’s specials the week of August 29th.
The best tasting Jonagold apple is back from 5th generation orchardists, Rider and Sons. Located in Watsonville along the Central Coast of California, Rider and Sons is the only California grower we know that picks the Jonagold apple at its optimum maturity and flavor. The best tasting Jonagold will have developed a beautiful golden background before it is picked. This means it has been on the tree longer and has more flavor.
The California stone fruit season started off strong in mid-May and over the past few months we have seen a good supply of fruit in all sizes. As we race towards the end of August, the California stone fruit season is winding down with a limited supply of late season fruit. No need to panic, we will continue to have a good supply of stone fruit out of the Pacific Northwest through most of September.
Buyer beware: Stone Fruit at different times of the season, coming out of different regions, will eat differently. We always recommend talking with the produce buyer of your favorite store and asking where your food is coming from.
How to eat late season peaches and nectarines
Late July to early August peaches and nectarines will have a lower moisture content, so eat them less ripe and more firm than earlier varieties. As a general rule, fruit harvested after June 1st is of the freestone variety. Cut around the center of the fruit from top to bottom and the fruit halves will fall away easily revealing the pit. Now is the best time to show off beautiful slices of fruit in your sweet and savory dishes.
Three women from Earl’s Organic who have made organic food their career, join Helge Hellberg from An Organic Conversation to show us that sustainable food production and healthy agricultural practices have a tremendous impact on everything that food touches. Starting on the land with the farmer, these practices positively affect just about everything along the journey, and ultimately, the end consumer – all of us. In this episode, we celebrate the notion that life creates life. Listen to the podcast here.
California grapes are at peak season with full sugar and optimum flavor. There are over 70 varieties of red, black and green varieties, now coming out of the San Joaquin Valley, think Stockton and Merced in the north down to Bakersfield in the south.
Out of all the varieties, red grapes are always the hardest to color up, with the Flame grape being the most fickle. Red grapes need cooler nights to help develop that rich red color. The recent hot days and warm nights are preventing the fruit from coloring up. Johnni Soghomonian from Three Sisters Organic in Fresno says “Our Flame grapes are having a hard time coloring up this year. We spent a great amount of time, all hand labor, pulling off the leaves covering the fruit, in order to help color up the grapes. The sugar and great flavor is there, but we are working with Mother Nature and some grapes are just stubborn.”
Conventionally ethrel is used to color up the fruit, but that cannot be used in organic production. Many newer varieties have been bred for color and have superior darker color berries than the Flames. Sunview Vineyards, located in Delano, just north of Bakersfield, used to grow Flames, but replaced them with the “Rosa” red grape, a proprietary variety that yields a darker color berry. Sunview saw an opportunity to turn the low colored Flame grapes into raisins, growing their raisin program to include red, green and black organic raisins. All three varieties are available at Earl’s.
We can look forward to the Crimson red grape from Three Sisters in about 10 days. This variety inherently colors up better than the Flame, with all the sweet and crunchy characteristics we want in a good eating grape.