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Archive for June, 2018

Reed Avocados

Reed avocados are round and can grow as large as a softball. There is a large amount of edible flesh in relation to the size of the pit. The flesh is rich and creamy and the pebbled skin remains green when ripe. Reeds are ready to eat when they yield to slight pressure. The skin is easy to peel and also thick enough that you can mash up the avocado and eat it right out of its own shell.

Reed Avocado flyer snippet

Sun Valley Farms

Sun Valley’s home ranch is nestled in the upper reaches of the Pajaro Valley along a creek that flows into the Elkhorn Slough.  Rogelio Jr. met us at the ranch entrance with his business assistant Chris.  His brother Steven who is the farm manager and crop scientist arrived shortly after with Rogelio Sr. their father and farming mentor.  The Ponce family has been farming in the area for three generations growing mostly berries with the newer additional of row crop vegetables.  The addition of row crops allows Sun Valley to have a solid crop rotation program without having to lease their land to outside vegetable growers.  This crop rotation system increases soil fertility, as well as, limits soil-borne diseases like Verticillium Wilt which strawberries are particularly susceptible.  As long time, former Driscoll’s contract growers, the Ponce family is both skilled in growing multiple varieties and types of berries but they also have a seasoned and honed eye toward quality.

The Ponce Family Steven, Rogelio Senior and Rogelio Jr.

The Ponce Family Steven, Rogelio Senior and Rogelio Jr.

We toured the home ranch and adjacent parcel where they are currently growing strawberries, greens, herbs, carrots, radishes, bok choy, romanesco & cauliflowers.  The Ponce’s have selected a few varieties of raspberries to trial and will be in production by 2019.  They have a few acres under hoop houses which gives them season extension and protection from weather extremes.  There was a block of baby sweet broccoli that they were experimenting with mowing to get second and third harvests.  Regenerative agriculture inaction.  A quick visit to the cooling shed led us through the heart of berry country past Driscoll’s experimental berry plots and where Rogelio’s grandfather sharecropped strawberries in the 1950’s.  Rogelio is a wealth of local information and knows the growing history of much of the Pajaro Valley.

Pacific Northwest Cherries

Ideal growing conditions in the Pacific Northwest produce the sweetest and crunchiest cherries for the summer. You want to choose bright looking, plump, dark colored cherries and avoid wrinkly fruit.  Check the stem areas for rot and splits at the blossom end.  The darker the color the sweeter the fruit and the firmer the fruit the longer they last.  Store ripe cherries in the refrigerator until ready to use and wash cherries before eating.   Cherries are very low in saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium.  They’re also a good source of dietary fiber and vitamin C and loaded with potassium, a natural blood-pressure reducer.

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Earl’s Organic Produce Buyer’s Notes June 24th

Ellwood nantes carots are ending. Thanks for your support of this item throughout the winter/spring season. Ellwood is now making the full transition to tomato season. They are currently picking mixed medleys and early girls. They have also planted large acreage of roma tomatoes which we can expect further into July.

Tomatero strawberries will continue in a big way into the 4th of July. We will have some of the best pricing of the season. They are starting on open pint shishitos and padrons next week.

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Earl’s Organic Produce Buyer’s Notes June 17th

Califonia Breba(or first crop) of figs has started! California has two seasons of figs. The Breba crop is grown on the old branches of the tree and starts up in June, lasting for a few short weeks. This is considered the bonus crop and not all varieties produce a breba crop. At this point the figs have not developed the rich honey flavor we love.

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