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Archive for March, 2019

Cherimoyas

Cherimoyas can grow as small as ¼ pound each up to 5 pounds and are a conical or heart shaped green fruit covered in bumps.  The flesh is white and creamy and dotted with big black seeds.  Depending on the variety, they are mellow sweet to tangy or acidic sweet with suggestions of mangos, pineapples, banana, papaya, strawberries and vanilla custard but honestly I can’t compare it to anything else.  Mark Twain called the cherimoya “deliciousness itself.” The season runs from March to June with the peak time in March and April. Cherimoya’s are grown in California from Santa Barbara all the way down to San Diego.

Coastal View Produce California Asparagus

We have been eagerly awaiting the beautiful bunches of green stalks with purple tinged tips. The height of the season in California runs from March to June.  California asparagus is mainly grown at the confluence of California’s two greatest rivers, the Sacramento and the San Joaquin, in the rich peat of the delta lands an hour south of Sacramento and in the Salinas Valley about 2 hours south of San Francisco. California produces over 70 percent of the nation’s fresh market asparagus.

Asparagus is a perennial crop producing year after year. The crowns are planted in long beds deep in the ground.  New hybrid varieties can produce for a few weeks after a year in the ground and older varieties may take up to 3 years to produce. Once the plant is established, it can produce for 10 years or longer. The stalks only turn green when they are exposed to the sun and develop chlorophyll.  Did you know?  As the weather warms, a single asparagus spear can grow anywhere from 6 to 10 inches in a single day!

California Coastal View Produce Asparagus Grown in Gonzales

When you’re ready to eat them, snap or cut off the white portion of the butt end of the asparagus. They’re perfect coated with olive oil and roasted, which leaves them firmer, nuttier and sweeter than steaming.  Asparagus is high vitamin C and K and folic acid and contain less than 50 calories per 6 oz serving.  Click here for more recipes.

Earl’s Organic Buyer’s Notes March 24, 2019

California asparagus from Coastal View Produce in the Salinas Valley is here! We have been eagerly awaiting the beautiful bunches of green stalks with purple tinged tips. The height of the season in California runs from March to June.  California asparagus is mainly grown at the confluence of California’s two greatest rivers, the Sacramento and the San Joaquin, in the rich peat of the delta lands an hour south of Sacramento and in the Salinas Valley about 2 hours south of San Francisco. California produces over 70 percent of the nation’s fresh market asparagus. Read the full story in our weekly buyer’s notes.

California Avocado Season Off To A Late Start

The California avocado season is experiencing unique circumstances this year. The season is off to a late start and is expected to end early. To give you a frame of reference, last year the season started in January and this year the first organic California avocados landed at Earl’s the beginning of March.  The southern California region, think San Diego County, is estimated to be done harvesting by June. The northern California region, think Morro Bay, will start up in late summer and go into early Fall depending on how growers manage their supply.

Overall volume will also be smaller this year. The current California avocado season is predicted to be approximately half the size of last year with an estimated total harvest of 175 million pounds with 8% (14 million pounds) grown organically.  This dramatic decrease in volume is due partially to this being an alternate bearing year, but primarily to a record-setting heat wave last summer where avocado growing regions across Southern California saw temperatures between 118-122 degrees for a two-day period.  This intense heat destroyed much of the young fruit set that would grow into the 2019 crop.  We have heard from several small California growers reporting total crop failures for the season.

How Will California Avocado Growers Handle Their Crop This Year?

It will be hard to forecast volume and pricing this year. The growers that do have fruit are monitoring their trees and have to decide how to maximize their return. On one hand there will be growers that have a very limited crop. They may decide to hold fruit on the tree longer and pick in a fashion in order to maximize their inventory and return. Then there will be growers that have good supply and will have an opportunity this year to get top dollar for their crop. 

The good news is that we will be providing California avocados for the duration of the season. We just don’t know how long that will be.  We just ripened our first arrival of fruit from San Diego County this week and these California avocados are truly delicious!

Mexican Avocado Crop

The Mexican avocado season is well into the ‘Normal’ season.  All avocados imported into the U.S. from Mexico are grown in the mountainous state of Michoacán.  With an ideal combination of rich, volcanic soil, abundant sunshine and well-timed rainfall, Michoacán is one of the few places in the world where avocados can be grown year-round.  Furthermore, there are four seasons or blooms associated with the Mexican crop; Flora Loca, Aventajada, Normal and Marzena.  Flora Loca avocados are picked June-September and Aventajada is from July-October.  Normal represents the majority of production with harvest from September thru February while Marzena is March to June.  The Normal & Marzena fruit has increased dry matter content.  Dry matter, defined as the part of food that would remain if all of its water content were removed, is assessed to determine maturity, ripening behavior and flavor.  The higher the dry matter the faster the fruit ripens and shelf life decreases.  Also, higher percentage of dry matter relates to higher oil content and buttery flavor and mouthfeel.  We will carry Equal Exchange, Fair Trade Mexican avocados for the next few weeks until the California season hits its early stride.

Earl’s Organic Buyer’s Notes March 17, 2019

It is Equal Exchange Banana Month!

Equal Exchange bananas are unconventional. It’s not just that they are organic and fair trade. The Equal Exchange banana supply chain is a genuine departure from the conventional system – from the small farmer cooperatives directly exporting bananas to the alternative, independent retailers making them available to conscious eaters. Together, step-by-step, we are building a real alternative to conventional bananas. Check out the Equal Exchange video in our latest buyer’s notes!

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