We have good news! After 2 weeks of labor disputes the Mexican avocado strike is officially over. Crews were back picking on Saturday, October 15th and a large supply of avocados is finally crossing the border. You can expect to see all sizes of avocados in stores this weekend. Keep in mind that this is new crop and the fruit will be green and could take up to a week to ripen. Read more about the avocado strike here.
We are less than 2 weeks away from the arrival of the first crop of the coveted Side Hill Satsuma mandarins! Side Hill Citrus in Lincoln, CA, located in the Sacramento foothills, has the best Satsuma Mandarins in our opinion.
As Fourth generation farmer Rich Ferreira waits for the Satsumas to dry out from the recent rains, he continues to walk the orchards every day checking the fruit for color and flavor. You can be sure that the Side Hill Satsuma Mandarins will have a good balance of tart and sweet from the first picking. As the season progresses they will only get sweeter.
Satsumas peel effortlessly, making it the perfect on the go snack for both kids and adults. As the weather continues to get colder Satsumas are the ultimate cold buster. Eat four or five Satsumas a day to receive six to seven times as much synephrine, a natural decongestant, as other citrus. Plan to stock up in November and December because the season usually ends the beginning of January.
Under the direction of the Transportation Supervisor, the selected candidate will deliver palletized orders to our diverse customer base in a timely and attentive manner.
Responsibilities will include:
• Conducting thorough pre-trip safety checks
• Maintaining accurate trips logs and related reports
• Securing loads to ensure product integrity upon delivery
• Efficiently navigating assigned delivery routes
• Unloading and appropriately handling pallets and packages, per customers’ specific needs
• Providing excellent customer service at every opportunity
• Informing his/her supervisor of route delays and outstanding delivery situations
• Obtaining necessary delivery receipts
• Organizing and securing all route related paperwork
• Participating in efficient route planning
• Pick-up dispatched backhauls in a timely manner
• Cultivating respectful working relationships with all customer personnel
• Contributing ideas for individual and team improvement
• Actively supporting other team members in a direct and respectful fashion
• Participating in related team projects and activities
Position requirements include:
• Valid driver’s license and clean driving record
• Class A or B California driver’s license required
• Able to operate an electric Pallet Jack
• Able to operate a hand truck
• 2-3 years delivery driving experience, preferably with a fresh produce company but not necessary
• Familiarity with Bay Area traffic patterns
• Ability to read directions and use a street map to plot delivery route
• Ability to maintain logs and records
• Strong communication skills
• Excellent customer service ability
• Ability to respond to feedback from others
• Ability to present oneself professionally in customer-facing situations
• Ability to maintain respect and composure in stressful situations
• Attention to detail
• Desire to support other team members
• High energy!
• Desire to grow individually and to learn how to best support other team members
• Ability to lift a minimum of 50 lbs. on a regular basis
• Ability to read, write and understand English
• Basic Warehouse experience
Earl’s Organic Produce provides a highly competitive compensation package, including medical, dental, vision, LTD and voluntary life, plus a company-sponsored retirement program.
Class B Drivers: $18.50 – $22.50 DOE
Class A Drivers: $23.50 – $26.50 DOE
$500 sign on bonus with completion of 90 days of employment
Earl’s Organic Produce works to embrace diversity in all its forms; it strives to be an inclusive community that fosters an open, enlightened and productive environment.
Interested candidates are encouraged to submit a cover letter, resume, and three references via email or come directly to:
Earls Organic Produce
2101 Jerrold Ave., Suite 100
San Francisco, CA 94124
- Principals only. Recruiters, please don’t contact this job poster.
- do NOT contact us with unsolicited services or offers
Bright orange Fuyu and Hachiya persimmons have arrived along with the cooler weather and it finally feels like fall. There are several species of persimmons but the most common is the Japanese or Oriental persimmon, also called the D. Kaki species. In Japan they are the national fruit and called Kaki. There are at least six varieties of the Asian persimmon but the Fuyu and the Hachiya are the most commonly grown in the United States. The season starts up in October and can continue into January, weather dependent.
California produces almost 100% of the persimmon crop in the United States with over half of the persimmons grown in Tulare and Fresno counties. The other main areas are Orange, Riverside and San Diego counties and a very small amount are grown in Sutter and Placer counties north of Sacramento.
The two varieties eat very different. The Hachiya is tapered like an acorn and has a bright reddish orange skin. It is extremely astringent and bitter when firm. If eaten when still firm it will leave a fuzzy unpleasant feeling in your mouth. The Hachiya needs to be jelly soft before it becomes edible. When the fruit has become very soft scoop out the flesh and use it in cakes, cookies, muffins and smoothies. My favorite recipe is the James Beard persimmon bread.
Fuyu’s are short, squat and non-astrigent and when ripe they have a sweet flavor with a hint of cinnamon and apricot. You can eat them raw when they are firm or soft and they do not need to be peeled. Fuyu’s can be eaten like an apple, cut up and eaten on their own. You may sometimes find a few seeds inside but they are easy to eat around. I like combining pomegranate arils with Fuyu slices in a colorful Fall fruit salad.
How to store:
Persimmons unlike many fruits will keep longer if left at room temperature. Once they are in the refrigerator they will go soft faster and will need to be eaten quickly. Look for persimmons with smooth skin and no bruising. Persimmons are an excellent source of Vitamin A, C and fiber and full of antioxidants.
The light colored, fine-grained wood from a persimmon tree is used to make billiard cues, drum sticks, golf clubs and furniture.
“We want to live in an environment that is not clouded with pesticides and synthetic fertilizers,” says Ian Johnston. The Johnston Family is passionate about growing organically and giving people a choice in how their food is produced.
Ian and Sylvia Johnston live and work on their home ranch in Woodland, California, about a half hour south of Sacramento in Yolo County. Running the farm is a family business and their son John helps to run the day to day operations. Most of their 220 acre farm is devoted to growing organic Butternut, Spaghetti, Delicata and Acorn Squash. When asked why they grow in Woodland Ian answers “The nice long hot summer days and delta breeze in the evening making for cool evening and night time temperatures, allows the plants to stay in the optimal temperature range for optimal growth.”
For Ian, Sylvia, John, and their full time employees farming is not a job, it is a way of life. They do whatever they need to do to get the job done. “Unfortunately plants grow on their own schedule. They don’t care if it is Sunday or a holiday. When they need something done you have to get it done then so the plants thrive. We all spend a lot of time together producing the products for the market. We take it very serious that our name gives customers the sense of truth that our product has been grown to the utmost standards,” says Ian.
The Johnston’s are always looking for ways to farm sustainably. Their tractors are equipped with GPS guidance to maximize driver performance, reduce fuel usage and minimize their carbon foot print; they irrigate with buried drip tape to be the most efficient with their water, use beneficial insect predators to keep insect pressure down and generate all energy used for their house and shop from solar panels.
The Johnston’s enjoy conquering challenges and every day farming is different and every year gives different growing conditions. “The satisfaction of facing a challenge and overcoming it is what fuels us to make ourselves better growers every day.”
Organic produce from the Johnston Family “Is truly from our family to yours,” says Ian.
Join us as we celebrate Fair Trade month with Coliman Fair Trade Organic Bananas on special for the whole month of October!
Buying Fair Trade products ensures that farm workers enjoy sustainable wages, safe working conditions and improves their community by collectively investing in social and business projects such as providing health care, scholarships and leadership training.
Coliman’s Fair Trade Commitment: “Quality and service is our core belief and value while caring for our people and land. Our Fair Trade certification shows our customers that we care about fairness, justice and integrity for our workers, sustainable development, and that being a socially responsible company is an important part of our business and philosophy. Our goal is to provide only the best fresh bananas in the marketplace while ensuring that the teams of workers in the field can earn a decent and dignified livelihood, but more importantly, live a just and dignified life for them and their family.”
Fair Trade month comes just once a year but Coliman bananas are Organic Fair Trade all year long.
POS Materials available upon request. Please contact your Earl’s sales representative.
We are very excited to announce that Forbidden Fruit Orchard Blueberries out of Lompoc, California are back with supply ramping up at the end of this week. Weather dependent, we can look forward to Forbidden blues through October and possibly into November.
We can expect to see other California blueberry growers coming on with limited production in October, including Rancho Don Antonio in Carpinteria and Pacific Coast Produce in Santa Maria.
Blueberries coming out of the Pacific Northwest are essentially done and we will see a limited supply through the first week of October.
Stay tuned for more blueberry updates as we make the transition to imported blueberries in November.
My family and I were fortunate to visit Bob Steinacher from Maywood Farm for a personal tour of his 172 acre organic fig farm in Corning, California, located just 2 miles off of Highway 101. I parked in front of the packing shed next to a vehicle with the license plate “Fig Farm” and knew I was in the right place.
Bob was busy at work in the packing shed along with his wife and son when we walked in. You could feel the energy of the packing shed as the workers sorted the figs in the bins coming in off the field into ripe and extra ripe boxes. The extra ripe fig boxes are marked with an X for a select few customers. Once the figs are stacked onto pallets they are brought into the coolers. The field heat must be taken out of the fruit to maintain the quality of the figs while they are being shipped to wholesalers all over the country.
Bob took us into the cooler where a large suction fan can cool down up to 8 pallets or 15,000 pounds of fruit from 90 to 36 degrees in 4.5 hours. Peak production is over and the coolers have only a few pallets. It is starting to cool down during the day and night and with shorter days it doesn’t heat up as much.
Bob asks if we are ready to tour the orchards and with a resounding YES we all climb into his ATV. Bob grows organic black mission, brown turkey, kadota, excel and adriatic figs with the majority of his acreage dedicated to black mission. Our first stop was a section of the black mission fig trees where Bob points out where the new growth was growing off the old branches. Some of his black mission trees are 32 years old and grow the biggest out of all the varieties. They cut them down to 6ft every year so they can pick them from the ground. The figs start ripening at the base of the limbs on the new growth and continually ripen up the branch. The trees can get so thick that you can’t get into the center of the tree to pick and the fruit doesn’t color up properly if it is too shaded. Most of the wood is pruned back by hand and Bob has 10 workers that prune all the fig trees for about 2 months each year.
Everywhere we look, black mission figs are scattered on the ground under the trees. Bob tells us “It so hard to see fruit go to waste. We work so hard to grow it but we can’t pick it fast enough. It came on too hot and for too long with many 100 degree days. We got as many workers as we could at the time, but we peak out at around 100 workers and then the quality of the workers is not as good.” Bob finds us a few dried figs on the ground and we munch on these heavenly treats as we climb back in the ATV and we are off to visit sections of Kadotas, Excels and Adriatic figs.
The white varieties are easily susceptible to sunburn and we can see many figs that have started to turn brown from the heat. The adriatic is my personal favorite with his bright red flesh that is soft and sweet like raspberry jam. Lucky me- Bob tells me has a clamshell of adriatic and black mission figs to take on our road trip up to Oregon. I can’t wait. It is after 1pm and the workers are picking black mission figs so we head over to visit them.
The workers start picking at 6:30am and finish at 5pm, working 10 hours a day, 6 days a week. On the 7th day, Sunday, they work 8 hours. The temperatures are in the 90’s but the workers are covered head to toe, protecting themselves from the sun, the irritating hairs on the fig leaves and the milky latex sap that comes from both the branch and the fig as it is broken off. The latex causes burning so they wear gloves and tape their fingers to protect themselves. A tractor places yellow boxes throughout the orchard for workers to dump their buckets into. The boxes are then stacked and the tractors will come back through, picking up the full buckets and empty buckets to continue scattering them forward. One man is charged with coming through the orchard with water for the workers since they move so much they can’t have stationary water stations. When it is time for lunch the workers take their break in the shade under the trees and their lunch is brought out to them on a truck.
I had the pleasure of meeting Jose Torres, Employee Safety Officer for Maywood. Jose is in charge of taking care of all the workers in the orchard. If they hurt themselves or don’t feel good, they come to him. Jose was full of smiles and very proud of his job. You could tell he really cares about making sure all of the workers are taken care of. A few of the workers posed for a photo and continued picking. Figs ripen on the tree and it is a special skill to know when a fig is ready to be picked. Most of Bob’s workers continue to come back and work for him year after year.
Our final stop was a part of the orchard reserved for fig experimentation. Bob was really excited about the flavor of the Trojano Fig. “This is a really really good white fig I am propagating to plant out. It is a Spanish variety and it is not tart sweet”. He offered us a ripe fig off the vine and it was almost better than an adriatic. I hope Bob starts growing and selling the Trojano soon. It was a fig to swoon over. Bob was an amazing host with lots of energy and excitement about his fig orchard. Hot and sweaty, my family and I said a big thank you and goodbye. We munched on those figs the rest of our trip and remembered how fantastic our tour was.
The good news is that even with the recent cooler weather, this year will be better than last year. 2015 ended extremely early with no fruit in September and October. This year there is still lots of green fruit on the tree and Bob expects slower production through September and into a good part of October.
Organic Avocados have begun gapping this week and we anticipate a very limited supply through September/October. The California season ended very early. This was abetted by an extreme heat event in June, which caused the trees to “drop fruit.” Resulting in tons of fruit loss.
We have already started pulling Mexican organic avocados but supply is very tight because the first two blooms have had small sets and poor yields. Last year was a bumper crop year in Mexico. Therefore this year is forecasted to have lower volume, as avocados are an alternate bearing fruit. Expect a smaller overall Mexican organic crop for 2016.
The Mexican avocado season has 3 phases – flora loca, aventejara, and normal. The normal bloom is where the volume is this year. We are currently in the flora loca, moving into aventejara in the next couple weeks, then into normal by late October. As if this was not enough, heavy rain in Mexico has limited the time pickers can spend in the orchards harvesting what fruit is there.
We will continue to keep you informed and appreciate your understanding.
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.