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Earl’s Organic Buyer’s Notes January 13, 2019

Covilli Brand Organics is celebrating the official inauguration of the Health Clinic Nuchi Sansekan in Guaymas, Sonora Mexico. The clinic was funded by Fair Trade Premium Funds with a mission to deliver comprehensive, culturally competent, high-quality health care services, compassionate practitioners and state of the art equipment to the farmworkers, their families and the surrounding communities.  Read about the vision for the clinic and learn more about the community of farmworkers and their families and what this clinic means to them.

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Cold Weather Delays Harvesting Time- Earl’s Buyer’s Notes January 6th

Plants can be severely damaged if harvested before they thaw out so growers will need to wait to harvest until late morning. Most of the wet vegetable items that are grown in the desert can take quite low temperatures and will recover even when frozen. The cold weather reduces the number of hours they can harvest a day. The cold weather is preventing many farm workers from getting out in the fields early to pick. They are waiting until the weather warms up later in the morning which is affecting the amount of produce harvested. Due to the recent cold weather some growers in Coachella couldn’t even go into the fields to pick, losing a day of harvesting. Read the full weather update below. 

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Earl’s Organic Buyer’s Notes December 30th

Mexico is bracing for a cold weather front over the weekend. Temperatures are expected to reach as low as 35 degrees in the growing regions of Sonora and Sinaloa. Warm veg items including cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers and summer squash are all expected to be tight next week.

Cold weather is also expected in the California desert and Yuma, AZ growing regions. Organic Girl is expecting heavy lettuce ice through the weekend. However, with the exception of mache and romaine leaves, they are in good shape on all items next week.  Stay tuned for weather related updates from your Earl’s Sales Rep.

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Earl’s Organic Produce Buyer’s Notes December 16th

The first land of Forbidden Blueberries out of Santa Maria is here! Coming soon- Buddah Hands and Page Mandarins from Cunningham Farm located in a secluded valley next to the Cleveland National Forest between Fallbrook and Temecula in San Diego County.

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Forbidden Blueberries Expanding Program

Sandy Newman and James Ontiveros

Sandy Newman and James Ontiveros

We are very excited to announce that after 13 years Forbidden Fruit Orchard is expanding its organic blueberry program. After years of mastering her craft, grower Sandy Newman of Forbidden Fruit has partnered up with 9th generation California producer, James Ontiveros. James has a long history of growing both wine grapes and blueberries and has a dedicated love of farming and the land that supports Sandy’s like-minded mission. These growers both focus on producing low-chill blueberry varieties in the coastal, sub-tropical microclimates of Lompoc & Santa Maria. As these farms grow on the shoulders of California’s central valley blueberry season they provide local, California blueberries year round. More importantly, the flavor is outstanding! The Lompoc farm will continue to produce high quality blueberries in both late spring and early fall while the Santa Maria ranch harvests from mid-fall through spring. With this new and invigorating partnership expansion, we expect to provide many more months of certified organic California blueberries.

Forbidden Blueberries out of Santa Maria landing as early as Tuesday this week! Ask your Earl’s Sales Rep for more information.

Earl’s Organic Produce Buyer’s Notes December 9th

We are very excited to announce that after 13 years Forbidden Fruit Orchard is expanding its organic blueberry program.  After years of mastering her craft, grower Sandy Newman of Forbidden Fruit has partnered up with 9th generation California producer, James Ontiveros.  James has a long history of growing both wine grapes and blueberries and has a dedicated love of farming and the land that supports Sandy’s like-minded mission.

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Cranberries are America’s Original Superfruit

All fresh cranberries are dry harvested once a year between mid-September through early November.  Cranberries grow on vines planted in bogs with a mixture of moist acid peat soil and sand which allows them to thrive in harsh weather conditions. Unlike wet harvesting where the cranberry bogs are flooded so that the fruit can be harvested while floating, dry harvest vines must be completely dry.  The pickers drive self-propelled harvesters (think vibrating lawn mower with conveyor belt to burlap bag attachment) over the dry vines.  The fruit is then taken to the packing shed to be graded and screened based on color.  Lastly, the berries are bounce tested.  Good berries will bounce because of their air pockets and the soft berries that do not bounce are discarded.

Cranberries were introduced to the English settlers when arriving in Massachusetts in the early 1800’s. Over half of the United States crop is grown in Wisconsin. Massachusetts is the second largest producer followed by New Jersey, Oregon and Washington.  Canada is also a big player with more than 80% of the organic cranberries are grown in Quebec. Eastern Canada’s cooler weather is especially ideal for growing organic cranberries. Earl’s Organic Patience cranberries are grown in Quebec and the Greenbelle biodynamic organic cranberries are grown in Wisconsin.

Cranberries on the vine

Cranberries grow on vines planted in bogs

Fun Facts:

  • Cranberries will last for a year in the freezer and can be frozen in the package they come in.
  • Cranberries are one of the few fruits native to North America and many of the cultivars have been propagated directly from these ancient wild super-foods.
  • They were initially called ‘craneberries’ because the flower, stem and calyx resembled the neck, head and bill of a crane.
  • Cranberries boast many nutritional benefits including promoting urinary tract health, protecting beneficial gut microbial and providing a wide range of phytochemical and micro-nutrient for overall immunity and health. Learn more on the health benefits.
  • Organic cranberries are free and devoid of synthetic pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and fertilizers.

Recipe Ideas: 

*Toss a handful of fresh cranberries with pears or apples for a delicious sweet/tart salad
*Muddle fresh cranberries with your favorite vinegar and blend with olive oil for a tangy salad dressing.
* Make a holiday shrub with cranberries, sugar and vinegar. Perfect for cocktail parties and the perfect hostess gift.
* Dip fresh cranberries in milk chocolate and freeze them for 5 minutes.

Cranberry shutterstock beverage photo

Rainy Weather Patterns Affect Sweet Potato Condition

Sweet potatoes are harvested once a year in late August to early September, stored and then packed to order.  Sweet Potatoes can tolerate high heat however, they preferred to be stored in a cool and dry place.  As the season goes on they go to sleep, only to be woken up once they are removed from the micro-environments they are stored in.  As the rainy weather starts we have gone from an extremely dry environment to a very wet environment. The excess moisture in the air is the catalyst for the sweet potatoes to wake up and can cause them to have a shorter shelf life.

 During the wet winter months we recommend:

*Not washing sweet potatoes until they are ready to be cooked.

*Store in a cool (over 55 degrees F), dry, well-ventilated area away from light.

*Do not refrigerate sweet potatoes unless they are already cooked. Cold temperatures will give sweet potatoes a hard core and affect the flavor.

Try these delicious sweet potato recipes all year long.

Earl's Organic Guide to Sweet Potatoes no Thanksgiving mention

Download Earl’s Organic Guide to Sweet Potatoes 

Earl’s Organic Buyer’s Notes December 2nd

It is that time of year when many California growers transition their wet veg operation, think lettuces, leafy greens, broccoli and cauliflower, from the cooler areas of the Central Coast and Salinas Valley down to the warmer regions in the California desert, Imperial Valley and Yuma, Arizona. The desert regions include Coachella, Thermal and Mecca north of the Salton Sea and south of Palm Springs. The Imperial Valley extends from the southern area of Coachella, past the Salton Sea and all the way down to the border of Mexico. Warm veg is now mostly coming out of Baja California and northern Mexico, think zucchini, green beans, hot peppers, colored bells, cucumbers and tomatoes. Read the full blog here. 

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Winter Transition to the Desert

It is that time of year when many California growers transition their wet veg operation, think lettuces, leafy greens, broccoli and cauliflower, from the cooler areas of the Central Coast and Salinas Valley down to the warmer regions in the California desert, Imperial Valley and Yuma, Arizona. The desert regions include Coachella, Thermal and Mecca north of the Salton Sea and south of Palm Springs. The Imperial Valley extends from the southern area of Coachella, past the Salton Sea and all the way down to the border of Mexico. Warm veg is now mostly coming out of Baja California and northern Mexico, think zucchini, green beans, hot peppers, colored bells, cucumbers and tomatoes.

imperial-valley

As we approach the winter solstice on December 21st it is getting colder and days are becoming shorter. Less hours of sun slows down the growth of everything which means there are less hours in the day to harvest which can lead to light volumes. Combined with the fact that during winter the entire United States is pulling vegetables from the same area which also limits the quantities available and can lead to higher prices.

 

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