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Employment Opportunity: Quality Control Specialist

Earl’s Organic Produce, Inc., a leading distributor of organic produce throughout Northern California, seeks a skilled and energetic Quality Control Specialist for our San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market headquarters.
Under the direction of the Operations Manager, the selected candidate will manage the quality control of incoming and inventoried fresh produce and collaborate with the Inventory Control department to maintain a high level of inventory quality at all times.


Responsibilities will include:

  • Conduct daily quality control inspections of 475+ line items of fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Inspect existing inventory to ensure the maintenance of quality standards
  • Help stage inventory to sell time-sensitive packaged goods (items with expiration dates) on a first-in-first-out basis
  • Consistently monitor strategic management of product storage
  • Review and address condition and ripeness levels of fruit commodities
  • Maintain strict adherence to Good Handling Practices and Food Safety
  • Identify and perform additional warehouse tasks throughout duration of shift. Actively support other operations team members.

 

Position requirements include:

  • Thorough knowledge of USDA quality specifications or QC experience
  • 1-2 years product receiving experience, preferably with a fresh produce company, and 1-2 years produce retail experience
  • Strong computer skills (Microsoft Office Suite and database software)
  • Ability to maintain accurate logs and records
  • Ability to maintain respect and composure in stressful situations
  • Ability to respond to feedback from others
  • Strong communication skills
  • Ability to multitask
  • Self motivation, strong initiative, and ownership of your function in the company
  • Ability to lift 50lbs and handle frequently entering and exiting walk in coolers.
  • Commitment, dedication, and a love of produce

 

If you believe you meet the requirements and skills of this position, please submit resume to the following:

earlh@earlsorganic.com

Employment Opportunity: Product Receiver

Earl’s Organic Produce, Inc., a leading distributor of organic produce throughout Northern California, seeks a skilled and energetic Product Receiver for our San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market headquarters.

 

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

  • Work shift can also vary throughout the season
  • Work with Grower Accounting department to ensure that all field identifications are correct
  • Work with Purchasing department on specific needs and questions on daily receiving and reports.
  • Receive product:
    • Verify accuracy of packing slips
    • Enter all information into our system data base received goods
    • Quality Inspections in all product to ensure it meets Earl’s quality standards
    • Perform data entry of product information are a match.
  • Ensure that each product is cooled to its optimum temperature in the shortest amount of time, following the cold chain and storage in rotation correctly
  • Establish and maintain good, positive working relationships with our growers or delivery drivers
  • Ensure that the public scale is staffed with trained personnel. Collect money from truck drivers and issue scale tickets.  Accountable for all money and scale tickets on a daily basis with our Accounting Department
  • Supervision of assigned staff
  • Be an effective advocate of the company and organization by always striving to ship the highest quality product
  • Other duties as assigned.

 

WORK SCHEDULE:

  • This position requires that employees work variable hours, Sunday – friday, and Holidays as required
  • Ten hours per day or as necessary to fulfill job responsibilities.

 

ESSENTIAL SKILLS AND REQUIREMENTS:

  • Three years minimum experience in Agriculture Receiving, Cooling & Shipping required
  • One year supervision experience desired
  • Ability to learn cooling management system, including cooling methods cold chain and desire temp for produce
  • Intermediate computer knowledge in Excel, word and computer software usage and other related software a plus
  • Keep up-to-date on new techniques in our industry is a must
  • Bi-lingual preferred.

 

EDUCATION:

  • High school diploma or equivalent preferred
  • Requires continuing education in supervision, safety and other job related areas.

 

 

SUPERVISION RECEIVED AND EXERCISED:

  • Manage and direct other individuals
  • Work under general supervision.

 

PHYSICAL SKILLS AND MENTAL ABILITIES AND REQUIREMENTS: 

The physical demands and work environment described here are representative of those that must be met by an employee to successfully perform the essential functions of this job.

  • Majority of time spent walking to ensure proper operation of equipment
  • Ability travel and work in remote locations
  • Ability to work in an office and cooler environment with an average range between 34 and 70+ degrees
  • Office equipment to be used (not inclusive list): 10-key calculator by touch, telephone, computer keyboard, photocopy machine, fax, postage meter and other clerical and office equipment
  • Often standing, walking, sitting, reaching, turning, climbing stairs for long periods of time
  • Ability to lift 50 pounds without undue physical exertion
  • Ability to stoop, reach, walk and other physical activities associated with an office and field environment
  • Ability to communicate verbally and comprehend verbal instructions
  • Requires sufficient sight and hearing to perform all job functions
  • Can-do attitude with willingness to proactively solve issues
  • Ability to carry out defined procedures with specific instructions
  • Ability to learn new duties with minimal repetition
  • Strong interpersonal skills, including strong verbal and written communication skills
  • Ability to manage a project from its initiation to completion with minimal supervision
  • Ability to maintain effective working relationships with employees, supervisors, customers, vendors and peers.

We offer an attractive compensation and benefits package.
If you believe you meet the requirements and skills of this position, please submit resume to the following:

earlh@earlsorganic.com

California Avocado Sizes Trending Larger at End of Season

The California Hass avocado season is winding down and growers are estimating they will be done picking around the end of July. If you are thinking this is too early, you are right! In past years the season has gone into September/October.  This year the drought affected the timing of the season and we saw hass avocados come on early in January and we will see them end early too. The fruit on the tree has had time to size up and we are seeing mostly larger sizes such as 40ct and 48ct in abundance. Growers are still harvesting limited quantities of smaller sizes of 60ct to 84ct fruit.

Hass Avocado01

The California Hass Avocado is absolutely the best tasting piece of fruit at this time of year! Imports are starting to show up on the market from Peru but California offers a superior piece of fruit. Avocados coming out of Southern California in the San Diego area are high in maturity and oil content. They should be eaten on the firmer side or they turn rancid if allowed to become too soft. Avocados coming out of the Northern California production region, think Cayucos and Morro Bay along the coast of San Luis Obispo county, are less mature with a lower oil content and should be eaten riper. The best way to find out what region your avocado is from is to start a dialog with your produce person.

We will continue to buy California fruit as long as it is available. Click here to learn more about our pre-conditioned avocado program.  The California Avocado Commission has both sweet and savory recipes to enjoy this summer. Avocado honey lime ice cream anyone?

Hayton Farms

The Haytons come from a long line of farmers dating as far back as 1876. Located in beautiful Mt. Vernon, in Skagit Valley on the Northwest side of Washington, this area is known for their rainy days and lush farmland. Over the years the farm grew grain and made hay, became a dairy farm, then turned to crop farming in the 1950’s.  Currently their main crops include a variety of berries, potatoes, cucumbers and cauliflower and the farm still grows a little grain and makes a little hay.

Fifth generation farmer Angelica Hayton and her father Robert are passionate about growing organic berries. Angelica started off selling berries in the third grade at the end of their driveway and now she is charge of over ninety farmers markets in Washington.  She believes that the future of their farm is “in growing organic berries that are picked and sold fresh every day.” Angelica was very instrumental in convincing her father to make the transition to organic 9 years ago. Now you can find the Hayton Farms blueberries at Earl’s Organic. The variety of berries they grow allows them to start the season in early June and they will be available at Earl’s through mid-August.

angelica-and-robert-hayton-300x247

Angelica and Robert Hayton

Mt Vernon is a special little valley with cool temperatures that allows the blueberries to mature without stress and develop a good berry flavor. It can be 76-78 degrees in Mt. Vernon and 90 degrees in Portland just a few hours away.  Imagine the difference between the cooler weather in Watsonville and Salinas on the California coast and the warmer weather inland.

As each preceding generation passes the farm to the next, so too passes the responsibility of continuing sustainability, adaptation, and tradition. Not only does this apply to how the crops are grown on the farm but also to the workers who tend the crops.  Hayton Farm has a unique approach to labor. As a Domestic Fair Trade focused operation they have long invested in 40-50 single dwelling housing units in the Mt. Vernon, Washington Area. They are developing sustainable relationships with their employees, including maintaining above average wages, and doing what is right for the community.   Angelica feels that “Each generation has been faced with a new set of challenges and opportunities. As we look to the future it is our hope that we can continue on our path towards environmental sustainability through organic farming.”

Hayton blues have that true blueberry flavor you have come to expect in summertime. Eat them fresh or freeze a bunch to enjoy during those cold winter months.

Earl’s Pre-Conditioned Organic Avocado Program

Pre-conditioned avocados are not yet fully ripe but Earl’s has started the ripening process to ensure they are ready to eat within 2-3 days when stored at room temperature.  Green or hard avocados are firm fruit that can take up to 5-10 days to ripen at room temperature depending on the level of maturity.

Stehly and Cunningham farms are located in the San Diego region and focus on fruit only from their orchards.   You can be rest assured that you are eating a more mature piece of fruit with high oil content and great flavor. They should be eaten on the firmer side due to their maturity.  All of Earl’s other growers on list are grower/shipper/packers and source product from wherever they can including areas as far north as Cayucos and areas in southern California.

How Can You Tell You Have a Mature Piece of Fruit?

* A more mature piece of fruit loses some of its glossiness but will slice smoothly.

* The seed coat will be thin and brown instead of fleshy and white.

* The length of time to ripen is a major indicator. A mature piece of fruit will only take a few days to ripen up and should be eaten firm. They will become rancid if they are too soft.

* The green/yellow flesh turns to a duller, almost mustard color.

The California hass avocado season is winding down earlier this year so make sure to enjoy a delicious piece of California fruit while you can!!

 

California Grown Hass Avocados on ad this week!

60ct organic avos for $64

Avo chart

Wildfire Damages Fruit Packing Houses in Wenatchee, Washington

You may have heard about the wildfires that started this past Sunday up in Wenatchee, one of the main fruit growing regions of Washington. Packing houses for cherries, pears and apples for various growers have burned partially or completely to the ground.  In total 6 businesses and 28 homes were burned to the ground and miraculously no one was hurt or injured. As of Wednesday morning, July 1st, there are no smoke or flames to be seen. After speaking with growers they have deemed that it will not affect the cherry or apple supply.

California Hass Avocado Season Ending Early

The California hass avocado season started off early this year and will end on an earlier note. We usually see the season start up in February/March and over the last few years the season has extended into September/October. This year California Avocados were harvested in early January and many of our growers are anticipating they will be done picking most of their crop in the month of July.  Although we know from past experience that a grower may have another picking just when we thought the season was over.

MVP Avocado tree

MVP Farms San Diego County

There are a number of factors contributing to an early end of the season and all of them relate in some way to the drought. As we enter our 4th year of the California drought the trees continue to be stressed and as a result they produced earlier. Picking earlier meant they would not have to use as much water as they do in the latter and hotter months. Early fruit is known to be immature and have low oil content, but surprisingly the early fruit this season had good oil levels and flavor.

In response to the drought growers are “turning off” some of their groves. They are cutting back the trees to stumps and not watering them due to the high cost of water and strict water restriction mandates. A few of the groves are also being converted to fruit trees such as cara cara, gold nugget or dragon fruit which use less water than avocado trees.

According to the California Avocado Commission “While California’s drought has impacted some of our farmers, the industry has been able to maintain its productivity. Our growers have a long history of good agricultural practices including water conservation. We are hopeful that the forecast for El Nino conditions in the fall will bring some relief to our state and agriculture. We do not anticipate supply problems or drought related price impacts for next season.”

Buying and Eating Tips:

At this time of year all California avocados will be eating great! Buyer needs be to be aware that crops from the southern area will be more mature, meaning they ripen quicker, have a higher oil content and should be eaten firm. Crops from Northern California are less mature because the season starts later and should be eaten riper with a little give. When in doubt engage in a conversation with your produce person and ask where their avocados are from.

Stone Fruit Heavy on Small Sizes This Season

For the second year in a row we are seeing increased volumes of smaller sized stone fruit in California. Warmer weather, lack of chill hours and the drought are some of the reasons our growers are citing. Fruit trees require anywhere from 100-1000 dormant chill hours each season, depending on variety and age of the tree, to produce a vibrant crop.  As the weather turns colder the fruit trees go into a dormancy state, storing energy for the following year’s crop. Fruit trees achieve their chill hours best between 35-50 degrees. If temperatures rise above 60 degrees during dormancy this can reverse the accumulated chill hours.

Fruit trees need their sleep just like us. We can survive on a few hours of sleep a night but over time a lack of sleep takes a heavy toll on our body. We are less productive, have less energy and can develop health issues. The detrimental effects of the lack of “sleep” or chill hours are not always immediately evident and can take up to a few years to show up. The fruit trees can begin to react in bizarre behavior such as an early blossom or a split blossom where one part of the tree blossoms first and the rest of the tree blossoms later or not at all, often times resulting in smaller sized fruit.

The drought has changed the amount of water growers are using and possibly slowing down the amount of root development and nutrition the fruit receives from the trees. Richard Burkart from Burkart Organics in Dinuba near Fresno feels this could be affecting the size of the fruit but not the flavor. He still sees that sugars are there and brixing good for a high quality piece of fruit. Richard has 30 years of experience growing high quality organic stone fruit. He experiments by ripening up different varieties and looks for a “good balance of acids and sugars to make up a great piece of fruit.”

Storing and eating tips

*We recommend buying only enough fruit that you plan to eat over the next few days. Gently store your fruit stem side down on a cotton cloth at room temperature.

*As they ripen eat them and if the ripening gets away from you the fruit can be stored in the refrigerator if necessary. Remember refrigeration affects the flavor over a period of time and fruit will begin to taste ice boxy or flat.

* Always bring your stone fruit to room temperature before eating to get the best flavor.

Store stone fruit on cotton cloth

 

California Breba Fig Crop

We are starting to see the first of the California breba fig crop rolling in, also known as the first crop. The breba crop grows on last year’s tree shoots and harvest is usually around the end of May or beginning of June.  The breba crop lasts for a few weeks and hasn’t yet developed the honey sweetness we associate with figs.  We will experience a short gap before the second, more flavorful crop starts up in July.

Breba the first crop is larger 2nd crop is coming on

Courtesy of Maywood Farms Corning, CA The large fruit is the Breba or “first crop”, while the small fruit is the second crop beginning to grow.

Figs love the hot days and warm nights and are grown mainly in the central valley around the Fresno/Madera area to up north of Sacramento in Corning.  Maywood Farms in Corning, CA, Stellar in Madera, CA and Susie Bee farms from Chowchilla, in the central Joaquin Valley, bring you some of the best organic figs. California ranks #1 in US production of figs and produces 100 % of the USA’s dried figs and 98 % of fresh figs.

There are hundreds of varieties of figs but the most popular are the Kadota with light green skin and sweet white flesh, the Brown Turkey ranges in color from brown to copper with a very fragrant flavor and the Black Mission has a deep purple to black skin with sweet pink flesh.

Tutti Frutti is Italian for “All Fruits”

Chris Cadwell was born to be a farmer. A descendent of a long line of farmers, he was only 15 years old when he started his first organic garden. In 1988 he founded Tutti Frutti Farm and now has over 400 acres of organic heirloom tomatoes, specialty cherry tomatoes, a variety of sweet and hot peppers, zucchini and winter squash.  Tutti Frutti is situated in beautiful Santa Barbara wine country near California’s Central Coast.  The location, climate, and the farm’s dedication to long-range sustainability all come together to produce a consistently delicious crop.  Cadwell says “We’re in a pinot noir belt, with great conditions for tomatoes. It’s 85, 90 degrees, not too hot. Every day around noon, the breeze kicks in. It keeps the plants dry, so we have very little disease. And we’re also surrounded by an extreme wilderness area, so we have a natural insectary for predators. We don’t use any manure. Instead, we plant cover crops – vetch, oats, peas, bell beans –and flip those right over into the soil. So we’re improving the soil every year as we grow.“

Now is the start of the season for Tutti Frutti’s heirloom tomatoes. For over 25 years Cadwell has specialized in beautiful streaked, striped and unique shaped heirloom tomatoes. Cherokee Purple, Vintage Wine, Brandywine and Persimmon are just a few of the varieties now available exclusively from Earl’s Organic.  The season is just ramping up and we can expect to see more varieties as the season peaks.

Are you looking for an easy no cook dinner? I love making a Panzenalla salad with a few colorful heirloom tomatoes.  Share your favorite heirloom tomato recipes on our Facebook page.

Chris Cadwell and grandson

Chris Cadwell and grandson

 

 

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