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Tropical Pineapple and Mangoes

This is our third and final installment on tropical fruit. Join Earl and the hosts of An Organic Conversation this weekend as they spend a full hour discussing in depth Pineapples, Mangos, Bananas and Cherimoyas.

Organic pineapples are available year round although supply can be affected at times by heavy rains.  The main areas of production are the Philippines, Costa Rica, Thailand and Brazil. On the West Coast we mostly get Costa Rican pineapple, as they have year round production, and fantastic quality and flavorful fruit. Mexico typically has some pineapple as well between December and May, although they generally are not as sweet or tasty as the Costa Rican. Hawaiian pineapples are rarely available, although quite desirable and delicious!

pineapple

The MD2 pineapple is the most commercially produced pineapple variety and made its debut in the mid-1980s in Costa Rica.  Chances are, this is what you have been eating when you buy a pineapple.  It was developed to be cylindrical in shape, and have exceptional sweetness. Conventional pineapple are often gassed/sprayed to display a yellow exterior. This has nothing to do with the eating quality of flavor profile of the fruit, but makes the consumer think it’s riper and sweeter.

Pineapples are one of the most difficult fruit to tell when they are ripe.  We have never been able to find a sure fire way to tell when a pineapple is ripe. In reality it is almost impossible but the best way to tell ripeness is by the fragrant smell at the base of the fruit. Some of the other ways we have found to be true are to look for a bright gold color around the “eyes” at the base of the pineapple. The higher up the golden yellow color goes the more even the flavor will be.  Avoid wrinkled skin, a reddish/bronze color and a vinegar smell, all signs the pineapple is over ripe. We would love to hear how you determine if a pineapple is ripe. Post your comments on our Facebook page.

Tips On Storing And Cutting A Pineapple:

Pineapples can be stored on the counter if you plan to eat them within 2 days.  We do not recommend storing any tropical fruit under 55 degrees because this can discolor the flesh and affect the flavor.  Do not store in the refrigerator because the average temperature is around 38 degrees.

There is no need for a fancy gadget to core your pineapple. Lay the pineapple on its side and cut off the top and bottom with a sharp knife. Slice the rest of the pineapple into rings about 1 inch thick. Lay the rings on the cutting board and using a paring knife gently go around the inside of the skin until the fruit pops out. I like to cut the entire piece of fruit up but if the core is too tough for you it is good frozen and added to a smoothie.

FUN FACTS:

Pineapple do not ripen after they are harvested!

Contrary to popular belief the ease with which leaves can be pulled out is not a sure sign of ripeness.

The small kidney shaped Atualfo Mango and the Kent mango are the two main varieties we see during this time of year. The Atualfo mango has a vibrant yellow golden color and the delicious flavor and absence of stringy fibers make it a huge hit. The pit is very thin which means there is more flesh to eat. As the Ataulfo becomes ripe the skin turns a deep golden color and begins to wrinkle.  Ataulfos are ready to eat when the fruit yields to slight pressure.  They should be left at room temperature until they are ready to eat. Ataulfos are also known as Honey, Manila, Yellow, Baby and Champagne mangos.

Cut ataulfo

Ataulfo Mango

Kent mangos 2

Kent Mangos

Kent mangos have an almost completely smooth flesh with very little fibers.  Kent’s are not covered in the typical red blush we associate with a ripe mango. The outside skin is mostly green and yellow with a little red blush, but don’t let the color throw you off. Kents are absolutely delicious with a vibrant flavor, juicy, smooth and very sweet flesh. Kent mangos will have a yellow undertone with speckled dots as they are ripening. The mango will feel soft to the touch and yield to gentle pressure when ripe.  Slight wrinkling of the skin is also a good thing and another sign of ripeness.

The Ataulfo and Kent mangos main production areas are Peru, Mexico and Ecuador. We are just now wrapping up the Peruvian season with the Kent as the main variety. We will have Peruvian Kents for another 2 weeks or so.  There was a smaller crop this year compared to last year.  Volume is down by about 50% due to early season rains followed by extreme heat in Peru. This year the Peruvian season has also been challenged by strikes at the West Coast ports.

After Peru is done, we start the Mexican season where we travel the months of March to September from Chiapas at the border of Guatemala up to Sinaloa and Baja California in the north. From the many different regions in Mexico we enjoy the Ataulfo, Tommy Atkins, Hadens, Kents and Keitts. September to November we have the spectacular California Keitt. Some people regard this as the best mango of the year. It is grown in Coachella and is a big size fruit with great flavor and aroma. The last mango of the year goes back to South America with Ecuador and the Tommy Atkins, Kent and Ataulfo.

The next variety we can expect in Mid-March is the Tommy Atkins from Mexico. We will continue to explore other varieties as they arrive at Earl’s.

Fun Fact:

Mangos are the most widely consumed fruit in the world with thousands of cultivars.

Tropical Bananas

This is the second of a three part series on tropical fruit leading up to the An Organic Conversation radio show this weekend, as Earl discusses in depth Cherimoyas, Bananas, Pineapple and Mangoes for the full hour.

Bananas are one of the most popular fruits eaten around the world. Interestingly they are not grown on trees but are a perennial herb. Each year after the herb flowers and fruits it dies back to its roots. What looks like a tree trunk is in fact a flowering stem built out of leaves that are tightly overlapped.  New leaves are always growing out of the top, forming a crown. The wind turns these leaves into tattered strips and at the same time protect the stem from being blown over.  A large flower will emerge from the stem and the bananas will start to grow back from the flowering tip.  The weight of the bananas will eventually cause the stem to bend over so that the fruit is growing up towards the sky. Bunches of bananas or “hands” contain anywhere from 10 to 20 bananas and grow in a double row half way around the stem.

Bananas growing out the flower Wikipedia

Bananas have been around since at least the 4th century BC in Greece and reached China around AD 200.  In the early 19th century bananas were brought to the United States by ship from the Caribbean and were considered a luxury.  There are more than 300 known cultivars of bananas but the main variety we see in the US is the Cavendish banana which was developed in the early 20th century for commercial exportation.  The other few varieties we can encounter in stores are the Red, manzano (AKA burro banana), baby banana and plantain.

Since they are grown in the tropics, we can enjoy them year round but is also worth considering that because they are grown in high pest pressure growing regions (constant heat and humidity) there is a big difference in the carbon footprint and social impact between conventional and organic production. Add to that the negative consequences of pesticides in the environment and you will not have to think twice about going organic in your bananas. We will discuss how organic banana growers deal with pests in a future blog.

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The top five growing regions in the world are India, Uganda, China, Philippines and Ecuador. Most of the bananas you find in the United States are coming from Ecuador, Peru and Mexico. Earl’s Organic has a direct relationship with Coliman, a family run company that has been growing bananas in Mexico since the 1960’s. The Coliman organic bananas will soon be Fair Trade certified. Coliman belongs to the ESR- Empresa Socialmente Responsible- program. ESR is self-audited program to ensure honesty and business transparency, quality of life and care and preservation of the environment. ESR is a growing business trend in Mexico and is extending globally.

Coliman picks, packs and ships by truck to Earl’s within 24 hours of harvest which means we have the absolute freshest bananas. In addition our bananas are not affected by the port disputes which have left many cargo ships waiting on the water to be unloaded. It is estimated it will take up to 2 months for the ports to be back on schedule.

Earl’s is the only organic banana house on the San Francisco Marketplace allowing us to have complete control over our bananas from  the grower to when it arrives on the shelves of your local retail store. Our warehouse has 3 banana ripening rooms that allow us to provide consistent ripening and quality for our customers.

Bananas are picked when they are still green and then ripened upon arrival at their destination.  Bananas naturally contain ethylene but are gassed with additional natural ethylene to speed up the ripening process, converting starches to sugar and slowly changing from green to yellow.

Fun Fact:

The average American eats 27 pounds of bananas a year.

Bananas contain vitamin c, potassium and complex carbohydrates which make them the perfect snack on the go. They are easy to digest and I like eating one for a quick snack before my exercise class.

Tips:

The natural ethylene from tomatoes and apples will help ripen up your banana if you put them in a bag together.

Store your bananas on your kitchen counter and not in the refrigerator.

Don’t throw away too ripe bananas. Peel and freeze them for your next smoothie. No need to add ice when blending frozen fruit.

We will explore mangoes and pineapples in our next blog. If you miss Earl on An Organic Conversation you can always download the podcasts.

Tropical Cherimoyas

This is the first of a three part series on tropical fruit leading up to the An Organic Conversation radio show this weekend, as Earl discusses in depth Cherimoyas, Bananas, Pineapple and Mangoes for the full hour.

Cherimoya’s are originally from Ecuador and Peru but in 1871 they were introduced to California which is still the only place in the United States where Cherimoya’s are grown. They need a subtropical climate to thrive and although they are grown throughout South America they can be found on a commercial scale only in Chile, Spain and California.

Cunningham Organic Farm is located in a secluded valley next to the Cleveland National Forest and midway between Los Angeles and San Diego.  George Cunningham, his wife Gale and son Greg from Cunningham Organic Farm grow cherimoyas along with avocados, grapefruit, guavas, kumquats, lemons, limes, macadamias, oranges, passion fruit, persimmons and tangerines.  George started off with 10 Cherimoya trees and continued to add more. The trees need to be spaced out because they branch out and can form a canopy in about 7-8 years. The season runs from February 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.

Cherimoyas are conical or heart shaped with green scales and have been compared to looking a bit like a globe artichoke.  A fruit can weigh anywhere from 3 ½ ounces to 5 pounds plus.  Cherimoya’s hold a special place in my heart not only because they are delicious but they were an instrumental part of being invited to join the Earl’s Organic team. Upon meeting Earl for the first time he quizzed me on the strange green and bumpy shaped fruit on the kitchen counter. Thanks to my recent trip to Hawaii I knew what the fruit was and that it contains toxic black seeds. I shared that cherimoyas had creamy white flesh that tasted a bit like pineapples and strawberries. My favorite way to eat them is to cut them in half, wrap them up and freeze them until the consistency is like ice cream. Earl declared me “a foodie” and my journey at Earl’s began.

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Choosing a Cherimoya

Look for firm, unripe fruit that are heavy for their size and let them ripen at room temperature out of the sunlight.  Cherimoyas are similar to avocados and should be treated with care so they don’t bruise. Wait a few days until the flesh yields to gentle pressure and the skin has turned slightly brown.  Once you notice the first sign of ripeness wait another day or two to eat but not much longer because the sugars in the flesh will start to ferment.  Ripe cherimoyas can be stored in the refrigerator, wrapped in a paper towel for up to 4 days.

Warning

Only eat the flesh of the cherimoya! As I mentioned above the black seeds are toxic. They can cause vomiting, nausea, dryness of the mouth, burning in the throat and eating the seeds can cause paralysis that can last up to five hours. Cherimoyas are good for you and full of nutrients including riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin C.

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We will explore bananas, pineapples and mangos in our next blogs. We love hearing how you eat Cherimoyas. Please share your thoughts and recipes on our Facebook page.

Coastal View Produce Asparagus

Spring seems to have arrived early this year. We received our first shipment this week of California grown asparagus from Coastal View Produce. We are proud to have been working with CVP for 9 years. Brian Violini and his family have been growing organic asparagus for over 40 years in the Salinas Valley. Brian’s Grandfather was a Swiss immigrant who started a new life in the fertile Salinas Valley.  “I can remember being 10 years old and pulling weeds and moving sprinklers for my grandfather,” says Brian, who now runs Coastal View Produce with his brother. “We’ve had this farm for three generations. My grandfather started with a dairy and then moved into farming. My dad and my uncle ran the farm after him, and now it’s me and my brother. Farming, it’s all we know.”

California produces over 70 percent of the nation’s fresh market asparagus with over 20,000 acres, followed by Michigan and Washington. 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. Salinas Valley, the Central Coast, Coachella-Imperial Valley area and Santa Barbara County are also considered prime growing areas. Asparagus was originally planted in the delta region in 1852 but the interest in growing asparagus commercially wasn’t until the early 1900’s.

Fun Fact:

Asparagus is a perennial crop producing year after year. The crowns are planted in long beds deep in the ground. As the weather warms, a single asparagus spear can grow anywhere from 6 to 10 inches in a single day.

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How to store and eat asparagus

Try to eat them as soon as you buy them but you can store them upright in the refrigerator in a dish of water or wrap a damp towel over the ends and store in a plastic bag.

When you’re ready to eat them, snap or cut off the woody 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.  I also like to peel the larger sizes into thin strips for a raw salad or piled on top of a pizza. Asparagus is high vitamin C and K and folic acid and contain less than 50 calories per 6 oz serving.

Catch Earl this weekend on An Organic Conversation for his update on asparagus, kale and avocados. Learn more about the life cycle of asparagus and how it is picked and packed into beautiful uniformed bunches in a future blog.

Port Disputes Continue

West Coast Port contract disputes that began 9 months ago continue as dockworkers work without reaching a contract. Extreme congestion at the ports has caused problems such as unloading ships and stoppages, disrupting import and export shipments for agricultural products amongst other sectors. The Pacific Maritime Association (PMA) is worried that delays at the ports could eventually lead to gridlock.

At times ships holding perishable produce have been left sitting out on the water while dockworkers demands, including higher pay, are not met.  The PMA refused to pay overtime to longshoreman over the President’s day weekend and closed the Long Beach and Los Angeles ports from Thursday February 12th through Monday February 16th.  The port of Oakland, the third largest port on the West Coast, has been reported to be unloading only about 75% of what they normally would on a typical day.

The repercussions for the economy could be devastating. California Citrus Mutual is estimating that the port disputes could cost the citrus industry up to $500 million in export loses. California exported over $5 billion in fresh produce and nuts in the last quarter of 2014. Additional costs include the expenses to maintain extended cold storage facilities for apples and the fees imposed on importers due to shipping delays.

During the off season Earl’s Organic brings in fruit such as blueberries, mangos, kiwis and apples from as far away as New Zealand, Chile and Peru. We have felt the effect of these labor disputes as shipments of fruit sit out on the water for as long as 7-10 days after traveling by boat for 2-3 weeks. There have been gaps in supply and some obvious signs of aging from sitting on the water for a long period of time. Growers are reluctant to ship out their product overseas because of its perishable nature. We will continue to monitor the situation and keep you up to date.

February Blueberry Update

What can you expect when you go shopping for blueberries this February? We can expect to see Chilean blueberries through the end of March with sizes decreasing from 6oz packs to 4.4 oz packs. The weather has not presented any particular challenges on the import blues this season but we have seen a decrease in overall volume due to the Chilean grape vine moth. The biggest challenge has been strikes at the ports which can delay the fruit from being released resulting in erratic and irregular arrivals.

California blueberries have started up in Southern California, think Oxnard. Temperatures have been in the low 80’s and blueberries love that heat! We expect supply to increase.

Forbidden blueberries located in Lompoc, CA are a favorite of Earl’s Organic and their outstanding flavor will keep you coming back for more.  Sandy, the grower, is expecting the 80 degree weather this week to help bring on the fruit. She lost 1/3 of her plants to the hard freeze on New Year’s Eve. The cold weather pushed the plants back into flowering again and now she is playing catch up. All of her plants are flowering now and we can expect to see her fruit in about a month or so. In order to keep up with the demand for her blueberries Sandy is planning on planting another 2 ½ acres of blueberries this fall.

Don’t miss Earl this weekend on An Organic Conversation as he gives a “What’s In Season” blueberry update. Happy Valentine’s Day to everyone!

I like you berry much

EcoFarm 2015 Experience

The crew from Earl’s Organic came back from EcoFarm 2015 more inspired than ever to be working in the organic field. EcoFarm is the oldest and largest yearly ecological agricultural gathering in the West where over 1,500 people meet to create, maintain and promote healthy, safe and just food farming systems. Located in Pacific Grove, CA with over 60 workshops covering all aspects of ecological farming and food and farmer discussion groups it is hard to choose which ones to attend. Learn more about the EcoFarm experience from the eyes of a few Earl’s employees.

EcoFarm Display

EcoFarm Produce Display in Merrill Hall

 

Jessica Cole- Receiving and Quality Control

EcoFarm was a much different experience in comparison to the engineering/technical conferences I have been to in the past. The atmosphere was much more relaxed and I was able to walk the grounds, engage in conversation and attend seminars of my choosing. Everyone I met was incredibly friendly. I was astounded by the willingness and eagerness of people to both explain their interests as well as actively listen to mine – in general it seemed people were there to expand their understanding and increase connections throughout every aspect of the food chain.

The seminar I was most looking forward to attending was titled “Science Supporting Organic and Applied Organic Research Needs” presented by Jessica Shade of The Organic Center and Brise Tencer of Organic Farming Research Foundation. These two ladies were two of the most engaging presenters I have ever seen. They were passionate, knowledgeable and very articulate. It was interesting to see an overview of current studies ranging from soil content to disease susceptibility to nutritional benefits. I was encouraged to hear that there is a push to make grants a possibility, not just through universities, but for anyone so long as the results stay in the public domain. I believe having multiple paths for funding options and recipients will help to diversify the studies being performed and hopefully allow the results to be distributed to a larger audience. And through a cycle of exploration, communication and application an organic, more sustainable food chain becomes better understood and accepted.

Mary Rendon- Sales Associate

I was thoroughly pleased with my overall experience at the conference. One of the most intriguing seminars I attended was “The Dinosaurs rise again”. I was very impressed with the speakers. I know of Rick Lejeune, but not of his history and how he came into the business. It was very inspiring to hear how he started the Santa Cruz cooperative farms.  He spoke of his many travels and his start into the family business which is now the logistics part of the organic industry in the LA produce market. Next a gentlemen from Bob Scaman Goodness Greenness spoke and his story was very touching it actually brought tears to my eyes.  He thanked Cal-Organic for some advice he was given in the beginning of his lowest times in the business. That really made an impact on his personal life and his integrity and unity of the organic industry. Tom Mello from Amy Kitchen has known Earl for many years and I enjoyed hearing about how he built a great business. Lastly Sibella Kraus from S.A.G.E organization was full of lots of dynamic inspiring stories. She started at Chez Panisse working with Alice Waters and has spoken over the vast years with senators and Prince Charles. She spoke of her many travels, has worked at Greenleaf produce, and is also closely connected to the San Francisco Produce Market.

After working for almost 20 years in the organic industry I felt revitalized with an overwhelming feeling of appreciation for all that we represent to the farmers and the people we work with in every aspect of what we do every day. I also feel a sense of gratitude and loyalty as well. These people represent a presence that will hopefully inspire the youth of today to move forward in the organic business and help to make way for the growing changes on many levels, state wide and globally.

Anthony Mirisciotta- Sales Associate

Overall, EcoFarm was an excellent experience. I left the conference feeling really great about where I am and whom I work with! It was a great orientation for me into the California Ag world. Being from the East Coast produce/farming world I have always had preconceived notions of what the world of California produce/farming was about, so it was absolutely fantastic to see it and hear the stories firsthand. I was most interested in the dinosaurs of produce talk, to dig a little deeper into the history and world of California agriculture. Many great speakers were on the panel, to give a few different angles into the local history. My favorite was Rick Lejeune of Heath and Lejeune out of LA. He had a fabulous story of his start at the UCSC garden on campus and moving onto his attempt at farming with a group of friends in Alabama. He had great pictures that went along every step of his story, and he was a great speaker!

I have attended and even presented at NOFA conferences in New England in the recent past, so I am familiar with events similar to ECO.  I would have to say the energy and people at ECO seem much more positive and involved in the past, present and future.

Shane Terry- Quality Control Specialist

EcoFarm was everything I hoped it would be!  Farmers, distributors and retailers, all coming together to share their knowledge and passion for the organic farming movement and the industry it’s created.  Many of the seminars I sat in on were, of course, educational, but also inspiring and encouraging!

Being a native of Santa Cruz, CA, and now a resident of the East Bay, the organic farming movement and the types of people who champion it are part of my everyday experience, but EcoFarm has helped me better understand how small, dedicated pockets of the world, like my little Santa Cruz, have made waves throughout the food industry.  People all across the country are interested in making healthier choices for their bodies and families!  People want to make sustainable choices for the planet!  People want to buy organic produce!  At EcoFarm there is a culture of people both young and old, bringing their ideas together and revolutionizing the way the food industry works, from the field all the way to the checkout line.  We’re all proving that we can create a healthy, harmonious utopia here on Earth, and that taking part in that change can be profitable!  I left EcoFarm feeling very fortunate that the company I work for and the industry it thrives in are supporting my values and addressing my concerns for the Earth.

 Marie Koesnodihardjo- Accounting and Administrative Assistant

One of my favorite seminars from the Eco Farm Conference addressed the issue of sustainability in business. As a graduate of UC Berkeley in Conservation and Resource Studies, I was very curious to hear the conversation about sustainability at the corporate level.

The “What is a B Corp?” seminar included representatives from B Labs (the non-profit entity that certifies companies as B Corps), Veritable Vegetable (a certified B Corp), and a California farmer. I was surprised by how many questions from the audience were focused on the legality of B Corp in terms of ensuring that the values of the company withstand corporate acquisition. Cost was another major issue especially for farmers who see income fluctuations yearly and may not be able to afford the cost of maintaining certification.

In an industry that is already pushing for sustainable alternatives to modern industrialized practices, the conversation about sustainability isn’t whether or not to implement more sustainable practices. The B Corp Assessment is a free tool that allows corporations to assess corporate practices. If cost is an issue, then there is always the option to simply take the assessment and see how your company compares to your competitors.

Most prospective B Corps forget that the value of the certification is in being a part of a network of companies that is changing business as usual. As a recent college graduate, I was particularly drawn to Earl’s Organic Produce because there is a Sustainability Manager position and I felt that my personal values are reflected by the way Earl’s conducts business. While I believe Earl’s Organic Produce doesn’t need a certification to prove our commitment to sustainability and our core values there are many other ways Earl’s can benefit from becoming B Corp certified.

Overall, the Eco Farm conference showed me the range of businesses and people that are involved in the agriculture industry. I appreciated that the conference catered to “dinosaurs” of the industry as well as new farmers. The Asilomar Conference Grounds are a beautiful background for this gathering of people who are so passionate about what they do.

Each and every year Earl invites a new group of employees to join EcoFarm. We can all be inspired by the stories above and look forward to next years conference.

Organicology Kicks Off!

Organicology kicks off today in Portland, Oregon with intensive training sessions, workshops, farm tour, world class speakers and a chance to network with your peers. The four day agriculture conference is a chance to develop your skills in your own area of expertise and provides a chance to gain exposure to the challenges and accomplishments of those in other areas of the trade and movement. Organicology’s mission is to combine the passion for food and agriculture to create a truly unique conference that drives our food system toward a healthier, sustainable future. ??????????????????

Intensive sessions on Thursday give you a deeper understanding of key initiatives. Topics include from growing seed to produce merchandising, to food safety updates, sustainable business models and more. Workshops on Friday are designed to instill, elaborate on and engage the many issues and topics relevant to the organic trade.  Saturday is devoted entirely to the Organicology Tradeshow, a gathering of organic producers, farmers, businesses and organizations. This organic exhibition is the network where exhibitors and attendees can unite and connect with each other.

Earl’s has representatives from our Sales and Sustainability department attending. This will be the second year for Katherine Vining, Sustainability and Vendor Compliance Manager to join Organicology. Over the past year Kathy has worked with the Sustainable Food Trade Association to create a formal sustainability program, convene and direct an internal sustainability team, begin to track and record Earl’s Organics’ usage metrics, write Earl’s first annual sustainability report, and manage projects to reduce the environmental impact of our office and warehouse operation. Earl’s Organic has a goal of zero waste by the year 2020. We can look forward to hearing about their Organicology experience in a future blog.

Avocados and Super Bowl Go Together

Super Bowl is this Sunday and I plan to make a big batch of guacamole.  You need to start with flavorful avocados to make the best tasting guacamole. Buyers need to know that hass avocados are coming out of both Mexico and California with very different flavor profiles. The Mexican avocado is further along in the season and it is more mature piece of fruit with a higher oil content and a rich and creamy flavor. A good indicator of high oil content is a beautiful deep mustard colored flesh around the pit bordered by a deep green ring. Another indicator of a mature piece of fruit is how easily it separates from the pit. An immature or young piece of fruit will cling tightly to the pit and leave pieces of flesh behind.

Avocado hass

The California season is just starting up in the San Diego County area. The oil content will be lower and the flesh will be a light green color.  For the best tasting piece of fruit we recommend buying Mexican until the California avocado develops a higher oil content.

Avocados do not ripen on the tree.  When buying avocados you need to consider the time it takes to ripen before you can make your amazing guacamole.  The Mexican avocado will ripen much faster and with less than 4 days left to the Super Bowl this is the best choice. The California avocado could take up to 7 days to ripen and will not be as rich in flavor. To speed up the ripening process put your avocados in a paper bag with an apple. The natural ethylene gas produced from the fruit will help to ripen them quicker. The skin of a ripe hass avocado will turn a darker color and will have a little give when applying gentle pressure.  Please share your favorite avocado recipes for Super Bowl Sunday on our Facebook page.

Salanova and Leopard Lettuce

Earl’s is now carrying two new stunning varieties of lettuce from Suzies Farm in San Diego. Established in 2004 Suzie’s family farm is a 140 acre organic farm located thirteen miles south of downtown San Diego.

Beautiful red and green heads of salanova lettuce look like edible lotus flowers. They are harvested when they have grown to full-size heads unlike head lettuce which is harvested while still immature.  20 years in the making, Salanova lettuce has better flavor and texture, and double the shelf life of traditional baby leaf lettuce. The leaves pull away easily from the head to make a quick and delicious salad.

Salanova Red

Red Salanova

 

Green Salanova

Green Salanova

Leopard romaine lettuce is speckled with bursts of dark red color. Small to mid-sized bunches of lettuce flaunt a sweet rich flavor. Their appearance is so spectacular you could even use a bunch or two as an exquisite center piece bouquet.

Leopard Romaine Lettuce

Leopard Romaine Lettuce

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