The weather has started to cool down and we even experienced a little rain in San Francisco this week. Fall decorations are starting to pop up and comfort food is on our minds. What better way to get in the mood for fall then to make a delicious meal with one of the many varieties of winter squash. Chris Cadwell from Tutti Frutti Farms in Buellton, California grows a stunning array of colorful squash that is both decorative and delicious. Learn how some of the most popular winter squash varieties taste and how to best cook them.
Here is just a sample of what you will find in our new fun and descriptive Tutti Frutti Winter Hard Squash Guide.
Buttercup: This dark green squash with light green streaks is easy to spot by the round ring around the blossom end of the squash. The orange flesh has a rich flavor similar to a baked sweet potato. It is delicious baked or stuffed.
Kabocha: This wonderful Japanese squash has a slightly nutty and sweet dense flesh that becomes bright orange when cooked. There is no need to peel the rind. Cut into slices and bake or simmer.
Sugar Pie Pumpkin: Short and round, sugar pie pumpkins have thick walls with lots of pumpkin flavored flesh. Now is your time to shine by making a pumpkin pie from scratch. Bake one medium sized pumpkin and puree the flesh as a delicious substitute for canned pumpkin this holiday season.
Don’t forget to click to download the Tutti Frutti Winter Hard Squash Guide.
Earl’s Organic took a group down to visit Rider and Son’s Apple Orchard in Watsonville, on the central coast of California. Following highway 1 south along the Pacific Ocean we exited at Freedom Boulevard and wound our way through beautiful apple orchards as far as the eye could see. Fifth generation apple orchardists, Jim Rider is in charge of the fields and his brother Dick Rider oversees the packing shed. Their grandfather Homer was one of the pioneer fruit growers in the Watsonville area. The hustle and bustle of San Francisco quickly fell away as we were treated to a personal tour of the orchards by Jim Rider.
We were able to see first hand the impact the drought and warmer than usual temperatures has had on the fruit. Their total volume of apples is down this year and Dick Rider anticipates that the season will end earlier than usual. We have also noticed the seasons starting earlier and ending earlier with stone fruit and California avocados this year. The warmer weather means lack of chill hours or lack of sleep. If you have been following our blogs you will remember that when fruit trees don’t achieve the necessary chill hours they get cranky and don’t produce the way they should. Read more about chill hours here.
Rider and Sons grow many delicious varieties of apples including the ever popular Cameo, Braeburn and Fuji. The crisp and juicy heirloom variety Esopus Spitzenberg is now making a short appearance. Made popular by Thomas Jefferson in 1790, this is a great choice for making apple pie. The real star at Rider and Sons is the Jonagold, named after its parents, the Jonathan and Golden Delicious. They pick the Jonagold apple at its optimum maturity and flavor. Sweet, tart and juicy, the Jonagold is exceptional eaten out of hand, used for cooking and is excellent for juicing and making hard cider. 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. From our experience the flavor and quality of the Jonagold can not be matched as the apple season moves up to the Pacific North West.
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 the apples for months on end.
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. The California apple season comes and goes quickly so be sure to search out the exceptionally flavorful Jonagold apple from Rider and Sons.
It is no wonder that the small kiwi berry tastes just like the kiwi fruit we know and love, as they are both members of the Actinidia genus family. Kiwi berries are considered a cousin of the kiwi, and are also known as the hardy kiwi, artic kiwi or baby kiwi. This tiny, delicious piece of fruit is about the size of a grape, has no fuzz on the outside and can be eaten whole.
POP THEM IN YOUR MOUTH AND ENJOY!
Kiwi berries are native to southern China, Korea and Russian Siberia, similar to the Kiwi fruit. They require 150 frost free days of growing which is best suited to the temperate zones of the North East and North West. Kiwi berries naturally protect themselves from bugs and animals because they taste horrible during the maturation process. A single vine can grow up to 20 feet in just one season and one plant can produce up to 1000 pounds of fruit a year! Earl’s Organic Kiwi Berries are grown about 30 minutes south of Portland in Wilsonville, Oregon. The season starts in late August and can go through October.
Ripening and Storage Tips
Kiwis berries are picked hard and ripened off the vine. They ripen at room temperature and are ready to eat when the skin turns a darker green, wrinkles and gently yields to touch. Similar to a kiwi they will be slightly acidic until ripe when they will be very sweet. You can store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks but I doubt that will last that long.
Kiwi berries are a healthy snack and packed full of nutrition. uprchlická krize They have twice the Vitamin E of an avocado with only 60% of the calories, 5 times the Vitamin C of an orange and more potassium than bananas. Eat them fresh out of hand, add them to a salad, bake them in muffins or muddle them into a cocktail.
Written by Anthony Mirisciotta.
We began our farm tour in the morning hours on Wednesday after meeting up with Chris Cadwell at the hotel and jumping into his Honda truck gently coated with a shield of dust. Chris’s blond hair curled and fell nearly to his shoulders onto his orange T-shirt that read “Baja Sur” probably obtained on a fishing trip long ago. The first fields took us down 101 North to Los Olivos, where we were still under the early morning fog, just starting to show some breaks in the sky. “I remember this field” Ethan proclaimed from the backseat next to me “this was the field filled with bins and bins of onions” he said as he motioned out of the window towards the field. Chris pulled the truck off to the right side of the road as a dust cloud kicked up behind us, whoosh. We all jumped out of the truck and headed into the first Tutti Frutti field walk of the day.
This first field was filled with later crop peppers, the plants were all looking great and just starting to produce their first fruits. The varieties included- Cayenne, Jalapeno, Green Bells, Serrano, maybe a couple others that will pop up later! This was the field that all of his sweet onions were in not very long ago, after pulling all of those, he planted these peppers right after them. Just behind this pepper field in the same location was one of the first plantings of winter squash. Most of these plants were dead at this point with the fruits cut and scattered about, ready for picking and packing. We were able to check out a few bins and boxes that were already packed up for shipping!
After this we headed down the road a few miles to the “monster pepper field.” This is where the world famous tequila peppers are coming from right now. That is the name of the variety, they actually do not start on the plants as green, they start a whitish almost transparent and turn lavender, to full purple then on to being and orange/red if left on the plants. The tequila’s were planted next to some large orange “mandarin” bells and red lipstick peppers. Then we walked back to where the real magic was happening with the habaneros and jalapenos. These were planted before the previously mentioned peppers, and it showed. Chris had these all staked and roped together, so they grow in an actually hedgerow shape when successful. They produced this great canopy of leaves, and underneath that canopy the fruits were growing like I had never seen before. Jalapenos were growing in bunches, just packed upon one another, with great size to every single pepper.
Peppers like shade, and staking them in this manner allows them to grow together and block the heat from the soil and plants. If you were to reach down into the canopy towards the soil, you could feel the temperature change out of the sun, really phenomenal stuff! He has about 8 acres here of these wildly producing jalapenos, most of which were grown for someone that processes them, but because of the outstanding yield this year, a lot are going to come to us at Earls!
After Los Olivos, we took a trip to the heart of Tutti Frutti and visited the Lompoc fields. All of these fields are on Santa Rosa Rd, and run along the Santa Ynez River. This river had run dry for a long time due to the drought, BUT as of recently the county had released about 7 feet of water from a dam upstream, and this allowed water to flow in the Santa Ynez filling aquifers, wells and this dry river valley. About 4 feet of water was still running through this river during our trip, appeared almost as a mirage. We walked several fields of beautiful winter squash and pumpkins. All that we just getting ready to be harvested and shipped to Earls! We saw the beautiful next round of heirloom tomatoes that were planted 3 rows at a time under large shade houses that held the heat significantly but shaded the tomatoes from the direct sun.
We walked and discuss plans and harvests into the fall, more zucchini quickly manifested itself into the plan. ruské zpravodajství Chris is expecting and planning for a wet winter, it may slow things down in the spring, but his is prepared and should have no problems working around it.
It was a true pleasure and treat for me to get back into the fields and reconnect with what we are all doing here, and why. The wealth of experience and knowledge that Chris, Robert and Ethan have to share when walking the fields is extensive, and I’m very excited that I was there to take it all in.
The long awaited California Keitt mango season is here! It is the only organic mango variety commercially grown in California as far as we know. Deemed as one of the best tasting mangos by many people, this domestic tropical fruit is impressive in both its strikingly large size and beautiful green color.
Keitt mangos have virtually no stringy fibers and a thin pit which means more fruit to devour. This unique domestic mango does not have to travel far and is left on the tree until it has developed a high level of maturity and sweet flavor. California Keitts are grown in the Coachella Valley, which runs for about 45 miles in Riverside County from Palm Springs to the northern part of the Salton Sea.
Keitts are also extra special because they are not subjected to the stress of a hot water bath, as most imported mangos are, contributing to a delicious eating experience. Almost all imported mangos are hot water treated to eliminate fruit flies and fruit fly larvae. The mangos are put into hot water bath (115-118 F) anywhere from 90-120 minutes.
*Don’t be deterred by the Keitt’s green skin which stays green even when ripe.
*Ripen your mangos up on your counter at room temperature. Mangos do not like the cold and can develop chill damage if stored in the refrigerator.
*You will know they are ready to eat when they yield slightly to gentle pressure.
The season is very short and lasts only about 4-6 weeks so don’t miss out this delicious juicy California grown tropical fruit!
The California blueberry season finished up around the end of June with a smooth transition into the Pacific Northwest supply out of Oregon and Washington in early July. There are different pack sizes at different times of year reflecting supply. Bigger pack sizes are seen during peak production times. Up until the end of July we were carrying 6oz, pints and 18oz packs. Offering your customers a variety of pack sizes has proven to increase sales. As we go into August, supply is starting to decrease and we are moving into only 6oz packs. At the end of the season we may see 4.4oz packs depending on supply.
The heat brought on blueberries early this year and we are wrapping up earlier than usual. We have seen the effect of the warmer weather, lack of chill hours and drought in stone fruit and avocados just to name a few. Stay tuned for more blueberry updates.
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:
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.
- 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.
- 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:
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.
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?
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.
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.