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SUPER BOWL MEANS MOUNTAINS OF AVOCADOS

As we head into Super Bowl weekend guacamole is top of the list for party food. Over 120 million pounds of avocados will be consumed this coming weekend. Imagine a football field filled from one end to the other and piled over 46 feet high!  Over 95% of all avocados sold in the United States are the Hass variety.  At this time of year Hass avocados are coming from both Mexico and California.  The Mexican season is ending and the California season is just starting up out of the San Diego area.

Mexican avocados are a more mature piece of fruit. Just one bite reveals a rich and creamy flesh that is higher in oil content that its California counterpart. A good indicator of a high oil content is the color of the flesh, ranging from a deep green to mustard yellow and surrounded by dark green ring.  Early in the season California avocados are immature with a low oil content and lower flavor profile, indicated by the light green colored flesh.

Pablo Ruiz, the 2015 guac off champion, preps for this years competition

Pablo Ruiz, Earl’s 2015 guac off champion, preps for this year’s competition with Mexican Hass avocados

Avocados do not ripen on the tree. Super Bowl is only a few days away and you need to think about the time it takes to ripen your avocados before game day. Mexican avocados can take up to 4 days to ripen if they are very green. California avocados could take 1-2 weeks to ripen because of how early it is in the season. For the best flavor for your guacamole we recommend buying Mexican avos until the California fruit develops a higher oil content. It is time to get out there and go avocado shopping!

Ripen your avocados on your counter and keep them above 55 degrees but below 68 degrees. Do not store them in the refrigerator. The cold can cause chill damage, turning your avocado grey or black and the heat can cause irregular ripening and decay.   If you need to speed along the ripening process you can put your avocados in a paper bag with a few apples. The natural ethylene from the apples will ripen them quicker. A ripe Hass will turn a darker color. Be gentle! Do not squeeze your avocados or they will bruise. If your avo gives slightly when applying gentle pressure it is ready to eat!

SF Wholesale Produce Market Volunteer Opportunity for Marketing, Branding & Communications

About the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market

The San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market (SFWPM or “Market”) is one of the largest, multi-tenanted produce wholesale and distribution facility in the US and span over 20 acres, including 485,000 square feet of warehouse and logistics space. The Market provides critical food infrastructure and services to wholesale and distribution businesses that store, aggregate, and distribute fresh produce to businesses across the Bay Area.

The mission of the San Francisco Market Corporation is to link the produce and food communities of SF and beyond, through the successful operation and development of the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market.

James Beard Culinary Lab tour of the SF Produce Market with Michael Janis, Manager of the SFPM

Michael Janis, General Manager of the SF Produce Market, leads members of the James Beard Foundation on a night tour.

The vision of the San Francisco Market Corporation is to make the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market a vibrant, thriving and sustainable food center.

It is an exciting time at the Market; we have embarked on a multi-year Reinvestment Project to upgrade and expand our facility. The first phase of the Reinvestment Project included the transition of the Market to a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and the construction of an 82,000 sq ft LEED-Gold warehouse. As we are investing and planning for the future of the Market, we are looking to improve and expand our marketing, branding, and communication efforts.

More information is available at www.sfproduce.org. For further description of the history of SFWPM and our vision for the future, check out “SFWPM Past and Future” .

WORK OF THE COMMITTEE
The SFWPM’s Board committee on Marketing, Branding, and Communications will be composed of Merchants at the Market, current members of the Board of Directors, as well as other qualified volunteers. The committee aims to achieve the following goals:
1) Become experts on current and past marketing/outreach activities of Merchants on the Market as well as the Market overall, and understand existing opportunities and needs in the areas of marketing, branding, and communications
2) Learn about marketing, branding, and communications activities of other similar Markets and what does / does not work for them and why
3) Make recommendations to the San Francisco Market Corporation’s Board of Directors about potential goals, strategy and approach for marketing, branding, and communications for the Market
4) Recommend action plans for implementation to the Board related to marketing, branding, and communications
5) Under oversight of the Board, support implementation of the action plans

COMMITTEE ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Committee Chair or Co-chair
 Conduct outreach to potential Committee members
 Finalize agendas and run Committee meetings
 Share responsibilities as listed below for committee members
Committee Member
(including Merchant representatives)
 Attend regularly scheduled Committee meetings
 Provide insight at meetings and in follow-on work
 Complete tasks committed to in Committee meetings
Other Merchants on the Market
 Provide input to Committee as requested
 Provide feedback on Committee outputs
 Potentially serve on Committee or sub-committees
Staff support for Committee
 Schedule meetings and communicate about logistical details
 Prepare and distribute materials prior to meetings
 Support Committee chair(s) as needed and help with agendas for Committee meetings
 Support implementation of marketing/outreach and branding plans

QUALIFICATIONS
We are seeking 7 – 10 committee members that feel confident they will be able to successfully execute against the goals of the Committee and that have the following:
 Expertise in marketing, branding, and/or communications
 Experience or interest in food and agriculture

COMMITMENT
We are asking for committee members to make a one year commitment. We anticipate that the Committee will meet monthly but this might fluctuate depending on priorities and timeline.

Service on SFWPM’s committees is a volunteer position without remuneration.

If interested, please contact Michael Janis, General Manager, at 415-550-4495 or mjanis@sfproduce.org

Banana Supply is Tight

We are still seeing the residual effect of hurricane Patricia which ripped through parts of Mexico last October.  As the growers are waiting for the banana trees to make a full recovery from the storm, supply is tight. The fruit being harvested is young and stubborn and taking longer to ripen.  We are estimating that supply will remain tight through February. We are looking at all options to supply our customers with high quality organic bananas. Thank you for your support during this challenging time.

IMG-20151026-WA0003

 

Produce Marquee Moments

Josie’s red cabbage are a stunning deep purple with a striata of green veins running throughout.  The outer leaves on these dense heads are still intact indicating a lack of bug damage. The beautiful misty layer of blueish coating on the leaves is known as the bloom and is a sign of freshness. The more pronounced the bloom the closer to harvest the cabbage is. The red color is due to flavonoids, an antioxidant that is thought to help reduce cancer. Red cabbage is also a great source of fiber and vitamin C. Just one cup of chopped red cabbage has 56% of the recommended daily dose. Josie’s produce is grown in Bakersfield at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley about 5 hours south of San Francisco. Red Cabbage double Josies

 

Fragrant California grown Meyer lemons have soft thin skin with a deep yellow color and they are sweeter and less acidic than a Eureka or Lisbon lemon. The thin skin means they can be eaten peel and all! Their sweeter flavor lends themselves perfectly to desserts. It is believed they are a cross between a common lemon and a mandarin or orange. As with all citrus they are best eaten at room temperature. Roll them gently on the counter to get the juices going and then eat away! Start your morning off right with a few lemon slices in warm water and a pinch of cayenne to give your digestive system a kick start. Meyer lemon cropped blog

 

Moro Blood Orange season is just starting up and the floral fragrance will only increase as we get farther into the season. The colors range from a deep purple to the various shades of a sunset. It is still not known exactly why the insides turn red but it could be because blood oranges contain anthocyanins, a family of pigments common to many flowers and fruit, but uncommon in citrus fruits. Anthocyanins contain antioxidants which help protect our body from free radicals which can lead to degenerative diseases and pre-mature aging of the skin. Blood oranges are also packed full of vitamin C which helps strengthen our immunity system. Hot days and cold nights are needed to bring out the best flavor so it is no surprise that Moros are commercially grown in Southern California, Texas and Florida. Earl’s bloods are coming out of  San Diego County, California. Blood Oranges

Kaffir Limes Now Called Makrut Limes

Recently it was brought to our attention that the Arabic word Kafir is a highly offensive, even legally actionable, racial slur in South Africa. There are many theories as to the origin and original intent of the term kaffir.  Out of concern for using such a hurtful word to describe a unique and wonderful piece of fruit, Earl’s Organic will now be calling the Kaffir Lime the Makrut lime, as they are known in Thailand.

Thai cuisine utilizes both the lime and leaves.  The zest contains a high concentration of aromatic oils and is used in many Thai curries and medical tonics. The rind is thought to be good for the digestive system, similar to galangal. The fruit contains a small amount of juice that can be added sparingly to dishes for additional flavor.  One of my favorite recipes is an easy Makrut lime sea salt that makes a refreshing condiment and also goes perfecting around the glass rim of your favorite cocktail.  Mix the zest of 3-4 Makrut limes, 6-8 finely chopped Makrut lime leaves and 1 cup of sea salt.   Find more Thai recipes using Makrut Limes here.

 

Kaffir Limes (2)

Controlled Atmosphere Storage for Apples and Pears

Have you ever wondered why you can continue to enjoy domestic apples and pears long after they are harvested in October/November? Growers extend the life of their fruit by keeping them in cold storage, effectively slowing down the natural ageing and ripening process. As time goes on the sugar, starch and acid content changes, water is lost and the fruit withers and decays.

Apples and pears are divided into either fresh or controlled atmosphere (CA) storage.  Most fruit through the end of the year is taken from fresh storage where fruit is put into a chilled cellar or cooler and kept between 32 and 36 degrees F with high air humidity and some air circulation. A good comparison is your refrigerator at home. When the fresh storage runs out apples and pears will then be pulled from CA storage.

Only the best quality fruit is chosen for long term CA storage. The fruit is stored in airtight coolers where they remain in a state of “sleeping” until the rooms are opened up at a predesignated time. CA is a non-chemical process where the oxygen level is reduced to about 1-2% by infusing nitrogen gas to slow down the maturation process to a near halt. Think of sleeping beauty under a spell and how she never aged a day until she woke up.

Temperatures are kept at a consistent 32–36 degrees F with 95 percent humidity.  The exact conditions of each room vary by apple and pear variety, allowing many varieties to be stored into the winter, spring and even summer months. The storage life of apples in CA can last up to 12months and up to 10 months for pears depending on the variety. The higher the starch in the fruit, the longer it can be stored.

When the apples and pears are brought out of hibernation for packing they will begin to ripen and break down quickly as starches turn to sugar again.  It is best to enjoy them right away and keep them in your refrigerator until eaten.  Once the CA storage of apples and pears run out, the supplies are augmented by apples and pears from the southern hemisphere until the season starts up again in the fall.

 

Lakeside Organic Develops Sustainable Agriculture Learning Center

In the twenty years Earl’s Organic has been working with Lakeside it is great to see them reach such an important goal. We congratulation Dick Peixoto and the Lakeside family on fulfilling their dream.

Lakeside Organic Gardens Provides $2 Million in Funding for Organic and Sustainable Agriculture Learning Center

by Lakeside Marketing

January 8, 2016 – Dick Peixoto’s dream of having an educational facility to showcase organic farming is closer to becoming a reality. Dick and the Peixoto family have contributed $2 million dollars to the development of an organic and sustainable agriculture learning center. This center will be a resource for people interested in starting an organic farm, learning about organic farming or those just interested in seeing how their food is grown organically. The facility, which is still in the planning stages, will incorporate education, history, techniques and future innovations of organic farming. All aspects of organic and sustainable agriculture will be benefited, including careers in organic farming. Lakeside Organic

Lakeside Organic Gardens announced these plans in conjunction with the $2 million dollar gift to the Pajaro Valley non-profit organization “Agri-Culture, Inc.” Lakeside will be working directly with Agri-Culture, Inc. to facilitate the development of the fund and learning center.

The purpose of this learning center in the Pajaro Valley is to educate, train, teach and otherwise advance public knowledge of all aspects of organic and sustainable farming practices, including jobs and careers. This development will open up many great opportunities for the organic agriculture community to collaborate.

Dick Peixoto, founder of Lakeside Organic Gardens, stated: “The public has shown us a strong interest in organic and sustainable agriculture. I feel strongly that the proposed learning center will create opportunities that will allow the public to advance its knowledge while encouraging careers in organic agriculture through education and focused training programs.”

In receiving the gift, Agri-Culture, Inc. President, Steve Bontadelli stated, “We are honored to be chosen to help Dick Peixoto and his family fulfill their dream of providing educational programs focused on organic and sustainable agriculture.” Bontadelli further commented, “Our area has been the leader in organic and sustainable agriculture. It’s wonderful that the program Dick Peixoto envisions will benefit the public, the industry and our local area.”

Jess Brown, Executive Director of Agri-Culture, Inc. noted “Other individuals, corporations, foundations, etc. that see the importance of this vision are encouraged to donate to the fund so that more programs can be provided.”

Click here for the online press release.

 

Covilli’s Farm is Fair Trade Certified

It’s official! We are absolutely thrilled to announce that Covilli’s farm has been successfully certified by Fair Trade USA!

Covilli Fair Trade announcement January 4, 2016

In a nutshell:  this certification ensures that Covilli’s farm workers have safe working conditions, access to healthcare and education for workers’ children, regulated working hours, as well as rest and sick days. Fair Trade certification also verifies sustainable farming practices.

Buying ANY of Covilli’s Fair Trade products is an easy way to support the hard-working people who grow the products that you love. A few extra cents – the Fair Trade Premium – will allow for democratically chosen projects to become a reality in Covilli’s farm worker communities; whether it’s a bus for the High School students, dental services or a multipurpose room, this benefit will bring empowerment through decision making: “What is best for all of us?” and “How can we achieve it?”

As a leading organic company, Covilli breaks the mold once again by standing behind it’s Fair Trade Program 100% and maintains its place at the forefront, by offering ALL VEGETABLES AS ORGANIC & FAIR TRADE.  Everyone at Covilli is looking forward to improving lives. Thank you for becoming part of this effort.

Covilli Brand Organics

Truly Organic, Truly Fair

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Earl’s is Hiring Product Selectors!

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

Under the direction of the Operations Manager, the Product Selector fills customers’ orders from stored merchandise in accordance with specifications on sales slips or order forms.  Duties include completing order receipts, keeping records of out-going orders, requisitioning additional materials, supplies, cleaning work area and equipment.

Responsibilities will include:

■ Read orders to ascertain quantities of merchandise

■ Obtain merchandise from bins, shelves, and coolers

■ Check order receipts

■ Examine products to verify quality standards

■ Count finished products to determine if product orders are complete

■ Keep records of out-going orders

■ Place merchandise on conveyors leading to wrapping areas

■ Wrap the palletized merchandise

■ Mark or tag identification on palletized merchandise

■ Operate machinery used in the process, or assist machine operators

■ Observe equipment operations so that malfunctions can be detected, and notify Management as necessary

 

Position requirements include:

■ Ability to operate tools used in this occupation such as forklifts and hand trucks

■ Ability to read and understand information presented in writing

■ Ability to arrange things in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule

or set of rules

■ Ability to lift a minimum of 50 lbs. on a regular basis

■ Requires being reliable, responsible, dependable, and fulfilling obligations

■ Requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks

■ Requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-nature

■ Requires supporting other team members and provide service to others

■ Requires knowledge of conducting inspections of products

Earl’s Organic Produce provides a highly competitive compensation package, including medical, dental and company-sponsored retirement programs.

Qualified candidates are encouraged to submit a cover letter, resume, and three references to katherinev@earlsorganic.com.  Thank you in advance for your interest!

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.

Earl’s Organic is Hiring Delivery Drivers!

Earl’s Organic Produce is seeking quality delivery drivers! Immediate positions are available. Class A/B license is required. Multi-drop delivery experience is a plus. Please contact Patrick Stewart @ 415-824-7419 with questions or interest. See the full job description below and attached here.

Earl’s Organic Produce, Inc., a leading distributor of organic produce throughout Northern California, seeks a skilled and safe Class A and Class B Delivery Drivers for our San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market headquarters.

Under the direction of the Operations Manager, the selected candidate will deliver palletized and floor-loaded 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 Class B California drivers license
• Able to operate an electric Pallet Jack Experience
• 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 amounts of 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 and company-sponsored retirement programs.

Qualified candidates are encouraged to submit a cover letter, resume, and three references to PatrickS@earlsorganic.com. Thank you in advance for your interest!

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.

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