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Archive for May, 2012

Burkart Orchards Stone Fruit

Stone fruit season is just beginning.  Sweet and juicy white and yellow peaches, nectarines and apricots are arriving by the pallet every day from Burkart Orchards.  Burkart grows high-quality organic stone fruit on 65 acres near Dinuba along the northern border of Tulare County about 4 hours south of San Francisco.

Richard Burkart, along with many growers, spends extra time focusing on the quality of his stone fruit.  In order to ensure he is getting the ripest fruit, Richard makes several picks of each variety in the orchard to get the fruit at their optimum ripeness with the highest sugar levels for shipping.

If you have ever bought a piece of stone fruit and it just never had the sweetness you expected, it could be that it was picked before it was mature.  As a consumer, I have learned that this inconsistency can point to a single pick by the grower.  Orchards are made up of different varieties which will ripen at different times.  To save on labor costs a single variety may be harvested in one pick, rather than multiple pickings of the fruit as it reaches maturity.

Ask your produce department for a taste of that peach, nectarine or apricot so you know what you’re buying.  Smell the fruit, it should smell aromatic and sweet.  Check the area around the stem, you don’t want it to be green.  You also don’t want any bruising on the fruit or wrinkly skin.

Burkart Nectarines

Burkart Peaches

Cosmetically, stone fruit might not always look perfect. There may be some scarring on the fruit which is natural.  The fruit may be growing against a branch or a leaf which makes an imprint on the fruit. This won’t affect the flavor of the fruit one bit. It is just a gentle reminder that you are eating something grown from the earth.

The biggest difference between nectarines and peaches is the lack of fuzz on the skin.  Nectarines are usually smaller, more aromatic and sweeter than peaches and the skin is a deeper red color.  Stone fruit usually ripens up at room temperature within 2-3 days and will give slightly to the touch when they are ready to eat.

Don’t miss out on the first delicious stone fruit of the season! Stone fruit is delicious out of hand, sliced up and topped with organic whipped cream or bake the fruit in a cobbler and serve drizzled with fresh cold organic cream.

Sweet Burkart Nectarines

Sweet nectarines are the latest addition to the Burkart stone fruit arriving at Earls.  Last week the first of the yellow and white peaches arrived.  The biggest difference between nectarines and peaches is the lack of fuzz on the skin.  Nectarines are usually smaller, more aromatic and sweeter than peaches and the skin is a deeper red color.

Nectarines are more delicate than peaches and bruise easily. Look for fruit with smooth skin and avoid fruit with soft or wrinkled skin. Ripe fruit will give slightly to touch and they will ripen up at room temperature within 2-3 days.

Richard Burkart grows his high-quality organic peaches and nectarines on 65 acres near Dinuba along the northern border of Tulare County about 4 hours south of San Francisco.

Burkart Peaches-First of the season

Peach season is finally here! The first of the Burkart Farms peaches just arrived at Earl’s.  The peaches have good color and a sweet taste and we have been snacking on them in Earl’s kitchen.

Richard Burkart grows his high-quality organic peaches and nectarines on 65 acres near Dinuba along the northern border of Tulare County about 4 hours south of San Francisco.

Don’t miss out on the first delicious stone fruit of the season!

Pallet of Burkart Peaches

A Bounty of Heirloom Tomatoes

The heirloom tomato season is almost upon us, and soon the hoop houses will be painted with an array of vibrant reds, purples, oranges, and yellows.  Below is a picture of a Purple Cherokee tomato developing out of its flower right on schedule. The flowers in the background are beginning to bulge, a sign that they will produce fruit as well.

This variety of tomato is indeterminate, meaning it continues to get taller and that its fruit will ripen at varying times during a long period of production.  (A determinate plant is more bush-like, and will produce its fruit all at once during a short period of production).  In a couple of weeks, these bulging flowers will turn into tomatoes like this one.

I feel quite fortunate that I’ve already gotten to sample the first of these delectable treats to ripen.  Soon these plants will create a bounty of tomatoes, and I’m eager to taste the fruits of their labor.

Ben in th Heirloom tomato hoop house

San Francisco Produce Market Extends Lease Another 60 Years

It was an exciting Monday morning on The San Francisco Produce Market.  GreenLeaf, a wholesaler on the market, hosted a press conference this morning with an announcement by San Francisco’s Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Malia Cohen for new legislation to approve a long-term, 60-year master lease agreement and expansion plans for the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market. In attendance were market merchant business owners, operators, members of the Wholesale Produce Market’s non-profit board, San Francisco Produce Association, local restaurant and grocery store owners.

 

SF Mayor Ed Lee and Supervisor Malia Cohen

Press Release from the Office of the Mayor, City and County of San Francisco

“The San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market has been supplying our City and region with fresh, healthy produce for 137 years. This new $100 million investment and expansion will ensure that small businesses, neighborhood grocers and anyone in the market for fresh produce for their business will continue to receive their goods from San Francisco,” said Mayor Lee. “The Market will continue to provide an economic benefit to the City and create jobs for our residents.”

“The Wholesale Produce Market has been one of the hidden gems of the City for decades,” said Supervisor Malia Cohen. The Wholesale Produce Market currently occupies 300,000 square feet of space in 10 buildings, housing 30 produce wholesalers and distributors, a restaurant, and Bank of America retail branch. The Market employs 650 full time employees and has a gross annual revenue of $500 million. Over 50 percent of these businesses have operated more than 20 years, one since 1888. The San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market provides fresh produce to local and regional grocers, specialty and upscale retailers, restaurants, hotels, caterers and convention facilities.

“This is one of the most significant days in the long history of the San Francisco Wholesale Produce Market said SF Wholesale Produce Market Governing Board President John Monfredini.  The development plan envisions a three-phase, $100 million project that will include improvement of existing streets surrounding the Market, the rerouting of Jerrold Avenue traffic to the improved side streets allowing the closure of Jerrold for the two block length of the Market, and the renovation or reconstruction of four of the Market’s existing warehouses to meet modern food-handling standards with increased capacity.  As a result, the Market can expand from 300,000 to almost 500,000 square feet, invest in the expansion of small businesses and increase economic activity to almost $1.4 billion after completion, according to a 2007 Keyser Marsten Study. The increase in modern storage and distribution facilities will allow the Market to better attract and incubate additional high-quality produce businesses, and allow the Wholesale Produce Market to meet the needs of the 21st century food industry.

Kayren Hudinburg from Good Life Grocery San Francisco

David Sperber from Town’s End Restaurant San Francisco

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