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Archive for December, 2012

Traceland California Avocados at Earl’s!

Just when you thought the California avocado season was done, Earl’s has the most delicious tasting late season California avocados from Traceland in Cayucos.  They will only be around for another week so get them now.

Traceland is located near the ocean on the central coast and about 20 miles northwest of San Luis Obispo where the unique geography and climate allows year round growing conditions without high heat or killing frosts.  Cayucos sits in a small area of coastal land defined by the Santa Lucia mountains to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west. The ocean cools the hot summers and warms the cold winters.  The land is bisected at various places along its length by wild creeks that flow unimpeded from the coast range to the ocean providing the copious amounts of water avocado trees need to fruit.    

Ron, Gail and their twin sons moved to Cayucos in 1998 from Chicago.  In 2005 they planted their 6 acre avocado orchard with a goal to grow organic avocados as sustainably as possible.  The avocado trees are planted on natural slopes and not man made terraces, which affects the drainage.  He also puts down composted manures, organic minerals and wood chip mulches to fertilize the trees.  Cover crops of native grasses are used to produce natural nitrogen, honey bees are used for fruit production and predator insects for biological disease control.  Weeds are pulled by hand and they even trap gophers by hand.

Traceland is also unique because they hand pick all of the avocados and deliver them to Earl’s within 24 hours of picking! The flavor is very creamy and rich in oil content this late in the season.

Mexican avocados are starting to be found in markets everywhere but it is good to note that they won’t be high in flavor until at least super bowl time at the end of January.  Earl’s also works with a few other growers in the Cayucos area including 7th Heaven and Charan Springs.  Charan Springs avocados are also now at Earls. Keep eating California while you can!

Bauman College Winter Tour

Earl’s Organic hosted their third Bauman Holistic, Nutrition Culinary Arts College tour this past Wednesday. Although it was a rainy day over 50 students and faculty from three campuses made it out to Earl’s.  Bauman is a non-profit educational institution that aims to create a sustainable culture of wellness in individuals and to change the way people consume food from convenience to conscious eating. Earl shared his expertise on how he sources the best organic produce and how it travels from farm to table.  The hosts of An Organic Conversation,  Mark Mulchay, Sita Palomar and Helge Hellberg also joined the tour and helped lead the discussion about flavor profiles and how we treat the land affects the flavor and quality of the food we put in our bodies.

The students are about to finish their classes and then will need to complete 50 externship hours before graduating.  The students will go onto careers such as becoming a personal chef, having a catering business, recipe writing, product development, blogging or working in alternative baking.

The tour was designed to further the students understanding of the food chain; how produce travels from the farm to the end user and the amount of care and attention that is given to how it is packaged, stored and handled during that transition. An emphasis was placed on Earl’s Organic providing superior produce at the best price point while supporting the local economy and the sustainability of organic farms.  Earl’s has the relationships with the farms and does all the quality control so our customers don’t have to, ultimately saving them time with only one shopping trip for all their organic produce needs.

Earl guided the tour through the warehouse and coolers explaining how produce is brought into the warehouse from the farms and how it is stored in either the warm storage area, fruit storage area, cold/wet cooler or cold/dry coolers.  Every item of produce that arrives goes through strict quality control and usually has a 2-3 day turnover rate.  Produce is constantly arriving into the warehouse and being shipped out to customers.  The busiest time at the warehouse happens at night between 10pm -5am when trucks can be seen arriving with the latest harvests from farms all over California and even from Mexico depending on the season.  The trucks are constantly checked for the correct temperature with infrared thermometers and great care is taken to work with the growers on how to optimize the integrity of the produce from farm to table.

There were tasting points set up throughout the tour for students to try some super fresh delicious seasonal produce. Trays of satsuma segments from Side Hill Citrus in Lincoln, CA, Fuyu persimmon pieces sprinkled with black pepper was an interesting flavor combo and Hosui Asian pear slices tossed in orange juice was a refreshing end to the warehouse tour.

Students were then treated to presentations by local food companies.  McEvoy Ranch sampled their certified organic olive oil with olives all grown, harvested, milled, blended and bottled entirely on the ranch in Petaluma.  Did you know the best way to taste olive oil is to slurp it so you taste it at the back of your throat? Next was Desta from San Anselmo in Marin. They select the best organic and fair trade tea and coffee from around the world and a portion of the profits goes to communities and orphans in Ethiopia.   Our last presenter of the day was Mariposa, a dedicated gluten free bakery in the Temescal District of Oakland.   Their mission is to create wholesome, hand-crafted food using the finest natural ingredients.

Next was lunch made by the Bauman College using Earl’s Organic Produce.  A beautiful winter green salad with Organic Girl Vive La France salad mix was tossed with a spring salad mix, Asian pear and satsumas in a honey lime cilantro dressing. White bean chili was a perfect complement to the salad and kept everyone toasty warm in the warehouse.

Students had the opportunity to buy produce after the tour and take it home with them. Everyone left the tour really understanding that San Francisco is the home to the most passionate and knowledgeable advocates of organic and sustainable agriculture.  Be sure to follow Earl’s on Facebook and Twitter for the most up to date organic news and the seasonality and geography of our growers and their produce.

Even if you don’t have an account with Earl’s Organic you can walk into the warehouse Sunday-Thursday evenings starting 10pm until 10am the following morning and buy cases at our Customer Service Office.  If you have questions please give us a call!

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