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Archive for September, 2013

California Keitt Mangos

Fragrant California Keitt mangos from Coachella Valley in Southern California are one of Earl’s employee’s favorite mangos.  They are super juicy and sweet with almost no stringy fibers and a smaller pit than other mangos which means more flesh to eat. One bite of the delicious smooth flesh and you will be back for more! Don’t shy away from these green mangos because Keitt’s stay green even when ripe. We recommend ripening them on the counter and eating when they yield slightly to gentle pressure. As a tropical fruit, mangos do not like cool temperatures and should not be stored in the fridge.  Eat them fresh or freeze but do not refrigerate. I like to stock up my freezer for fruit smoothies in the winter.

The season is very short and lasts only about 4-6 weeks. California Keitt’s will only be around until Halloween this year, so don’t miss out.

California Keitt Mangos

California Keitt Mangos

Peony Grapes

Peony® blue/black seeded table grapes from Schellenberg Farms in Reedley, California are very special.  Rick Schellenberg found a single bud sprouting from a spur of the parent grapevine growing grapes that looked different than the other grapes on the vine. In vine breeding terminology this is called a mutation or a “sport.” These unusual grape berries were noticeably sweeter than those from any other bunch on the vine, and so the Peony® was born.

The Peony® large size makes them very impressive with the average grape measuring over an inch long. They are also one of the sweetest grapes commercially grown. Their incredible grape flavor, similar to a Concord grape, is outstanding! When you bite into a Peony® you will be so taken by the fruity grape flavor that the tiny amount of seeds won’t be very noticeable.

The Peony® grapes are only around for a limited time and will be gone by the end of October so don’t miss out.

Peony grape pic

Concord Grapes

Beautiful deep purple seeded Concord grapes are highly aromatic.  I would even say they have a floral flavor. One bite and you are reminded of drinking a delicious glass of grape juice. That is because grape juice and grape jelly are made from Concord grapes!

Concord grapes (2)


Health Benefits

Grape seeds, skins and juice have natural plant nutrients known as polyphenols (or more specifically, flavonoids) which act as antioxidants to help fight free radicals. The silver bloom on the grape skins is nothing to be worried about. In fact it is a sign of freshness.

Heinke Concord Grapes (2)


How To Eat Concord Grapes

Some people like to eat the whole grape, seeds and all. I prefer to pop the grapes in my mouth, suck out the juicy flavorful flesh and then spit out the seeds. Or if that is too much work you can always get out your handy ice cream machine and make Concord grape sorbet.

Consider yourself very lucky if you find them because there are not many commercial growers. Heinke farm in Paradise, (northeast of Chico in the Sierra Foothills) specializes in Concord grapes and Earl’s has them NOW.  You can find them in fine grocers for the next 2 weeks.  Don’t miss out!

Cuyama Honeycrisp Finishing Up

Honeycrisp apples from Cuyama Orchards are almost done for the season.  Honeycrisp’s have a sweet flavor with very little acidity. As the name suggests they have a good crispy crunch when biting into them. Honeycrisp’s bruise very easily, so store them carefully in your refrigerator.

Honeycrisp-Cuyama (4)

Howard and Jean Albano and their son Byron are in charge of all growing, picking, packing and marketing of their 265 organic certified acres. The Albano family has been growing apples for the past 25 years in the remote mountainous area of Cuyama, surrounded by the Los Padres National forest in Santa Barbara County. Cuyama is located at an elevation of 3200 feet which brings warm days and cool nights for the dormant/chill hours apples need.  In addition the abundant native water supply and rich mineral soil produce quality harvest organic apples.

Honeycrisp-Cuyama (5)

Cuyama grows a variety of apples including Gala, Honeycrisp, Granny Smith, Newtown Pippin, Crimson Gold, Arkansas Black, Pink Lady and the most popular Early and Standard Fuji which is a cross between the American apples, Red Delicious and Ralls Janet. Cuyama could have California apples through April depending on supply and demand.

Try slow baked honey crisp apples in this simple recipe.

Fall Has Arrived

Here in the San Francisco Bay Area we all woke up Saturday morning with dark clouds outside our windows followed by heavy rain all day. Fall is in the air and we can feel the seasons changing as we wake up to cooler mornings. Soon many vegetable growers will move their operations from Northern California down to the desert in the Coachella Valley where the weather is warmer. We will track the transition as it begins to happen.

Ending soon

Peaches and nectarines are done for the season. You’ll have to wait until next year unless you made pickled bourbon peaches like Kathy from Earl’s.

Plums and pluots are winding down and will still be around for the next few weeks.

Melons are ending soon and we will have the last of the Cantaloupes, Galia, Charantais, Honeydew and watermelon varieties for another week or so.

It’s time to savor those sweet sugary figs one final time before the season ends. Best eaten when soft at room temperature. Supplies could possibly last a few more weeks depending on the weather.

Fall produce abounds

Have you noticed pumpkins popping up everywhere? Earl’s has edible pumpkins with romantic names such as Fairytale, Rouge d’Etamps and Sugar Pie that are great for baking. Think homemade pumpkin pie.

Sugar Pie Pumpkins

Sugar Pie Pumpkins

Our warehouse is full of beautiful bins of mixed squash in all shapes and sizes including Acorn, Butternut, Buttercup, Carnival, Delicata, Kabocha, Red Kuri, Spaghetti, Sweet Dumpling and Turban.

Mixed winter squash bin

Mixed winter squash bin

Pomegranates are here and the seeds are delicious in a spinach salad.

Varieties of pears are plentiful including Tosca, Bartlett, Bosc, D’Anjou, the cute and tiny Seckel and Starkrimson.

Persimmons are just around the corner. Sweet Fuyu’s can be eaten like an apple but the astringent Hachiyas need to wait until they are super soft like jelly before eating.

Look for daily photos of delicious fall produce from Earl’s on our Facebook and Twitter pages. We love suggestions on how to eat organic produce so please share your thoughts and recipes.


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