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Archive for October, 2013

California Season Continues with Traceland Avocados

Lucky for us the California season goes on a little longer. Earl’s just received beautiful California avocados from Traceland in Cayucos, CA.  Ron and Gail have been growing organic avocados since 2005.  They hand pick all of the avocados and deliver them to Earl’s within 24 hours of picking!

TracelandTraceland

Cayucos 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.

We anticipate avocados from Traceland going through December. Remember that a California avocado will be very mature, high in oil and needs to be eaten firm. Mexican avocados are now starting to show up in your grocery store. Buyer beware! Mexican avocados are the first of the season and will eat differently. They will not be as flavorful as a California avocado and can ripen unevenly. For the full story click here.

You can always count on Earl’s Organic to bring you produce updates. Did you know we also have a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Youtube page? We always welcome your comments or suggestions.

ALBA Organics Farm Tour in Spanish

A crew from Earl’s warehouse had the opportunity to visit ALBA in Salinas for a tour in Spanish.  Tony the marketing, sales and distribution manager for ALBA took the group on a personal tour around the farm.  They walked through fields of strawberries, kale, apples, lettuce, hot peppers and more.  Tony was very generous with free samples and the group was able to taste produce right off the field. Apparently Felix was the only brave one, or should I say crazy one to taste a ghost pepper. He tried to hide it but his face gave away the burning sensation he experienced!

Manuel, Felix, Fernando, Eddie and Hector from Earl's

Manuel, Felix, Fernando, Eddie and Hector from Earl’s

Manuel, Felix and Gregoria in the field

Manuel, Felix and Gregoria in the field

ALBA generates opportunities for farm workers and limited-resource, aspiring farmers to grow and sell crops from two organic farms in Monterey County. In 2002, ALBA established ALBA Organics as a licensed produce distributor to support the sales and training needs of beginning farmers as an essential component to their development and success as entrepreneurs. ALBA Organics provides farmer-vendors with vital technical assistance on crop planning, field production, post-harvest handling/packing, as well as the marketing for distribution to a variety of customers. (Source: albafarmers.org)

Alba Mural

ALBA offers a 10 month program comprised of a 6 month educational course in the classroom followed by a 4 month hands on farming course. The farming course educates the students on operations, and business management. Fees for the course are based on a sliding scale according to an applicant’s annual income and number of dependents. Part of the tuition is used for education and the rest is invested in the final 4 month course to be used towards seeds, parcel, packaging, and sales. Any profit they make from their sales goes back to the student farmer. After the completion of the 10 month course, Alba will lease out a parcel for the student farmer to start his/her production. The graduates are free to sell their produce to whomever they want. Typically they sell it to ALBA. The students are able to lease the land for up to 5 years and then it is time for a new graduate to lease the land.

For more information on the program click here.

Earl’s crew finished the day with a delicious lunch on the farm. The group had a very fun, interesting, and educational time visiting ALBA farms.  Tony was a great host and the consensus was that the group we would all do it again!

 

Written by Eddie Enriquez and Susan Simitz

Quince

Quince has very hard and bumpy green/yellowish skin that looks like a cross between a pear and an apple. But beware! Do not try to bite into it like an apple, the tart and astringent flesh demands to be cooked before eating.

Read the full blog here

Quince

 

Quince

Quince has very hard and bumpy green/yellowish skin that looks like a cross between a pear and an apple. But beware! Do not try to bite into it like an apple, the tart and astringent flesh demands to be cooked before eating. Quince is high in pectin and typically used to make jams, jellies and chutneys. They can also be used in pies or to make wine. When cooked the flesh turns a golden amber color and the sweet flavor will keep you looking for quince every fall.

Earl’s just received our first shipment of quince from Solano Gold Orchard in Sonoma County, CA.  We expect them to only be around for a few weeks so get them while you can.  When choosing a quince, smell the bottom end of the fruit. It should have a wonderful floral fragrance. Quince make a beautiful and fragrant centerpiece. Randy, our Head Fruit Buyer, also suggested putting a quince in a drawer like you would a sachet of dried flowers. It should last for about a month but don’t forget to take it out of your drawer! If you love cooking, click here for a simple quince chutney. It keeps for 2 weeks in your refrigerator. Please share your favorite recipes on our Facebook wall.

Quince

 

Avocado Regions Overlap

It is the beginning of the Mexican avocado season and the ending of the California season. Buyer beware, this means that the avocados from different regions will eat differently. Mexican avocados this early in the season will have low oil content and will not be as flavorful as a California avocado. They will also ripen unevenly which means you could see the flesh sticking to the pit. As the season progresses we will see the oil content and flavor profile increase.

The California avocados you will find in the stores now are from Northern California, L.A. up to Santa Cruz. They are higher in oil content and should be eaten firm.  If you are not sure where your avocados are from, we recommend engaging your produce person in a discussion.

Avocados in moderation contain healthy fat which help maintain a healthy cholesterol balance, control inflammation and support heart and brain health. (Source: Taste For Life September 2013 issue)

Hass Avocado01

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