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Archive for July, 2020

Farm Visit to Central Organics Apple Orchard in New Zealand

Written by Susan Simitz Marketing Manager.

Fuji and Jazz Apples packed under the Enza label are grown on the South Island of New Zealand in the beautiful Central Otago Region. I was fortunate to visit Central Organics last fall, which was spring time in the southern hemisphere, and meet the growers Chris and his wife Maree Denniston.  Chris and Maree have been growing a wide variety of organic apples for over 25 years. They also lease and manage other orchard blocks along with the pack house.  The Denniston’s were the first to go organic in their area and they taught themselves everything they know today.  They chose to grow organic to get away from chemicals and create a healthy and sustainable business not only for their environment but for their family.  

Central Otago is known as the hottest, coldest and least windiest area in Zealand but Chris swears the colder weather gives a crunchier crispier apple.  Add in nutrient rich soil and rocks throughout the orchard that keep the site warm on cold days and you have one of the best places to grow apples in New Zealand.  As I walked through the orchards I could see that the trees were full of blossoms.  Soon the trees would need to be thinned so that the tree can expand its energy to grow larger sized fruit.

Maree, Susan from Earl’s, and Chris with their dog Cody

The trees are hand thinned by backpackers and workers from the island of Vanatu, located in the South Pacific Ocean southeast of the Soloman Islands and west of Fiji.  Now months later it is exciting to see and taste these delicious and gorgeous apples I saw starting their life months ago.  Chris and Maree put their heart and soul into each piece of fruit grown in their hectares of apples. We will have plenty of delicious New Zealand Fuji and Jazz apples until the end of August ensuring a smooth transition to our California new crop apples.

Meet the grower Chris Denniston and Jeff McDonald from T&G Global,  who works closely with Chris throughout the season and facilitates the shipping of his delicious apples to the United States.

Earl’s Organic Produce Announces Expansion


SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. (July 20, 2020)  

Earl’s Organic Produce is excited to announce our expansion into the remaining 34,000 square feet of the 2101 Jerrold Avenue building, beginning August 2020.  This move is in service of our mission to promote organic agriculture and sustainable food trade while cultivating enduring partnerships with growers and customers.  We will be able to broaden and diversify our partnerships, from growers and truckers to independent retailers and shoppers, to co-create an ever more resilient future together.  

More space means expansion of our 100% certified Fair-Trade banana ripening program, increased organic product and growers, and continued growth of our community support programs, to name a few of our priorities. Ultimately it will provide more opportunities for curiosity, education and involvement.

We thank our customers, growers and employees for their support as we look forward to our next chapter together. For more information on Earl’s Organic Produce follow Earl’s Organic on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter .

Susan Simitz
Marketing Manager
Earl’s Organic Produce

Earl’s Organic Buyer’s Notes July 19, 2020

A bounty of new grapes are arriving this week! Muscat seedless green grapes have a delicious aromatic flavor. They are some of the oldest cultivated grape varieties known back in the day of the Roman Empire! Black Emerald seedless grapes are crisp, juicy and sweet.  Great Green seedless grapes are very large with a sweet creamy green color. Perlette seedless green grapes are firm, crispy and juicy and very similar to a Thompson grape. Sparkle seedless red grapes are bursting with high sugar and flavor. Johnni Soghomonian from Three Sisters Organic says “You can eat them in little clusters, stems and all.  You get a little fiber and fabulous flavor!” Each week you can download our Buyer’s Notes here.

La Granjita Organica, an Earl’s Exclusive

Interview Courtesy off Kiva.com

We are Victor Cortez and Veronica Ceja from Capulin, Michoacan Mexico. This is a small town that is 100% dependent on agriculture production. Corn, wheat, and vegetables are actually the staple crops of this area. Since we grew up eating these crops, they were the first that we learned to grow back home in Michoacán.

Veronica Ceja and Victor Cortez

After 25 years in Mexico, we immigrated to Gonzales, California to form our family and in search of more opportunities to improve our livelihoods. Here in California, our three children, Noe, Emmanuel, and Mariana, were born.

Four years ago, while Veronica was working at a salon, one of her clients told her of ALBA and said that organic farming could provide us a living and bring a healthier lifestyle for our family and others. We can provide people an alternative to food with pesticide and chemicals that can detrimentally affect their health. Our children are our motivation to start and build our farm business.

Watermelon Gherkins
Watermelon Gherkins

Our farm name, La Granjita Organica, is quite appropriate for our farm and translates to “little organic farm.” We currently produce strawberries, mini cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and different types of jalapenos and chiles on just 4 acres. Our mini-cucumbers (Mexican Sour Gherkins) are a hit as many people have never seen them before. They are the size of haba beans, look like watermelons, but are sour on the inside.

Ten years ago working in Driscoll’s organic strawberry fields we learned the importance of pesticide free food. This is when we began to think of starting our own farm business. Five years ago, we found the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) in Salinas, CA. ALBA offers a farm education and business incubator program for family farmers like us. We graduated from the course in 2013 and began farming on 1-acre on ALBA’s land. We have since grown to 4-acres and sell our crops to licensed distributors and farmers markets.

Our biggest challenge owing our own land and equipment; however, this is also our goal for the next two years. As a family-run business, we hope to feed and educate around organic agriculture. Our biggest hope is to help fight diseases caused by pesticide-use by providing quality organic produce to people and contributing to their healthier lifestyles.

La Granjita from Gonzales has started their season with Serranos, Poblanos and Anaheim Peppers and the much awaited Watermelon Gherkins in sustainable 100% recyclable Readycycle packaging! Also known as Mexican Sour Gherkins, they are the size of haba beans, look like watermelons, but are sour on the inside.

Victor Cortez and children Noe, Emmanuel and Mariana

Earl’s Organic Buyer’s Notes July 12, 2020

NEW! Gummyberries red seedless grapes- Plump and juicy, they are a kid’s favorite and a great replacement for sugary treats. Midnight Beauty black seedless grapes are  large, crisp and bursting with sweet flavor. New Crop New Zealand Fuji and Jazz apples. Fresh crop apples have more nutrients and higher contents of polyphenols — antioxidants that can help fight cancer and improve post-workout recovery by reducing muscle fatigue.


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