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Archive for September, 2020

Earl’s Organic Buyer’s Notes September 27, 2020

October is Fair Trade Month! Earl’s organic bananas are Fair Trade Certified every day of the year. Fair Trade requires that the company pays decent wages, respects health and safety, and protects the environment. A few extra pennies per pound, the Fair Trade Premium, empowers farmworkers to democratically choose projects that make a difference in their community. Click to download the weeklybuyer’s notes pdf and Equal Exchange Fair Trade POS cards.

 

Extreme Heat & Smoke from the Wildfires Brings Challenges Today & In The Future

The effect of scorching temperatures reaching over 110 degrees in August and again in September  in many growing regions,  including Salinas Valley and Bakersfield, will be cumulative . At any one time in vegetable row crops there are multiple plantings in the ground.  It might not be the planting that is currently being harvest that suffers, but plantings down the road.  What happens today might effect something scheduled to be harvested 60 -90 days from now. Think about this as not an event that happens and is over, but one whose effect we will see for the coming months.  Even the growers at times do not clearly see the quality issues for awhile.

The wildfires have brought weeks of smoke lingering across California.  The smoke is as troublesome for growers and field workers as it is for us as we go about our daily lives. It is just not possible to continue harvesting when the heat is excessive or lately when the smoke is above healthy levels.  We are seeing supply tighten up on many crops due to shorter harvest days.  The lack of sunlight due to the smoke  also slows down the actual growth of the plants. The harvesting in the fields that does happen is going slower because of social distancing requirement in the fields and in the production facilities.

What can you expect? 

*The issues with broccoli that we are seeing now in terms of quality and availability are actually from the first heat wave. Those plants were maturing when the heat wave hit. We are seeing some growers just walk away from entire planting because they have been damaged. Expect prices to continue to rise on lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, iceberg, sweet baby broccoli amongst others. 

*Dwelley Zucchini planting was destroyed by the heat.  We can look forward to Covilli starting their zucchini program earlier this year in mid-October.

* La Granjita and Durst cherry tomatoes are ripening up slowly due to the lack of sun and will be tight.

* Iceberg was burnt to a crisp and will be gapping this week.

* Anaheim chiles will be limited this week due to the lack of sun.

* Several Herb growers are reporting severe damage to crops, in particular basil, from the heat. The plants need a recovery period of at least 7-10 days, depending on crop damage it could be longer. 

*Snap Peas gapping for a week or so as they recover from the heat and sunburn.

*Artichokes put out thistles when it is too hot. Production has been reduced 50%. 

* Sunburn on hot pepper plants as well as tomato plants

* Strawberries were cooked by the heat. Expect strawberry volume to remain tight through at least the middle of the week.

* Maywood Farms in Corning is reporting that the ash from the wild fires and lack of sun is slowing down the ripening process and the green fruit in particular is very susceptible to quality issues. Expect all varieties to be tight again this week. 

* Excessive heat over the last month has stressed out the Valencia trees and caused the fruit to re-green and develop a green cast.  In order to protect themselves, the fruit trees begin the photosynthesis process and transfer energy in the form of nutrients from the fruit back into the tree.  Think of it as babies feeding the mother.  The condition of the fruit is also affected making the oranges weaker and shortening their shelf life.  Re-greening is a common physiological process that has affected our central valley growers harder than anticipated. We will be vey tight on valencias and expect to see more choice than fancy.

If you missed our blogs on the August and September heat waves you can read them here:

Labor Day Heat Wave Affects Quality and Supply
https://bit.ly/labordayheatwaveupdate

Update on Crops Affected by Extreme Heat WavE
https://bit.ly/updatecropsaffectedextremeheat

Extreme Heat Wave and Rain Storms Sweep Through California
https://bit.ly/californiaextremeheatwaveandrainstorm

 

 

Sunburned Heirloom Tomato Plants

Earl’s Organic Buyer’s Notes September 20, 2020

Organic Girl is debuting two new salads this week! Baby Kale Spring Mix: Tender Baby Kale with Sweet Baby Spring Mix Greens–Available in 6/5oz clamshells; Butter Plus: Now with 100% Whole Red Butter Leaves with MORE iron than Spinach! Available in 6/4oz clamshells. Download the Buyer’s Notes each week for the latest organic fruit and vegetable news and updates.

Kiwi Berries

If you like Kiwi’s then you will fall in love with the Kiwi Berry. Kiwi Berries taste exactly like a Kiwi but they are the size of a grape, fuzzless and completely edible.  Cut one in half and the inside flesh looks just like a Kiwi. This no mess snack is fun to eat and perfect for the whole family. Learn more about the delicious Kiwi Berries.

How to eat – Just pop them in your mouth!

Kiwi Berries Are A Nutritional Powerhouse!

It is Kiwi Berry time again! The season is very short, mid September through the beginning of October, so you don’t want to miss out. Kiwi berries are a member of the Actinidia genus family, the same as a regular kiwi and have been described as a cousin of the kiwi we all know.  Kiwi berries are also known by the name hardy kiwi, artic kiwi or baby kiwi. They taste exactly like a kiwi but they are about the size of a grape, fuzzless, with edible seeds and you just pop them whole into your mouth. Like kiwis, they are acidic until ripe.

POP THEM IN YOUR MOUTH AND ENJOY!

Kiwi berries are native to China, Korea, and Russian Siberia, much like the kiwifruit.  It is a fast-growing, hardy, perennial vine, in need of a frost-free season of 150 days. Each vine can grow up to 20 feet in a single season! Because of their seasonal requirements, they are well suited for areas of the North East and North West, and in fact, have become somewhat of an invasive weed in certain areas because of their rapid growth. Earl’s kiwi berries are now coming out of Wilsonville, Oregon about 30 minutes south of Portland. In October they will transition south to Oakland, Oregon about an hour south of Eugene.

Kiwi Berries are a nutritional powerhouse and a healthy food source containing over 20 nutrients. Each 6 oz portion contains twice the amount of Vitamin E of an avocado but with only 60% of the calories, 5 times the Vitamin C of an orange and more potassium than bananas.  Kiwi Berries are also high in fiber and rich in folic acid.

RIPENING AND STORAGE TIPS

Kiwis Berries are picked hard and ripened off the vine. They ripen at room temperature and are ready to eat when the skin turns a darker green, wrinkles and gently yields to touch. Similar to a kiwi they will be slightly acidic until ripe when they will be very sweet. You can store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks but we doubt that will last that long.

Kiwi Berries can be used in a variety of ways, from being preserved as jam to being used as a marinade (kiwi berries are an excellent meat tenderizer). Try them in a salad, on a tart or cake, muddle them in a cocktail or just pop them in your mouth as a delicious sweet snack!

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