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Archive for November, 2020

Earl’s Organic Buyer’s Notes November 22, 2020

Koru apples are on the large side, with an attractive orange-red color over a yellow background. The shape is squat with some ribbing and russeting around the stem. It is complexly sweet, with subtle tartness and notes of honey, orange juice, spice, and vanilla. It has also been described as cidery, due to its juiciness. Koru apples keep their shape when baked, making them fantastic for pies. They are also slow to brown once cut, so they are ideal in salads or snacks. They are good savers — they can be kept up to four months in the refrigerator Read further to learn about the new heirloom apples this week- Elstar, Newtown Pippin and Spitzenberg. Download the buyer’s notes each week here. 


Cumulative Effects of Forgotten Weather Events

We have been seeing the effects of previous forgotten weather events. Think back to the scorching temperatures over 110 degrees back in August and again in September in many growing regions, including Salinas Valley and Bakersfield.  At any one time in vegetable row crop production there are multiple succession plantings in the ground. It is not only the plantings harvested during the heat wave that suffer, but also plantings harvested 60-90 days down the road, think October to December.

The final veg plantings in the Bakersfield and Central Coast regions, before the annual Fall transition down to the desert, were all hit hard by record heat. Those plants were in the field but small at that time and were adversely affected. Some fields were completely lost, while others suffered damage leading to lower yields. Growers also saw widespread disease issues like pin rot showing up on broccoli. These areas have ended early or have reduced volumes.  

The aim each Fall is to have the northern regions winding down as the desert and Mexico regions are ramping up with some overlap.  This did not happen this year because of the lasting effects of the heat wave and the desert regions and Mexico experiencing unseasonably cool weather leading to slower growth. Last year at this time Tutti Frutti was still going strong on Heirloom tomatoes and now they are already coming to an end.  Dwelley’s final zucchini plantings were wrecked from the heat, ending their season abruptly.  Covill green beans from Mexico are harvested each year in time for Thanksgiving but this year the cold weather slowed production down dramatically.  Now add Covid-19 into the equation. Growers are having labor issues and 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?
Quality and availability issues along with price increases on many veg items including green beans, baby bok choy, broccoli, baby sweet broccoli, broccoli crowns, brussels sprouts carrots, lettuce, colored bell peppers, heirloom tomatoes and cluster tomatoes.

The good news is that in the next few weeks we will see increasing availability of product from the California and Arizona desert growing regions relieving some of our pain. Stay tuned for updates in our weekly Buyer’s Notes.


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

Update on Crops Affected by Extreme Heat Wave

Extreme Heat Wave and Rain Storms Sweep Through California

Earl’s Organic Buyer’s Notes November 15, 2020

New apples this week include the intense and honeyed Rubinette. The Rubinette has superb flavor with hints of pear, simultaneously sweet and sharp. The Swiss Gourmet (also known as the Arlet in Europe) is pleasant and juicy, reasonably well balanced between sharp and sweet, but essentially mild. It is great for baking! The Juici apple has a  wonderful balance of sweet and tart flavors, with a texture similar to Honeycrisp and a long shelf life. Read on to learn the parentage of some of your favorite apples. Download this weeks organic fruit and veg updates here.

Roasting Chestnuts

Tips on roasting chestnuts: Cut an “X” shape into the flat side of each chestnut. Use a sharp knife to do this. This will make the chestnuts roast faster, allowing the steam to escape from the chestnuts. Place them on a baking sheet with the cut side up. Roast 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees, keeping an eye on them so they don’t burn. Let them cool slightly before easily removing the shell. We enjoy added them to Japanese rice for a fall favorite. https://www.justonecookbook.com/chestnut-rice-kurigohan/


Satsuma Mandarins

Satsumas have a loose peel that slips off effortlessly like a glove, with no mess and no seeds to deal with.  Satsumas are a perfect snack size that you can eat anywhere without the difficult peeling and complication that comes with eating a valencia or navel orange.

Health Benefits:

A 2008 U.S. Department of Agriculture study said Satsumas have six to seven times as much synephrine, a natural decongestant, as other citrus. Four or five Satsumas have enough synephrine to equal the effect of a Sudafed tablet, the study said. Satsumas are also naturally low in calories and a single fruit contains 34 percent of the USDA daily recommendation for vitamin C.

Buying Satsumas:

Look for fruit with an aromatic smell, firm tight peel, no dented spots and a heavier fruit means they are juicier. They can be stored at room temperature or in the refrigerator, but not for too long because prolonged storage can dry them out.


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