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Archive for September, 2021

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, arctic 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!

Rock Front Ranch Jujubes

Just Jujubes from Rock Front Ranch are California Grown! Located just 40 miles from the Pacific Ocean, in Santa Barbara County near Santa Maria, Rock Front Jujubes are grown on 320-acres, which sits at the gateway of the Cuyama Valley, surrounded by miles of chaparral and oak forests. This unique landscape is strewn with wildflowers, coastal plants, and towering desert rock formations.

Famous for its rich soil, the Cuyama Valley is heated by the sun each day and cooled by the western sea breeze each evening. These swings in temperature are important for your taste buds, as they encourage the maximum production of sugars for optimum flavor of the tree-ripened fruit.  Rock Front Ranch jujubes are extremely drought resistant, sipping—rather than gulping—precious water. This zero-waste crop thrives in their sandy, loam soil, which is enhanced with their own compost deliberately cultivated to sequester carbon from the air and encourage the growth of good fungi and bacteria.

Alisha Taff Grower Rock Front Ranch

Crisp and refreshing, with a delicate fig-and-caramel flavor, fresh jujubes provide more vitamin C than your average citrus fruit. Toss into a weeknight salad, swap out added sugar in baked goods for the subtle sweetness, or simply remove the pit and whir into a healthy fruit smoothie to go. Jujubes are refreshingly versatile—Tuck a handful of the fruit into a variety of recipes from breakfast to dessert and see how they transform any dish into a nutrient-packed meal.

Fresh Jujubes are now available in 6/clamshell pints and dried jujubes in 12/2.5oz pouches

Now Hiring: Class B Driver

NOW HIRING CLASS B DELIVERY DRIVER!! APPLY TODAY!!

Schedule: 1:00am – 10:30am

Pay Rate: $23.00 – $26.00 per hour

SUMMARY

The Class B Delivery Driver position is responsible for delivering palletized orders to EOP’s customer service base in a timely and attentive manner.

ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES 

· Conduct thorough pre-trip safety checks;

· Maintain accurate trips logs and related reports;

· Secure loads to ensure product integrity upon delivery;

· Efficiently navigate assigned delivery routes;

· Unload and appropriately handle pallets and packages per customers’ specific needs;

· Provide excellent customer service at every opportunity;

· Inform his/her supervisor of route delays and outstanding delivery situations;

· Obtain necessary delivery receipts;

· Organize and secure all route related paperwork;

· Participate in efficient route planning;

· Pick-up dispatched backhauls in a timely manner

· Ensure work is performed safely at all times;

· Wear proper safety equipment at all times;

· Punctuality and regular and reliable attendance.

Perform other duties as directed, developed or assigned.

SUPERVISORY RESPONSIBILITY

Non-applicable

QUALIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

· Education and/or Experience: Valid California Class B driver’s license and clean driving record. Two to Three years delivery driving experience, preferably with a fresh produce company. Familiarity with Bay Area traffic patterns.

· Language Skills: Excellent Communication skills including reading, writing, and verbally communicating effectively and professionally with other business departments, customers, and vendors. Ability to diplomatically deal with difficult situations and people while exhibiting a consistent level of professionalism.

· Technical Skills: Strong ability to mainitain road and equipment safety.

· Reasoning Ability: Ability to think independently and to solve practical problems and deal with a variety of different situations without set guidelines. Ability to interpret a variety of instructions furnished in written, oral, report or schedule form.

· Equipment: Operate equipment such as, but not limited to, forklift, stand up pallet jack, electric pallet jack, computer, calculator, copier, phone.

  • Other Skills & Abilities: Must be able to work variable hours, days, weekends & Holidays Able to work with little or no supervision. Ability to multi task and prioritize in a time-pressured environment. Excellent organizational skills. High accuracy in work with attention to detail. Ability to complete projects in a timely manner. Ability to get along and work cooperatively with others. Positive and professional attitude. Ability to respond positively to constructive feedback. Ability to manage a project from its initiation to completion with minimal supervision. Solution-oriented attitude with willingness to proactively solve issues. Ability to read directions and use a street map to plot delivery route. Ability to maintain logs and records. Excellent customer service skills. Ability to present oneself professionally in customer-facing situations.

PHYSICAL DEMANDS

· Stand and walk or sit alternatively depending on specific needs of day. Estimate 40% of time is spent on feet and 60% sitting while driving.

· Have constant need to perform the following physical activities: bending/stooping/squatting, climbing stairs, pushing, pulling, twisting, lifting and reaching above shoulders.

· Have frequent need to perform standing and walking activities.

· Lifting/carrying a minimum of 50 lbs on a regular basis and over 50 lbs occasionally.

· Vision requirements: consistent need to complete forms. Frequent need to see small detail. Frequent need to see things clearly beyond arm’s reach.

· Hearing requirements: consistent need to communicate over telephone and in person.

WORK ENVIRONMENT

The noise level in the work environment is generally moderate but may be high during certain times of the day due to business level. This position is exposed to temperatures varying from 34 to over 70 degrees and humidity levels varying from 80 to 95%.

La Granjita Organica Farm Tour

On the morning of August 25th, a small group from Earl’s Organic headed out to San Benito County, into Hollister for a visit to La Granjita Organica! Translated to English it means, “The Little Organic Farm”.

This visit starts with an outline of our partners’ background: La Granjita is a small farm run by couple Victor Cortez and Veronica Ceja, from Michoacan, Mexico consisting of 2.5 acres, owned by Victor’s brother-in-law in Hollister, CA. Victor has a lengthy thread of experience in the agriculture industry prior to starting on his own partnership with his wife. Their origin in the farming industry together started in the Agriculture and Land-Based Training Association (ALBA) in Salinas, CA, where they were taught to farm organically, sell, and structure themselves to become a sustainable grower, in 2013. After a quick start of their determined relationship with our Purchasing Director, Robert Lichtenberg, Victor and Veronica became an exclusive partner of Earl’s Organic in 2017. Their first land to Earl’s Organic was actually a bit rocky due to tomatoes riddled with cracks, which in turn we could not sell. Victor apologetically expressed his concerns and thankfully after a second chance, the hard-earned trust came to blossom between Robert and La Granjita. La Granjita’s selection started with cherry tomatoes and hot peppers (jalapeños, serrano, poblanos and Anaheim peppers) then ignited a forward-goal spark and motivated the couple to try more options. Victor implemented his creative innovation and excitement in his new land, into a diverse layout. Through much trial and error, the fruits of La Granjita led to additional items: their watermelon gherkins in 100% recyclable packaging (which make a lovely agua fresca!) and upcoming heirloom tomatoes we have seen in our warehouse this season. They are now looking forward to implementing new straight-pack tomato varieties and reinforcing their current crops, as they have a wonderful, organized display in their cases that come to us, for you! As Robert states, “A musician knows when they hear someone play, how good they are. With my farming background, opening a box of produce tells me how good a grower is”.

Robert Lichtenberg and Victor Cortez La Granjita Organica

On the morning of the 25th, we were welcomed to a path of beautiful, stalky heirloom corn on our left-hand side, on our drive to meet up with Victor and Veronica at their packing area with refreshing shade from the sunny weather.  After Robert, Ethan, Jarod, Vianney and I gathered, Victor and Veronica warmly welcomed us with smiles and waves. After a quick catch up with Robert and the couple, we proceeded to walk through their patch of land filled with green cherry tomatoes, shishitos, bell peppers, varietal hot peppers, watermelon gherkins, cape gooseberries and green chickpeas. The samples we sifted through with Veronica and Victor were delicate and gave you a swirl of flavor that beautifully portrayed the effort the family incorporated into their land. Our initial steps were received with the golden cape gooseberries! Each bite from a gooseberry popped in your mouth like a sweet/savory jelly bomb. Veronica stayed behind with Vianney and I and gave us some small husk cherries that look like a smaller version of a tomatillo, which yielded a burst of sweet, meaty flavor.  Skipping forward, we eventually caught up to Robert, Victor and the rest of the group to the end of the row full of chilies, where we munched on some vine ripe red shishitos. Those were juicy, with a smoky, earthy aftertaste, but their sweetness being the main attribute. They were almost double the size of the shishitos we see in the warehouse. We started our walk back to the beginning by passing by some green chickpeas! The taste was watery and fresh, imagine being able to taste the color light green? We had never tasted chickpeas in their initial stages. A result of their experimentations with soil and weather management, the family keeps these for personal use.

Cape Gooseberries

We then picked at the famous and refreshing watermelon gherkins. They are super tiny and close to the ground, if we would have kept moving forward, I wouldn’t have spotted them! The texture of a mini cucumber gave us the cooling we needed under the sun. Meanwhile, our Earl’s group kept our ears perked for what Victor had to say on explaining the situation going on in the field. He mentioned the process of pruning for his cherry tomatoes, giving them a chance to grow without the fungus and eliminating a possibility of becoming infected with plague, although it’s a time-consuming task. Ethan also brought up thoughtful questions about how the field is measured and spread out, and how funnily enough, our perspective plays with how we perceive things in front of us. Between the rows of tomatoes and chiles, they are spread out more than what they appear, since they have added volume from soil and protection. The couple learned how to manage aspects of their farm through the experiences they have hustled through, from that they learned how to run the production of the crops.

They are looking to add tomatillos, habaneros and cherry bombs to their mix to produce a bigger signature crop, with Robert as their asset to bring them to their envisioned goal. As Victor and Veronica work their way through testing the waters in their new land, they like to raise crops they can personally use, such as the heirloom corn (which in Mexico we use for our posole recipes, in English they are called Hominy) and the garbanzos, or what doesn’t make it to our warehouse. We each got our own ear of roasted corn to snack on while we browsed the packing area with shade to wait for Victor. The couple treated us to a lovely carne asada (barbeque in English) and we continued to listen to Victor’s origin in the farming industry and how Veronica was inspired to work in the farm after her career as a hairdresser.

Their teamwork and partnership with Earl’s have enabled them to pay off their bank loans, after giving up their previous land, closer to Salinas. As they expressed their gratitude for our visit when we headed out for the day, we appreciated the amount of passion and attention to detail our partners bring from their land to us, to ultimately our customers who bring the fruits of their labor to their home.  

Top Row: Marilyn, Jarod, Robert and Veronica. Bottom Row: Ethan and Victor

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