WEEKLY SPECIALS | SEASONAL CALENDAR | GROWER MAP

twitter24x24square facebook24x24square youtube24x24square pinterest24x24square instagram24x24square

Earl’s Organic Buyer’s Notes August 30, 2020

We are seeing great color and flavor in the new crop Honeycrisp apples right from the beginning of the season. We expect to have the first promotable opportunities next week once more volume becomes available and prices decrease.  Local California Fuji are starting this week. Color will improve as season progresses. Green & Hemly Gala and Granny Smith are in promotable quantities now. This is the last week to enjoy new Zealand Fuji. The high color fruit has a fully developed sweet flavor and the price is also better. We expect a smooth transition to domestic early Fuji. Cripps Pink from Chile and Argentina are approaching the end of the season. These apples convert starch into sugar at a very slow rate so they reach the peak of flavor very late in the season. Biodynamic apples from Mt Hood Organics are expect by mid September. Download the Buyer’s Notes each week for the latest organic fruit and vegetable news and updates.

California Keitt Mango

The California Keitt mango season is finally here!  This unique domestic mango does not have to travel far and is left on the tree until it has developed a high level of maturity and sweet flavor. Organic California Keitts are grown in the Coachella Valley, which runs for about 45 miles in Riverside County from Palm Springs to the northern part of the Salton Sea.

California Keitt mangoes are super juicy and sweet with almost no stringy fibers and a small pit which means more fruit to eat. Deemed as one of the best tasting mangos by many people, this domestic tropical fruit is impressive in both its strikingly large size and beautiful green color. One bite of the delicious smooth flesh and you will be back for more! Don’t shy away from these green mangos because Keitts stay green even when ripe.

Keitts are also extra special because they are not subjected to the stress of a hot water bath, as most imported mangos are, contributing to a delicious eating experience.  Almost all imported mangos are hot water treated to eliminate fruit flies and fruit fly larvae. The mangoes are put into a hot water bath (115-118 F) anywhere from 5-10 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 80-85 degrees.

Ripening Tips

*Don’t be deterred by the Keitt’s green skin which stays green even when ripe. 

*Ripen your mangos up on your counter at room temperature. Mangos do not like the cold and can develop chill damage if stored in the refrigerator.

*You will know they are ready to eat when they yield slightly to gentle pressure.

The season is very short and lasts only about 4-6 weeks. This California grown tropical fruit is not to be missed!

Earl’s Organic Buyer’s Notes August 23, 2020

Please welcome our new grower Kabeela Farms! Growing delicious beets, heirloom tomatoes and snap peas in Gilroy. The term “Kabeela” means community, tribe or clan. This is a journey started by an engineer who has seen how the Silicon Valley where workers with ownership in the enterprises have transformed the world and their own lives. It is not a story of one person or one farmer, it’s a story of a community. Preserving the environment and sustainability is the key. Kabeela seeks nature’s blessings not only for produce but also for energy and hope that their community can enjoy amazing gifts of nature while providing a good  life for the people who work with them. Download the Buyer’s Notes each week.

Ash Fallout from Wildfires


To our valued customers,

As the state experiences multiple fires our growers are reporting ash on their crops. This is being reported in all the main California row crop and fruit growing areas. Growers are actively engaged in the fields and packing houses to minimize the ash. Earl’s Organic Produce does reserve the right to reject product with excessive ash.

Unfortunately there are no guidelines or metrics that exist from health and food safety professionals about this. Washing produce seems to be the best remedy and we encourage that message to be spread to your customers. If more info is needed please contact the health department or your food safety manager.

Earl’s Organic Team

Update on Crops Affected by Extreme Heat Wave

We are well into our second week of temperatures reaching well over 100 degrees in many California growing regions.  We start to see quality issues when temperatures remain high for an extended period of time. The plants become stressed, interrupting its production cycle, slowing down the ripening process and preventing necessary nutrients from reaching the plant.  For many plants like tomatoes, new fruit will not set in high heat conditions.  The flowers will not pollinate leading to gaps in production down the road. 

The heat affects our food production, putting not only the plants and fruit at risk but the people harvesting our food. Once the temperatures reach 90-95 degrees it is too hot to be in the field picking and workers will be sent home.  Hot days and fewer hours to pick will affect supply and quality across various commodities. Here is the latest update from our growers.

Apples:
Sonoma County Gravenstein apple season is ending sooner than expected. The heat wave stressed the trees to the point that they started to drop their fruit.

Blueberries:
Homegrown and Glacier Fed blueberries are experiencing post harvest issues this week from the extreme heat, some of which do not show up until after packing.  Our next land of Pacific Northwest blueberries will be on Monday, August 24th.  The good news is that we will have a surprise small land of Forbidden Fruit out of Santa Maria arriving Friday.

Herbs
Dosner, Jacobs and Bay Area Herbs  are reporting severe damage to crops from the heat. The weather forecast is not offering much relief for the next 5-7 days in most West Coast growing regions.  The plants need a recovery period of at least 7-10 days, depending on crop damage it could be longer.  Tomatero is experiencing up to 101 degrees less than 1 mile from the California Central Coast where they grow basil and strawberries. Basil will be very limited for at least a couple of weeks.

Lettuce:
Expect to see a little sunburn on some lettuce varieties.  Romaine and Butter lettuce will show the worst damage with browning around the top of the leaves.

Romaine Lettuce Showing Sunburn

We will continue to share crop and production gap updates as the effects of the heat wave become more apparent. This is a reminder to be mindful of the changes in the weather when shopping for produce throughout the season and to recognize the hard work and effort of our farmers.

If you missed the blog earlier this week on the Heat Wave https://bit.ly/californiaextremeheatwaveandrainstorm

Extreme Heat Wave and Rain Storms Sweep Through California

A heat wave continues to sweep through California this week with temperatures reaching well over 100 degrees in many growing regions. The heat affects our food production, putting not only the plants and fruit at risk but the people harvesting our food. Once the temperatures reach 90-95 degrees it is too hot to be in the field picking and workers will be sent home. Hot days and fewer hours to pick will affect supply and quality across various commodities.

Some summer fruits such as watermelon, tomatoes and melons like the heat but if it gets past 110 degrees for an extended period of time, the plants become stressed, interrupting its production cycle, slowing down the ripening process and preventing necessary nutrients from reaching the plant. 

We interviewed Patrick Johnston from Dwelley Farms in Brentwood early this morning for a crop update. Temperatures were as high as 109 over the weekend in Brentwood and forecast to be at least 100 for the next 10 days.  Dwelley workers are out in the fields typically 3am-9am during the hot months harvesting corn by big flood lights on the harvest rig, and beans and zucchini by headlamps.  Patrick says that corn is pretty heat resistant but pest pressure during the hot months continues to be a problem.  Every single ear of corn that is sent to Earl’s is checked for the corn earworm. Until the pest pressure abates we will continue to see a limited amount of bi-color, white and yellow corn. Specialty beans such as romano and yellow wax beans most likely will be out through the weekend.   Summer squash varietals may see a reduction in yield as the plants slow down due to heat. There are also unforeseen difficulties when the temperatures exceeds 100 plus for multiple days. Beans are just one example- weeks down the road you run the risk that bean (flower) bloom will either dry up and fall off or the pin bean starts to get pushed out of the plant only to shrivel up and never turn into a bean. 

Victor Cortes from La Granjita in Watsonville reported burn on hot pepper plants as well as tomato plants. The tomatoes that were cooked will need to be pulled off the vine and composted.  The good news is that the sunburned pepper and tomato plants will recover.

Tomatoes burned on the vine

Rogelio Ponce from Sun Valley Farms in the Pajaro Valley relayed that many of their strawberries were cooked by the heat, but they will be back in the field harvesting  this week.  Tomatero has fields that are right on the coast and were not affected by the heat as badly as others.  Expect strawberry volume to tighten up this week.

We will have more crop updates as the effects of the heat wave become more apparent. This is a reminder to be mindful of the changes in the weather when shopping for produce throughout the season and to recognize the hard work and effort of our farmers.

Earl’s Organic Buyer’s Notes August 16, 2020

NEW!

Tosca Pears, originally from Italy are a cross between Coscia, an early-season pear that originated in Tuscany, and Williams, better known as the Bartlett pear here in the United States. Tosca’s turn from green to yellow when ripe. They are firm and crisp with sweet and juicy smooth flesh. Gypsy Red is a sweet, almost floral pepper perfect for frying.   They average about 4 to 6 inches long with walls thick enough for stuffing! Lipstick Peppers are a pimento type fruit that is super sweet and averages about 4 inches long with a blunt tip. Perfect for salads, salsa and cooking. Download the buyer’s notes each week.

Earl’s Organic Buyer’s Notes August 9, 2020

Great news! California new crop Golden Bosc and Bartletts are in very good supply! California Bartletts are  a unique pear in that the skin color brightens as it ripens, unlike other varieties of pears that show little color changes as they ripen. If you like crunchy and tart eat them  when they are green.  If you like them moist and mildly sweet eat them yellow-green. If  you desire a burst of super sweet juice let them ripen until they reach a golden yellow hue. Bartletts are best eaten fresh or canned. www.usapears.com California Golden Bosc has a warm cinnamon brown with russeting over the surface of the skin. Bosc Pears develop a complex flavor, honey-sweetness, and juiciness earlier in the ripening process than other pear varieties.  Bosc will give less than other pears when applying gentle pressure to the neck.  Their firm flesh means they retain their shape for baking, broiling and poaching.

Pear Fun Facts: The pear is one of the few fruits that does not ripen on the tree.  Pears ripen from the inside out and need to ripen at room temperature. When the neck or stem end gives slightly to gentle pressure they are ready to eat!

Download the Buyer’s Notes each week.

Community Care during COVID Crisis

Food scarcity is a concern for many year round, but with the current health crisis, millions of people have found themselves out of work and unable to feed their families. Earl’s Organic has always had a robust donation program, and  has risen to the occasion once more. Since April, we’ve donated and delivered 150 tons of organic produce to 6 different organizations in the Bay Area that do incredible work distributing resources to people in need in their communities. For context, in all of  2019, we donated 200 tons of produce.

This herculean feat is the manifestation of our core value of teamwork and is only possible due to an incredible synergy between the many teams at Earl’s Organic

Vianney, Julia, Mitchell, and Joe have taken the lead in Earl’s donation efforts

The Quality Assurance team at Earl’s has rigorous standards for what produce is received from our vendors and given the green light to be sold to our customers. QA/IC Supervisor Julia Chandler and her team assess produce that may not meet aesthetic standards or is nearing a sell date for retail but is still good quality and set it aside for donation. This could be anywhere from a couple of cases of mixed product, to several pallets of one item. Historically, Julia coordinated weekly pick-up donations by the local food bank; the pandemic stopped this in its tracks and forced Earl’s to reexamine what continued commitment to the community would have to look like. 

First donation to Gazzali’s Supermarket

 In late March, Earl read an article highlighting Gazzali’s Market in East Oakland and their donation efforts for seniors in their community who could not shop safely due to COVID-19. Earl donated three pallets of produce to Gazzali’s for their next give away day, being able to do this started a conversation about how Earl’s could continue to support communities impacted the hardest by the pandemic. We have the produce. We just need to get it to people, a process that requires a significant amount of coordination – which is what we do every day.

At Earl’s, we cultivate meaningful, enduring partnerships based on mutual respect and attention to detail.  It only made sense for this to be our approach to donations. Administration and Sustainability coordinator Vianney Trujillo began building a roster and developing relationships with organizations that are doing work that aligns with our values and can handle the volume and varying of produce we donate. A lot of care goes into making sure the needs of each organization are understood and respected. For example cases of nopales, cactus paddles commonly used in Mexican dishes, will have a bigger impact at the Mission Food Hub which serves the Latinx community in the mission, while loose salad mix would be better received by a place like Mother Brown’s Kitchen which prepares 2 meals a day, every day, for the homeless and low income population of the Bayview. Our partnerships come down to understanding the needs and capacity of each group. 

Earl’s has enough produce to donate four to five times a week and each donation is determined by product availability, quantity, and the recipient’s capacity.  As of August, we have six organizations we work closely with that consistently receive produce from us – Alameda County Community Food Bank, Alameda Island Food Bank, SF African American Faith Based Coalition, Unity Council, Mission Food Hub, and Mother Brown’s Kitchen. In addition, we have a few other organizations such as Gazzali’s Market in East Oakland, that reach out when they have large donation events and want support from us, 

Relationships with each organization are managed by Vianney; who communicates and coordinates donations to fit their needs.

Transportation Manager Joe Calderon embraces the challenge of fitting any and all donations into the next day’s routes, sometimes multiple donations in one day.  His attention to detail in regards to the needs of each outlet is unparalleled and allows Earl’s to serve these organizations in ways that best suit their needs. To date, our drivers have made 86 donation deliveries. 

Driver Orlando delivers donation to Alameda Food Bank

Once a donation has been placed on a route, the Outbound team takes it from there.  Trainer Mitchell Gutierrez has taken the lead on building out the donation pallets, final quality checks, staging, and loading for the past several months with care and enthusiasm.

The purchasing team also reaches out to our growers for direct donations. Generous vendors like Lakeside, Del Cabo, and Equal Exchange have contributed several times to our donation program.

Del Cabo donation for Unity Council in East Oakland

We’re incredibly proud of all the work our teams have done to help provide fresh certified organic produce to communities who need it and we’re excited to keep this up for as long as possible.  Over the next few weeks we’ll be sharing information about or community partners in a series of blogs. Stay tuned!

Earl’s Organic Buyer’s Notes August 2, 2020

NEW! Thomcord seedless grapes arriving tomorrow!  A cross between Concord and Thompson grapes, Fruit World Thompson grapes are bursting with flavor! Available in 1# clamshells and Paper Totes. California Bartletts are  a unique pear in that the skin color brightens as it ripens, unlike other varieties of pears that show little color changes as they ripen. If you like crunchy and tart eat them  when they are green.  If you like them moist and mildly sweet eat them yellow-green. If  you desire a burst of super sweet juice let them ripen until they reach a golden yellow hue. Bartletts are best eaten fresh or canned. California Golden Bosc has a warm cinnamon brown with russeting over the surface of the skin. Bosc Pears develop a complex flavor, honey-sweetness, and juiciness earlier in the ripening process than other pear varieties.  Bosc will give less than other pears when applying gentle pressure to the neck.  Their firm flesh means they retain their shape for baking, broiling and poaching.www.usapears.com

Pear Fun Facts: The pear is one of the few fruits that does not ripen on the tree.  Pears ripen from the inside out and need to ripen at room temperature. When the neck or stem end gives slightly to gentle pressure they are ready to eat! Download the Buyer’s Notes each week.

Search
Follow us ...

twitter24x24square facebook24x24square youtube24x24square pinterest24x24square instagram24x24square