WEEKLY SPECIALS | SEASONAL CALENDAR | GROWER MAP

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Buttery Smooth 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 22, 2021

Watermelon bins will be available for Labor Day weekend! We highly suggest you put in your pre-orders with your Earl’s Sales rep early. The Pacific Northwest Stone Fruit season is wrapping up for the most part. We may see a sporadic land here and there. California white peaches and nectarines are done. California yellow peaches and nectarines will push through October. We will see a small hit of dapple dandy and flavor pluots. Maywood Figs have slowed down as heavy smoke surrounds the orchards and limits harvesting time. Calo is experiencing low yields and small sizing on carrots due to the excessive summer heat.  Expect cellos, table, cliptops and baby peeled carrots to be tight for the next 2-3 months until the Fall/Winter carrot fields start up in November. Broccoli quality is improving, and prices are historically higher than usual. Celery continues to be an excellent deal from multiple growers.  Sun Valley continues to have good supply on Purple and Orange Cauliflower. La Granjita Organica has started their season with Serranos, Poblanos and Anaheim Peppers, Indigo Rose Cherry Tomatoes 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.

Earl’s Organic Buyer’s Notes August 15, 2021

California stone fruit is winding down and eating firmer. Enjoy local stone fruit for a few more weeks. It’s time to say goodbye to the Pacific Northwest cherries and apricots. They were sure delicious! Forbidden Fruit Orchards is back with their Fall crop out of Santa Maria and will go through December, weather dependent. Sun Valley as promised is harvesting a wealth of their proprietary deep red raspberries. The flavor will knock your socks off! Find out who won the Crespo Summer Mango Mania contest in this week’s buyer’s notes. Steady asparagus out of Mexico through September. Supplies will tighten up in October. Artichokes are starting to get into a rising market as volumes tighten up going into late summer. We will see the Fall flush at the end of September. Sun Valley continues to have beautiful orange and purple cauliflower, bunched beets, chards and kales.

Gravenstein Apples, A Local Favorite

Gravenstein Apples are a local favorite out of Sebastopol grown by Johnny Appleseed from Solana Gold. It is the first California apple to be harvested and hints of fall around the corner. There are not many organic Gravenstein apple growers left so don’t miss this employee favorite!

Russian settlers brought the Gravenstein to California in the mid-19th century. The Gravenstein is loved for its sweet tart flavor and berry fragrance. It makes a gorgeous cider and an excellent pie.

Did you know that the Gravenstein is on the Slow Food USA Ark of Taste? https://bit.ly/gravensteinslowfoodarkoftaste

Johnny Appleseed Solana Gold

Subtropical Kiwano Horned Melon

Kiwano Horned Melon taste like a mix of cucumber, kiwis and bananas when ripe.  The fruit will have an orange rind and give slightly to gentle pressure when ripe. Cut in half like a kiwi fruit and scoop out the fruit or squeeze the cut fruit from the bottom and tilt the loosened fruit into your mouth. The seeds are edible but the real flavor is in the green flesh!  Grown by Sunrise Farms(Buellton).

Earl’s Organic Buyer’s Notes August 8, 2021

Sun Valley Raspberries are now peaking with promotable volume. The California Gravenstein, a local favorite, is the first California apple on the scene. Makes an incredible pie and awesome for juicing. California Stone Fruit season is on the last month with fruit out of the Pacific Northwest making more of an appearance. The Air Chief grape contest starts August 16th. Sun Valley is enjoying gorgeous weather in their new Slough Farm in Watsonville, bringing a bounty of red, green and rainbow chard and green and lacinato kale as well as purple and orange cauliflower. Tomatero Bunched Basil is improving as the weather warms up. Plenty of Mexican Asparagus. Brussel Sprouts are back in bulk. Sun Valley is enjoying gorgeous weather in their new Slough Farm in Watsonville, bringing a bounty of red, green and rainbow chard and green and lacinato kale as well as purple and orange cauliflower. Tomatero Bunched Basil is improving as the weather warms up. Plenty of Mexican Asparagus. Brussel Sprouts are back in bulk.https://secureservercdn.net/50.62.89.79/1vt.9c4.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Earls_BuyersNotes_070421.pdf

La Granjita Watermelon Gherkin Aqua Fresca

Watermelon Gherkin cucumbers are shaped like baby watermelons. They are about the size of your thumb and are good in salads or pickled. They taste similar to a cucumber with a hint of lemon. Victor and Veronica from La Granjita served this refreshing drink to Earl’s Organic on their farm tour. Antonieta Solorzano, Buyer Assistant put her personal touch on the recipe. Enjoy!

To make 1 large pitcher of 56oz use:

  • 6x8oz – Watermelon Gherkins
  • 56oz of cold water
  • Juice from 3 Limes – or more if you like
  • Add sugar to taste

Earl’s Organic Buyer’s Notes August 1, 2021

Gravensteins are the first California apple to herald in the season with Galas not far behind. California avocado prices remain high with good volume from Rincon Farms out of Carpinteria. Traceland (Cayucos) starts up in August. The much awaited figs from Maywood Farms(Corning) are finally here. Bukart continues to peak on white summer peaches. Find out what varieties are available this week below. Mexican asparagus is back in good supply. Brussels Sprouts are back in bagged and bulk cases. Artichokes are steady. The Fall peak will be back in mid-September through November. We are still seeing some heat stress on Broccoli, prices remain stable. Check out our full line up of California tomatoes from Early Girls, Heirlooms to a wide variety of Cherry Tomatoes! Download the full update here.

How To Tell If A Melon Is Ripe

California melons are at the peak of flavor! California melon season begins around Memorial Day in El Centro at the southern end of the Imperial Valley in the desert. As the weather continues to get warmer, melon production moves north to the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley to Bakersfield and Coalinga. By July melons are coming out of the northern end of the San Joaquin Valley in Firebaugh and Los Banos and by mid-July melons will move up through the San Joaquin Valley into Yolo County near Sacramento.

Picking a ripe melon is very difficult and is not an exact science. Melons ripen on the vine and do not get any sweeter once picked although texture and flavor can improve.  Netted varieties such as muskmelons, Galia and Charenteis will “slip” off the vine when ripe.  There will be a slight cracking in the area around the stem and the melons will separate from the vine naturally.  The skin under the netting will slightly change to yellow.  Other melons with hard smooth skin such as the Honeydew melon or Casaba will change color and have a waxy feel when ripe. The best way to tell if they are ripe is to cut one open and taste it.

Galia Melon

There are no hard and fast rules but you can use these suggestions as guidelines when shopping.  Melons covered in netting such as a Cantaloupe, Galia, or Haogen will be very fragrant when ripe. Make sure to smell the stem end before buying.  You can check the ripeness of most melons by gently pressing on the blossom end of the melon, the end opposite of the stem.  A melon should be ready to eat when it gently yields to pressure.  If your finger breaks the skin of the melon it is over ripe and past its time to eat.  As mentioned above melons with hard smooth skins are harder to tell when ripe. The Honeydew  melon for example will become waxy and almost sticky when ripe. Your best bet is to cut them open and taste them.

Watermelons are too thick to do the press test.  One way to try and determine the ripeness of a watermelon is to thump on the rind with your knuckles and listen for a dull thunking sound. The juiciest melons will be heavy for their size. Picking watermelons in a field by ripeness is an art and not a science.

Melons that have been well tended to will have a small area called a couche that has been flattened and is discolored from sitting on the ground. If the couche is too prominent or large it means the melons were not turned over or propped up during the growing season.

Three Sisters Champagne Grapes

Organic mini seedless Champagne California grapes are bursting with flavor. These delicious grapes look beautiful in a glass of bubbly, are the perfect topping to a summer cake or tart or have fun pulling off small clusters of grapes with your teeth. 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!”

Three Sisters Organic has been growing this specialty grape in Fresno since the 1980’s. Champagne grapes are also dried for raisins and are known as zante currants, commonly used for scones and baking. The season was a fast one this year and Three Sisters will be done harvesting by the end of July so don’t miss out!

Fun Fact: It is estimated that consumption of fresh table grapes in California is about 7 to 8 pounds per person annually. I bet that doesn’t include this fantastic grape!

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