4th Fruit Deliver; July 30, 31, & Aug 1, 2013
When you work in agriculture you are at the mercy of the weather. This new pattern of weather extremes is beginning to be the norm. Last year most of our local apple crop was affected by frost and this year peaches from Colorado will be challenge as frost and even snow in April (where it doesn’t usually snow) is causing a far reduced crop. We are hoping that despite all the challenges Brant and Carol will be able to make it happen at some level. They are in our thoughts during this difficult season. I’m thankful for the delicious grapes, stonefruit, avocados and blueberries in this box from some of my favorite growers.
Everett Myers, Founder of FruitShare™
In Your Box
Storage and Ripening
Store your blueberries along with the grapes in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Only wash them right before you eat them, as moisture can contribute to molding. If the blueberries and grapes arrive damp take them out of their package and dry them off with a paper towel and then put them back in their contain or bag and refrigerate. Keep your avocados,nectarines, peaches and plums out on the counter at room temperature until they give to gentle thumb pressure. The plums are likely ready to eat right away and you can refrigerate them to enjoy them long. Once the peaches and nectarines give you thumb pressure you can refrigerate them too this lets you enjoy them over a longer period of time.
What It Takes
The peaches, nectarines and Mariposa plums come from John France, who has been growing organic tree fruit since 1989. John says the decision to move from conventional to organic farming was a difficult one. Only when he experienced the dangers of pesticides and chemicals firsthand did he begin to think about going organic. Once he made the transition, however, he became a firm believer in organic farming. So what’s the secret to his exceptional organic fruit? Weeds. Or so it would seem – John says that what appear to be weeds are actually valuable cover crops. John strategically plants an assortment of grains and legumes between his trees, which provide nitrogen when tilled under, and create plant diversity. The cover crops also house natural predators and make it easier for water to be absorbed into the soil. Now raising 18 different types of fruit trees and vines, John has recently noticed increases in fruit production.
The grapes in your box this week are from the Benzler family in Fresno, CA. The family affair began in 1952 when Fred and Bertha began a farm with the ideals growing of ecological and natural food products. In the 1960s and 1970s, the Benzlers began converting to organic growing practices, and they haven’t looked back since. They pick their grapes and ship them within a matter of hours so that the freshest, most flavorful grapes arrive to you!
Jim Lott grew the blueberries that are in your box this week. Jim has a unique hobby, and strange as it may sound, you have birds to thank for the beautiful blueberries your are receiving today. Specifically, you can thank Jim’s falcons. In a unique and innovative “bird abatement program,” Jim has bred and trained falcons to scare away birds that would otherwise help themselves to his blueberries at Applegate Orchards in Burbank, WA. Falconers bring the birds of prey out to the fields to patrol the skies and protect the crop, chasing away starlings, robins and finches. It is a project that takes a lot of time and dedication, what with the extensive training that each bird requires from birth. But, Jim says, it is worth it. Not only is he passionate about the bird abatement program, it is cost-effective, especially for high-value fruit crops. Jim’s birds have been leased out to other blueberry farmers, and have also been used to keep cherries safe from hungry birds. He says there has been a lot of interest from other orchards, and he has hopes that the bird abatement program could take off on its own and extend from blueberries and cherries to grapes – and beyond. We’re thankful for Jim’s creative hobby and these blueberries that have wonderful flavor and are protected by watchful eyes from above.
The avocados are from Will and Billy at Las Palmalitas Ranch. Will has had over 20 years of experience growing organic avocados. Before that, he was a successful businessman in Silicon Valley. Will is a great guy who has raised two great kids that love growing avocados and citrus organically.
Health and Wellness
We all want our kids to eat more healthy food and less junk, right? A new article by in the Washington Post suggests that instead of restricting the unhealthy foods, simply add in fresh, healthy food. It’s filling and nutritious, and avoids the feeling of being deprived of something yummy. The article suggests adding fruits and veggies to your kids’ diets all day long, and slowly replacing favorite snacks with more healthy options, like air-popped popcorn instead of microwaved. This approach can help teach healthy eating habits for years to come in a positive way!
Seidenberg, Casey. (2013, July 9). A healthful bounty prevents a mutiny. Washington Post. Retrieved from www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/wellness.
Roasted Plums with Greek Yogurt (you can roast or grill nectarines and peaches too)
6 dark plums, halved and pitted
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup 2 percent Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons hazelnuts, toasted in the oven at 375° for 7 minutes, chopped
2 teaspoons honey
Heat oven to 375°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place plums cut side up on sheet, brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake until soft and some juices run off, about 15 minutes. Divide among 4 bowls, top each with 2 tablespoons yogurt, sprinkle with nuts and drizzle with honey.
Courtesy of www.self.com