Welcome to the 10th Fruit Delivery of 2014; Oct 22 & 23
While walking in the prairie we planted at the farm 16 years ago a visitor asked me what I think is the cause of honey bee population decline. First of all, it is always nice to know more and more people are becoming aware of the decline in important pollinators in nature. I’ve spent a lot of time walking in orchards and row cropped fields. What I know is organic agriculture promotes healthy soils, healthy plants, healthy ecosystems and healthy people. Organic fields are teaming with life and biodiversity which help grow the healthiest and tastiest food.
In contrast, greenhouses are spraying insecticides on bedding plants in winter and spring. These same plants we plant around our houses in the late spring. Bee populations are most vulnerable during this time and when they go to get pollen from these toxic flowers they just bring the toxins back to their hives. I believe this is just one cause of the honey bee decline. There are many more cases just like this that affect bee populations. Just think how the chemicals we’ve introduced into our food system, homes, yards, workplaces, and even fabrics might be affecting other parts of the life cycle. This is just one more reason FruitShare fruit is always organic.
Enjoy and To Your Health,
Everett Myers, Founder and President of FruitShare™
In your box
Sweet Orin, Honeycrisp and Ambrosia apples
Red D’Anjou, Concorde and Asian pears
Storage and Ripening
Take all of your pears out of the box right away. Store them on the counter at room temperature. Test ripeness by checking the neck, or pressing gently on the pear near the stem. When the pear gives to gentle thumb pressure, the pear will be juicy and soft. This is the best way to check pears because they ripen from the inside out, and pressing near the stem gets you closer to the center of the fruit. Remember that pears are an ethylene-producing fruit; that means that they naturally produce a gas that will make them ripen faster. If you want to ripen up your pears quickly, put a few in a paper bag to trap the gas. Once they give to thumb pressure you can refrigerate them, which lets you enjoy them over a longer period of time. Keep the apples and Asian pears in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator to keep them fresh for several weeks.
What It Takes
This week’s Honeycrisp and Ambrosia apples, along with the Concorde and Asian pears are from the Stennes family. Like many of our organic growers, the Stennes family farm in Washington’s Cascade Mountains is a family affair. The farm began in 1894, when the Stennes family emmigrated from Norway and planted apple trees on their homestead. Now, Keith is joined by his twin sons, Mark and Kevin to make up the third and fourth generations of Stennes farmers. They have grown the orchard to include not just apples, but also cherries, pluots, plums, and of course, pears. This week they’ve provided some great pears. Concordes are known for their sweetness and juiciness, as well as their tall, beautiful shape. They have yellow-green skin, and can be eaten while crisp, making them a unique variety because you don’t need to wait for them to fully soften! If you do like a softer pear you can wait until they fully soften, by “Checking the Neck”, and you will enjoy all the complex juicy flavor they have to offer. Concorde pears are perfectly suited for slicing on a cheese plate or into a fresh salad because they don’t turn brown when sliced like most pears. Remember to “check the neck”. When they give to thumb pressure at the stem end they will be fully sweet and juicy. Asian pears are more like an apple. They are crisp on the outside and juicy on the inside and ready to eat. The Red D’Anjou pears will add nice color to a salad or fruit bowl. Remember to “check the neck”. These really are best when they fully give to thumb pressure at the stem end.
The Stewart brothers provided Sweet Orin apples. Sweet Orin is a yellow apple variety developed in Japan where it is considered a special delicacy. It is customary in Japan to slice and share these apples with family and friends following meals on special occasions. These apples along with Honeycrisp are favorites of our customers. Many describe the taste of Sweet Orin as sweet fresh and a bit of heaven. Make sure to slice these up and share with special people in your life. The Stewarts orchard is situated near Hood River, Oregon and is one of the most beautiful orchards you’ll ever see. With Mount Hood as a backdrop and the Columbia River flowing just below the orchard they know what it means to protect the environment. Ronny and Jimmy have been working on the family farm near Hood River since they were children. But there wouldn’t have ever been a family farm if their parents, Ron and Cheryl, hadn’t decided to sell their dry-cleaning business and start an organic fruit farm. For many years, Ron was the only organic farmer on the National Commission for Small Farms. His knowledge about organics and farming were passed down to Ronny and Jimmy, who took over the farm in 2003. Since then, the brothers have expanded the farm to include many varieties of pears, apples and more. They have found that one of the best things to do is create a natural loop in the production process. They do this by composting cast-off fruit and peels, then using the composted material to keep the soil rich and fertile. It’s a sustainable way to reduce waste and keep the farm running properly so they can continue growing outstanding fruit. Enjoy all three varieties of apples as snacks, in baking or even on salads. They go great with spinach, walnuts and a balsamic dressing.
Health and Wellness
Do we really need to eat organic fruit? The short answer is “yes.” To explore why, let’s look at apples, which are currently in season. According to whatsonmyfood.org, no less than 42 different pesticide residues were found on apples during the USDA Pesticide Data Program. These include:
7 known or probable cancer-causing chemicals (known as “carcinogens”)
19 chemicals that are suspected to disrupt hormones
6 developmental or reproductive toxins
17 honeybee toxins
Let’s not forget that pesticides and herbicides were specifically created to kill or render pests harmless…and those same chemicals are not just harmful to the critters they are meant for, but also to us. Eating organic ensures that when you bite into that crunchy apple, you’re not eating harmful chemicals – but just a simple, healthy apple. And providing healthy, chemical-free fruit is what FruitShare is all about.
Jen’s Kale Slaw with Pears and Avocado (My wife’s friend Jennifer Holloway developed this recipe and it is a winner!)
2 bunches of kale stripped off the stem—roughly chopped and lightly steamed (then chopped finer)
2 carrots grated
1 cup shredded cabbage (red or nappa)
½ red onion chopped (soaked to take away strong flavor)
1 pear sliced/chopped
1 avocado diced
Dressing—mix separately first
1 T Dijon Mustard, 3 T Olive Oil, 2-3 T Apple Cider Vinegar (white, or champagne will also work).
Combine above ingredients and enjoy. You can also prep a larger batch of the kale/carrot/cabbage/onion and keep it in the fridge. Adding pear, avocado, and dressing upon serving.