Fruit Newsletter for July 30th – August 3rd, 2019

For shareholders with a fruit share, here is the second fruit newsletter of the 2019 season from Everett Myers of FruitShare.

I am fortunate to work directly with so many fantastic fruit growers.  Many are 3rd, 4th and even 5th generation growers who grew up on the farms they currently work and who have a direct connection with their customers.  With my many visits to orchards, I am always struck by each grower’s attention to detail. They give much thought and care into producing the best tasting organic fruit all the while maintaining their concern for the environment, their employees, and their customers.  Thank you so much for your support of organic agriculture.

 

Enjoy the fruit your brain will thank you.  

Everett Myers, Founder and President of FruitShare™

 

In Your Box: All Organic Fruit  Blueberries, Sweetheart cherries, Yellow peaches and nectarines, Plums,  and Valencia oranges

Storage and Ripening
I like to place the Peaches and Nectarines on the counter until they give to thumb pressure. Once the peaches and nectarines give to thumb pressure eat them right away or place them in your refrigerator to enjoy within a couple of days.  Sometimes stone fruit will develop a soft spot early in the ripening process. If this happens cut the spot out and eat it right away. Eat blueberries first and place any left-over in the refrigerator right away. They like to be cool and dry.  Make sure to dry off any condensation they may have picked up during the delivery and place them in the refrigerator. The Sweetheart cherries should be kept in the coldest part of the refrigerator and enjoyed quickly too. Plums are best when they give to thumb pressure too, but they are also good firm so see how you like them the best.  The refrigerator will keep them longer. Valencia oranges will keep for at least 2 weeks in the refrigerator.  

What It Takes
Cherries are one of the most difficult fruit crops to grow.  All the harvesting happens in about a 2-week window. The weather has to cooperate perfectly for the fruit to be blemish-free.  Harvesting is all done by hand, color picking through the orchard several times to pick just what is sweet and ready to eat. Harvest days being at 4:30 AM when the temperatures are the coolest and then before noon everything comes into the packing shed is cooled down to 36 degrees F and packing goes on until 9 pm in refrigerated coolers.  Everyone gets up and does it all over again until the 2-week harvest is done. We are excited this year that we’ve been able to extend the season with Sweetheart cherries that are a later producing variety. We were able to get these precious and extremely limited supply of organic Sweetheart cherries to you 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 emigrated 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 pears.  

Dick Kauffman finds organic farming much more satisfying than conventional methods. Dick and I share a history of having volunteered in the U.S. Peace Corps.  After years of farm management in the Napa area, Dick began his own orchard and switched over to organic growing methods in 1999. Now, he has 82 acres of delicious organic stone fruit, including the plums in your box.  

John France began producing organic tree fruit in 1989, and quickly became well known for both the quality of the fruit and the quality of his operation. John is thankful that his three children are not exposed to pesticides and fungicides used heavily in conventional stone fruit orchards.  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. He explains that the legumes provide nitrogen when tilled under, and the grains create plant diversity, which John has found to be a crucial part of orchard health. The cover crops also house natural predators and make it easier for water to be absorbed into the soil. John has watched the health of his soil improve, and has seen insects and birds return to the orchard. Now raising 18 different types of fruit trees and vines, John has recently noticed increases in fruit production. So whether you say “tomayto” or “tomahto,” “weeds” or “cover crops,” you’re bound to enjoy these Peaches and Nectarines.

These Draper blueberries are in their first picking which always produces great berries. Enjoy!

The Valencia oranges come from Bill. He has been working with several of his organic orchard friends since the 1980s to grow delicious citrus and avocados.  The Valencia oranges are super juicy and are perfect for squeezing a glass of fresh orange juice. Just cut them in half, cross-section, and squeeze the juice into a glass.  It is the perfect way to start the day. They also make a great snack but can be difficult to peel, so your best bet is to slice Valencia’s into wedges. They do have some seeds so watch out.

Health and Wellness
Cherries provide tremendous benefits to your health. They have a low glycemic index of 22 making them a great choice for diabetics. They also help you sleep better because they are a good source of melatonin. The Alzheimer’s Association includes cherries as one of the memory boosting foods because they are rich in antioxidants. Cherries provide cardiovascular benefits as well. The anthocyanins, which are the pigments giving cherries their red color, may activate PPAR which regulates genes involved in fat and glucose metabolism and thus, reduce risk factors for high cholesterol, blood pressure, and diabetes. Eating cherries lowers the risk of gout attacks by 35-50 percent. They can also help reduce muscle inflammation and pain, making them a great choice for those who suffer from osteoarthritis, as well as athletes pushing their bodies to the limit, like long-distance runners. Cherries are very high in potassium, which helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure and reduces the risk of hypertension. The phytosterols in cherries help reduce bad cholesterol levels. In other words, eat cherries – they taste great and are good for you. 

Recipe
Looking for something simple for breakfast these days?  Make ahead breakfast oats might be just the thing. Simply assemble ingredients, pour into mason jars, cover and refrigerate overnight.  In the morning add any fresh organic fruit, nuts or even dark chocolate and you are set for the day. This recipe works with dairy or using dairy-free alternatives.  Sweeten naturally with added fruit include local honey or maple syrup.  What we love about this oats recipe is that like so many of our favorites, it can be so easily adapted to suit your dietary needs and wants and can change as fruits are in-season.  To reduce sugar stick with plain yogurt, and only sweeten to taste.

Combine in a bowl (makes 2):

1/2 cup greek full-fat yogurt or dairy-free cashew alternative.  Plain or vanilla preferred.

2/3 cup organic milk or milk substitute of your choice.  

1 T ground flax seed

1 T hemp hearts

1 T chia seeds

1-2 T maple syrup (optional)

1/2 cup organic rolled oats (can find GF too)

Top with blueberries, sliced peaches and nectarines or  pitted organic cherries, slivered almonds, walnuts, a few dark chocolate bits or dried banana chips.  If you are really in a time crunch, add toppings night before so you are ready to grab-n-go. Thank you reciperunner for the inspiration.

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