Friday, October 28, 2011

Produce notes from Allen....139 Local Items

Subarashii Kudamono (meaning wonderful fruit) brings us two Asian Pears this week, from Pennsylvania.  One commonly found variety, the Hosui (mild, sweet, crispy, very juicy fruit) is joined by the Asaju (sweet, slightly tart, very crisp, and very juicy.)  I like to peel Asian Pears, particularly the Hosui, but the skin is edible.  Keep refrigerated as they are already ripe.
We have such sexy Potatoes including six kinds of fingerlings, 3 golds, red, blue and russets.  Don't overlook the fantastic deal on White Potatoes, $2.55 for 5 pound bag.  They are good for mashing, frying, baking and....... eating.

We've just about squeaked past Halloween, having endured a year with very few Pumpkins surviving the rain and floods.  Jack-O-Lanterns were not often available in sizes we sought, and the price was somewhat higher.  Now it appears that there may not be a strong enough supply of Pie Pumpkins through Thanksgiving; but we are still hoping to squeak past Thanksgiving too.

Before the season ends, try the Sweet Mini Peppers.  Just pop off the stem and eat the whole thing, seeds included, as they are small and tender. For the record, the real name is "mini sweet"; we'll try to rectify this next season.

The Fingerling Potato varieties currently available are the:  Austrian crescent, French, Ruby Crescent, Russian Banana, Rose Finn, and Ozettes.  I prefer the French ones because they are more oh la la!

The frost is on the Pumpkins.  Upstate farm temperatures dropped into the high 20's Thursday night, and that will have some impact on availability of some crops. (Hint: don't wait too long to buy local Tomatoes.)  If crops manage to survive the next couple of nights, a warming trend may keep our local numbers up.

Look forward to four new Apples from Hepworth Farms next week.  On Tuesday we will be adding Cortland, Cameo, Stayman Winesap, and Ida Red.

139 local items

Friday, October 21, 2011

Produce notes from Allen.....151 Local Items!!

Local Quince has arrived.  It's high pectin content makes it an ideal addition to jams.  It is not suitable for eating fresh, as it is sour, dry and hard.  On the other hand, it is very fragrant and pectiny.

The Mexican (non-organic) Papaya has been very limited of late.  There have been concerns about salmonella, and the extensive testing and scrutiny has slowed the imports.  We will try the Hawaiian Organic Papaya, which hasn't always ripened properly.  We hope that they will ripen properly this time, even though I've heard that doing something over and over again, and hoping for a different outcome is a definition of insanity.  We do not carry the non-organic Hawaiian papaya, which is both irradiated and genetically modified.
Ribier Grapes (black with seeds) were very popular, but hard to find.  We have ordered 45 cases to arrive next Tuesday.
Persimmons are here.  We have the hachiya, which is ovoid and a bit pointy.  When unripe, the high tannin content is harshly astringent.  There are very sweet and juicy when ripe, which is when they are softer than a baby's cheek, any cheek will do.  The fuyu, which is flattish, does not contain tannin and can be eaten even when it is still hard, but juiciness and sweetness will increase with ripening.
Members often ask if they can eat Gourds.  The answer is no.  I am then asked, "why not?"  I don't eat gourds, I don't eat trees, I don't eat shoes...... I don't know why.
Fresh Chanterelles are under $10 per pound, the lowest price we've seen!
Cheeses Pumpkins, suitable for vegan diets, are so named because their shape resembles a "loaf" of cheese that has been tied in a cheesecloth bundle.  Sweet, meaty flesh, perfect for pumpkin pie.
151 local items

Friday, October 14, 2011

Produce notes from Allen.....144 local items

Two words.....LOCALGINGER!

There is a gap in supply of the Hawaiian and Peruvian ginger. We are probably selling out right at the moment you are reading this. We do not know when these imports will return (we avoid the ginger from China.) Well, lucky us! This Monday we will receive 200 pounds of freshly dug young local (!) ginger  from Old Friends Farm in Massachusetts. 
Organic cranberries are now available. On Monday we will receive the first local ones from New England.

Good selection of Seeded Grapes include Concords, Niagaras, and the very limited Ribier.
Organic Cantaloupe season is ending in the middle of next week.
We received our first delivery of a very limited item, the minimally treated Chestnut from Hepworth Farms. We only got in 150 pounds, so they may already be gone. We hope to receive more next Tuesday.

We have had some quality issues with Andy Boy (conventional) Broccoli Rabe. It has been turning yellow too quickly. At the same time, we have had some local growers offer Organic Broccoli Rabe. This very fresh, high quality Broccoli Rabe is different in appearance. Organic Broccoli Rabe is usually harvested at an earlier stage in growth, with slenderer stems and no florets.

George Carlin once did a routine about blue foods.
"Why is there no blue food? I can't find blue food - I can't find the flavor of blue! I mean, green is lime; yellow is lemon; orange is orange; red is cherry; what's blue? There's no blue! Oh, they say, "Blueberries!" Uh-uh; blue on the vine, purple on the plate. There's no blue food! Where is the blue food? We want the blue food!"

We have the blue food. I will concede that none of them taste blue, but this week we have all-blue potatoes, (with bluish interiors; the Adirondack blues are white inside). We have Blue Hokkaido Squash and Blue Queensland Pumpkins, which kind of, sort of, look blue.

The Local Tomato season is nearly over. 
We may continue to receive Cherry Tomatoes and Heirlooms, but all of the rest of the Tomatoes will sell out this weekend and may not return. 

What will we have in place of the gigantic Tomato displays?  
Jack-o-lanterns coming Tuesday!

Allen Zimmerman  -  Produce Buyer - General Coordinator

Friday, October 07, 2011

Produce notes from Allen...143 Local Items!! Another Record...the bear of winter looms

New Apples coming Tuesday, Empire and Mutsu
Red bananas are back!  They came in less ripe than we wished.  You can speed up the ripening process by putting the bananas in a paper bag with an apple.   Apples naturally emit ethylene gas, which is perfect for ripening bananas.
Enjoy the short local season of the local (grown in Pennsylvania) Kiwi Berry aka "passion poppers". They are a cousin of the larger kiwi, with a tender edible non-fuzzy skin. 
Organic Cantaloupes heading into their probably last week.
Sycamore Honeydews, the best honeydews of the year, also likely to end next week.
Monstera deliciosa - taste somewhere between a pineapple and a banana with a hint of strawberry. Sure, you can just buy a pineapple, some bananas & a strawberry.  But where's the fun in that!? Each one comes wrapped in a sheet of instructions (read them!)  They're one of the most interesting and unique fruits we order!

Have you tried the Local Salad Mixes?  With the first northern frosts on the horizon, your time to enjoy these tasty greens is ticking away.  The Spicy Greens mix is especially tasty and gorgeous.
Pears! Pears! Pears!  We have received raves about the Bartlett Pears from Hepworth Farms.  They really are not very pretty, but they taste brilliant, and take almost no time to ripen.  Did you know that you can test a pear for ripeness by gently squeezing its neck (the narrow part closest to the stem)?  When it gives, slightly, to gentle pressure it is ripe.    Asian Pears, however, do not need ripening; they are harvested when ripe.  Cactus Pears-what do you do with them?  Cut about 1/4 inch off each end, and make a cut about 1/4 inch deep connecting these cuts.  Peel the skin off and eat what's left. There are small seeds that are too hard to chew and too many too discard.  Just eat them, along with the sweet, very juicy fruit, with taste somewhere between strawberry and watermelon and a slightly floral scent.
Attention all crossword puzzle fans!  The word aril, usually defined as a seed covering is a fleshy seed cover which arises from the funiculus (the stalk of the ovule).  But you already knew that.  The membrane surrounding each juicy little "pod" of the Pomegranate is an arilMace, by the way, is the aril of Nutmeg.  A recurring question this week has been, "how do I know when a Pomegranate is ripe?"  Pomegranates are harvested ripe and ready to eat.  
Another new record - 143 local produce items
- Allen Zimmerman
General Coordinator - Produce Buyer

Local Farm Update: Flooding Effects

Flying Rabbit Farm:

"We're not totally dry yet, on one side is the Susquehanna River and the other a creek which has rerouted itself into our fields.  We're trying to see if the railroad or DEC can help us correct this, but our crops are sitting in it, mostly the kale.  I'm not sure if there is much we can do right now.  The mature lettuce we had we cannot harvest so we're waiting to see if our last planting will do anything.  This is the second time in eight years we've lost our crops due to flood and it's frustrating; the creeks aren't cleared and no one wants us to touch them*, so we're trying to figure this out.  In the meantime, our season could be over. I'll keep you posted." - Mary

*Farm Services will now help them clear the creek.

Lucky Dog Farm:

 "We are no longer receiving anything from Lucky Dog.  The flood shut them down." 
- Angello's Distributing