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