Friday, November 25, 2011

Produce notes from Allen.....103 Local Items!

I'll start with a couple of members' questions:

Q- KB asked, " I haven't noticed any local, organic Brussel Sprouts at the coop the last few weeks, just the "USA" variety and some smaller ones from Holland.  It seems a bit early for the season to have ended.  Will we be getting more? " 

A- " It is not so much that it ended, but that it may not exist at all.  Last year we had so many local Brussels Sprouts Stalks offered, by so many farmers, that we were unable to make any of them happy, (but we were!)  This year, only one of our farmers had any, but the stalks were so poor, that they sent us only the few sprouts that they were able to salvage.   Even those few sprouts were so poor, that we had to reject them, because they turned yellow so quickly.  We see none at all coming.  The crop failed because....rain, floods, hurricane, you name it. "  

For Thanksgiving week, we were able to package some very expensive Organic Brussels Sprouts; I hope everyone got what they needed. 
Q- " We haven't had any kind of Melon in the past few weeks.   The supermarkets + produce stores in the area all have Cantaloupes + Honeydews.   What's happening? "

A- " The seasons for USA Cantaloupes and Honeydew ended and that is when we stopped carrying them.  We are willing to carry imported Melons, but there is a reason why we are not carrying them now.  The headline of "The Packer", the national produce newspaper for 11/10 was 'Market Uneasy after Cantaloupe Outbreak'.  We have not gotten a favorable report for Honeydew flavor yet, not even from the suppliers who want us to buy them.  If you find a good one in a store, let me know, but unless I have assurance of safety and good flavor, you don't want me to buy them.  We received a favorable flavor report, and had not heard of any recalls of Organic Cantaloupes, so we added Organic Mexican Cantaloupes this week. "

We were able to find 60 pounds of Organic Turmeric from Hawaii.  Turmeric with 2 r's, not tumeric with 1 r.  We do not carry tumeric, because there is no such thing. *

Now that the local Tomato season is over, I calculated the total pounds of tomatoes we bought from Hepworth Farms this year:
39,960 pounds of Mixed Color Cherry Tomatoes
30,075 pounds of Red Tomatoes
27,100 pounds of Heirloom Tomatoes
17,875 pounds of Plum Tomatoes
6,225 pounds of Yellow or Orange Tomatoes
121,235 pounds in total, or 1,082 pounds a day!

We have had our first arrival of Organic Florida Grapefruits.  Sorry California, this demonstrates the difference between good and great.

We may have received our last Organic Grapes of the year.  The quality is going down and the price is going up.  We reached the same decision last year, also on the day after Thanksgiving.  Of course, if we learn of a great late season grape, we will try them. 

Q- "I love Grapes; what am I going to eat?!"

A- Something else.  Be positive about it; try something new when the season of your favorite fruit 

Allen Zimmerman - Produce Buyer - General Coordinator 
* Except in the Yogurt Case 
(Information Courtesy of Kris)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Fair Trade Indeed

Have you ever wondered how Fair Trade actually works?  How much money actually goes where and to whom?  Check out this breakdown from Interrupcion (their Blueberries are currently in stock in our produce aisle.)

*Click on the image to view larger

Friday, November 18, 2011

Produce notes from Allen.....130 local items

We have a good supply of Black Futsu winter squash and Mutsu Apples.  I never intended for this blog to provide recipes but it's hard to resist just thinking about "Futsu a la Mutsu".  This is more of a how-to than a recipe.  Cut the top off of a Futsu Squash and fill it with chopped Mutsu Apple and bake at about 350ยบ for about an hour.  Some people would add brown sugar and raisins, season with nutmeg, cinnamon, maybe ginger.  You can do whatever you want, for example, add walnuts, chopped pineapple, or ruin it with cranberries. You could add a bit of butter, or some booze.  Keep it simple or go crazy.  You can do this with any Squash and any filling, but you know you want to serve "Futsu a la Mutsu".

Many members ask how you eat Red Bananas.  They eat just like Bananas.  As they ripen, the skin gets darker and the Banana softens. They can be moister, sweeter, creamier than the yellow "cavendish" variety, but not as completely predictable. If you do accidentally peel it before it ripens, you can slice it and fry it. 
We could not get as much Tatsoi as we wanted, but the farmer did have some Red Tatsoi.  It looks a bit different. with a flatter leaf.  It's probably the prettiest green (I mean red) this week. 
The local Orange, Purple and Green Romanesco Cauliflower seasons are off to a slow and late start. We have all three today, and they are beautiful.  Marketed to us as baby vegetables, they are pricier than we wish, but since they are so tiny, they may be more accessible to households that can't eat their way through a normal sized Cauliflower.  The florets of the Romanesco are perfect fractals, and much admired by Kris (Fibonacci) Marx.
Having avoided Enoki Mushrooms because we couldn't find them domestically grown, I did some research, and learned at the New York Produce Show, that all Enoki Mushrooms are indeed grown in Korea.  We focus on local, but love all of the world's produce, and well, I really missed eating them.  We got some in yesterday, and I ate some last night.  Those tiny little things are packed with flavor  and very fresh.  I hope you enjoy them.
Pretty - Purple - Peruvian - Fingerling - Potatoes.  Say that three times fast. 

It's staring to get cold outside, but we still have 130 local items.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Nog Blog, Part 2

The nog made with real eggs is here. You'll find Organic Valley Eggnog on the shelf with the quarts of organic milk. Enjoy!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Produce notes from Allen.....121 Local Items!

Where are the Mangos?  When the organic Mexican harvest ended, we tried the conventional ones from Brazil.  They were not very good, and just as we decided to drop the Brazilian Mango, a small harvest of California Mangos began.  This very expensive California Mango was one of the best Mangos I have ever eaten and many members have made the same comment.  Unfortunately that brief season has ended as well.  Organic Mangos should start up again from Ecuador soon and this Monday we will try a conventionally grown Mexican Ataulfo Mango, the tiny kidney shaped yellow Mango and hope that we all like it.  Supply has been choppy for the last couple of months and occasionally you were disappointed.  Sometimes seasons for various produce items overlap seamlessly and sometimes it seems like nothing is working right.  The last couple of months with hurricanes and floods (and miserable weather affecting regions we are all less aware of), have led to some disappointing periods when some of our favorite foods have temporarily disappeared.  Instead of having an "OMG, no Mangos!" reaction, take this as an opportunity to try something else... a Rambutan, which is a relative of the Lychee and the Longan. It looks like a Lychee on LSD. It is relatively available from southeast Asia year round, but most of that harvest is irradiated.  We carry it only when available from Honduras or Guatemala, where the fruit is not irradiated. Incidentally, members have asked about Mangosteens, which we do not carry.  All Mangosteen imports into the USA are irradiated, so we will not carry them until the post harvest treatment changes.
Clementines are here!  We waited for the Spanish harvest and the first Clementine is very good.  It will improve over the next few weeks and the price will likely get lower by the week.  This first one is a bit tart, which many of you like, but kids love them because they are sweet.  We will get deliveries almost daily; look for increasing sweetness with each delivery.
Speaking of sweetness, some members love Japanese Sweet Potatoes because they are sweeter that the Garnets and Jewels, but others love them because they are less sweet! 
Every year, we hope that the Pumpkin supply and quality will last nearly till the end of the year.  This year, despite the mountain you will see today at the front of the produce display, we fear that there will not even be enough to get to Thanksgiving.  If you are counting on a Traditional Pie Pumpkin, do not wait!  By next week we may have only the "weirder" Pumpkins, weird only on the outside, but they are Pumpkins on the inside.  If it comes to this, try the Cheese or Blue Queensland Pumpkins, or Jarrahdale, Musque de Provence, or Seminole Squashes (which really are Pumpkins) or take a walk on the wild side and try any Winter Squash instead.
There are times that produce items that we take for granted disappear, like Green Grapes, Mangos, or Heirloom Tomatoes.  It is difficult to hang up signs explaining the absence of something that isn't there, at the location where something isn't.  If you are wondering about an item when you are shopping look at the produce menus that we provide at the front and rear of the produce aisle, which is posted daily, Monday through Friday.   If you request something that we are not carrying, it is frustrating and fruitless for the folks who try to find these items in the basement.   The daily menu of items that we have in stock is posted on our website here - Daily Produce Pricelist

 - Allen Zimmerman -
Produce Buyer - General Coordinator - Lover of Cabbage

Monday, November 07, 2011

Hubbards! Get Your Hubbards HERE!!!

Stuff them full of rice, sauteed vegetables, or roasted meats!  They go great with any meal.  
Only two out of these three can fit in your cart.  Choose wisely.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Produce notes from Allen.....146 Local Items!

New additions to our local Apple menu are Cortland, Cameo, Ida Red, Jonagold and Stayman Winesap, bringing total number of local apples to 14.

Members who are craving Clementines are seeing them in many stores.  I have had many requests for them, but have never bought them before the end of November.  At the urging of a supplier who said that they had good ones from Chile, we tried a box.  Here is what I wrote to the supplier who asked if we liked them.  "First, they didn't taste very good.  Second, they were extremely gas-ripened, to the point that some of the skin was gas burned.  Third, they were a variety of early Murcott Tangerine, and not Clementines.  They are  a 'clementine' for stores that don't care about how good their food tastes.  I do thank you for offering them, because I have been getting curious anyway.  I think I will be waiting for the first good one from Spain, and that probably is 2 or 3 weeks away."  
So eat the Fallglo Tangerine instead.  They are sweet and flavorful enough to enjoy and very juicy.  Good now, they will be improve with each picking over the next couple of weeks.
Blueberry prices have plunged.  They are now $1.75 per cup.  Organic is still over $6 for a small cup, so we are waiting for them to become more reasonable.
A couple of weeks ago, I explained our Papaya plan and then, of course, Hawaiian organic Papayas disappeared completely.  They have now returned and supply for the near future looks strong.
Not so with the Rainbow Bunched Carrots.  Apparently we can eat them faster than our suppliers can bring them.  We are trying to encourage stronger supplies.
We used to call it "Indian" Corn, then started calling it Ornamental Corn.   Now we call it Popcorn, because although you may use Popping Corn as an ornament, you can eat it.  It pops very nicely.  Put an ear in a paper bag and microwave for about a minute and 20 seconds (times vary, depending on the microwave).  You may remove the kernels and prepare as you would any other Popping Corn
Coop member James asks, "Where are the Enoki Mushrooms?"  We stopped carrying them when domestic growers stopped growing them.  Now most of the US supply is flown in from Korea, and we didn't think that made much sense.  What do you think?
(Over)abundant supplies at the end of the local Organic Green Pepper season will bring the price down to $.89 per pound beginning next Tuesday!
It now looks like we may not see enough Pie Pumpkin to last through November, possibly even not through next week!
Now that we have made a mountain of one million tons of Butternut Squash up front near the Bananas nobody can find them any more.
We have probably received the last of the Local Cherry and Heirloom Tomatoes from Hepworth Farms.  A few odd cases may trickle in next week, but it is very unlikely.  The next Tomato we will try will be the New England grown Hothouse Tomato grown by Deep Root.  They will be kind of pricey, but they are likely to taste better than most of what we will be able to source until next summer.
It's getting cold outside, but we still have 146 locally grown items!
- Allen Zimmerman . Produce Buyer . General Coordinator

Pine Kitty Litter is back!

The Feline Pine is gone for good, so we now have Guardian Angel pine litter in aisle 4. It's on the bottom shelf between the One Earth cat litter and the World's Best Multi Cat litter.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Come out and help these farmers in need!

Blue Moon Bash to Benefit Farmer Friends
Blue Moon Bash
At Southpaw
125 Fifth Avenue Brooklyn, NY 11217
Sunday, November 6th 2011
3-8pm | Admission $20 Donation
All day event featuring live performances and food. Enjoy Blue Moon clam chowder and tastings from local restaurants including Amy's Bread, Palo Santo,
Aliseo Osteria Del Borgo and more!

100% of the proceeds will be donated to Ray Bradley of Bradley Farm and Kira Kinney of Evolutionary Organics for flood relief from tropical storm Irene and subsequent storms. The two neighboring farms were under as much as 6 feet of water, drowning 90-100% of crops intended to be harvested and sold during the most profitable months of the market year. Alex & Stephanie Villani of Blue Moon, who have sold alongside Ray and Kira’s stands at the Grand Army Plaza Greenmarket for over a decade, are organizing this fundraising effort, along with dedicated customers, to help their dear friends recover from these extreme losses. Read more about the flooding of these farms.

We hope you can join Ray, Kira and the folks from Blue Moon at this fundraiser, complete with delicious food and drink, awesome raffle prizes and great bands—for a great cause.
Purchase tickets or make a donation on-line:

Bands include:

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Cold Water Laundry Detergents for 90% energy savings

90% of the energy your washing machine uses is for heating the water. Washing in hot or warm water has become increasingly unnecessary as advances in clothes washers and laundry detergents have made it possible to get white and colored clothes perfectly clean in cold water. Except when washing out particularly tough stains or allergens such as dust mites every load of laundry done in hot water wastes energy. If you use cold water, you will not only save money, but also make your clothes last longer and prevent color bleeding.

We recently decided to sell Tide Coldwater because Consumer Reports rates it as the 3rd most effective out the dozens of detergents of all types that it tested. Our other cold water detergent is Biokleen, a powdered detergent on the top shelf in the purple box.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The Nog Blog

Yes, it's Nog season again. For the soy nog fans, this years brings a new, organic choice: Earth Balance Organic Soy Nog. Bring on the nog...