fruits and vegetables

  • Late Bloomers

    Sum­mer is fad­ing fast. Vaca­tion days in the rear view mir­ror bring a dif­fer­ent focus with some new rou­tines shap­ing our plates. Before com­pletely let­ting go of sum­mer, how about tak­ing one last bite?

    The best of late har­vest sum­mer fruits and veg­eta­bles are ready for the final soirée. Act quickly, as the win­dow is clos­ing on the late bloomers.

    That glo­ri­ous camp includes heir­loom toma­toes, egg­plants (in all shapes, sizes and color), sum­mer and early fall squashes (zuc­chini, eight ball, spaghetti and but­ter­nut), and even some squash blos­soms still on the stem.

    Last of sum­mer basil makes for pesto for pasta, pizza or bruschetta. Use the toma­toes for tomato and herb salad or Cap­rese with a bal­samic driz­zle. Both are fresh, light and the per­fect com­pli­ment to any Sep­tem­ber din­ner party.

    Off the vine pep­per choices, make us dream of sump­tu­ous stuffed bells, chile rel­lenos and roasted Ana­heim, poblano, Hatch and jalapeños. South of the bor­der delec­tables go far beyond salsa. Pep­per pop­pers keep things lively for al fresco appetizers.
  • Lis­ten to Mother

    Earth Day is just behind us. Mother’s Day is just ahead. The two cel­e­bra­tions bring aware­ness to the influ­ences of moth­er­hood.

    Mother Earth and Mother Nature cue their mes­sages from other like minded moth­ers. We are only on this lovely planet for a very short time. While we are here, we need to mind our man­ners and play by the rules.

    Things a mother might say–

    “Go out­side and play” was a mantra of all baby boomer moms. Get­ting on a bike or going for a hike meant ulti­mate free­dom.

    Being out in nature has a way is fast-​paced life of ours can eas­ily strip out any nat­ural rhythm that we humans long to be a part of. The cycle of each sea­son speaks to our pri­mal nature. Go outside.
  • Make It Green

    Mid-​March we’ll get our Irish on and cel­e­brate Saint Patrick’s Day. Wear­ing the color green is a tra­di­tional way to sup­port the hol­i­day.

    March also boasts the start of Spring and Palm Sun­day. Two more days that draw atten­tion to shades of green.

    On the sub­ject of emer­ald, celadon, jade and olive, use this month as a nudge toward fill­ing the plate with more things green.

    Green veg­eta­bles and fruits are known for being good sources of phy­tonu­tri­ents, fiber and water that can revi­tal­ize health.

    To main­tain healthy cho­les­terol lev­els, increase the con­sump­tion of green foods like avo­ca­dos, olives, green peas and grapes. They con­tain monoun­sat­u­rated fatty acids and fiber that aid in low­er­ing cho­les­terol.

    Spinach, cucum­ber and green apple can aid in con­trol­ling blood pres­sure. Look­ing for a boost to the immune sys­tem? Check out all things green in the pro­duce section.
  • Marme­lada

    Food his­to­ri­ans credit Por­tugese cooks for the tasty spread we’ve come to know as mar­malade.

    Orig­i­nally made of quince (marmelo is the fruit’s Por­tugese name), the sweet/​tart gel like paste is used in desserts, breads and cakes.

    Quince are a rel­a­tively unusual fruit in that they are rarely, if ever, eaten raw. Mak­ing them into a jelly/​preserve/​compote allows them to be savored well past their sea­son.

    In Brazil, most marme­los are boiled, sweet­ened and then reduced to a thick jelly-​like paste called marme­lada.

    Quince are very tart and tan­nic, mak­ing them almost impos­si­ble to eat in their nat­ural state. Dur­ing cook­ing, their tan­nins mel­low and change color, giv­ing cooked quince a lovely pink-​to-​reddish hue.
  • New Begin­nings

    A new year with a fresh start. Kiss 2021 good­bye and set our sights high on opti­mism and renewal.

    The begin­ning of this new year is replete with prospects for new adven­tures, per­sonal and pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment and busi­ness improve­ments.

    Learn­ing to man­age change over the past twenty some­thing months may just have been the best prepa­ra­tion for what lies ahead. Change was inevitable.

    Those traits lay a solid foun­da­tion for a reset and reimag­i­na­tion. Set­ting the course ahead for pro­duce indus­try is evi­denced by the newly formed Inter­na­tional Fresh Pro­duce Asso­ci­a­tion.

    The lead­ers of the for­mer United Fresh and Pro­duce Mar­ket­ing Asso­ci­a­tion believe today’s indus­try mem­bers need an asso­ci­a­tion that speaks with a more uni­fied, author­i­ta­tive voice; demon­strates its rel­e­vance to the world at large; advo­cates for mem­ber inter­ests; and unleashes a new under­stand­ing of fresh pro­duce.

    Rec­og­niz­ing that need, the orga­ni­za­tions chose not to merge, but rather to cre­ate an entirely new orga­ni­za­tion to super­sede their orga­ni­za­tions. That new begin­ning is effec­tive Jan­u­ary 1, 2022. It was cre­ated to inte­grate world-​facing advo­cacy and industry-​facing sup­port. While IFPA is built on the lega­cies of United Fresh and Pro­duce Mar­ket­ing Asso­ci­a­tions, it is not just a com­bi­na­tion. It is trans­for­ma­tional.

    The Inter­na­tional Fresh Pro­duce Asso­ci­a­tion is the largest and most diverse inter­na­tional asso­ci­a­tion serv­ing the entire fresh pro­duce and flo­ral sup­ply chain.,/div>
  • On Trend

    Every year, lead­ers in the culi­nary world bring us new ways to think about food, plan our meals and choose how to eat.

    From small plate shar­ing to home meal kits, vari­ety and dis­cover keep the food indus­try evolv­ing.

    Con­sumers may not always agree with the changes, but they will at least take a look at what is on trend.

    In 2018, health­ier eat­ing choices con­tinue to drive prod­ucts to the front of the food equa­tion. Watch for more pro­tein options and super food ingre­di­ents.

    Plant based foods have been strong, cen­ter plate menu themes for quite some time now. From roasted cau­li­flower steaks to spicy gar­banzo bean cakes, lean­ing on global cuisines for plant based ingre­di­ents boosts their star power.
  • P2.2b 2021.05 In Sea­son Now 300×200

    In Sea­son Now

  • P2.2b 2021.07 In Sea­son Now 300×200

    In Sea­son Now




    Sweet Corn



    White Peaches



    Yel­low Nectarines



    Water­melon
    The ABC’s of Watermelon



    Ital­ian Sweet Red Onions



    Heir­loom Tomatoes

  • P2.2b 2021.09 In Sea­son Now 300×200

    In Sea­son Now



    Win­ter Cit­rus, includ­ing Sat­sumas, blood oranges, Cara Cara Navel oranges, man­darins, Navel oranges



    Pome­gran­ates



    Kiwifruit



    Hol­i­day Seed­less Grapes



    Apples of all kinds! Fuji, Gala, Granny Smith, Pink Lady…



    Beets and other root vegetables



    Mush­rooms



    Onions



    Pota­toes



    Col­ored Cauliflower



    Meyer Lemons

  • P2a1 Eat Like a Local Jan­u­ary

    Jan­u­ary 2022 Eat Like a Local
  • Per­spec­tive

    Pre­sented with any one of many beau­ti­fully grown fresh fruit or veg­etable items, a few quick ques­tions spring to mind.

    How does it taste? What can we make? How do we treat it? How much should we buy?

    It’s amaz­ing how the sight of a fra­grantly ripe melon or aro­matic peach will be per­ceived among any group of indi­vid­u­als. So many choices, all dif­fer­ent, and none of them wrong.

    Slice for the plate or a salad, blend for smoothie, sor­bet or ices, grill for a sum­mer side or bake into a break­fast or dessert treat. Pref­er­ences depend on the mind and heart of the cook.

    Inspi­ra­tion is gen­er­ated from cook­books, fam­ily tra­di­tions, cul­ture, food mag­a­zine arti­cles, and now, the abun­dance of irre­sistible social media posts.
  • Pickle Pantry

    Humans have been pick­ling and pre­serv­ing food for nearly 5000 years.

    Queen Cleopa­tra attrib­uted her good health and remark­able looks to her indul­gent diet of pick­les.

    The United States gov­ern­ment rationed pick­les in the 1940’s, dur­ing World War II. Forty per­cent of the nation’s pro­duc­tion went to our armed forces.

    Aunt Bee (the fic­tional tele­vi­sion char­ac­ter of the 1960’s Andy Grif­fith Show) entered her home­made pick­les in a local con­test, cre­at­ing angst in the fam­ily over her “kerosene cucum­bers”.

    Over cen­turies, the love affair for pick­led foods has only grown stronger. Cur­rent pickle trends move well past a cucum­bers only rule. A wave of “DIY” pick­les of fruits and veg­eta­bles in acidic baths or brines keeps us inter­ested.

    Sweet, sour, salty, spicy or hot cre­ative and com­plex com­bi­na­tions make us pickle happy. Cus­tomized blends of vine­gars, salts and spices are the for­mula to win­ning secret recipes.

  • Plant Ahead

    Move to close out these last pre­cious days of sum­mer on a healthy note. Mod­ify the daily dietary reg­i­men to incor­po­rate a few health­ier choices. This will kick start a ter­rific fall lifestyle.

    Plant-​based/​Plant-​forward eat­ing prac­tices have been widely adopted and quite pop­u­lar in recent years. An empha­sis on meals focused pri­mar­ily from plants can do a body good.

    This includes not only fruits and veg­eta­bles, but also nuts, seeds, oils, whole grains, legumes, and beans. Eat­ing a plant-​based diet means get­ting most or all calo­ries from fresh, whole plant foods that are min­i­mally processed.

    The Mediter­ranean diet is a way of eat­ing that’s based on the tra­di­tional cuisines of Greece, Italy and other coun­tries that bor­der the Mediter­ranean Sea. Plant-​based foods, herbs and spices are the foun­da­tion of this diet. Mod­el­ling this way of eat­ing could be the first step in over­haul­ing the diet by fall.

    Olive oil is the main source of added fat. Fish, seafood, dairy and poul­try are included in mod­er­a­tion. Red meat and sweets are eaten only occa­sion­ally.

    Start by build­ing meals around veg­eta­bles, beans and whole grains. Eat fish at least twice a week. Try using olive oil instead of but­ter in prepar­ing food.

    Instead of calorie-​laden heavy desserts, serve fresh fruits after meals for a sweet treat. Grapes, mel­ons, oranges and fresh berries can be quite sat­is­fy­ing after din­ner.

    Eval­u­ate daily sugar, cof­fee, and alco­hol con­sump­tion. Look for ways to adjust or reduce intake. Exam­in­ing these uncon­scious habits hon­estly may yield to the promise of reduced inflam­ma­tion, higher energy lev­els and bet­ter sleep.

    Drop­ping a few extra pounds can incen­tivize going far­ther in a total fall reset. Putting exer­cise on the daily cal­en­dar makes it a pri­or­ity. If the work­day locks in seden­tary behav­ior, decide how to break the streak. Set an alarm for a sure fire way to get in those 10,000 steps. Sched­ule in a time slot for a phys­i­cal appointment.
  • Pro­duce Beat

    David John hosts this weekly pro­gram regard­ing every­thing you ever wanted to know about fresh fruits and veg­eta­bles: selec­tion, stor­age, prepa­ra­tion, vari­eties, sea­sonal avail­abil­ity, trivia, and his per­sonal secrets about how to enjoy produce.

  • Quick Recov­ery

    Doesn’t it seem like we all know some­one who has recently had or is about to have a surgery of some kind?

    Besides “Get Well” card greet­ings, feel­ing bet­ter and quick recov­ery depends on the right post surgery meals.

    Eat­ing the right foods after surgery can pro­mote faster heal­ing and min­i­mize the swelling, bruis­ing and the inflam­ma­tion that often accom­pany any type of sur­gi­cal pro­ce­dure.

    Cer­tain foods can also min­i­mize diges­tive upset caused by antibi­otics and pre­vent con­sti­pa­tion caused by pain med­i­cines. Prop­erly fuel­ing the body sup­plies the energy needed to get back to nor­mal rou­tines.

    Whole, unprocessed foods are the best way to approach post op meals. Lean pro­teins, fiber filled foods and fer­mented dairy (pro­bi­otics) assist in get­ting things on track diges­tively and heal­ing wise.

  • Salsa Crush

    Chips and salsa are pretty stan­dard fare in most Mex­i­can restau­rants. At home, we rely on them for a go to snack or pre­cur­sor to an enchi­lada or chili rel­leno din­ner.

    The combo is a good stand-​alone bite when hang­ing out with friends on the patio.

    Salsa lit­er­ally trans­lates to sauce. Don’t get stuck think­ing that tor­tilla chips are the outer lim­its to what pairs per­fectly with salsa.

    Purists might fol­low the pico de gallo or rojo route. That’s a ter­rific jump­ing off point for home­made salsa. Chili pep­pers, toma­toes, onions, fresh lime and cilantro get the job done. The fresher the bet­ter wins over salsa fans.

    Step­ping away from this clas­sic, expand to other ingre­di­ents to pump up the salsa reper­toire. Explore unlikely sum­mer and trop­i­cal ingre­di­ents. Straw­ber­ries, man­gos, peaches, pineap­ples and even water­melon rise to meet salsa aspi­ra­tions.

    Pome­gran­ate arils are a sur­prise ele­ment that deliver on zing and crunch fac­tors. Dessert is unique with a ladle full of fruit salsa over vanilla ice cream, chur­ros or cin­na­mon tor­tilla chips. Bold is not bor­ing when it comes to new ways to inter­pret tra­di­tional appli­ca­tions of how we put salsa in motion

    Con­sider serv­ing these level up con­coc­tions with tra­di­tional menus choices like Baja style tacos or faji­tas. When cook­ing chicken, fish or pork, those bright and fruity ver­sions con­vert ordi­nary din­ner to one of higher inter­est.

    Tomatil­los can be added to nearly any­thing salsa. Tangy, more acidic, and less sweet, this green tomato-​looking thing is in the fruit family.
  • Seduced by Sour

    Food trends come and go. Some which are started in metro cities like San Fran­cisco and New York may com­pletely skip over the entire mid­dle sec­tion of the nation.

    One trend look­ing to accel­er­ate this year is the seduc­tion of sour. Adding a punch of sour can bal­ance rich or savory dishes.

    Global cuisines heav­ily influ­ence our own restau­rant offer­ings and choices. Take a page from Per­sian, Korean, Fil­ipino or even Ger­man menus to inspire new twists on fla­vor pair­ings.

    Sour tast­ing foods are indica­tive of higher acid­ity, along with tart­ness or tangi­ness. Bit­ter foods are mostly attrib­uted to unpleas­ant, sharp and some­times unde­sir­able foods. Sour cov­ers pop­u­lar Greek yogurts, kim chees, sour krauts and other fer­men­ta­tions.

    Sour fla­vors have piqued our col­lec­tive inter­est, on par with the spicy food addic­tion. Con­sumer demand toward tangy fla­vors has more to do with a move­ment toward well­ness, arti­sanal foods, and eth­nic cuisines.
  • Shrink Con­trol

    Sum­mer eat­ing occa­sions are inher­ently more for­giv­ing. Many foods are hand held, eaten out­doors and have a cer­tain casual put-​together-​look about them.

    No need for name call­ing or sham­ing, but sloppy look­ing foods get by this time of year out of sheer good­ness.

    Less for­mal pre­sen­ta­tions give us more time pool­side or on the patio. We’re more inter­ested in less meal prep and more face time with our peeps.

    A Cap­rese salad of rough cut toma­toes, torn basil leaves and ran­dom Buf­falo moz­zarella pieces is quite suit­able. Pep­pered and oiled, this sum­mer cold plate rivals any pris­tine sliced and shin­gled ver­sion.

    Sum­mer fruits and veg­eta­bles are well groomed for a quick toss with herbs, dress­ings and light sea­son­ings. A squeeze of lime, lemon or grape­fruit may be all chopped and sliced mel­ons need.

    Grilled corn is a stand out and stand alone messy food to rav­ish over bar­be­cues and cam­pouts. Shaved from the cob, the cooked ker­nels pro­vide a back­drop for wickedly good sal­sas, sal­ads or relishes.

  • Sloppy Good

    Sum­mer eat­ing occa­sions are inher­ently more for­giv­ing. Many foods are hand held, eaten out­doors and have a cer­tain casual put-​together-​look about them.

    No need for name call­ing or sham­ing, but sloppy look­ing foods get by this time of year out of sheer good­ness.

    Less for­mal pre­sen­ta­tions give us more time pool­side or on the patio. We’re more inter­ested in less meal prep and more face time with our peeps.

    A Cap­rese salad of rough cut toma­toes, torn basil leaves and ran­dom Buf­falo moz­zarella pieces is quite suit­able. Pep­pered and oiled, this sum­mer cold plate rivals any pris­tine sliced and shin­gled ver­sion.

    Sum­mer fruits and veg­eta­bles are well groomed for a quick toss with herbs, dress­ings and light sea­son­ings. A squeeze of lime, lemon or grape­fruit may be all chopped and sliced mel­ons need.

  • Snack Lightly

    Gro­cery mar­ket­ing has declared Feb­ru­ary as National Snack Food Month. Super Bowl Sun­day is just days away.

    We are a nation of snack­ers, spend­ing over $60 bil­lion dol­lars annu­ally on those ever tempt­ing chips, crack­ers and other processed good­ies.

    On the heels of those recently made res­o­lu­tions to eat bet­ter and cre­ate a life around health­ier imper­a­tives, take time for prepa­ra­tions. A month-​long snack fest requires some resis­tance, resolve and retool­ing.

    Turn the tables on the media dri­ven snack food propo­si­tions. Favorite nib­bles can have a makeover that sat­is­fies every occa­sion. Don’t sup­port empty calo­ries and car­bo­hy­drates, sat­u­rated fats, high in sugar and pro­vide no nutri­tional value.

    It’s hard to resist Dori­tos and Ruf­fles. Mod­er­a­tion is key in most food choices. Watch what goes in to the shop­ping cart for improv­ing the inevitable snack attacks. Look for desir­able alter­na­tives to the known cul­prits of over-​indulged behavior.