fruits and vegetables

  • Soup Vital­ity

    Soup from scratch is well worth the small effort it takes to make. Likely, the famil­iar, basic com­po­nents are already in the pantry.

    Why wait for that req­ui­site sea­sonal cold or flu to set­tle in? Make soup now as it can be a com­fort for the soul and a tonic to the body.

    The nutri­tional val­ues and sooth­ing prop­er­ties of soup work on mul­ti­ple lev­els.

    Con­sum­ing plenty of liq­uids is always advised when fight­ing of aller­gens or bat­tling anti­bod­ies. The broth of soup counts toward flush­ing out the tox­ins and hydrat­ing the weary body.

    Warm liq­uids tend to clear the sinus pas­sages. Hot water and hot tea suf­fice, but hot soup is a wel­come change to the daily steam regimen.
  • Spring Think­ing

    Under­stand­ably, there has been a recent surge in hand wash­ing mes­sag­ing and activ­ity.

    Indi­vid­u­als are empow­ered to resist the spread of virus and infec­tion by this proper, fre­quent and soapy sim­ple act.

    The advent of Spring lends itself nicely to revisit the power of a healthy lifestyle and other sim­ple acts to fight off sick­ness.

    The media reminds us daily that peo­ple with com­pro­mised res­pi­ra­tory and pul­monary con­di­tions are most at risk from COVID-​19 and other viruses. Dia­betes also puts one in a “high risk” cat­e­gory.

    Spring is the per­fect time to reboot healthy habits. Every part of the body, includ­ing the immune sys­tem, func­tions bet­ter when pro­tected from envi­ron­men­tal assaults. Healthy liv­ing strate­gies bol­sters not only the immune sys­tem, but the abil­ity to cope with ill­ness or injury.

    Top­ping the list is the inclu­sion of plenty of fruits and veg­eta­bles in daily menus. This helps main­tain a healthy weight, con­tribut­ing to over­all good health.
  • Stone Soup

    The stone soup fable has many iter­a­tions. They all involve a trav­eler com­ing into a town beset by famine.

    The inhab­i­tants of the town try to dis­cour­age the trav­eler from stay­ing, fear­ing he wants them to give him food.

    They tell him in no uncer­tain terms that there’s no food any­where to be found. The trav­eler explains that he doesn’t need any food and that, in fact, he was plan­ning to make a soup to share with all of them.

    The vil­lagers watch sus­pi­ciously as he builds a fire and fills a caul­dron with water. With great cer­e­mony, he pulls a stone from a silken bag, drop­ping the ordi­nary stone into the pot of boil­ing water. He sniffs the brew extrav­a­gantly and takes a small taste.

    With great exu­ber­ance, he exclaims how deli­cious stone soup is. The vil­lagers gather around with great inter­est. The trav­eler says rather loudly, “I do like a tasty stone soup. Of course, stone soup with cab­bage — that’s hard to beat.”
  • Switch­ing Gears

    Tech­ni­cally, August is still very much a part of sum­mer. Tem­per­a­tures are high and we are still enjoy­ing dips in the pool and leisurely meals.

    A cue sig­nal­ing that sum­mer might be fad­ing is when we notice new crop Cal­i­for­nia Bartlett pears and Gala apples in the mar­ket­place. They’re here.

    Noth­ing against peaches, plums and nec­tarines. See­ing the pears come into the mar­ket­place reminds us to get after those stone fruits while the get­ting is good. They are still at peak of eat­ing for fla­vor, tex­ture and juici­ness.

    If we plan to bake, can or freeze summer’s fruit, time is wast­ing. Cap­ture the fleet­ing oppor­tu­nity now. Cher­ries undoubt­edly had an abbre­vi­ated sea­son. Mother Nature dis­rupted what was meant to be a ban­ner cherry crop.

    Back to apples and pears join­ing the bounty. The tran­si­tion from late sum­mer to early fall pro­duce is a famil­iar annual change that pre­pares us for eat­ing and cook­ing a bit differently.
  • Tacos Every­day

    Last year Amer­i­cans ate over 4.5 bil­lion tacos! There is no sign of that trend let­ting up this year. A National hol­i­day or weekly Taco Tues­days are unnec­es­sary reminders of our taco obses­sion.

    A recent Face­book post­ing asked fol­low­ers what three foods could they NOT live with­out. Tacos were right up there with choco­late, cof­fee (not really a food), and pizza.

    Likely, the orig­i­nal taco was no more than a tor­tilla and beans. Some­thing sim­ply to sus­tain work­ing minors and easy to carry into the sil­ver mines.

    The clas­sic taco com­bi­na­tion is a hard tor­tilla shell with a per­sonal com­bi­na­tion of beans, meat, cheese, let­tuce and salsa.

    Amer­i­cans have man­aged to trans­form this hum­ble street food into numer­ous ver­sions to please every palette. From seafood to veg­e­tar­ian fill­ings, soft-​shelled, dou­ble shelled or salad shells, the taco has made its mark.

    Culi­nary mas­ters, home cooks and food trucks all lean in on ways to improve an already pop­u­lar attrac­tion. Korean tacos, by exam­ple, amplify the heat on pork with kim­chi and gochu­jang.

    Gin­ger cur­ried tacos rep­re­sent their ver­sa­til­ity using cau­li­flower, jack­fruit or other meat sub­sti­tutes. Bland and bor­ing go out with the bath­wa­ter. Move over burg­ers and pasta. Tacos are wel­comed on the menu.

    The beauty of tacos for lunch or din­ner, they are suited to be cus­tomized by taco fill­ings and top­pings. Set­ting up a taco bar makes the meal fes­tive in color and taste. The tough­est deci­sion is what to leave out. Ingre­di­ents on the build your own bar are end­less. From tra­di­tional to trendy, go wild on fresh pro­duce.

    Avo­cado, cilantro, green onions, toma­toes, chili pep­pers, let­tuce, cab­bage and lime are on the start­ing bench.
  • Taste Cal­i­for­nia

    Cal­i­for­nia avo­ca­dos have arrived! They are gen­er­ally avail­able from April to Sep­tem­ber, but for the nearly 5,000 grow­ers in the state, the avo­cado sea­son is a year-​round endeavor.

    Farm­ers walk their avo­cado groves every month to check on the trees, assess weather affects and grove con­di­tions. They must ensure avo­ca­dos are on the right track for pro­jected har­vests. Each stage in the growth cycle is crit­i­cal.

    Avo­ca­dos, grown on trees, have a tree growth cycle with six stages: flow­er­ing, shoot growth, root growth, fruit set, fruit growth, and har­vest.
    That’s a lot to watch and care for dur­ing each sea­son.

    Cal­i­for­nia pro­duces about 90 per­cent of the nation’s avo­cado crop. Ninety-​five per­cent of Cal­i­for­nia avo­ca­dos are the Hass (rhymes with pass) vari­ety.

    The Hass vari­ety accounts for about 80 per­cent of all avo­ca­dos eaten world­wide. By now, most of us under­stand that an avo­cado is actu­ally a fruit.
  • That’s a wrap!

    Bring the out­side in for nec­es­sary hol­i­day cheer. Lift­ing spir­its is only one of the by-​products of dec­o­rat­ing using aro­matic ever­greens, col­or­ful fruits and dried pro­duce.

    Cre­ative expres­sion is well-​fed and sat­is­fied when it comes to assem­bling gath­ered and sourced stems, branches, cut­tings and the like.

    Christ­mas trees, wreaths, gar­lands and flo­ral arrange­ments set the hol­i­day tone. Seed pods, pinecones, fruits and berries add tex­ture, color and notably fra­grance to already inter­est­ing designs.

    Cran­ber­ries and pome­gran­ates add won­der­ful pops of color to any cut green­ery. Cit­rus slices come in an array of yel­low, orange and gold. With new vari­eties com­ing into sea­son, blood oranges, grape­fruit and Meyer lemons are attrac­tive ele­ments for swags and man­tels.

    Cin­na­mon sticks, star anise and whole cloves are not rel­e­gated to just hot toddy duty. Tie them, glue them and string them for gift wrap­ping bling, tree orna­ments and bowls of scented room fresh­en­ers.

    Pears and apples hold their ground dur­ing Decem­ber sup­ply. Keep in mind the tiny ver­sions for hol­i­day place set­tings and tablescapes. Seckel and Forelle for the pear choices are sim­ply adorable. Lady and crabap­ples hit the bulls­eye for diminu­tive apple selec­tions. It’s espe­cially impor­tant this year to change up liv­ing and work space envi­ron­ments for psy­chol­ogy sake.

    Work­ing remotely or self-​isolating ben­e­fit from event the small­est ges­ture of décor changes. Ele­vate the mood with some­thing new to view.

    Aro­mather­apy prop­er­ties of a sin­gle sprig of rose­mary can reshape atti­tudes and act as a de-​stresser.

    Explore other herbs and greens found in the yard, neigh­bor­hood or retail shops.
  • The Source: Feb­ru­ary 12, 2020

    For the next few weeks, we will be post­ing the PRO*ACT Mar­ket Report in place of our usual Gen­eral Pro­duce version.

    To read the full issue of The Source, includ­ing this week’s com­modi­ties update, click here.

  • The Source: Feb­ru­ary 19, 2020

    For the next few weeks, we will be post­ing the PRO*ACT Mar­ket Report in place of our usual Gen­eral Pro­duce version.

    To read the full issue of The Source, includ­ing this week’s com­modi­ties update, click here.

  • The Source: Feb­ru­ary 26,2020

    For the next few weeks, we will be post­ing the PRO*ACT Mar­ket Report in place of our usual Gen­eral Pro­duce version.

    To read the full issue of The Source, includ­ing this week’s com­modi­ties update, click here.

  • The Source: Feb­ru­ary 5, 2020

    For the next few weeks, we will be post­ing the PRO*ACT Mar­ket Report in place of our usual Gen­eral Pro­duce version.

    To read the full issue of The Source, includ­ing this week’s com­modi­ties update, click here.

  • The Source: Jan­u­ary 15, 2020

    For the next few weeks, we will be post­ing the PRO*ACT Mar­ket Report in place of our usual Gen­eral Pro­duce version.

    To read the full issue of The Source, includ­ing this week’s com­modi­ties update, click here.

  • The Source: Jan­u­ary 22, 2020

    For the next few weeks, we will be post­ing the PRO*ACT Mar­ket Report in place of our usual Gen­eral Pro­duce version.

    To read the full issue of The Source, includ­ing this week’s com­modi­ties update, click here.

  • The Source: Jan­u­ary 8, 2020

    For the next few weeks, we will be post­ing the PRO*ACT Mar­ket Report in place of our usual Gen­eral Pro­duce version.

    To read the full issue of The Source, includ­ing this week’s com­modi­ties update, click here.

  • The Source: March 4, 2020

    For the next few weeks, we will be post­ing the PRO*ACT Mar­ket Report in place of our usual Gen­eral Pro­duce version.

    To read the full issue of The Source, includ­ing this week’s com­modi­ties update, click here.

  • Tran­si­tions

    A 300 mile radius, or less, to define locally grown may not mat­ter much to those that are able to pick straight from a hoop house out back every­day.

    That real­ity doesn’t exists for most fresh pro­duce cus­tomers.

    For three sea­sons out of the year, regional grow­ers make it easy for us to scratch our local itch. That fourth sea­son is tougher to rely on for close to home grown.

    Liv­ing in the mid-​west, or other cold belt states, poses real chal­lenges for sourc­ing fresh pro­duce from inside the USA dur­ing win­ter.

    Cal­i­for­nia, Ari­zona and Florida man­age to eek out a fair amount of crop pro­duc­tion through the dead of win­ter. The desert regions (Yuma and Huron) do the heavy lift­ing for Ari­zona and Cal­i­for­nia let­tuce and wet veg­etable production.
  • Wed­ded Bliss

    Sum­mer wed­dings take on a spe­cial glow given the venue selected. The happy cou­ple go together like peas and car­rots.

    Those two veg­eta­bles aren’t exactly known for being sum­mer pair­ings, though For­rest Gump thinks they are still a match made in heaven.

    Corn and toma­toes, toma­toes and cucum­bers, cucum­bers with sweet red onions make solid sum­mer mar­riages.

    As chefs and cooks look to step up their weekly menu offer­ings, the best inspi­ra­tions come from avail­able, local, in-​season ingre­di­ents. Recipes, new and revived, get updated as more vari­eties of breads, cheese, oils and spices get our atten­tion.

    Suited to sum­mer pair­ings are the fruits and veg­eta­bles we see grouped together on farm­ers mar­ket tables. Green beans, sum­mer squashes, toma­toes, sweet and hot pep­pers, egg­plants, basil, mint and chives piled high tickle the cook­ing gene.

    Cre­ative ideas swirl around flat­breads and pizza, gaz­pa­cho and cold chow­ders, grilled veg­gie med­leys and chilled herbal potato sal­ads. Allow regional or global cuisines to push the direc­tion on even the most mun­dane mid­week din­ner plans. Bring sum­mer travel back to the table.
  • Win­ter Kitchen

    Gin­ger, lemon, honey and mint. Four fairly com­mon kitchen ingre­di­ents, they part­ner well as a win­ter home rem­edy for what might be ail­ing us.

    The chang­ing win­ter weather con­di­tions and con­stant fluc­tu­a­tion in tem­per­a­tures taxes our resis­tance to catch­ing a cold or the flu.

    Immu­nity lev­els tend to dip in colder months. Con­fined to indoor envi­ron­ments, expo­sure to other human’s cough­ing, sneez­ing and wheez­ing puts us at higher risk for those nasty germs and viruses.

    Calm jan­gled nerves and sup­press early symp­toms by get­ting into the kitchen. OTC in the pantry means some­thing alto­gether dif­fer­ent from the vast over the counter drug­store nasal, throat and body ache solu­tions.

    Stay­ing hydrated and flush­ing out the sys­tem with avail­able fresh herbs, fruits and veg­eta­bles puts the home phar­macy at our fingertips.
  • Year of the Dog

    The Spring Fes­ti­val known as Lunar or Chi­nese New Year offi­cially begins on Feb­ru­ary 16th and cul­mi­nate on March sec­ond with the Lantern Fes­ti­val.

    Cel­e­brated in a vari­ety of cul­tures and coun­tries — includ­ing China, Japan, Korea, and Viet­nam — fam­i­lies will gather around a reunion table to honor mul­ti­ple gen­er­a­tions.

    Lucky foods are served dur­ing the 16-​day fes­ti­val sea­son, espe­cially New Year’s Eve. This most impor­tant meal is believed to bring good luck for the com­ing year. The sym­bol­ism of these foods is based on their pro­nun­ci­a­tions or appear­ance.

    Sym­bolic foods such as fish (pros­per­ity and sur­plus), dumplings and spring rolls (wealth) and cit­rus (health and full­ness) are read­ily shared along with other fine del­i­ca­cies.

    Not only do the dishes them­selves mat­ter, but so does the man­ner of the prepa­ra­tion, the ways of serv­ing and the eat­ing of them. Spring onion pan­cakes, noo­dle dishes and Jai (veg­e­tar­ian stew) are easy to get behind.
  • Young Coconuts


    David John intro­duces young coconuts and shows us what to do with them (it’ll impress your fam­ily and friends!)