Fresh News



Thanks­giv­ing left­overs are a bet for at least one good sand­wich or warm plate of com­fort post hol­i­day feast.

If soups, sal­ads and sides don’t lend a cer­tain kitchen inspi­ra­tion to the day after foods, rethink the approach.

A few sim­ple fresh ingre­di­ents will ignite a spark to the dol­drums of those glass dishes stacked in the fridge.

Intro­duce gin­ger root, cilantro, edamame and shi­take mush­rooms for a boost of fla­vor to any bowl of Asian noo­dles or rice dish. Spice it up with chili pep­per paste (kochu­jang) or chili pep­per flakes (kochukaru).

Fresh herbs like basil, mint and Ital­ian pars­ley boost taste buds with a dif­fer­ent take to cold sal­ads. Tar­ragon or baby dill move things in an alto­gether new direc­tion.

Peas, arti­choke hearts and fen­nel bulbs and fronds add more than just bright green­ery. Allow the dis­tinc­tive tex­tures and extra­or­di­nary fla­vors to sur­prise the palette. It’s not grandma’s turkey salad if wal­nuts, apple chunks and curry pow­der get folded in to the mix.

Read more: Deja Food →

As Thanks­giv­ing table set­tings get arranged, include a mind­set of grat­i­tude that will hold past this sin­gle day of appre­ci­a­tion.

From hur­ri­canes to wild­fires, epic nat­ural dis­as­ters dis­rupted and rede­fined the lives of thou­sands. Many of those recently touched by dev­as­tat­ing events, find rea­son to give thanks.

Indi­vid­u­als with a solid foun­da­tion of home, fam­ily, friends and employ­ment have much to cel­e­brate.

Grate­ful­ness is not a one-​time thought, deed or acknowl­edge­ment. It’s an ongo­ing process and prac­tice. It cre­ates new chan­nels of pos­si­bil­ity and oppor­tu­nity. It touches love, friend­ship, ser­vice and our human­ity.

In the dark­est of times, there is often some good to be found. Explore what might be at the core of any life alter­ing event. Com­mu­nity is often an abun­dant source of sup­port and strength. Com­mon Unity is a wel­comed by-​product of dis­as­ter.

Through­out the Amer­i­can his­tory, reli­gious lead­ers, polit­i­cal fig­ures, and pres­i­dents have called for national hol­i­days to express grat­i­tude and thank­ful­ness to God.

Read more: Set the Table →

Far too often, lack of care or inex­pe­ri­ence col­lide with pos­i­tive con­sumer encoun­ters. That clash adversely affects fresh fruits and veg­eta­bles.

Prod­uct qual­ity and prod­uct con­di­tion are two sep­a­rate issues. How we han­dle fresh pro­duce can def­i­nitely impact the lat­ter.

Care­ful han­dling will max­i­mize fresh­ness, and add to shelf life or serv­ing appear­ance. It makes sense then that mis­han­dling is counter pro­tect­ing the inven­tory and in-​stock items.

The influx of new employ­ees through­out the food indus­try requires train­ing and coach­ing on the sub­ject of han­dling. Proper receiv­ing is the first step in main­tain­ing good qual­ity stan­dards.

Observ­ing clean­li­ness of truck trail­ers, inte­rior vehi­cle tem­per­a­tures and neat and straight pal­let stacks are a few signs that a deliv­ery is accept­able. Look for car­tons or cases that have not been split open or torn.

Cold chain pro­to­cols are impor­tant year round. As we approach cooler sea­sons, chances are that pro­duce is trav­el­ling to us from far­ther away places. Keep­ing prod­uct in best tem­per­a­ture ranges is crit­i­cal to longevity. This goes for every­thing from berries to zucchini.

Read more: Han­dle with Care →

Good advice comes to us in numer­ous ways. The recent Pro­duce Mar­ket­ing Association’s Fresh Sum­mit event in Orlando was one of those most pecu­liar chan­nels.

Future Hall of Fame quar­ter­back Pey­ton Man­ning addressed atten­dees at a morn­ing break­fast ses­sion.

Foot­ball fan, or not, his mes­sage res­onated with those for­tu­nate enough to wit­ness his humil­ity, insight and humor. He shared the guid­ance his own father, famed NFL quar­ter­back Archie Man­ning, gave him.

“Reset to zero” is the coun­sel he received from his pops when fac­ing a loss, set­back or any type of adver­sity. This mes­sage is one that keeps replay­ing weeks after Peyton’s PMA’s morn­ing break­fast talk.

Win­ning out­comes require dis­ci­pline and prepa­ra­tion. To hear him tell it, no one stays the same. One either gets bet­ter or worse. Decide each day on goals of con­tin­u­ous improvement.

Read more: Reset to Zero →

A sym­bol of pros­per­ity and abun­dance, exquis­ite pome­gran­ates have long been cher­ished for their beauty, ben­e­fits and unique taste.

The ruby red bulbs are dif­fi­cult to resist as they begin to appear in our fall mar­ket­place.

In North Amer­ica, pome­gran­ates have tra­di­tion­ally only been avail­able from around Octo­ber through Jan­u­ary.

Con­sumer demand has called on sup­pli­ers to import fruit from the south­ern hemi­sphere dur­ing the off-​season. This means, pom arils (the edi­ble inter­nal seed) has become a year-​round jewel for sal­ads, dips, baked goods and out of hand eat­ing.

The delight­ful, sweet-​tart crunchy seeds perk up nearly any plate with their sassy color and burst of tangy juice. This is real party food for adults, turn­ing the ordi­nary in to a fes­tive occasion.

Read more: Pom Power →

Eat­ing low carb or look­ing for ways to shake up the daily menu? Veg­eta­bles will then play a key role.

Not all veg­eta­bles have the same impact when there is a com­mit­ment to reduce sugar intake.

As much as we may love them, starchy veg­eta­bles are the ones to be avoided. This includes pota­toes, peas, corn, yams, beans and legumes.

Best to savor those for spe­cial occa­sions or splurges. Car­rots, some win­ter squashes and even onions should also be con­sumed in mod­er­a­tion on a keto­genic diet.

There are plenty of other great tast­ing, ver­sa­tile veg­gies to work into the daily mix. Nutri­ent dense, dark, leafy greens like spinach and kale top the list. They leap from sal­ads to omelets and power up protein-​rich smoothies.

Read more: Keto Sabe →

When it comes to culi­nary charisma or dec­o­ra­tive charm, not all pump­kins are cre­ated equal.

A trip to a local pump­kin patch will excite even the most senior pumpkin-​picker-​outers.

Heir­loom vari­eties of this win­ter squash give every­one rea­son to find a new fall favorite.

Orange is def­i­nitely not the only color in the box, though var­i­ous shades of orange run the full spec­trum. Unusual mark­ings and tex­tures, enchant­ing names and inter­est­ing shapes open pump­kin pos­si­bil­i­ties for cre­ative décor and dis­plays.

Old school vari­etals break the mold on tra­di­tional orange orbs. Cool col­ors like salmon, white, blue, gray and green bring much more inter­est to the field. Bumps, stripes, streaks and warts give curios­ity a sat­is­fac­tory platform.

Read more: Kin Folk →

Giv­ing back is good. We believe in local farm­ing and we believe that sup­port­ing grow­ers in our com­mu­ni­ties is the best way to ensure a future for food.

Cul­ti­vat­ing Change, the Greener Fields Together local farm grant pro­gram, aims to fund projects that will help local farm­ers do what they’re best at, farming.

Grant amounts up to $30,000 will be funded on an annual basis to qual­i­fy­ing grow­ers through an online vot­ing plat­form and peer review panel.

Cul­ti­vat­ing Change grants are open to all local farm­ers and aggre­ga­tors where pro­duce pro­duc­tion or aggre­ga­tion makes up at least fifty per­cent of their busi­ness. All appli­cants will be eli­gi­ble to par­tic­i­pate in the pop­u­lar vote por­tion of the con­test and only Greener Fields Together local farms will be eli­gi­ble to win by panel review.

All appli­cants must use grant money for the pur­pose spec­i­fied on their appli­ca­tion, share project results, and if selected, agree to the usage of their name and like­ness in mar­ket­ing and pub­lic rela­tions collateral.

Read more: Cul­ti­vat­ing Change →

Tail­gat­ing Sea­son is well under­way. This great Amer­i­can tra­di­tion has moved to higher ground where food and sports take the field together.

Sim­pler times called for pedes­trian sand­wiches, potato chips and cold drinks tossed into a tote bag. Move over Rover.

Tail­gat­ing has become a lively, con­vivial event with a life of its own. This portable party binds game day good eats with an oppor­tu­nity for social­iz­ing with friends and other fans.

The menu may be a bit more high art than high brow. Bring the gear and appetites for a day long feast. Game day? We’ve got you covered.

Sips & Drinks: Go with cool quenchers for those Indian Sum­mer days to hot tod­dies for chill­ier ones around the cor­ner. Fresh cut mel­ons, cel­ery, cucum­bers and cit­rus deliver for bev­er­age gar­nishes. Dress up apple cider with spices, pear slices or even cran­ber­ries. Cheers to fresh lemon­grass or rose­mary skew­ers adding more drama to cock­tail bars.

Read more: Game On! →

A few crisp days strung together and sweat­shirts get pulled out of the closet. So too, do the recipes we love that cel­e­brate fall.

Ingre­di­ents begin to shift and the land­scape changes in the mar­ket­place. There is more to autumn days than pump­kin spice and pump­kin lattes.

Apples and pears are now being har­vested. It seems impos­si­ble, but true, new vari­eties seem to appear each year. Ver­sa­til­ity finds them a role in starters, sal­ads, entrees and desserts. Savory to sweet, scout out a fall favorite to switch up main menu plan­ning and lunchtime snacks.

Tex­ture and taste give apples and pears the green light for pair­ing with cheeses, nuts, fresh greens and other part­ners. Both fruits com­pli­ment meat dishes and offer veg­e­tar­ian swaps in grain, pasta and rice prepa­ra­tions.

Figs, pome­gran­ates and per­sim­mons are sig­na­ture fruits that fol­low apples and pears . They like that lit­tle cold snap that fol­lows hot weather. Cran­ber­ries will make an appear­ance by the end Sep­tem­ber. Once they debut, kiss sum­mer goodbye.

Read more: Beyond Pump­kin Spice →

Anthony Bourdain’s indeli­ble mark is as large as the void cre­ated by his absence. Three months after his unex­pected death, the food world still mourns.

Shar­ing meals has the abil­ity to bring peo­ple closer together. Anthony’s tal­ent was in show­cas­ing cul­tural diver­sity with­out judg­ment.

It may be impos­si­ble to quite fill the hal­lowed ground trav­elled by “Parts Unknown”, the CNN series that took us across the nation and around the world. The human con­di­tion was com­monly explored in every episode.

Pol­i­tics and cui­sine fre­quently inter­sect. There are any num­ber of issues related to food that push farm­ers, restau­rants, retail­ers and con­sumers to higher ground and social advo­cacy.

Sus­tain­abil­ity through grow­ing prac­tices, water usage, land preser­va­tion, labor prac­tices, immi­gra­tion pol­icy and food safety all impact our food sys­tem. Being informed on all such mat­ters is the tough part.

Sto­ry­telling is dif­fer­ent from relay­ing mere facts and fig­ures. The why and how of some­thing being done car­ries an under­stand­ing of prac­tice. Ask­ing ques­tions and wait­ing for the answers is a way to cul­ti­vate more than a script.

Read more: Parts Unknown →

Zuc­chini is deli­cious on its own. Sim­ply grill and serve as a side with a driz­zle of olive oil. Add a shake or two of salt and pep­per. Zuc­chini per­fec­tion.

That’s one rea­son­able way to approach this pro­lific sum­mer veg­etable when we have only a cou­ple of these lit­tle green ras­cals to con­tem­plate.

Since the beloved squash is so com­pat­i­ble with other fresh pro­duce items (toma­toes, egg­plant, mush­rooms, etc.) we’ve learned to marry it in dishes like rata­touille, frit­tatas and soups.

The case for Ital­ian squash abun­dance needs con­sid­er­a­tion. Between home gar­dens, farm­ers mar­kets and local farm pro­duc­tion, the mar­ket gets sat­u­rated with late sum­mer zuc­chini.

Good then that inven­tive­ness is hard at work on the zuc­chini project. A bumper squash crop inspires swap outs in dishes that typ­i­cally call for higher carb ingre­di­ents like pasta, rice, tor­tillas and breads.

Read more: Zuc­chini Project →

Well over 100 apple vari­eties are com­mer­cially grown in the United States. For nearly five decades, red deli­cious apples were the con­sumer favorite.

This year, title of con­sumer favorite will now go to the Gala apple instead of red deli­cious, which falls to the num­ber two spot.

Apple grow­ers are tend­ing to grow more of the newer vari­eties as a reflec­tion of chang­ing con­sumer tastes. Gala apple pro­duc­tion is expected to grow almost six per­cent above last year.

Taste, tex­ture and sweet­ness account for surg­ing gala apple pop­u­lar­ity. This out of hand fresh treat hits the mark on all cri­te­ria.

Until the 1970s, Amer­i­cans had only a few choices of apples. Golden Deli­cious offered a color con­trast and Granny Smith brought tart­ness to the table. The iconic Red Deli­cious was the shin­ing star and heav­ily pro­moted by Wash­ing­ton state growers.

Read more: Move Over Red →

Every seg­ment of the pro­duce indus­try is pre­sented with sig­nif­i­cant and unique labor chal­lenges.

From farm­ing and pack­ing oper­a­tions to dis­tri­b­u­tion com­pa­nies, and food­ser­vice oper­a­tors (schools, and restau­rants) to retail gro­cers — hav­ing enough of the right kind of work­ers is a con­stant work in progress and strug­gle.

Labor sav­ing inno­va­tions are widely accepted when costs and engi­neer­ing make pos­si­ble new ways to pro­vide fresh fruits and veg­eta­bles to con­sumers. Chef ready and con­sumer ready value added prod­ucts take time and energy out of the food prepa­ra­tion equa­tion.

As Amer­i­cans enjoy the last of summer’s ripe peaches, mel­ons and toma­toes, Labor Day looms. Farm­ers share the worry of hav­ing enough hands to pick and har­vest pep­pers, cucum­bers, straw­ber­ries, apples and pears.

Mech­a­niza­tion and tech­nol­ogy con­tinue to advance all aspects of grow­ing. While machines have replaced human hands for a lot of farm jobs, many fruit, veg­etable and nut farm­ers still rely heav­ily on peo­ple to plant, main­tain and har­vest their crops.

Read more: Hand Work →

A Mediter­ranean diet incor­po­rates the basics of healthy eat­ing — plus a splash of fla­vor­ful olive oil and per­haps a glass of red wine.

Touted as one of the health­i­est ways to eat, this tra­di­tional cook­ing style of coun­tries bor­der­ing the Mediter­ranean Sea is more a way of life than pre­scrip­tion for a diet reg­i­men.

Key com­po­nents on the Med menu are fresh fruits and veg­eta­bles, fish, whole grains, fresh herbs, beans and lim­its to any unhealthy fats.

Red meat is more rarely con­sumed and poul­try, eggs, cheese, and yogurt only in mod­er­a­tion. Processed foods, refined grains and sug­ary bev­er­ages are avoided.

What needs to be con­sid­ered is how inte­grated diet and lifestyle are woven together. Eat­ing any meal is an event. Meals are shared with fam­ily and friends and peo­ple take their time to enjoy every bite.

Read more: Club Med →

There has been a resur­gence of Cal­i­for­nia gar­lic, both in con­sumer demand and also in pro­duc­tion. The 2018 Cal­i­for­nia gar­lic crop will heighten that trend.

Christo­pher Ranch, California’s largest gar­lic sup­plier, reports fan­tas­tic pro­duc­tion lev­els this year, the likes of which have not been seen in years. Great news for gar­lic lovers.

Ken Christo­pher, Exec­u­tive Vice Pres­i­dent for the com­pany, announced their fore­cast this sea­son to be about 100 mil­lion pounds of gar­lic.

“Demand for organic gar­lic has been explo­sive and it is the fastest-​growing busi­ness seg­ment”, Ken Christo­pher said.

The com­pany har­vested 5 mil­lion pounds of organic gar­lic last year and expect to har­vest 10 mil­lion pounds of organic gar­lic in 2018. By far, this is the biggest organic crop ever for Christo­pher Ranch. This will be the first year they are expected to have a 100 per­cent Cal­i­for­nia organic program.

Read more: Bumper Crop →

Music venues and out­door con­certs get a lot of traf­fic all sum­mer long. Indi­vid­ual tastes run the spec­trum from rock, blues and coun­try to reg­gae, pop and rap.

Clas­si­cal sum­mer choices fea­ture Mozart and Bach. If sym­phonies and operas don’t res­onate, try a dif­fer­ent type of sum­mer jam.

Peak of sea­son fruits beg for pre­serv­ing in some fash­ion. We can’t eat it all no mat­ter how hard we try. Jams, jel­lies, com­potes and mar­malades allow the essence of sum­mer to be cel­e­brated in a jar.

Sin­gle small batched jams can be achieved in a short period of time, mak­ing the process rel­a­tively pain­less. In just an hour of invest­ment, fruit can be trans­formed in to a mag­nif­i­cent jarred treat.

Like most other food endeav­ors, we get out of it what we put in to it. Qual­ity going in means qual­ity in the jar. Pick or pur­chase high-​quality fruit at its peak for fla­vor, tex­ture, and color. Skip mushy, over­ripe, and dis­eased fruit.

Read more: Sum­mer Jams →

Nes­tled between Mount Dia­blo and the Sacramento-​San Joaquin Delta in the East Bay, Brent­wood, Cal­i­for­nia is renowned for grow­ing excep­tional fresh mar­ket pro­duce.

In par­tic­u­lar, sum­mer cher­ries, peaches and delec­table sweet corn are what local mar­kets and chefs cel­e­brate.

Hot Cen­tral Val­ley days and cool, off-​shore breezes at night make it the per­fect loca­tion for grow­ing sweet corn.

The cobs are picked dur­ing the early milk stage of ker­nel matu­rity, when sugar con­tent and mois­ture lev­els are high. This is in con­trast to field corn, which is har­vested in the dry, starchy dent stage. Over the last cen­tury, sweet corn pro­duc­tion in the U.S. has increased as farm­ers and geneti­cists have devel­oped hardier and sweeter vari­eties.

To clar­ify, most of the corn grown in the United States is the com­mod­ity crop known as field corn. It is used as ani­mal feed, ethanol, whiskey and goes into all kinds of processed foods and food ingre­di­ents. High-​fructose corn syrup, corn starch, and corn oil.

Read more: Brent­wood Diamonds →

What’s a sip of mojito or slice of key lime pie with­out the bright­ness of fresh lime juice? Lack­ing for starters.

Lucky then that limes are avail­able year round to impart their aro­matic, tangy good­ness.

Under­stand­ing the vari­etal dif­fer­ences in limes might be use­ful for the best choices in culi­nary appli­ca­tions.

Although there are other cit­rus species that are referred to as “limes”, the Per­sian lime is the most widely cul­ti­vated lime species com­mer­cially grown. It accounts for the largest share of the fruits sold as limes.

Extremely fla­vor­ful, Per­sian limes are a key ingre­di­ent in regional cuisines world­wide. Also known as Tahit­ian or Bearss, Per­sian limes deliver an intensely tart fla­vor to your dishes and cock­tails. Typ­i­cally sold while still dark green, they become light green to a mild yel­low as they ripen.

Read more: Sub­lime Times →

Cal­i­for­nia pear farm­ing areas are arguably in some of the most desir­able and beau­ti­ful places in the state.

The beauty of his­toric pear orchards con­tributes sig­nif­i­cantly to the appeal of com­mu­ni­ties such as Court­land and Clarks­burg, located in the Sacra­mento River Delta grow­ing region.

Lake­port and Kelseyville rep­re­sent the Lake County pear grow­ing dis­trict. Ukiah, in the Men­do­cino grow­ing dis­trict, rounds out the real estate.

Together these grow­ing areas pro­duce approx­i­mately 150,000 tons of pears each year. The vol­ume of pears pro­duced in Cal­i­for­nia has declined in recent years, as has the num­ber of pear farm­ers.

Even so, the Cal­i­for­nia pear indus­try remains a lead­ing sup­plier of pears to the world.

Read more: Cal­i­for­nia Pears →

Any kind of sum­mer sur­plus should be met with com­plete culi­nary abandonment.

Fresh herbs in par­tic­u­lar have a way of ele­vat­ing most cre­ations. Don’t let their sheer abun­dance go to waste.

Trans­form those “tried and true” old dishes into some­thing extra­or­di­nary. Herbs have an unfor­get­table bright­ness that cat­a­pults ho-​hum up to OMG!

Clas­sic sal­ads are reju­ve­nated with an addi­tion of chopped green herbs. Cilantro, mint and Ital­ian pars­ley perk up any green, pasta or potato salad. Com­bine a cou­ple to deliver a new take on favored Cae­sar, Cobb and Chopped versions.

Herbed but­ters and herb-​infused oils are largely irre­sistible with grilled meats and veg­eta­bles. Finely minced tar­ragon, pars­ley, oregano or basil beg for a chance with soft­ened but­ter and gar­lic for breads, pasta, seafood and fish.

Read more: “Dilly, Dilly“ →

Steamy sum­mer days make it tough to stay cool. Stay­ing hydrated is another mat­ter altogether.

Drink­ing enough water or other flu­ids is a tall order for some. It can require a delib­er­ate action plan. This is par­tic­u­larly true when it comes to seniors, chil­dren and athletes.

Ade­quate hydra­tion can pre­vent cramps, heat exhaus­tion, dizzi­ness, low blood pres­sure and heat stroke.

The aver­age per­son can lose as many as ten cups of fluid from daily activ­i­ties and exer­cise. This may be stag­ger­ing on extremely hot days with severe con­se­quences. Fre­quent hydra­tion is essential.

There are plenty of tricks to boost smart hydra­tion. Visual cues are help­ful reminders to stay replen­ished through­out the day. Set up a hydra­tion sta­tion in plain sight.

Read more: Hydra­tion Station →

Whether your busi­ness is a top notch retail store or a casual café, upscale restau­rant or busy hotel, chances are, “we’re hir­ing” signs are posted.

Hir­ing now and no expe­ri­ence nec­es­sary are vis­i­ble every­where. Labor con­tin­ues to be the Achillis’ heel for all seg­ments of the food indus­try.

Cus­tomers recently viewed a dis­claimer at a local fast-​casual food estab­lish­ment. A sign on the door effec­tively apol­o­gizes for expected slow ser­vice. They go on to explain they are not fully staffed to prop­erly serve the patrons. Ouch!

Since 2012, the United States has been on an employ­ment hot streak. 2017 saw a 4.1 per­cent unem­ploy­ment rate, down con­sid­er­ably from a recent high of 10 per­cent in 2009.

Con­nect­ing with the right indi­vid­u­als for those unfilled posi­tions is a head scratcher. Job fairs, social media and incen­tivized recruit­ment are all part of the new hir­ing drill.

Read more: Now Hiring →

Vaca­tion­ers will take to the skies in record num­bers this sum­mer. Air travel can be very stress­ful with TSA check­points and man­ag­ing per­sonal affects.

Feel­ing good at the end of a flight may depend on how well and what we eat and drink inside the air­port ter­mi­nal.

Hydra­tion is essen­tial to hav­ing a good travel expe­ri­ence. Bring a portable water bot­tle to be filled once inside secu­rity clear­ance or pur­chase bot­tled water at ven­dor loca­tions. Drink up!

Avoid bev­er­ages known to upset the tummy. Too much cof­fee, alco­hol or orange juice will bother most peo­ple. Order more sooth­ing drinks like club soda or herbal teas.

Fruits like berries, pineap­ple, can­taloupe, cucum­bers and water­melon con­tain a high per­cent­age of water.

Read more: Air Fare →

Sure, there are more ways than one to accom­plish any given task. Or cut a melon, pineap­ple or mango.

When ama­teur knife skills clash with more expert tech­niques, there is a lot to be learned.

Any­one can wield a knife blade. Exact­ing just the right cuts to extract every bit of fruit with­out waste can be tricky. Doing so safely is yet another feat.

Round-​shaped fruits are espe­cially unruly. Pic­ture a large can­taloupe or hon­ey­dew melon rolling around the coun­ter­top. There is a ten­dency to judo chop it dead cen­ter to stop that action.

Deft hands will exer­cise patience and exe­cute a plan.

One clever move is to first cut both ends of the melon off. This cre­ates a flat base on which to stand the melon on end.

Read more: Mak­ing the Cut →

Apples and oranges are great.

No one refutes their solid nutri­tional value or culi­nary ver­sa­til­ity.

By the time June rolls around, it’s time to mix things up in the fruit depart­ment. We crave the taste of sum­mer in all its stone fruit and berry glory.

Every trip to the gro­cer or farm­ers mar­ket is a delib­er­ate pur­suit for what’s new in the sea­son.

Early Cal­i­for­nia cher­ries have found their way to the stands. The sea­son looks to be a short and sweet one with a lim­ited crop this year. North­west cher­ries will quickly fol­low. No need to pout with Rainiers and red vari­eties like Chelan, Teiton and Bings rushed to mar­ket upon harvest.

Read more: Bare Fruited →

Amer­i­cans have a seri­ous love affair with snack­ing. Those of a cer­tain age might still define a snack as a quick mid­day grab for a Snick­ers bar or bag of potato chips.

Tra­di­tional daily eat­ing pat­terns are built around three “square and struc­tured” meals. Snacks were sup­ple­men­tal to those three squares.

This behav­ior is yield­ing to more mod­ern eat­ing styles char­ac­ter­ized by fre­quent snack­ing. These snack­ing events occur in a more unsys­tem­atic way and varies from per­son to per­son.

Snack­ing used to be about diver­sion, fun and indulging in food crav­ings. There is a shift toward health, well­ness, fresh and pre­mium snack foods.

Plea­sure is still a com­po­nent to snack­ing, but so are nour­ish­ment, opti­miza­tion and convenience.

Read more: Snack Happy →

The Blos­som Hill orchards are located in Pat­ter­son, Cal­i­for­nia. Some sug­gest this loca­tion to be the world’s best apricot-​growing region.

Lucich — San­tos Farms have been family-​owned for more than 90 years. For over 35 years, they’ve devel­oped exper­tise in grow­ing, pack­ing and ship­ping Cal­i­for­nia apri­cots and apri­ums under the Blos­som Hill Orchard name.

Four gen­er­a­tions over­see the daily oper­a­tions. Their over­ar­ch­ing goal is to pro­vide cus­tomers with the best eat­ing, sweet­est, juicy apri­cots.

Jim Lucich, sales rep­re­sen­ta­tive for Blos­som Hill, said the 2018 crop in Pat­ter­son is lighter than usual. Weather played a part with the crop set. Chill hours were lower than needed, and some cold and rain that came after the bloom had an effect on the crop.

The com­pany grows its apri­cots in a sustainable-​minded envi­ron­ment. Lucich and San­tos Farms and Blos­som Hill Packing’s objec­tive is to pro­duce pre­mium deli­cious fruit with food safety in mind.

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There are ten cel­e­brated national hol­i­days in the United States, so named by con­gress. After those stayed hol­i­days, peti­tions get intro­duced to local, state and national offi­cials for com­mem­o­rat­ing other wor­thy days.

Fewer than 150 are granted in an aver­age year, across all cat­e­gories, by the pres­i­dent of the United States. Still oth­ers get invoked at a more local level procla­ma­tion.

Even so, that still gives us every­thing from National Pome­gran­ate Month and National Cherry or Pecan Pie Day to draw atten­tion to the pro­duce indus­try and ingre­di­ents wor­thy of a food hol­i­day.

How­ever man­u­fac­tured, some of the food related hol­i­days make per­fect sense. National Bar­be­cue Day and National Ham­burger Day coin­cide with the upcom­ing Memo­r­ial Day Hol­i­day week­end.

For most of the coun­try, Memo­r­ial Day week­end launches the sum­mer out­door cook­ing sea­son. We build mem­o­ries around shar­ing food and cre­at­ing food events in more casual environment.

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Food safety risks may be reduced on the farm by fol­low­ing good agri­cul­tural prac­tices (GAPs).

GAPs help grow­ers under­stand the prac­tices and risks asso­ci­ated with their farm. They help iden­tify prac­ti­cal ways to reduce the risk of con­t­a­m­i­nat­ing pro­duce being grown, har­vested and packed.

There is no such thing as zero-​risk, but prac­tices and steps need to be in place on farms to min­i­mize any poten­tial risk of con­t­a­m­i­na­tion. Although the com­mon prin­ci­ples of GAPs don’t change from farm to farm, each GAP is unique, as every grower does things dif­fer­ently.

GAPs focus on assess­ing the risk in five key areas:
Water
Manure/​Compost and Soil Amend­ments
Land Use (Previous/​Adjacent) and Ani­mal Access (Domestic/​Wildlife)
Equip­ment, Tools & Build­ings
Employee Health & Hygiene

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