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.

Read more: Marmelada →

Decem­ber hol­i­days beg for some décor that is fresh and nat­u­rally fra­grant to com­bat the assault of plas­tic, glit­ter all things arti­fi­cial.

Yule­tide cheer has evolved from past tra­di­tions into mod­ern day dec­o­ra­tions using ever­greens, berries, fruits and lights.

Gar­lands, wreaths and can­dles were once the only sure thing when it comes to door­ways and man­tels.

The sig­nif­i­cance of a wreath, sym­bol­iz­ing ever­last­ing life, goes back to ancient Greek and Roman times.

A renewed approach to fresh arrange­ments main­tains mean­ing to the com­po­nents. Con­tem­po­rary designs appeal to a much broader con­sumer base.

Read more: Greens & Berries →

Mar­ket­place trends are hot top­ics for dis­cus­sion when lean­ing in on the fresh pro­duce busi­ness.

Sim­i­lar to other indus­tries where mov­ing prod­ucts from “Point A to Point B” is nec­es­sary, the fac­tor of trans­porta­tion is crit­i­cal to agri­cul­ture.

So much is hap­pen­ing in the truck­ing indus­try right now, that it is a chal­lenge just to keep up with activ­ity. Con­vey­ing the impact of truck­ing to fresh mar­ket stake­hold­ers is another mat­ter alto­gether.

Tech­nol­ogy advance­ments, new reg­u­la­tory require­ments, dri­ver short­ages, increases in freight rates and dete­ri­o­rat­ing high­ways are top of mind for all truck­ing com­pa­nies and dri­vers.

Start­ing on Decem­ber 18th of this year, the com­pli­ance phase of the ELD (Elec­tronic Log­ging Device) man­date begins as dri­vers and fleets must start using Fed­eral Motor Car­rier Safety Admin­is­tra­tion (FMSCA) approved ELDs in their vehicles.

Read more: Keep on Truckin’ →

A ran­dom sur­plus of sea­sonal veg­eta­bles may pose a prob­lem worth solv­ing.

Com­ing out of a flush hol­i­day pantry or work­ing through a fat CSA box, par­tic­u­larly with seem­ingly incom­pat­i­ble or unusual fresh ingre­di­ents, may trip us up at first.

Take a sec­ond look at what there is to work with in the kitchen. Fen­nel, cele­riac and but­ter­cup squash…then what?

After a bit of head scratch­ing, turn to an inter­net search for a blog post spout­ing the ben­e­fits of that pecu­liar ingre­di­ent. A recipe pos­si­bil­ity is cer­tain to fol­low.

A wide spec­trum of menu options will be pre­sented. Decide first on which meal solu­tion to tackle. Break­fast, lunch or din­ner? Snack or appe­tizer? That answer will clear a path to the next hur­dle.

Cooked or served raw will be the next line to cross. Var­i­ous cook­ing meth­ods will pro­duce com­pletely dif­fer­ent tastes and tex­tures. Com­pare a crisp, crunchy car­rot to that of one, moist and soft, roasted in a hot oven.

Roast­ing ver­sus grilling pro­duces dif­fer­ent results. Sautéing ver­sus pan fried yields takes it in yet another direc­tion.

The pop­u­lar­ity of fresh pick­les lends itself to con­vert­ing some of these more obscure veg­gies.

Thinly shaved, juli­enned and whole items brined or soaked with sweet and sour spices make for good snack­ing and gift giving.

Read more: A Mixed Bag →

It could very well be a savory pear tart. Or a car­rot souf­flé or even a Brus­sels sprouts Cae­sar salad with pecans that starts a hol­i­day dis­pute.

A seem­ingly nice sur­prise and uncon­ven­tional approach to fruits and veg­eta­bles this time of year might sound per­fectly ratio­nal.

Thanks­giv­ing is a time to gather with friends and fam­ily around a table that holds mostly tra­di­tional favorite dishes.

The mere thought or sug­ges­tion of sneak­ing in a new take on a famil­iar salad, side, appe­tizer or dessert may be grounds for a fam­ily fuss.

Chances are good that if the group assem­bled at your Thanks­giv­ing table has been there year-​after-​year, the expec­ta­tion is to serve exactly those same “tried and true” dishes that have been plated before.

Read more: Savory Pear Tart →

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.

Read more: Soup Vitality →