Co-op News & Events

 

Events

 


September 21-23
Big 10 Owner Appreciation Discount Days

 

October 21
Annual Meeting 

 

 

Holiday Catering Tasting
November 23 / 12pm - 3pm

 

10% Off Bulk Days

December 6-8

Big 10 Owner Discount Days

December 20-22

 

 

 

 

Produce Notes: October 23, 2019

The heat is not letting up, but we’re willing in the crisp fall weather by filling this week’s Fresh Deals with all the organic produce you'll need to test run your favorite Thanksgiving dishes. 

One of our most sought after and talked about apples, Ambrosias are back! Ambrosia apples are sweet yet subtle, crunchy and aromatic -  sure to please any discerning apple aficionado. Believed to be a cross of a Jonagold and Golden Delicious, Ambrosias are divine on their own and also they also compliment both sweet and savory preparations.

Persimmons are here, in season and ripe for chomping.  Eat Fuyus when firm like an apple, and Hachiyas when they’re soft and mushy - best scooped with a spoon. Try eating an unripe Hachiya once and we promise you’ll never make that mistake again! Persimmons are a great source of vitamin A and fiber. 

We’ve extended our super pricing on organic pomegranates and avocados (4 for $5) this week. Pomegranates are packed with vitamin C, polyphenol antioxidants and are superior to most fruits when it comes to antioxidant count. For a festive holiday salsa, combine pomegranate seeds with chunked avocado, cilantro, lime and salt. Watch as your guest devour it and then rave about your culinary skills. 

Our 20% off Organic Produce sale is on for the weekend. Starting on Friday, owners get a 20% additional discount on all of our organic produce. Our produce aisles are filled with the warm autumnal colors of the season - and we'd love to see your Co-op bounty. Tag us @coopportunitymarketdeli on Instagram or Facebook!

Produce Notes: October 10, 2019

It’s pumpkins, pumpkins, and more pumpkins. The Co-op is bursting at the seams with pumpkins of all types. Grab one, or a few - they’re an easy way to put a smile on your face. If you carve your Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins early, you can slow down the rot and mold (and maybe even get them to trick-or-treat) with this simple hack: combine 5 drops peppermint and 1 cup water in a spray bottle. Spray inside and out of to keep them fresh.

Leading up to Halloween, the weirder the better - and our organic Heirloom pumpkins’ are our autumnal show-stoppers. With their muted colors and perfectly imperfect lines, these unique pumpkins are works of art. No carving needed. 

As our Super Fresh Deal, farm fresh Honey Crisp Apples are hard to resist. Perfectly sweet, tart and crisp beauties are here and tasting sublime, so enjoy while in season. Have a taste of our Honeycrisps this Saturday, October 12, at our booth at the Culver City Art's District Walk and Roll!


October is full of seasonal, abundant, versatile and economical food choices. And this week, we’re bringing the harvest to you as we highlight all types of gourd-geous local, organic squashes. Even though squash is botanically a fruit, most people think of squash as a vegetable because it is usually prepared like one. Not sure what to do with the many varieties? Here are a few tips:

Spaghetti Squash is a great low-carb option to pasta. Roast whole (poke a few holes in it) and scoop out the spaghetti-like strands for a comforting and satisfying plant-based meal on it's own. 

Delicata Squash: Very sweet with edible flesh and tender skin, Delicata squash makes a perfect fall side dish alongside any entree. For a fuss-free dish that’s the perfect balance of savory and sweet - scoop out the squash's seeds and cut into ¼” slices, toss with olive oil, salt, garlic powder, and turmeric and roast in the oven at 425 degrees for 10-14 minutes.

Butternut Squash: What’s fall without this sweet and nutty staple? Rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants, Butternut is typically peeled before chopping into cubes and used in soups, stews and risottos.  

Kabocha Squash - Pumpkin’s sweeter cousin and used widely in Asia, especially Japan and Korea, this versatile squash can be roasted or steamed and used in a variety of recipes that you see other hard squashes used in.


Produce Notes: October 2, 2019

Seasonal favorite Honeycrisp Apples have returned to our Fresh Deals, this time at a Super Fresh price! Whether you snack out-of-hand, bake into pie, or cook down to a sauce, make sure to leave the skin on to reap the full nutritional value of these autumn fruit. We are in the midst of a seasonal transition while California growers begin providing apples, citrus, squash, and potato, so expect to see imported organic produce filling in the gaps. Guava and mango should be in-store soon. California tangerines might not look the prettiest, but find one that still feels heavy for its size, peel away its loose skin, and enjoy a sweetly floral delight. Bosc pears are also eating particularly well and make a nice snack “peared” with your favorite nut butter - stop by your Co-op and try out our grind-your-own nut butter stations! Extra credit if you bring (and tare!) your own jar. 

 

We are highlighting two Brassicas on our Fresh Deals: white Cauliflower and its funky cousin, Romanesco! Cauliflower has recently exploded in popularity as a veggie substitute for just about every starch (check out our frozen cauliflower crusts for your next pizza!) that happens to boast an impressive nutritional profile. Containing almost every vitamin and mineral you need, Cauliflower is also high in fiber and a good source of antioxidants. Romanesco has a similar array of benefits and a slightly more earth, broccoli-ish taste - plus the added “cool” factor of its fractal-like floret shape! Be sure not to overcook this beautiful vegetable so you can appreciate its shape and color - if you blanch your florets, be sure to shock them in cold water to retain the vibrant green hue. 

 

The real stars this week, however, are mushrooms. We may have a case of Mushroom Madness over at the Co-op, but we can’t get enough of these delectable fungi! Enjoy standard favorites like Crimini, Portabella, and White Button Mushrooms in all your favorite autumn dishes. Did you know that Crimini are just juvenile Portabellas? They’re also commonly called “Baby Bellas” for just that reason! Reach for Shiitake Mushrooms when you want a more smoky, earthy mushroom flavor. Oyster Mushrooms have a more mild, almost anise-y flavor that shines in simple preparations, while King Trumpet Mushrooms make a stunning main dish - unlike most mushroom species, the stems of King Trumpet Mushrooms are tender and edible, just be sure to trim off any tough ends before you start cooking! On the extra-special side, we also have Maitake, Bunashimeji, and Bunapi Mushrooms. Maitake (aka Hen-of-the-Woods) have a beer-like scent and firm texture, and have been used in natural healing for centuries. Bunashimeji (aka Beech or Brown Clamshell Mushrooms) are characterised by their long stems and tight caps: they should be eaten cooked, as they have a bitter taste and are difficult to digest when raw. Bunashimeji have a crisp texture and can hold up to both high temperature cooking and slow roasting. To prepare, but the base of the cluster so each mushroom is individually cute at the stem. Bunapi, rather than being a distinct species, are a trademarked mushroom that was developed from efforts to breed Bunashimeji - prepare Bunapi the way you would Bunashimeji, being sure to cook well. For more information about these speciality mushrooms, check out the website of the California-based Hokuto Corporation. Our Mushroom Madness extends to our Prepared Foods as well, so stop by the hot bar for a meal or inspiration this week! If you’ve got Mushroom Madness too, our Wellness Department hosts a wide array of mushroom supplements, and our staff are always happy to help you pick out a new product to try. 


In extra-special news, 19 flavors of your Co-op’s own organic cold-pressed juices have landed in Santa Monica as well as Culver City! Find them in our 100% USDA Organic Produce Department in Santa Monica, and please tell us what you think. With 19 flavors to choose from, you’re sure to find a winner - and if you’re a Co-op owner, purchase 10 cold-pressed juices and get one free! Please note that this offer does not apply to made-to-order juices from our Deli. Happy sipping!

Produce Notes: September 25, 2019

Welcome to autumn at the Co-op! This week’s Super Fresh Deal is on California-grown Bunched Carrots from Earthbound Farm - pick up a bunch and eat your antioxidants! Beta carotene, an antioxidant that your body converts to vitamin A, and lutein (another antioxidant) are especially important for eye health, while vitamin K1 is important for blood coagulation and can promote bone health. Remember to trim your carrot tops ASAP, as they will continue to draw from the tasty roots - reduce food waste by turning the tops into a tasty pesto, or saute them as you would any other bitter green! For a perfectly autumnal meal, pair carrots with another veggie packed with provitamin A carotenoids like beta carotene and vitamin K1 (that also happens to be on our Fresh Deals): Leeks! In addition to supporting your eye, blood, and bone health, Leeks are a good source of manganese, which may help reduce PMS symptoms. A Carrot-Leek soup with warming (and anti-inflammatory) spices like ginger is just the thing for cooler evenings. Rounding out our savory Fresh Deals are beautiful Beets! Delicious raw, juiced, roasted, steamed, or pickled, these versatile roots boast an impressive nutritional profile, including dietary nitrates, which can temporarily reduce blood pressure. 

 

In other veggie news, winter squash and gourds are coming in and looking great; stop by and check out our new Jack O Lantern Pumpkin displays at both stores! Cauliflower supply is steady, and prices have leveled off, while Broccoli and Pea supply has been tight. As we progress through the season, we will be celebrating our roots: keep an eye out for Jicama, Turnips, and Rutabaga the next time you come in! 

 

On the (slightly) sweeter side, California lemons and limes are starting up, grapes are going strong, and pears (especially Bosc pears) are looking pear-fect! Speciality fruit like jujubes, dragon fruit, and passion fruit are all looking beautiful and ready to grace your plate (or your bowl, or your glass). 

 

With Rosh Hashanah approaching, we’re highlighting Honeycrisp and Granny Smith Apples from Washington state! Great sources of fiber and vitamin C (when you eat the skin, too!), apples may not keep the doctor away but they do contain pectin (a type of fiber that helps jams and jelly set), which acts as a prebiotic, meaning it feeds the good bacteria in your gut. Honeycrisp Apples are just as sweetly balanced and crunchy as they sound when eaten out of hand, while Granny Smiths can be uncompromisingly acidic but are a great apple for baking, as they will retain their shape.  Pair with Medjool Dates from Del Real in Winterhaven, CA and Bloom Honey from Westlake Village, CA for a sweet new year!

Produce Notes: September 18, 2019

Besides ubiquitous pumpkin spice, nothing says autumn more than apples, and we’re celebrating not only apples but pears this week! Our Super Fresh Deal is on California-grown Gala Apples. Recently crowned the apple cultivar with the highest production in the United States (until 2018, that title belonged to Red Delicious apples), Galas have a floral aroma and a mild, sweet flavor and are best eaten raw, but can also be frozen and juiced. Look out for more varieties of apples at the Co-op as the season progresses! Also on our Fresh Deals are three kinds of pears; Hosui Asian Pears, Bartlett Pears, and Red Bartlett Pears. Hosui Asian Pears have a mild pear flavor that’s both sweet and slightly tart with the crisp crunch of an apple, and are excellent both out of hand and baked! Bartlett Pears were originally called “Williams” after the nurseryman who introduced the variety to England. The trees were later imported to the U.S., where they were planted on an estate in Massachusetts. Enoch Bartlett acquired the estate not long after, going on to propagate and introduce the variety to the U.S. under his own name, which is why this variety is known as a Bartlett in North America and a Williams in much of the rest of the world! Bartlett Pears are known for how their skin changes color as they ripen, allowing you to choose the pear experience you’re looking for: like it crunchy and tart? Pick a Barlett with green skin. If you prefer your pear more moist and mildly sweet, ready for a yellow-green. If you’re looking for a burst of sweet juice, allow your Bartlett to ripen at room temperature until it reaches a golden-yellow hue! Red Bartlett Pears follow a similar pattern, changing from a dark red to a beautiful bright red. Bartletts of all colors are wonderful in a variety of preparations, from canning to drying to baking to chutneys. 

 

In other sweet-and-on-sale news, Blackberries have reappeared on our Fresh Deals this week! As the berry season winds down, be sure to pick up some of these vitamin C-packed beauties before they’re gone - any that you don’t enjoy on their own freeze beautifully for smoothies all year long! Also high in fiber, vitamin K, and manganese, Blackberries have a low glycemic index and plenty of antioxidants. On to the other fruit! Figs of all varieties are still looking beautiful and supply is expected to last into the fall; California-grown mangos should be coming in soon; and passion fruit is in good supply. 

 

On the savory side of our Fresh Deals are cool-weather favorites Brussels Sprouts from Watsonville, CA and beautiful Fennel from Frecker Farms in Carpinteria! Read more about Alex Frecker’s farming journey here, then grab some bulbs at the Co-op. Fennel can be intimidating, with firm bulbs and feathery leaves, but these mild, licorice-flavored plants are delightful in a variety of preparations as well as offering a wide array of health benefits. In addition to being a good source of vitamin C, manganese, and calcium, fennel is packed with potent plant compounds and antioxidants with anti-inflammatory agents. For those breastfeeding, fennel also helps to increase milk secretion; if you are breastfeeding, please consult your doctor before using fennel tea. A review of 10 studies noted that fennel may provide relief from some symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes and sleep disturbance. Recipes using fennel tend to use the white bulb, which is delicious in a variety of preparations from shaved raw into salads to braised, sauteed, roasted, and grilled. Cooking fennel results in a tender and deeply sweet flavor. Fennel stalks can take the place of celery in soups and stews, and can be used as a bed for roasting proteins - fennel and seafood are a particularly popular combination. The leafy fronds are excellent tossed in a green salad or made into a pesto, and all parts of fennel can be juiced! Fennel doesn’t have a lot of moisture, so making a full cup of fennel juice may be challenging, but try adding a few fennel stalks to your next celery juice to switch up the flavor with a touch of licorice! 

 

Lastly, be sure to check out our new Floral offerings the next time you stop by the Co-op Produce Department! Locally-grown carnations, daisies, and sunflowers join Rainforest Alliance Certified roses in a beautiful bouquets at a variety of price points. Remember, flowers speak louder..!

Produce Notes: September 11, 2019

As you may have FIGured out, we love beautiful California figs at the Co-op! Three kinds of figs have landed on our Fresh Deals once again, with Kadota Figs taking the Super Fresh position. Kadota Figs are not as sweet as Brown Turkey Figs or Black Mission Figs, but are the heart of that most famous fig treat, the Fig Newton. Reach for Kadota Figs for any recipe where you want to dry, preserve, or cook figs, or pair it with a salty/savory flavor by tossing it on your pizza! Brown Turkey Figs and Black Mission Figs are lovely in all their forms: Brown Turkey Figs are great in salads or in any sweet preparation where there’s an additional sweetener, like honey, while Black Mission Figs are intensely sweet on their own and make a luscious seasonal dessert. Try dipping cut fresh figs in za’atar, the Middle Eastern spice blend with sesame seeds, for an  unexpected treat. Did you know that figs are technically not fruits but inverted flowers, some of which are pollinated by wasps in an amazing symbiotic relationship? When selecting figs, check the stem to make sure it’s firmly in place - a wiggly stem indicates a mushy fig. As figs are delicate, try to use them up within a day or two. Store covered in the fridge in a single layer to avoid bruising. Although figs do not continue to ripen off the tree, firm ones may soften if left at room temperature for a day or two. 


Rounding out this week’s Fresh Deals we have four kinds of grapes: Black Grapes, Red Grapes, and Green Grapes come to us courtesy of Benzler Farms! Our last grape deal is on Thomcord Grapes - if you stopped by the Co-op’s pop-up at the Santa Monica Health & Wellness Festival this past Saturday, you know exactly why we are so excited about Thomcord Grapes! If you’ve never tried these intense little grapes, be sure to pick up some Thomcord Grapes the next time you’re at the Co-op; all the classic grape flavor of Concord grapes without the seeds or thick skin, what’s not to love? 


In other fruit news, we are delighted to have more varieties of California apples coming in! California Braeburns joined Galas, Fujis, and Granny Smiths at the Co-op this morning, and we’re looking forward to celebrating the sweetness of autumn near the end of the month with Washington Honeycrisps. Our Asian and Bartlett Pears are also California-grown! The end of summer berry season is approaching for much of California, and as supply is tightening prices are trending up. Most melons are done for the season, while mangoes are expected to land soon. California pears are looking good, and our first crop of Red Bartlett pears landed this morning! Stone fruit is done for the season, but delightful little Jujubes are here! Whether you prefer them crisp and sweet like an apple or a little wrinkled, these cherry-sized drupes are what we look forward to every fall. Dragon Fruit are also on hand to lend some visual drama to your next smoothie bowl. 


On the more savory side, Brussels sprouts are ready for any preparation you prefer, while celery supply is a little tighter than it has been. Bunched greens like kale and collards are in steady supply, along with Iceberg lettuce, while Romaine lettuces are in tight supply. Hard squash are coming in strong with this seasonal transition. Tomatoes are nearing the end of their season, and Hatch chiles are done.

Produce Notes: September 4, 2011

Though the days are warm, the air is slowly filling with the scent of pumpkin spice, and organic autumnal produce is arriving at your Co-op! 

 

This week’s Super Fresh Deal is on beautiful Brussels Sprouts from Ocean Mist! Did you know that more than 90% of Brussels sprouts grown in the United States come from California, mostly from farms along the central coast? These little cabbages (believed to have first been cultivated in Belgium in the 16th century) have seen a renaissance in the past few years, and for good reason! Rich in vitamins C and K, folate, and fiber, Brussels Sprouts are also rich in antioxidant carotenoids like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, all of which help support eye health. Brussels Sprouts are also one of the best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are commonly found in fish and seafood and have a variety of documented health benefits. Try tossing separated Brussels Sprout leaves with any high-smoke point oil and roasting at 375°F for about 20 minutes to make your own “chips”!

 

Late summer to early fall is prime “winter” squash season for California growers, which we are celebrating with this week’s Fresh Deals! More nutrient-dense than summer squash, winter squash have hard seeds and thick, protective rinds that allow them to be stored for long periods. This week all of our winter squash is coming from Jerry Slough Farming in Buttonwillow, CA. Butternut Squash is a large variety with a pale rind and orange flesh that has a sweet, earthy taste. Unlike other winter squash, both the seeds and the rind of the Butternut Squash are edible after cooking, and it is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants like beta-carotene and dietary fiber. Similarly, Acorn Squash is packed with vitamin C, B vitamins, and magnesium and Spaghetti Squash is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin B6! No matter which squash you reach for, try roasting or steaming for a delicious meal - Spaghetti Squash in particular is popular as a pasta substitute because of its noodle-ish texture. Please note that because vitamin C is water soluble, it is best to only cook squash in water if it is part of a soup, as the vitamins lost by the vegetable during the cooking process will be retained in the liquid. 

 

On the slightly-sweeter side of our Fresh Deals, Heirloom Tomatoes are in great supply from Coke Farm! When you next pick out the perfect Heirloom Tomato, make sure to use all of your senses: in addition to beautiful color and a slight give to the flesh, give it a sniff: a ripe tomato should smell earthy and slightly sweet. Enjoy this last hurrah of summer with dinner, and then tuck into a perfectly autumnal Bartlett Pear for dessert! Whether enjoyed out of hand or roasted over ice cream, pears are rich in folate, vitamin C, copper, and potassium - as always, be sure to eat the whole pear! The peel boasts up to six times the antioxidants of the flesh, and Viva Tierra, our supplier, never uses any wax on their apples or pears. Pair Bartlett Pears with some sweet Medjool Dates from Co-op favorite Del Real for a sophisticated snack. Medjool Dates, like most dried fruit, are calorically dense and rich in fiber, making them a good choice for on-the-go (or sitting-in-traffic) snacking. Try blending pitted Medjool Dates with a bit of water for a caramel-like sweetener! 

 

As for other Produce News, Stone Fruit Summer has officially come to an end. While the prime time for out-of-hand eating has passed, any remaining stone fruit will make a delightful addition to a smoothie, or can be cooked down to make a spoonable compote. Peppers are thriving in the late summer heat and in great supply. As fall ramps up we are looking forward to more varieties of California-grown apples - some have a very short season, so keep an eye out! 

Produce Notes: August 28, 2019

Now that the Dog Days of Summer are behind us and many are back to school, we’re highlighting the best of this seasonal transition!

 

Mix up your crudite with some Green Beans from Coke Farms, our Super Fresh Deal this week! These crunchy, folate-rich legumes are not only delicious, they actually improve soil health by “fixing” nitrogen from the air in their roots - when the bean roots begin to decompose, the nitrogen becomes available for the next crop planted in that spot. Look for vivid color and firm texture when picking out your beans, and feel free to stock up - extras freeze beautifully (and make a great treat for your overheated canine friends!), or you can make dilly beans to enjoy all year long. If you have a grilling basket, try tossing the beans with a little oil and your preferred spices and add them to your late-summer cookout menu! 

 

Be sure to also check out our Red Chinese Noodle Beans (aka Red Yardlong Beans)! These impressively sized beans grow rapidly on climbing vines - the pods can grow more than an inch a day in warm climates. While they might look like oversized Green Beans, Yardlong Beans are actually members of a different genus altogether, more closely related to cowpeas. Likewise, the texture and flavor of Yardlong Beans are distinct. Unlike Green Beans, Yardlong Beans will be limp and slightly wrinkled even when they’re fresh - don’t be put off! The red variety we have in stock (Santa Monica only!) is tender and fleshy with a complex flavor like a nutty mushroom, but less earthy. Yardlong Beans can become waterlogged and bland when cooked in water, so be sure to cook them in oil: sauteed, stir-fried, or deep-fried, their flavor intensifies and their texture remains tight and juicy. Try deep-frying the Yardlong Beans before sauteing them with stock, aromatics, and some Sichuan peppercorns for a take on a Chinese recipe! Or (after stir-frying the beans in a neutral oil), try simmering them in coconut milk with some cubed kabocha squash for a version of an Indonesian staple. 

 

Another gem from Coke Farm is on our Fresh Deals: beautiful dry farmed Early Girl Tomatoes! Dry farming is an ancient cultivation technique used around the Mediterranean and in Mediterrean climates around the world, making it a natural fit for California, with our rainy winters that saturate the soil and generally bone-dry summers. After the plants have been established, irrigation is cut off, forcing the roots deep into the soil in search of water. The fruit the plant produces are usually smaller and packed with flavor, with a firm, dense texture. These Early Girls will shine in any simple preparation, whether raw or roasted. Celebrate their flavor by serving them simply with a little California olive oil and sea salt for a true taste of summer. And the last veggie on our Fresh Deals? Red Potatoes! These California-grown taters have a waxy texture that means your Red Potatoes will stay firm when cooked, whether roasted or boiled, and their thin-but-colorful skin is the best part - be sure to leave it on for maximum nutritional value! The resistant starch in potatoes nurtures good gut bacteria, which may in turn help reduce insulin resistance. 

 

Rounding out our Fresh Deals are grapes - four varieties of grapes, in fact! These made-for-snacking fruits have been cultivated around the world for thousands of years, boasting a wealth of health benefits. One cup of grapes provides more than a quarter of your recommended daily intake of vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin vital for blood clotting and healthy bones, and grapes are packed with antioxidants (mostly in their seeds and skin). If you spend a lot of time looking at a screen, grapes may help ease your tired eyes: lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants found in grapes, help protect your retinas from damage from blue light. This week our Black, Green, and Red Grapes come from Benzler Farm in Fresno. We are especially excited about our Thomcord Grapes, and not just because of their beautiful plastic-free packaging! Thomcords are a cross of the Concord and Thompson Seedless varieties, marrying the wild, plummy taste of Concords with the thinner skins and barely-there seeds of Thompsons. Pair these jammy table grapes with a creamy, soft cheese on your charcuterie board or roast the grapes and scatter them over focaccia with olives for a savory-sweet delight!

Produce Notes: August 21, 2019

With the rapidly approaching change of seasons, we’re appreciating all of summer’s greatest hits! This week, we’re celebrating Cantaloupe with a Super Fresh Deal - these California-grown melons from John Givens Farm/Something Good Organics have been eating like a dream, with sweet, dense flesh. Try pairing with some spicy prosciutto for a no-fuss summer appetizer, or scoop the flesh into a smoothie with some California Blueberries, also on our Fresh Deals! The blueberry season is winding down in the northwest, so be sure to grab some ripe summer berries to freeze. 

 

Gala Apples from Ferrari Farms are ready for your back-to-school and snacking needs! Galas were developed in New Zealand in 1934 and boast an impressive pedigree related to the Delicious and Cox Orange Pippin varieties. The Gala is also a parent to several varieties including the Jazz and Pacific Rose. Did you know there are more than 7500 known cultivars of apples, all believed to be descended from a single species in Central Asia? Remember to keep the skin when you’re snacking: the skin of the apple contains half of the fiber of the total fruit and many of the polyphenols!

 

Remember a few weeks back when we gleefully announced the beginning of fig season? That was the beginning of the breba crop, or “bonus” crop of figs that develop in the spring on the previous year’s shoot growth. Now that we are later in the summer, the main crop of figs are arriving in our 100% organic Produce Department! As previously noted, fresh figs are fiber-full and one of the richest plant sources for a variety of vitamins and minerals, including calcium and vitamin A. Candy Stripe Figs (also known as Tiger Stripe Figs) usually do not produce a breba crop, but these beauties are worth the wait! From their yellow-and-green stripes to the deep hue of their sweet, jammy flesh, Candy Stripes are as delicious as they are eye-catching. Purplish Black Mission Figs are classic crowd pleasers for a reason; very sweet and excellent in a wide variety of preparations. The contrast between the Mission Figs’ purple skin and creamy pale interior will keep your charcuterie board looking stunning, and also pair well with salty meats and cheeses! Yellowish-green Kadota Figs, on the other hand, are less sweet than Black Missions but great for baking, as they’re slightly more hardy. 

 

On the more savory side, the avocado market continues to be unpredictable, but prices seem stable this week. Broccoli has improved and prices have improved, and Baby Broccoli supply is steady. Cauliflower production is in strong supply, while Romanesco supply is inconsistent. Eggplant prices are looking good, as are Green Bell Peppers. Orange, Yellow, and Red Bells are not in great supply, but the recent rise in temperatures should improve conditions! Zucchini is looking great, and most tomatoes are in good supply - make sure to enjoy some Cherry Tomatoes as summer winds down!

Produce Notes: August 14, 2019

Stop by our floral displays for a Super Fresh Deal on bunches of Sunflowers, then head on over to the Produce Department to taste the rainbow - literally! Rainbow Carrots, Rainbow Chard, and Rainbow Fingerling Potatoes are all on our Fresh Deals, along with Easter Egg Radishes and Mixed Cherry Tomatoes. 

You probably know that orange carrots get their color from beta carotene, an antioxidant your body converts to vitamin A. Eating a bunch of Rainbow Carrots is a great way to get a dose of antioxidants, not only beta carotene, but lutein (predominantly found in yellow and orange carrots), lycopene (found in red and purple carrots), and anthocyanins (found in dark-colored carrots). Carrots are crunchy and full of nutrients, making them the perfect snack foods - did you know that cooking carrots can change their glycemic index? At the low range, raw carrots have a glycemic index of about 16, cooked carrots are slightly higher, and pureed carrots top out at a glycemic index of around 60! 

 

Rainbow Chard is another nutrient powerhouse, combining dark leafy greens with brightly colored (aka antioxidant rich) stems. High in fiber and an excellent source of vitamin K, chard is another veggie that’s as pleasing to the body as it is to the eye. If the chard stems are particularly thick, chop them finely and start cooking them a little before you add the rest of the chard to ensure uniform tenderness. Rainbow Fingerling Potatoes are filling, versatile, and cook in a fraction of the time needed for larger varieties - plus (you guessed it!) the rainbow of colors are indications of the antioxidants they contain! As always with potatoes, it’s best to leave their skin on to retain the number of vitamins and minerals you’re consuming. 

 

Easter Egg Radishes are not actually a kind of radish, but a bundle of bunched pink, white, red, and purple varieties, making it easy to get all your radish needs in one stop! Radishes are a good source of vitamin C and contain the naturally antifungal protein RsAFP2 and have a peppery taste; generally the lighter the color of the variety the more mild the taste. Wonderful in a crudite, roasted, or pickled, these underappreciated cruciferous root vegetables originated in China and eventually made their way to Egypt and into the pyramids. Young radish greens also make a lively addition to salads and stir fries!  

 

As the season winds down and we return to the rhythms of work and school, Mixed Cherry Tomatoes are the perfect burst of summer sunshine in your lunch box! Fun fact: 10 cherry tomatoes have about as much potassium as a banana, in addition to being rich in lycopene and vitamins C and K. In other Produce News, as the first day of school approaches, so do the first of the California-grown apples! Look for the new crop of Gala apples in-store now, with more varieties ripening soon, and “pear” them with another new crop - Bartlett pears! 

Produce Notes: August 7, 2019

We all love watermelon and tomatoes, but have you tried the other great organic produce this season has to offer? Our good-looking squash selection looks even better with our Super Fresh Deal on Zucchini this week! Did you know that while squash are indigenous to the Americas, this particular variety was first developed in Italy in the early 19th century? Rich in vitamins A and C, this fruit (technically!) is wonderful in many preparations and great for your gut. Try it raw, on the grill, or sauteed with your other favorites - try roasting your Zucchini and Eggplant and Red Bell Peppers (also on our Fresh Deals!) with some garlic, rosemary, and olive oil for a deconstructed ratatouille - perfect for late summer meals! Eggplants are another versatile, nutrient dense fruit with a good amount of fiber and plenty of antioxidants, but it can be tricky to cook well. Because its spongy flesh tends to soak up excess oil, this can be especially true when you want to fry your eggplant. Try salting the flesh in advance (20-30 minutes), make sure any cooking oil is at least 365°F, and be sure not to overcrowd your pan, as this will lead to a drop in temperature. 

 

In addition to the plentiful squash of summer, and the cucumbers (as promised!), kale supply is strong, and most lettuces are looking great! Broccoli supply has tightened up, as has cauliflower supply, while corn has remained elusive. California avocado prices are softening, to the relief of avocado lovers - our California supply should last through the end of summer, with Mexican avocados ripening and ready to go. Tomatoes are generally steady, but they won’t last forever, so pick up some summer beauties ASAP! 

 

Rounding out our Fresh Deals are Tuscan Melons, Black Plums, and Dapple Dandy Pluots. Tuscan Melons are a relatively new kind of especially sweet cantaloupe with distinctive grooved skin: dark green grooves indicate a sweet, almost crispy flesh, while lighter grooves indicate a softer texture and richer flavor. The firm flesh of the Tuscan Melon will hold up well in fruit salads, but don’t feel limited to sweet preparations! Melons are wonderful paired with salty cheeses and charcuterie. As apricots wind down, look out for a more limited supply of peaches and nectarines, but know that  Black Plums and Dapple Dandy Pluots here for all your stone fruit cravings! Plums are impressively high in nutrients, containing over 15 vitamins and minerals in addition to fiber and antioxidants; enjoy these tiny powerhouses out of hand, in salads, or even in smoothies! Keep an eye out for Santa Rosa Plums when you’re in store - our Produce team can’t get enough of their amazing flavor! Dapple Dandy Pluots (a hybrid of about 70% plum and 30% apricot) are also known as “Dinosaur Egg” or “Dinosaur’s Fruit” for their distinctive mottled skin. Dapple Dandy Pluots have especially sweet, pink flesh and are ready to eat when they give to gentle pressure - be careful, as they bruise easily when ripe! Pluots are especially sensitive to ethylene-producing fruits and vegetables like tomato and green onion, so take care to store them separately. 

 

In other fruit news, look out for California apples and pears in the next few weeks! Strawberry supply remains steady, as does blueberry, though not for much longer. Blackberries are in somewhat limited supply. Figs have now transitioned from their breba crop to their main crop. Seeded watermelon are slowing, but seedless bins are in strong supply and mini seedless are looking great. All kinds of grapes are plentiful and in steady supply - check out our new grape packaging the next time you stop by your Co-op!

Produce Notes: July 31, 2019

It’s finally happened: the co-op has gone totally tomatoes! Our Fresh Deals are ripe with these summer fruits, so try picking up a few varieties and see what tickles your tastebuds while enjoying these antioxidant-rich nightshades. Whether you fall for Heirloom Tomatoes from Castro Farms (Hollister), Mixed Cherry Tomatoes from Martinez Farms (Madera) or Campari Tomatoes and Slicer Tomatoes from Goleta (read more about John Givens Farm/Something Good Organics here!), these beauties are ready for your salads, your sandwiches, and your sauces! While you’re at it, why not pair your tomatoes with some Bunched Basil from local favorite Kenter Canyon Farms and a drizzle of California olive oil? 

 

In other vegetable news, local cucumber supply is picking up! Be on the lookout for the different varietals: slicing cucumbers like Kirby and Persian can be more bitter (just remove the skin and seeds for a less bitter flavor); English cucumbers are more mild, with smaller seeds than slicing cukes; while pickling cucumbers (like Gherkins!) are grown specifically to be uniform in size for easy prep. Broccoli supply continues to be steady, cauliflower supply is tightening up, and California-grown globe eggplant are starting slowly, though Mexican fair-trade globe eggplants are a delicious substitute! Squash are also looking good and will only be getting better: green and yellow zucchini are in strong supply, as are Crookneck squash. Look out for more hard squash like Acorn, Delicata, and Butternut in the coming weeks! 

 

On the sweeter side, we are loving all the California-grown melons: from our Super Fresh Deal on Cantaloupe to our savings on Galia Melons and Green Honeydew, we have got the sweet, juicy melons your summer needs! Galias look like Cantaloupe on the outside and Green Honeydew on the inside, and are intensely aromatic when ripe with a delicious, smooth-textured flesh. Try to find a melon that feels heavy for its size, and make sure to follow your nose when picking ripe melons: aim for the round section where the vine was attached, and sniff for a fresh fragrance with a hint of sweetness. Try them all in a melon salad with some ginger and citrus after allowing them to ripen at room temperature! Make sure to keep cut or ripe fruit in the refrigerator. Most rinds can be pickled or cooked, and the seeds can be dried or roasted. 

 

Look out for more varieties of California melons as the summer weeks progress, and for mangos. Grapes are also in strong supply, in a number of sizes and flavors that mean there’s something grape for everyone, from sweet and seedless to perfumed and intense!

Produce Notes: July 24, 2019

While the pick-your-own blackberry adventure at Stehly Farms has already passed, rest easy knowing that you can pick up delightful local Blackberries at your local co-op at a Fresh Deal price! Delicious on their own or paired with Raspberries (also on our Fresh Deals this week), these sweet-yet-tart berries are a summer staple packed with vitamin C and high in fiber as well as being a great source of vitamin K and high in manganese. Try them with with some cold, rich cream and taste how good local produce can be. 

 

In other fruit news, melons (especially Galia and Cantaloupe) are still in strong, sweet supply from the warmer inland areas, California Gala apples are expected in begin in just a few weeks, and, as promised, the pluots have arrived! Bonus news, beautiful Red Pluots have landed right in our Super Fresh Deal this week! Pluots are a cross of species in the same genus: Floyd Zaiger introduced pluots in the 1980s after cross-breeding plums and apricots by hand pollination. Look for firm, unblemished fruit with a strong fragrance, and enjoy out of hand! Any extras are great substitutes for other stone fruit in your favorite recipes, including pies, salads, and even salsa. Apricots and cherries are winding down, plums are in steady supply, and yellow and white peaches are tasting amazing!

 

Fresh garbanzo beans are done for the season, and while other beans are in limited availablity, Green Beans are back on our Fresh Deals! If the dog days of summer have you dreading stove time, try blanching trimmed green beans in advance (don’t forget to shock them in ice water!) and tossing them in your cool salads. Rounding out our Fresh Deals are Broccoli and Red Kale. Broccoli is wonderful cooked or raw in a variety of preparations, and don’t forget the stalk! Peel the fibrous layers away from the core of the stalk and you’ve got less food waste and more broccoli without the fuss and mess of florets: that’s a win-win-win. Red Kale is just as versatile as any other kale variety, but adds a touch of unexpected color to your stir-fry or gently massaged salad; loaded with antioxidants, vitamins C and K, and guranteed not to shrink as much as other leafy greens, add some to your basket and see what you can cook up! 

 

Looking forward, we expect to see a sea of cucumbers and tomatoes along with more California-grown squash as summer starts to wind down (at least in some parts of the state). Bell peppers of all colors are in steady supply, and hot peppers will be coming in hot after this heat!

Produce Notes: July 17, 2019

Missing the bursts of holiday fireworks already? Thankfully we have a mix of California grown Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes bursting with color and flavor at a Super Fresh Deal of $2.99 per pint! Pick some up for an easy snack that packs a powerful punch of nutrients like vitamins A, C, K, and potassium. There is archaeological evidence suggesting that Mesoamerican farmers cultivated the first strains of cherry tomatoes in Central America, and the genetic makeup of cherry tomatoes has remained mostly unchanged since! As with all beautiful tomatoes, make sure to store your Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes away from direct sunlight at room temperature until ripe and ready to use. 

 

Also on this week’s Fresh Deals are Green Butter Lettuce heads and Green Bell Peppers. Green Butter Lettuce is known for its sweet and tender leaves, which are great torn as salad greens or used as an edible vessel for anything scoopable! If you’re planning a meal with lettuce cups or wraps, store submerged leaves in a large bowl of cool water in the fridge to help keep the lettuce crisp after you’ve removed them from the head. Green Bell Peppers are in strong supply, while other colors are more limited, but supply is picking up! Peppers, especially hot peppers, need hot weather to grow, so this delay is another effect of spring’s cool weather. 

 

As stone-fruit summer continues, we are highlighting White Peaches and Yellow Peaches on our Fresh Deals! White Peaches are lower in acid and taste sweet whether firm or soft, making them excellent for eating out of hand or grilling. White Peaches are easily bruised and have a delicate, floral sweetness. For pure peachy flavor, however, Yellow Peaches are our go-to: the tartness of the flesh mellows as the fruit ripens, and their more intense flavor makes them wonderful in all things baked. Apricots and white nectarines are in good supply, while supply of black and red plums are expected to improve. Pluots are beginning to show up, so keep an eye out for these delicious hybrids! Part plum and part apricot, there are many differently colored varieties to get excited about. 

 

Rounding out our Fresh Deals are antioxidant-packed favorites: Blueberries and Cantaloupe! Blueberry season has ended for most of California, so these deep blue beauties come to your co-op from Oregon. The Cantaloupes, however, are 100% California melons! Try them in a savory fruit salad with cucumbers and soft fresh herbs, or freeze cantaloupe pieces and blend with coconut water for a cooling summer slushie!

Produce Notes: July 10, 2019

While we have a surprise stock of California cherries (read more about them here!), our Super Fresh Deal is just for Red Cherries from Washington state. Antioxidant-packed, these firm-but-sweet stone fruits may help ease the joint pain associated with arthritis and gout. (In a pairing that might call to mind upside-down cakes or holiday hams, Pineapple has also landed on our Fresh Deals, though as they are Costa Rican rather than Californian, their growing and supply cycle will not be explored here.) Apricots (especially Cotton Candy Apricots!) are in strong supply, as are white and yellow peaches. Plums and pluots are more limited in supply, though supply of red plums may improve in the next week or so. Melons are still going strong, particularly the Seeded Watermelon from Rundle Family Farms that has a spot on our Fresh Deals! While dealing with seeds may not be everyone’s idea of a good time, watermelon seeds (and the seeds of many other melons) can be roasted like pumpkin seeds rather than, say, entered into a spitting contest. Watermelon seeds contain magnesium as well as lesser amounts of iron and folate, and are a great summer snack. Looking forward to the end of the month, we anticipate California-grown pears as August rolls around. 

 

On the vegetable side, Sweet Corn, Zucchini, and Heirloom Tomatoes have all reappeared on our Fresh Deals as we eat up all that the season has to offer! Grilled or raw, all three are great in salads and entrees alike, and there’s nothing like a juicy tomato sandwich on a hot day. If you’re looking for some avocado for your super sandwich, just be aware that prices are on the rise again, and the volatile market is not expected to improve soon. Most members of the Brassica family are in strong supply (especially broccoli and cauliflower), though yellow and purple cauliflower are gapping and may be harder to come by. Eggplant from the Central Valley is starting to make an appearance, and bell pepper supply is slowly picking up. Cabbages are also in steady supply, and we’re pleased to say that celery supply is steady as prices continue to drop! We have adjusted the price of celery juice at our Service Deli accordingly. 

 

We are also pleased to stock Fresh Garbanzo Beans in limited numbers! Like their dried and canned counterparts, fresh garbanzo beans are starchy, with a buttery texture and mild bean flavor. Find them encased in a papery light green shell (generally two beans to a pod). While you can shell the beans to make specialty recipes like fresh garbanzo hummus (easy on the tahini so you don’t overwhelm the fresh bean’s delicate flavor), you can also steam, roast, grill, or fry them like edamame - just be sure to not eat the pod!

Produce Notes: July 3, 2019

Since no one can resist watermelon (especially now that we’re  in National Watermelon Month!) we’ve extended last week’s Fresh Deals through July 9th! Look for Black Seedless Watermelons, Fuji Apples, California Strawberries, Bi-Color Corn, Green Beans, and Red Potatoes at Fresh Deals prices through your holiday weekend. Now onto the rest of the Produce Notes! 

We are moving into fig season! Much more than the filling to crumbly cookies, fresh figs are fiber-full and one of the richest plant sources for a variety of vitamins and minerals, including calcium and vitamin A. One note - if you are allergic to rubber latex, birch pollen, or any other member of the mulberry (Moraceae) family (such as jackfruit, Osage orange, and sugar apple) you may also be allergic to figs. If you’re a fig-lover, purplish-black Mission Figs are classic crowd pleasers for a reason; very sweet and excellent in a wide variety of preparations. The contrast between the Mission Figs’ purple skin and creamy pale interior will keep your charcuterie board looking stunning! Brown Turkey Figs are slightly less sweet, the pink rose-colored flesh contrasting nicely with rusted red-purple skin and pale green shoulders, and wonderful in salads where their sweetness can be balanced with other flavors. Also keep an eye out for yellowish-green Kadota Figs a little later in the season, which are less sweet but great for baking, as they’re slightly more hardy. 

In other fruit news, California cherries are likely done for the season. Look out for Red and Rainier Cherries from Washington for all your cherry antioxidant needs! Other stone fruit, from peaches to plums, are mostly looking steady, though some varieties are in limited supply - look out for pluots! 

On the slightly-more-savory side, the summer season is shaping up so look out for Okra, Snow Peas, and Pickling Cucumbers the next time you stop by your co-op! Okra is known for the gel inside its pods (“okra” usually refers to the edible seedpods of the okra plant, a member of the same genetic family as hibiscus and cotton), which can be used as a thickening agent in classics like gumbo. If you’re not a fan of the gel, try pickling okra to make it less bitter, or drying out the pods and seasoning with sea salt for a crunchy snack! Snow peas may not be here for long as the unseasonable wet weather a few weeks ago affected plantings, so snack them up when you see them. Pickling cucumbers, shorter and thicker than slicing cucumbers, have bumpy or spotted skin and - as their name implies - are wonderful when pickled whole.

Produce Notes: June 26, 2019

What says summer more than sweet, juicy watermelon? Pick up a whole or a half (or a quarter - just ask a member of our Produce team to help you get the size you’re looking for!) of Black Seedless Watermelon at our Super Fresh Deal price, or just grab and go with our new Organic Watermelon Juice! Find both in our Produce section. Watermelon has a lot more going for it than just water - with high levels of vitamins C and A plus moderate amounts of potassium, fiber, calcium, iron, and even protein, this antioxidant rich fruit is a summer all-star! Make like an Egyptian and enjoy this very special berry - seeds, leaves, and paintings depicting watermelons dating back 5,000 years have been discovered in excavations of Egyptian tombs! Try pickling or cooking the rind to use it all up. 

If you’re craving a bit more crunch, why not reach for a Fuji Apple? Known for their sweet and crisp flesh, these Fresh Deal favorites are high in water and fiber - just be sure to leave the skin on! The pectin found in apples may also act as a prebiotic, feeding the “good” bacteria in your gut. Speaking of sweet, California-grown Strawberries are nearing peak volume! Whether you eat them by the handful, throw them in your smoothie, or dip them in dark chocolate, these vitamin-C packed low-carbohydrate berries are rich in antioxidants. In other fruit-news, California-grown citrus is winding down, melons are coming in sweet, and stone fruit supply remains steady but won’t last forever, so enjoy those sweet nectarines now! 

Bi-Color Corn, Green Beans, and Red Potatoes round out our Fresh Deals in steady supply and great taste, ready for your grill or your salad! Did you know that red potatoes have more potassium than bananas, while one cup of green beans provides almost 20% of your daily vitamin K, important for healthy bones? Try roasting both on a sheet pan with your favorite protein at 425°F for a quick-and-easy summer supper. 

Finally, a celery update: while supply has improved, demand has continued to rise as more and more people discover the benefits of the fibrous stalks and their flavorful juice. Much of the cost appears to be demand driven, and the growers who didn’t anticipate the demand are now planting more celery than ever. Typically, when growers underestimate demand they then overcorrect by planting more than there is a market for: expect prices to remain volatile as we all figure out the new normal for celery!  

Produce Notes: June 19, 2019

Summer is here, and summer means tomatoes, so this week we are highlighting California-grown slicer tomatoes as our Super Fresh Deal! “Slicer” (or “slicing”) tomatoes are those that strike the right balance between meatiness and juiciness while being big enough to slice onto burgers and sandwiches. Great for pairing with the grill or slipping into a salad, they’ll bring the taste of summer to any desk lunch! Delicious leftovers are sure to result when you combine slicer tomatoes with local zucchini and black kale - also on this week’s Fresh Deals! Saute your antioxidant-rich organic produce with some onions and your preferred seasoning and you have a perfect pasta topping!

The recent West Coast heat wave may have disappeared behind the clouds of June gloom, but its impact is significant: California-grown blackberries, parsley, and lettuces were affected by the intense heat and supply may come up short in the next few weeks due to heat damage. California blueberry season is winding down but strawberry season is going strong, as are stone fruit other than cherries. Anticipate rising avocado prices as Mexico’s harvest winds down and demand continues to grow.


In other local news, California-grown melons are in strong supply, and this week we’re celebrating the cantaloupe with our Fresh Deal pricing. Did you know that melon seeds are edible when roasted, like slightly-chewy squash seeds? After removing as much of the netting (the fibers that help the seeds cling to the flesh) as you can, rinse the separated seeds, season to taste, and roast for around 15 minutes at 400°F, checking often to make sure they don’t burn. Melon seeds are good sources of fiber and protein, and eating the seeds means both more bang for your buck and less food waste!

Produce Notes: June 12, 2019

As we greet the heat of summer (it’s what makes melons sweet, after all!) it’s easy to forget the wet weather of spring, but those unseasonable rains continue to affect California-grown crops: cherry supply remains volatile as the rain causes the fruit to split, while asparagus season is ending earlier than usual. Fortunately we still have blueberries in steady supply, which is why we’ve extended our Super Fresh Deal this week! California-grown red and green seedless grapes should land in the next week or so after long delays due to the cool and wet weather, while most stone fruit is still going strong: yellow and white nectarines are sugaring up nicely, plums are juicy, and yellow, white, and donut peaches are tasting great. Have you ever tried grilling yellow peaches? Halve the peach, remove the stone, and set it cut-side down for some nice grill marks. Whether you go sophisticated by serving your grilled peaches with a balsamic reduction drizzle or embrace simplicity with a dollop of whipped cream they’re sure to be a hit!

 

With Father’s Day just around the corner, grill-friendly produce is on our minds and in our Fresh Deals! Hearty Portobello mushroom caps (rich in potassium and B vitamins!) and white cauliflower steaks are great plant-based additions to your grill. Heads up - orange and purple cauliflower are expected in mid- to late-June! Orange bell peppers - very high in vitamin C - make a sweet raw snack on hot days or can add a pop of color to your kebabs. And no cookout would be complete without yellow sweet corn - steamed, boiled, or grilled and served elote-style, it’s always a tasty summer treat!

 

Just thinking about standing over a grill makes us sweat, which is why we’re reaching for young Thai coconuts - the best coconut water comes straight from a coconut, afterall! The balance of sodium and potassium in young coconuts make them a great way to hydrate, and younger coconuts have more water than older coconuts, as the water is replaced by coconut flesh as it matures.  Ask a member of our Produce team to knock a hole in your coconut for hydration on-the-go, and don’t forget to eat the coconut meat when you’re done slurping - the flesh is a great source of both dietary fiber and medium chain fatty acids (aka MCTs) as well as being delicious!

 

Looking ahead to the first official weeks of summer, we anticipate seeing multiple varieties of squash (another good one for the grill!) and eggplant, provided the warmer weather inland cooperates. Larger sizes of artichoke are gapping because warm weather is causing this perennial thistle to open earlier than expected, but smaller sizes are steady. Celery prices remain high for both domestic and imported, as Mexican production winds down and California-grown supply is limited. Baby broccoli is in good production and mature broccoli supply should improve this month.

Produce Notes: June 5, 2019

While we may be deep in June gloom, summer is coming, and your body will thank you for feeding it free radical-fighting antioxidants while you’re enjoying the beautiful outdoors! When being kind to yourself is as easy as munching on some antioxidant-rich blueberries, why not stock up? Organic California blueberries are our Super Fresh Deal this week in 6oz and 18oz containers (while supplies last!) and any that don’t immediately go into your granola (or pancakes) will freeze beautifully. Heads up: blueberries were impacted by the unseasonal rain but supplies remain steady, and warmer weather is expected to have berry production back at full swing!

 

Speaking of antioxidants, kale is packed with them, as well as being rich in vitamins A, K, and C and a great source of plant-based calcium, and is also a Fresh Deal this week - so many reasons to eat your greens! Zucchini is another antioxidant-rich Fresh Deal in strong supply, great for making raw noodles or throwing on the grill. Did you know that zucchini is rich in vitamin C when raw and in vitamin A when cooked?  

 

Stone fruit is looking good and we hope the it stays abundant through the season, though this abundance may be an indication that supply is peaking early - fingers crossed! Apricots, nectarines, and peaches are in strong supply while cherries - which have suffered because of the unseasonably late rains - are getting a little bigger but continue to be volatile in supply and price. Plums are looking strong, and Spring Splendor black plums (aka Flavorosa pluots) have landed right in our Fresh Deals! Look for deep purple skin with juicy red flesh.

 

We have more variety of melons from California’s southern desert regions, including that most succulent of muskmelons the cantaloupe! Rich in beta carotene (one study found orange-fleshed melons have the same amount of beta carotene as carrots!) and great for hydration, try cantaloupe in sweet or savory preparations - try roasting it for an unexpected treat! The sugars caramelize while the flesh relaxes, making it a great topping for everything from oatmeal to ice cream.


Produce Notes: October 23, 2019

The heat is not letting up, but we’re willing in the crisp fall weather by filling this week’s Fresh Deals with all the organic produce you'll need to test run your favorite Thanksgiving dishes. 

One of our most sought after and talked about apples, Ambrosias are back! Ambrosia apples are sweet yet subtle, crunchy and aromatic -  sure to please any discerning apple aficionado. Believed to be a cross of a Jonagold and Golden Delicious, Ambrosias are divine on their own and also they also compliment both sweet and savory preparations.

Persimmons are here, in season and ripe for chomping.  Eat Fuyus when firm like an apple, and Hachiyas when they’re soft and mushy - best scooped with a spoon. Try eating an unripe Hachiya once and we promise you’ll never make that mistake again! Persimmons are a great source of vitamin A and fiber. 

We’ve extended our super pricing on organic pomegranates and avocados (4 for $5) this week. Pomegranates are packed with vitamin C, polyphenol antioxidants and are superior to most fruits when it comes to antioxidant count. For a festive holiday salsa, combine pomegranate seeds with chunked avocado, cilantro, lime and salt. Watch as your guest devour it and then rave about your culinary skills. 

Our 20% off Organic Produce sale is on for the weekend. Starting on Friday, owners get a 20% additional discount on all of our organic produce. Our produce aisles are filled with the warm autumnal colors of the season - and we'd love to see your Co-op bounty. Tag us @coopportunitymarketdeli on Instagram or Facebook!

Produce Notes: October 10, 2019

It’s pumpkins, pumpkins, and more pumpkins. The Co-op is bursting at the seams with pumpkins of all types. Grab one, or a few - they’re an easy way to put a smile on your face. If you carve your Jack-O-Lantern pumpkins early, you can slow down the rot and mold (and maybe even get them to trick-or-treat) with this simple hack: combine 5 drops peppermint and 1 cup water in a spray bottle. Spray inside and out of to keep them fresh.

Leading up to Halloween, the weirder the better - and our organic Heirloom pumpkins’ are our autumnal show-stoppers. With their muted colors and perfectly imperfect lines, these unique pumpkins are works of art. No carving needed. 

As our Super Fresh Deal, farm fresh Honey Crisp Apples are hard to resist. Perfectly sweet, tart and crisp beauties are here and tasting sublime, so enjoy while in season. Have a taste of our Honeycrisps this Saturday, October 12, at our booth at the Culver City Art's District Walk and Roll!


October is full of seasonal, abundant, versatile and economical food choices. And this week, we’re bringing the harvest to you as we highlight all types of gourd-geous local, organic squashes. Even though squash is botanically a fruit, most people think of squash as a vegetable because it is usually prepared like one. Not sure what to do with the many varieties? Here are a few tips:

Spaghetti Squash is a great low-carb option to pasta. Roast whole (poke a few holes in it) and scoop out the spaghetti-like strands for a comforting and satisfying plant-based meal on it's own. 

Delicata Squash: Very sweet with edible flesh and tender skin, Delicata squash makes a perfect fall side dish alongside any entree. For a fuss-free dish that’s the perfect balance of savory and sweet - scoop out the squash's seeds and cut into ¼” slices, toss with olive oil, salt, garlic powder, and turmeric and roast in the oven at 425 degrees for 10-14 minutes.

Butternut Squash: What’s fall without this sweet and nutty staple? Rich in phytonutrients and antioxidants, Butternut is typically peeled before chopping into cubes and used in soups, stews and risottos.  

Kabocha Squash - Pumpkin’s sweeter cousin and used widely in Asia, especially Japan and Korea, this versatile squash can be roasted or steamed and used in a variety of recipes that you see other hard squashes used in.


Produce Notes: October 2, 2019

Seasonal favorite Honeycrisp Apples have returned to our Fresh Deals, this time at a Super Fresh price! Whether you snack out-of-hand, bake into pie, or cook down to a sauce, make sure to leave the skin on to reap the full nutritional value of these autumn fruit. We are in the midst of a seasonal transition while California growers begin providing apples, citrus, squash, and potato, so expect to see imported organic produce filling in the gaps. Guava and mango should be in-store soon. California tangerines might not look the prettiest, but find one that still feels heavy for its size, peel away its loose skin, and enjoy a sweetly floral delight. Bosc pears are also eating particularly well and make a nice snack “peared” with your favorite nut butter - stop by your Co-op and try out our grind-your-own nut butter stations! Extra credit if you bring (and tare!) your own jar. 

 

We are highlighting two Brassicas on our Fresh Deals: white Cauliflower and its funky cousin, Romanesco! Cauliflower has recently exploded in popularity as a veggie substitute for just about every starch (check out our frozen cauliflower crusts for your next pizza!) that happens to boast an impressive nutritional profile. Containing almost every vitamin and mineral you need, Cauliflower is also high in fiber and a good source of antioxidants. Romanesco has a similar array of benefits and a slightly more earth, broccoli-ish taste - plus the added “cool” factor of its fractal-like floret shape! Be sure not to overcook this beautiful vegetable so you can appreciate its shape and color - if you blanch your florets, be sure to shock them in cold water to retain the vibrant green hue. 

 

The real stars this week, however, are mushrooms. We may have a case of Mushroom Madness over at the Co-op, but we can’t get enough of these delectable fungi! Enjoy standard favorites like Crimini, Portabella, and White Button Mushrooms in all your favorite autumn dishes. Did you know that Crimini are just juvenile Portabellas? They’re also commonly called “Baby Bellas” for just that reason! Reach for Shiitake Mushrooms when you want a more smoky, earthy mushroom flavor. Oyster Mushrooms have a more mild, almost anise-y flavor that shines in simple preparations, while King Trumpet Mushrooms make a stunning main dish - unlike most mushroom species, the stems of King Trumpet Mushrooms are tender and edible, just be sure to trim off any tough ends before you start cooking! On the extra-special side, we also have Maitake, Bunashimeji, and Bunapi Mushrooms. Maitake (aka Hen-of-the-Woods) have a beer-like scent and firm texture, and have been used in natural healing for centuries. Bunashimeji (aka Beech or Brown Clamshell Mushrooms) are characterised by their long stems and tight caps: they should be eaten cooked, as they have a bitter taste and are difficult to digest when raw. Bunashimeji have a crisp texture and can hold up to both high temperature cooking and slow roasting. To prepare, but the base of the cluster so each mushroom is individually cute at the stem. Bunapi, rather than being a distinct species, are a trademarked mushroom that was developed from efforts to breed Bunashimeji - prepare Bunapi the way you would Bunashimeji, being sure to cook well. For more information about these speciality mushrooms, check out the website of the California-based Hokuto Corporation. Our Mushroom Madness extends to our Prepared Foods as well, so stop by the hot bar for a meal or inspiration this week! If you’ve got Mushroom Madness too, our Wellness Department hosts a wide array of mushroom supplements, and our staff are always happy to help you pick out a new product to try. 


In extra-special news, 19 flavors of your Co-op’s own organic cold-pressed juices have landed in Santa Monica as well as Culver City! Find them in our 100% USDA Organic Produce Department in Santa Monica, and please tell us what you think. With 19 flavors to choose from, you’re sure to find a winner - and if you’re a Co-op owner, purchase 10 cold-pressed juices and get one free! Please note that this offer does not apply to made-to-order juices from our Deli. Happy sipping!

Produce Notes: September 25, 2019

Welcome to autumn at the Co-op! This week’s Super Fresh Deal is on California-grown Bunched Carrots from Earthbound Farm - pick up a bunch and eat your antioxidants! Beta carotene, an antioxidant that your body converts to vitamin A, and lutein (another antioxidant) are especially important for eye health, while vitamin K1 is important for blood coagulation and can promote bone health. Remember to trim your carrot tops ASAP, as they will continue to draw from the tasty roots - reduce food waste by turning the tops into a tasty pesto, or saute them as you would any other bitter green! For a perfectly autumnal meal, pair carrots with another veggie packed with provitamin A carotenoids like beta carotene and vitamin K1 (that also happens to be on our Fresh Deals): Leeks! In addition to supporting your eye, blood, and bone health, Leeks are a good source of manganese, which may help reduce PMS symptoms. A Carrot-Leek soup with warming (and anti-inflammatory) spices like ginger is just the thing for cooler evenings. Rounding out our savory Fresh Deals are beautiful Beets! Delicious raw, juiced, roasted, steamed, or pickled, these versatile roots boast an impressive nutritional profile, including dietary nitrates, which can temporarily reduce blood pressure. 

 

In other veggie news, winter squash and gourds are coming in and looking great; stop by and check out our new Jack O Lantern Pumpkin displays at both stores! Cauliflower supply is steady, and prices have leveled off, while Broccoli and Pea supply has been tight. As we progress through the season, we will be celebrating our roots: keep an eye out for Jicama, Turnips, and Rutabaga the next time you come in! 

 

On the (slightly) sweeter side, California lemons and limes are starting up, grapes are going strong, and pears (especially Bosc pears) are looking pear-fect! Speciality fruit like jujubes, dragon fruit, and passion fruit are all looking beautiful and ready to grace your plate (or your bowl, or your glass). 

 

With Rosh Hashanah approaching, we’re highlighting Honeycrisp and Granny Smith Apples from Washington state! Great sources of fiber and vitamin C (when you eat the skin, too!), apples may not keep the doctor away but they do contain pectin (a type of fiber that helps jams and jelly set), which acts as a prebiotic, meaning it feeds the good bacteria in your gut. Honeycrisp Apples are just as sweetly balanced and crunchy as they sound when eaten out of hand, while Granny Smiths can be uncompromisingly acidic but are a great apple for baking, as they will retain their shape.  Pair with Medjool Dates from Del Real in Winterhaven, CA and Bloom Honey from Westlake Village, CA for a sweet new year!

Produce Notes: September 18, 2019

Besides ubiquitous pumpkin spice, nothing says autumn more than apples, and we’re celebrating not only apples but pears this week! Our Super Fresh Deal is on California-grown Gala Apples. Recently crowned the apple cultivar with the highest production in the United States (until 2018, that title belonged to Red Delicious apples), Galas have a floral aroma and a mild, sweet flavor and are best eaten raw, but can also be frozen and juiced. Look out for more varieties of apples at the Co-op as the season progresses! Also on our Fresh Deals are three kinds of pears; Hosui Asian Pears, Bartlett Pears, and Red Bartlett Pears. Hosui Asian Pears have a mild pear flavor that’s both sweet and slightly tart with the crisp crunch of an apple, and are excellent both out of hand and baked! Bartlett Pears were originally called “Williams” after the nurseryman who introduced the variety to England. The trees were later imported to the U.S., where they were planted on an estate in Massachusetts. Enoch Bartlett acquired the estate not long after, going on to propagate and introduce the variety to the U.S. under his own name, which is why this variety is known as a Bartlett in North America and a Williams in much of the rest of the world! Bartlett Pears are known for how their skin changes color as they ripen, allowing you to choose the pear experience you’re looking for: like it crunchy and tart? Pick a Barlett with green skin. If you prefer your pear more moist and mildly sweet, ready for a yellow-green. If you’re looking for a burst of sweet juice, allow your Bartlett to ripen at room temperature until it reaches a golden-yellow hue! Red Bartlett Pears follow a similar pattern, changing from a dark red to a beautiful bright red. Bartletts of all colors are wonderful in a variety of preparations, from canning to drying to baking to chutneys. 

 

In other sweet-and-on-sale news, Blackberries have reappeared on our Fresh Deals this week! As the berry season winds down, be sure to pick up some of these vitamin C-packed beauties before they’re gone - any that you don’t enjoy on their own freeze beautifully for smoothies all year long! Also high in fiber, vitamin K, and manganese, Blackberries have a low glycemic index and plenty of antioxidants. On to the other fruit! Figs of all varieties are still looking beautiful and supply is expected to last into the fall; California-grown mangos should be coming in soon; and passion fruit is in good supply. 

 

On the savory side of our Fresh Deals are cool-weather favorites Brussels Sprouts from Watsonville, CA and beautiful Fennel from Frecker Farms in Carpinteria! Read more about Alex Frecker’s farming journey here, then grab some bulbs at the Co-op. Fennel can be intimidating, with firm bulbs and feathery leaves, but these mild, licorice-flavored plants are delightful in a variety of preparations as well as offering a wide array of health benefits. In addition to being a good source of vitamin C, manganese, and calcium, fennel is packed with potent plant compounds and antioxidants with anti-inflammatory agents. For those breastfeeding, fennel also helps to increase milk secretion; if you are breastfeeding, please consult your doctor before using fennel tea. A review of 10 studies noted that fennel may provide relief from some symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes and sleep disturbance. Recipes using fennel tend to use the white bulb, which is delicious in a variety of preparations from shaved raw into salads to braised, sauteed, roasted, and grilled. Cooking fennel results in a tender and deeply sweet flavor. Fennel stalks can take the place of celery in soups and stews, and can be used as a bed for roasting proteins - fennel and seafood are a particularly popular combination. The leafy fronds are excellent tossed in a green salad or made into a pesto, and all parts of fennel can be juiced! Fennel doesn’t have a lot of moisture, so making a full cup of fennel juice may be challenging, but try adding a few fennel stalks to your next celery juice to switch up the flavor with a touch of licorice! 

 

Lastly, be sure to check out our new Floral offerings the next time you stop by the Co-op Produce Department! Locally-grown carnations, daisies, and sunflowers join Rainforest Alliance Certified roses in a beautiful bouquets at a variety of price points. Remember, flowers speak louder..!

Produce Notes: September 11, 2019

As you may have FIGured out, we love beautiful California figs at the Co-op! Three kinds of figs have landed on our Fresh Deals once again, with Kadota Figs taking the Super Fresh position. Kadota Figs are not as sweet as Brown Turkey Figs or Black Mission Figs, but are the heart of that most famous fig treat, the Fig Newton. Reach for Kadota Figs for any recipe where you want to dry, preserve, or cook figs, or pair it with a salty/savory flavor by tossing it on your pizza! Brown Turkey Figs and Black Mission Figs are lovely in all their forms: Brown Turkey Figs are great in salads or in any sweet preparation where there’s an additional sweetener, like honey, while Black Mission Figs are intensely sweet on their own and make a luscious seasonal dessert. Try dipping cut fresh figs in za’atar, the Middle Eastern spice blend with sesame seeds, for an  unexpected treat. Did you know that figs are technically not fruits but inverted flowers, some of which are pollinated by wasps in an amazing symbiotic relationship? When selecting figs, check the stem to make sure it’s firmly in place - a wiggly stem indicates a mushy fig. As figs are delicate, try to use them up within a day or two. Store covered in the fridge in a single layer to avoid bruising. Although figs do not continue to ripen off the tree, firm ones may soften if left at room temperature for a day or two. 


Rounding out this week’s Fresh Deals we have four kinds of grapes: Black Grapes, Red Grapes, and Green Grapes come to us courtesy of Benzler Farms! Our last grape deal is on Thomcord Grapes - if you stopped by the Co-op’s pop-up at the Santa Monica Health & Wellness Festival this past Saturday, you know exactly why we are so excited about Thomcord Grapes! If you’ve never tried these intense little grapes, be sure to pick up some Thomcord Grapes the next time you’re at the Co-op; all the classic grape flavor of Concord grapes without the seeds or thick skin, what’s not to love? 


In other fruit news, we are delighted to have more varieties of California apples coming in! California Braeburns joined Galas, Fujis, and Granny Smiths at the Co-op this morning, and we’re looking forward to celebrating the sweetness of autumn near the end of the month with Washington Honeycrisps. Our Asian and Bartlett Pears are also California-grown! The end of summer berry season is approaching for much of California, and as supply is tightening prices are trending up. Most melons are done for the season, while mangoes are expected to land soon. California pears are looking good, and our first crop of Red Bartlett pears landed this morning! Stone fruit is done for the season, but delightful little Jujubes are here! Whether you prefer them crisp and sweet like an apple or a little wrinkled, these cherry-sized drupes are what we look forward to every fall. Dragon Fruit are also on hand to lend some visual drama to your next smoothie bowl. 


On the more savory side, Brussels sprouts are ready for any preparation you prefer, while celery supply is a little tighter than it has been. Bunched greens like kale and collards are in steady supply, along with Iceberg lettuce, while Romaine lettuces are in tight supply. Hard squash are coming in strong with this seasonal transition. Tomatoes are nearing the end of their season, and Hatch chiles are done.

Produce Notes: September 4, 2011

Though the days are warm, the air is slowly filling with the scent of pumpkin spice, and organic autumnal produce is arriving at your Co-op! 

 

This week’s Super Fresh Deal is on beautiful Brussels Sprouts from Ocean Mist! Did you know that more than 90% of Brussels sprouts grown in the United States come from California, mostly from farms along the central coast? These little cabbages (believed to have first been cultivated in Belgium in the 16th century) have seen a renaissance in the past few years, and for good reason! Rich in vitamins C and K, folate, and fiber, Brussels Sprouts are also rich in antioxidant carotenoids like beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, all of which help support eye health. Brussels Sprouts are also one of the best plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are commonly found in fish and seafood and have a variety of documented health benefits. Try tossing separated Brussels Sprout leaves with any high-smoke point oil and roasting at 375°F for about 20 minutes to make your own “chips”!

 

Late summer to early fall is prime “winter” squash season for California growers, which we are celebrating with this week’s Fresh Deals! More nutrient-dense than summer squash, winter squash have hard seeds and thick, protective rinds that allow them to be stored for long periods. This week all of our winter squash is coming from Jerry Slough Farming in Buttonwillow, CA. Butternut Squash is a large variety with a pale rind and orange flesh that has a sweet, earthy taste. Unlike other winter squash, both the seeds and the rind of the Butternut Squash are edible after cooking, and it is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals as well as antioxidants like beta-carotene and dietary fiber. Similarly, Acorn Squash is packed with vitamin C, B vitamins, and magnesium and Spaghetti Squash is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, manganese, and vitamin B6! No matter which squash you reach for, try roasting or steaming for a delicious meal - Spaghetti Squash in particular is popular as a pasta substitute because of its noodle-ish texture. Please note that because vitamin C is water soluble, it is best to only cook squash in water if it is part of a soup, as the vitamins lost by the vegetable during the cooking process will be retained in the liquid. 

 

On the slightly-sweeter side of our Fresh Deals, Heirloom Tomatoes are in great supply from Coke Farm! When you next pick out the perfect Heirloom Tomato, make sure to use all of your senses: in addition to beautiful color and a slight give to the flesh, give it a sniff: a ripe tomato should smell earthy and slightly sweet. Enjoy this last hurrah of summer with dinner, and then tuck into a perfectly autumnal Bartlett Pear for dessert! Whether enjoyed out of hand or roasted over ice cream, pears are rich in folate, vitamin C, copper, and potassium - as always, be sure to eat the whole pear! The peel boasts up to six times the antioxidants of the flesh, and Viva Tierra, our supplier, never uses any wax on their apples or pears. Pair Bartlett Pears with some sweet Medjool Dates from Co-op favorite Del Real for a sophisticated snack. Medjool Dates, like most dried fruit, are calorically dense and rich in fiber, making them a good choice for on-the-go (or sitting-in-traffic) snacking. Try blending pitted Medjool Dates with a bit of water for a caramel-like sweetener! 

 

As for other Produce News, Stone Fruit Summer has officially come to an end. While the prime time for out-of-hand eating has passed, any remaining stone fruit will make a delightful addition to a smoothie, or can be cooked down to make a spoonable compote. Peppers are thriving in the late summer heat and in great supply. As fall ramps up we are looking forward to more varieties of California-grown apples - some have a very short season, so keep an eye out! 

Produce Notes: August 28, 2019

Now that the Dog Days of Summer are behind us and many are back to school, we’re highlighting the best of this seasonal transition!

 

Mix up your crudite with some Green Beans from Coke Farms, our Super Fresh Deal this week! These crunchy, folate-rich legumes are not only delicious, they actually improve soil health by “fixing” nitrogen from the air in their roots - when the bean roots begin to decompose, the nitrogen becomes available for the next crop planted in that spot. Look for vivid color and firm texture when picking out your beans, and feel free to stock up - extras freeze beautifully (and make a great treat for your overheated canine friends!), or you can make dilly beans to enjoy all year long. If you have a grilling basket, try tossing the beans with a little oil and your preferred spices and add them to your late-summer cookout menu! 

 

Be sure to also check out our Red Chinese Noodle Beans (aka Red Yardlong Beans)! These impressively sized beans grow rapidly on climbing vines - the pods can grow more than an inch a day in warm climates. While they might look like oversized Green Beans, Yardlong Beans are actually members of a different genus altogether, more closely related to cowpeas. Likewise, the texture and flavor of Yardlong Beans are distinct. Unlike Green Beans, Yardlong Beans will be limp and slightly wrinkled even when they’re fresh - don’t be put off! The red variety we have in stock (Santa Monica only!) is tender and fleshy with a complex flavor like a nutty mushroom, but less earthy. Yardlong Beans can become waterlogged and bland when cooked in water, so be sure to cook them in oil: sauteed, stir-fried, or deep-fried, their flavor intensifies and their texture remains tight and juicy. Try deep-frying the Yardlong Beans before sauteing them with stock, aromatics, and some Sichuan peppercorns for a take on a Chinese recipe! Or (after stir-frying the beans in a neutral oil), try simmering them in coconut milk with some cubed kabocha squash for a version of an Indonesian staple. 

 

Another gem from Coke Farm is on our Fresh Deals: beautiful dry farmed Early Girl Tomatoes! Dry farming is an ancient cultivation technique used around the Mediterranean and in Mediterrean climates around the world, making it a natural fit for California, with our rainy winters that saturate the soil and generally bone-dry summers. After the plants have been established, irrigation is cut off, forcing the roots deep into the soil in search of water. The fruit the plant produces are usually smaller and packed with flavor, with a firm, dense texture. These Early Girls will shine in any simple preparation, whether raw or roasted. Celebrate their flavor by serving them simply with a little California olive oil and sea salt for a true taste of summer. And the last veggie on our Fresh Deals? Red Potatoes! These California-grown taters have a waxy texture that means your Red Potatoes will stay firm when cooked, whether roasted or boiled, and their thin-but-colorful skin is the best part - be sure to leave it on for maximum nutritional value! The resistant starch in potatoes nurtures good gut bacteria, which may in turn help reduce insulin resistance. 

 

Rounding out our Fresh Deals are grapes - four varieties of grapes, in fact! These made-for-snacking fruits have been cultivated around the world for thousands of years, boasting a wealth of health benefits. One cup of grapes provides more than a quarter of your recommended daily intake of vitamin K, a fat-soluble vitamin vital for blood clotting and healthy bones, and grapes are packed with antioxidants (mostly in their seeds and skin). If you spend a lot of time looking at a screen, grapes may help ease your tired eyes: lutein and zeaxanthin, two antioxidants found in grapes, help protect your retinas from damage from blue light. This week our Black, Green, and Red Grapes come from Benzler Farm in Fresno. We are especially excited about our Thomcord Grapes, and not just because of their beautiful plastic-free packaging! Thomcords are a cross of the Concord and Thompson Seedless varieties, marrying the wild, plummy taste of Concords with the thinner skins and barely-there seeds of Thompsons. Pair these jammy table grapes with a creamy, soft cheese on your charcuterie board or roast the grapes and scatter them over focaccia with olives for a savory-sweet delight!

Produce Notes: August 21, 2019

With the rapidly approaching change of seasons, we’re appreciating all of summer’s greatest hits! This week, we’re celebrating Cantaloupe with a Super Fresh Deal - these California-grown melons from John Givens Farm/Something Good Organics have been eating like a dream, with sweet, dense flesh. Try pairing with some spicy prosciutto for a no-fuss summer appetizer, or scoop the flesh into a smoothie with some California Blueberries, also on our Fresh Deals! The blueberry season is winding down in the northwest, so be sure to grab some ripe summer berries to freeze. 

 

Gala Apples from Ferrari Farms are ready for your back-to-school and snacking needs! Galas were developed in New Zealand in 1934 and boast an impressive pedigree related to the Delicious and Cox Orange Pippin varieties. The Gala is also a parent to several varieties including the Jazz and Pacific Rose. Did you know there are more than 7500 known cultivars of apples, all believed to be descended from a single species in Central Asia? Remember to keep the skin when you’re snacking: the skin of the apple contains half of the fiber of the total fruit and many of the polyphenols!

 

Remember a few weeks back when we gleefully announced the beginning of fig season? That was the beginning of the breba crop, or “bonus” crop of figs that develop in the spring on the previous year’s shoot growth. Now that we are later in the summer, the main crop of figs are arriving in our 100% organic Produce Department! As previously noted, fresh figs are fiber-full and one of the richest plant sources for a variety of vitamins and minerals, including calcium and vitamin A. Candy Stripe Figs (also known as Tiger Stripe Figs) usually do not produce a breba crop, but these beauties are worth the wait! From their yellow-and-green stripes to the deep hue of their sweet, jammy flesh, Candy Stripes are as delicious as they are eye-catching. Purplish Black Mission Figs are classic crowd pleasers for a reason; very sweet and excellent in a wide variety of preparations. The contrast between the Mission Figs’ purple skin and creamy pale interior will keep your charcuterie board looking stunning, and also pair well with salty meats and cheeses! Yellowish-green Kadota Figs, on the other hand, are less sweet than Black Missions but great for baking, as they’re slightly more hardy. 

 

On the more savory side, the avocado market continues to be unpredictable, but prices seem stable this week. Broccoli has improved and prices have improved, and Baby Broccoli supply is steady. Cauliflower production is in strong supply, while Romanesco supply is inconsistent. Eggplant prices are looking good, as are Green Bell Peppers. Orange, Yellow, and Red Bells are not in great supply, but the recent rise in temperatures should improve conditions! Zucchini is looking great, and most tomatoes are in good supply - make sure to enjoy some Cherry Tomatoes as summer winds down!

Produce Notes: August 14, 2019

Stop by our floral displays for a Super Fresh Deal on bunches of Sunflowers, then head on over to the Produce Department to taste the rainbow - literally! Rainbow Carrots, Rainbow Chard, and Rainbow Fingerling Potatoes are all on our Fresh Deals, along with Easter Egg Radishes and Mixed Cherry Tomatoes. 

You probably know that orange carrots get their color from beta carotene, an antioxidant your body converts to vitamin A. Eating a bunch of Rainbow Carrots is a great way to get a dose of antioxidants, not only beta carotene, but lutein (predominantly found in yellow and orange carrots), lycopene (found in red and purple carrots), and anthocyanins (found in dark-colored carrots). Carrots are crunchy and full of nutrients, making them the perfect snack foods - did you know that cooking carrots can change their glycemic index? At the low range, raw carrots have a glycemic index of about 16, cooked carrots are slightly higher, and pureed carrots top out at a glycemic index of around 60! 

 

Rainbow Chard is another nutrient powerhouse, combining dark leafy greens with brightly colored (aka antioxidant rich) stems. High in fiber and an excellent source of vitamin K, chard is another veggie that’s as pleasing to the body as it is to the eye. If the chard stems are particularly thick, chop them finely and start cooking them a little before you add the rest of the chard to ensure uniform tenderness. Rainbow Fingerling Potatoes are filling, versatile, and cook in a fraction of the time needed for larger varieties - plus (you guessed it!) the rainbow of colors are indications of the antioxidants they contain! As always with potatoes, it’s best to leave their skin on to retain the number of vitamins and minerals you’re consuming. 

 

Easter Egg Radishes are not actually a kind of radish, but a bundle of bunched pink, white, red, and purple varieties, making it easy to get all your radish needs in one stop! Radishes are a good source of vitamin C and contain the naturally antifungal protein RsAFP2 and have a peppery taste; generally the lighter the color of the variety the more mild the taste. Wonderful in a crudite, roasted, or pickled, these underappreciated cruciferous root vegetables originated in China and eventually made their way to Egypt and into the pyramids. Young radish greens also make a lively addition to salads and stir fries!  

 

As the season winds down and we return to the rhythms of work and school, Mixed Cherry Tomatoes are the perfect burst of summer sunshine in your lunch box! Fun fact: 10 cherry tomatoes have about as much potassium as a banana, in addition to being rich in lycopene and vitamins C and K. In other Produce News, as the first day of school approaches, so do the first of the California-grown apples! Look for the new crop of Gala apples in-store now, with more varieties ripening soon, and “pear” them with another new crop - Bartlett pears! 

Produce Notes: August 7, 2019

We all love watermelon and tomatoes, but have you tried the other great organic produce this season has to offer? Our good-looking squash selection looks even better with our Super Fresh Deal on Zucchini this week! Did you know that while squash are indigenous to the Americas, this particular variety was first developed in Italy in the early 19th century? Rich in vitamins A and C, this fruit (technically!) is wonderful in many preparations and great for your gut. Try it raw, on the grill, or sauteed with your other favorites - try roasting your Zucchini and Eggplant and Red Bell Peppers (also on our Fresh Deals!) with some garlic, rosemary, and olive oil for a deconstructed ratatouille - perfect for late summer meals! Eggplants are another versatile, nutrient dense fruit with a good amount of fiber and plenty of antioxidants, but it can be tricky to cook well. Because its spongy flesh tends to soak up excess oil, this can be especially true when you want to fry your eggplant. Try salting the flesh in advance (20-30 minutes), make sure any cooking oil is at least 365°F, and be sure not to overcrowd your pan, as this will lead to a drop in temperature. 

 

In addition to the plentiful squash of summer, and the cucumbers (as promised!), kale supply is strong, and most lettuces are looking great! Broccoli supply has tightened up, as has cauliflower supply, while corn has remained elusive. California avocado prices are softening, to the relief of avocado lovers - our California supply should last through the end of summer, with Mexican avocados ripening and ready to go. Tomatoes are generally steady, but they won’t last forever, so pick up some summer beauties ASAP! 

 

Rounding out our Fresh Deals are Tuscan Melons, Black Plums, and Dapple Dandy Pluots. Tuscan Melons are a relatively new kind of especially sweet cantaloupe with distinctive grooved skin: dark green grooves indicate a sweet, almost crispy flesh, while lighter grooves indicate a softer texture and richer flavor. The firm flesh of the Tuscan Melon will hold up well in fruit salads, but don’t feel limited to sweet preparations! Melons are wonderful paired with salty cheeses and charcuterie. As apricots wind down, look out for a more limited supply of peaches and nectarines, but know that  Black Plums and Dapple Dandy Pluots here for all your stone fruit cravings! Plums are impressively high in nutrients, containing over 15 vitamins and minerals in addition to fiber and antioxidants; enjoy these tiny powerhouses out of hand, in salads, or even in smoothies! Keep an eye out for Santa Rosa Plums when you’re in store - our Produce team can’t get enough of their amazing flavor! Dapple Dandy Pluots (a hybrid of about 70% plum and 30% apricot) are also known as “Dinosaur Egg” or “Dinosaur’s Fruit” for their distinctive mottled skin. Dapple Dandy Pluots have especially sweet, pink flesh and are ready to eat when they give to gentle pressure - be careful, as they bruise easily when ripe! Pluots are especially sensitive to ethylene-producing fruits and vegetables like tomato and green onion, so take care to store them separately. 

 

In other fruit news, look out for California apples and pears in the next few weeks! Strawberry supply remains steady, as does blueberry, though not for much longer. Blackberries are in somewhat limited supply. Figs have now transitioned from their breba crop to their main crop. Seeded watermelon are slowing, but seedless bins are in strong supply and mini seedless are looking great. All kinds of grapes are plentiful and in steady supply - check out our new grape packaging the next time you stop by your Co-op!

Produce Notes: July 31, 2019

It’s finally happened: the co-op has gone totally tomatoes! Our Fresh Deals are ripe with these summer fruits, so try picking up a few varieties and see what tickles your tastebuds while enjoying these antioxidant-rich nightshades. Whether you fall for Heirloom Tomatoes from Castro Farms (Hollister), Mixed Cherry Tomatoes from Martinez Farms (Madera) or Campari Tomatoes and Slicer Tomatoes from Goleta (read more about John Givens Farm/Something Good Organics here!), these beauties are ready for your salads, your sandwiches, and your sauces! While you’re at it, why not pair your tomatoes with some Bunched Basil from local favorite Kenter Canyon Farms and a drizzle of California olive oil? 

 

In other vegetable news, local cucumber supply is picking up! Be on the lookout for the different varietals: slicing cucumbers like Kirby and Persian can be more bitter (just remove the skin and seeds for a less bitter flavor); English cucumbers are more mild, with smaller seeds than slicing cukes; while pickling cucumbers (like Gherkins!) are grown specifically to be uniform in size for easy prep. Broccoli supply continues to be steady, cauliflower supply is tightening up, and California-grown globe eggplant are starting slowly, though Mexican fair-trade globe eggplants are a delicious substitute! Squash are also looking good and will only be getting better: green and yellow zucchini are in strong supply, as are Crookneck squash. Look out for more hard squash like Acorn, Delicata, and Butternut in the coming weeks! 

 

On the sweeter side, we are loving all the California-grown melons: from our Super Fresh Deal on Cantaloupe to our savings on Galia Melons and Green Honeydew, we have got the sweet, juicy melons your summer needs! Galias look like Cantaloupe on the outside and Green Honeydew on the inside, and are intensely aromatic when ripe with a delicious, smooth-textured flesh. Try to find a melon that feels heavy for its size, and make sure to follow your nose when picking ripe melons: aim for the round section where the vine was attached, and sniff for a fresh fragrance with a hint of sweetness. Try them all in a melon salad with some ginger and citrus after allowing them to ripen at room temperature! Make sure to keep cut or ripe fruit in the refrigerator. Most rinds can be pickled or cooked, and the seeds can be dried or roasted. 

 

Look out for more varieties of California melons as the summer weeks progress, and for mangos. Grapes are also in strong supply, in a number of sizes and flavors that mean there’s something grape for everyone, from sweet and seedless to perfumed and intense!

Produce Notes: July 24, 2019

While the pick-your-own blackberry adventure at Stehly Farms has already passed, rest easy knowing that you can pick up delightful local Blackberries at your local co-op at a Fresh Deal price! Delicious on their own or paired with Raspberries (also on our Fresh Deals this week), these sweet-yet-tart berries are a summer staple packed with vitamin C and high in fiber as well as being a great source of vitamin K and high in manganese. Try them with with some cold, rich cream and taste how good local produce can be. 

 

In other fruit news, melons (especially Galia and Cantaloupe) are still in strong, sweet supply from the warmer inland areas, California Gala apples are expected in begin in just a few weeks, and, as promised, the pluots have arrived! Bonus news, beautiful Red Pluots have landed right in our Super Fresh Deal this week! Pluots are a cross of species in the same genus: Floyd Zaiger introduced pluots in the 1980s after cross-breeding plums and apricots by hand pollination. Look for firm, unblemished fruit with a strong fragrance, and enjoy out of hand! Any extras are great substitutes for other stone fruit in your favorite recipes, including pies, salads, and even salsa. Apricots and cherries are winding down, plums are in steady supply, and yellow and white peaches are tasting amazing!

 

Fresh garbanzo beans are done for the season, and while other beans are in limited availablity, Green Beans are back on our Fresh Deals! If the dog days of summer have you dreading stove time, try blanching trimmed green beans in advance (don’t forget to shock them in ice water!) and tossing them in your cool salads. Rounding out our Fresh Deals are Broccoli and Red Kale. Broccoli is wonderful cooked or raw in a variety of preparations, and don’t forget the stalk! Peel the fibrous layers away from the core of the stalk and you’ve got less food waste and more broccoli without the fuss and mess of florets: that’s a win-win-win. Red Kale is just as versatile as any other kale variety, but adds a touch of unexpected color to your stir-fry or gently massaged salad; loaded with antioxidants, vitamins C and K, and guranteed not to shrink as much as other leafy greens, add some to your basket and see what you can cook up! 

 

Looking forward, we expect to see a sea of cucumbers and tomatoes along with more California-grown squash as summer starts to wind down (at least in some parts of the state). Bell peppers of all colors are in steady supply, and hot peppers will be coming in hot after this heat!

Produce Notes: July 17, 2019

Missing the bursts of holiday fireworks already? Thankfully we have a mix of California grown Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes bursting with color and flavor at a Super Fresh Deal of $2.99 per pint! Pick some up for an easy snack that packs a powerful punch of nutrients like vitamins A, C, K, and potassium. There is archaeological evidence suggesting that Mesoamerican farmers cultivated the first strains of cherry tomatoes in Central America, and the genetic makeup of cherry tomatoes has remained mostly unchanged since! As with all beautiful tomatoes, make sure to store your Heirloom Cherry Tomatoes away from direct sunlight at room temperature until ripe and ready to use. 

 

Also on this week’s Fresh Deals are Green Butter Lettuce heads and Green Bell Peppers. Green Butter Lettuce is known for its sweet and tender leaves, which are great torn as salad greens or used as an edible vessel for anything scoopable! If you’re planning a meal with lettuce cups or wraps, store submerged leaves in a large bowl of cool water in the fridge to help keep the lettuce crisp after you’ve removed them from the head. Green Bell Peppers are in strong supply, while other colors are more limited, but supply is picking up! Peppers, especially hot peppers, need hot weather to grow, so this delay is another effect of spring’s cool weather. 

 

As stone-fruit summer continues, we are highlighting White Peaches and Yellow Peaches on our Fresh Deals! White Peaches are lower in acid and taste sweet whether firm or soft, making them excellent for eating out of hand or grilling. White Peaches are easily bruised and have a delicate, floral sweetness. For pure peachy flavor, however, Yellow Peaches are our go-to: the tartness of the flesh mellows as the fruit ripens, and their more intense flavor makes them wonderful in all things baked. Apricots and white nectarines are in good supply, while supply of black and red plums are expected to improve. Pluots are beginning to show up, so keep an eye out for these delicious hybrids! Part plum and part apricot, there are many differently colored varieties to get excited about. 

 

Rounding out our Fresh Deals are antioxidant-packed favorites: Blueberries and Cantaloupe! Blueberry season has ended for most of California, so these deep blue beauties come to your co-op from Oregon. The Cantaloupes, however, are 100% California melons! Try them in a savory fruit salad with cucumbers and soft fresh herbs, or freeze cantaloupe pieces and blend with coconut water for a cooling summer slushie!

Produce Notes: July 10, 2019

While we have a surprise stock of California cherries (read more about them here!), our Super Fresh Deal is just for Red Cherries from Washington state. Antioxidant-packed, these firm-but-sweet stone fruits may help ease the joint pain associated with arthritis and gout. (In a pairing that might call to mind upside-down cakes or holiday hams, Pineapple has also landed on our Fresh Deals, though as they are Costa Rican rather than Californian, their growing and supply cycle will not be explored here.) Apricots (especially Cotton Candy Apricots!) are in strong supply, as are white and yellow peaches. Plums and pluots are more limited in supply, though supply of red plums may improve in the next week or so. Melons are still going strong, particularly the Seeded Watermelon from Rundle Family Farms that has a spot on our Fresh Deals! While dealing with seeds may not be everyone’s idea of a good time, watermelon seeds (and the seeds of many other melons) can be roasted like pumpkin seeds rather than, say, entered into a spitting contest. Watermelon seeds contain magnesium as well as lesser amounts of iron and folate, and are a great summer snack. Looking forward to the end of the month, we anticipate California-grown pears as August rolls around. 

 

On the vegetable side, Sweet Corn, Zucchini, and Heirloom Tomatoes have all reappeared on our Fresh Deals as we eat up all that the season has to offer! Grilled or raw, all three are great in salads and entrees alike, and there’s nothing like a juicy tomato sandwich on a hot day. If you’re looking for some avocado for your super sandwich, just be aware that prices are on the rise again, and the volatile market is not expected to improve soon. Most members of the Brassica family are in strong supply (especially broccoli and cauliflower), though yellow and purple cauliflower are gapping and may be harder to come by. Eggplant from the Central Valley is starting to make an appearance, and bell pepper supply is slowly picking up. Cabbages are also in steady supply, and we’re pleased to say that celery supply is steady as prices continue to drop! We have adjusted the price of celery juice at our Service Deli accordingly. 

 

We are also pleased to stock Fresh Garbanzo Beans in limited numbers! Like their dried and canned counterparts, fresh garbanzo beans are starchy, with a buttery texture and mild bean flavor. Find them encased in a papery light green shell (generally two beans to a pod). While you can shell the beans to make specialty recipes like fresh garbanzo hummus (easy on the tahini so you don’t overwhelm the fresh bean’s delicate flavor), you can also steam, roast, grill, or fry them like edamame - just be sure to not eat the pod!

Produce Notes: July 3, 2019

Since no one can resist watermelon (especially now that we’re  in National Watermelon Month!) we’ve extended last week’s Fresh Deals through July 9th! Look for Black Seedless Watermelons, Fuji Apples, California Strawberries, Bi-Color Corn, Green Beans, and Red Potatoes at Fresh Deals prices through your holiday weekend. Now onto the rest of the Produce Notes! 

We are moving into fig season! Much more than the filling to crumbly cookies, fresh figs are fiber-full and one of the richest plant sources for a variety of vitamins and minerals, including calcium and vitamin A. One note - if you are allergic to rubber latex, birch pollen, or any other member of the mulberry (Moraceae) family (such as jackfruit, Osage orange, and sugar apple) you may also be allergic to figs. If you’re a fig-lover, purplish-black Mission Figs are classic crowd pleasers for a reason; very sweet and excellent in a wide variety of preparations. The contrast between the Mission Figs’ purple skin and creamy pale interior will keep your charcuterie board looking stunning! Brown Turkey Figs are slightly less sweet, the pink rose-colored flesh contrasting nicely with rusted red-purple skin and pale green shoulders, and wonderful in salads where their sweetness can be balanced with other flavors. Also keep an eye out for yellowish-green Kadota Figs a little later in the season, which are less sweet but great for baking, as they’re slightly more hardy. 

In other fruit news, California cherries are likely done for the season. Look out for Red and Rainier Cherries from Washington for all your cherry antioxidant needs! Other stone fruit, from peaches to plums, are mostly looking steady, though some varieties are in limited supply - look out for pluots! 

On the slightly-more-savory side, the summer season is shaping up so look out for Okra, Snow Peas, and Pickling Cucumbers the next time you stop by your co-op! Okra is known for the gel inside its pods (“okra” usually refers to the edible seedpods of the okra plant, a member of the same genetic family as hibiscus and cotton), which can be used as a thickening agent in classics like gumbo. If you’re not a fan of the gel, try pickling okra to make it less bitter, or drying out the pods and seasoning with sea salt for a crunchy snack! Snow peas may not be here for long as the unseasonable wet weather a few weeks ago affected plantings, so snack them up when you see them. Pickling cucumbers, shorter and thicker than slicing cucumbers, have bumpy or spotted skin and - as their name implies - are wonderful when pickled whole.

Produce Notes: June 26, 2019

What says summer more than sweet, juicy watermelon? Pick up a whole or a half (or a quarter - just ask a member of our Produce team to help you get the size you’re looking for!) of Black Seedless Watermelon at our Super Fresh Deal price, or just grab and go with our new Organic Watermelon Juice! Find both in our Produce section. Watermelon has a lot more going for it than just water - with high levels of vitamins C and A plus moderate amounts of potassium, fiber, calcium, iron, and even protein, this antioxidant rich fruit is a summer all-star! Make like an Egyptian and enjoy this very special berry - seeds, leaves, and paintings depicting watermelons dating back 5,000 years have been discovered in excavations of Egyptian tombs! Try pickling or cooking the rind to use it all up. 

If you’re craving a bit more crunch, why not reach for a Fuji Apple? Known for their sweet and crisp flesh, these Fresh Deal favorites are high in water and fiber - just be sure to leave the skin on! The pectin found in apples may also act as a prebiotic, feeding the “good” bacteria in your gut. Speaking of sweet, California-grown Strawberries are nearing peak volume! Whether you eat them by the handful, throw them in your smoothie, or dip them in dark chocolate, these vitamin-C packed low-carbohydrate berries are rich in antioxidants. In other fruit-news, California-grown citrus is winding down, melons are coming in sweet, and stone fruit supply remains steady but won’t last forever, so enjoy those sweet nectarines now! 

Bi-Color Corn, Green Beans, and Red Potatoes round out our Fresh Deals in steady supply and great taste, ready for your grill or your salad! Did you know that red potatoes have more potassium than bananas, while one cup of green beans provides almost 20% of your daily vitamin K, important for healthy bones? Try roasting both on a sheet pan with your favorite protein at 425°F for a quick-and-easy summer supper. 

Finally, a celery update: while supply has improved, demand has continued to rise as more and more people discover the benefits of the fibrous stalks and their flavorful juice. Much of the cost appears to be demand driven, and the growers who didn’t anticipate the demand are now planting more celery than ever. Typically, when growers underestimate demand they then overcorrect by planting more than there is a market for: expect prices to remain volatile as we all figure out the new normal for celery!  

Produce Notes: June 19, 2019

Summer is here, and summer means tomatoes, so this week we are highlighting California-grown slicer tomatoes as our Super Fresh Deal! “Slicer” (or “slicing”) tomatoes are those that strike the right balance between meatiness and juiciness while being big enough to slice onto burgers and sandwiches. Great for pairing with the grill or slipping into a salad, they’ll bring the taste of summer to any desk lunch! Delicious leftovers are sure to result when you combine slicer tomatoes with local zucchini and black kale - also on this week’s Fresh Deals! Saute your antioxidant-rich organic produce with some onions and your preferred seasoning and you have a perfect pasta topping!

The recent West Coast heat wave may have disappeared behind the clouds of June gloom, but its impact is significant: California-grown blackberries, parsley, and lettuces were affected by the intense heat and supply may come up short in the next few weeks due to heat damage. California blueberry season is winding down but strawberry season is going strong, as are stone fruit other than cherries. Anticipate rising avocado prices as Mexico’s harvest winds down and demand continues to grow.


In other local news, California-grown melons are in strong supply, and this week we’re celebrating the cantaloupe with our Fresh Deal pricing. Did you know that melon seeds are edible when roasted, like slightly-chewy squash seeds? After removing as much of the netting (the fibers that help the seeds cling to the flesh) as you can, rinse the separated seeds, season to taste, and roast for around 15 minutes at 400°F, checking often to make sure they don’t burn. Melon seeds are good sources of fiber and protein, and eating the seeds means both more bang for your buck and less food waste!

Produce Notes: June 12, 2019

As we greet the heat of summer (it’s what makes melons sweet, after all!) it’s easy to forget the wet weather of spring, but those unseasonable rains continue to affect California-grown crops: cherry supply remains volatile as the rain causes the fruit to split, while asparagus season is ending earlier than usual. Fortunately we still have blueberries in steady supply, which is why we’ve extended our Super Fresh Deal this week! California-grown red and green seedless grapes should land in the next week or so after long delays due to the cool and wet weather, while most stone fruit is still going strong: yellow and white nectarines are sugaring up nicely, plums are juicy, and yellow, white, and donut peaches are tasting great. Have you ever tried grilling yellow peaches? Halve the peach, remove the stone, and set it cut-side down for some nice grill marks. Whether you go sophisticated by serving your grilled peaches with a balsamic reduction drizzle or embrace simplicity with a dollop of whipped cream they’re sure to be a hit!

 

With Father’s Day just around the corner, grill-friendly produce is on our minds and in our Fresh Deals! Hearty Portobello mushroom caps (rich in potassium and B vitamins!) and white cauliflower steaks are great plant-based additions to your grill. Heads up - orange and purple cauliflower are expected in mid- to late-June! Orange bell peppers - very high in vitamin C - make a sweet raw snack on hot days or can add a pop of color to your kebabs. And no cookout would be complete without yellow sweet corn - steamed, boiled, or grilled and served elote-style, it’s always a tasty summer treat!

 

Just thinking about standing over a grill makes us sweat, which is why we’re reaching for young Thai coconuts - the best coconut water comes straight from a coconut, afterall! The balance of sodium and potassium in young coconuts make them a great way to hydrate, and younger coconuts have more water than older coconuts, as the water is replaced by coconut flesh as it matures.  Ask a member of our Produce team to knock a hole in your coconut for hydration on-the-go, and don’t forget to eat the coconut meat when you’re done slurping - the flesh is a great source of both dietary fiber and medium chain fatty acids (aka MCTs) as well as being delicious!

 

Looking ahead to the first official weeks of summer, we anticipate seeing multiple varieties of squash (another good one for the grill!) and eggplant, provided the warmer weather inland cooperates. Larger sizes of artichoke are gapping because warm weather is causing this perennial thistle to open earlier than expected, but smaller sizes are steady. Celery prices remain high for both domestic and imported, as Mexican production winds down and California-grown supply is limited. Baby broccoli is in good production and mature broccoli supply should improve this month.

Produce Notes: June 5, 2019

While we may be deep in June gloom, summer is coming, and your body will thank you for feeding it free radical-fighting antioxidants while you’re enjoying the beautiful outdoors! When being kind to yourself is as easy as munching on some antioxidant-rich blueberries, why not stock up? Organic California blueberries are our Super Fresh Deal this week in 6oz and 18oz containers (while supplies last!) and any that don’t immediately go into your granola (or pancakes) will freeze beautifully. Heads up: blueberries were impacted by the unseasonal rain but supplies remain steady, and warmer weather is expected to have berry production back at full swing!

 

Speaking of antioxidants, kale is packed with them, as well as being rich in vitamins A, K, and C and a great source of plant-based calcium, and is also a Fresh Deal this week - so many reasons to eat your greens! Zucchini is another antioxidant-rich Fresh Deal in strong supply, great for making raw noodles or throwing on the grill. Did you know that zucchini is rich in vitamin C when raw and in vitamin A when cooked?  

 

Stone fruit is looking good and we hope the it stays abundant through the season, though this abundance may be an indication that supply is peaking early - fingers crossed! Apricots, nectarines, and peaches are in strong supply while cherries - which have suffered because of the unseasonably late rains - are getting a little bigger but continue to be volatile in supply and price. Plums are looking strong, and Spring Splendor black plums (aka Flavorosa pluots) have landed right in our Fresh Deals! Look for deep purple skin with juicy red flesh.

 

We have more variety of melons from California’s southern desert regions, including that most succulent of muskmelons the cantaloupe! Rich in beta carotene (one study found orange-fleshed melons have the same amount of beta carotene as carrots!) and great for hydration, try cantaloupe in sweet or savory preparations - try roasting it for an unexpected treat! The sugars caramelize while the flesh relaxes, making it a great topping for everything from oatmeal to ice cream.

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