Organic Picks | May 7th, 2015

Sugar Baby WatermelonsCluster TomatoesCantaloupesFava Beans

Best if used by 05/13/15

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Organic Sugar Baby Watermelons

Peak Season    Best Flavor

Ready the cutting board! Ready the napkins! Organize a seed spitting contest! Lady Moon Farms is harvesting their peak season Organic Sugar Baby Watermelons in Florida here in May – just in time for picnic season.

So, what is a Sugar Baby? The Sugar Baby Watermelon variety has solid dark-green skin and matures to a small to medium size. The deep-red flesh is sweet, juicy and delicious! They have a medium-crisp texture and classic watermelon flavor. A seeded variety, Sugar Baby melons are planted by some growers next to Seedless Watermelon plants to pollinate that fruit. They’re available just a few times a year in select produce departments and now is one of those times!

And if seeds are too much of an inconvenience for you, regular-sized Organic Seedless Watermelons from Mexican are in season and tasted fairly nice. Organic Mini Seedless Watermelons, “personal size”, have been another tasty choice.

  How to pick a Watermelon

There’s no science to selecting a Watermelon. It’s up to the farmers and harvesters to pick them at the right time and for stores/distributors to inspect them well. Here’s what you can do:

  • Find one that is relatively symmetrical, feels heavy (watermelons are 92% water).
  • Look for Watermelons with a creamy yellow spot underneath (showing it ripened in the sun and that’s the spot where it sat on the ground).
  • Avoid spongy-feeling melons. The watermelon should feel firm all around.
  • And go ahead – thump away if you like… it’ll make people think you know what you’re doing!
  • Do not store whole watermelons in the refrigerator. Only refrigerate once cut. Their texture stays best when stored in the 55-75F range, so room temperature is fine. Once cut you must refrigerate the fruit.

How do you choose a ripe Watermelon? Is there a way to tap them to tell if a whole Watermelon will be ripe inside?

Organic Cluster Tomatoes

Peak Season    Value Priced

Summer-ripe, local Organic Tomato crops are not ready yet in the Northeast or Mid-Atlantic. But there’s still a good option for an all-purpose Organic Tomato to use in salads, salsas and on sandwiches this month. Organic On-the-Vine Tomatoes, also called Organic Cluster Tomatoes, are in peak season production from the greenhouses of Virginia, Arizona, Mexico and Canada. The fruit (yes, Tomatoes are scientifically a fruit) is plump with bright red color and the vines are thicker and healthier than usual. Expect mild flavor and juicy flesh that remains firm while slicing.

Cluster Tomato Tips

  • Cluster Tomatoes keep well when you bring them home since the fruit can still draw on water and nutrients left in the vine – so when selecting remember: the healthier the vines, the better.
  • Avoid Tomatoes with wrinkled skin, punctured areas, black spots or that feel soft and squishy.
  • Store Tomatoes at room temperature since they tend to lose a little of their flavor and texture when held below 55 F.

 

Healthy stems = healthy fruit. Organic Cluster Tomatoes are great for salads and good for sandwiches and cooking.

Organic Cantaloupes

Peak Season    Best Flavor

Certified Organic Cantaloupes are back in season! The spring crop of Organic Cantaloupes from Mexico is now ready and so far the melons have had nice flavor and impressive sweetness. The seed cavities are small, which gives you more tasty, dark orange melon flesh for the money.

Organic Cantaloupe varieties grown this time of year are round, have thick, tight webbing on their greenish exterior, and since they’re picked at maturity the fruit is ready to eat when you buy them. Select melons that are free from sunken, discolored spots, or large soft areas (a sign of bruising). Storing for a day or two at room temperature will soften the melon a bit, which can make it taste sweeter. Cut melon can be kept in the fridge for several days, but when it’s tasty – you’re likely to eat it right away or use it in a recipe, right?

Organic Honeydew also continues in peak season. Sound like fruit salad time!

 

Select melons that are free from sunken, discolored spots, or large soft areas (a sign of bruising).

Organic Fava Beans

Peak Season

Specialty veg note!  Similar to Lima Beans, Fava Beans light green, meaty and flavorful beans that must be shelled from a pod. The Fava Bean pod is longer, bigger and looser than a Lima’s. When blanched for salads or lightly boiled for a side dish, Fava Beans are one of late spring’s vegetable treasures. Fava Beans are commonly used in Spanish and Italian cooking. Here are some recipes to try out. Fresh Organic Fava Beans sold in the pod are in peak season right now from California… and I’m assuming so is a nice Chianti?

Fresh Organic Fava Beans sold in the pod are in peak season right now from California… and I’m assuming so is a nice Chianti?

Buy smart. Shop healthy.

The Produce Geek, Jonathan K. Steffy

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