Organic Picks of the Week 07/21/14

Best if Used By 07/28/14

Organic Picks of the week for July 21st, 2014 features
Mixed Cherry Tomato Medley, Seedless Grapes, White Peaches, Celery


Organic Mixed Cherry Tomato Medley (Organic Rainbow Cherry Tomatoes)

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

Here’s a seasonal product to keep an eye out for: Organic Mixed Cherry Tomato Medley, also called Organic Rainbow Cherry Tomatoes. They’re a blend of robust-earthy brown, candy-sweet gold and yellow, tangy pink and sweet-acidic red Cherry, Grape and Cocktail Tomato varieties, many of which are from heirloom-type seeds. These bite-sized Tomatoes are great for snacking out of hand, topping salads or roasting.

Organic Mixed Cherry Tomato Medley packs are in season from Lady Moon Farms in Pennsylvania, as well as other organic farms in California.

Color and flavor abound with Organic Rainbow Cherry Tomatoes, a medley of Cherry Tomato varieties that are grown separately in Lady Moon’s organic fields in Chambersburg, PA, for example, then blended when packed in 1 pint containers. This product is in high demand, so you may not find them just anywhere – but if you do, I highly recommend giving it a try!

Cajun-seasoned Organic Rainbow Cherry Tomatoes over Quinoa.

RECIPE: Cajun Cherry Tomatoes over Quinoa

  1. Steam 2 cups of Quinoa according to package directions
  2. While Quinoa is simmering add ½ teaspoon Cajun Seasoning or Rub
  3. Toss 1 pint of Organic Mix Cherry Tomato Medley in bowl with 1-2 tsp olive oil
  4. Season with 1 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning or Rub – re-toss to coat
  5. Place Cherry Tomatoes on grilling skewers
  6. Grill over high heat for 3-5 minutes, flipping once
  7. Serve grilled tomatoes over Quinoa

(No Grill handy? Raining?  Roast the Cherry Tomatoes inside at 450F for 10 minutes on a baking tray.)


Organic Seedless Grapes

PEAK SEASON | VALUE PRICED

Organic Seedless Grapes are back in season from vineyards in the Fresno, Bakersfield, Delano areas California’s San Joaquin Valley. These organic ranches, with blocks of various grape varieties that ripen at different times of the summer and early fall, will produce the Organic Grapes sold now through October.  Add Organic Grapes to your list this summer!

Barrel-shaped “Princess” Green Seedless with a tart-sweet flavor and round “Red Flame” Red Seedless that taste sweet and lightly tangy kick off the main California Organic Grape season this late July.

So, what can you expect in late July from Grapes in the organic produce department? The Organic Green Seedless variety to start off the mid-summer season is the “Princess” Grape.  Princess are large, barrel-shaped green grapes with a tart-sweet flavor – perfect for you if you don’t like an overly sweet grape for snacking. It is a medium-firm grape with a decent crunch. The Organic Red Seedless variety for the next few weeks is the sweet and tangy “Red Flame” that gives you a little juicy pop when you bit in. Flames are generally small and round. Usually Red Flames are dark red in color, but intense heat in early July caused some of the fruit to not fully color up. Don’t worry the flavor is still good and will get better throughout the season. Stay tuned for more Organic Grape updates this summer. 

TIPS:

  • Select Grapes that feel firm to a gentle squeeze. Lift up the bag or container and look at it from all sides.
  • Look for Grapes with stems that are still green at the thickest parts and appear to still have life in them.
  • Choose packs that have most of the berries still on the vine.
  • Avoid bags that are wet and sticky – a sign that some of the Grapes are going bad – or have berries with splits or cracks.
  • Go ahead… ask the produce clerk for a sample grape or two. Tasting is believing!
  • Keep your Grapes refrigerated until you’re about ready to eat them, since they lose their crunch much quicker at room temperature.
  • Wash Grapes with a cold water rinse just before serving them.


Organic White Peaches

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR | VALUE PRICED

Peak season continues for Organic White Peaches out of California. There are some nice varieties, like the large and very sweet Snow Princess, being harvested right now and they are the free-stone types – where the flesh easily pulls away from the pit! Did you know that you can eat White Peaches right away? Why? White-flesh Peach varieties are low in acid so the natural sugar comes through in the flavor from the moment they are picked. Firm and crunchy White Peaches are sweet and tasty! Ripened White Peaches will stay just as sweet but become soft and juicy. Snacking, salads, desserts – you bet! Select White Peaches that have no greenish coloring in the white areas of the skin – a sign of under-ripe. Store them a room temperature and try to use them within a few days.

White Peaches are sweet and ready to eat when firm or juicy-ripe.

RECIPE: Grilled White Peaches

  1. Pre-heat grill to high
  2. Halve White Peaches and remove the pit
  3. Spray White Peaches with a quick burst of spray-able oil on each side
  4. Reduce grill heat to medium-high
  5. Grill for about 3 minutes on each side, flesh side first
  6. Serve with ice cream or whipped cream, garnish with mint


Organic Celery

PEAK SEASON | VALUE PRICED

Organic Celery from California should be a nice value this late July and early August in the organic produce department thanks to steady harvests that have kept up with demand. This, compared to many other times of the year when it can be double the current price. Organic Celery is great for low-calorie crunchy snacking, adds flavor to soups and is a go-to staple in many juicing recipes.

Juice on! With in-season Organic Celery.

JUICING RECIPE: Celery-Parsley-Pepper Green Juice
Sweet from the apple and grapes – fresh garden flavor from the peppers and parsley. Juice the following in a juice extractor in this order:

  1. 2 Stalks Green Kale
  2. 3 Stalks Celery
  3. ½ Bunch Flat-Leaf Parsley (fist full with stems)
  4. ½ Bunch Green Grapes (.5lb)
  5. 1 Green Bell Pepper, cored
  6. 1 Lime, partially peeled
  7. 1 large Sweet-tart Apple

What is Organic Produce?

Certified Organic Produce meets a set of standards for growing, handling and labeling that is governed by the USDA’s National Organic Program. Organic fruits and vegetables are grown without the use synthetic chemicals, pesticides and fertilizers. The terms “Natural” and “Local” are not the same as “Organic.” Learn more about Organic.

Eat in-season. Choose organic. Enjoy good, healthy food.

The Produce Geek, Jonathan K. Steffy

 

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