Organic Picks of the Week 07/17/12

Best if Used By 07/24/12

Organic Picks of the week for July 17th, 2012 features
Cherries, Rainbow Cherry Tomatoes, Lacinato Kale,
Strawberries and Plums

Organic Cherries

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

Rich and flavorful Organic Dark Sweet Cherries plus juicy and sweet Organic Rainier Cherries are both in peak season from Washington right now. The fruit is tasting fantastic! Both a healthy and delicious snack, Organic Cherries are fun in recipes too.

Cherry season doesn’t last forever – July is the time to enjoy the season’s best!

Even during the height of the season Organic Cherries are not super cheap, so shop smart. Carefully inspect all sides of the Cherry packages to avoid wetness or splits. If the Cherries are in a bag, give a couple a gentle squeeze – you’ll want them to feel firm. Keep Cherries cold and rinse just before use. Organic Cherries can be washed, then frozen with the stems still on in plastic bags with the air removed, then thawed in the refrigerator up to three months later for a convenient snack.

Organic Rainbow Cherry Tomatoes

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

They’re back! 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 then blended when packed in 1 pint containers. Each pack contains a mix – some mild yellow, full-flavored red, sweet orange and maybe even earthy brown – of Organic Tomatoes that are perfect for snacking, salads and roasting. The Organic Mix Cherry Tomato Medley continues to become more a sought after product. Look for them in natural food stores and organic markets on the East Coast the rest of this summer.

Local Organic Rainbow Cherry Tomatoes are in season in the Mid-Atlantic – the color, the flavor – YUM!

RECIPE: Cajun Cherry Tomatoes over Quinoa

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

Organic Lacinato Kale

PEAK SEASON | VALUE PRICED

You’ve may have tried Leafy Green Kale, but have you ever tried it’s Italian cousin? Lacinato Kale – aka Dino, Dinosaur, Tuscan or Black Kale – is deep green in color and has an earthy flavor that is slightly sweeter than Leafy Green Kale. It is complimented in cooking with other bold flavors like garlic. Lacinato Kale cut into 1/2″ wide strips with the stems removed can be braised in stock, steamed, boiled or sautéed. It can also be sliced into thin pieces and used raw in salads. Since it’s so packed with vitamins and nutrients, Lacinato is fantastic to add to your juice blend. Right now Organic Lacinato Kale from Wisconsin and California is looking fantastic! Healthy, blue-green embossed leaves in healthy bunches can be found standing tall in most organic produce sets this month.

Fresh greens from the Upper Mid-West – Organic Lacinato Kale.

Organic Strawberries

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR | VALUE PRICED

The summer crop of Organic Strawberries is in peak season harvest in California. That means better prices on good fruit are likely for the rest of July. The berry size on Organic Strawberries is running medium to large and they taste great – yum! Snacks, salads, desserts, smoothies… what will you do with those juicy, organically grown gems?

Juicy, sweet, summer lovin’ organic berries.

At the store, inspect the packages from all sides, avoiding containers with wet spots on the berries or bottoms of the containers. Look for plump, red berries with healthy looking, green caps. Keep them cold in the fridge, but they’ll have better taste and texture if you use them within a couple days. Wash Strawberries under cold water just before use.

Plums

PEAK SEASON

A good Plum is juicy, succulent and pleasingly sweet – perfect for desserts and snacking. So, here’s the million dollar question: How do you find a good one?

Summer Plums. Hard = needs to ripen. Soft = too risky. A little give = just right!

Well, the good news is that it is peak season for Organically grown California Red and Black Plum varieties, making your chances of getting tasty ones much higher now through September. Select Organic Plums that don’t feel rock hard, but are also not soft and squishy. A little give is ideal. But to really be sure you’re spending your money on delicious fruit and not duds – you need to do a taste test. Go ahead, ask your produce clerk for a sample, or buy one piece of fruit to try. If it’s yummy – go back and buy more, simple as that. Store Plums at room temperature for a day or two, and once they begin getting soften you can get another couple days out of them in the fridge.

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.

Buy Smart. Shop Healthy. Live Organic.

The Produce Geek, Jonathan K. Steffy

Forward this to a friend if you think they’ll like it – Here’s to fresh!