Organic Picks of the Week 02/19/13

Best if Used By 02/26/13

Organic Picks of the week for February 19th, 2013 features
Broccoli, W. Murcott Mandarins, Blackberries, Snow Peas and Round Tomatoes

Organic Broccoli


Did you know that, calorie for calorie, Broccoli has almost twice the protein of steak?  One cup has between 5-6 grams of protein!  It is high in fiber, minerals, vitamins, anti-oxidants and phyto-nutrients. Get your nutrient boost this week with raw Organic Broccoli for flavorful snacking or juicing, or steam, stir-fry or roast it in one of these interesting recipes like lasagna, casseroles and soups.

Organic Broccoli’s back!

Fresh Organic Broccoli sold in bunches or as crowns with less stem are in much better supply this week from organic farms in California and Arizona. Better supply equals more reasonable pricing this month after a stretch of expensive Organic Broccoli due to a January freeze that slowed production.

Organic W. Murcott Mandarins


Organic Clementines from California are out of season. But before you shed any tears, there’s some exciting news! A few flavor-minded organic citrus groves in California are now harvesting the next Mandarin variety to be in season – W. Murcott Mandarins. Small and flat, Organic W. Murcott Mandarins have bright orange inside and out. They are sweet and extremely juicy, feature a rich citrus flavor and are mostly seedless. The thin skin peels  simply and the skin becomes even easier peel by hand as the season progresses into early March. You may even find this in-season variety  sold with the stem and leaf still attached – how cool!

See ya next year, Clementines. It’s Organic W. Murcott Mandarin season!

Organic Blackberries


Organic Blackberries from Mexico are in a period of better harvests which means better freshness and availability in organic produce departments this month. The berries are large and plump, a little tangy yet noticeably sweet. Yum!

Plump, sweet n tangy Blackberries – a delicious source of anthocyanin.

Always wash your Blackberries just before use. Store them in the fridge and try to use them within a few days of purchase to get the most out of your purchase. In addition to snacking, making smoothies and topping your cereal or yogurt. Learn more about Blackberry nutritional benefits here.

Organic Snow Peas


Thin, tender but crisp, mild but flavorful – fresh Snow Peas are a delicious vegetable that can be enjoyed in many ways. Raw Snow Peas can be added to salads for texture and crunch, or are excellent for snacking with your favorite dip like hummus. Steam or stir-fry Snow Peas as a side dish, or add them to other cooking vegetables for an Asian-inspired blend.

While there is never really a massive “peak season” for certified Organic Snow Peas, there are moments throughout the year where they become available for a short stint. Now is one of those times, as a limited amount of Organic Snow Peas are in season from Mexico. Select Snow Peas that are dry, vibrant green in color and not flabby. Store them in the crisper of your fridge, ideally in a plastic bag. Other than rinsing, no preparation is needed before eating or cooking Snow since you eat the entire pea – pod, peas and all.

Jerk-seasoned Stir-fried Snow & Snap Peas with Swiss Chard + Spanish Rice.

RECIPE: Jerk-seasoned Stir-fried Snow & Snap Peas with Swiss Chard

  • Wash 1 bunch of Chard (any color)
  • Cut base of Chard stems into 1″ pieces, separate from leaves
  • In a deep sauce pan, braising pan or wok – heat 2-4 tbsp oil
  • Cook 2 slices cloves of Garlic in the oil until translucent over high heat
  • Carefully add Chard Stems, 1 cup each Snow & Snap Peas
  • Season liberally with Jerk Seasoning
  • Stir continuously for 2-3 minutes
  • Add chopped Chard Greens and cover with lid for 2 minutes
  • Remove lid, reduce heat to low and sauté for 4-5 minutes
  • Serve with pasta, rice or quinoa

Organic Round Tomatoes


Slice up some Organic Tomatoes this week for your sandwiches, salads or to enjoy simply dressed with salt and pepper! The shade-houses (fields with hoops covered by white netting) and open fields of organic tomato growers in Mexico are in peak season right now. Prices are reasonable and quality has been nice this month on Organic Vine Ripe Tomatoes. A very small amount of gorgeous Organic Tomatoes are also available from Florida, but cool weather has dramatically slowed the plants’ production in that growing region.

Organic Vine Ripes.

Select Round Tomatoes that are free from black spots and wrinkled skin. Some mild softness is an indication of ripeness, but avoid spongy-feeling Tomatoes. Tomatoes do not like the cold, so always store them at room temperature for best flavor and texture.

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