Organic Picks of the Week 04/30/13

Best if Used By 05/07/13

Organic Picks of the week for April 30th, 2013 features
Blackberries, Mangos, Watercress, Broccoli
and Portabella Mushrooms


Organic Blackberries

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

Organic Blackberries from Mexico are in season right now which means better freshness and availability in organic produce departments this May. The berries are medium to large in size, plump, a little tangy yet noticeably sweet. Yum!

Plump, sweet n tangy Blackberries – a delicious source of free-radical-fighting 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. Blackberries are awesome for snacking out of hand, or for making smoothies, baking, and for topping your cereal or yogurt. Learn more about Blackberry nutritional benefits here.

Organic Mangos

VALUE PRICED | PEAK SEASON

Certified Organic Mangos are entering their peak season from orchards in Mexico with the popular and common Tommy Atkins variety. Expect sweet, tropical-peach flavor from this variety. The orange flesh can be a little stringy, so I recommend cutting the Mango into slices or cubes instead of trying to pull it from the skin with your teeth. Recipes, cutting tips and more can be found here.

Organic Mangos are in season from Mexico, so expect fair pricing and tasty fruit May through July.

TIPS: The amount of redness on the skin is not an indicator of sweetness or ripeness with the Tommy Atkins variety Mango, which features red blush over dark green skin. Tommy Atkins variety Mangos do not give much in the way of visual clues to when they are ripe, so judge by the softness when you squeeze them. Hard means they’ll be kinda crunchy, while a little give indicates a ripe Mango for sweet snacking, smoothies and salsas.

NOTE: Creamy, caramel-sweet, yellow Organic Ataulfo Mangos (sometimes branded as Champagne Mangos) remain in season too with some of the best tasting fruit of the year!

Organic Watercress

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

What’s the scoop with Organic Watercress? Well, first it can be difficult to successfully grow commercially, so historically there has not been much Organic Watercress in the marketplace. Second, it has become wildly popular amongst healthy food enthusiasts for its antioxidant properties and high levels of phytonutrients. Lastly, this green is crisp, slightly crunchy and quite peppery in flavor.

The exciting news is that Certified Organic Watercress is now in peak season from California for late Spring and early Summer. Add it to salads, sandwiches, soups and juice blends to add nutrition and a spirited flavor zing! Here are some seasonal recipes to consider.

Spicy, crunchy, fresh Organic Watercress adds nutrients and a flavor zing to salads, sandwiches and juice blends. (Picture courtesy of GrowerPetes.com)

Organic Broccoli

PEAK SEASON | VALUE PRICED

Fresh Organic Broccoli sold in bunches or as crowns with less stem are in good supply right from organic farms in California. 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 – the versatile vegetable!

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

Organic Portabella Mushrooms

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR | VALUE PRICED

The steak of veggies, Organic Portabella Mushroom caps are big (3-5” in diameter)and have meaty flesh that features a rich, earthy yet accessible flavor. Grown inside, Mushrooms are always in season from states like Pennsylvania, but now that grilling season is here Portabella’s are an especially smart choice! Organic Portabella (aka Portobello, Portabello) Mushrooms are ideal for sautéing, stuffing, use in casseroles and lasagna, and of course for on the grill…weather permitting!

The steak of veggies! Grill it!

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