Organic Picks of the Week 05/21/13

Best if Used By 05/28/13

Organic Picks of the week for May 21st, 2013 features
Sugar Baby Watermelon, Kale Greens, Blueberries, Vidalia Sweet Onions and Cucumbers

Organic Sugar Baby Watermelon


Ready the cutting board! Ready the napkins! In the world of certified organic fresh produce, Organic Watermelons are one of the fruits that is not always readily available year-round from somewhere in the world like its conventional counterpart. There is distinct seasonality for Organic Watermelon, and the good news is that the season is here now! Organic farmers in Florida are harvesting both Seedless Watermelons and Seeded Sugar Baby Watermelons. Organic Watermelons are also in season from Mexico and California.

Sugar Babies are small to medium in size and have seeded red flesh that is juicy and sweet.

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 and tasty! Organic Sugar Babies have seeds, making them perfect for slicing for picnics where seed-spitting is encouraged! What fun!

Organic Sugar Baby Watermelons are here for picnic season! Seed spitting contest, anyone?

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. Find one that is relatively symmetrical, feels heavy (watermelons are 92% water) and has 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. And go ahead – thump away if you like… it’ll make people think you know what you’re doing!

Organic Kale Greens


Organic Kale Greens are beginning a period of peak season harvests at organic farms from Georgia to Maryland on the East Coast, as well as California. Kale thrives in late spring-like weather. This means organic produce departments will likely have steady supplies and maybe even some in-store specials on this in demand vegetable that has taken the healthy-eating world by storm.

Organic Kale is in peak season now for juicing, healthy, cooking, green smoothies and homemade Kale Chips.

No vegetable is packed with more good-for-you nutrients than Leafy Kale Greens – sturdy, deep green leaves with a slightly earthy flavor. Kale has calcium, Vitamin K and magnesium for healthy bones; potassium for vascular health; and anti-oxidants like Vitamin C too. Kale is loaded with chlorophyll which helps the body’s organs to eliminate toxins.

Leafy Green Kale can be intimidating to prepare for those of us that didn’t grow up eating it. Preparations include adding kale to soups, sautéed kale, braised kale, homemade kale chips (I add hot sauce), kale in vegetable lasagna, as well as raw kale chopped for use in salads and slaws. Here are some great recipes to look over and give it a try. And if you’ve got a juicer – now is a smart time to add Organic Kale to your juice recipes.

Organic Blueberries


Organic Blueberries are in peak season from Florida, Georgia and California are now in season. Expect plump, tasty and sweet berries at reasonable prices in 6oz and full pint containers! Whether you’re a fan of Blueberries for health, snacking, baking or flavor reasons – it’s your time to enjoy! I love them from hand to mouth, but these recipes look fun too!

There are hundreds of ways to enjoy in season domestically grown Organic Blueberries. Why not start with breakfast!

Select fresh Blueberries by inspecting the top and bottom of the package to avoid shriveled, smashed-together or wet berries. Seek out Blueberries with the silver, powdery “bloom” on them. Bloom is a naturally occurring wax that forms a protective layer on the fruit while it is growing and is a tell-tale sign of freshness! Keep the fruit cold in the fridge, try to use in within a few days of purchase and wait to wash them until just before using.

Organic Vidalia Sweet Onions


Sweet! Organically grown Vidalia Sweet Onions are now in season. Organic Vidalia’s sweeten up and mellow out in flavor with cooking or grilling. And since their crisp flesh has sweetness yet still packs a little sass – Vidalia Sweet Onions are awesome on salads and in sandwiches and fresh salsas. There’s lots of flavor without burning your nose. Look up some recipes here.

Ideal for grilling, sandwiches and salads, Organically grown Vidalia Sweet Onions are in season from Georgia for picnic season!

Organic Vidalia Sweet Onions are grown on certified organic farms in the rich soils of Georgia in and around Vidalia County where conditions are superb for growing mild, saucer-shaped Sweet Onions. Fresh Organic Vidalia Sweet Onions will remain in peak season into July. Select Sweet Onions that are free from soft spots or strong odor. Since they are a basically fresh Onion the will not hold up as long in your pantry as a regular Yellow Onion, use Vidalia’s within a week or so of purchase for best quality.

Organic Cucumbers


With a cool, crunchy texture, Organic Cucumbers are great for salads, snacking and dipping. Doesn’t a Quick Pickled Cucumber Salad sound tangy, crisp and refreshing? Excellent for juicing, Cucumbers have anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties, plus they add plenty of liquid volume to juice blends.

Organic Cucumbers are in season from multiple growing areas right now, allowing for great quality + affordable pricing. Your salads and green juicing blends are happy too!

Organic Cucumbers are a likely to be an affordable and fresh choice the next couple of weeks as harvests have been plentiful in Mexico and now Georgia too. Organic Cucumbers, grown without the use of synthetic pesticides and fertilizers, are not waxed to extend their shelf life so try to use them within a few days of purchase. Choose Cucumbers that feel firm and have no sunken areas.

TIP: The bitter taste some people dislike in regular salad-type Cucumbers is found in the skin. For a more mild flavor, peel off some or all of the skin.

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