Organic Picks of the Week 05/28/13

Best if Used By 06/04/13

Organic Picks of the week for May 28th, 2013 features
Dark Sweet Cherries, Leaf Lettuce, Yellow Peaches and Raspberries


Organic Dark Sweet Cherries

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR

Sweet! Delicious, richly flavored Organic Dark Sweet Cherries are in season! This year’s crop from California orchards is already at its peak, so late May and the first two weeks of June will be an outstanding time to enjoy classic red Cherry taste, firm texture and sweet juiciness of the Bing and other dark-sweet varieties like Brooks and Tulare.

Firm, flavorful, organically grown Dark Sweet Cherries! Rinse, enjoy, repeat.

Organic Dark Sweet Cherries are an indulgent seasonal snack to just enjoy simply – hand-to-mouth, spit a pit, repeat… and repeat. But you can also get creative on the recipes front too if you invest a few bucks in a hand-held cherry-pitter tool so you can try fun things like making Cherry Sangria. All that Cherry snacking can benefit your body as well since Dark Sweet Cherries are said to aid with Heart Disease and Cancer Prevention, plus help your body with Pain Relief and Bone Health.

Even on sale, Organic Cherries are a little pricey, 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. Peak season 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 Leaf Lettuce

PEAK SEASON | VALUE PRICED

Red Leaf Lettuce and Green Leaf Lettuce are great for starting salads and ideal for topping sandwiches because the large leaves pull apart easily from the head. The mild-flavored broad leaves are tender enough to be foldable, yet crisp enough to feel freshly crisp to the bite when stacked. Plus, they have more phytonutrients than lighter colored Iceberg Lettuce (head lettuce). The darker the green and the darker the red – the better, since dark color is an indication of beta-carotene levels.

A favorite sandwich for late spring: Leaf Lettuce piled high on thick-cut wheat toast with Dijon Mustard and Swiss Cheese.

Reasonably priced Organic Red Leaf and Organic Green Leaf Lettuces are in season from the Southeast and from California.  Plus, local supplies throughout the Eastern seaboard will begin soon.

Organic Red Leaf and Green Leaf Lettuce fresh from Lady Moon Farms in Bainbridge, GA.

Leaf Lettuce lasts longer when kept cold and moist. Store Leaf Lettuce wrapped in damp paper towels in a plastic bag (ideally perforated) in the vegetable crisper of your fridge for up to a week. If it looks a little wilted, trim the stem base and soak the Lettuce in cold water, allowing the cells to draw up some water. Remove any damaged or discolored outer leaves. Wash Leaf Lettuce in cold water before using and dry the leaves in a salad spinner or pat them dry with a paper towel.

Organic Leafy Green Kale is another value-priced, in-season choice for this month!

Organic Yellow Peaches

PEAK SEASON

It’s been quite a while since fresh Organic Peaches have been available… as in last fall. Seasonality is good. It makes you crave what you haven’t had recently and appreciate it even more when it returns. The Yellow-flesh Peach season has returned at certified organic orchards in South Carolina, California and Mexico, making June a good time to begin enjoying this sweet fruit with acidic undertones once again. Flavor will continue to get even better throughout the season.

Organic Peaches are back in season! Ripen at room temperature until fruit gives just slightly T&A gentle squeeze.

Select Peaches that are relatively firm (not spongy), have a pleasant aroma and are free from wrinkled skin, holes or soft spots. There are many peach varieties and skin color can range from bright red to bright yellow to a mix of both. Patches of greenish areas, though, is a sign of under-ripeness on all varieties, so avoid that fruit. Ripen Yellow Peaches at room temperature until the fruit begins to give just slightly under gentle hand pressure. Yellow-flesh varieties will taste sweeter as the flesh softens and the sugars outshine the acids. Ripe peaches can be kept in the fridge for a day or two.

Organic Raspberries

PEAK SEASON | BEST FLAVOR | VALUE PRICED

Treat yourself! Peak season is here for fresh Organic Raspberries. Expect rich, sweet flavor with some tanginess underneath. The texture will range from almost firm to slightly soft.  Mmm – sounds perfect. Your likelihood of finding delectable Raspberries like these is pretty good during the month of June since Organic Raspberries are finishing peak season in Mexico and entering a prolific harvest peak in California. While never “cheap”, now is still a great time to keep an eye out for ad pricing and in-store specials on quality organically grown Raspberries!

Peak season has arrived for fresh Organic Raspberries!

Raspberries are good for snacking, as a topping for cereal, yogurt and salads, in smoothies and their flavor can be intensified in cooking and baking. Check out these beautiful recipes on Driscoll’s website – they’re one of the best Raspberry growers in the world. Not only are they flavorful, but the health benefits of Raspberries are formidable – antioxidants, vitamins and nutrients and emerging research linking Raspberries to obesity management.

Hurray! Raspberries Parfait!

When shopping for Raspberries, carefully inspect the package from all sides to be sure there’s no mold, wet spots, black spots or smashed and clumped berries. Raspberries are a delicate and highly perishable fruit, so always keep them dry and refrigerated. Wait to wash them until just before use. Red Raspberries are not a berry to buy on a whim then forget about in the bottom shelf our your fridge – they need to be enjoyed right away. Fresh is best!

Organic Blueberries continue to be a delicious choice too this month!

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