Organic Picks of the Week 08/05/13

Best if Used By 08/12/13

Organic Picks of the week for August 5th, 2013 features
Honeydew, Chili Peppers, Red Seedless Grapes
and Green Bell Peppers

Organic Honeydew


There’s Honeydew. Then, there’s peak season California Organic Honeydew. August is set to be an excellent time to find flavorful and sweet Organic Honeydew to use in a recipe, for homemade spa water or to make smoothies.

Refresh with the sweet taste and tropical, floral flavor of in-season Organic Honeydew from California.

The sweetest, vine-ripened California Organic Honeydew have a creamy skin color that feels almost waxy and gives off a tropical aroma. Choose those! Sugar-veins and scars (rough spots or streaks) on the skin do not mean it is a bad melon and are common on organically grown melons. In fact, sugar-vein is typically a sign that the Honeydew will be very sweet. Store Honeydew at room temperature until it gives just slightly to firm thumb pressure. Slice the melon in half, scoop out the seeds, peel on a cutting board, chunk the flesh and store cut melon in the fridge

Organic Chili Peppers


Get your endorphins levels up this month with some natural heat. Organic Chili Peppers are in peak season at certified organic farms on the East Coast, so there’s no better time to try spicing things up! Fresh salsa, relishes, sauces, salads, grilled, roasted and stuffed – go for it!

Organic Chili Peppers you might find this August (from left): Poblano’s for stuffing, Anaheims for roasting, Jalapenos for heat

Here are a few basic varieties of Organic Hot Peppers that you may find in natural food stores or co-ops here in August, ranked from most mild to most hot:

  • Padron Peppers: bite-sized, mini-green peppers, some are hot but most are not. Soft, nice green pepper flavor that threatens your taste buds with spice, but never really delivers. These peppers are stir-fried or often served raw with tapas plus wine or beer in Spain.
  • Poblano: sometimes called Pasilla, dark green, wide-flat cone shape, just a little spicy, great for Tex-Mex, roasting, grilling and stuffing. Here is an awesome-looking Chiles Rellenos recipe to try with Poblanos!
  • Anaheim: green, red when mature, mild to medium heat, ideal in Southwest cooking and salsa, awesome for roasting.
  • Hungarian Wax:  sometimes called Yellow Wax Peppers, long lime-yellow color, crisp, brightly spicy, ideal for pickling in sliced rings to top salads and sandwiches. Can be roasted or stuffed too, Eastern-European-style.
  • Jalapeno: small, dark green, immediately spicy; perfect for salsa, pico de gallo and kicking anything up a notch; smoke them and Jalapenos become… Chipotle. “Easy Jalapeno Poppers” recipe via

Organic Red Seedless Grapes


Flavor + texture x grown organically = in-season win!  August marks peak of the season for bright, round Red Flame variety and oblong, vibrant Magenta variety Organic Red Seedless Grapes. The fruit is at its best the next few weeks from one of the premier table grape growing areas in the world – the hot, flat lands between Bakersfield and Fresno in California, just West of the Sierra Mountains.

Crisp and sweet for snacking – Magenta and Red Flame variety Organic Red Seedless Grapes are in peak season from California!

In the organic produce department, look for bags or containers of Red Grapes that are free from wet or smashed berries and are filled with bunches clinging to fresh, green stems. The berries should feel firm when you squeeze them (if can feel them in their bag). Keep your Grapes refrigerated until you’re about ready to eat them, since they lose their crunch much quicker at room temperature. Wash Grapes with cold water just before serving them.

Find some outstanding Grape Recipes here.

VIDEO: Tiny Bubbles! Champagne Grapes for gourmet snacking.

Organic Green Bell Peppers


Local season has arrived for Organic Green Bell Peppers from organic farms the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. With dark green, thick walls and healthy shoulders, these are the kind of peppers you can do a lot with! Grill, roast, stuff, sauté and stir-fry… or just slice them up raw for salads, dipping and juicing.

Get stuffed with in-season, local Organic Green Bell Peppers this August!

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