Organic Picks of the Week 08/26/13

Best if Used By 09/02/13

Organic Picks of the week for August 26th, 2013 features
Starkrimson Pears, Melons, Romaine Hearts, Red Potatoes and Green Bell Peppers

Organic Starkrimson (Red) Pears


So colorful, so sweet – Organic Red Pears are easy on the eyes and easy on the taste buds. The fresh crop season from California, Oregon and Washington has begun. That means now through November is the best time to behold and enjoy Organic Red Pears. They’re great for snacking and for dessert or salads. The main late summer and early fall variety is the Starkrimson. Organic Starkrimson Pears feature vivid, red skin and creamy, sweet flesh and floral aroma.

Organic Starkrimson Pears have fully red skin that brightens as it ripens at room temperature. The white flesh becomes creamy and juicy-sweet and is said to have a floral aroma.

Want to ripen your Organic Starkrimson Red Pear to a smooth, juicy-sweet texture? Place it on your counter at room temperature to allow it to soften. Plus, Starkrimsons, like Bartletts, are one of the few pear varieties to change color as they ripen. The skin turns a brighter shade of red and the skin becomes more tender and thin. Not ready to eat your ripened pear? Put it in the fridge; it’ll stay in its ripened state for up to a week.

Sweet baby lettuce greens with green pepper and Starkrimson Pears tossed in a vinaigrette.

Organic Melons


Labor Day marks the last traditional picnic holiday of the year. And if you haven’t gotten your fill of fresh, juicy Watermelon yet, then be sure to have some sliced up for your weekend festivities. Late August one of the last “good” times of the season to enjoy Organic Mini Seedless Watermelons from California. These “personal sized” melons range from 4 to 8 pound each. Expect sweet with juicy-crisp flesh – Watermelons are over 90% water, after-all.  Select Watermelons that feel heavy for their size, are firm and have a nice deeply yellow patch on the bottom – an indication of ripeness at harvest.

Late summer organic melons: juicy Mini Seedless Watermelons, flavorful Cantaloupes, old-world Charentais Melons and more.

There are some other tasty Organic Melons to enjoy this week!  Here are some that I’ve just tasted:

Organic Cantaloupes: Wow! Some of the best tasting Organic Cantaloupes –sweet and rich ‘lope flavor – are arriving here at the end of the California season. Expect nice straw color on the tightly webbed shells and firm, dark orange flesh.

Organic Charentais Melons:  This old-world, French-style Melon has light green skin with dark green ribs and is in season from California for a couple more weeks. The flavor of the bright-orange flesh is delicate and sweet. Allow them to soften at room temperature until the flesh just begins to give slighty to gentle thumb pressure.

Organic Canary Melons: Canary Melons were named for their bright yellow rinds. Inside the white flesh is juicy-sweet and mild.

Organic Piel De Sapo Melons: I’d never tried this specialty melon before. The yellow and green splotched rind cloaks white flesh that tastes like a sweet Honeydew melon with a vanilla finish.

Organic Romaine Hearts


Organic Romaine Hearts are crisp, juicy and clean. Plus, right now they’re quite affordable since the harvests are so plentiful from California here in late August. Romaine Hearts are excellent for making crunchy salads or blending in with more tender bitter baby greens to add texture. What kind of salads do you make with Organic Romaine Hearts? Ever try Grilled Romaine Hearts?

Crisp and clean – Organic Romaine Hearts ready to start a salad!


Romaine Hearts rows are planted extra close together to help the Lettuce head grow tall and tight. The outer leaves are trimmed off, they’re immediately packaged in the field (there is no “romaine heart factory”), rushed to the cooler and shipped around the country. How fresh is that!

Organic Red Potatoes


Clean, good quality Organic Red Potatoes grown in California are in season right now. Red Potatoes are ideal for roasting, boiling for salads and grilling because of their high moisture content. For frying? Not so much. Since their tender and colorful skin is left on in recipe preparations, Red Potatoes are known for adding vibrant color to dishes. Select Red Potatoes that are firm and free odor or cuts. Store Potatoes in a cool, dry place that is dark (to prevent greening or sprouting) like the bottom of your pantry.

Grilled Red Potatoes

RECIPE: Easy Grilled Red Potatoes

  • Pre-heat grill to HIGH during prep
  • 2-3 lb of A size (large) or B size (medium) Red Potatoes washed and cut into 3/4″ slabs
  • Place the Red Potato slabs in a mixing bowl
  • Pour 1-2 Tblsp Olive Oil over Potatoes
  • Season liberally with Course Salt, Cracked Black Pepper and Garlic Powder
  • Toss in mixing bowl to coat
  • Grill Potato slabs over medium-high heat, 10 minutes each side or until soft to a knife pierce

Here are some other recipes featuring Red Potatoes to consider:

Organic Green Bell Peppers


It is a great time right now to use Organic Green Bell Peppers. Why? They’re in season locally 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! Plus, the organic crop from California is abundant this week driving prices down and allowing for sales and in-store promotions. Grill, roast, stuff, sauté and stir-fry…or just slice them up raw for salads, dipping and juicing.

Save money by eating veggies at the peak of their season.

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