summer

  • Asian Pears

    Hav­ing the crunch and a shape sim­i­lar to an apple, Asian pears make their debut start­ing in July and stick around until early fall.

    The grainy tex­ture and sweet, juicy inte­rior is a wel­comed mar­ket addi­tion as we tran­si­tion out of sum­mer stone fruits.

    A rel­a­tive of Euro­pean pear vari­eties like Bartlett and Anjou, Asian pears are native to Japan and China where they have been grown for over 3000 years.

    Their first appear­ance in the United States was recorded in 1820 when a Chi­nese sand pear was imported to New York. In the mid-1800’s Asian pears made their way to the west coast via Chi­nese and Japan­ese immi­grants relo­cat­ing to Cal­i­for­nia after the Gold Rush.

    Most com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion in the United States is in Cal­i­for­nia and Ore­gon. Wash­ing­ton state fol­lows behind and then Ken­tucky and Alabama.
  • Bare Fruited

    Apples and oranges are great.

    No one refutes their solid nutri­tional value or culi­nary ver­sa­til­ity.

    By the time June rolls around, it’s time to mix things up in the fruit depart­ment. We crave the taste of sum­mer in all its stone fruit and berry glory.

    Every trip to the gro­cer or farm­ers mar­ket is a delib­er­ate pur­suit for what’s new in the sea­son.

    Early Cal­i­for­nia cher­ries have found their way to the stands. The sea­son looks to be a short and sweet one with a lim­ited crop this year. North­west cher­ries will quickly fol­low. No need to pout with Rainiers and red vari­eties like Chelan, Teiton and Bings rushed to mar­ket upon harvest.
  • Brent­wood Dia­monds

    Nes­tled between Mount Dia­blo and the Sacramento-​San Joaquin Delta in the East Bay, Brent­wood, Cal­i­for­nia is renowned for grow­ing excep­tional fresh mar­ket pro­duce.

    In par­tic­u­lar, sum­mer cher­ries, peaches and delec­table sweet corn are what local mar­kets and chefs cel­e­brate.

    Hot Cen­tral Val­ley days and cool, off-​shore breezes at night make it the per­fect loca­tion for grow­ing sweet corn.

    The cobs are picked dur­ing the early milk stage of ker­nel matu­rity, when sugar con­tent and mois­ture lev­els are high. This is in con­trast to field corn, which is har­vested in the dry, starchy dent stage. Over the last cen­tury, sweet corn pro­duc­tion in the U.S. has increased as farm­ers and geneti­cists have devel­oped hardier and sweeter vari­eties.

    To clar­ify, most of the corn grown in the United States is the com­mod­ity crop known as field corn. It is used as ani­mal feed, ethanol, whiskey and goes into all kinds of processed foods and food ingre­di­ents. High-​fructose corn syrup, corn starch, and corn oil.

  • By Design

    Artists use ele­ments of design (line, shape, form, value, color, tex­ture and space) to make a con­nec­tion between a com­po­si­tion and a viewer.

    The depic­tion of food in art cuts across all cul­tures and all recorded his­tory. Ancient Greek and Roman ban­quet tables laid out feasts of food as inspi­ra­tion and stim­u­la­tion.

    We’re famil­iar with still life draw­ings, sketches and paint­ings that high­light fresh fruits and veg­eta­bles as the main sub­ject mat­ter.

    This recent long stretch of stay-​at-​home/​cook at home pan­demic behav­ior gives more per­mis­sion to play with our food. Is any­one else out there look­ing at sum­mer pro­duce from an artist’s per­spec­tive?

    Chefs and home cooks have always appre­ci­ated the sea­sonal value of what we eat when. Can­ning, pick­ling and pre­serv­ing are other food cen­tric activ­i­ties that cap­ture the best of summer’s showy spread.

    Food (agri­cul­ture food prod­ucts in par­tic­u­lar) in all it’s forms is a dom­i­nant artis­tic theme. From plant­ing to har­vest and prepa­ra­tion to eat­ing, food imagery is cen­tral to social engage­ment.

    COVID fatigue may be blur­ring the lines of California’s rich agri­cul­tural bounty. Farmer’s are given the tall task of feed­ing our great nation. That is not a new phe­nom­ena. The ever fluid impacts of the pan­demic now weigh heavy on grow­ers to adapt, per­form and deliver.
  • Cal­i­for­nia Pears

    Cal­i­for­nia pear farm­ing areas are arguably in some of the most desir­able and beau­ti­ful places in the state.

    The beauty of his­toric pear orchards con­tributes sig­nif­i­cantly to the appeal of com­mu­ni­ties such as Court­land and Clarks­burg, located in the Sacra­mento River Delta grow­ing region.

    Lake­port and Kelseyville rep­re­sent the Lake County pear grow­ing dis­trict. Ukiah, in the Men­do­cino grow­ing dis­trict, rounds out the real estate.

    Together these grow­ing areas pro­duce approx­i­mately 150,000 tons of pears each year. The vol­ume of pears pro­duced in Cal­i­for­nia has declined in recent years, as has the num­ber of pear farm­ers.

    Even so, the Cal­i­for­nia pear indus­try remains a lead­ing sup­plier of pears to the world.

  • Cher­ries!

    Sure­fire sea­sonal items are the things we antic­i­pate with glee and giddy. The dev­as­tat­ing losses of the Cal­i­for­nia cherry crop this year make the 2019 North­west fruit even more desir­able.

    Cher­ries are one of the fresh­est pro­duce items avail­able for a very short dura­tion in the sum­mer.

    Tree-​ripened, they are gen­er­ally har­vested, packed and shipped within two days, start to fin­ish.

    North­west grow­ing regions are scat­tered through­out Wash­ing­ton, Ore­gon, Idaho, Utah, and Mon­tana. Small dif­fer­ences in the micro­cli­mates allow cher­ries through­out the region to ripen at dif­fer­ent times through the sea­son.

    As har­vests win­dows depend on weather, Mother Nature had a heavy hand in this year’s late start. The sea­son has finally arrived. Now through August, we expect to enjoy scrump­tious North­west cherry varieties.

  • Crush­ing It!

    Lime juice, lime zest and lime wedges are a pre­mier cov­eted player in sum­mer bev­er­ages, dips, cock­tails, dress­ings, mari­nades and desserts. Oh yeah!

    Never under­es­ti­mate the power of lime to uplift or trans­form the most mun­dane to be the absolute best.

    Fra­grant and refresh­ing, there is some­thing dis­tinc­tively lime that can­not be repli­cated.

    Limes are inte­gral to many Mex­i­can, Thai and Viet­namese dishes. They com­pli­ment part­ners like coconut milk, cilantro, mint and chili pep­pers.

    Count on lime for tor­tilla soup, corn con crema, fresh salsa, and street tacos. Leche de tigre (tiger’s milk), is a Peru­vian cit­rus mari­nade that relies on fresh lime juice for its super base.

    This cit­rus fruit’s high acid con­tent and bright tart­ness make it a pow­er­ful cook­ing and bak­ing ingre­di­ent. From seafood and poul­try to fresh fruits like mango, papaya and mel­ons, the smart addi­tion of lime kicks every­thing up a notch.
  • Drink Up!

    Stay­ing prop­erly hydrated is impor­tant year round but espe­cially crit­i­cal dur­ing hot sum­mer days.

    Summer’s heat and humid­ity increases hydra­tion needs because our bod­ies are per­spir­ing more. Increased humid­ity pre­vents per­spi­ra­tion from evap­o­rat­ing or low­er­ing our body tem­per­a­tures.

    Dehy­dra­tion can lead to exces­sive thirst, fatigue, cramp­ing, nau­sea, heat exhaus­tion or even stroke. To pre­vent dehy­dra­tion, drink water reg­u­larly and replace lost elec­trolytes with nat­ural sports drinks that don’t con­tain too much sugar.

    Fruits and veg­eta­bles with high water con­tent can improve hydra­tion and effec­tively reg­u­late an active human body. Take notice of some sea­sonal favorites that can act as nour­ish­ment and also aid in fluid replen­ish­ment.

    There are lots of foods that nat­u­rally aide hydra­tion. Most fruits are very hydrat­ing. Water­melon is an obvi­ous easy choice. Rich in vit­a­min C, beta carotene and lycopene, the appro­pri­ately named water­melon is about 92 per­cent water.

  • Fruit Impulse

    Ever since the start of the global pan­demic, cit­rus demand and vol­ume have been tremen­dous. Navel oranges, in par­tic­u­lar, have been in high demand.

    Con­sumers have got­ten the mes­sage that vit­a­min C is a good immu­nity boost. Given any chance to fight COVID-​19 through health­ier food choices, cit­rus makes log­i­cal sense.

    Typ­i­cally, veg­etable choices make their way to the gro­cery shop­ping list. We tend to build meals around veg­eta­bles or at min­i­mum, lay a foun­da­tion of fla­vor. Fresh fruits suf­fer the fate of being more of an “impulse” buy over must have items.

    Onions, cel­ery, gar­lic, car­rots, mush­rooms and bell pep­pers fre­quent any tasty sauce, stir fry or sum­mer grilling dish. It’s dif­fi­cult to imag­ine cook­ing with­out them. These pantry sta­ples are hardly out of stock.

    Spe­cialty or eth­nic menu sug­ges­tions call for egg­plants, cab­bages, green onions, leeks, pota­toes and squashes. Turn­ing them in to a sump­tu­ous meal is only a recipe away.

    Most fresh prod­ucts are being sold by super­mar­kets. In the United States and many other coun­tries, restau­rants are still closed or lim­ited on how much and what food is being served.

    Less demand on cer­tain fresh pro­duce items and more demand on oth­ers makes it a very unpre­dictable sup­ply chain. Afford­able fruits and veg­eta­bles with a good shelf life com­mand shop­per atten­tion. In nor­mal mar­kets, fruits gen­er­ally get trac­tion from sea­sonal pro­mo­tions. Today’s empha­sis is geared towards stay­ing healthy.
  • Hydra­tion Sta­tion

    Steamy sum­mer days make it tough to stay cool. Stay­ing hydrated is another mat­ter altogether.

    Drink­ing enough water or other flu­ids is a tall order for some. It can require a delib­er­ate action plan. This is par­tic­u­larly true when it comes to seniors, chil­dren and athletes.

    Ade­quate hydra­tion can pre­vent cramps, heat exhaus­tion, dizzi­ness, low blood pres­sure and heat stroke.

    The aver­age per­son can lose as many as ten cups of fluid from daily activ­i­ties and exer­cise. This may be stag­ger­ing on extremely hot days with severe con­se­quences. Fre­quent hydra­tion is essential.

    There are plenty of tricks to boost smart hydra­tion. Visual cues are help­ful reminders to stay replen­ished through­out the day. Set up a hydra­tion sta­tion in plain sight.

  • Juicy Fruits

    US demand for stone fruits has been con­sis­tent but not grow­ing much in the past five years.

    The 2020 sea­son looks to improve demand with a longer sea­son and even some new vari­etals on the hori­zon.

    Exclu­sive nec­tarine and plum vari­eties grown in California’s Cen­tral and San Joaquin Val­leys have farm­ers excited about this year’s pro­duc­tion.

    The oppor­tu­nity is there to intro­duce stone fruits to new and next gen­er­a­tions. An empha­sis on fresh foods and ver­sa­til­ity in use can bring a new audi­ence to the table.

    Stone fruits are a type of drupe, thin-​skinned, fleshy fruits con­tain­ing a sin­gle large seed (hence the name stone) encased within a tough outer shell. They can be cling­stone or free­stone, fuzzy or smooth, sour or sweet.

    The dru­pes we call stone fruit come from about 15 species of the genus Prunus, a mem­ber of the rose fam­ily, and include peaches, nec­tarines, plums, apri­cots and cher­ries.

    Stone fruits are highly sea­sonal. Most vari­eties won’t ripen after they’re har­vested and are picked at their peak of ripeness or readi­ness. This is often a small win­dow for har­vest crews.
  • Keep­ing It Sim­ple

    The beauty of sum­mer pro­duce is that meal options become more abun­dant with very lit­tle effort. Life activ­i­ties rule. Exces­sive time in the kitchen is counter to the casual vibe we all desire.

    Lucky then that fresh herbs, toma­toes, squashes, corn, avo­ca­dos, and let­tuces lay a foun­da­tion for sat­is­fy­ing one bowl or one plate meals.

    Pro­tein addi­tions (eggs, poul­try, meat, fish, tofu or grains) enhance an already quick fix ensem­ble of col­or­ful and tasty veg­eta­bles.

    Grilled or roasted arti­chokes, egg­plant or sweet pota­toes boost inher­ently good char­ac­ter­is­tics. Their smoky or earth­i­ness traits stand up to any culi­nary scrutiny.

    Secret weapons like a very good Bal­samic vine­gar or honey-​whiskey glaze build more depth and dis­tinc­tion. Hardly any prepa­ra­tion is due when sim­ple and high qual­ity ingre­di­ents are in the bag.

  • Late Bloomers

    Sum­mer is fad­ing fast. Vaca­tion days in the rear view mir­ror bring a dif­fer­ent focus with some new rou­tines shap­ing our plates. Before com­pletely let­ting go of sum­mer, how about tak­ing one last bite?

    The best of late har­vest sum­mer fruits and veg­eta­bles are ready for the final soirée. Act quickly, as the win­dow is clos­ing on the late bloomers.

    That glo­ri­ous camp includes heir­loom toma­toes, egg­plants (in all shapes, sizes and color), sum­mer and early fall squashes (zuc­chini, eight ball, spaghetti and but­ter­nut), and even some squash blos­soms still on the stem.

    Last of sum­mer basil makes for pesto for pasta, pizza or bruschetta. Use the toma­toes for tomato and herb salad or Cap­rese with a bal­samic driz­zle. Both are fresh, light and the per­fect com­pli­ment to any Sep­tem­ber din­ner party.

    Off the vine pep­per choices, make us dream of sump­tu­ous stuffed bells, chile rel­lenos and roasted Ana­heim, poblano, Hatch and jalapeños. South of the bor­der delec­tables go far beyond salsa. Pep­per pop­pers keep things lively for al fresco appetizers.
  • Lighten Up!

    Zuc­chini and other sum­mer squash vari­eties seem to be every­where. What are we wait­ing for such a squash sur­plus at our fin­ger­tips?

    If pasta noo­dles are on the table at least once a week, this is the best sea­son to go for a light­ened up ver­sion with noo­dles cen­ter­plate.

    Alfredo, mari­nara and pesto clas­sics make for irre­sistible sauces on top of squash noo­dles.

    Grain free squash cut in either wide rib­bons or curly or flat thin noo­dles beckon to kitchen enthu­si­asts to explore all options. A sim­ple dressed up top­per of mint, basil, gar­lic and lemon juice keeps life sim­ple.

    Asian noo­dle bowls are a world apart from Italy. Pad Thai, lo mein, stir fries and broth­ier dishes meant to be slurped give way to robust flavors.
  • Moon­beam

    We’re com­pletely used to see­ing fresh pro­duce in vivid and some­times unusual col­ors.

    Even so, when the flesh of a water­melon sur­prises us with a bright yel­low inte­rior, rather than the req­ui­site pink or red, it’s excit­ing.

    Water­melon is that ancient half fruit, half veg­etable thing with likely orig­i­na­tion from the Kala­hari desert of Africa.

    5,000 year old Egypt­ian hiero­glyphs depict water­melon images. By sym­bol­i­cally bury­ing the dead with water­melon, loved ones were thought to be nour­ished in the after­life.

    Rich in anti-​inflammatory nutri­ents, water­melon is over 90% water and con­tains abun­dant elec­trolytes. This com­bi­na­tion is what is extremely hydrat­ing in hot weather con­di­tions. Color is optional.
  • Pear Legacy

    Dat­ing back to the Cal­i­for­nia Gold Rush, Cal­i­for­nia pear farm­ers have a his­tory of a com­mit­ment to safe, sus­tain­able and healthy farm­ing.

    Pear orchards in Cal­i­for­nia are some of the old­est on record to still be pro­duc­ing com­mer­cially. A 2011 assess­ment reveals the aver­age age of a Cal­i­for­nia pear orchard ranges between 33 and 100 years old,. Some of the old­est plant­i­ngs date back to the 1840’s.

    Many of today’s pear farm­ers are still farm­ing orchards handed down to them by their grand­par­ents or great-​grandparents and most hope to pass their farms on to their own chil­dren and grand­chil­dren.

    Mod­ern com­mer­cial pear farm­ing is an extremely com­pet­i­tive busi­ness. Mar­ginal prices, some­times below the cost of pro­duc­tion, have taken a toll on the num­ber of pear farm­ers who remain in busi­ness. Where once the state had over 300 pear farm­ers, today there are just 60. Those who are left must use their resources wisely. They’ve learned to band together to fund mar­ket­ing pro­grams and con­duct impor­tant research nec­es­sary to thrive and pros­per.

    Today’s Cal­i­for­nia pear farmer per­fectly fits the model of the “ideal farmer” that today’s con­scious con­sumer is look­ing for. Grow­ing and har­vest­ing fruit is basi­cally done in the same way as gen­er­a­tions before them farmed, only adding new tech­nolo­gies to reduce pes­ti­cide use and pre­serve the envi­ron­ment. They are mostly small, non-​corporate, family-​owned busi­nesses, who care and sup­port the peo­ple in their close-​knit communities.
  • Per­fect Purée, Per­fect Sum­mer


    Seek­ing to infuse your culi­nary or bev­er­age cre­ations with the ulti­mate fresh fruit fla­vor? No need to peel, dice, purée, and sim­mer for those ideal results.
    Per­fect Purée is the solution!

    Per­fect Purée is the pre­mium purée prod­uct on the mar­ket. The suc­cu­lent, single-​note fla­vors of Per­fect Purée inspire every­thing you can think of: cock­tails, mari­nades, cakes, cook­ies, sor­bets and smooth­ies. At the back of the house or front of the house, chefs, cookes, baris­tas, bar­tenders, pas­try chefs, and brew mas­ters love this prod­uct line!

    For a per­fect sum­mer, try out our favorite warm weather fla­vors: El Cora­zon, Pink Guava & Pas­sion Fruit.

    Call us today to order your sam­ple kit. Can’t wait? Go online to http://​bit​.ly/​g​p​p​u​r​e​e.

  • Safe Trav­els

    When it comes to travel, many will opt for “roads less trav­elled” this sum­mer. Post­cards may reflect local, state and national loca­tions over more exotic global des­ti­na­tions.

    Even then, tight restric­tions to our national trea­sures will likely limit those expe­ri­ences.

    Camp­sites, parks and recre­ational areas will have pre-​set guide­lines for vis­i­tors. Adher­ing to the health advi­sories may pro­hibit even the most dar­ing of trav­el­ers. Road trips are mor­ph­ing into SAFE-​cations.

    For all our shelter-​in-​place bud­dies, grab a new road map. Buckle up for safety. We’ve heard of “stay­ca­tions” prior to COVID-​19. They’re now more rel­e­vant and gain­ing wide atten­tion.

    Plan an at home or close-​to-​home adven­ture. Cre­ative events bring us together in the safety net of our own back­yards. Decom­press­ing and tem­porar­ily escap­ing real­ity is what’s needed for reju­ve­na­tion. Time off from the every­day “new life nor­mals” can breath energy in to worn and weary souls.

    Themed home events– for­eign movie night, cow­boy cam­pout, seren­ity day spa and ani­mal photo safari are wor­thy of explor­ing. Those who’ve trav­elled the world have fond mem­o­ries of cafes in Paris, muse­ums in Rome and moun­tains in Switzer­land. Revive those mag­i­cal remem­brances through newly designed travel events. Food is always cen­tral to any des­ti­na­tion, near or far.

    Pre­pare the foods that sum­mon a nos­tal­gic glance back­wards to happy past travel moments.
  • Secret Sauce

    Grilling, smok­ing and bar­be­cu­ing are all pre­ferred meth­ods of sum­mer­time cook­ing.

    If you are the cook, you have a “secret sauce” of some kind in the out­door cook­ing arse­nal. Shar­ing it with oth­ers depends on how close to the vest you want to play it.

    Those of us merely the lucky recip­i­ents of good food cooked by oth­ers can only imag­ine what goes into the secret sauce. A hint of honey, a hit of ginger…sweet apri­cots or plums all just a guess.

    Mas­ters of mari­nades and glazes typ­i­cally have a “go to” one that can be applied to a choice of poul­try, fish, pork, beef or veg­eta­bles. Divulging any fam­ily recipes might be tricky.

    A quick inter­net search results in thou­sands of rec­om­men­da­tions for rich, lusty, sticky sauces that can be appro­pri­ated as our own.
  • Shrink Con­trol

    Sum­mer eat­ing occa­sions are inher­ently more for­giv­ing. Many foods are hand held, eaten out­doors and have a cer­tain casual put-​together-​look about them.

    No need for name call­ing or sham­ing, but sloppy look­ing foods get by this time of year out of sheer good­ness.

    Less for­mal pre­sen­ta­tions give us more time pool­side or on the patio. We’re more inter­ested in less meal prep and more face time with our peeps.

    A Cap­rese salad of rough cut toma­toes, torn basil leaves and ran­dom Buf­falo moz­zarella pieces is quite suit­able. Pep­pered and oiled, this sum­mer cold plate rivals any pris­tine sliced and shin­gled ver­sion.

    Sum­mer fruits and veg­eta­bles are well groomed for a quick toss with herbs, dress­ings and light sea­son­ings. A squeeze of lime, lemon or grape­fruit may be all chopped and sliced mel­ons need.

    Grilled corn is a stand out and stand alone messy food to rav­ish over bar­be­cues and cam­pouts. Shaved from the cob, the cooked ker­nels pro­vide a back­drop for wickedly good sal­sas, sal­ads or relishes.