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Produce Blog

Gene VersteegGene Versteeg, Produce Buyer and Merchandiser, has been in the produce business for 30 years. He’s an artist of sorts. His medium? Fruits and vegetables. You’ll find his work beautifully displayed at each store. To learn more about the local, conventional and organic offerings at Market of Choice, read Gene’s blog.

Spring is here, and with it comes the first morel mushrooms of the year! Fresh from the Cascade and Coast Range mountains, they emerge as the snow melts and will be around for about six to eight weeks. Morel mushrooms are excellent grilled and basted with butter, or sautéed and served over pasta. There really is nothing else like them!

Fresh Asparagus from southeast Washington arrived at our stores today, just in time for your weekend barbecues. Washington asparagus is the very best of the season, and is my personal favorite. The stalks are slightly thicker than California asparagus, but they are noticeably more tender and flavorful. The tips tend to be a dark purple color, and are larger and firmer than California’s.

Fresh local rhubarb, grown in Canby, Oregon, is now in our stores. Oregon produces a very large crop of rhubarb, and much of it is shipped to other states where it does not grow as well. We also happen to have really nice organic strawberries on sale this week – strawberry rhubarb pie anyone?

In about two to three weeks, it will be time to plant my own tomatoes – I can’t wait! As the days grow longer and warmer, I look forward to spending a lot more time outside, puttering around in the yard and having friends over for weekend barbecues – it’s truly my favorite time of year!

In just a few short weeks, we’ll be getting local berries, including blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, marionberries, boysenberries and raspberries. The blueberry crop looks to be huge this year!

I’ll keep you posted with harvest updates as they begin!

Spring is just around the corner, and we are starting to see some new items coming out of California.

Long-stem artichokes are back. These softball-sized beauties are an annual favorite of mine, and they are a meal in themselves! Whether you choose to steam or grill them, they’re great.

Strawberries are finally recovering from all that rain they recently had in southern California. We will have them on sale this week at a great price, just in time for Valentine’s Day. These springtime berries are some of the sweetest of the year.

Chilean soft fruit is now available in all our stores. We have cherries, apricots, peaches, nectarines and grapes. In Chile, it’s late summer/early fall, and they’re beginning to harvest pears. We should see the first Bartlett pears this week.

Asparagus season is now in full swing, and we will be seeing very reasonable prices for 3 to 4 months, as the harvest moves up from Mexico, into California, and then into southern Washington. Asparagus is so easy to cook – you can grill it on the barbecue, sauté it in a pan with olive oil, steam it, roast it, or just wrap it in a wet paper towel, and microwave it – quick and simple!

There is a huge crop of Avocados this year, and prices are historically low. This is great news for guacamole lovers, of course! I look forward to running them in our weekly ads, now through early summer.

Enjoy!

Finally! We will make our first pick up of heirloom navels at Rising C Ranches this weekend. These are the best oranges of the year! We’ve been getting requests for these beauties for weeks! Rising C Ranches is our source for several unique and wonderful citrus items. We currently have Satsuma, Meyer Lemons, and Sweet Limes from them.

In a few days, we should be picking up their blood oranges and Pummelos, after that, we will see torroco Sicilian oranges, and Lisbon lemons. Around the beginning of the new year, we will see their Gold Nugget, Shasta Gold and Tahoe Mandarins, these are incredible pieces of fruit, and will only be around for a very short time, so be sure to enjoy them while you can!

If you would like to learn more about Rising C Ranches, check out their Web site at www.ripetoyou.com, they are very passionate about what they do, and we are proud to partner with them! Look for our annual citrus sampling event coming in January. As soon as we have all the items in stock, I’ll announce the date!

Wow, There’s a dusting of snow in the mountain passes, and frost on the pumpkins this morning – winter is knocking on our door! In our produce departments at Market of Choice, lots of new items are still arriving daily. For instance, this week we will see the first of the California navel oranges, just in time to help fight off the cold and flu bugs going around. Also from California, we now have Satsuma mandarins. Everyone loves these because they are seedless and very easy to peel – you sometimes hear them called “zipper-skin.” Satsumas will be available loose, or in a 5 lb gift box. Texas Rio-Star ruby red grapefruit are available. With their deep dark red interiors and super-sweet flavor, they are our most popular grapefruit of the year. Florida Indian river jumbo pink grapefruit are now in, too. These are excellent for breakfast – just cut them in half, sprinkle a little sugar on them and serve in the rind with a spoon!

All of our in-shell new crop nuts are here for your baking needs. We have walnuts, almonds, filberts, Brazil nuts, pecans, and fresh Northwest chestnuts.Cranberries have arrived from the bogs on the Oregon coast! We have conventionally-grown fruit from Ocean Spray in Bandon, and organic from the Coquille Indian tribes, packed under the Lady Bug label.Fresh apple cider from the Hood River Juice Company is now being delivered to our stores twice a week. Their cider is made from Northwest grown apples, picked at the peak of ripeness.

Coming next week, we will have Clementine mandarins, Meyer lemons, Pummelos, and blood oranges. And in 2-3 weeks, we should see all our favorite heirloom citrus items from Rising C Ranch. They are famous for their fruit grown on old line Washington trees in Button Willow, California. Lots to look forward to as we settle in to the indoor season and prepare for the holidays!

Well, summer is about over, and harvest time is upon us for many fall items.

Coming in to our stores this week, we have new crop apples fresh off the trees from Yakima, Washington and Milton Freewater, Oregon.

We have Gala’s, Fuji’s and Honeycrisp (my personal favorite!) Several more varieties will be arriving in the coming days.

Pears are being harvested in the Rogue Valley and Hood River; we now have Bartlett, Bosc, Comice, D’Anjou, and Red Stark crimsons.

Almost all the apples and pears that we carry will be available in organic and conventional.

Pomegranates are back; we are starting out with the Early Foothill varieties, and will transition into the Wonderfuls in a week or two.

All of the fall squashes were delivered the last couple days and we now have Butternut, Delicatta, Spaghetti, Danish, Kabocha and several others, all grown right here in the Willamette Valley.

Next week we will see ornamental items, including Indian corn, mini Indian corn, and decorative mini pumpkins and gourds. These make a great fall table center piece!

Fall is also the time for the northwest potato harvest and we will soon have new crop fingerling potatoes, as well as Russets, Yukon golds, White rose, and redskins.

Local corn is only days away from finishing for the year, so enjoy it while you can!



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