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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.

Peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums, grapes, cherries, cantaloupe, seedless watermelons. Wow! They’re all here and waiting for you at your Market of Choice produce department.

We wait all winter long for these sweet delights, and finally the wait is over. I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of apples.

Local lettuce growers are now delivering to our stores, and many other local items will be coming soon.

I just got calls from a couple different berry growers, and we will see their fruit in our stores by the end of this week!

We’re expecting freshly picked local strawberries from Mary and Jim Evonuk, and TJ Bear of Bear fruit.

Local blueberries are 2 to 3 weeks away, but we have the new-crop California blueberries in now – I have a basket on my desk as I write this and they taste great!

The Brentwood California corn starts next week. This is the best of the California corn, and is the next best thing to our local corn, which normally starts the first week in August. I’ll keep you posted!

The Washington cherry crop is looking really good, I’ll be going up to Yakima Valley in a couple weeks to check it out, and look forward to bringing home a bushel or two!

Enjoy!

Caith Wiles, Willamette Produce Clerk and mushroom enthusiast, wrote this mouth-watering guest blog about morel mushrooms.

We who live in the Pacific Northwest are truly blessed! Surely, the winters can be long and dreary, but what could be a better sign of the bounty to come than the first Morel mushrooms, fresh from the forests in spring?

Morels (Morchella ssp) appear just after the first warms spring days, when the ground is still moist. Rarely appearing in the same spot year after year, morels show up in disturbed soils or after forest fires. When catastrophe hits nature, morels are ready to respond, and we reap their blessings.

Morels are a small, hollow conical mushroom with a honeycombed exterior. The cap is colored light grey to black (depending on the subspecies) with a white stem. While some have managed to cultivate morels, the great majority is wild harvested. It’s a true sign of trust when someone shares his or her favorite morel harvest ground with someone else. They are precious indeed!

The morel season, which is normally April through May, is a short one. As with all wild mushrooms, they should not be eaten raw. When choosing morels, look for those that are firm, with no dried edges to the honeycombs.

Morels can be simply sautéed and used in place of any other mushroom, as they go well with pasta, eggs and cheese (Ever had a morel quiche?) Before use, soak them in salted water for an hour to draw any hitchhikers out of the honeycomb. Discard the water. Rinse the mushrooms and sauté.
 
My favorite way to prepare them is to slice the morels and sauté them lightly in butter until all of the water has seeped out of the mushroom, then increase the heat and continue to sauté (with added butter) until the mushrooms are caramelized, but not crisped.

Serve over pasta, or simply with thin slices of toast and a tender salad of baby greens. What could be better for a light springtime dinner?

Enjoy!

California Strawberry harvest has begun in Orange County! These are some of the best berries of the year, because they grow slower and develop more flavor. The cooler, early spring temperatures also make the berries firmer, which means they arrive at our stores in better condition and have a longer shelf life. Prices are beginning to drop as production increases, and you should start seeing them in our weekly ads soon.

We have all the ingredients you need for a perfect strawberry desert, including crepes, angel food cakes, pound cakes, shortcakes, chocolate dips and glazes. Valentines Day is not far off, and what could be more perfect than fresh strawberries dipped in chocolate or cream and a nice bottle of champagne!

We are now at the very peak of the citrus season, with more varieties available now than any other time of year. The latest additions are Minneola tangelos, honey tangerines, and royal Mandarins. Satsuma’s are winding down, and will be done in a week or two, so get some now before their gone! They won’t be back until next fall.

Wow, it seems like summer came and went like a flash. Fall is upon us! Time to enjoy all the wonderful produce that autumn brings. Fall is my favorite season, probably because of all the apples, pears and citrus. 

I grew up in the beautiful Rogue Valley and have many fond memories of pheasant hunting in the pear orchards with my father. We didn’t always come home with pheasants, but we always had our bird bags filled with pears! 

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Produce Dept. Special

  • Organically Grown Roma Tomatoes
    Organically Grown Roma Tomatoes

    The low acid and sugar content of egg-shaped Romas give them a mild tomato flavor that’s ideal for Italian dishes.

    1.49 lb

    GOOD THRU 1/20 - 2/2/17

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