While walking in the prairie we planted at the farm 20 years ago a visitor asked me what I think is the cause of honey bee population decline. First of all, it is always nice to know more and more people are becoming aware of the decline in important pollinators in nature. I’ve spent a lot of time walking in orchards and row cropped fields. What I know is organic agriculture promotes healthy soils, healthy plants, healthy ecosystems and healthy people. Organic fields are teaming with life and biodiversity which help grow the healthiest and tastiest food.
In contrast, greenhouses are spraying insecticides on bedding plants in winter and spring. These same plants we plant around our houses in the late spring. Bee populations are most vulnerable during this time and when they go to get pollen from these toxic flowers they just bring the toxins back to their hives. I believe this is just one cause of the honey bee decline. There are many more cases just like this that affect bee populations. Just think how the chemicals we’ve introduced into our food system, homes, yards, workplaces, and even fabrics might be affecting other parts of the life cycle. This is just one more reason FruitShare fruit is always organic.
If you want to order straight packs of Honeycrisp apples or Colorado peaches we have them on our website as straight packs in various sized boxes.
Enjoy the fruit your brain will thank you.
Everett Myers, Founder and President of FruitShare
In Your Box: Colorado peaches, Honeycrisp apples, Seedless grapes and Bartlett pears
Storage and Ripening
Today’s Colorado peach I find only need 1-2 days on the counter. They should be very juicy when ready. They can be stored in the refrigerator once they give to thumb pressure to enjoy them over a longer period of time. These Bartlett pears are the first harvest of the season. Keep the Bartlett pears on the counter. They will be ready to eat when they give to thumb pressure near the stem “check the neck”. Your Bartlett pears will take between 4-7 days to give to thumb pressure by the stem and then enjoy them. Bartlett’s will turn yellow as a sign of being ready to eat and at their juiciest. To speed up their ripening process you can place some in a paper bag with a banana, but remember to check them every day. The banana gives off naturally, ethylene gas that ripens fruit faster. Once the pears give to thumb pressure you can place them in the refrigerator to enjoy them over a longer period of time. Grapes are more delicate and should be refrigerated and enjoyed first. Only wash your grapes before eating them as moisture can lead to mold. Sometimes a split grape will create extra moisture in the bag and cause a spot of mold. If this happens, take them out of the bag immediately, remove the fruit that caused the issue, and wash the remaining fruit. Dry the fruit off by placing it on a paper towel and then refrigerate it again. These new crop first picking Honeycrisp apples are ready to eat. Keep them in the coldest part of your refrigerator to keep them crisp longer. We are nearing the end of the Colorado peach season, so if you want to enjoy some in the winter months we like to wash them and then slice them and place them on a cookie sheet in the freezer. Once frozen you can put them in a container in the freezer and they won’t stick to one another.
What It Takes
Honeycrisp apples always a favorite. We should have these consistently for the next 4 weeks. David Bedford of the University of Minnesota developed the Honeycrisp apples with good old fashioned cross breeding over 20 years ago. It is the most popular apple we know of for eating fresh. It’s crisp sweet and tart combination along with the juicy crunch makes it a favorite. Bedford says that studied under an electron microscope, Honeycrisp cells are twice the size of other apples, which accounts for their unique, pleasing texture. The cells fill up with natural sugar water which makes them delicious even to the core. We try to get you as many Honeycrisp as we can every year, but they are always limited and their season is short so enjoy them while they last. If you want more we do sell them by the straight box as well. They are great for eating out of hand but if you’re so inclined they make fantastic applesauce too. Keep all your apples in the coolest part of your refrigerator to keep them crisp.
This week’s Honeycrisp apples and Bartlett pears are from the Stennes family. Like many of our organic growers, the Stennes family farm in Washington’s Cascade Mountains is a family affair. The farm began in 1894, when the Stennes family emigrated from Norway and planted apple trees on their homestead. Now, Keith is joined by his twin sons, Mark and Kevin to make up the third and fourth generations of Stennes farmers.
We are now enjoying these late season Colorado Peaches from Brant and Carol. Eat these quickly they are tree ripe and will be ready to eat when you get them or within just a day or two. They are delicious alone or sliced and served with any breakfast, cereal, waffles, pancakes. If they are getting too soft for you, wash the peach fuzz off of them, then slice them off the pit and put them in a freezer bag. We like to use these frozen peaches in a smoothie. They are also great for baking and grilling. Enjoy!
Health and Wellness
Great news! Eating the apples and pears in your box this week could help decrease your risk for type 2 diabetes - especially for women. It is known that certain antioxidants called flavonoids can help improve insulin sensitivity. There are three types of flavonoids that scientists are particularly interested in, and pears include two of them. While eating these antioxidants has been connected to decreased risk of type 2 diabetes in both men and women, a new analysis of the Nurses’ Health Study shows that the combination of flavonoids in apples and pears has the most consistent association with lower risk of diabetes. So dig in. This week’s box might as well be called the Flavonoid Box.
Jen’s Kale Slaw with Pears and Avocado (My wife’s friend Jennifer Holloway developed this recipe and it is a winner!)
2 bunches of kale stripped off the stem—roughly chopped and lightly steamed (then chopped finer)
2 carrots grated
1 cup shredded cabbage (red or nappa)
½ red onion chopped (soaked to take away strong flavor)
1 pear sliced/chopped
1 avocado diced
Dressing—mix separately first
1 T Dijon Mustard, 3 T Olive Oil, 2-3 T Apple Cider Vinegar (white, or champagne will also work).
Combine above ingredients and enjoy. You can also prep a larger batch of the kale/carrot/cabbage/onion and keep it in the fridge. Adding pear, avocado, and dressing upon serving.
Grilled Peaches with Cardamom Sugar Crust
4 semi-ripe peaches cut in half and pit removed
6 tbl turbinado sugar
1 tbl ground cardamom
Toss the sugar and cardamom together in a bowl. Dip the peaches, flesh side down, into the sugar. Place on a medium/high heat grill and let them alone for approximately 7 minutes. You want the sugar to caramelize on the peaches and create a crust.
Serve with your favorite ice cream, creme fraiche or mascarpone.
Courtesy of foodily.com