This week’s box is another “antioxidant booster” because of all the superfoods inside! A superfood contains antioxidants, which help fight free radicals - cells that can cause diseases like cancer. These antioxidants often come as part of the molecules that give fruits their colors. You know with this week’s intense colors - blue blueberries, yellow Rainier cherries, red Lapin cherries - that you are eating the spectrum and getting lots of different antioxidants from this nutrient dense fruit.
Everett Myers, Founder and President of FruitShare™
In Your Box: Lapin cherries and Rainier cherries, Babcock white peaches, Duke blueberries, Plums
Coming Soon: Colorado peaches
Storage and Ripening
Keep all of the fruit in the refrigerator. Duke blueberries, Rainier and Lapin cherries are more delicate and should be refrigerated and enjoyed first. Only wash your blueberries and cherries before eating them as moisture can lead to mold. Sometimes a split blueberry or cherry will create extra moisture in the bag or clamshell 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. Peaches and plums will be ready to eat when the flesh gives to gentle thumb pressure. Some folks like peaches and plums more firm - if this is the case keep them in the refrigerator. Otherwise, place a few fruits on the counter to soften if needed. Please note, white peaches have an extremely high sugar content and are susceptible to brown spots. If this happens cut that portion of the fruit off and enjoy the rest of it. You can also slice and freeze peaches, as well as blueberries and even cherries (after taking their pits out). After they are frozen, we like to use them in smoothies, no sugar necessary because they are so sweet on their own.
What It Takes
Once again I am so thankful to Apple and George for their extra effort to make a beautiful cherry harvest happen again this year. They were working day and night to get this cherry harvest in. Last year was a particular difficult harvest season. Apple said, “We had a great fruit set, but during our harvests we had rains and even some brief showers with small hail. We spent a lot more time in the packing shed sorting out split cherries from the rain and bruised or damaged cherries from the hail. We ended up losing over 30% of our harvest due to these weather episodes at the most inopportune time of the year, and our time spent in the packing shed on labor doubled over most years . We feel fortunate that the hail was short lived enough that it doesn’t look like it will affect our apples and pears that come on in September and October.” This is a great reminder that our food comes from mother nature and the hands of many dedicated farmers. When you’ve been involved in agriculture as long as I have you know there are so many unknowns in life and to be thankful for what you have on any given day. This season Apple and George didn’t experience the rains during harvest, but high heat made it so they picked early morning and had to stop by lunchtime. Thankfully with the extra effort from Apple, George and their family and crew we are able to enjoy their delicious cherries again this year.
Apple and George have been growing organically for over 34 years, and they believe firmly in the benefits of organic agriculture. When they bought their current orchard in 1997, the crops were already planted and pesticides were present. Over the next few years, Apple and George slowly transitioned the land back to its natural, organic state, enduring tough harvests and learning loads. They haven’t looked back. Now, George enjoys the simple pleasure of watching folks eat the cherries he and his wife grew on their central-Washington farm. Apple, the self-professed philosophical spouse, loves being part of a bigger movement and of course providing some of the healthiest, tastiest food grown today.
They employ about 40 seasonal workers, who work in an environment free of harsh chemicals alongside Apple and George, their three grown children plus their significant others. The orchard is only 3.5 acres large, but the small size allows for plenty of care.
Rainier cherries are one of the most difficult fruit crops to grow. All the harvesting happens in about a 2 week window. The weather has to cooperate perfectly for the fruit to be blemish free. Harvesting is all done by hand, color picking through the orchard several times to pick just what is sweet and ready to eat. Harvest days being at 4:30 AM when the temperatures are the coolest and then before noon everything comes into the packing shed is cooled down to 36 degrees F and packing goes on until 9pm in refrigerated coolers. Everyone gets up and does it all over again until the 2 week harvest is done. There is no such thing as a weekend or 4th of July Holiday for the cherry producer. Many years a Rainier crop doesn’t even happen, so we are excited that we were able to get these precious and extremely limited supply of organic Rainier cherries to you.
Mike Naylor brings us the gorgeous Babcock white peaches, as well as the plums. Mike has been farming organically since 1990. After inheriting the orchard from his father, he converted the farm to organic practices because he was concerned about the negative effects of pesticides and synthetic fertilizers on workers and the water. Mike now allows visitors to come to his orchard and rent a house there! His fruit is so special because he picks and packs it directly in the field, so it is riper and sweeter than many other orchards. You’ll taste the difference in this week’s peaches!
Health and Wellness
Cherries provide tremendous benefits to your health. They have a low glycemic index of 22 making them a great choice for diabetics. They also help you sleep better because they are a good source of melatonin. The Alzheimer’s Association includes cherries as one of the memory boosting foods because they are rich in antioxidants. Cherries provide cardiovascular benefits as well. The anthocyanins, which are the pigments giving cherries their red color, may activate PPAR which regulates genes involved in fat and glucose metabolism and thus, reduce risk factors for high cholesterol, blood pressure and diabetes. Eating cherries lowers risk of gout attacks by 35-50 percent. They can also help reduce muscle inflammation and pain, making them a great choice for those who suffer from osteoarthritis, as well as athletes pushing their bodies to the limit, like long distance runners. Cherries are very high in potassium, which helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure and reduces the risk of hypertension. The phytosterols in cherries help reduce bad cholesterol levels. In other words, eat cherries - they taste great and are good for you.
Looking for something simple for breakfast these days? Make ahead breakfast oats might be just the thing. Simply assemble ingredients, pour into mason jars, cover and refrigerate overnight. In the morning add any fresh organic fruit, nuts or even dark chocolate and you are set for the day. This recipe works with dairy or using dairy free alternatives. Sweeten naturally with added fruit include local honey or maple syrup. What we love about this oats recipe is that like so many of our favorites, it can be so easily adapted to suit your dietary needs and wants and can change as fruits are in-season. To reduce sugar stick with plain yogurt, and only sweeten to taste.
Combine in a bowl (makes 2):
1/2 cup greek full fat yogurt or dairy free cashew alternative. Plain or vanilla preferred.
2/3 cup organic milk or milk substitute of your choice.
1 T ground flax seed
1 T hemp hearts
1 T chia seeds
1-2 T maple syrup (optional)
1/2 cup organic rolled oats (can find GF too)
Top with pitted organic cherries , slivered almonds, walnuts, a few dark chocolate bits or dried banana chips. If you are really in a time crunch, add toppings night before so you are ready to grab-n-go. Thank you reciperunner for the inspiration.
Become a fan on Facebook (www.facebook.com/FruitShareOrganics), follow us on Twitter (www.twitter.com/FruitShare), pin us on Pinterest (www.pinterest.com/FruitShare), Instagram (www.instagram/fruitshare.com), we are blogging at (www.fruitshare.com/blogs/organic-fruit-blog) Good old-fashioned email works, too, at customersupport@FruitShare.com, or by phone at 651-644-2800