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Produce News for August 31, 2009

AVOCADOES (August 31):  I’ve heard it a lot already this year.  “Why in the world is it taking so long for my avocadoes to ripen, my beautiful Haas avocadoes?”  Well, let me tell you what’s happening.  We’re transitioning between growing regions.  We’re ending California Haas avocadoes, and we’re going to the Southern Hemisphere which is Chile and New Zealand, and between those two growing regions, and Mexico, of course, that’s where we’re going to start getting our avocadoes.  Now, it is new crop Haas avocadoes in the Southern Hemisphere.  What does that mean?  That just simply means there’s not as much oil content in the avocado, which means it takes longer for a green avocado to turn ripe.  That doesn’t mean they’re bad or they don’t taste good or anything like that.  It just simply means it takes a little bit longer to ripen.  So here’s what you need to do.  Labor Day coming up – you need to get your avocadoes like today, okay?  And start ripening them today if you want guacamole for Labor Day.  I’m Michael MarksYour Produce Man.   
TEASE:  Hey, in my next Produce Man report, why you should be a little bit more patient with your avocadoes.
HEIRLOOM TOMATOES (Tuesday, September 1):  Oh, my goodness!  Take a look at these.  I’m going to treat them very, very gently.  Beautiful Heirloom tomatoes.  I love these things.  They are so full of flavor.  Take a look.  I love all the different shapes, the different colors, the different textures, the different flavors.  They all are so unique and so different.  And one thing in common – they are all so much full of flavor.  Now another thing that these Heirloom tomatoes have, these are older varieties of tomatoes.  They were not bred to be picked, and packed, and shipped like thousands of miles away.  They just don’t have what it takes for it.  They have a much thinner skin.  You have to treat them much gentler.  So here’s what I suggest with Heirloom tomatoes – you buy Heirloom tomatoes, you need to use Heirloom tomatoes like within a couple days.  If you don’t, if you try to treat them like regular tomatoes and try keep them for like a week - oh, no.  That’ won’t do.  You need to use them up quickly, and please, treat them gently.  I’m Michael Marks…Your Produce Man.
TEASE: Hey, in my next Produce Man reportsome beautiful fresh tips on beautiful Heirloom tomatoes. 
MELONS (Wednesday, September 2): Have you seen the new movie, “Julie and Julia”?  Right.  Julia Child and Julie.  It follows the blogger who wants to cook every 529 recipes in Julia’s book, her French cooking book.   Well, you know, one of the things  I learned about Julia a long time ago, the first lady of TV chefs, is that melons are best served at room temperature.  I know a lot of people love ice cold melons on a hot summer day, but if you want truly the full flavor of any melon, doesn’t matter what it is - it can be watermelon, it can be canteloupe, it can be honeydew, it can be some of the heirloom melons we see now in the farmer’s markets and grocery stores - whatever it is, it is always best served at room temperature.  That’s when you have the fullest flavor, the fullest sugar content.  Now if you still like them chilled, here’s what I suggest you do.  Take your melons, keep them out at room temperature, and cut them out and slice and prepare them, and just before you serve them, put them in the refrigerator for a few minutes.  I’m Michael MarksYour Produce Man.
TEASE: Hey, in my next Produce Man report, revenge is best served cold, but melons are best served at room temp.
ROMAINE LETTUCE (Thursday, September 3):  Hey, Paul Harvey tomorrow would have been 91 years old.  That’s right.  Born in 1918, and you know, the voice of radio for so many years.  And everybody loved his “rest of the story.”  Well, I thought it would be fun to honor him and talk about romaine lettuce the rest of the story” on romaine lettuce.  Actually, you know, old timer produce people still call this Cos lettuce “C” “O” “S”.  Cos lettuce.  That’s because it was originally grown on the Greek island of CosThat’s right.  You can go to the world atlas and still find that island today.  Well, here’s what happened. On the Greek island of Cos, there’s a couple Greeks that said, “Hey, Ralph, take a look at that leaf.  See that cupped leaf of that Cos lettuce.  What does that look like to you?”  Well, Ralph and Henry started talking, and Henry said, “Well, that does look like the wooden table spoon of the Roman emperor Tiberias.  So they renamed this lettuce Roman lettuce or romaine.  Now you know the rest of the story.
TEASE:  Hey, in my next Produce Man report, it’s time for “the rest of the story.”
GALA APPLES (Friday, September 5):  Can you possibly believe it?  I know the calendar says we’re still like two weeks away, almost three weeks away from the first official day of fall, but you walk down the produce aisle and even some farmer’s markets, and you’re already starting to see fall in the produce department.  We have new crop.  That’s right.  I said new crop apples have already begun. California – these beautiful gala apples – first of the season gala apples.  Take a look at these.  I love these apples, probably one of the most beautiful apples there is.  But one of the things about a gala apple, it’s what we call in the produce industry, it’s not a long keeper.  That’s because it is so full of water and sugar content that they just don’t keep long.  Don’t expect them to be in your refrigerator two weeks from now.  The gala apple is so sweet and so moist with juice content that it just goes bad very quickly.  So if you’re looking for that fresh picked flavor.  Guess what?  We have it once again.  Fresh picked apples – new crop.  I’m Michael MarksYour Produce Man.  (Takes bite) Mmm.
TEASE:  Hey, in my next Produce Man report, fresh picked flavor from these apples because they’re fresh picked.  (Takes Bite)  Mmm.