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Produce News For August 3, 2009


SUMMER SQUASH PART I (August 3):  Hey, Martha Stewart turns 68 this week, so I thought I’d talk about one of her favorite summer vegetables – happens to be squash, and there’s lots of different varieties of summer squash.  Here’s what most people think summer squash is right here – zucchini squash or Italian zucchini.  There’s also what we call Yellow crook neck.  You know why we call it crook neck?  Well, it’s because there’s a little crook right in the neck right there, but there are also many different varieties.  This we call patapan or regular summer squash.  Oh, I love this one.  My mom loves this one too.  It looks like a patapan summer squash, but it’s called a sunburst squash.  There are many, many other different varieties of summer squash, and one of the things I love about them – they are so easy to prepare.  You can use them raw in salads or you can just sauté them very quickly.  Oh my goodness!  Summer squash – it’s more than just zucchini, more than crook neck.  Go to the store or farmer’s market and find the many different varieties of summer squash.  By the way they’re so good for you because they’re loaded with a lot of moisture which is what we need in the summer.  I’m Michael MarksYour Produce Man.   
SUMMER SQUASH PART II (Tuesday, August 4):  There are 101 ways to slice and dice your zucchini…well, kind of 101 ways.  Here, let me show you some ways we can cut our zucchini squash.  First of all I love to cut it into thick slabs.  That is perfect if you’re going to barbecue.  That is absolutely perfect.   Or we can cut it into thin sticks so you can use it raw in those salads.  Take that slab and slice it into nice thick…er, nice thin slivers and now you have a nice little cut like that.  Let’s see what else we can do.  Oh, we can cut one in half.  This is called a half moon which kind of looks like a what?  Yeah.  A half moon.  What else can we do here?  Oh, here’s a good one.  This is called a slant cut which is really good for things like Asian cooking or stir fry.  So - slant cut.  Oh, here’s another great one.  I love this one probably best of all.  It’s called an oblique cut.  You cut one time this way and then just cross your hand this way and go back and forth like so.  This is called an oblique cut.  which is absolutely perfect for…I use that all the time in the summer.  I’m Michael Marks…Your Produce Man.
PARSLEY (Wednesday, August 5): You know a little later this week we’re going to have Fresh Breath Day.  That’s right - Fresh Breath Day.  And so I thought I’d talk about an item that gives you actually fresh breath - beautiful parsley.  Now I know most of you see parsley and the only place you’re going to see it is like on the side of a plate as a garnish, and what a shame!  Now there are many different varieties.  I brought two of the most popular varieties.  This is called curly leaf parsley.  You know why we call it curly leaf?  Yes, because the leaves are very curly.  This is called flat leaf parsley?  You know why we call it flat leaf parsley?  Yes, because the leaves are very flat.  We also call this Italian parsley, but one of the things about parsley, it is the original ingredient in Certs, in retsin.  That’s right. So there’s a reason they put parsley on your plate - it freshens your breath.  So please, never throw it away anymore.  Go ahead and eat it.  And use it a lot more in your cooking, especially summer cooking.  We just dice it up and finely chop it and throw it into our salads.  What a great fresh breath it gives you.  I’m Michael MarksYour Produce Man.
KIWI (Thursday, August 6):    You know I had a letter from a viewer the other day and they were asking about kiwi fruit – said, “Mike, what is up with the kiwi fruit?  It like takes forever to ripen!”  Well, I thought I’d warned you, but I guess I better warn you again.  There is new crop kiwi fruit in the supermarket right now, and the new crop is coming from the Southern Hemisphere, from Chile or New Zealand.  The big supplier is, of course, New Zealand, and this is the first of the season of the kiwi fruit from New Zealand.  Now whenever you have the first of the season of any fruit whether it’s peaches, or nectarines, or melons, or kiwi fruit, it always takes some time to ripen.  So here’s what you need to do.  You need to take your kiwi fruit home.  Do not in a million years leave it out on the countertop like this.  There are no natural oils on this kiwi fruit.  It will just simply shrivel up before it fully ripens.  You need to enclose it in a brown paper bag, and when you do that after about four to five days, now that kiwi fruit is going to be absolutely perfect.  Until then be patient with it.  I’m Michael MarksYour Produce Man.
BLUEBERRIES (Friday, August 7):  Hey, South Haven, Michigan - the place to be this weekend - beautiful huge blueberry festival going on.  So I thought I’d talk about blueberries.  There’s one thing you need to do with your blueberries every single day.  Here’s what I want you to do.  You get your blueberries home.  The next day I want you to take those blueberries and I want you to just open it up.  Right?  And I want you to just look in there.  I want you to look all around there.  I want…and what you’re looking for is you’re looking for any decaying or moldy blueberries.  You know the old saying, of course, “One rotten apple spoils the whole barrel.  Well, it’s the exact same thing with a blueberry.  One rotten blueberry in there is going to decay the entire batch.  So every day what you need to do, go through here and see if you find any soft ones or decayed ones.  Nope.  These look great.  You’re not going to use them today?  No big deal.  Put them in the refrigerator.  Now tomorrow I want you to come back out to them and check them out again.  Make sure there’s no bad ones in there.  If you do, your blueberries are going to last longer.  I’m Michael MarksYour Produce Man.  (Take bite)  Mmm.