Welcome to Produce Pete's

Welcome to Produce Pete's

Welcome to Produce Pete's Welcome to Produce Pete's Welcome to Produce Pete's

Sit Down With Produce Pete

 

NBC's ' Produce Pete'  sits down to talk about food access issues, the New York Green Cart Initiative and his own beginnings as a street vendor.  He appears in the film THE APPLE PUSHERS (www.applepushers.com).

 

Produce Pete at Hunts Point Market, Bronx NY

 

Produce Pete NBC food contributor, talks produce with Hank Zona at the Hunts Point produce market

Pat & Pete at Eden Garden, South Orange

Pat and Produce Pete out for a fun day at Eden Garden Marketplace.  Pat's getting better at picking fresh fruits and vegetables then i am.

Produce Pete With Hank Zona At Katzman Produce

Produce Pete and Hank inside the refrigerator at Katzman Produce at the Hunts Point Market in the Bronx talking vegetables.

Produce Pete's WNBC Shows, Past and Present

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To see Produce Pete's shows please click the links below !!!

      MOST RECENT    ---      https://www.nbcnewyork.com/tag/produce-pete/  


ALL SHOWS

  https://www.nbcnewyork.com/?s=produce+pete 

           

 Links to shows also available at bottom of page for shows listed !!!


JEOPARDY

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http://j-archive.com/showgame.php?game_id=1170




CLICK ON LINK ABOVE.  PRODUCE PETE A CATEGORY ON JEOPARDY??  WHO WOULD HAVE GUESSED!

WHAT'S UP WITH PRODUCE PETE

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PLEASE CHECK OUT MY NEW BLOG RUNNING MONTHLY IN NEW JERSEY MONTHLY MAGAZINE ONLINE 


LOVE YOUR STRAWBERRIES, VALENTINE'S  DAY SPECIAL

 https://njmonthly.com/articles/eat-drink/table-hopping/produce-pete-for-the-love-of-strawberries/ 



    NAVEL ORANGES 

 

  https://njmonthly.com/category/eat-drink/table-hopping/.


RED RUBY GRAPEFRUIT


https://njmonthly.com/articles/eat-drink/table-hopping/produce-pete-grapefruit-season/  


  

 BLAST FROM THE PAST --  PRODUCE PETE IN HIS FIRST PATHMARK COMMERCIAL 


               https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_o2YlWZ9px4


02/06/20  Meet Produce Pete at Rustica Lounge Bar & Restaurant, Cliffside Park, N.J. from 3 PM to 6PM , Dining Out Magazine Dialog, live radio broadcast, KMC radio.


BRINGING BACK MY YOUTH WITH THE LEGENDARY COUSIN BRUCIE, A REAL TREAT !!!!

 
https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/cousin-brucie-remembers-morning-mayor-harry-harrison/2275648/ 



                               

                                                                                                                          






CARA CARA NAVEL ORANGES 02/29/20

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 If you are not that familiar with this orange variety you might be asking yourself: “What is Cara Cara oranges. Cara Cara oranges are pink-fleshed citrus fruits that originated as a mutation that occurred on a Washington Navel orange tree in 1976. The first mutated fruit was found at Hacienda Cara Cara in Venezuela and thus was given the name Cara Cara.  Cara Cara oranges are extremely sweet and have a slightly lower acidity than Navels with a hint of cranberry or blackberry flavor. Furthermore, aside from their supreme taste and beautiful coloring, Cara Cara oranges contain 20 per cent more vitamin C and 30 per cent more vitamin A when compared to regular Navels.. Cara Cara navel oranges may appear similar to Ruby red grapefruit, but other than color and being citrus fruits, they are not the same. Cara Cara navel oranges are a result of a mutation in the navel orange which was found in Venezuel Cara Cara is a medium-size orange with a glossy, textured rind. The inner flesh of the Cara Cara is pink, resembling the color of a ruby grapefruit. The peel clings to the flesh. It tastes sweeter than any given orange with flavors far more comparable to tangerines with robust and complex citrus aromatics. Its flesh is also seedless, an advantage among any fruit. When ripe, the Cara Cara orange's flesh is tender, succulent and extremely juicy.  You know the saying, "It's what's on the inside that counts"? Well, that couldn't be more true when it comes to Cara Cara oranges. From the outside, these citrus beauties look like your run-of-the-mill, bright-skinned navel oranges. Cut them open, though, and you'll be pleasantly surprised.  Cara Cara oranges are a type of navel orange.  Grown in California they reach their peak season between December and April.Cara Caras have the same round shape and bright orange rind as traditional navels. What really sets these oranges apart is what's on the inside! Cara Cara oranges have distinct pinkish-red and orange flesh. It's not just their beautiful color that makes them stand out — they have a remarkable taste that goes right along with it. Compared to traditional navels, Cara Caras are sweeter, slightly tangy, and less acidic, with a hint of red fruit, like cranberry or blackberry. And if that's not enough, they're seedless, too. 

SEASON

 Cara Caras are ready for market starting in August, Venezuelan fruits arrive in October and California fruits make their seasonal debut in late November and are available through April.

 Buying and Storing Cara Cara Oranges

While other navel oranges can vary in size, cara caras are all generally medium-size fruits. Choose oranges that are firm, shiny, and heavy for their size. Avoid pieces that have soft spots and blemishes.As with other citrus fruits, store Cara Cara oranges in a cool spot. Kept on the counter, they'll last three to four days, so you're better off storing them in the refrigerator where they'll last up to two weeks.


Ways to Eat Cara Cara Oranges

Eat Cara Cara oranges just as you would other types of navel oranges! Peeling away the rind and eating them section by section, blending them into smoothies or a fresh-squeezed glass of juice, and making citrus curd are just a few of my favorite ways to use Cara Cara They also make a beautiful addition to salads. Just like regular navels, Cara Cara has a bright exterior and has a crisp citrus aroma. But unlike your run-of-the-mill navels, Cara Cara’s flavor is more complex; it is extremely sweet with a tinge of raspberry or cranberry zing and a hint of cherry and rose. It is also low in acidity and is not sour like other citrus fruits.  Select Oranges that feel heavy for their size – a sign of juiciness. They don’t have to be hard, but the orange should not feel so soft that it is squishy either.

  • Skin scars and shape do not impact the internal fruit flavor, but oranges with sunken areas, black spots or extra soft areas should be avoided.
  • Keep Oranges refrigerated to extend shelf life, especially here in the later part of the season when sugars are running higher. Room temperature is fine for a day or two, but will cause dehydration thereafter or allow decay to happen
  • Placed on your counter, the fruit will last for 4 days, but when stored in a fridge can last up to 2 weeks.
  • Cara Caras have 30 per cent more Vitamin A and 20 per cent more Vitamin C compared to regular navels.
  • Cara Cara orange is seedless and has rich pink flesh due to lycopene.

Reasons to Love Cara Cara Oranges


1. They’re unique. Cara Cara Oranges look like regular oranges on the outside, but with pink or red flesh on the inside.

2. They're similar to grapefruit. Because of their flesh, they remind us of grapefruits with their pink flesh. Only these Cara Cara Oranges have such sweet flavors that you don’t need to add any sugar.

3. You don’t have to pucker up. They’re low in acid – so they aren’t sour like other types of citrus.
4. The Cara Cara Orange has nodes of berry flavors.Once you taste a Cara Cara Orange, you won’t be able to forget how delicious it is.
5. These oranges are extremely juicy and refreshing. With every bite, thirst-quenching juices spill out. Plus, squeezing these oranges for juice is easy and provides a delicious homemade beverage.
6. They are a healthy snack. Cara Cara Oranges are low calorie, fat-free, and full of vitamins and minerals. Give yourself a dose of vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber, potassium, protein, and antioxidants with every orange.
7. The orange tree is the perfect container tree. Grow it indoors or out in a pot and watch it flourish. It will look great on the porch, patio, and inside of your home. Just remember to place it by a sunny window, and be prepared to watch it thrive.
8. Cara Cara Orange Trees are fuss-free. They are happy, healthful citrus trees that don’t need a lot of attention. Give your tree a little water every few days, and you’ll have oranges growing in no time.
9. The citrus aroma provided by Cara Cara Trees is irresistible. It will naturally sweeten and freshen the air around your home. You won’t need candles or chemical sprays to give your home a clean citrus scent.
10. Once the white blossoms erupt, your Cara Cara Tree’s citrus scent will be even stronger. The white flowers will pop against your tree’s lush green foliage for an eye-catching display of color.


GREEN AND RAINBOW SWISS CHARD 02/22/20

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FAMILY MEMORIES

I grew to love swiss chard for one reason only, MALFATTI'S, well what's malfatti you say, i'll tell you in a minute, but first here is a quick family story. Bette as you know was born in the same house she got married out of, ( to me i'm one lucky guy), and had lifelong friends since she was born and Adele was one of her friends. Adele's father Gabby had a restaurant in Tenafly, New Jersey, and also a summer house in Lavallette,N.J. ( we called it down the shore). He was a great man, always having his two daughters and their friends at the summer house and cooking  for their boyfriends when they got older, and that's where i come in. Gabby would make this southern italian dish called malfatti's and it was always mine and the rest of the gangs favorite dish. So this is my tribute to this wonderful man who when we were all kids growing up treating us like family. Gabby you are always in my mind and heart all these years later, miss you every day. 

 ( Malfatti Recipe under Bette's Recipes at top of page)


SWISS CHARD


 Swiss Chard , sometimes simply called chard or leaf beet, is a hard beet prized for its succulent stalk and leaves rather than its roots, It has large flat or crinkled green leaves growing from a thick, greenish white central stalk or rib. There is also a red-stemmed variety that almost looks like rhubarb, and other varieties that have a dark red leaf. Both the leaves and the stems are eaten, which leads some cooks to call Swiss chard two vegetables in one, The cooked leaf is similar to spinach; the stalks can be cooked separately like asparagus.

Despite its name, Swiss chard has no special association with Switzerland. A member of the chenopod family, along with beets and spinach, it originated in the Mediterranean region and is thought to be the ancestor of the beet root. It was well documented by the ancient Greeks and Romans, who used it as an herbal remedy. Swiss chard is much more popular in Europe than it is here, and is grown in every European country, as well as in parts of Asia, Africa, and South America and to a lesser extent in North America.

Season
Swiss chard is available from April to December and is most plentiful between June and October. Swiss Chard from Texas starts around christmas time and goes till around april.

Selecting
The leaves and stalks should be crisp and fresh looking. Avoid wilted or brown leaves.


Storing
Keep refrigerated in a perforated plastic storage bag for no more than three or four days. Swiss chard always has a better flavor when it's fresh.


Preparing
To prepare, discard a thin slice at the base of the stalk and wash thoroughly in a sink full of cold water. Avoid cooking Swiss chard in aluminum or iron pans, which will discolor it. Many cooks separate the stalks from the leaves if the stalks are more than a half an inch wide. The leaves are either cooked separately or added to the pot when the stalks are almost done.

If they're very young and fresh, the leaves can be eaten raw in salads. To cook, steam or sauté rather than boiling them--they'll have more flavor. Treat them as you would spinach, but cook them a bit longer. Swiss chard is a good substitute for Bok Choy in  stir fried dishes, is very good creamed, and makes delicious soup. The leaves are excellent chopped and added to a variety of other soups--including chicken, minestrone, vegetable, and lentil--during the last few minutes of cooking time.

The stalks are great steamed whole or cut on the diagonal and steamed or braised for just a few minutes. They should be slightly crisp when done. Serve as you would asparagus, either hot or cold. They're good with a variety of sauces, including vinaigrettes and even hollandaise.

Try using a seasoned Swiss chard and ricotta cheese filling to stuff pastas like ravioli or tortellini. For a great fish dish, put a bed of steamed leaves in a baking dish or in individual ovenproof shells, place cooked stalks over them, then spread a mixture of crab meat and Mornay sauce over the top. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs and heat to 325ᵒF oven until the sauce is browned on top.

Swiss chard leaves are excellent stuffed. Cut them away from the stalks, then wilt them by barely steaming or blanching. Hold the stalks for another use or cook and mince them and add to the filling. Make a filling of ground meat and rice or wild rice sautéed with onions, garlic, seasonings, and herbs. Put a spoonful on each leaf, wrap, and place in a shallow baking dish, seam side down. Add tomato sauce, a creamy cheese sauce, or any braising liquid to barely cover the stuffed leaves. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake in a 325ᵒF oven about forty-five minutes.

In Europe, Swiss chard is served hot or cold after being sautéed in a little olive oil and garlic. It's seasoned with nutmeg, pepper, and salt, and finally given a generous squeeze of lemon juice or a sprinkling of wine vinegar. Sautéed shallots, onions, or anchovies are good added to this dish if you're serving it hot.

For a delicate treat, try Swiss chard pancakes. Cook a bunch of Swiss chard, mince fine, and squeeze out all the water you can. Put it in a bowl with some grated cheese, a few spoonfuls of sour cream, and enough bread crumbs to make the mixture hold together. Add about one tablespoon of mixed vegetable spices or chicken bouillon granules, a little lime juice, salt, and pepper. Mix well and form into small patties. Dip each patty first into a plate of flour, then into a bowl of beaten eggs thinned with a little water, and finally into a plate of bread crumbs, coating both sides each time. Fry in a nonstick pan with just a little oil until golden brown. Serve with sour cream or yogurt. The cooked patties freeze well if you have extras.  


Click link below for Swiss Chard show


 https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/produce-pete/produce-pete-swiss-chard/2298249/ 

IDAHO ( RUSSET) POTATOES 02/15/20

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Thank A Farmer


Every year, Idaho harvests about 13 billion pounds of potatoes from 311,000 acres of mineral-rich volcanic soil. That means about 1/3 of all potatoes grown in the United States are grown in Idaho! That’s a lot of spuds!

And, believe it or not all these potatoes are harvested in just six short weeks!

It seems like an impossible feat, but the Idaho potato growers, many of whom work and live on the farms their grandparents and great grandparents established, rely on the history of the land, the practices they learned from their families and of course technology, to grow America’s favorite vegetable. During harvest, each farmer works tirelessly around the clock to make sure the potatoes are unearthed only when they are perfect in terms of size, texture and density. If they harvest too early, the potatoes will not only be small, the skins may not set properly and can easily rub off. If the farmers wait too long, the potatoes can start to spoil in the soil. And perhaps the most important and unpredictable factor the farmers face is Mother Nature. If the area experiences an unexpected early frost, or too much rain, it can greatly impact the quality of the potatoes.

Farming isn’t easy and yet it’s one of the most important careers in the world.


FEBRUARY IS POTATO LOVERS MONTH 

 

In 1875 when Luther Burbank accepted $125 from James H. Gregory for the tubers and rights to the white potato he had recently discovered, Burbank thought he was getting a pretty good deal. The equivalent to almost $3,000 today, it was a hefty sum for a potato, though hardly the largest amount ever paid for one. Except that this potato is now worth more than $1.5 billion in the United States. Annually. “Burbank’s Seedling,” as Gregory subsequently named it, became one of the most important potatoes in the world and an American icon. Like many great plant stories, it did not occur all at once, involved many different players, and a combination of good horticultural skills and luck, lots of it.

 First cultivated in Peru centuries ago, ordinary white or "Irish" potatoes are still grown there - in varieties that include white, blue, red, and even striped and polka-dotted versions. Although we see only a few common ones in most supermarkets, there are more than two hundred varieties of potatoes now being cultivated. A small number of unusual varieties and hybrids can be found in farm markets and specialty produce stores.

A member of the nightshade family, along with the tomato and eggplant, the potato is native to South America. Brought to Europe by Spanish explorers, it was a bit slow to be accepted because many people believed it was poisonous. By the end of the sixteenth century, however, potatoes were regularly taking a place on the table in German households, and now this highly nutritious vegetable is a staple in almost every country in the Western world.

Potatoes store very well, but they don't keep forever. The year-round supply found in the stores is possible because crops from different states are harvested at different times. On the East Coast, for example, potato crops from Florida are the first to arrive on the market. As the season progresses, the potato harvest moves up the coast until the season ends with potatoes from Maine, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island.

The potatoes grown in the American state of Idaho are called Idaho potatoes. “Idaho potato” and “Grown in Idaho” seals are certifications which have been federally registered. These seals or marks belong to the IPC, Idaho Potato Commission. There are more than 30 different varieties of potatoes grown in Idaho State, yet there is no variety which is called “Idaho potato.” The different varieties of potatoes grown in Idaho are; Russet Burbank, Yukon Gold, Fingerlings, Red, etc. By far the most popular variety of Idaho potato is the Russet Burbank. 

The confusion between the Idaho potato and Russet is prevalent. People generically use the term “Russet potato” for “Idaho potato” which was contested by the Southern District of New York, and the judge affirmed that these two terms could not be used interchangeably. A Russet potato is not an Idaho potato. A Russet potato is one of the varieties of Idaho-grown potatoes.

The famous Idaho potato is harvested in the early fall, but it stores well and is available nine or ten months of the year. Idaho has the right soil and weather conditions to grow a great potato and it is the variety Americans choose first for baking. The skin is thick and leathery, and the flesh has relatively low moisture content. Graded by size, Idaho's range from 60 to 140 potatoes per 50-pound box.

The Russet Burbank takes longer to mature, so this variety is not always available in the late summer or early fall from the major states that grow them. Among these three states—Idaho, Washington, and Wisconsin—the largest volume of Russet Burbanks comes out of Idaho. This variety is also preferred by processors for their French fries, so you are competing with them when supplies are tight. However, we expect an ample amount of Burbanks this coming harvest, and typically they are shipped in quantity beginning in late September. Many operators actually prefer “old crop,” which sometimes has a little drier profile after being stored for almost a year. The growers anticipate that old crop will carry through this season, so no potato gap is anticipated. Russet potatoes make up nearly 58% of the production. Keep in mind that Idaho harvests about 11 to 12 billion pounds of potatoes each year, nearly double that of Washington, there closest competitor 

They are used mainly for baking and frying or mashing. They can also be used for boiling and in soups. Russets are specifically not used for making potato chips. The skin of the Russet is considered beneficial for health, thus should be included while cooking. They should be stored in cool, dark, and dry places, and the temperature should be maintained at 45-50 degrees Fahrenheit. They are fairly affordable and inexpensive, delicious. They are the most popular and well-known potatoes of the United States. 

Russet potatoes  are high in vitamin B6, vitamin C, and carbohydrates or starch. The sugar content is high, and 3-4 gm. of dietary fiber is present. Russets have 120-135 calories per average-sized potato and are low in sodium, cholesterol, and saturated fats. 


Summary:

“Idaho potato” or “Grown in Idaho” are seals of certifications which have been federally registered by the Idaho Potato Commission (IPC). Idaho potatoes are basically potatoes grown in the State of Idaho in the U.S. There are over 30 varieties of Idaho potatoes grown in Idaho State. No particular variety is called “Idaho” as such. The Russet potato is a variety of Idaho-grown potatoes which are most popular and well known throughout the world. 

 

Is it OK to bake my Idaho® potatoes in foil, well here is the answer,

No. The best way to bake a potato so it has a crispy outer skin and a fluffy interior is to place potato directly on the oven rack. Using foil yields a steamed potato with a wet outer skin.

 
The Ultimate Baked Potato


For the best-tasting baked potatoes, start with Idaho® potatoes. The Idaho® potato has a high solids content so that during baking, the starch grains swell and separate, resulting in a characteristically light, fluffy texture. A potato with smaller grains, such as a round red or white will stay firm and waxy and is more watery.

Always wash potatoes before baking, being careful not to break the skin. Then, pierce the skin with a fork to prevent the potato from bursting in the oven. Again, I recommend that you NEVER bake an Idaho® potato in foil.

Idaho® potatoes should be baked at 450°F for 50-55 minutes (convection oven) and 55-60 minutes (conventional oven). An Idaho® potato is perfectly baked when it reaches an internal temp of 210°F


Check out Best Idaho ( Russet) Bake Potato on Bette's Recipe


Click link below for Idaho Potato Segment

 https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/produce-pete/produce-pete-potatoes/2290761/ 


STEM STRAWBERRIES FOR VALENTINES DAY 02/08/20

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Call me a romantic, but Valentine's Day has held a special place in my heart ever since I was a kid growing up in north Jersey.

One day when I was 16 years old, I went out with a bunch of friends and we met some girls from a nearby town. One girl really stood out to me — her name was Bette Lynn and she was 14 years old.

 As strange as this seems — because at that age, who knows about marriage or even love? — I told one of my friends that I was going to marry that girl someday.

Sure enough, that girl and I got married in 1967, and have been married for over 52 years and have two children and seven grandchildren together. I feel lucky and grateful every day to have found that one special person for me.

 

When Bette and I took over my family's store, Napolitano's Produce, in 1969, we sold roses on Valentine's Day, but because we were a fruit and vegetable store, we also sold a lot of strawberries.

Stem strawberries were a particularly big seller, especially when Bette made chocolate-dipped ones, because nothing goes better together than chocolate and strawberries.

This year, however, berries and strawberries in particular have been especially high-priced, largely due to weather conditions. Florida had very warm weather day and night this past October, November and December, causing the fruit to come on early.

  In my 65 years in the produce business, I've never seen this much bad weather in all areas, causing an overall shortage of product. The good news is that help is on the way and prices should start falling, and quality improving, by mid-February. 

 So I hope everyone will get out and enjoy their strawberries this season! 

 

Did You Know?

- Legend has it that clever children were behind the naming of strawberries. After picking the fruit, children strung them on glass straws and sold them "by the straw." Strawberries are now sold by the pint or pound.

- Shaped like a heart and red in color, strawberries are considered a romantic fruit and are a natural symbol of love. But we weren't the first to see their romantic nature — in Germanic mythology, the strawberry was sacred to Frigg, the northern goddess of love.

- Hundreds of years ago, Native Americans crushed strawberries into a mortar, mixed them with meal, and made a strawberry bread. After trying this bread, the colonists developed their own version and the famous summer dessert known as Strawberry Shortcake was born.

 Every region has its own unique way of serving strawberries. In Venice, strawberries are served with a wedge of lemon and sugar. Berry flavor in France is sharpened with a splash of red wine vinegar.

In Greece, strawberries are half-dipped in cheese fondant and served on polished leaves.

In America, we like our strawberries "as is" or served with whipped cream.

 

About Strawberries

California produces an overwhelming majority of the nation's strawberries, providing an almost year-round supply.

The California strawberry season begins in January in southern California and continues through November in the northern part of the state, with peak season occurring from April to June.

 

Mexico is another major source of strawberries, as is Florida, where the season begins in December and runs through March.

Strawberries flourish under growing conditions of warm, sunny days and cool, foggy nights. All strawberries are picked, sorted, and packed by hand in the field; the trays of strawberries are then rushed to shipping facilities where they're cooled down to about 34°F.

Within 24 hours of harvest, the strawberries are loaded onto refrigerated trucks for delivery to a store near you.

Stem strawberries are picked differently, however. With this variety, the runners coming off the strawberry plant are cut, leaving a long stem on the strawberry, which requires more time in the picking process. The largest and most premium berries are typically the ones picked for stem varieties.

 

Selecting


When you're selecting strawberries, look for bright, deep red, glossy berries with fresh green caps, leaves, and stems. They should also be dry. Look at the bottom of the box: there should be no red stains or seepage showing. And, of course, stay away from berries that have turned dull and bluish. They're goners. 


Storing


Rule 1: Refrigerate  Rule 2: Refrigerate  Rule 3: Refrigerate Strawberries, like most other berries, won't ripen any further once they're pulled from the vine. Nothing you can do at home will make a green berry ripen. And once the berry cap is pulled, it will deteriorate very quickly. You can hold ripe strawberries in the refrigerator a day or two and still have pretty good berries, but the best thing to do is to eat strawberries the same day you buy them. 


Preparing


Just as important: store the strawberries untouched. Never, ever wash or remove the strawberry cap until you're ready to eat the berry. Then just wash the berries with a gentle spray of cool water and remove the caps after the berries have drained. The no-touch rule also holds if you're planning to freeze the berries. Just pop them into a plastic bag and put them into the freezer unwashed and uncapped. Rinse briefly and remove the caps only when you're ready to serve. 


 STRAWBERRY FUN FACTS 


  • Over 53 percent of seven to nine year olds picked strawberries as their favorite fruit.
  • Eight strawberries will provide 140 percent of the recommended daily intake of Vitamin C for kids.
  • Native forms of strawberries adapt to various climates and are indigenous to every major continent except Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
  • The fruit size of the very early strawberries was very small.
  • Seventy per cent of a strawberry's roots are located in the top three inches of soil.
  • Strawberries are the first fruit to ripen in the spring.
  • One cup of strawberries is only 55 calories.
  • There is a museum in Belgium just for strawberries.
  • Strawberries are a member of the rose family.
  • The flavor of a strawberry is influenced by weather, the variety and stage of ripeness when harvested.
  • On average, there are 200 seeds in a strawberry.
  • Ninety-four per cent of United States households consume strawberries.
  • According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the annual per capita consumption of fresh and frozen strawberries is 4.85 pounds.
  • Strawberries are grown in every state in the United States and every province of Canada.
  • California produces 75 percent of the nation's strawberry crops. According to the California Strawberry Advisory Board, California strawberries are available January through November, with peak quality and supply from March to May.
  • If all the strawberries produced in California in one year were laid berry to berry, they would go around the world 15 times.
  • California produces an amazing one billion pounds of strawberries each year.
  • Each acre of land in California in strawberry production produces an average of 21 tons of strawberries annually.
  • 23,000 acres of strawberries are planted in California each year.
  • Lebanon, Oregon's annual strawberry festival is home to the world's largest strawberry shortcake.
  • Americans eat 3.4 pounds of fresh strawberries each year plus another 1.8 pounds frozen per capita. Although strawberries are available in many forms—frozen, jam and jelly, and ice cream— nothing compares to the taste of a fresh vine ripened strawberry.
  • Strawberries are delicate, requiring gentle handling to prevent bruising. With today's shipping technology, strawberries are available year round, but at a cost. Commercial growers have produced resilient hybrid berries known for their shipping quality.
  • Florida is second in production. The Florida season runs from December to May and peaks during March and April. To meet the demand, winter strawberries are usually imported between November and May.

 Go to Bette's Recipes for her Chocolate -Covered Strawberries

Click link below for Strawberry Show


 https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/produce-pete/produce-pete-strawberries/2282881/ 

KENT MANGOES 02/01/20

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 When I see a mango, I think of my father, Pete. He loved mangoes and had no problem eating them, but he could never stand next to a mango tree because he would break out in hives. Something on the tree while they were growing triggered that response. I guess we’ll never know!America’s awareness of mangoes has definitely been on the rise. I’ve lectured about different fruits and vegetables at schools for a long time and years ago, when I’d hold up a mango and ask the kids what it was, most would say an apple. But all that’s changed now based on the number of American children hailing from different parts of the world, as well as because of the mango’s increasing popularity.


 ORIGINS AND BENEFITS


 The mango originated in Southeast Asia, where it’s been grown for over 4,000 years, and since then has spread to many tropical and subtropical settings where the climate is conducive to the mango’s success. Mango trees are evergreens that will grow to 60 feet tall and require hot, dry periods to set and produce a good crop. Today there are over 1,000 different varieties of mangoes throughout the world. In India, the mango tree plays a sacred role as a symbol of love, and some also believe that the mango tree can grant wishes.A comfort food, mangoes really can make you feel better. Rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, mangoes contain an enzyme with stomach-soothing properties similar to the papain found in papayas, which acts as a digestive aid. Mangoes are high in fiber and are also an excellent source of vitamins A and C, as well as potassium and beta carotene.

 

SELECTION AND STORAGE


Handel a mango very gently, as it bruises easily. Pick it up and gently press your thumb against the flesh — it should have a little give and a really sweet smell. A very ripe mango will often have some black speckling outside; don’t worry about that or about a little bruising, but avoid mangoes that are black all over, as they’re beyond the point of no return. I think mangoes that weigh a pound to a pound and a half have the sweetest taste.Always use your nose when you’re choosing mangoes — 99 percent of the time, a mango that smells wonderful tastes wonderful. If the stem end smells sour or acidic, reject it. If a mango is firm and green, it won’t have any smell, but if it looks good, bring it home and ripen it yourself.Leave a firm, unripe mango out on the counter for a few days until it colors, develops a sweet aroma, and “gives” when you press it very gently. But never refrigerate a mango. If you must have it chilled, you can put it in the refrigerator for a few minutes, but I think mangoes taste best at room temperature. In any event, storing a mango below 50 degrees for any length of time will take the flavor out


PREPARATION


Mangoes are great simply peeled and eaten as is or with a squeeze of lime juice (but don’t eat the peel — it’s bitter). Unlike many fruits, they’re slow to discolor when they’re sliced, which helps them make and retain a nice presentation. They make a beautiful tropical salad sliced with pineapple chunks, kiwi, papaya, banana, or just about any tropical fruit; I like to add a little squeeze of lime and some shredded coconut, too. For a refreshing and very nutritious tropical drink, purée some sliced mango with banana, pineapple and a squeeze of lime and enjoy! Because mangoes have a large and non freestanding stone right in the center of the fruit that’s difficult to remove, people always ask me how to cut and eat a mango. Following, I’ve shared the results of my years of experience to help you get greater access to this fantastic fruit. Hope this makes it easier for you to enjoy this burst of sunshine!


HOW TO EAT A MANGO


To deal with the pit in the center, take two lengthwise cuts on either side of where you figure the pit is; if it’s a flattish mango, turn it up so a narrow side is facing you. The pit is large but fairly flat, so make the cuts no more than half an inch on either side of an imaginary center line. You’ll have three slices, the center one with the pit in it.Now take the two outside slices and score the flesh with the tip of a knife, getting as close to the skin as you can without breaking it. Hold the scored slice in two hands and gently push up from the skin side, which will pop inside out. The segments of mango will separate and can easily be scooped off the skin with a spoon or butter knife. Add a sprinkle of lime juice if you like.As for the slice with the pit, you can discard it if you have the willpower, but I personally find the flesh around the pit to be the tastiest part. All I can say is that the best way to eat it is to remove the strip of skin around it, pick it up with your fingers, stand over the sink, and enjoy!


 KENT MANGO STORY


 Kents tend to be softer when ripe than other round varietals seen in the USA. They can also be a bit more wrinkly when ripe, often a deterrent to the end user, so education is very important in their merchandising. It also tends to be more juicy or succulent in comparison to the Tommy Atkins or the Haden, probably an attribution of their yellow mango roots, which are often more juicy. These extremely succulent, juicy mangoes have a deep golden flesh when ripe, much more so than any other mango. They tend to be on the large size spectrum, and in terms of skin, they often exhibit slight red, yellows and eventually golden and orange blush tones. They have white speckles, as the Haden, but as the Kents ripen their speckles become more predominant.The Kent cultivar has certainly been passed around the world; it is the predominant mango produced in Ecuador and Peru for export to the USA, and one of the main cultivar produced in South Africa (another leading world mango exporter) and it’s the prized import mango in France and other European countries.   Originating from Florida in the 1940's, Kents are ideal mangos for juicing and drying.


  FLAVOR: Sweet and rich

 TEXTURE: Juicy, tender flesh with limited fibers 

 COLOR: Dark green and often has a dark red blush over a small portion of the mango

 SHAPE: Large oval shape 

 RIPENING CUES: Kents have yellow undertones or dots that cover more of the mango as it ripens. Squeeze gently to judge ripeness.

  PRIMARY SOURCE COUNTRIES: Mexico, Ecuador, Peru 

 PEAK AVAILABILITY: January, February, June to Aug, and December 

 

 What are Kent variety Mangos like? 

Featuring a mostly dark green skin with small patches of red blush, Kent Mangos have gold to orange flesh that is both sweet and rich, and is less fibrous and less stringy than the Tommy Atkins.  


HOW DO I KNOW WHEN A MANGO IS RIPE !!


The amount of redness on the skin is not an indicator of sweetness or ripeness with the Kent variety Mango. These Mangos do not give much in the way of visual clues to when they are ripe, so judge by the softness when you squeeze them.


 Ripen Mangoes at Room Temperature !!


 Squeeze Gently to Test Ripeness on Kent variety Mangos

  1. Hard = flesh will be firm and crunchy inside, slightly astringent
  2. Slight Give = ripe enough for sweet flavor and creamy flesh
  3. Almost Soft = fully ripe, very juicy, very sweet
  4. Very Soft = over-ripe, perhaps discolored inside


Click link below for Kent Mango Show

 https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/produce-pete-mangoes/2275103/ 


 

SUPER BOWL SUNDAY HASS AVOCADOS 01/25/20

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AS A FOOTBALL FAN I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THE KANSAS CITY CHIEFS TO GET BACK TO THE SUPER BOWL FOR 50 YEARS. THIS YEAR THE KANSAS CITY CHIEFS WILL MEET THE SAN FRANCISCO 49ers, IN SUPER BOWL LIV AT HARD ROCK STADIUM IN MIAMI FLORIDA, AND YOU CAN PROBABLY GUESS WHO I'M ROOTING FOR. SO FEBRUARY 2nd THE PARTY BEGINS AND THE GUACAMOLE WILL FLOW, SO DON'T FORGET TO GET YOUR HASS AVOCADOS , BUY THEM EARLY, THEY NEED TO BE RIPE TO MAKE GREAT GUACAMOLE AND HAVE A HAPPY SUPER BOWL DAY.

Ever since I was a kid, I've always been a fan of football and Super Bowl Sunday. My father, not so much.As an Italian immigrant, he worked hard at our family produce store in Bergenfield, N.J. and just couldn't understand the point of a bunch of guys throwing a ball around and getting piled on and shoved to the ground once they caught it.I was a big kid in high school and I'll never forget one day when the football coach stopped me in the hallway and suggested I go out for the football team. I told him that I'd love to but that I had to work after school in my father's store, to which he said he'd call my father and tell him that I had my whole life to work.I already knew what Pop's answer would be, but I told him to knock himself out anyway and gave him the store phone number.Sure enough, a couple of days later the football coach informed me that he'd called Pop and that after asking him about my playing football, Pop asked him how much was he going to pay me.That was Pop for you, born in a different country with a different set of rules. Back then, I thought he was always wrong, but you know what they say — the older you get, the smarter your parents get.Pop's long gone and so are his way of life, his values and his willingness to work hard seven days a week, but boy do I miss him and those days. Pop, I hope you can try to enjoy the Super Bowl and eat plenty of avocados!


PRODUCE PETE'S FUN FACTS


There will be no shortage of avocados this year for your Super Bowl Party.Avocado consumption in the United States has grown from 4 million pounds per week in 1985 to 50 million pounds per week in 2019, i guess americans love avocados


DID YOU KNOW ?


- Though people think that avocado sales peak on holidays like the Fourth of July or Cinco de Mayo, avocados actually experience their greatest demand on Super Bowl Sunday.- In fact, In the four weeks leading up to the big game the United States will import from Mexico about 200 million pounds of avocados (about 400 million individual avocados) in the run-up to and on this year's Super Bowl Sunday, up from 2019- This total would be enough to fill a football field end zone more than 53 feet deep with avocados — 10 feet over the goal posts!- While many consider them a delicious but fattening treat, avocados contain healthy unsaturated fat, are loaded with vitamins A, C and E as well as beneficial antioxidants, and have one of the highest fiber contents of any fruit or vegetable.


ABOUT AVOCADOS


Above the equator, the avocado fruit blooms between February and May but is harvested year-round. Unlike most fruits, avocados don't have to be picked at certain times and can remain on the tree quite a while.Like pears, avocados ripen only after they're picked and the firm fruits ship well. Patented in 1935 by postman Randolph Hass, California's dark green-to-purplish black Hass avocado has since become the most popular variety in the U.S. and accounts for the vast majority of California's crop.This time of year, however, 80 % of the avocados available here hail from Mexico, a 100% increase from a decade ago.When selecting, choose an avocado free of scars and wrinkles and don't squeeze the fruit or you'll bruise it. If the avocado is ripe, the stem will pull right out, but the best strategy is to buy avocados when they're still a bit green and firm and then ripen them at home by simply leaving them out on the counter for a few days.To hasten the ripening process, put avocados in a paper bag or a drawer (some people think they ripen best wrapped in foil), and don't refrigerate avocados, as they can turn to mush in as little as a day.Finally, avocado flesh exposed to the air will darken very quickly. Some people think that leaving the pit in with the avocado meat prevents discoloration, but the primary factor in preventing discoloration is keeping air away from the flesh, so wrap a cut avocado in plastic, refrigerate it, and use it as soon as possible.Peeled and sliced avocados should be sprinkled with lemon or lime juice to retard discoloration, and the citric acid will also bring out the flavor.To peel, cut the avocado lengthwise around the pit and then rotate the two halves in opposite directions. You can easily scoop the flesh out of the shell of a ripe avocado with a spoon, but in many cases the avocado will peel like a banana — just turn it over on the cut side and pull off the skin with your fingers.


PREPARATION


Avocados are great with a sprinkle of lemon or lime juice and salt. Mashed avocado is, of course, the primary ingredient in guacamole, and when you make it be sure to leave the pit in with the guacamole to keep it from turning brown; the pit is very effective in this application.Avocado is also delicious served with slices of ripe red tomato or cut into slivers and added to tossed green salads.For a pretty salad plate, cut avocados in half lengthwise, leaving skins on, and remove the pits; arrange on a bed of lettuce and fill the centers with crab, tuna, or chicken salad, garnishing with fresh raw vegetables and serving with bread if desired.An avocado puréed with a little lemon juice, salt, other seasonings, and a dab of olive oil, makes a great creamy salad dressing for lettuce or other greens.Avocados are also good on sandwiches — any combination of avocado, bacon, lettuce, tomato, turkey, or chicken makes a great sandwich.


Check out Peter Jr's Guacamole Dip under Bette's Recipes at top of page.


Click link below for Hass Avocado segment

 https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/produce-pete-avocados/2267138/ 






 

NORTHEAST FARM APPLES. 10/26/19

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 I love apple season. There are few things better than a good apple eaten out of hand. Whether the flesh is mild and sweet or tart and winey, when you bite into it, a fresh-picked apple will make a crisp cracking sound and you’ll get a spurt of juice.  There’s a season for everything and the main season for American apples starts the last half of October. I’ve probably said this a thousand times, but our problem in the United States is that we try to buy produce out of season. Many varieties will keep well late into winter, but by summer most apples have been stored for seven or eight months. No wonder they are soft, mealy, and without juice. When peaches and melons come in, stay away from apples. Come back when there’s a snap in the air, and you’ll remember what makes apples so good. Apples are one of the most esteemed fruits in the northern Hemisphere in part because they’re so versatile. They’re delicious raw, baked, dried, or made into apple sauce. They make great pies, apple butter, apple jelly, chutney, cider, and cider vinegar, and they’re a welcome addition to dozens of other dishes. A member of the rose family, apples have been known since ancient times and were cultivated by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Many places grow wonderful apples now, but overall, the United States produces the finest apple crops in the world. The Northwest, the East Coast, and parts of the Midwest, regions where the seasons change, grow the best apples. They’re not a fruit for hot climates. Only a few of the thousands of varieties of apples grown today are mass marketed, but there are many more out there than Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Macs. There are very old and very new varieties you may never have heard of. If you’re north of the Mason-Dixon Line, you’re going to find the best apples at local farm markets and stands, where they’re fresh-picked, and you’re likely to find great varieties you’d never see at the supermarket.


 SEASON

The vast majority of apples are picked from September through November and either sold immediately or put into cold storage, where some keep well – some don’t. The peak of the season for domestic varieties – when most stored apples still retain their snap – is generally over by December. A few will last through the early spring, but by March it’s hard even to find a good Winesap.


  SELECTING

In most cases look for very firm, bright-colored fruit with no bruises and with the stem still on – a good indication that you’ve got an apple that’s not overripe. The apple should feel heavy in the hand for its size and have a good shine on it. A dull look usually means the fruit has been in storage too long, although some excellent varieties like Winesaps and eastern Golden Delicious have relatively rough skin with little or no sheen. As always, use your nose. An apple that smells great is going to taste great.

 

HERE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE VARIETIES


HONEYCRISP

 Sometimes the name of an apple says it all. Honeycrisp apples are honey sweet (with a touch of tart) and amazingly crisp, some say “explosively crisp.” It’s easy to see why this new variety continues to grow in popularity since its 1991 introduction in Minnesota. Supplies are limited for now but more Honeycrisp trees are being planted every year. 


   EMPIRE

 With the popular Red Delicious and McIntosh for parents, Empire apples were destined to be a hit. It’s a sweet-tart combination that’s great for everything. The New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva Introduced this new variety in 1966.


  MCINTOSH

Nothing evokes Fall better than the aromatic fragrance of McIntosh apples. People have enjoyed this apple since 1811 when John McIntosh discovered the first seedling. McIntosh apples grow particularly well in New York’s cool climate!  

   

  MACOUN

 Want a perfect no-fat dessert that will satisfy your sweet tooth? Macoun may just be your apple, but, hurry, these special apples are only available in the Fall. Macoun was developed at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva in 1932. It’s named for a famous Canadian fruit breeder.


 GOLDEN DELICIOUS 

 Ever hear that Golden Delicious is the yellow cousin of the popular Red Delicious apple? Actually, they are related in name only, but this honey sweet apple is a special treat all on its own.

  • Mild, sweet flavor
  • Juicy
  • Crisp, light yellow flesh

Excellent for eating, salads, and sauces

  • Good for pies, baking, and free
  • You can put less sugar in pies and sauces made from Golden Delicious apples, because of the natural sweetness these apples provide.


CORTLAND 

Picture a fresh fruit cup featuring beautiful, snow-white apples. It’s likely made with Cortland, the very best salad apple. This great, all-purpose apple was developed at the New York State Agricultural Experiment Station in Geneva in 1898.Sweet, with a hint of tartness

  • Juicy
  • Tender, snow-white flesh

Excellent for eating, salads, sauces, pies and baking

  • Good for freezing

Cortland apples are wonderful for kabobs, fruit plates and garnishes because they don't turn brown quickly when cut.


 STAYMAN WINESAP

 The Stayman-Winesap is a cross between a Stayman apple and a Winesap apple. The combination of the two strains produces an apple of exceptional eating quality.The Stayman-Winesap’s firm yellow flesh; crisp, coarse texture; and its tart, rich wine-like taste makes it memorable. Some say it smells like cinnamon. Stayman-Winesap’s thick skin maintains sufficient moisture within the flesh to keep the apple crispy to the bite and flavorful to the taste.The late maturing Stayman-Winesaps keep well and can last until spring if properly stored or placed in a fruit cellar. This multi-purpose apple is excellent when eaten fresh, or used in pies, desserts, applesauce, and cider.


 A TRIP TO DONALDSON'S FARM

One of my favorite farms in New Jersey, Donaldson's Farm is located in Hackettstown, N.J. Today I am here filming my Apple segment for Weekend Today in New York. I especially love this farm in the fall when the apple orchard and the pumpkins are in season. A family run farm it's a great place to take your family for a day trip and enjoy what made America great, FARMING. The apples from Donaldson's are great tasting,  juicy, crunchy, and a great taste of fall. Enjoy the fall weather and please support your LOCAL FARMERS     


PLEASE CHECK OUT MY BLOG IN NEW JERSEY MONTHLY ON APPLES

 https://njmonthly.com/category/eat-drink/table-hopping/ 


Click link below for Apple Show


 https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Produce-Pete_-Northeast-Apples_New-York-563908052.html 

About Produce Pete

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 Managed and operated a family owned farm/produce business for retail, wholesale, and fruit baskets. Pete has been in the produce business his whole life, and started out selling produce off the back of a truck at auctions and at his parents' roadside stand. Pete's family has been in business since 1953 at the same location in Bergenfield, New Jersey. From 1971 - 1997 Pete owned and operated this family "seasonal" business that includes at Christmas - Christmas trees, wreaths, and fruit baskets. During Easter we sell various plants, gourmet baskets and fruit baskets - Mother's Day - plants, fresh cut flowers, fruit baskets. At Halloween - pumpkins, corn stalks, etc. The produce store is open between April and December with retail, wholesale, and fruit baskets.

"KNOW A LITTLE ABOUT A LOT". JACK OF ALL TRADES MASTER OF NONE.....

In January 1998 he turned over the business to his son Peter Charles making him the 3rd generation to own Napolitano's Produce. In April of 2006, Napolitano's Produce closed it's doors after 53 years, a sad day but everything comes to an end. I would like to thank all the faithful customers who shopped my family store over the past 53 years. It was a privilege serving you. In June 2000 - he started as a Fruit & Vegetable Buyer for S. Katzman Produce at Hunts Point Market, Bronx, New York.Pete comes from a large family with his father being the 20th child - "That's why we are in the food business".

  • In April 1989, with the Chilean grape scare, he was hired by "People Are Talking" WORTV Channel 9, super station - nationwide - 150 markets - 24 million viewers and became "Pete Your Produce Pal" on daily five days a week.
  • In December 1990 hired by NBC for "House Party" as "Pete the Prince of Produce". Group W
  • In September 1991 hired by WORTV Channel 9 for "Nine Broadcast Plaza" as "Pete Your Produce Pal".
  • In September 1992 hired by WNBC Channel 4 "Weekend Today in New York" show with 52 week contract as "Produce Pete" / "Pete Your Produce Pal". (Been there ever since)
  • In 1994 he wrote a book about produce tips called "Produce Pete's Farmacopeia" - William Morrow, publisher
  • In September 1995 Discovery Channel - "Home Matters"
  • In January 1997 CNBC - "Steals and Deals"
  • In January 1998 Bionova Produce / Masters Touch Spokesperson
  • In January 2000 NBC - Ainsley Harriot Show (National - Buena Vista)
  • In February 2000 Woman's Home Network with Joan Lunden
  • In September 2000 hired by WCAU Philadelphia 10 as Produce Pete (Sunday & Wednesday Segments)
  • In February 2001 - Pathmark Supermarkets - Spokesperson
  • Guest on numerous Radio and Television shows.
  • In February 2001 "Produce Pete's Farmacopeia"- Republished by iuniverse.com
  • In July 2004 - The View (ABC 7)
  • In February 2005- Bella Vita Spokesperson (In Italy)
  • In July 2006 - NBC Today Show (Nationally)
  • In August 2007 Italian American Network (Produce Pete picks of the week)
  • Numerous Weekend Farmers Market Appearances throughout new jersey
  • 2011 New York State Farm Aid 
  • 2012 Horizon Blue Cross and Blue Shield Healthcare Event
  • 2013 Paramus Farmers Market, Ramsey Farmers Market, Nutley Farmers Market
  • 2013 Horizon BlueCross , Moorestown NJ
  • 2013-2017 NBC Health Fair New York Giants Health And Fitness Exbo
  • 2014-2015  Dr Oz Show Appearance
  • 2014-2015 Northern New Jersey Farmers Markets
  • 2016 Business Expo"Taste of the Gold Coast' 
  • 2017 Sparta Farmers Market
  • 2016-2017 Meet and Greet Donaldsons Farm Hackettstown 
  • 2013-2017 Chester Harvest Celebration Meet and Greet
  • 2017 Westchester Food Bank An Evening Of Good Taste
  • Appeared at D'Agostino, King's Culinary Arts Cooking Schools, Macy's and Bloomingdale's Cooking Classes.
  • Because of obesity and fast foods in schools Pete has been asked to speak at numerous grammer and high schools about healthy eating and his love for produce.

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