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).
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 and Hank inside the refrigerator at Katzman Produce at the Hunts Point Market in the Bronx talking vegetables.
!!! Links to shows also available at bottom of page for shows listed !!!
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08/15/19 GARDEN STATE AGRICULTURAL NIGHT AT TD BANK BALLPARK ( SOMERSET PATRIOTS)
1 PATRIOTS PARK, BRIDGEWATER, N J 5 PM - 7 PM COME ON OUT AND WATCH THE PATRIOTS
PLAY ON THERE FIELD OF DREAMS.
08/16/19 COOK'S MARKET AT RUTGERS GARDENS, 130 LOG CABIN ROAD, NEW BRUNSWICK, N J 08901 11 AM - 5 PM TALKING NEW JERSEY TOMATOES
09/26/19 RUTGERS UNIVERSITY GARDEN PARTY, 112 RYDERS LANE, NEW BRUNSWICK, N J
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This weeks segment on New Jersey Tomatoes was filmed at Donaldson's Farm in Hackettstown New Jersey, one of Produce Pete's favorite farms.
Donaldson Farms has been helping to keep the Hackettstown area green and healthy for over 100 years. There Northern New Jersey farm features hundreds of acres of fruits and vegetables, pumpkin picking, strawberry picking, farm education, group tours, private tours, birthday parties, corporate events and more.
Five Generations of Donaldson's Farming the Land
The Donaldson Family takes great pride in their farm and their heritage. They are dedicated to maintaining their reputation as a well-respected neighbor and business in the community. The Donaldson tradition of commitment to farming and to their community will continue with the next generation.
NEW JERSEY VINE RIPE TOMATOES
A fruit--oh yes, it's a fruit--but in the United States we treat the tomato like a vegetable. Thomas Jefferson grew tomatoes at Monticello back in 1781, but they didn't really start to become popular here until after the Civil War. Now the tomato is the third most popular vegetable in the United States--after potatoes and lettuce.Once called the Peruvian apple, the tomato is a member of the nightshade family. It originated in South America, and our name for it comes from the ancient Nahuatl name tomatl. The French called it the love apple, and the Italians named it the golden apple because the first tomatoes were small yellow fruits. After the early Spanish explorers sent seeds to Naples, the Italians went crazy for tomatoes, and the rest--all the way down to pasta and pizza sauce--is history. New Jersey Tomatoes have received a great deal of notoriety as being the best in the nation for their flavor, tenderness, and juiciness. All of that's certainly true. However, it's not because of unique weather or soil conditions. Flavor, tenderness, and juiciness, have more to do the selection of the variety, the special growing care, and how long they remain on the vine to ripen. Tomatoes are the most popular vegetable grown by New Jersey gardeners New Jersey tomatoes, planted as seedlings take 70-90 days to mature. The picking season depending on weather, can begin as early as mid-july and last until Mid October. Sometime in the 1950's, in response to demand from the large commercial farmers and shippers, tomato scientists and breeders developed hybrids, new cultivation techniques, shipping, and storage processes that became a boom to the tomato industry in being able to grow, ship and sell tomatoes in huge volumes across the country at a sizable profit. While the shipping of tomatoes across the country without bruising made tomatoes available to everyone in the country at an affordable price, it unfortunately resulted in the breeding of the flavor out of the commercially grown tomato. Despite the success with some niche markets,New Jersey farmers were only able to obtain seeds from the seed companies that favored varieties that produced higher yields for large commercial growers. Although the taste of the New Jersey grown tomato is far superior to the large commercially grown farms, many of these varieties of seeds were limited in taste and not optimum for the smaller niche farmers. In 1968, the Ramapo Tomato was developed at Rutgers University by Dr. Bernard Pollack. This tomato was a very tasty tomato that was ideally suited for east coast soil and weather conditions. The downfall was that the Ramapo variety, although superior in taste to the other varieties on the market, had limited demand, and virtually none from the large commercial farms. As a result of the low demand, the Ramapo seed soon disappeared from seed catalogs. However, in response to public outcry for the Ramapo tomato, in 2008, Rutgers University re introduced the Ramapo seed for commercial production for the small farm/garden market. This initial release of only 8,000 seed packets was aimed at the small, niche farms and the home gardener who were willing to take special care and cost in the growing of tomatoes to achieve the superior taste. A really good tomato is sweet, tender, juicy, and except for the yellow varieties, a deep rich red color. When you get one of those hard tomatoes that tastes like cardboard, you've got one of the hybrids that started coming onto the market in the 1950's, when the businessmen and scientists got together and produced a tomato that could be shipped from one coasts to the other without bruising. Unfortunately, at the same time they also bred out all the flavor. A great tomato is worth looking for. And the way you handle it at home is almost as important as what you choose in the first place. The three most important rules to remember about tomatoes are:
Refrigerating kills the flavor, the nutrients, and the texture. It just kills the tomato--period. Unless you live in a really cold climate, the best tomatoes you can buy will be at your local farm stand, when tomatoes are in season in your area. That's true for most produce, but it's doubly true for tomatoes. About half the tomatoes shipped and sold in the United States come from Florida. They are the ones you find in the store in the winter. They're hard, they're thick, they never turn red, and they have no taste. A few winter tomatoes come out of Mexico and California, as well as from Holland, Belgium, and Israel. There are also more and more hydroponic tomatoes on the market. I may be biased, but I think that in season the Jersey tomato is the best around--maybe because of the soil. The truth is any local tomato, picked ripe, is going to be good. In the summertime, in season, buy local tomatoes. Tomatoes come in scores of different varieties, colors, and markings--striped, purple, and even white--but these are found almost exclusively in season, from local sources like farm markets or markets that carry specialty produce. Again, if you want to see a wider variety where you shop, ask for what you want and help create a customer demand.
Jersey tomatoes are what my family built there business on. When I was a kid my father would go to the farms, buy up there tomatoes and we would peddle them door to door. As time went on and we opened our store in Bergenfield New Jersey, we built that business on crops that came right from the farm and the Jersey Tomato was the key to our success. We would sell 700-800 25 lb baskets of tomatoes , a week, straight off the farm, and the customers would come from miles away, for one reason only TASTE!!! Some 60 years later I still can't get that sweet tasting, vine ripe taste out of my mouth.
Depending on the local climate,are available from July through September, with the peak in late July and August
RIPENING AND STORING
Tomatoes are considered "vine ripe" by the industry if they have developed a little color "break"--that is, a small yellow or reddish patch of color on the skin or a starburst of yellow at the blossom end. If the tomato has a color break or the starburst, you'll be able to ripen it at home.
Don't ripen tomatoes on the windowsill. Never put them in the sun to ripen. Just put them out on the counter, stem end up, in a relatively cool place--not right next to the stove or the dishwasher. Put on a little Frank Sinatra music if you want them to ripen fast. If you want them to ripen faster--well, you can always put on the Stones. Never, ever refrigerate--not even after the tomato is ripe. If you've got too many ripe tomatoes, make a salad or a raw tomato sauce for pasta. Or make a cooked sauce, freeze it, and you'll have something nice for the winter.
We have all kinds of upscale restaurants, and there is a lot of interest in complicated cuisines, but sometimes it's the really simple things that give you the most pleasure. When I was a kid, I had to help my father sell produce out of the back of his truck. At lunchtime he'd stop at some little store and buy a loaf of Italian bread. Then we'd find a place where we could pull off to the side of the road. He'd put down a piece of cardboard for a cutting board, slice the bread, cut up a tomato and an onion, and make tomato sandwiches. Sometimes when I come home from work and I'm too bushed to prepare or even eat a full meal, I'll make myself a tomato sandwich. Food brings back memories. You can sit down with the most ordinary things on your mind and eat something good and it will bring back memories - things you haven't thought about in years. Even memories that might not start out being so good seem to improve as time goes by. At the time I hated peddling fruits and vegetables out of that truck with Pop, but now I wish I had the time to pull off to the side of the road they way we did then. We don't have the luxury of slowing down - everything is geared to working and being productive. Produce, produce, produce! Wouldn't I love to be able to take my son and go sit by the side of the road and have a tomato sandwich? With the perfect ripe red tomato and good bread, there's nothing better.
Hawaiians call coconut water ‘noelani’ which means “dew from the heavens.” Quench your thirst and get rehydrated with natural fresh coconut juice from Hamona coconuts grown and imported directly from the lush tropical Mekong Delta in Vietnam.
Today's show is about something new to the marketplace, a coconut that doesn't take a hammer to get to the coconut water and meat. I like to talk about new items that i think are great, only problem with this item is it might be hard to find at first. i will list some stores that i know handle these coconuts at the end on this report and when I talk about them on the show.
The unique characteristics of Mekong Delta, one of the most naturally prosperous areas in Vietnam, have nurtured and grown coconut trees into a special kind of plants, not only for food and drink, but also been playing an important role in Vietnamese's lives for thousand years Hamona coconut trees are specially selected from one of many species. The coconut is sweet and full of flavor and it is very different from young coconuts in the market.
The first thing that has prevented us from daily drinking a coconut is that it is difficult to open it. Hamona changes that. Hamona makes enjoying a coconut easier than drinking a Coke, and even much more than that.
COCONUT: LOVE OR HATE
Coconut water is amazing, but opening a coconut is a real pain. Without a good knife or tool and the right technique, you cannot get through the hard and thick coconut husk to extract the juice. This is why most people choose to buy packaged coconut water instead of fresh coconuts!
GETTING THE JUICE
After de-husking, there are ‘three eyes’ on every coconut and one of them is the ‘sprouting eye’ where coconut sprouts. Plug the straw into this ‘eye’ and enjoy the freshness from Mother Nature instantly! Simple as 1-2-3, even a kid can do it easily. One more thing, you can crack open hamona coconuts with a metal spoon from the bottom of it and eat the tasty and nutritious copra (meat) as snack or use it to cook some wonderful dishes with it!
From a single Hamona coconut, you can drink the juice, eat the copra and recycle the shell for a variety of uses.
Unlike most coconuts that you are use to seeing at your green grocer or supermarket, this coconut has a thin shell and easy access to get to the coconut water and meat.
BENEFITS OF COCONUT WATER
Unliked bottled or package coconut water, Hamona coconuts contain raw coconut water, raw coconut meat without being processed, no added sugars or preservatives, it's all 100% natural.
Boosts Hydration -- Boots Metabolism
Anti-Aging -- Treats Headaches
Aids in Weight Loss -- Lowers Blood Pressure
Boosts Immunity -- Controls Blood Sugar
Enhances Hair Growth -- Boosts Energy
Lowers Cholesterol -- Fat Free
Increases Bone Strength -- Nutritious in Calcium,Potassium and Magnesium
Coconut is one of the most wonderfully nourished fruits of Mother Nature.
Just enjoy it every day and you will see through your own experience.
STORES IN METRO AREA THAT CARRY HAMONA COCONUTS
Sickles Market Little Silver, N.J.
Citarella New York and Long Island
Stew Leonards New York, Connecticut, Long Island
Mortan Williams New York
Ranch 99 New Jersey
Bad Apple Produce
Grass Roots Long Island
IF YOU CAN'T FIND -- JUST ASK YOUR PRODUCE MANAGER TO BRING IN -- REMEMBER YOU ARE THE BOSS !!!!
Click link below for Hamona Coconut segment
So, just what is this speckled fruit that looks like a plum and bears a similar, yet funny name?
Pluots are a member of the (delicious!) stone fruit family. They are a hybrid fruit developed in the late 80s that are 75% plum and 25% apricot. They resemble plums with smooth skin, and a similar shape and texture.
If you’ve never tasted a pluot you’re in for a treat! The flavor is intense, and I say that in the best way possible! Pluots don’t have the bitter taste that you can sometimes find with plums. Instead, their flavor is brimming with sweetness.
There are quite a lot of pluot varieties, most of which bear interesting names, like Dapple Dandy, Dinosaur Egg, Flavor Grenade and Flavorglo.
SO WHAT EXACTLY IS A PLUOT ?
Seventy-five percent plum and 25 percent apricot? Or 60 percent plum and 40 percent apricot? And how is a pluot different from a plumcot?
IT'S COMPLICATED ?
Plant breeder Luther Burbank, who died in 1926, was indeed the first person to successfully cross plums with apricots in the late 19th century, releasing a handful of half-plum, half-apricot hybrids. He called these hybrids plumcots.
Also, as a rule, the term “plumcot” referred only to half-plum, half-apricot hybrids.
While it’s surely true that one variety’s family tree shakes out around 75 percent plum to 25 percent apricot (or even 60 percent and 40 percent), it’s not correct to say that all pluots are three-quarters plum and one-quarter apricot (or three-fifths and two-fifths). Best just to say that pluots are mostly plum and leave it at that.
The misunderstanding over the pluot's makeup is most probably due to marketing. As the pluot got more popular, and moved from the farmers market to the supermarkets, growers were producing larger and hardier varieties, sometimes at the expense of flavor.
Produce Pete says that the fruit is unusually sweet. "If you can get a ripe one, it's hard to stop eating them because they're so good. The flavor is fantastic." I expect they will become sought after because of their eating quality. Pluots do not have the bitterness in the skin that plums often have and Apriums have a more full-bodied flavor than an apricot.
Select pluots just as you would a plum. Look for fragrant-smelling fruit that’s firm but gives to the touch, and is free from blemishes. Pluots come in a variety of colors — choose the most vibrant looking fruits among each variety, as those will be the sweetest. Stay away from plots that feel especially hard, they won’t ripen well.
Store ripe pluots on the counter for up to 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Clearly the most important part — how to eat this magical stone fruit. Pluots are simply wonderful eaten fresh. You can also bake them into pies, crisps, cobblers, tarts and cakes.
A LITTLE MORE INFORMATION FROM PRODUCE PETE
In general, all of these hybrid varieties have an intense flavor, much like a blend of fruit juices where the mixture of taste is an improvement over any of the separate ingredients. Additionally, the sugar content of these varieties is much higher than in standard plums or apricots, yielding fruit of incomparable sweetness.
From time to time, when all conditions are just right, nature can produce truly unique treasures. Such is the case with Pluots, with a sweet and savory blend of plum and apricots
Click link below for Pluot show
Although summer in our area is loaded with different fruits,there are still some fruits out there well worth buying, and nectarines from California are among them.I always talk about maturity as the key to getting the very best in most fruits and vegetables, and mid- summer is a great time for nectarines, as they’ve been on the tree longer and are juicy, ripe, and ready to eat.When I was a kid, I would run to my father’s produce truck as he came back from the market and wait for him to open the doors so I could experience that warm sweet smell from the nectarines. Although I love peaches, nectarines – which aren’t simply fuzzless peaches – are a real treasure, and ripe nectarines have a taste that you never forget.When something is in season and especially when the season is coming to an end, I want to get my fill of it. Though you’ll see nectarines most of the year, the ones in season from California, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania are fresh, have been on the tree longer, and have reached a full maturity which ensures that they’re going to be good.So while summer is here , and before it comes to an end, don’t let it stop you from enjoying the summer sweetness that nectarines can deliver.
All summer fruits have their own life. While they’re available from June onward, the time for great nectarines is mid- summer. The best way to select a great nectarine is with your nose – a good ripe peach has a sweet scent, but you can smell the wonderful fragrance of a ripe nectarine a mile away.Until about 1940, nectarines were small, drab, green fruits with very little red cheek. They were also fragile and had a short shelf life, so they weren’t popular. In 1942, however, the LeGrade variety appeared, named after the town in California where it was developed. More than a hundred different varieties have since been developed and nectarines are nearly equal to peaches as the most popular stone fruit. They’re certainly my favorite.A lot of people think of the nectarine as a fuzzless peach, and it is related to peaches, almonds and plums, but the nectarine is a different fruit. Like its relatives, it came out of ancient China, but the flesh is meatier and juicier than that of most peaches. The fruit is also more fragile because it’s not protected by a fuzzy skin. For that reason, most growers won’t ship a really ripe nectarine, so in most instances you’ll need to let nectarines ripen at home for a couple of days before eating
Nectarines from Florida and Georgia begin to appear on the market in May, but they tend to be green and hard. In June and July, California and Local Nectarines are good It’s in August and the first half of September that California nectarines are really superb.If nectarines grow locally and you can get tree-ripened ones at your local farm stand during the summer, by all means buy them.Imports from Chile and other Southern Hemisphere countries show up in January and February, but those that are shipped by boat aren’t the best. A few tree-ripened ones are shipped by air, and although they’re good, they’re very expensive.To improve their shipping success, packers have been developing controlled atmosphere techniques through which nectarines are put in sealed containers with air that has a high nitrogen content, effectively putting the fruit to sleep and preventing the damage caused by chilling. If the technique is perfected, we may see the unthinkable happen – stone fruits like nectarines, peaches, and plums that are ripe, sweet, and juicy in the middle of winter.
SELECTION AND STORAGE
Look for unbruised, colorful fruit, although you may have to accept a bruise or two on really ripe nectarines. Avoid fruit that looks green or has a wrinkled or leathery-looking skin and choose medium-to-large nectarines; a gigantic one will be mealy and a very small one was probably picked too green.Often your best bet will be to buy nectarines that are still firm, take them home, and let them ripen on the counter a day or two, until they have a little give and develop a wonderful fragrance. You can refrigerate a nectarine when it’s fully ripe, but only for a day or two. Longer refrigeration will rob the fruit of its juice and flavor.
Nectarines are excellent eaten out of hand, but there are other delicious ways to enjoy them too. Here are some great options that my wife, Bette, prepares for our household:
Cold weather will be here before we know it, so be sure to enjoy those last sweet tastes of summer that nectarines can provide.
It's easy to ripen firm peaches or nectarines. Simply place the fruit inside a paper bag, loosely close the top and keep it at room temperature for a day or two. As peaches and nectarines ripen they give off a natural hormone called ethylene. The paper bag traps the ethylene close to the fruit, while still allowing for the exchange of air into and out of the bag. Plastic bags will not work and can cause off-flavors in the fruit.
REMEMBER; NEVER PLACE FIRM PEACHES OR NECTARINES IN THE REFRIGERATOR.
This can cause a type of damage called "internal breakdown." If you've ever had a dry or mealy peach, you've experienced "internal breakdown" and it's caused by storing fruit at the wrong temperatures. This can happen in your home refrigerator or at your grocer store. Once fruit is soft and gives to gentle palm pressure, it may be stored in the refrigerator for several days without damage. That's really all there is to it! Click link below for Nectarine Show
After cantaloupes and watermelons, probably the most familiar melons to Americans are honeydews, which are available in to the winter months. The rind is very smooth, greenish white to yellow in color, and the flesh is a cool lime green. An unripe honeydew is terrible, but a ripe one is probably the sweetest melon of all - and the prettiest. Honeydew is definitely one of my favorite melons. All too often it's difficult to find a ripe honeydew, but it's not difficult to pick out a ripe one. The rind will develop a golden color and will actually become sticky outside. Never be afraid of a honeydew that has developed a bit of brown freckling on the rind - that's where it's tacky with sugar. The other clue to a ripe honeydew is a sweet, heady aroma. People tend to check the stem end of the melon to see if it's soft, but that's not going to tell you a thing. Good aroma, color, freckles, and a sticky feel are the telltale signs of a sweet honeydew. In season, honeydews from California are the best. Unless you live in California, however, a ripe honeydew before August or after October is as rare as a blue moon. Because ripe ones are fragile and hard to ship, 99 percent of those you see most the year have been picked green, and they'll never ripen. From August through October, however, a new crop of honeydews is ripening in California, and they become ready so quickly the growers can't pick them fast enough. Lucky for you, because most of the honeydews end up staying on the vine until they're ripe and full of sugar. Honeydews from Arizona, Texas, and Mexico are in season at the same time, but in my opinion they range from decent (Arizona honeydews) to lackluster (those from Texas and Mexico). There are a couple of consistently good California brands you may want to watch for - Pony Boys and Sycamores. Start looking in August, and you'll rarely be disappointed. So, you want to know how to tell if a honeydew melon is ripe, do you? Well, I don’t blame you. After all, there are few things better than a juicy honeydew, but an unripe one leaves a lot to be desired.
Farmers have to be careful when harvesting honeydew melons from the vine as this particular fruit will not ripen if it is picked too early. An immature honeydew melon will remain hard, bland, and, frankly, inedible, so it’s vital they are picked once they’ve moved over to maturity.The confusion between mature and immature melons comes about because mature honeydews can still be unripe. The difference is that a mature honeydew will begin to ripen if left to do its thing on your kitchen counter, whereas an immature one will never turn into the soft, luscious, juicy, tender fruit we all know and love.A nice ripe honeydew melon will give off certain clues, and these are what you are going to be looking out for before you take your knife out of its block and begin slicing open your delicious ball of goodness
When a honeydew melon is ripe and ready to eat it will have a sweet scent which simply screams out EAT ME! The longer the melon is left to ripen, the stronger the fruit’s fragrance becomes.
Your melon should have next to no greenness once it has fully ripened, so keep an eye out for any green veins running across the rind (the outer skin of the fruit). A ripe honeydew will have lost its green tinge and moved over to a nice whitish yellow or golden hue.
Yes! Listen to your melons, people. As you probably know, honeydew melons have an abundance of seeds inside them and these begin to work their way loose from the flesh as the melon ripens. What has this got to do with your ears? Well, if you give a ripe melon a quick shake you’ll hear a faint rattling sound from within. Try it. It’s a cool trick. Another audio clue can be found when you drum a melon with your fingers. The resulting sound should be somewhat of a deep, dull thud if your honeydew is ready to eat.
Time to get touchy. When working out how to tell if a honeydew is ripe, this is often the first thing you’ll hear people talk about, and yet many people get it wrong. The key is to gently press the opposite end to where the stem was, commonly referred to as the blossom end in gardening circles. With a honeydew melon, ripe fruits will yield a little and then bounce straight back. The “give” you’re after is not too hard, not too soft. Think of Goldilocks when you’re pressing! Nicely ripened honeydews will also have a different feel to them than unripened melons. Run your fingers across the rind of a perfectly ripened fruit and you’ll feel fine ridges in the skin, whereas less ripe honeydews will be smoother. Selecting a ripe honeydew melon is great if you’re going to eat it that day, but what about if you are planning on waiting a while? Well, as I’ve already mentioned, the key thing to avoid is an immature fruit. Providing the melon is mature, you can always ripen a honeydew melon at home.You can do all of the above tips in store to select the ripest, juiciest melons, but there are some other things to look out for as well when you’re buying a honeydew from a store or down at your local farmers market:
A good honeydew melon will almost feel too heavy for its size when you pick it up. Why? Because of all that glorious juice held within, that’s why! Selecting a nice heavy honeydew will ensure you get a lip-smackingly juicy fruit.
A mature honeydew will appear round and symmetrical when you look at it, with no weird lumps and bumps. Again, it’s a good idea to avoid greener fruits too.
While the stem will likely have been removed from the fruit before it hit the supermarket shelves, looking at this part of the fruit can determine whether it was nicely matured on the vine or not. What you are looking for is a subtle dip around where the stem once was. Any remnants of the stem should be well hardened, dry, and free from any signs of mold.
Sit yourself down, I have some bad news for you.If you’ve been a little eager and cut into your honeydew too early, there isn’t much you can do to ripen it, unfortunately. However, all is not completely lost.Instead of wasting your unripe honeydew melon, try adding it to your daily green smoothie. Unripe melons are hard and pretty tasteless, but your blender will whizz them up and the other ingredients will mask the blandness.While it’s a poor substitute for a deliciously ripe honeydew, it’s a much better option than throwing it in the trash. However, if you’re melon is actually immature (rather than simply unripe) and therefore has no chance of ever ripening, take it back to the store and complain. Immature fruits do sometimes escape quality control, but the more we stand up for ourselves the greater the chance this will be improved upon.That’s it! Now you should be able to easily tell the difference between an unripe and a ripe honeydew melon. All that remains now is to slice one up and get stuck in.
Click link below for Honeydew Show
Farms View Farm and Roadstand in Wayne , New Jersey is one of the last working farms in Northwest New Jersey. The Kuehm family dates back to 1894 when the property was purchased by the first of five generations that operate the farm in Wayne New Jersey. Farms View Roadstand has evolved from a picnic table on a side lawn many years ago to this farm stand with attached greenhouses. I love doing segments at family farms to show all of you where fresh fruits and vegetables get their start. Long days and hard work are what farming is all about. Today we are talking fresh corn right from the farm, picked 5 am this morning at Farms View Farm.
Please support your local Jersey Farmers, Fresh From the Farm Daily.
Americans seem to be the only people who understand the virtues of sweet corn on the cob. A native American grain related to wheat, barley, and rye, corn didn't reach Europe until the sixteenth century. It's still far more popular here than among Europeans, who continue to call corn by its proper name--maize. Sweet corn is harvested young for use as a vegetable. Field corn is the variety that's dried and ground for meal, pressed for corn oil, or used as feed for livestock. The best sweet corn is an ear that's brought from the field straight to the pot. Years ago farmers would deliver corn to our market at three o'clock in the morning. My father would wake us, and we'd have to go down to the store to unload the corn--dozens of bags with fifty ears in each bag. There was a little stove at the back of the store, and my mother would put water on to boil, husk a bunch of ears, and cook corn for us right on the spot, which made this awful middle-of-the-night chore bearable. It was so fresh coming off the truck that to this day I don't think I've ever had corn as good. Once corn is picked, its natural sugars start turning to starch. The process is slowed by refrigeration, but by the time corn is harvested and shipped form California or Florida to the rest of the country, as much as a week may have passed. The corn will be pretty good, but not as good as corn picked locally. People with vegetable gardens literally start boiling the water before the corn is picked so they can put it in the pot as fast as they can shuck it.
You can get white, yellow, or bicolor corn, and though lots of people have preferences, the color has little to do with the sweetness. The only thing that determines taste is how long it's been off the stalk. There are, however, two relatively new hybrids designed to make corn hold its sugar longer: sugar-enhanced varieties and the newer "supersweets." Sugar-enhanced varieties have good corn flavor and are excellent when corn is out of season and has to be shipped to market. The supersweets are very- very sweet in fact, many corn lovers think they have an artificial taste. For my money, old-fashioned sweet corn straight out of the field is still tops.
The best time to eat corn on the cob is middle to late summer. Corn is grown almost everywhere, and the best place to get it is at farm stands or produce markets where corn is delivered every day. We use to send someone up to Smith's Farm every morning at 6 A.M. to pick up corn from Wally, who had been supplying Napolitano's for more than forty years.
Look for a husk that's firm, fresh, and green-looking. Don't strip it; just look at the tassel or silk. On really fresh corn, the tassel will be pale and silky, with only a little brown at the top, where it's been discolored by the sun. Also try holding the ear in your hand: if it's warm, it's starting to turn to starch; if it's still cool, it's probably fresh. Although producers have fewer problems with worms now, don't worry if you spot a worm or two. The worms know what they're doing--they go after the sweetest ears. And since they usually eat right around the top, you can just break that part off. STORINGThe short answer is don't; just eat fresh corn right away. But if you must, store it in the refrigerator.
A lady came into my store years ago and said, "I cook corn so long it almost starts to pop, and it's still tough." I said, "That's because you're cooking it so long!" Never overcook fresh, sweet corn. It only needs a few minutes' cooking time. To boil it, bring the water to a boil before dropping in the shucked ears. If the ears are too long for the pot, don't cut them with a knife, which tends to crush the kernels; just break them in two with you hands. Let the water return to a boil, and boil hard for three to four minutes. Remove immediately and serve: don't let the corn stand in the water. To microwave corn, shuck it, spread with butter if you wish, cover closely with plastic wrap or waxed paper, and microwave on full power (100 percent) about 2 1/2 minutes per ear. Corn is also great cooked on the grill. To prepare, pull down the husks but don't detach them and remove the silks. Spread some butter and salt on the kernels, then pull the husks back up and twist closed. Grill the ears for about fifteen minutes, turning them often. If you've got corn that's two or three days old, you can add it to soups or use it to make creamed corn, fritters, or spoon bread. Add it to seafood chowder or other soups, or make corn relish with it--there are plenty of ways to prepare it.
CORN MAKES BUTTER TASTE BETTER
PRODUCE PETE SWEET CORN FUN FACTS
Corn was first grown by Native Americans more than 7,000 years ago in Central America
.Sweet corn leaves were used as chewing gum by Native Americans
.Corn is grown on every continent except Antarctica.
Corn plants typically grow 7 – 10 feet tall. Sweet corn plants are several feet shorter.
The tassel borne at the top of the stalk is the male part and the silk of the ear is the female part
.The tassel releases millions of grains of pollen, and some of them are caught by the silk.
There is one strand of silk for each kernel on a cob
.On average there are about 800 kernels on an ear of corn
.An ear of corn always has even number rows
.One acre of land can produce 14,000 pounds of sweet corn.
Depending upon the cultivar type, the crop may be ready for harvesting in 65-90 days
.Corn is cholesterol free.It’s a good source of vitamin C and A, potassium, thiamine and fiber, and very high in antioxidants
.Corn is a 100% whole grain
.Corn is high in natural sugars/starches.One average ear of yellow sweet corn equals 86 calories.
Sweet corn is a tasty and nutritious addition to any meal.
Click on the link below for New Jersey Corn Show
Great fragrance is the hallmark of a good ripe cantaloupe. In my younger days, when I had the store and I would come home from the market the smell from a crate or two of cantaloupes in the truck would fill the air, it didn't matter what other produce was in there. When I opened the door to unload, the warm, rich, sweet summer smell of melons is the first thing that hits me. Usually the least expensive and probably the most popular melons on the market, cantaloupes are sweet, fragrant, and juicy, with a pinkish orange to bright orange flesh. Grown primarily in California and other western states, cantaloupes are round, with a golden, tightly netted skin. Although good cantaloupes from the West are available from June through December, they are best between June and September. That's when the California crop is at its peak, and I think that state grows the best cantaloupes. Arizona is next, New Mexico and Texas also grow big cantaloupe crops.
ORIGAMI CANTALOUPE VARIETY
Origami cantaloupes have the signature rough, tannish, netted skin of other cantaloupe varieties and range in size from 8 to 12 centimeters in diameter. Unlike other cantaloupes the Origami cantaloupe is prized for its thin rind and smaller seed cavity thus giving it more edible flesh. The orange flesh is succulent, juicy and sweet. When ripe the Origami cantaloupe has one of the strongest floral musky aromas of any cantaloupe. For best flavor pick cantaloupes that have a full slip, raised netting and a sweet aroma.
Almost all cantaloupes commercially grown in California are of the Hale's Best group of varieties. Several strains are on the market, each with a few distinct characteristics. Other varieties include Hymark and Mission. California provides the bulk of supplies to the U.S. with Arizona and Texas also producing considerable amounts. U.S. availability begins in late April and the peak months are June through September. If the stem end is rough with portions of the stem remaining, the melon was harvested prematurely. Shriveled, flabby or badly bruised product signals poor quality. Also avoid melons with growth cracks, mottling or decay (mold or soft sunken spots on the surface). A mature cantaloupe will be well netted or webbed with a smoothly rounded, depressed scar at the stem end. When ready to eat, cantaloupe will take on a yellow background appearance, acquire an aroma and soften. Because cantaloupe is shipped in a firm state to avoid damage, it usually needs a few days at room temperature to soften and become juicier. To prevent bacteria on the melon netting from passing through to the flesh when cutting, follow these FDA rules:
The best time to buy western cantaloupes is between June and September, when the California melons are at their peak. During December, January, and February, we get cantaloupes imported from Central America. Although you'll occasionally get lucky and find a good one, most of these are both overpriced and lousy. In February, March, April and May we start to see Mexican cantaloupes. They aren't as good as summer cantaloupes from the States, but over the last few years the quality has improved and the price has become more reasonable.
Color and, more important, fragrance - not softness at the stem end - indicates ripeness. A cantaloupe with golden color and ripe, sweet aroma is going to be a ripe, sweet melon. Don't push the stem end - if your neighbor presses a thumb there, and I press mine there, you're going to feel something soft even if the melon is grass green. For some reason, cantaloupes with tighter netting seem to have a firmer, crisper texture and cut better than those with the looser, more open netting. A cantaloupe on the green side will ripen if you leave it out at room temperature until any green undertones in the rind have turned golden and the melon has a rich smell. But in season, during the summer, there's no excuse for taking home a green melon. In-season melons should have been picked fully mature and fully ripe, with little or no green showing. I think melons taste better and have a better texture at room temperature, but if you like your melon chilled, refrigerate it right before you're going to eat it. Cut melons, of course, have to be refrigerated, but wrap them tightly in plastic to preserve moisture. If you don't want everything in your refrigerator to smell and taste like cantaloupes (and vice-versa), it's a good idea to put the melon in a heavy plastic or glass container with a tight-fitting lid. Cantaloupes are fine eaten as is for breakfast or dessert or cut up with other melons and fruits in a salad. Nutrient content descriptors for cantaloupes include: fat-free, saturated fat-free, very-low-sodium, cholesterol-free, high in vitamin A, high in vitamin C and a good source of folate (add 10% folate to label). Because cantaloupe is easy to cut, it can be used as an appetizer, in salads, as a breakfast plate garnish and in compotes and desserts.
A FEW FUN FACTS FROM PRODUCE PETE
– Cantaloupes are considered a luxury and are commonly given as a gift in Japan.– Cantaloupes were first brought to America by Christopher Columbus is 1492.– Did you know that “down under” in Australia they refer to cantaloupe as “ROCKMELON”? Makes sense to us – they kind of do look like rocks.– An average sized cantaloupe contains just 100 calories. Who knew something so sweet could be good for you?– Cantaloupes are the most popular melon in the United States. Try them freeze dried for an all natural, portable, healthy snack.– They are members of vine-crop family, including other melons, squash, cucumbers, pumpkins, and gourds. They have plenty of relatives – one big happy family.– Not only do they taste good, they also fight against lung and oral cavity cancers.– Because cantaloupes are high in Vitamin A, they help maintain good eye health. Vitamin A is essential for maintaining healthy mucus membrane and skin of your eye.– Cantaloupes protect you from UV rays. Forget the sunblock! Just joking, you should still definitely wear sunblock on top of adding more cantaloupe into your diet.– Cantaloupes also help fight infections due to being filled with Vitamin C.– Cantaloupes trailing vine can reach up to 5 feet in height.– Fruits develop after 90 days of planting. Don’t plant them if you’re craving one right away – you’re better off going to the grocery store.– Cantaloupes have many roles. They can be consumed fresh and as an ingredient in a fruit salad or used to create sorbets, smoothies and ice-creams. Even freeze dried, cantaloupes are a healthy snack.– The cantaloupe was first cultivated in the 1700s, in the Italian papal village of Cantalup. Now we know where they got the name from.These are just a few of our favorites! We hope you share these interesting cantaloupe fun facts with your family and friends, and try to incorporate cantaloupe in your diet if you haven’t already. They are super nutritious and packed with vitamins.
Serving Size: 1/4 Med. Cantaloupe (134g) Amount Per Serving Calories: 50 Calories from Fat 0 % of Daily Value Total Fat: 0g 0% Saturated Fat: 0g 0% Cholesterol: 0mg 0 % Sodium: 25mg 1 % Total Carbohydrate: 12g 4 % Dietary Fiber 1 g 4 % Sugars: 11g Protein: 1g Vitamin A: 100% Vitamin C 80% Calcium: 2% Iron 2 % *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000-calorie diet. Source: PMA's Labeling Facts
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Watermelon to me brings back memories of my childhood which, of course, was a very long time ago. Years ago we used to peddle door to door - the time when the supermarkets came to you. Now in those days we used to have what we called straight loads, which most of the time were watermelons. Watermelons sold then mostly whole, never cut, except if you plugged it. Plugging is when you make a triangle cut into the watermelon, then you pull out the triangle cut to see if the watermelon is ripe. Red, juicy, with a thin rind is what you're looking for. Back then, everybody bought whole melons because they had big families. As the seedless variety began to get more popular, the cutting of watermelon also became the thing to do. Now watermelons are mostly sold by the piece. Summertime or year-round - there is nothing better than a good ripe watermelon. It didn't happen overnight or over the span of a few growing seasons. It took years and years to get rid of those seeds. Yet the result is somewhat truly amazing to behold, and even more amazing to taste. The seedless watermelon is sweeter and crunchier, with a nice thin rind. You ought to see all the ways people try to test whether watermelon is ripe. They thump them. They twist the stem to see if it will twist back. I've seen people balance straw on a melon to see if the straw will rotate. People have even brought buckets of water into the store to see if a melon will float. Everybody has some magical way to see if a watermelon is ripe, but there's one simple, sure way to tell. Look at the stem end: if the stem is shrunken and shriveled, the melon is ripe.
African in origin, watermelons are actually edible gourds in the same family as cucumbers and squash. The top three producers in the United States are Florida, Texas, and California, with Florida providing up to 90 percent of those we get on the East Coast. There are many varieties, many different shapes and sizes - a few with yellow flesh, most of them with red. Some people avoid watermelons because they're so big but a lot of small varieties have been developed that are terrific, and most markets sell large melons cut into halves or quarters. The average weight of a watermelon is five to thirty pounds, with some varieties as small as two pounds.
Seventy-five percent of the crop is produced in June, July, and August, but watermelons are available year round - imported from Mexico and Central America in the hard winter months, although in December and January they're very expensive and in limited supply. As with most fruits, you should buy watermelons when the domestic crop is in season.
Although a seedless watermelon will ripen after it's picked, if you want it ripe when you buy it, look for a stem that's shrunken and discolored. If the stem is missing, the watermelon is too ripe; it will be mealy and dark and not taste fresh. If the stem is green - the watermelon is too green and not ripe. The skin should be dull, not shiny. Slap the melon and listen for a hollow thump. A yellow belly or the underside of the watermelon usually indicates the fruit is ripe. Cut melons are usually more expensive per pound than those bought whole, but they may be a better buy because you see exactly what you're getting. The blossom end of the watermelon is usually the ripest and therefore the sweetest part. If you're buying a cut melon, look for the blossom end. Make sure the flesh is dark red and firm.
Store a whole seedless watermelon in a cool place, not in direct sunlight. Don't refrigerate it unless it's cut or you want to chill it a few hours before serving.
Slice and serve or combine chunks or balls with other fruits for fruit salad; serve in the watermelon shell. Puree seedless watermelon for a delicious drink or freeze the puree to make ice pops or sorbet. Enjoy!
Soon to be published research by the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows that watermelon is as much as 60% higher in lycopenes than tomatoes. Lycopene is a pigment that gives the bright red color to tomatoes, watermelon, grapefruit and guava. Recent studies show the intake of lycopene is associated with reductions in several forms of cancer, including prostate, breast, lung and cancer of the uterus. The anti-cancer properties of lycopene appear to be due to its effectiveness as an antioxidant. Warm days and cool nights in the watermelon growing areas help increase lycopene content. The riper or redder the melon…..the more lycopene. In addition to lycopene, watermelons also contain other properties beneficial to the body, including citrulline, an amino acid compound, which helps flush out the kidneys.
Top 10 Watermelon Fun Facts
The story of how Napolitano's Produce in Bergenfield NJ got it's start, has to do with watermelons. My father was always in the produce business but really didn't care much for it, you know it was never his choice , it was what the family did. Now from time to time he would do other jobs, a butcher, truck driver, bar owner, and a bus driver. well it just so happened that he was driving a bus for Red and Tan Line in northern New Jersey, when my Mom came to him and said, Pete, I was getting gas at a service station in Bergenfield and I noticed that next to him was an empty lot and I thought , that would make a perfect spot for me to sell some watermelons off one of your trucks. Mom was always thinking of how to bring extra money in the household, those days were pretty lean, and she was a woman ahead of her times. So being a good husband he bought her a load of watermelons, parked her on the corner by the gas station and went about driving the bus. To his surprise, but not her's, she sold the whole load that day. Now being such a good husband, he bought her two loads the next day, she sold all of them and he stopped driving the bus, and Napolitano's Produce was born.
So when people always say to me, your father had a great business, I always thank them with a little smile, if it wasn't for mom , who knows what would have been.
ENJOY YOUR SUMMER !!
Click link below for PRODUCE PETE STEVE CARELL WATERMELON SHOW
Click the link for watermelon show
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.
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".