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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 link below !!!

https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Produce-Pete-151185725.html?page=1                              


!!!  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!

PRODUCE PETE'S UPCOMING APPEARANCES

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05/01/19       FIELD SHOOT PATHMARK SUPERMARKET, ALBANY AVE, BROOKLYN, N Y      9AM -11AM


05/14/19    PRODUCE BOOT CAMP ,   PFG METRO NY, HILTON GARDEN INN, SPRINGFIELD, N J 

10 AM - 11AM


06/22/19    WNBC HEALTH EXPO,  METLIFE STADIUM,  RUTHERFORD, N J    1 PM - 4PM


09/26/19    RUTGERS UNIVERSITY GARDEN PARTY,  112 RYDERS LANE, NEW BRUNSWICK, N J 

BOOK SIGNING AND FUNDRAISER







EASTER AND PASSOVER PLANTS 04/20/19

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SPRING IS IN THE AIR

 

Everyone knows that I know about fruits and vegetables.

But plants?


Over the years, being in a family business that sold everything seasonal, we picked up a lot of knowledge on different things out of necessity — “A Jack of all trades, master of none,” I always called myself. In addition to helping my father sell produce door to door as a kid growing up in North Jersey, we sold Christmas trees and Easter plants each year to help boost the family income, so I got to learn about many of the popular plants, flowers and trees that help celebrate the different holidays.


Easter is an unusual holiday/holy day because it can occur anywhere from early March to late April, which can drive big differences in the plants and flowers that are available from year to year. A nice thing about this year’s late Easter and Passover is that concerns over frost should be behind us (though who knows with this year?), and most of the early spring flowers should all be in bloom.

I’m sure everyone agrees that with the overly cold and snowy winter we’ve had, we can’t wait to see something with bright color and a wonderful fragrance. Another thing I always love about a late Easter is that Mother’s Day and the planting of my tomatoes, eggplants and peppers isn’t too far off.

  

Bulb plants are most prominent, early in the season. They are plants such as tulips, hyacinths, lilies, and daffodils. These plants, after they have bloomed, and are starting to lose their flowers, can be cut back to about an inch or two from the bulb top and be planted in the ground and will come up again next year and years after that. These are called Perennial plants and they are a very strong and rugged plant. They take the cold very well. 

Now tulips are one of my favorite plants and the bud or flower of the tulip will open up in sunlight and close when it gets dark. Hyacinths have a real smell to them; almost like perfume and can overwhelm a room with their scent. When I remember my Grandma Morrissey, I always think of the Hyacinth; it was her favorite. Lilies are the most typical Easter flower and are very beautiful to look at. They also come back every year if you cut them back and plant them. A little tip to keep the lily clean and pretty is to pull out the pollen stems on the inside of the flower, but be careful not to get the pollen on the white flower, it will stain the flower and make the flower die sooner. 

Daffodils are another great flower to look at and are especially pretty when planted in your yard, when the Daffodil starts to peak out of the ground, you know spring and warmer weather are close. 

Mums, Hydrangeas, Cinerarias, Miniature Roses, and Azaleas, - all of these are also great plants for your Easter, Passover holidays. 

Mums come in many colors and stay bloomed for a long time, sometimes 2-3 weeks. Mums also will come back in the fall if you cut them back and plant them. 

Hydrangeas, also called Sno-Balls, are another great plant. Hydrangeas once planted in the ground will usually not flower for 2 to 3 years and then flower regularly. 

They might also change color from pink to blue or purple or vice versa. A trick to help your potted Sno-Ball stay healthy is aspirin, good old aspirin. Take 2 aspirins and dilute in water and give your Hydrangea a drink. It really works. 

Years ago my father had a whole truckload of Hydrangeas to sell for Easter. All of a sudden they started to wilt; the flower I mean, so my Mom, the smart one in the family, said to give them aspirins. We bought a case of aspirins, diluted them in water and gave each one of the Hydrangeas a drink and it worked! Mom was always right. 

Azaleas are another plant that are pretty but usually don't bloom this early, so they are forced to bloom, like I explained before. With Azaleas that are forced, you need to be careful when you plant them outdoors. Find a Southern exposure with a lot of light, out of the wind and plant; they will be fine. Forced plants are not as strong in the beginning but as time goes by they do just fine. 


Well I hope I've given you a little information on Easter plants and how to care for them. You know I know about fruits and vegetables, but plants? 

Well over the years, being in a family business that sells everything seasonal, you pick up a lot of knowledge on different things out of necessity. "Jack of all trades - master of none" - that's me! 


Nothing warms us up after a tough winter quite like the colors, fragrances and new growth of spring.

Hope you drink it all in.


WISHING EVERYONE GREAT HEALTH AND A HAPPY EASTER AND PASSOVER


North Jersey Area -  Here are  a couple of great places to get Beautiful Easter and Passover Plants

De Piero's Farm & Greenhouses

 https://depieros-farm-stand-and-greenhouses.business.site/ 


Farms View Roadstand

 https://farmsview.com/ 


PLEASE CHECK OUT

BETTE'S EASTER RICOTTA PIE 

PETER RABBIT COCONUT CAKE RECIPE

BETTE'S EASTER CUPCAKES 

ON BETTE'S RECIPES 2


Click link below for Easter/Passover Flower Show


 https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Produce-Pete-on-Holiday-Flowers_New-York-508865602.html 

ATAULFO ( CHAMPAGNE) MANGOES 04/13/19

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A SWEET EATING MANGO


 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 

 According to the Tropical Plant Society, mangoes (Mangifera indica) are the most popular fruit in the world, with more than 20 million tons of the fruit grown every year 

 If you’re used to the more fibrous Tommy Atkins mango, probably the most popular variety in the states, then the Ataulfo or honey mango might shock you with its creamy, custardy texture. Unlike that fibrous variety, this mango is buttery and, well, pretty elegant in texture — especially when it reaches peak ripeness. That alone makes it a favorite for eating out of hand, but it’s also amazing for smoothies and shakes.

 The Ataulfo mango goes by many names, including baby mango, honey mango, Adolfo, Adaulfo, Champagne, yellow mango, among others .

 The Ataulfo Mango is small, delicately shaped, with skin that ripens to a golden yellow. Sometimes referred to as "champagne" mango, its flesh is velvety smooth with almost no fibrous texture and with a wafer-thin pit. An important fruit for many tropical countries, the mango contains enzymes useful for tenderizing meats that also acts as a digestive aid. 

 The yellow Ataulfo variety is often smaller than most other red and green skin varieties, but it also has a much thinner seed in the middle so you get more yummy fruit to enjoy. The texture of the golden flesh is smooth, and more free from stringiness than other orange-fleshed Mangos. The flavor? I love it! – sweet, a little tangy, tropical… almost caramel-like when they’re fully ripe. 

 Originally these mangoes where named after the grower responsible for the variety, Ataulfo Morales Gordillo, and while you might still find that name in grocery stores, honey mango and champagne is used with increasing frequency.  

  In addition to its unique flavor, the Ataulfo has an extremely unique look compared to its other readily available mango friends: Tommy Atkins, Haden, Kent and Keitt. The fruit is much smaller than these big round mangoes (and it has a more delicate look) but it’s hearty and intended to go from green to sugary ripe. The Ataulfo has the highest sugar content of all the mangoes available in the North American markets. The fruit starts out smooth-skinned, rock hard and with a pale green color. As it moves through the ripening stages (and it moves fast!), it turns to a deep golden yellow, and during its totally ripe stage it has small black blemishes and wrinkly skin. Depending on the season the skin can look very rough, which has always deterred American shoppers. But as ugly fruit is making a big trendy comeback, we find the popularity of the Ataulfo growing with more and more American admirers. 


Selection and Storage

 In terms of selection, choosing the Ataulfo is a little different than a round mango, but just slightly. The gentle squeeze test, (pressing gently, looking for a give similar to avocados) works; Ataulfos tend to be a bit juicier when ripe, though, so oftentimes customers can be put off by feeling the juiciness. Since the fruit is really creamy at peak ripeness there tends to be more movability of the flesh under the skin, more so than a ready to eat avocado

 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 — 99percent 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


Seasons/Availability 

Ataulfo mangoes are available in the spring and through the fall. 


Nutritional Value

 Ataulfo mangoes are rich in vitamins A, B, and C as well as dietary fiber and are a good source of carbohydrates. They contain potassium and calcium, as well as iron and folate. Mangoes contain enzymes that have been shown to aid in digestion.  


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 nonfreestanding 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 mangoTo 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!  


A Produce Pete Quick tip on Ataulfo Mangoes

 

  •  As Ataulfo Mangos ripen on the store shelf or on your kitchen counter from firm with lime-green skin color to yellow with a slight give – they’ll be ready to eat with a balance of sweet and tangy.
  • Wrinkles? With most Mango varieties “wrinkles” indicate the fruit is past its prime, but Ataulfo Mangos that have ripened so far as to show just few wrinkles– they’ll likely be the SWEETEST! But be careful, too wrinkled and the fruit may cut brown inside from over-ripe. (I love to ripen them as close to the edge as possible.)

 Ataulfo Mangos often have small speckles and skin stains that look more pronounced on the peel as the fruit ripens. Don’t worry, those cosmetic issues and will not impact the flavor 


Click link below for Ataulfo Mango Show

 https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Produce-Pete_-Ataulfo-Mangoes_New-York-508547672.html 

GRANDMA'S PINK SEEDLESS MUSCATEL GRAPES 04/06/19

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As a boy growing up in North Jersey, I peddled produce off the back of my father’s truck, selling whatever we got from farms in the summer and from the market the rest of the year.

In late summer, we’d sell plum tomatoes to people who would make and jar sauce for the winter. Some households would take 100 bushels at a time, and the same went for wine grapes, which usually came into season at the end of September.I remember going up and down the cellar stairs of family homes carrying hundreds of cases of wine grapes, which they would use to make their homemade wine. Of all the different varieties of these grapes, my favorite was always the muscatel grapes – they came in 40-45 pound boxes and always had bees circling around the boxes because the grapes were so ripe and sweet.I sure hated all those bees buzzing around my head all the time, but the reward of being able to eat those grapes was well worth it.Sadly, those days are long gone, but thanks to production in Chile, I can get that great taste back. Beginning in the first week of March and lasting through the second week of May, seedless pink Muscatel grapes are available and they taste just like they look, very sweet and delicate – and look Ma, no bees! I love to cover what I think is the very best in produce and  you’re in for a real treat because these grapes are my favorite. So enjoy and buy plenty (or ask for them if you don’t see them in the store), because the season is short! 

WHAT TO KNOW

 The characteristic trait of the Muscat grape is its sweet, musky, floral flavor. In addition to being eaten fresh out of hand and dried to make Muscatel raisins, true Muscat grapes are used to make a popular variety of fragrant wines.The Muscat family of grapes is among the oldest known and evidence of Muscat wine has been found in a tomb in Turkey dated back to the seventh century B.C.While their colors can vary from golden to black, all of the varieties share a distinctive floral aroma and Muscat wine is claimed to be the only type that shares the aroma of the grape from which it was made.Today’s seedless Muscat grapes – all 200 varieties of them! -- have the same distinctive Muscat flavor without those pesky seeds, and they’re best served at or close to room temperature for maximum enjoyment. The varying color of these grapes (which ranges from greenish to bronze, pink, and light red) has nothing to do with their very sweet and gentle perfumed taste – that’s derived from their high Brix content, or the natural sugar level of this specialty variety. The Muscat grape has a floral taste with a high brix level - 20 to 24 vs 16 to 20 for most grapes. The taste is so unique, as is the color, which runs from a rosy pink with a green backround to golden yellow, Because they are such an attention grabber, and so popular with shoppers, retailers will often place them in the center of a grape display. There are a lot of consumers who have never tried a Muscat grape, but when they try them, they buy them.

Muscat raisins are praised as larger and more flavorful than raisins made from conventional seedless grapes and are available over the internet from providers like Sunmaid and Bella Viva Orchards.

 SELECTION, STORAGE AND PREPARATION

Look for plump, smooth grapes with good color that are firmly attached to a fresh-looking green stem, with no evidence of wrinkling or withering. There should be a dusty bloom on the skin of the grape itself; much like that found on blueberries, this dusty bloom is a naturally-occurring substance that helps protect the grapes and is a good indication of freshness.Green or white grapes will have a golden glow when they’re ripe, while red grapes will be a soft, rich red, and black grapes will have a deep, blue-black color.As for storage, grapes don’t ripen off the vine, so what you buy is what you get. They’re very delicate and need to be handled carefully, so it’s best to refrigerate them dry in a plastic bag. And like many other fruits, never wash them until you’re ready to eat them, as moisture will make them deteriorate very quickly. Grapes will last up to a week when properly stored in the refrigerator, but it’s best (and most enjoyable) to eat them as soon as possible.Muscatel grapes are delicious tossed in green or fruit salads, paired with cheese, frozen for a twist on ice cubes and added to lemonade or sparkling wine, made into sorbet, or simply enjoyed raw as a juicy snack.

  A LITTLE MORE ABOUT GRANDMA'S PINK SEEDLESS MUSCATEL GRAPES 

The weather in Chile has provided ideal growing conditions, especially when compared to 2017's less-than-perfect weather, creating an optimal environment for Muscatel Grapes . It has been a normal spring and a very good summer - hot days and cool nights, which promotes quality, coloring and edibility.This years harvest looks like higher Brixx ( sugar levels) which will produce richer flavor and aroma.Unlike other varieties that depend on spray additives to produce red color, Pink Muscatel Grapes get there color from natural weather. The real uniqueness of this grape is the exotic perfumed sweet flavor that comes from an exact type color, when the grape hits it's full Brixx and is ready to be harvested. Maturity is the key and the Pink Muscatel grape, is picked at full maturity for a great tasting flavor. 


 WHERE TO FIND THEM!! 

 Sickles Market, Little Silver, N J   Citarella's NY and Long Island ,   All Shoprite Supermarkets  ,   Fairway Markets,     Kings Supermarkets ,          2 Guys from Brooklyn,      The Orchard   ,   Berry Fresh Farms  ,    Ave Z  ,    North Shore Market Place      Just ask your local market to bring them in, remember you are the boss, and ENJOY


 Click link below for Pink Muscatel Show

https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Produce-Pete_-Pink-Muscat-Grapes_New-York-508214142.html























 

SPRING LEEKS 03/30/19

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 Leeks are in the same vegetable family as onions and garlic. They taste sweeter and milder than onions. Leeks are made up of elongated, white bulbs with broadening and darkening green leaves at their tops. The bulb comes to an end at a point, often with roots still attached. The bulbs and lighter green leaves are edible and can be eaten raw or cooked. The darker green leaves are much tougher and along with the roots, should be removed before eating or cooking. 

 

Leeks have never played as big a role in American cooking as they have in European – especially French cuisines, and that’s a shame.  They look like enormous scallions and they are the sweetest and mildest of all the onions.  Cream of leek soup is delicious (my mother made one I still remember vividly), and leeks also add a wonderful flavor to other soup stocks and stews.  They are delicious braised and served almost as you’d serve asparagus.  I love them.


Season

Because they’re grown in various parts of the country – California, Florida and Texas are major producers – leeks are available nearly year-round.  They’re best and most plentiful from late fall until early spring.


Selecting

Look for leeks with crisp, green tops.  The lower two or three inches should be white.  Avoid leeks that have soft spots or are yellowed or fibrous-looking.  The smaller leeks are usually the most-tender.


Storing

Trim the roots but don’t cut them off entirely, if you do, the leek will fall apart.  Remove any limp or discolored leaves, trim the tops a little, and store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.  Don’t leave unwrapped leeks near other foods.  Like onions, they readily transmit their odor and flavor to milk and other foods in the refrigerator.

 

LEEKS ARE DIRTY

The challenge when cooking with leeks is that they are almost always dirty. When leeks are grown, soil is piled up around them, so that more of the leek is hidden from the sun, and therefore lighter in color and more tender.

What produces a beautiful leek, a long pale body, also results in sand and dirt being lodged deep inside the leek.

 

CLEANING AND PREPPING WHOLE LEEKS

 Cut from opening to ends of greens:

 Place leek on a cutting board. Insert the tip of a sharp knife about a 1/4-inch below the lowest opening in the leek.

Cut straight through, up to and through the green ends of the leek, leaving the pale part of the leek whole.

 Rinse:

 Fan open the leek and place under cold running water. Rinse out any dirt or sand. If the leek is especially dirty, you may want to make another similar cut through the leek to further be able to fan the leek open 

Cut off dark green tops: 

Cut off the dark green tops of the leek, reserving on the body of the leek as much of the dark green as you want. We like the taste (it's basically just a big onion green), so we typically keep about 2 to 3 inches or so of the dark green part with the body of the leeks.

Discard the dark greens or save them to flavor soups or stews, or use for making stock.

4 Cut of the root end of the leeks, staying as close to the roots as possible. Cutting close to the roots will hold the leeks together when cooking them whole.

 

 

WHY IT’S GOOD TO EAT:

  • Good source of Vitamin C
  • Good source of dietary fiber and other minerals
  • Leaf tops are a good provider of beta-carotene, like carrots!

 If you’re using them in soups, use the whole leek without trimming. If you’re serving leeks as a vegetable, trim the green ends, but save them for soup stock.  The white lower portions are good sliced raw into salads.  Leeks are especially sweet and delicious braised whole in water or chicken stock, then served warm with a bit of butter and seasonings or cold in a vinaigrette dressing 


CHECK OUT BETTE'S LEEK AND POTATO SOUP AT BETTE'S RECIPES !!!


Click on Link below for Spring Leek Show !!


 https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Produce-Pete_-Leeks_New-York-507882601.html 

ZUCCHINI AND YELLOW SQUASH ( SUMMER SQUASH) 03/23/19

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Most people want to know, are Zucchini and squash the same thing, the answer


They are the same thing. Zucchini is the Italian word for the fruit which the French call a courgette. ... In the US and Canada, we refer to most cucurbita pepo assquash,” which I believe comes from a Native American word. So all Zucchini are squash but not all squash are zucchinis. 


Squash was a food staple in the Americas for some eight thousand years before the first European explorers arrived here. Like melons and cucumbers, squashes are edible gourds that are indigenous to North, Central, and South America. The name comes from the Algonquin word askutasquash, which means, "eaten raw" and probably derives form the kind of summer squash encountered by early European settlers. The Native Americans taught them how to store and use winter squashes as a staple and demonstrated the curative and hygienic properties of squash seeds. Following the practice of the natives, the settlers ate whatever was available in the wild--fish, fowl, venison-which often carried parasites, and cured themselves by eating squash.


Varieties

The squashes commonly found in the United States are divided into summer and winter varieties. Summer varieties are immature squashes, usually small in size, with a soft skin, white flesh, high water content, and crunchy texture. Summer squashes are 100 percent edible, seeds and all, and very perishable. Winter varieties are fully mature squashes that are usually larger in size, with a hard outer shell and a long shelf life. They are always eaten cooked. Most have an orange flesh that is sweeter and nuttier in flavor than the more delicate summer squashes and contain large quantities of beta-carotene. The larger, harder seeds of winter squashes are usually discarded, but they can be salted, roasted, and eaten like nuts.


Summer squash

Yellow squash and long, slender, dark green zucchini are probably the two most familiar summer squashes, but there are other good varieties. These include the chayote, which is pear-shaped, with white, pale, or dark green skin, the cocozelle, which is shaped like a zucchini and striped green and yellow, and the tiny scalloped pattypan, which has white, yellow, or green stripes and looks like a little flying saucer.


Season

Summer squashes, especially zucchini, are generally available year round, but the peak seasons between April and September.


Selecting

All squashes should have a solid, heavy feel. A squash that feels light for its size may be soft and dehydrated inside. Summer squashes should have a firm but tender, sleek, unblemished skin. A shiny skin on yellow squash and zucchini is a good indication that it was picked young and tasty. Choose small to medium-sized squashes, rather than large ones, for the best flavor and texture.


Storing

Summer squash: Store refrigerated in an unsealed plastic bag and use within three or four days. Handle summer squash carefully because the tender skin is easily nicked.


Preparing Summer Squash

Summer squashes have high water content--never overcook or they will turn to mush. Overcooking is probably why so many kids hate squash! There are exceptions, but zucchini, chayote, crookneck, and cocozelle never need peeling. If the squash looks nice and tender, leave the peel on. Simply wash it and discard a thin slice from each end.

Summer squashes are terrific brushed with a little oil and cooked on the grill, and they can be steamed, sautéed, stir-fried, or baked in casseroles. Use very little water if you're going to boil a squash. Cut it into horizontal slices about a quarter of an inch thick, put in just enough water to cover the bottom of the pan, add salt, pepper, and butter if desired, cover, and cook no more than three to five minutes. Turn the squash a few times to cook evenly and test frequently for doneness--it's done when it's easily pierced with a fork but retains some crunch.

To grill, slice the squash lengthwise, marinate or brush with an oil-based salad dressing or with olive oil, herbs, and perhaps some garlic, then grill over hot coals, turning occasionally so it doesn't burn.

Young, tender summer squashes, especially zucchini, are good raw in salads or with dips. They are delicious lightly steamed, stir-fried in a little oil, or fried tempura-style in batter. There are many Mediterranean recipes that call for squash--it's good in a ratatouille or baked with Parmesan cheese. Zucchini can also be used in zucchini bread--a sweet bread, almost like cake, that makes a good dessert--and muffins.

At home Betty makes a cold zucchini salad that's very simple, quick, and delicious. Slice the zucchini and sauté briefly in olive oil with a bit of garlic. Remove from the heat and, while the zucchini is still hot, splash a top-quality vinegar over it. It can be a good wine vinegar or a balsamic or herbed vinegar, depending on you preference. Add some salt and pepper and serve either warm, at room temperature, or chilled.

Because of its versatility, zucchini is a good staple to keep around the house. The other night we got home late, and neither of us wanted to bother with a big meal, so Bette sliced and sautéed zucchini and potato, added beaten eggs to the pan when the vegetables were almost done, and made a terrific frittata. 

Click on link below for Summer Squash Show


https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Produce-Pete_-Summer-Squash_New-York-507567182.html


BROCCOLI 03/09/19

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 These mini trees  ( Broccoli) are notorious for being pushed off the plates of kids around the world, but broccoli's reputation as one of the healthiest veggies still rings true.   Kids who call broccoli "trees" are imitating the Romans, who called it brachium, meaning "strong branch or arm." Their nickname for it was "the five green fingers of Jupiter," and they ate a lot of it. Broccoli is one of the cruciferous vegetables--in the cabbage family--that is packed with beta-carotene; the precursor to vitamin A that researchers believe has anticarcinogenic properties.Thomas Jefferson first brought broccoli seeds form Italy to Monticello. Although broccoli flourished there, Jefferson wasn't fond of it--probably because it was cooked to death. Broccoli didn't really catch on in the U.S. until the twentieth century; as Italian immigration increased, Italian farmers started growing it in California. They knew how to cook it, and by the mid - 1920's broccoli was becoming more popular. Although broccoli is grown almost everywhere, the bulk of the crop is still grown in California.

Season

A cool - weather crop planted in the spring and fall, broccoli is available year round, but the peak of the season is March through November. It's usually very consistently priced, but when the price jumps up 30 to 40 percent, you know it's out of season and in short supply.

Selecting

Look for a firm, clean stalk with tight, bluish-green florets. Check the stalks to make sure they're not too thick and hard--they will be a bit woody. Most important, the florets should be tightly closed and the broccoli should have little or no fragrance. Broccoli is eaten at an immature stage; left to grow in the field, the buds will open into yellow flowers. Buds that are starting to open and look yellowish will be mushy and have a strong cabbage taste. Use your nose when you're selecting broccoli: if a head has an odor, it's not good.

Storing

Broccoli will keep up to seven days if refrigerated and kept moist. You can break apart the stalks and put them in ice water or spread crushed ice on top. Or wrap broccoli in a plastic bag with a damp paper towel and place in the crisper.

Did you know?

Cup for cup, broccoli has as much Vitamin C as oranges and as much Calcium as milk.

Preparing

The less you do to broccoli, the more it will do for you. Broccoli will lose up to 30 percent of its vitamins and minerals when it's cooked, so for nutritional reasons as well as good flavor, never overcook it. Broccoli is also very good raw on a platter of crudités, added to other vegetables in a salad, or served with dips.At certain times of the year, broccoli may harbor a bug or worm or both. When cleaning, soak the head in salted water about fifteen minutes, and the critters will float to the top.Broccoli can be prepared in countless ways. Sauté it with a little garlic and onion. Add it to pasta, or serve it blanched and cooled in vinaigrette. It's excellent simply steamed for a few minutes and serve with a dab of butter or squeeze of lemon--or both. To steam, put it in about half an inch of salted water, stem ends down. Don't let the buds touch the water--they'll cook very quickly and will get mushy and disintegrate. Cover and cook over low to medium heat for not more than four to five minutes--just until its fork tender. Check the pot once or twice to make sure there is adequate liquid in the bottom to keep from burning, and add a few tablespoons of water as needed. Properly cooked, broccoli has a delicate flavor and arrives at the table tender-crisp and bright green. If you're going to add lemon or vinegar, do it at the last minute because they tend to drab the color.At my house, we also eat broccoli in a stir-fry, with snow peas and pork. And in the wintertime I love Bette's Broccoli Soup.


A FUN FACT FROM PRODUCE PETE


President George H.W. Bush may have flip-flopped on a number of issues over his long political career,but when it came to a certain cruciferous vegetable, BROCCOLI , the 41st president of the United States displayed the kind of backbone usually reserved for dictators and communist insurgents: He refused all invitations to sit down and eat broccoli.  I do not like broccoli,” Bush once said to the press, tongue somewhat in cheek. “And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m president of the United States, and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli!” Mere days after his edict, Bush hosted a state dinner to honor Tadeusz Mazowiecki, the prime minister of Poland. Reporters noted that there was not a single floret of broccoli on the menu despite the fact that farmers sent a “10-ton shipment of the vegetable to Washington in protest of his earlier comment,” according to a Washington Post story on March 22, 1990.

 CHECK OUT MY MOM'S BROCCOLI SALAD AT BETTE'S RECIPES

Click on link below for Broccoli Show


https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Produce-Pete_-Broccoli_New-York-506928582.html

HASS AVOCADOS SHOW 02/02/19

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Check out the great Guacamole Recipes on Bette's Recipes

 

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 2018

- 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.

Click on link below for Avocado Show

https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Produce-Pete_-Avocados_New-York-505245352.html

ARTICHOKES 12/15/18

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Artichokes


Artichokes are actually the giant, unopened buds of a flowering plant - an edible relative of the thistle. They've been a favorite in Spain, Italy, and other Mediterranean countries for hundreds of years, but many people here still think of them as fairly exotic. Although they take a little time to eat - there's no way you can wolf down an artichoke - they're actually fun to dismantle; and the tender flesh at the base of the leaves and especially at the heart has a distinctive sweet, nutty taste that's absolutely delicious. Artichokes can be prepared in dozens of ways, and I like all of them. 

The largest crop of artichokes is still produced in Mediterranean countries, but California is the biggest supplier in the U.S. Castroville, located near San   Francisco, calls itself the Artichoke Capital of the World; and the whole economy of the place revolve around the vegetable - there's even a statue of an artichoke in the middle of town. With its cool, humid, foggy weather, the area is perfect for growing good artichokes. 

There are three basic types of artichokes, plus a new "thorn less" variety that's beginning to appear on the market. The globe type is the most common, with a large fairly round shape and smallish barb on the tips of the leaves. The oval artichoke is very thorny, with a longer, more pointed leaf. The taste of both is identical and they can be cooked in the same way, but I find that glove artichokes are usually more-tender. 

The third type is the small, loose baby artichoke, which is often marinated whole in vinegar and oil after it has been washed and de-thorned. Most baby artichokes don't have many thorns in the first place, and they can be eaten whole, without removing the "choke". 

Thorn-less artichokes are also available. I find them to be excellent if they're from California but unreliable if they've been imported from Mexico or Chile. The imports are difficult to cook properly because it's hard to get the timing right - some cook fast and tender, others take an hour and either stay raw or suddenly turn to mush. The imports are usually a paler green than the California crop, but it you're in doubt, ask your produce manager. 


Season

The peak of the season is in March, April, and May, when California producers ship nearly half the annual crop, but artichokes often show up in the fall. The worst time for artichokes is in the dead of summer (July and August) when growing conditions are too hot and dry for good artichokes. However, they are available year round. 


Selecting

Look for fat, firm-looking buds with dense, tightly packed leaves of a uniform dusty green. Lots of black spots tired color, or opened leaves indicate an older artichoke that will have a woody taste. An artichoke with one or two black spots, on the other hand, isn't always a bad risk. Don't worry if the artichoke is discolored on the stem end - you're going to cut that part off. When selecting an artichoke, gently pull back the central leaves, taking care not to prick yourself on the thorns, and look into the heart. If there is no black showing inside, the artichoke is good. At home you can be more aggressive - turn the artichoke upside down and give it a good whack or two on the counter to make the leaves open out more easily. 

Artichokes that have developed purpling on the leaves have been exposed to too much hot sun and will be much less tender. An artichoke that shows some bronzing and peeling has had a touch of frost, which won't hurt the flavor and may in fact improve it. If you're unsure about what kind of discoloration is okay and what kind is not a good rule of thumb is not to buy discolored artichokes in the summer. 


Storing

Artichokes are quite perishable. Use them as soon as possible. Refrigerate for one week only if necessary. 


Preparing

There are a thousand ways to cook artichokes, but one thing to avoid is to cook them in an aluminum pot since they will turn a gray-green color. To prepare them for the pot, rinse the artichokes in cold water, handling them carefully so that you don't prick yourself on the pointed barbs at the end of each leaf. The barbs are softer and easer to handle after the artichoke is cooked, but many people prefer to remove them beforehand by snipping off the tips of the leaves with kitchen shears or scissors. Remove the thorns from baby artichokes that you intend to eat whole. 


ON THE ROAD AGAIN

We had so much fun a couple of weeks ago at DeCicco & Sons in Armonk New York, that  I went back for a second visit to this family owned chain of stores. What could be better then Artichokes for this Holiday Season and they had some real good ones.

Click on link below for Artichoke Show



https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Produce-Pete_-Artichokes_New-York-502844811.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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