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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

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

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 EVENTS

MEET PRODUCE PETE SUNDAY OCTOBER 28, 2018  FROM 11 AM - 1PM AT THE

 

Harrington Park Farmers’ Market


The Harrington Park Community Business Alliance and the Borough of Harrington Park are bringing the Harrington Park Farmers’ Market every Sunday in September and October.

The goal of the market is to contribute in a positive manner to the town of Harrington Park, while also supporting and cultivating the local business community. Any proceeds raised from the market will go directly into the beautification of the downtown business district of Harrington Park.

The market will be located in the parking lot of the Borough Hall and Library and will be open from 10am – 2pm.

Harrington Park Farmer’s Market
Sundays
September-October
10:00AM-2:00PM
Borough Hall Library
Harrington Park, NJ


APPLE COUNTRY 10/20/18

Northeast Apples

 

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

SEASON

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

SELECTING

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

HERE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE VARIETIES

HONEYCRISP

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

EMPIRE

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

MCINTOSH

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

MACOUN

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

GOLDEN DELICIOUS

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

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

Excellent for eating, salads, and sauces

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

CORTLAND

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

Sweet, with a hint of tartness

  • Juicy
  • Tender, snow-white flesh

Excellent for eating, salads, sauces, pies and baking

  • Good for freezing

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


STAYMAN WINESAP

 The Stayman-Winesap is a cross between a Stayman apple and a Winesap apple. The combination of the two strains produces an apple of exceptional eating quality.

The Stayman-Winesap’s firm yellow flesh; crisp, coarse texture; and its tart, rich wine-like taste makes it memorable. Some say it smells like cinnamon. Stayman-Winesap’s thick skin maintains sufficient moisture within the flesh to keep the apple crispy to the bite and flavorful to the taste.

The late maturing Stayman-Winesaps keep well and can last until spring if properly stored or placed in a fruit cellar. This multi-purpose apple is excellent when eaten fresh, or used in pies, desserts, applesauce, and cider.


A TRIP TO DONALDSON'S FARM

One of my favorite farms in New Jersey, Donaldson's Farm is located in Hackettstown, N.J.

 I filmed some segments for NBC over the years at this farm and especially love this farm in the fall when the apple orchard and the pumpkins are in season. A family run farm it's a great place to take your family for a day trip and enjoy what made america great, FARMING. The apples for today's segment are from Donaldson's and boy are they great, juicy, crunchy, and a great taste of fall. Enjoy the fall weather and please support your

LOCAL FARMERS

https://donaldsonfarms.net/


Click link below for Apple Show


https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Produce-Pete_-Northeast-Apples_New-York-498102901.html


 


 




HALLOWEEN PUMPKINS 10/13/18

 

There’s perhaps nothing more iconic in New Jersey during the month of October than corn mazes, hay rides and especially pumpkins.


Heading out to a farm with the family to pick pumpkins or enjoy a hay ride is a great fall tradition that shouldn’t be missed; for a list of pumpkin farms in your area, visit www.pumpkinpatchesandmore.org.


Since October is one of my favorite months of the year, I thought I’d share some fun facts about pumpkins and Halloween:

  • Pumpkin seeds should be planted the last week of May to the middle of June to allow them 90-120 days to grow.
  • The original birthplace of Halloween Jack-o’-lanterns is believed to be Ireland, where people would place candles in hollowed-out turnips to ward off ghosts and spirits.
  • Though many people only buy pumpkins to make Jack-o’-lanterns, pumpkins are actually among the most nutritious of all produce, supplying more beta carotene per serving than any other fruit or vegetable.
  • Besides the color orange, pumpkins come in white, blue and green varieties.
  • Despite public consensus, pumpkins aren’t vegetables — they’re actually fruits.
  • The largest pumpkin grown in the U.S. in 2018 weighed in at 2528 pounds, grown by Steve Geddes in New Hampshire.
  • Pumpkins usually always have one flat side, which is where they lay while growing.
  • Carving a pumpkin out from the bottom instead of the top usually makes for a better looking Jack-o’-lantern.
  • Always use a flashlight or another light source in the pumpkin instead of a candle for safety’s sake

SELECTION AND STORAGE


When picking any kind of pumpkin, select one without bruises or soft spots. It may be greenish in color, but left whole in a cool spot — not refrigerated — it will ripen and turn orange. Always select a pumpkin with a nice green stem (I always say that a pumpkin without a stem is like a Christmas tree without a star on top), but never handle a pumpkin by its stem because it can break off easily.

 

PREPARATION


Some people use Jack-o’-lantern pumpkins for cooking, but these were developed specifically to be oversized and thin-walled, with a huge seed pocket and a relatively small proportion of flesh. By contrast, the smaller sugar pumpkins, or pie pumpkins, will give you more meat for cooking purposes and often a better flavor and texture. Sugar pumpkins make an especially delicious pumpkin soup. For another interesting application, buy an extra sugar pumpkin, clean out the cavity, and use it as a tureen.

If you can find it, I suggest using a variety called cheese pumpkins for pies. They’re medium-to-large-sized pumpkins with very flattened shapes, a light tan shell and orange flesh. Found most readily at farm stands and throughout New England, cheese pumpkins make delicious pies, while regular pumpkins — particularly sugar and especially Jack-o’-lantern varieties — sometimes make a stringy filling.


DECORATING JACK-O LANTERNS


Instead of cutting and hollowing out a pumpkin for your Jack-o’-lantern, here’s a way to decorate pumpkins that’s different and colorful: Leave them intact and create a face using fresh vegetables. My mother used to decorate our pumpkins this way because it preserved the pumpkin, which she could then use in cooking after Halloween was over. Depending on what you use, you can give the pumpkins a wide range of personalities. I’ll never forget how my mother would use a carrot or parsnip to make a long, witchy nose, red peppers for lips, radishes for eyes, and string beans for eyelashes. Then she’d slice potatoes to make ears and make “hair” out of fennel tops. The result was unusual and very striking.

My wife, Bette, who’s quite artistic, picked up a lot of kitchen techniques from my mother, and she’s decorated pumpkins for my NBC segments that were really something to see.

 

Why Do We Carve Pumpkins?

Thought the Americans were the first to carve the orange fruit into freaky figures? Think again. Like most American folklore, this spooky ritual comes from our European ancestors. We’re a country of immigrants, so most of our traditions originate from outside the U.S.—and jack o’ lanterns are no different. The practice dates back to a centuries-old Irish myth about a man named “Stingy Jack.”

The Twisted Tale of Stingy Jack

According to the legend, Jack was a devious fellow who outsmarted the devil time and time again.  Jack,was the town drunk but had a clever side,and so he met the devil one fateful night. The duo shared a drink and, too cheap to pay for his booze, Jack convinced Satan to morph into a coin that he could use to pay for their beverages. As soon as he did, Jack put the coin in his pocket next to a silver cross. The devil was unable to change back into his original form, and Jack held him that way until Satan agreed not to take his soul. Sneaky!

Next, the shifty swindler convinced the devil to climb up a tree to steal a piece of fruit. He quickly carved the sign of the cross into the tree bark. Again, the devil couldn’t come down until he agreed not to bother Jack for another 10 years.

Shortly after his meeting with the devil, Jack died. As legend goes, God would not accept Jack into heaven and sent him down to visit the devil in hell. But the devil kept his promise. He wouldn’t let Jack into hell, either, and imprisoned him to an even darker fate. The devil sent Jack into the dark night to roam the world for eternity, with only a coal to light his way. Jack lit the coal, put it in a hollowed-out turnip and has been drifting through the world, scaring children ever since.

Townsfolk began to refer to this figure as “Jack of the lantern,” and shortly thereafter “Jack o’ lantern.” People began to carve their own lanterns out of turnips, beets, potatoes and eventually pumpkins in hopes of warding away any ghostly spirits.


The Tradition Today

Over time, the tradition reached American shores by way of mouth, and immigrants from various countries took their own approach to the ancient tradition. A chiefly American fruit, the pumpkin became our own adaptation of this European tradition, and it’s now a symbol of Halloween. As years went by, the spooky history behind this family tradition has been lost. So now carving pumpkins is synonymous with family and fun instead of spooky spirits.

This October, when you reach for a warm glass of cider and a carving knife, remember the spirit of Stingy Jack, and spook your friends and family with this ghostly tale!


Click link below for Halloween Pumpkin Show

https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Produce-Pete_-Pumpkins_New-York-497405681.html




HARD WINTER SQUASHES 10/06/18

 


From acorn to turban, winter squash are some of the most delicious and versatile ingredients of the season. Unlike summer squash, these are harvested in autumn when they are hard and ripe, and most varieties can be stored and enjoyed for use through the winter.  

 Cutting a winter squash can present an interesting challenge.

Years ago on WNBC, I did a segment on winter squash. I put on a  pair of goggles and heavy gloves and pulled a chain saw from under the counter.

It was a joke, but not too far off the mark. The problem is that the shell is very hard, the squash tends to roll, and the blade of a knife tends to slip off the smooth skin.

To avoid consumers from having to deal with this hassle at home, green grocers and supermarkets have increasingly offered more and more cut-up fruits and vegetables, though the price for this service can cost as much as triple that of an uncut item.

Coming from humble post-WWII beginnings like our family did, I remember my mom always cutting and preparing produce herself, and I encourage consumers to consider taking on this worthy challenge. As the fall weather starts to bring on a chill in the air, we look for something hearty, so here are a few of my favorite winter squashes. 


 ACORN SQUASH

 Acorn squash is small in size, typically weighing between one and two pounds, with orange-yellow flesh and thick, dark green and orange skin.

The flavor of Acorn squash has a mild, subtly sweet and nutty flavor. The skin is also edible.

Like most varieties of winter squash, acorn squash is really versatile. It can be baked, roasted, steamed, sautéed, or even cooked in the microwave


BUTTERNUT SQUASH
 This pear-shaped squash has a smooth, cream-colored exterior with bright orange flesh and comparatively few seeds

The flavor is the sweetest variety of winter squash.

 Butternut squash is extremely versatile. It's perfect for roasting and sautéing, or making a smooth purée or soup.


DELICATA SQUASH
Also known as sweet potato squash, this small cylindrical squash has thin cream- to yellow-colored skin with green stripes, and orange-yellow flesh. Delicatas are smaller than most winter squash, so they're quite easy to prepare and cook.

Delicata has creamy flesh with a mild flavor akin to sweet potatoes.

The skin on this small squash is edible, so don't worry about cutting it off. Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds, then you can either bake it as is, or cut it into slices which can be roasted, sautéed, or steamed. Delicata squash is also ideal for stuffing


HUBBARD SQUASH

 Hubbard squash is one of the largest varieties of winter squash. It has a hard, firm exterior that can range in color from deep green to gray or blue.

 Hubbard squash has a rich, sweet pumpkin flavor.

 While the hard exterior is generally discarded, the sweet orange flesh can be substituted for any other variety of winter squash. It's ideal for both cooking and baking, and is especially great for making pie.


SPAGHETTI SQUASH

 Spaghetti squash has a cylindrical shape with a firm exterior that ranges in color from pale cream to bright yellow. When you cook the squash, the moist flesh develops strands that resemble spaghetti

Spaghetti squash doesn't actually taste like spaghetti. It has a tender, chewy, fragile texture, and a very mild flavor. Unlike other winter squash varieties, it lacks sweetness.

Roast or steam it, then scrape out the strands. Top with marinara, pesto, or mix in other veggies, and eat it as you would spaghetti


SWEET DUMPLING SQUASH

 This small yellow squash, with bright orange to dark green striations, may be the cutest of the bunch

 The flesh is starchy and sweet, with a flavor that's reminiscent of corn.

 The small, single-serving size of this squash makes it ideal for stuffing and roasting.


TURBAN SQUASH

This large, decorative squash has an irregular turban shape with a dull-looking, bumpy exterior that can range in color from mottled green to orange and yellow.

 This large squash has a very mild, nutty flavor.

 Turban squash is most often used as a decoration, though you can use it in recipes in just about any way you use butternut, acorn, or other winter squash. Hollowed out, it makes a beautiful soup tureen.


 SELECTION AND STORAGE

All squashes should have a solid, heavy feel; a squash that feels light for its size may be soft and dehydrated inside. The hard shell of a winter squash should be undamaged, but the skin, unlike that of summer squashes, should be dull, which indicates that the squash was picked when fully mature. Make sure the stem is still attached, as a missing stem indicates that the squash has been in storage too long.

Never refrigerate squash unless it’s been cut, then wrap it in plastic and store it for only a day or two before using. The smaller the winter squash, the shorter its shelf life. Acorn squash, for example, should be used within two to three weeks of purchase. Some of the larger varieties of winter squash will remain sweet and tasty for as long as six or seven months if kept in a dry, cool (but not cold) place, out of direct sunlight.


PREPARING WINTER SQUASH

A kitchen saw or even a small saw will make short work of it, but another reasonably simple way to cut into a winter squash is to look for the area on the squash that has indentations or ribs. Lay the squash so that it’s steady, insert the point of a sturdy knife in a crease, give the handle a couple of taps with a hammer to start the cut, and then proceed as if you were cutting a watermelon, being extremely careful. Remove the seeds before cooking.

Smaller winter squash like acorn squash are best baked. Cut them in half, brush them with butter, sprinkle them with brown sugar, and bake them for about thirty minutes or until tender.

Very large squashes like butternut squash can be peeled, cut into chunks, and boiled for 10 to 20 minutes or until tender; the chunks can then be puréed or mashed and prepared as you would make mashed potatoes.

Spaghetti squash is best when it’s baked whole in a moderately hot oven for 1 to 1½ hours, depending on the size of the squash.

Pierce the squash in two or three places before baking to release the steam. After it’s done, cut it in half and use a fork to remove the flesh, which looks and handles like spaghetti. You can toss it with marinara sauce or top it with butter or cheese. Many people also like to eat spaghetti squash cold with a vinaigrette.

Winter squash is delicious added to soups and stews or sliced, battered and fried. Remember to pre-cook it in water until the flesh is tender-crisp before frying.


DID YOU KNOW  ???

 

  • Squash seeds make a delicious snack. Wash and dry the seeds with a paper towel. Don’t worry about removing all the stringy material as these will shrivel when roasted. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and drizzle with oil; mix the oil into the seeds with your hands to coat well. Sprinkle a pinch of salt or any other herbs or seasonings desired (if you prefer sweeter, try cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, or nutmeg). Roast at 275-300 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until seeds start to brown. It is preferred to cook seeds at a lower temperature in order to prevent the breakdown of the unsaturated fats.
  • Which squash skins can you eat? All winter squash skin is technically edible but the thinner the skin, the more pleasant the texture is, such as with delicata, acorn, and sweet dumpling. Thicker skins are usually too tough to chew and enjoy, so they might be saved instead to make a vegetable stock.
  • Winter squash is technically classified as a fruit, but for culinary purposes is treated like a vegetable.

    Enjoy these Winter Squashes and check out Bette's Recipies !!!


Click link below for Winter Squash Show


https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Produce-Pete_-Winter-Squash_New-York-495345111.html




 

BABY SEEDLESS GRAPES 09/15/18

 SMALLER IS SWEETER

In America, we think bigger is better, but here’s something that’s an exception to the rule — baby seedless grapes.

When I was a young boy selling produce off the back of my father’s truck in north Jersey, all seedless grapes looked like baby grapes, small but really sweet. (So sweet, in fact, that my father and uncle were able to make delicious wine out of them — not that it was on my approved drinking list at the time)!

As time went on, society started to buy with its eyes, not its taste buds, and began looking for grapes that had more size. Because these baby grapes were so small, they stopped being sent to market, but smart farmers knew how good they were and picked a few for their families and neighbors and all of a sudden there was a demand for them.

I always say that in the end, consumers drive the sales, not the farmers or wholesalers, but the person with the shopping cart who walks in the store looking for a certain item. So farmers started sending them to market and people loved them. In fact, I recently offered some to one of my grandsons, who put up his nose and said they’re too small. I said “Jake, try them,” and once he did, he ate the entire 1-pound container in one sitting and said “Poppy, these are great!”

The season for baby seedless grapes is late August until the end of September, so get them now while they’re available, and if you can’t find them in your store just ask your produce manager for them. Remember, you’re the boss!

BABY SEEDLESS GRAPES

A tradition takes place in California in the fall with the growing of baby seedless grapes from Thompson seedless grapes. This happens by letting the grapes grow naturally and not thinning them out. This process is usually initiated to make raisins, but over the past few years farmers have discovered that the fresh market for eating out-of-hand has come to enjoy the sweet, tender taste of these delicate grapes.

I got hooked on these grapes years ago and find them to be one of the sweetest and best-eating grapes of the fall season. This is really a seasonal grape, usually only produced in the fall when the sun is still strong and the weather starts to turn cool. Treat them like you would any other seedless grape and enjoy them, but remember they’re full of sugar so they won’t last long … so eat them, don’t store them!

STANDARD SEEDLESS GRAPES

There are basically three types of seedless grapes — white, red, and black. California Pearlettes usually arrive in early May. They’re round, very light green, and have a firm and crisp texture. Look for grapes that have a golden yellow undertone because they’re sweeter; ones that are very green are extremely tart and will make your mouth pucker. Since the season is six to eight weeks long, it’s best to wait a week or two after they first arrive before you buy them.

The familiar California Thompson seedless, another pale green grape, is among America’s favorites. Thompsons are larger, more oval than round, and have a sweeter taste and more tender skin and flesh than Pearlettes. Here, too, you should look for a grape that has a golden glow, which indicates ripeness. The Thompsons start coming in about a month after the Pearlettes and stay on the market a couple of months longer.

White grapes from Chile start arriving in December and tend to have a more-raisiny look compared to California varieties. Some people pass them up because they think they’re overripe, but they’re not; their golden color is a sign that they’re good and sweet.

Red seedless grapes, which arrive on the market after Thompsons, have become the most popular grapes around. A cross between the seeded Tokay and round seedless grapes, Red Flame varieties are firm and sweet with a very good, crisp texture. Ruby seedless types have a richer, deeper color than the Flame, but the grapes are smaller, with a shape like a Pearlette. They have a tougher skin and less flavor than Flames and are the last of the season for seedless grapes.

Black Beauty is a newer variety of seedless grape with a relatively short season. It doesn’t have quite the flavor that the other varieties do, but the Chilean black seedless grapes are better than those from California. Domestic black grapes are available in June and July, while Black Beauties from Chile are available in mid-winter.

Champagne grapes are probably the sweetest of all. These tiny red grapes are available virtually year-round because they’re cultivated everywhere, mainly for restaurant use. You’re most likely to find them in gourmet or specialty markets and are easiest to eat by putting a small branchful into your mouth, then pulling the stem out between your teeth to remove the grapes, sort of like eating an artichoke leaf.

SELECTION AND STORAGE

Look for plump, smooth grapes with good color. They should be 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, like the dusty bloom on blueberries, it’s 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.

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. Refrigerate them dry in a plastic bag and never wash them until you’re ready to eat; moisture will make them deteriorate very quickly. Grapes will last up to a week if properly stored in the refrigerator, but it’s best to eat them as soon as possible.

Following are some of my favorite tips for serving and enjoying grapes:

PETE'S TOP GRAPE PICKS

  • Grapes are great for out-of-hand eating or as a luncheon dessert, snack, or complement to wine and cheese.
  • In summer, toss grapes into salads or use grapes mixed into yogurt and cereals for a breakfast treat.
  • Garnish a breakfast plate of waffles or pancakes with grapes dipped in cinnamon sugar.
  • Freeze grapes and enjoy them as a dessert or low-calorie snack. They make great all-natural ‘popsicles’ and kids will love them!
  • To frost grapes, beat an egg white until frothy, dip grapes in the beaten egg white, and then roll in granulated sugar. Place on a wire rack to dry, about 15-20 minutes, and enjoy.
  • To peel grapes for a specific recipe or high-end aesthetic, start at the stem end and separate the skin from the pulp using a knife. For easy skin removal, dip grapes in boiling water for 30 seconds, then place in cold ice water.
  • Aside from being delicious, sweet, and easy to eat, grapes offer a broad range of health benefits, with their many phytonutrients (such as resveratrol) linked to the prevention of cancer, heart disease, and high blood pressure and the promotion of long life. So enjoy grapes year-round and especially the baby seedless variety during their short window this month — you’ll be glad you did!

Click link below for Baby Seedless Grape segment


https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Produce-Pete_-Baby-Seedless-Grapes_New-York-493379651.html

JERSEY MUSKMELONS 09/08/18

 

New Jersey grows a variety of cantaloupe called the Athena melon (years ago, we called them muskmelons), which are usually sweet with very soft flesh and are highly perishable.

I remember in our produce store growing up, my father would bring in loads of them in the summer, and you could smell their sweet scent for miles, but unfortunately, they would only last a day or two before they went bad.

That’s why most stores today sell popular California cantaloupes, which are high in sugar content and are good keepers that usually last up to a week.

Like many other households today with just two people, both of whom work, my wife, Bette, and I shop once a week and rely on produce to keep for weeks. However, since produce is meant to be eaten, not stored, we now depend on farmers and stores to offer produce that will last longer. This means picking and buying the product greener and not as ripe, which I’m not crazy about, but it’s a sign of the times.

SEASONS AND VARIETIES

Great fragrance is the hallmark of a good ripe cantaloupe, and the warm, rich, sweet summer smell of melons is always the first thing that hits me. Inexpensive and highly popular, 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’re best between June and September, when the California crop is at its peak. I think California grows the best cantaloupes, followed by Arizona, New Mexico and Texas. From December through February, cantaloupes will be imported from Central America; these aren't as good as summer cantaloupes from the U.S., but over the last few years, their quality has improved, and their price has become more reasonable.

Almost all cantaloupes commercially grown in California are of the ‘Hale’s Best’ varieties. Several strains are on the market, and each of them has a few distinct characteristics. Other varieties include Hymark and Mission.

SELECTION AND STORAGE

Color and, more importantly, fragrance — not softness at the stem end — indicates ripeness. A cantaloupe with a golden color and a 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, eventually 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.

If the stem end is rough with portions of the stem remaining, the melon was harvested prematurely. A 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.

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 during the summer, there’s no excuse for taking home a green melon, as in-season melons should have been picked fully mature and ripe, with little or no green showing.

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.

PREPARATION

I think melons have a better taste and 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 tightly fitting lid.

High in folate and vitamins A and C, cantaloupes are great eaten as is for breakfast or dessert or cut up with other melons and fruits in a salad. 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.

FARMS VIEW  MUSKMELONS

This week we are back at Farm's View Farm in Wayne , New Jersey so here's a little more information on Muskmelons grown right here on the farm.

The Muskmelons taste is attributed to the combination of flavor, texture, and sweetness. Sugars are pumped into the fruit from the leaves as the fruit matures. Once harvested, the fruit receives no more sugar, though changes in flavor and texture will continue. Therefore, it is better to leave melons on the vine as long as possible, so they can reach peak sweetness and the best taste. Cantaloupes (Muskmelons) When cantaloupess are beginning to ripen they will turn color, from a dull grayish green to a buff-yellow. Cantaloupess also develop a netting over the skin as they mature. Cantaloupes are harvested by the degree of “slip,” or ease of detachment from the vine. A melon at full-slip is one that is fully mature and at peak flavor. At full-slip, the cantaloupe will detach easily from the vine, leaving a clean stem scar. “Locally Grown” melons are usually harvested at full-slip, which is why they usually taste better than melons shipped in from other production areas. Those melons are harvested at quarter or half-slip, which means part of the stem detached from the fruit, but part remains. Although not at full maturity or peak sugar content, these melons are firmer and remain in good condition when shipped long distances. Full-slip melons are softer and do not ship well. In the home garden, there is no reason to rush cantaloupe harvest. Wait for them to reach full-slip. So that's why if there is a farm stand by you take advantage of getting a ripe muskmelon/cantaloupe and enjoy this great taste of summer

Click on link below for Muskmelon Show


https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Produce-Pete_-Muskmelons_New-York-492768201.html

NEW JERSEY WHITE AND YELLOW PEACHES 08/25/18


NEW JERSEY WHITE AND YELLOW PEACHES

 Peach production in New Jersey dates back to the early 1600’s. Jersey peach producers are experts in growing, packing, and shipping high quality peaches 

 Like most fruits, peaches originated in China and arrived in the United States via the Middle East and Europe. Tender, juicy and aromatic, peaches are thought of as a southern fruit, but California and New Jersey grow huge crops as well. In fact, any temperate area with a long enough growing season will produce peaches, and peaches grown in your area and picked fully ripe are usually your top choice. Of all the places they're grown, though, I think New Jersey peaches are the best.

        All New Jersey peaches are produced and packed within 250 miles of tens of millions of people. Peaches can be picked, packed and shipped to major consumer markets in a few hours. Thus, New Jersey peaches are fresher and transportation costs are less. Peaches spend less time in storage and transit.

New Jersey has ideal day and night temperatures to make the peaches a beautiful shade of red and background yellow. Many varieties developed in other states generally have more color when grown in New Jersey. The ideal weather along with being so close to the final market results in peaches with vibrant color and flavor.

New Jersey growers have invested in improved varieties, irrigation systems, and progressive thinning practices to grow fruit of the size desired by customers and consumers. 

 Most of us have no idea how much fuzz peaches have to begin with. Even though they've still got fuzz on them, 90 percent of it has been removed by the time you buy peaches at the market. When I was a kid, New Jersey was about 60 per cent farmland. We bought peaches from a man named Francis Johnson, who had a peach farm four or five towns away from us in Ramsey. I used to go there with my father to pick up peaches for our stand. Although the packing barn was a big red barn, it made me think of a white castle. Peach fuzz covered the whole barn; it was all over the place, completely blanketing the rafters in white, and drifts of fuzz were piled - early September. In the winter there are imports from Chile, but because ripe peaches are so fragile, they're nearly always picked green and have very little flavor. For the best peaches, wait until they're in season in your area; then get your fill. Peeled, sliced peaches freeze well, so you can put some away to enjoy when good fresh peaches aren't available 


  Selecting

When choosing peaches; use your eyes and your nose. Choose brightly colored fruit without traces of green, without bruising, and with a plump, smooth skin that shows no sign of wrinkling or withering. A really ripe peach will have a good fragrance. 

 From the outside, yellow and white peaches are distinguished by their skin color – deep yellow with a red or pink blush for the former versus pale and pink for the latter. Inside, the golden flesh of the yellow peach is more acidic, with a tartness that mellows as the peach ripens and softens. White-fleshed peaches are lower in acid and taste sweet whether firm or soft 


  Storing

Peaches picked hard-ripe but with good color will ripen if you leave them out on the counter, unrefrigerated, for two or three days or put them in a brown paper bag to hasten the process. Don't refrigerate until they're fully ripe, and then don't keep them in the refrigerator for more than a day or two. Like nectarines, peaches lose juice and flavor if they're refrigerated too long. 

  

Health and Nutrition

Peaches are a good source of fiber and vitamin A and C. Fresh, high-quality peaches are sweet tasting and low in calories, with one medium peach furnishing only about 37 calories. What a fantastic snack or guilt-free dessert! 

"Peaches, plums, and nectarines are a delicious way for everyone to get their 5-a-day," said Pat Baird, MA, RD, and author of The Pyramid Cookbook. "They are great sources of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and now we learn they are good sources of antioxidants which are important to good health and good skin." 

Summer fruits, like peaches and nectarines, are also very rich in antioxidants that help to maintain a great complexion. Antioxidants are substances that protect the body by eliminating free radicals, which cause cell damage and can contribute to aging. The sun brings out free radicals in the skin and antioxidants protect skin cells by counteracting free radical activity. 

"Summer tree fruits have long been considered a delicious source of nutrition, but the fact that the benefits extend to promoting healthy skin is great news for consumers, especially those interested in maintaining a peaches-and-cream complexion."


    Preparing

Peaches are great for out-of-hand eating. Leave the skins on for more nutritional value. When you need peeled peaches, you can easily remove the skins by dipping the whole peach into boiling water for ten or fifteen seconds, then immediately plunging it into cold water. You can then peel it like a banana. Peaches are delicious peeled, sliced, and marinated in the refrigerator with some sugar, then served either with plain light cream or over vanilla ice cream. Pies, cobblers, preserves, and ice cream are all traditional peach desserts. 


New Jersey Peach Industry Facts


· Approximately 150 peach producers grow 5500 acres of peaches in New Jersey.

· Over 40 peach shippers operate packinghouses capable of packing and marketing 55 to 60 million pounds of quality peaches 

· Yellow-flesh peaches are available from early July through mid to late September.

· White-flesh peaches are available from late July through mid September.

· Peaches and nectarines are available in standard ½-bushel packs as well as various specialty packs. 

· Truckload quantities come from growers in the southern counties: Gloucester, Camden, Atlantic, Cumberland, and Salem.

· Smaller growers disbursed throughout the state grow and distribute peaches through roadside retail markets, farmers’ tailgate markets, and through many of New Jersey’s top restaurants.

· The industry works closely with the Jersey Fresh program to maximize awareness of the quality and availability of New Jersey peaches – New Jersey peaches are Jersey Fresh…As Fresh As Fresh Gets.

· New Jersey peaches have a distribution advantage in that peaches can be picked, packed, and shipped the same day reaching markets in the eastern U.S. the same day, or by the next morning via overnight transit.  


Click on link below for N J Peach Show


https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Produce-Pete_-New-Jersey-Peaches_New-York-491709361.html

NEW JERSEY TOMATOES 08/18/18

The segment today was shot at Farms View Roadstand in Wayne, New Jersey, one of the last working farms in northwest New Jersey. The Kuehm family farm 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 your fresh fruits and vegetables get their start. Long days and hard work are what farming is all about. Today we are talking tomatoes, not just any tomatoes but Jersey tomatoes to my way of thinking the world’s best.  From heirlooms to the beefsteaks here is some information on my favorite fruit.


 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: 

  1. Never refrigerate! 
  2. Never refrigerate! 
  3. Never refrigerate! 

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.

Local tomatoes 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.

 

Simple Pleasures

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.


Click link below for New Jersey Tomato Show



https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Produce-Pete-Jersey-Tomatoes_New-York-491177101.html

NEW JERSEY EGGPLANTS 08/04/18

 

Did you know that New Jersey grows about 66 percent of the world’s eggplants?

It’s true! The majority of eggplant production is located in South Jersey, especially Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem and Atlantic counties, and smaller production sites are also located in Monmouth and Burlington counties.

Production is mainly for wholesale shipment to the eastern U.S. and Canada, depending on the time of year. A small volume of eggplants is produced in the northern part of the state for roadside stands and farmers markets.

Eggplants are harvested by hand one to two times a week depending on temperature. Because they need well-drained, sandy-loam soil to grow, New Jersey offers the perfect conditions for this purple plant.

 Ferrari Farms, R & R Flame Farms, and Scapellato Farms in South Jersey are huge eggplant growers and friends of mine.  There eggplants in the field are a beautiful sight.

When I was a young man running our produce store in Bergenfield, I would buy from my local farmers all summer long; I remember getting fresh peppers and eggplants picked that day at Binaghi Farm in Old Tappan, as well as at Smith Farms just over the border in New City, New York.

Farmers like Wally Smith and Ronnie Binaghi were more than business partners to me and my family —they were friends and felt more like extended family.

Fresh Jersey produce right off the farm is a treat that everyone should experience, so please support your local farmer, farm stand and local farmers markets all summer long.

Ever since I was 4 selling produce off the back of my father’s truck, I’ve understood that the farmer is the backbone of America. Although my childhood was hard and my family worked seven days a week, I wouldn’t have traded my life growing up for anything; looking back, they were truly the best years of my life.


Locally Grown Eggplant

Eggplants got their name because eggplants used to come in only one color--white. Hanging from the plant, they looked like eggs. The problem was that when they were shipped, they tended to bruise and scar easily. So the hybridizers went to work to develop an eggplant that wouldn't scar and in the process widened the variety. 

The eggplant is a member of the nightshade family. We're almost positive it originally came from India and spread to Europe by way of Africa. Italians were growing it by the fourteenth century, but you'll find that eggplant doesn't figure in northern Italian cuisine as it does in southern. That's because it needs heat to grow--heat and considerable irrigation. From Europe eggplants spread to the Americas and were being cultivated in Brazil by the mid 1600's. 

In some places the eggplant is known as the "mad apple"--from mala insana, meaning "bad egg" or "bad apple." Legend has it that an Indian traveler ate some raw eggplant, had a fit, and people thought the eggplant had poisoned him. Some people still think eggplants are poisonous. 

Early in the growing season, eggplants produce beautiful star-shaped blue-violet flowers. The eggplant is the berry that forms after the flower drops. 

Varieties

The most commonly available eggplant is a deep purple that's almost black. These range in size anywhere from four ounces to 1 1/2 pounds. 

The original white eggplant is now very trendy. It is generally smaller than the purple variety, and a lot of people say it's more-tender, but I don't really see any difference. It's more expensive than the purple kind because it's not cultivated as widely. 

All the varieties are good, but I'm particularly fond of the Spanish eggplant, which has purple and white stripes. These seem to be a little heavier in texture and taste. 

Season

Baby or Italian eggplants have long been popular on the East Coast; they're available in the summer months, with the peak in July through September. In sunnier climates they're available year round, but the supplies may be limited. 

Other varieties are generally available year round. 

Selecting

Round, oval, or pear-shaped, eggplants may be white, purple or striped. The flesh is firm and creamy white, with a lot of edible white seeds in the center. Baby or Italian eggplants are smaller, with a thinner skin. 

When choosing an eggplant, look for firm, shiny fruit that's heavy in the hand for its size. The top should be green and fresh-looking; a green cap with little spikes around the stems a sure tip that the eggplant is fresh. 

Next, look at the blossom end. If it has a round mark, it's a male. If the mark is oval--slightly elongated--it's a female. The females are firmer and have fewer seeds. The fewer seeds the eggplant has, the less bitter it will be. 

Now hold the eggplant in your hand. If it's large but feels light, it will be pulpy. Press the flesh gently with your thumb. If it leaves an indentation, pass that eggplant by. Unless you're making gumbroit, the eggplant should be firm, with no wrinkling or soft spots. If it's the purple variety, it should be smooth and shiny, not dull. 

Storing

Store at room temperatures on the cool side, or wrap loosely and store in the crisper drawer of your refrigerator. A firm eggplant will keep for several days. 

Preparing

Eggplant has a slightly bitter taste, especially when mature. To get rid of it, peel the eggplant (the skin is likely to be both bitter and a little tough), then slice it, sprinkle with salt, and allow it to drain in a colander for up to half an hour. In addition to purging the bitter juices, salting eggplant also helps keep it from absorbing oil when you sauté or fry it.

You can bread and fry eggplant or use it in dozens of different vegetable dishes. It's a good, filling substitute for meat in a vegetarian meal. Like my father, I love gumbroit, but my favorite dish is actually eggplant Parmesan, which my wife, Betty, makes with alternate layers of eggplant and zucchini. She also makes a wonderful eggplant rollatini--sliced eggplant rolled and filled and served with a tomato sauce. 

Mom's Lesson

When my father was a youngster, one of his favorite dishes was gumbroit, which is sort of like ratatouille, made with eggplant, squash, tomatoes, and other vegetables. Clean-out-the-refrigerator time. Everyone raved about Nonna's gumbroit. 

My mother was Irish, but she was the best Italian cook there ever was. Basically, it was my father's mother who taught her how to cook. There were only three things in the world that would make Mom angry: if you talked about her husband, if you talked about her children, or if you talked about her cooking. Whenever my mother made gumbroit, Pop would say, "That's good, but not as good as my mother's." It drove Mom crazy. She made it just the way Nonna taught her. 

For a long time she tried to figure out what she could be doing wrong. Pop was the twentieth of twenty children and the spoiled baby of the family. He was a very picky eater. My mother knew that. She also knew that with such a big family, my grandmother used to save money by buying fruits and vegetables that had spots or bruises on them. And when they were running their own store, Nonna would take home the stuff that the customers wouldn't buy. It finally dawned on Mom that this was what she was doing wrong. The spotted vegetables Nonna used were absolutely dead ripe. So Mom went down to the store, picked out all the spotted eggplants and squashes and tomatoes, and took them home to make gumbroit. My father absolutely loved it! 

The problem with most Americans is that they buy with their eyes. Sure, there are things you need to look for when you're buying fresh produce, but just because something looks perfect, it won't necessarily taste good. A winter tomato can be perfectly round and uniformly colored, but it's not going to taste like anything. As often as not your other senses--especially your nose--are going to tell you as much about fruits and vegetables as your eyes will. 


CLICK ON LINK BELOW FOR EGGPLANT SHOW


https://www.nbcnewyork.com/on-air/as-seen-on/Produce-Pete-Eggplantts_New-York-490062431.html

About Produce Pete

 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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