News from Our Organic Produce Department

February Produce News

This is the best time of the year to enjoy organic citrus!

This is the best time of the year to enjoy organic citrus!

What to Look for in Our Produce Department This Month:

In a sense, any fresh, organic produce in February is a miracle, at least in our corner of the world. Yet, Whole Earth has an amazing variety of fresh, delectable organic produce for all of your needs — whether its continuing a New Year commitment to healthy eating, serving up something special for your sweetheart, or feeding your body a good foundation of fruits and vegetables to keep your immune system strong enough to fight off winter colds. Our produce comes from a variety of organic growers and shippers, including organic and Fair Trade-certified farms in warmer climes, USA-grown produce from California, Arizona, and the Southeast, and even greenhouse-grown greens from Pennsylvania. February may be cold and still, but our produce shelves are fresh and alive!

Sweetheart Strawberry Sale! We have a special sale on 1 pound boxes of organic strawberries before Valentine’s Day.

Enjoy the organic citrus season while it lasts! Look for organic clementines, mandarins, tangelos, Cara Cara navels, blood oranges, pomelos, and Meyer lemons in our fruit case.

Meyer Lemons are slightly smaller than regular lemons and are sweeter and less acidic. And they have thin, smooth skin that is golden yellow with a slightly floral aroma. Meyer lemons (also known as Meyer Sweet Lemons) are quite refreshing — leaving a hint of tangerine on your tongue. Use Meyer lemons almost any way you would a regular lemon, but remember that less sugar is required in sweet recipes because the acidity is less intense. Flavor your ice water or hot tea with lemon. Add lemon juice to homemade vinaigrettes or right onto salads. Also, season fish, poultry and salads with Meyer lemons or regular lemons as a great alternative to salt.

Organic Kumquats from small-scale organic citrus groves in southern California are in peak season during January, February, and into March. Just give them a rinse under cold water and pop them in your mouth! Despite being one of the smallest citrus fruits, kumquats are big on flavor. Bursting with citrus intensity, these bite-sized citrus fruits have a sour-sweet flesh with edible skins. Eat them whole — rind, flesh, small seeds, and all. The flesh is acidic, yet the skin and pith bring out the sweetness. Your children might liken them to nature’s Sour Patch Kids candy.

Cara Cara Oranges look exactly like regular navels, but, once you peel them, the beautiful and exciting differences are revealed. Cara Cara oranges are seedless and have pink to light red flesh with straight-forward sweetness that is balanced by a mild strawberry to cranberry-like finish. Cara Caras are quite juicy and packed with Vitamin C. They’re also an excellent source of lycopene.

Organic Asparagus supplies are increasing out of Mexico. And, as spring creeps north across California’s farmlands, we will welcome the U.S. asparagus crop, which starts shipping in early March.

Organic Lady Alice Apples are a relatively new apple variety that is gaining popularity. Round and squat, that have a striking skin pattern of pink or red stripes on a yellow-orange background. The crisp, juicy flesh is generally sweet with an aftertaste that runs to tart; some have compared it to Honeycrisp. As an all-purpose apple, the Lady Alice is great for a wide range of uses. Its flavor and texture make it a good choice for a snack, or cut up raw into salads, especially since it does not brown easily when exposed to air. This apple’s firm texture also means it holds up well when baked. Lady Alice apples store well when kept in the refrigerator. In fact, the flavor of the Lady Alice is vastly improved with age. Purchase them now and store until March for richer, more complex flavor.

Start planning your organic garden! A regular sign of the promise of spring is the arrival of our Organic Seed Rack Display. When you’re ready to start planting, we’ve got the seeds you need — 144 of the most popular varieties of certified organic seeds from High Mowing Organic Seeds. Based in Wolcott, Vermont, High Mowing began in 1996 with just 28 varieties, many of which originated in founder Tom Stearns’ backyard. Since then, the company has grown exponentially, and what started as a one-man operation is now a thriving business making available to home gardeners and commercial growers over 600 heirloom, open-pollinated, and hybrid varieties of vegetable, fruit, herb, and flower seed. True to their roots, many of the varieties they sell are still grown on their 40-acre farm, setting them apart from most other seed companies.

Everyone who loves produce knows that “Food Miles” are important because the further an item has to travel to reach your plate, the more possibilities of aging, over-ripening, decay, and loss of freshness and nutrition. In reality, there are many variables in produce distribution. When handled carefully and efficiently, some items grown far away from New Jersey might arrive fresher and with better quality than items from a closer source. In filling our displays, however, we prioritize purchasing from local and regional farms whenever possible. Look for labels from Lady Moon, New Sprout, ECO (East Carolina Organics), Hepworth, and LFFC (Lancaster Farm Fresh Coop) in our greens and veggie cases. These are all east coast farms that do an exceptional job growing organic produce for our enjoyment and our health!