Organic Red Beets, COKE FARMS, San Juan Bautista, CA
Sweet, earthy and colorful, red beets are a member of the Chenopodiaceae family, along with carnations, chard, spinach, and Venus fly traps. The deep rich color is due to betalian pigments, which are also thought to support the body's detoxification process. However, betalians are very heat sensitive; cook the roots until just fork tender.
The beet roots are an excellent source of vitamin C, fiber and many essential minerals. The leafy greens are rich in beta-carotene, iron and calcium. To best store beets, remove and use the beet greens as soon as possible, leaving about a 1 inch stem on the beet roots. Keep the greens no more than 1 or 2 days, wrapped loosely in damp paper towels and refrigerated. Roots will keep for more than 1 week in a bag in the fridge.
Before handling either cooked or raw beets, we recommend wearing rubber gloves to avoid staining of your hands.
Organic Cucumber, GREEN SOLAR FARMS, CA
Although widely considered a vegetable, cucumbers are, strictly speaking, a fruit. In the same family as melons and squashes, cucumbers are the fourth most widely grown vegetable in the world (behind tomatoes, cabbage and onions.) Now grown on every continent except Antarctica, cucumbers were first cultivated in India nearly 3,000 years ago.
Low calorie, with a high water content, and rich in Vitamins K & C, raw cucumbers are a quick and crunchy addition to salads. Cucumbers are best stored tightly wrapped in plastic or foil, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. If only part of a cucumber is used, wrap the remaining portion tightly to plastic to minimize moisture loss, and use within 1 day.
Both organically grown and conventionally grown cucumbers may be waxed. Peel the cucumber before use to avoid the wax; however, under organic regulations, only non-synthetic, chemical free waxes may be used on organically grown cucumbers.
Organic Leeks, SHINGAI, San Juan Bautista, CA
Resembling a giant scallion, leeks are a staple in European cooking. Used to add complexity and depth to dishes, leeks are delicate, sweet and succulent. A relative of garlic, shallots and onions, pair leeks with delicate cream sauces, butter, and fish.
Rich in Vitamins A, C, and K, plus Folate, Manganese, and fiber, store leeks for 4 or 5 days in the refrigerator, loosely wrapped in a damp towel in a plastic bag. Leave untrimmed until just before use.
Rinse leeks thoroughly before use, as their thick stalks easily trap dirt and grit. Before use, trim the roots at the base as well as discard any damaged outer leaves.
Organic Escarole, COKE FARMS, San Juan Bautista, CA
A member of the chicory family, escarole is characterized by its dark green curly outer leaves with a distinct bitterness, that reveal increasingly lighter and sweeter leaves inside. The heartier outer leaves are perfect for braising or in soups, while the more tender inner leaves are the perfect addition to salads. Escarole is a good source of dietary fiber, Vitamins A, C & K Folate, Calcium and Iron. As a dark, leafy green, Escarole is packed with antioxidants and beta-Carotene and believed to have similar anti-cancer properties to Kale and Spinach. Store loosely wrapped escarole in damp paper towels in a bag in the fridge for 3 to 4 days.
Organic Mixed Heirloom Tomatoes, COKE FARMS, San Juan Bautista, CA
Heirloom tomatoes are defined as a variety that has been around for more than fifty years and can reproduce itself from seeds. Heirlooms tend to be quite fragile - with thin skin, meaty flesh, and fewer seeds - all of which increases its sweetness and depth of flavor.
Heirloom tomatoes are best when prepared simply. Slice and drizzle with balsamic, olive oil and a dash of salt for an stunning tomato salad plate or puree with fresh herbs to make gazpacho. An excellent source of both Vitamins A and C, tomatoes are low in calories and high in minerals and fiber. Cooked tomatoes are also a great source of lycopene, which may have anti-cancer and pro-eye health qualities.
Store unwashed in a cool dry place, but not the fridge. Chilling tomatoes negatively affects a tomato's sweet flavor and plump texture.
Additional Fruit: Organic Red Raven Plums, RED RAVEN FARMS, Kingsburg, CA
Vegetarian: Local Wildflower Honey, CLIFFORD FAMILY FARM, Provo, UT
Organic certification is provided by California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF). CCOF has been helping to create and maintain extremely high standards in organic farming since 1973.