Mother’s Day is drawing closer and as it does we all will start searching out the perfect gift for our mothers, sisters, grandmothers, and other special moms in our lives. Here at The Fruit Company this is one of our favorite holidays! We work hard each year to design and provide a variety of special gifts for you to share with those close to you. One of the favorite’s here is our Decadent Springtime Tower. Filled wit the finest northwest grown pears and apples, gourmet Gouda cheese with Honey Wheat crackers, decadent shortbread cookies, licorice, toffee almond crunch popcorn and more. Nothing says Happy Mother’s Day like a tower of tasty treats. This tower includes free shipping and is on sale for $59.95No comments Digg this
The Golden Supreme Apple is one of the most popular and enduring apple varieties worldwide, and for just cause. Tasting mellow and sweet with a gentle tang, its slightly crisp texture and striking pale yellow color have garnered many lifelong fans. It can be difficult to find a perfect Golden as they are thin skinned and bruise very easily. Your best bet is enjoying one soon after harvest, when they are bursting with a warm and agreeable flavor and crispness.
West Virginia’s Clay County is reportedly the first place where these Golden
s were grown, as they were discovered there as a chance seedling in 1890. They were originally known as Mullin’s Yellow Seedling, but were renamed in 1916 and the rest is delicious history.
While eating a Golden fresh is always the best way to enjoy the full extent of its flavor, the delicate apples also do remarkably well in fresh cut salads as they resist browning. They also make great baking apples, especially as they’re so sweet that you don’t need as much sugar when using them in pies and desserts.
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In honor of the Sweet Sixteen fever this weekend we decided to post our own Sweet Sixteen competition! Go to facebook and vote between the eight matchups listed below featuring the best fruit direct from The Fruit Company® Happy voting!
This powerhouse fruit, in production since the 18th century, ripped through the competition in the early rounds knocking out top seeded favorites Honeycrisp Apples and Comice Pears. With overall four million tons produced last year, this berry clearly has support, but does it have what it takes to make it all the way to the finals?
A relative newcomer, Asian Pears have taken the United States by storm in the last few years, as evidenced by their quick victories over Passion Fruit and Baby Bananas. But many people still don’t know quite what to make of Asian Pears. Are they an apple or a pear? Do you cook with them or eat them fresh? This lack of familiarity may hurt them later in the tournament.
Knocked out in the first round by Strawberries, the Comice Pears were brought back by The Fruit Company CEO after the White Nectarines were found cheating; something about “juicing”. Once called the “Cadillac” of pears, do these soft and sweet pears still have the power to make it to the finals?
An underappreciated sibling of the Peach, Nectarines have made great strides in developing their own strength in recent years. Many commentators prefer the smoother skin over the fuzz of peaches and apricots. But can this trait take it to the finals, and what happens if Nectarines are forced to face off against Peaches?
Commanding an amazing 34% of all pear production in the Unites States, Anjou (or D’Anjou) Pears are the true workhorse of the tournament. No flash, no storied history, the Anjou Pear simply gets the job done and is enjoyed by many. Will the classic hardworking Anjou Pear beat out the flashier and more perishable competitors?
The underdog of the tournament, Ugli Fruit has the worst appearance and even poorer recognition. The Ugli Fruit did however manage to best popular Bosc Pears and Jonagold Apples and outlasted all other citrus except Tangelos to make it to the Sweet Sixteen. Once people experience the Ugli Fruit for themselves, they are hooked, blown away by its flavor and humble mystique.
With a history as old as time itself, the Pomegranate is poised to power its way to the finals. A bonafide superfood, the Pomagranate regularly makes headlines in the health and wellness world. With its anti-oxidizing ferocity and widespread popularity, will the Pomegranate be unstoppable?
Dark, mysterious and full of flavor, Bing Cherries are a dominant stone fruit player in the competition. But will the fact that they are only available a couple months out of the year heightened their buzz or cause them to burn out early?
Named for the German word for “trout”, Forelle Pears are beautiful and elegant, and gracefully swept past rival Granny Smith Apples and Quince. What they lack in size and physicality, the more than make up for in appearance and style, and any fruit would be foolish to dismiss them as a challenger.
The Pink Lady Apples hade a couple of close calls against the exotic Starfruit and sugary sweet Seckel Pears, but managed to make it to the Sweet Sixteen. Look for them to foster their avant garde texture and bright colors in their battle to the finals. The Pink Lady Apples may not have the recognition that the other apples in the tournament have, but don’t count them out yet.
Also known as Honeybells, Tangelos are a hybrid fruit combining the power and flavor of grapefruit and tangerines. Recognized by their odd shape and vibrant color, Tangelos are the favored citrus fruit in the competition. They have a tough fight ahead, but are supported by two of the largest states, Florida and California.
The prima donna of the tournament, Rainier Cherries are fragile, temperamental, and absolutely amazing! While they had an easy couple of rounds against the unknown Custard Apples and erratic Apricots, Rainier Cherries are an extremely popular fruit and favored by many against the other stone fruits in the competition.
While Fuji Apples don’t have the history of heirloom varieties or the recent popularity of apples like the Honeycrisp or Pink Ladies, they prove year after year that they have the flavor and crunch to be a formidable opponent and fan favorite. Will their reliability and sweetness be able to carry them to the finals?
You can definitely say that Kiwi are unique in the competition. There is nobody else that looks, tastes, or performs like they do, making the Kiwi a force to be reckoned with since its introduction to the United States in the 1950s. Love them or hate them, the Kiwi are in it to win it.
One of the most popular fruits in the world, Peaches are sure to put on an impressive show in their march to the finals. But having faced two citrus fruits early with Navel Oranges and Kumquats, are Peaches set to fall in a competition dominated by stone fruit?
There are very few fruits more recognizable and enjoyed in the tournament than Watermelon. A picnic favorite, Watermelons are practically synonymous with summer time fun. Their size and thick rind could pose a problem however against smaller more versatile fruits.1 comment Digg this
If you happen to be in the company of your gift giver, a verbal thank you is all that is required of you. A follow-up thank you note is a very gracious gesture of thanks, but by no means necessary.
Try to send the thank you note as soon as you can, especially if you received the gift by mail so the sender knows that you did in fact receive it. Make sure to address the note to whoever signed your gift’s card, and always mention the gift specifically. If you’re thanking someone for an event such as a dinner party, address it to the host and possibly anyone else that might have helped with the occasion.
There is never a wrong way to write a gift card, just remember to speak genuinely from the heart. Taking the time to write your note by hand, especially in the age of emails and cell phones, really adds a special touch. You don’t need to write an essay—keep it brief and to the point.
If you’ve sent a gift to someone who is ill, possibly a patient in the hospital, proper etiquette dictates that a thank you card from them isn’t necessary until they are well enough to write one, for obvious reasons.
The phrase “better late than never” certainly applies to thank you cards. While you really should send one as soon as possible, a nice note or letter is appreciated at any time. In fact, you probably have a few people you should be thanking right now, don’t you think?No comments Digg this
Spring in the Hood River Valley means two things: orchards full of delicate blossoms and the inevitable frosts that threaten them. Weather monitoring allows fruit growers to keep a closer eye on the temperature during this time of year, and if at night it dips below freezing alarms will sound and people rush into the orchards to protect the sensitive blooms. For decades the main line of defense was diesel-fueled smudge pots that are placed amongst the trees and used to chase away the cold. In more recent years gigantic fans can also be used to push the rising warm air back to the earth and displace the cold drafts.
Here at The Fruit Company we are proud to that our orchard operation has gone entirely propane with our smudge pots. Instead of adding to the diesel pollutants in the air we are now burning propane gas, which is drastically better for our environment.
Pollination is also incredibly important during the blooming season. Honeybee hives are placed in the orchards in order to pollinate the blossoms and ensure a bountiful crop in the autumn. Many blocks of pear trees have crabapple trees interspersed throughout as they are more attractive to the bees and it prevents them from straying and seeking other flowers in the vicinity. Once the honeybees are done pollinating an orchard their hives are moved to another orchard to continue to process, oftentimes with many different fruit growers sharing the same bees in a season.
Besides propane smudge pots and natural pollination, we are also utilizing a new innovative planting style in our orchard operations that will not only increase fruit production but also improve the safety for all employees working in the orchards and conserve land use in our beautiful Hood River Valley.No comments Digg this
To go along with the celebration of American Heart Month, we decided to create a healthy, yet tasty dish. Our main dish was roasted salmon with a shallot grapefruit sauce, and we decided to kick it up a notch and include a side order of watercress salad with grapefruit, olives, and fried sage.
According to the American Heart Association, fish should be eaten twice a week as part of a healthy diet. Loaded with Omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, and protein, salmon has been shown to benefit everything from cholesterol to brain function. Combine this with the healthy citrus power of grapefruit, throw in a little ginger and honey, and you have a delicious and healthy meal everyone will enjoy.
For those that find the flavor of grapefruit a little overpowering, I would recommend cutting the segments into smaller pieces, maybe one inch or smaller. The sauce is delectable but deceivingly rich, a little goes a long way. And while the directions don’t state this, wrapping the salmon in foil to bake will help it from drying out and give you a few extra minutes to finish cooking your sauce.
If you have trouble finding watercress you can substitute with arugula. For those of you on the east coast or in the south you can find watercress at most grocery stores and markets. We are not as lucky in the Northwest. This salad is a wonderful blend of ingredients and a nice twist on a tradition dinner or garden salad. One word of warning however is that fresh sage (especially fried) is very strong; set it to the side and let your diners add to taste.
Roasted Salmon with Shallot Grapefruit Sauce Ingredients
- 4 skinless salmon fillets, 5 to 6 ounces each
- 1/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
- 2 ruby red grapefruits
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon minced shallot
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
- 2 1/2 teaspoons honey
- Pinch cayenne pepper
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced basil leaves
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Season the salmon with 1/4 teaspoon salt, place in a baking dish and roast until cooked through, about 18 minutes.
3. While the salmon is cooking prepare the sauce. Cut 1 of the grapefruits into sections by cutting off the top and bottom of the fruit, then standing it on 1 end, cut down the skin to remove the pith and peel. Then, with a paring knife, remove each segment of fruit from its casing and cut the segments in half. Set the segment pieces aside. Juice the other grapefruit and set the juice aside.
4. In a medium skillet, heat the oil over a medium heat. Add the shallot and saute until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the ginger, grapefruit juice, honey, and cayenne pepper and bring to simmer. Cook until sauce is reduced by about half about, 10 minutes. Add lemon juice and season with salt, to taste. Right before serving, toss the grapefruit pieces and basil into the sauce. Put the salmon onto a serving dish. Spoon sauce over the salmon and serve.
Watercress Salad with Grapefruit, Olives, and Fried Sage Ingredients
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup fresh sage leaves
- 1 grapefruit, peel and pith cut off
- 2 teaspoons white-wine vinegar
- 2 teaspoons garlic cloves, crushed with the flat side of a large knife
- 1/8 teaspoon coarse salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 bunch watercress (4 ounces), tough stems discarded
- 1/4 cup brine-cured green olives, pitted
1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a small nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add sage, and turn with a wooden spoon to coat in oil. Cook until crisp but not brown, about 30 seconds. Immediately transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain.
2. Set a fine sieve over a bowl. Working over sieve to catch juices in bowl, cut grapefruit segments from membranes, letting them fall into sieve. Squeeze remaining juice from membranes through sieve into bowl. Coarsely chop or break grapefruit segments into 1-inch pieces.
3. Stir together 3 tablespoons grapefruit juice, the vinegar, garlic, salt, and pepper. Whisking constantly, add the remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in a slow, steady stream and then whisk until emulsified.
4. Just before serving, remove garlic from vinaigrette. Toss watercress with grapefruit, olives, and vinaigrette. Garnish with sage leaves.
As winter spreads snow throughout the orchards here in the Hood River Valley, it’s easy to see the beginning of the growth process starting. All the leaves of last year disappear between a fresh layer of snow that covers even the deepest tractor rut. The year starts new and with it the cycle begins for these fruit trees.
Winter has a way of doing that. It’s the start of a new year which means new possibilities, experiences, and simply put, life moves forward. We hope you have a wonderful winter and wish you the best in your journey through all that this wonderful new year holds for you.
As the day winds to a close, guests preparing to leave, the Packers and Bears game in its final quarter, the kids playing with their new favorite toys (if they are still awake), the Christmas Feast has reached its final course. After the outstanding, if somewhat overwhelming, turkey and stuffing combination, it’s time for something a little more austere yet elegant. No pies, cakes, or other heavy baked goods, just a beautifully caramelized pear complimented by old fashioned vanilla bean ice cream.
While it may sound simple, making your own caramel and hazelnut butter can be a challenge and you have to watch the consistency and temperature on both. You also want to make sure that you chose ripe pears since they will not soften much when cooked for only 15 minutes. If everything goes well however, you will have an amazing dessert; the perfect end to a perfect day.
3 firm, ripe Bosc pears
1 cup sugar
½ cup water
1 vanilla bean, split and scraped
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar or squeeze or fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup hazelnuts, lightly toasted and skinned
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
Peel and halve the pears, leaving the stem intact on one of the halves. Set aside.
To make the caramel, place the sugar, water, and vanilla bean seeds in a nonreactive, shallow, wide, heavy-bottomed saucepan with a lid. Add the cream of tartar or lemon juice and stir together until the sugar is completely moistened. Heat the mixture over medium heat, covered, until the sugar has completely dissolved and the syrup begins to bubble. Remove the lid, increase the heat slightly and allow the syrup to boil undisturbed until it turns golden in color. Add the butter and swirl until combined and color is uniform.
Carefully place the pear halves in the caramel, cut side down. Cook over medium heat, occasionally basting the pears with caramel, until the sauce begins to attach itself to the pears and give them color, about 15 minutes. Carefully transfer the pear halves to a small sheet tray lined with foil or parchment paper and drizzle with the remaining caramel sauce. Cool at room temperature.
While the pears are cooling, make the hazelnut butter. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spread the hazelnuts on a small pan. Toast the nuts until they are lightly golden and aromatic, about 8 minutes. Cool completely, set aside ¼ cup and transfer the remaining ½ cup hazelnuts to a blender or food processor. Add the olive oil, sugar, and salt and blend briefly on low speed. Gradually increase the speed until a smooth paste forms, adding water a tablespoon at a time to achieve the right consistency, slightly looser than peanut butter. (The hazelnut butter should coat the back of a spoon.)
To serve, lightly crush the reserved hazelnuts with the back of a sauté pan being certain to leave them coarse. Drain excess caramel from pear halves, coat them with hazelnut butter and roll in the crushed nuts. Serve warm or at room temperature with vanilla ice cream or lightly whipped cream.
Makes 6 servings.
Recipe courtesy of usapears.org1 comment Digg this
Main and Side Dishes: Roasted Turkey Rubbed with Jalapeno, Fresh Sage and Orange Butter and Bread Stuffing with Pears, Bacon, and Caramelized Onions
This is the moment everyone has been waiting for all day. After the exuberant and frenzied unwrapping of presents, after the trips outside to play in the snow, after the unique and tasty starter dishes, it has come down to this; the main course, the pièce de résistance. While we like to mix things up, push fruit to its culinary boundaries and share our recipe stories, we also have a strong sense of tradition. For many Americans, no Christmas dinner is complete without turkey, and we kind of feel the same way. But while we may have chosen a traditional dish, we of course are going to mix things up and feature fruit in every aspect of this Christmas Feast.
We begin with the turkey. Basted with fresh pressed orange juice, butter, orange zest, jalapenos and sage leaves, this tropical inspired dish will become an instant classic. Basting takes work, but the result is culinary perfection; meat that falls off the bone, flavored throughout by the perfectly spiced orange jalapeno rub. While you want to make sure to remove the jalapeno seeds, the turkey is not overly spicy instead absorbing all of the rich jalapeno flavor. The sage balances the powerful flavors of the orange and jalapeno and provides that classic smell and taste. The recipe called for the turkey to be roasted at 450 degrees before reducing the heat to 375. We found this a little too hot unless you prefer your bird’s skin to be dark and crispy. Setting the oven to 350 and cooking for twice as long makes for a more balanced dish and really allows the flavors to permeate the meat.
Orange juice is all fine and good, but what about some real fresh fruit thrown into the mix? While apple stuffing recipes are common, pear stuffing is a little more unique. We chose Green D’Anjou Pears as they hold up well when cooked without having the gritty texture of Bosc Pears. This recipe was another one from our friends at USA Pears and is one of the best tasting stuffing recipes you will ever try. Call us nostalgic, but we like to stuff the turkey instead of cooking the stuffing separate. This allows both dishes to flavor each other, and the jalapeno orange essence of the turkey definitely enhanced this already outstanding dish. The amount of liquid was a little too much, especially if you stuff the bird. We actually added some left over crostini to absorb and balance the four cups of chicken broth. Regardless of how you cook it, the stuffing is the perfect counterpoint to the turkey, and you may find yourself without any leftovers the next day.
To complement and complete the meal we chose a bottle of Sheffield Harvest Crush Cider. This non-alcoholic apple and wine grape cider is produced by a local northwest company and a favorite at The Fruit Company. Check out all of our brand new cider gifts featuring this cider on our cider and fruit gifts page at thefruitcompany.com.
Roasted Turkey Rubbed with Roasted Jalapeno, Fresh Sage and Orange Butter
2 cups fresh orange juice (we used fresh pressed Navel Oranges)
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
3 jalapenos, roasted peeled, seeded
¼ cup fresh sage leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 fresh turkey (16 pounds)
Put orange juice in a small nonreactive saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until reduced about 1/4 cup. Let cool to room temperature.
Put the butter, cool orange syrup, zest, jalapeno and sage in a food processor and process until smooth, season with salt and pepper. Scrape into a bowl. Can be made 1 day in advance and stored, covered in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before using.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Remove neck and gizzard from the turkey and discard. Rinse the bird thoroughly with cold water and pat dry. Rub the entire surface with 1/2 of the butter. Season the skin and the cavity liberally with salt and pepper. Truss the turkey and place on rack in a large roasting pan.
Roast the turkey for 30 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 375 degrees and continue roasting for 1 1/2 hours or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F, brushing with the remaining butter every 15 minutes. Remove the turkey from the oven and let rest for 20 minutes before carving.
Makes 6 servings.
Recipe courtesy of foodnetwork.com
Bread Stuffing with Pears, Bacon, and Caramelized Onions
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
10 cups unseasoned dry bread cubes
8 ounces bacon, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 ¼ pounds frozen pearl onion, thawed and blotted dry
1 tablespoon golden brown sugar
3 large ribs celery, chopped
2/3 cup minced fresh parsley
1 ½ tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 ½ tablespoons minced fresh sage
1 ½ teaspoons salt
Freshly ground pepper
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
4 cups canned low-sodium chicken broth
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Coat a deep 9-by-13-inch baking pan with the butter. Place the bread cubes in a very large mixing bowl. In a 10-inch saute pan, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp. Using a slotted spoon drain the bacon and add to the bread in the bowl. Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat from the pan, reserving the extra. Add the onions to the pan and saute over medium-high heat, stirring frequently, until soft and lightly browned, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle the sugar over the onions and saute, stirring constantly, until the onions turn golden and the edges caramelize, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add to the bread in the bowl.
Return the pan to medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of the reserved bacon fat and swirl to coat the pan. Add the pears and celery and saute, stirring frequently, until softened, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the parsley, thyme, sage, salt, and a few grinds of pepper, and saute 1 minute longer. Add this mixture to the bread cubes, and stir to combine. Add the beaten eggs and stock to the bowl, and mix well. Place the stuffing in the prepared pan and bake, uncovered, until the top is lightly browned and crusty, about 1 hour.
Makes 12 servings.
Recipe courtesy of usapears.orgNo comments Digg this
As you announce the next course, you receive a few sighs or raised eyebrows at the news of a salad. After all, this is Christmas, the day when butter, sugar, and cream make every dish better and the activities don’t end until everyone is passed out in a food coma with sugar plums dancing in their head. But fear not, this potato salad is anything but ordinary with spicy mustard, onions, garlic, and crisp tart Granny Smith Apples. The original recipe didn’t even call for fresh apples, but it was such a unique recipe that we had to try it. We believe every dish is better with fresh fruit and this was no exception. The balance of sweet, crunchy, creamy, and spicy will have your head spinning; a veritable Christmas culinary potpourri. Making the dish is very straight forward, probably the easiest out of all the recipes in the Christmas Feast , especially since you can make this salad hours or even a day in advance and store it in the fridge.
3 pounds red potatoes, scrubbed well and cubed
2 tart apples (we used fresh Granny Smith)
¾ cup mayonnaise
½ Creole mustard
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 small Vidalia onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Place the cubed potatoes in a large pot of cold salted water. Bring to a boil. Cook potatoes until they are fork tender. Drain in a colander and let cool.
In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, mustard, apple cider vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper.
Once cool, add potatoes to a large bowl. Add chopped onions, celery, and garlic. Pour the dressing over the potatoes and mix well. Season with salt and pepper, if needed.
Makes 6 servings.
Recipe courtesy of foodnetwork.comNo comments Digg this