By Heidi Lewis Hello, my name is Violet Beauregarde. You may remember me from Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? I was the kid who chewed a lot of gum—and I mean A LOT—and while visiting Mr. Wonka’s factory, I got excited and grabbed one of his inventions. Short story shorter, the dang gum [...]
Storage TipsBlueberries are picked ripe and should be enjoyed as soon as possible. To store, keep in the fridge, but don’t wash them until you’re ready to eat (or freeze) them
By Heidi Lewis 1913 was a crazy time. It was the year Igor Stravinsky and Vaslav Nijinsky staged the ballet The Rite of Spring. Nowadays, we are accustomed to the dissonance and seemingly tonal chaos of Stravinsky’s famous piece. It has been rolled into many cinematic scores, including Fantasia, but a hundred years ago in [...]
By Heidi Lewis Springtime mandarin season makes me think of the Full Moon Fairy. I first heard about her when my daughter came home from kindergarten and announced that a fairy would be visiting us—every full moon. Ah, another late night visitor to add to the guest list. I was already pressed to remember to [...]
By Heidi Lewis Do you have a high-pressure task ahead of you? Something you’ve worked toward and prepared for? A critical test, presentation, golf putt, field goal? Cognitive scientist Sian Beilock says, relax and “think about the journey, not the outcome.” She outlines her study and advice in her book Choke: What the Secrets of [...]
By Heidi Lewis The cuckoo clock at the Greenwich Mean Time offices popped its head out at 11:02 a.m. on March 20, letting all us inside people know that it’s officially spring. For the outside world, the tightly wound mechanisms of nature’s internal clock are springing plants into action. Petals and birdsong may fill the [...]
By Heidi Lewis [The Green Room – Children’s Television Department] Bunny: “What’s with all the bits of fabric everywhere?” Bob: “Count von Count from Sesame Street and Count Chocula got into a heated debate. The Count was trying to count the blood oranges in the FruitGuys crate, and Chocula was trying to eat them.” Bunny: [...]
Preparation TipsThe beautiful skin of blood oranges is often not easy to peel. You may find the best way to eat them is to slice them into segments—better to sink your fangs into.
Storage TipsKeep blood oranges at room temperature and out of direct sunlight for up to a week, or store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.
By Gretchen Bay As winter draws slowly to a close and we move closer to spring, our East Coast fruit crates will feature some of the season’s last local apples! Look for beauties such as Jonagold, Cameo, Pink Lady, and Gold Rush apples from local growers Three Springs Fruit Farm (Aspers, PA), and Beechwood Orchards [...]
By Heidi Lewis How’s the old saying go again? “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb”? Or is it the other way around? March’s seasonal unpredictability requires farmers to be prepared for a wide variety of growing conditions. Their jobs include tending to tiny baby seedlings in warm greenhouses until [...]
By Heidi Lewis Play-by-play announcer, Joe, and his trusty color commentator, Bo, stand on the sidelines of Time. Joe: “Well, Bo, here we are again—another spin of the zodiac. This is exciting! Children clutching bright red envelopes, piles of mandarins brightening up the place, and concussions of firecrackers sound like applause greeting the Year of [...]
By Heidi Lewis Grapefruit will not be ignored. If you dig into one, you are just as likely to get a clownish squirt in the eye as to have your other senses treated to a trumpeter’s storm of fragrance and color. The aroma of a grapefruit can hit high notes Maynard Ferguson can’t reach. It [...]
Preparation TipsServe in the classic style—cut through the equator and spoon out its segments—or “supreme” grapefruit by cutting away peel and pith and slicing out the juicy segments from between the membranes. Most grapefruit these days is sweet enough as-is and doesn’t need sugar.
Storage TipsGrapefruit will keep on the counter for a few days or in the fridge for a week or two.
The Season of the Navel Orange, Grapefruit, and Mandarin By Heidi Lewis The bright sunshine of citrus has begun streaming in! Although ostensibly citrus is available year-round, a series of citrus characters will step in and out of the citrus odyssey. We like to give them heroic epithets as Homer gave his gods and goddesses [...]
By Gretchen Bay Shakespeare and his contemporaries called these gems “leather-coats.” The Victorians prized them for their look, texture, and taste, and often depicted them in works of art. And lucky for us, russeted apples are still a special treat that we can enjoy today. Russeting is a brownish, corky or netlike texture that ranges [...]
Pomegranates, persimmons, and pumpkins! By Heidi Lewis You know what’s happening this season? Professor Pumpernickel is coming to the Palladium with his penguins? Nope. They’re showing The Perils of Pauline in Panorama? No. Polka-palooza? No. Perseids? Nope. Pah…then what? Pomegranates, persimmons, and pumpkins from The FruitGuys is what! The harvest of fall’s jewel-toned fruit has [...]
by Chris Mittelstaedt, Founder & CEO, The FruitGuys The FruitGuys supports California’s Prop 37, the “Right to Know” GMO (genetically modified organism) labeling initiative. This issue is important to Americans everywhere, not just in California. YES ON 37—WHY? We believe in transparency. Labeling GMO products and allowing consumers and companies to choose whether or not [...]
By Heidi Lewis I have them. You have them. We all have them. Imperfections. The keen fruit observer will notice that commercially grown fruit is generally quite uniform, and fruit from smaller, local farms often isn’t. For example, family farm–grown apples, compared to those produced in a big agricultural operation, may come out with imperfections—stems [...]
By Heidi Lewis Can you smell it? Can you feel it? Is it the way the light shifts or how the little events in your day change—traffic patterns, morning routines, a heavier jacket? Thoreau wrote in his first book, A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers: “That night was the turning-point in the season. We [...]
By Gretchen Bay Described as “knock-your-socks-off-good!” by FruitGuys buyer Misi Katoa, CandyCots are a uniquely sweet group of apricot varieties grown exclusively by a family-owned, fourth-generation farming collective based in Modesto, CA. The company is helmed by Chris Britton and Paul Konynenburg—the two still work alongside their fathers, who have been partners since the 1960s! [...]
By Gretchen Bay It’s officially summer. And summer means (among other delicious things)—plums! Unlike their stone-fruit cousins peaches and nectarines (which come with white or yellow flesh and skin typically in the yellow-red spectrum), plums come in a wide variety of colors, mainly red, purple, yellow, black, and green. Their flavors range from candy-sweet to [...]
Babies on Board By Heidi Lewis Oh de bitty babies, so cherubic in their little baskets. Heavenly creatures, berries were flowers before they incarnated into sweet gems that dance on our tongues. Berries are the babies of summer, triggering synapses and opening pathways to good memories. They’re the delicate fruit that are most often anthropomorphized [...]
Preparation TipsBerries absorb water, so give a very quick spray rinse right before eating and dry gently on toweling (wet berries in the fridge will mold). Sweet and good for you, berries are a fruit made in heaven.
Storage TipsTransfer unwashed berries to a paper towel–lined container, removing any spoiled or smashed berries. Store in the coldest section of the fridge.
By Heidi Lewis You know what sweet summer cherries like? They like winter. That’s when they catch up on a little shut-eye and wake up refreshed. Many stone fruits and pomes need the chill hours to produce a good season of leaf, buds, and fruit. But man, when they’re ready—bada boom! Cherry season is here. [...]
By Gretchen Bay “The Prunus family is so wantonly profligate, dallying with any sibling, cousin, and even offspring that chances by, it is surprising they aren’t illegal in some states.” —Jack Straub, 75 Remarkable Fruits For Your Garden Yes, the Prunus, or stone fruit family, which includes cherries, plums, peaches, apricots, and nectarines, has quite [...]
Dear FruitFriends, In the following article, Heidi Lewis writes about genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and more specifically what they are (and are not) relative to food. The FruitGuys has always held the policy that we will never include GMOs in our fruit or vegetable mixes. We support the drive to label GMOs that is wending [...]
By Heidi Lewis Here they come, rolling into town— They get the hungriest looks from, everyone around— [drum fill…] Hey, hey, they’re the summer fruits! And they’re super duper cute! It may not quite be summer—but that point is moot! When summer fruits start to arrive in May, there’s a bit of a giddy vibe [...]
By Heidi Lewis (Throat clearing.) “Excuse me—we have a strict ‘no pet’ policy here.” “I don’t have any pets.” “What do you call that cute, fuzzy brown thing that you are petting?” “A kiwifruit.” (Pause.) “Oh.” Many marketing and branding folks know the story of the kiwi. Grown wild for centuries in southern China, a [...]
By Heidi Lewis The National Cherry Blossom Festival was recently held in Washington, D.C. This year’s festival commemorated the centennial of Japan’s gift of 3,000 cherry trees to the U.S. in 1912. The ornamental trees rim West Potomac Park’s Tidal Basin, which reflects their snowy canopy. Their beauty and a slew of special events attract [...]
By Chris Mittelstaedt A number of years ago, I made the mistake of telling my young daughters that I had brought home Pixies for us to eat. They gasped in horror. It was during their Peter Pan phase, and I had been spreading story-dust about the magical fairies and pixies who live with the flocks [...]
Friend’s Ranch in Ojai, CA, is a regular supplier of Pixie tangerines for The FruitGuys. The Friend family and its descendants (now into its fifth generation of family farming) have been growing fruit in Ojai since the 1880s and tangerines since the 1920s—one of the first California farms to do so. The family planted its [...]
By Heidi Lewis It’s spring. Blossoms are abundant. Time to get pollinating in the fruit orchards. But since colony collapse disorder has been decimating the honeybee population, we’ll have to look outside the organization for some help. As they say in the bee biz, “No bees, no honey; no work, no money.” We all admire [...]
By Gretchen Bay Most FruitGuys cases this week will feature red or green grapes from environs south. Grapes come in many flavors and forms, both with and without seeds. In The FruitGuys’ world, we generally provide seedless varieties, as we’ve learned that serving seeded grapes in workplaces can create challenges (“Anybody have a napkin? I [...]
By Heidi Lewis “The show must go on!” is the biggest trope in theater. Some movies about theater, from All About Eve to The Little Rascals to Waiting for Guffman, have great nail-biting third acts. Yet in real life, the show does go on—because behind every great star is a great understudy. Many go unnamed, [...]
By Heidi Lewis Pineapples (Ananas comosus) will be making their first appearance of the year in most FruitGuys cases this week—as a way to spice up the mid-winter variety. When you pick up a pineapple, do you instinctively put it on top of your head? Yeah—me too. I call it the Carmen Miranda Effect, and [...]
Preparation TipsHow to Cut a Pineapple:
- Cut off the crown and the base of the pineapple, then stand it upright on the cutting board.
- Using a sharp knife, carefully cut the peel from top to bottom in strips all the way around the pineapple.
- Any remaining pineapple “eyes” may be removed using the scoop end of a vegetable peeler or by making very small, angled cuts behind each eye with the long edge of the knife.
- After removing the peel, cut the pineapple in half lengthwise. Place each half cut-side-down on the cutting board, and cut in half lengthwise again.
- Carefully slice off the core, cut into bite-size pieces, and enjoy!
By Heidi Lewis There’s a scene missing from the outtakes reel of The Matrix where Morpheus offers Neo some vitamins: “You take the blue pill, the story ends—you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill, you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep [...]
Preparation TipsRinse kumquats before eating. Roll between fingers to release the essential oil limonene and its uplifting citrus scent. Eat whole (peel and all), or slice and add to salads. Kumquats can be candied or pureed and added to a variety of recipes. They’re also an excellent perk-up to iced tea or water.
Storage TipsKumquats keep well on the counter for 3–4 days but will hold up for a week or more in the fridge. Kumquats keep well on the counter for 3–4 days but will hold up for a week or more in the fridge. (Déjà vu? Whoops—glitch in The Matrix!)
By Chris Mittelstaedt There’s a fast-paced smart device game called “Fingerzilla” that lets you rain Godzilla-like destruction down upon virtual cityscapes and towns using only your finger. While being at the helm of such fiery chaos may make users feel invincible, the truth is that we are all at the mercy of the elements in [...]
By Chris Mittelstaedt Citrus season is in full swing now, with all sorts of farm-fresh specialty fruit coming in. We’re seeing everything from Navel Oranges to Satsumas to Clementines to Ruby Red Grapefruits to Cara-Caras. We’re also cycling in Murcotts, Minneolas, and a host of other citrus varieties as well. If you don’t recognize them, [...]
By Chris Mittelstaedt The 1878 edition of A Domestic Cyclopædia of Practical Information, published by Henry Holt & Company, explained to eager readers the uses for the banana: “It is eaten raw, either alone or cut in slices with sugar and cream, or wine and orange juice. It is also roasted, fried or boiled, and is made into [...]
By Chris Mittelstaedt The college application process was not an easy one for me. I didn’t know where I wanted to go to school, and I had no idea what to say to encapsulate myself in an essay. I finally settled on telling the story of the summer I spent rehabbing houses in the Appalachian Mountain towns [...]
By Chris Mittelstaedt It’s hard to let go of things that were ingrained in my brain as a kid. I still feel nervous if I take food out of the kitchen to eat somewhere other than the table (“not on the rug, Chris!”), and oftentimes I find myself humming an old Sesame Street song from Cookie Monster: [...]
By Chris Mittelstaedt My wife is on the East Coast for FruitGuys business, and I’m flying solo. My teen and preteen zombies, formerly known as my children, start rising at 5:45 every morning and usually grunt through the breakfast routine. I’m surprised when my daughter raises an eyebrow (complex motor skills aren’t usually seen at this hour) and asks: [...]
By Chris Mittelstaedt It was the kind of month that gave a grown man a hangnail—the really nasty kind that snags easily on wool sweaters in dry fall air and requires Neosporin and a superhero Band-Aid. I had been working a case that had me stumped. Ginny Grapefruit had rolled into my office looking for her roots. [...]
By Chris Mittelstaedt Yes, this is Conference Room A, Building 12. It’s about 10 o’clock in the morning. That’s the Strategy Squad. They’ve been here since 5 a.m. Something about reassessing their core. Some confusion was reported from one of the other buildings. Maybe it was a gas leak, maybe it was something more. People [...]
By Chris Mittelstaedt It’s a strange feeling when someone dies who affected your life but whom you never knew personally. I’ve found myself grieving over the passing of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs (1955–2011). In the early 1980s, I spent countless hours on my family’s Apple IIe playing Time Zone and Dig Dug. I can still remember the “beep!” [...]
By Chris Mittelstaedt I’ve always been a pretty active person—something that made coming down with a random medical condition all the more humbling. About a month ago I had an acute onset of achalasia, an uncommon disorder in which the muscles around the lower esophagus clamp down like a boa constrictor and restrict food and liquid from getting [...]
By Chris Mittelstaedt When O’Henry peaches start to appear, I think of O. Henry—the turn-of-the-century American short story writer who wrote The Gift of the Magi, a story about a young married man who sells his watch to buy his newlywed wife a beautiful set of combs for her long hair. Of course at the same time, without [...]
By Chris Mittelstaedt Change has come slowly but steadily to the foods we’ve eaten over the last 70 years. While there has been no acute onset to clearly demonstrate the difference between the food of today and yesterday, if you take a look at local agriculture, you can see the fingerprint of change in all partsof the [...]
By Chris Mittelstaedt Maybe you think I write too much about my kids. I kind of agree, but man, do they give me good material. Last week, for example, when I told them we would be getting pluots for this week’s cases, they ran with it. “Plupups?” my daughter said. “No,” I said, “pluots.” “Dad’s getting plu-pots [...]
By Chris Mittelstaedt It’s summer and I’m 12. We’ve been riding around the block for the last month on our banana-seat bikes. We are a motorcycle gang, with playing cards duct-taped to the back struts of our bike frames, clicking against the spokes menacingly, like souped-up game show prize-wheels letting anyone watering their yard know [...]
By Chris Mittelstaedt We’re so organized it’s almost bewildering. All week long we’ve been going down the checklist helping the kids get ready for camp. “Sleeping bags?” “Got it, Dad!” “Flashlight?” “Daaadd! I’ve got it!” All three of my kids are heading into the Sierras for two weeks. There will be songs, canoeing, archery—it brings back memories [...]
By Chris Mittelstaedt I was recently given a copy of Robert Palter’s The Duchess of Malfi’s Apricots, and Other Literary Fruits. It’s a great reference book if you like those moments of clarity when writers unravel the human condition in simple observations of nature, like the blush of an apricot or the fragrant night-flowering of [...]
By Chris Mittelstaedt It must be May because I find myself having that recurring elementary school dream again. It’s the one where I’m out on the blacktop in red shorts with white piping, socks pulled up to my knees for speed, waiting in a three-point crouch for the start of the shuttle run. I’m gazing [...]
By Chris Mittelstaedt I’m still processing the post-dinner conversation with my kids during which they debated whether feet were officially weird and whether vegans who watch the TV show Glee should be called “vleegans” or “vegleegans.” “Dad,” my daughter calls while flossing her teeth, “did you ever want to change your name?” She’s staring intently [...]
By Chris Mittelstaedt I was soaking my hands in a mixture of Palmolive and probiotic yogurt when I got the call. This was the moment I had been waiting for. Three weeks undercover playing a retired hand model making a comeback was taking its toll. “Hello?” The voice on the other end of the line [...]
I wasn’t really a very good student. Luckily in elementary school I had a great teacher who helped me after school with spelling. Her name was Mrs. Unruh. She used to devise little tricks to help me remember how words were spelled. Besides learning my months of the year in song (“January, February, March, and [...]
The sadness of Japan’s natural disaster brings back memories of Katrina for me (my folks are from New Orleans and I have relatives there). There are those natural routines in the world that we look forward to at this time of year: the sound of robins chittering at dawn, the dusty-sweet nighttime perfume of cherry [...]
My 10-year-old daughter broke her pinkie a few weeks ago while battling to catch a football in a Hail Mary melee on the school blacktop. She had surgery to pin the bone together so it would grow back properly. “She’s going to need a few sessions of finger therapy,” the surgeon told us afterward. My [...]
When I first heard someone say “Ataulfo,” I nearly said “Gesundheit!” The Ataulfo mango is sometimes referred to as the “champagne mango.” And it makes me think of that line from the Van Morrison song: “She’s as sweet as Tupelo honey,” except I sing it as: “She’s as sweet as Ataulfo honey-mango.” It generally annoys [...]
Planning farm visits into California’s Central Valley can be fun. The farmers we work with always remind me of the directions. “Chris, when you come out here, make sure that you take Road 204 but only until it intersects with Avenue 296, then hang a right until you get to Road 212. That one is [...]
When I was in college, we’d pack the elevator with students, turn off the lights, and yell “Molecule!” The car shook in the shaft as we bounced off of each other and the walls, finally tumbling out when we reached the 5th floor. Chemistry classes were having an applied impact on us, and soon we [...]
It’s been a long time since I begrudgingly stuffed hard, heart-shaped candies into Snoopy valentines for my New Eagle Elementary School compatriots. A world away from irregularly shaped hearts made from construction paper, roughly stacked (and invariably wrinkled), then cut 10 at a time with dull, green, left-handed scissors. And while it seems like a [...]
There is a scene in The Jerk where Steve Martin and Bernadette Peters are eating at a “fancy French restaurant.” After they splurge on “fresh” wine (“This year! No more of this old stuff!”), Martin looks down in horror at his wife’s plate. “Don’t look down, don’t look down!” he says. “Look up! Just keep [...]
Thinking about superheroes always gets me thinking about Superman, which inevitably gets me thinking about kryptonite. Superman started as a comic strip in the late 1930s and went on to become a successful TV series in the 1950s. By the peak of the show’s popularity, kryptonite had become such a crucial super-plot element, the writers [...]
So you made it through the holidays (Happy New Year, by the way!) and now you’re wondering what it was all about. Why did cousin Barry wear a kilt and rugby socks to your grandmother’s holiday dinner, and why did everyone feel uncomfortable when Aunt Clarisse spilled sherry on your father and called him a [...]
It was New Year’s and that always confused me. Why was New Year’s plural? “It’s possessive,” my grammar intern said. I had applied for an intern who could solve crime and I got one who knew how to handle a semicolon—this wasn’t my lucky semester. “Possessive?” I said. “Possessive of what? Or is that whom?” [...]
Calls were flying in like bats through a window at a mosquito family reunion. It was just my luck that someone had forgotten to smack me with two fistfuls of citronella aftershave. It was that kind of day. The phone beeped. “Uh-huh,” I muttered into the Bluetooth rotary receiver strapped to the side of my [...]
Have you heard about the food safety bill that the U.S. Senate passed last week? If made law, it will radically change the way U.S. food is grown and processed. The lead story in our online publication, The FruitGuys Almanac, summarizes how the bill could affect sustainable growers and family farms, including all the wonderful [...]
By Heidi Lewis Thanksgiving is our collective time for an attitude of gratitude. Beaming chefs rise from the family table to applause, putting their singed fingertips together in the “no, thank you” Oscar-night gesture. Travelers who have journeyed through Rube Goldberg–style security checks are thankful to be put up in the kids’ room. Football fans [...]
by Heidi Lewis What really goes on when your workplace is closed for the holidays? Do the phone lines start flashing to a dance beat? Task chairs turn into lounge chairs? Copy machines start jamming to Stairway to Heaven? Your office may be getting a well-deserved break, but rest assured that The FruitGuys fruit will [...]
Ben Franklin is known for a lot things. From signing the Declaration of Independence and later the Constitution to kicking back with his buddies for a bit of experimenting in electricity, meteorology (he identified and named the Gulf Stream), or even early refrigeration. He was a worldly guy who was one of the first and [...]
I try to stay out of agricultural politics. I’d rather support farmers by buying their wonderful produce without having to testify on their behalf. Sometimes, however, circumstances land on your shoulder like a little butterfly—or in this case, a light brown apple moth (LBAM). For the past two years, I’ve been active in opposing California’s [...]
I have a gripe with a comedy standard. I’ve tried—I mean I’ve really worked at it—and I still can’t seem to slip on a banana peel. Sure, it’ll slide a little bit, but generally, I’ve found that slipping in that silent-movie sense—legs flailing in an upended tribute to Charlie Chaplin—just doesn’t happen. As a kid, [...]
In my version of Fantasy Island, I step off “da plane” with a dazed look as a circa-1970s, softly lit Ricardo Montalban waves his arm welcomingly. Tattoo, the three-and-a-half-foot-tall island concierge, brings me a silver platter, not with bubbling glasses of champagne but a variety of pears. “The Comice has a lovely sugar,” he grunts. [...]
Mr. Brown is in the kitchen, head down, looking for a spork. Ms. Bright walks into the room and heads to The FruitGuys crate. They smile at one another, nervous to acknowledge the habit they have both fallen into of sharing Twinings Tea every Tuesday at two. Ms. Bright winks, and Mr. Brown trips into [...]
A cool fall breeze rustled the leaves outside of Peter’s toy-store window. “Pauline,” he piped.” Pat pitched Paul a prototype policy that primes Pat for promotion.” Pauline pulled the penguin puppet away from her proboscis and proclaimed: “Post-protozoan pull-toy and post-primate princess?” She probed. “She’s prolific,” Peter pronounced. “It’s the purple passion fruit,” she posed. [...]
Time for this year’s installment of that Fall classic: “As The World Tilts” (SCENE: FADE IN – A FruitGuys crate sits on an office kitchen counter; orange-bristly sunlight streams in through the window) Scarlet Peach: “Rhett Bartlett, my pear.” Rhett Bartlett: “Yes, my peach.” Scarlet Peach: “I’m weaker now than before and. . .” Rhett [...]
My mother-in-law, in her infinite wisdom, always makes sure to let her grandchildren know that peeling fruit is not a good idea. “Don’t be Mr. Peeler the vitamin stealer,” she tells them. I’ve always liked this sage advice, and now I can give her (and Mother Nature) credit for being well in front of the [...]