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The Book of Citrus

 
2/10/2010      
   

pomeloJonathan Sauer, in his book Historical Geography of Crop Plants: A Select Roster, notes that, “Almost nothing is certain about the natural geography and ecology of truly wild citrus. Both the distribution and genetics of the genus have been drastically modified in Asia by human intervention.” Citrus is believed to have originated somewhere in Southeast Asia or Southern China but it has naturally evolved and hybridized itself so that it is hard to find its pure roots. Generally speaking, however, there are some types of citrus that have emerged over time into distinct groups.

Limes, Pommelos, and Mandarins are three main groupings of citrus that can be seen as parents to some of the modern citrus we eat today. Lemons are natural hybrids of Limes and Citrons. Grapefruits are crosses of Pommelos and sweet oranges. Mandarins are the family from which most of the orange fruits originate. From Tangelos, a cross between a mandarin and grapefruit, to Satsumas and Valencia Oranges (another Pommelo and mandarin cross), variations of mandarin citrus are grown and enjoyed worldwide. Mandarins were cultivated widely in Asia early on which gave us the many variations we eat today. It wasn’t until the 17th century that citrus was cultivated outside of Asia.

I think that one of the most interesting distinctions in terms of taste is the comparison between Tangelos like the Minneola or the Royal Mandarin (in which you can pick up a grapefruit note pretty clearly) and the more tangerine-kinds of mandarins such as the Satsuma, Pixie, or Murcot (which have more sharp and sweet flavors). Both are considered mandarins but their tastes vary wildly. I recently explained the different varieties on a Fresno morning show. You can watch it in our Press section at fruitguys.com. Many of these citrus have been featured in our crates lately. Also, as always, check out our website to see what’s in your mix this week at www.fruitguys.com – just click on the ladybug on the center right of the home page. We have updated our mix format recently so that the images are easier to see. We’re still making tweaks to it so feel free to let me know what you think. Enjoy and be fruitful.

- Chris Mittelstaedt chris@fruitguys.com


Wellness: Keep Breathing (Part II)

In January, we began a discussion of pranayama, or breath work, and outlined some simple breath awareness and breath-altering exercises.  In this edition, we move on to ujjayi breath, the simplest form of actual pranayama.  Please review Part I before continuing to the exercises below.

blue skyPranayana is simply defined as lengthened inhalations followed by lengthened exhalations.  In his book “Light on Pranayama”, B.K.S. Iyengar writes, “…pranayama is a divine fire which cleanses the organs, senses, mind, intellect and ego.”  While this sounds like a tremendously vigorous practice, in reality pranayama requires just awareness of your breath, relaxation of the body, and a few minutes in which to practice.

Begin with the Part I breath exercises, sitting comfortably in a chair with your chest lifted and shoulders rolled back. Your facial muscles should be soft, including your jaw.  Observe how the breath moves in and out of your lungs today, and compare with your observations on previous days. The breath usually settles after a short time, becoming fuller and deeper on its own.  Do not alter the breath, but allow it to be automatic, with your mind simply observing.  Keep your eyes closed, and allow them to become passive and receptive.  Let their gaze be more in the direction of the chest than straight ahead.

Ujjayi Pranayama

  1. Begin with a soft, smooth exhalation, without any strain, until the lungs feel empty, but without pressing the abdominal muscles.
  1. Take a slow, deep inhalation through the nose, and make sure both lungs are filling evenly.  Maintain the eyeballs looking down, especially near the end of the inhalation.
  1. Once the top of the inhalation is reached, release the diaphragm gradually, exhaling slowly, deeply and steadily until the lungs again feel empty.  Remember that both the inhalation and exhalation should be of equal duration, and longer than your normal breath.

Less is usually more in pranayama, especially for beginners.  When practicing, only slightly deepen your breath and be on the alert for any tension in your body.  If you find you have tensed up, go back to regular breathing until you can release the tension.  Then begin again.  After several cycles of Ujjayi breath you may find you are ready to slightly increase the depth of your breath without disturbing your body.  If sitting in a chair creates tension when you practice, try lying down on the floor with a pillow under your chest and another folded in half under your head.

When you are finished with your practice, relax with a few cycles of normal breath before opening your eyes and returning to the outside world.  Hopefully you now feel more relaxed and refreshed.  Remember that pranayama is all about daily practice, even if only for a few minutes.  Consider it as an alternative to a coffee or tea break. Remember to always consult with your health care professional before starting any new exercise regime. Happy breathing!

- Rebecca Taggart

Rebecca Taggart is a San Francisco yoga instructor.


Old Jackie Frost

NAOEveryone has been touched by the dramatic weather this past month and some got clobbered. A watery deluge that thankfully began filling California’s cisterns also brought waves of mud and coast-thrashing surf. The Mid-Atlantic is digging out from a blizzard that was advertised to be the-storm-to-end-all-storms, however another Eastern front is on its way. On every channel, weather personalities are frantically flailing laser pointers. This is after all the good, the bad, and the ugly of an El Nino year. Nonetheless the devastating frost that threatened Florida’s $9.3 billion citrus industry last month had a separate tormentor to blame for their losses—the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO). Vikings described aspects of the NAO, which is the east to west oscillations in atmospheric pressure between the Icelandic Low and the Azores High. The NAO forms western winds and Atlantic storms and this year it sprayed a wicked freeze ray on Florida.

Meteorologists and weather watchers model global weather patterns, the synergy of cosmic influences like solar flares and eclipses, and even maps of human influences such as land use and the Ozone Hole. Dennis Klocek, noted lecturer on the cosmos and climates, who hosts Docweather.com, a website that combines weather science and astronomy, writes that “The present eclipse pattern puts a strong blocking influence just off of the coast of the U.S. at mid latitudes and over the Maritime provinces southwest of Greenland at high latitudes. A ridge formation there causes the jet stream that moves from west to east across the continent to dive to the southeast as it crosses the high plains. That pattern is known as a Greenland Block." During that fateful Florida freeze, Miami was colder than Anchorage.

Forewarned is forearmed, but only to a degree. Farmers have tools to protect their crops like warm air from propane blowers and irrigation. But the frost in Florida was too long and too cold to use these methods and 90 out of 96 counties were declared an agricultural disaster area. Much of the crop loss was in vegetables; peppers and tomatoes were wiped out. The longer effect will be in the loss of blooms and strawberry seedlings—the spring crops. Many established citrus trees do recover, and there are hardy zones and microclimates throughout Florida that have endured. "We've been seeing good citrus coming out of Florida especially Marsh and Red Grapefruit," said Brandon Stolz, sales manager for Four Seasons Produce in Ephrata, Pennsylvania, referring to citrus from areas like the Indian River region that fared relatively well.

“California, we always get your weather,” summed up Ken Kaufmann of Kaufmann’s Orchard in Bird-in-Hand, PA. Weather fronts move across the nation from west to east, but so too can good fruit. A medley of Mandarin varieties is doing well in the Ojai and Fresno regions of California. "Right now the Florida Temple Oranges look and taste fantastic, and there's plenty of California citrus," says FruitGuys buyer Benn Roe with a sunshiny smile. If the old weather adage “a year of snow, a year of plenty” proves true, the east will also be in for some great produce after the big thaw.

- Heidi Lewis


berkeley wellness letterAs part of your FruitGuys subscription, we provide you and your employees online access to UC Berkeley's Wellness Letter, the newsletter of nutrition, fitness and self-care. It translates leading-edge research into practical advice for daily living - at home, at work, while exercising, shopping, or cooking.

Highlight from the February Wellness Letter
Low Down on Popcorn


Plain air-popped popcorn is a healthy snack—but beware of popcorn in movie theaters. In recent testing, popcorn from the nation’s three biggest movie chains was found to have 370 to 1,200 calories, depending on the serving size. About half the calories come from the cooking oil. And that’s without the “buttery” topping, which adds another 120 to 260 calories. Sodium ranged from 210 to 1,500 milligrams.

The archive is available online at www.wellnessletter.com. The password for February is vitamin.


yogaVirtual World Yoga Conference

To complement your healthy living, The Fruit Guys is offering three free tickets to attend the Virtual World Yoga Conference. This 100% online conference happens 2/19 - 2/21. Attendees enjoy 3 days access to over 35 teachers and 50 hours of high-quality content on healthy eating, yoga, meditation, and deep relaxation.

The first three people to register using coupon code OFR33 during checkout get the $197 conference for free! If you’re not one of the first three, use coupon SAVE100 and you'll get $100 off the registration fee.


Recipe: Simple Steamed & Buttery Romanesco Cauliflower with Italian Parsley

INGREDIENTS
1 head of Romanesco cauliflower, base removed and discarded, florets and stalks chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup fresh parsley leaves
1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper

organic fruits and veggies deliveredPREPARATION
Place a steamer basket in a saucepan filled with 1 inch water and bring water to a boil. Place the cauliflower into the steamer basket and cover. Steam the cauliflower until tender (~6 to 8 minutes). Carefully remove the basket and pour off the water. Return broccoli to pan and add the butter, parsley, and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper and serve. Can accompany most main dishes. Leftovers may be chilled and enjoyed as a healthy snack the next day.

See more recipes here. Learn more about Romanesco cauliflower (also called Romanesco broccoli) in our almanac. Try The FruitGuys TakeHome case and you’ll receive fresh fruits and veggies to prepare dishes like this delicious dish. Delivery at your office to take home or to your home. Veggies available in Bay Area only at this time.


Field Trips

love trainEAST
Love Train Philly Love Murals
Feb 14
Philadelphia, PA

Celebrate General Washington's Birthday at HQ
Feb 13, 14, 15
Newburg, NY

Ignite - Global Week
March 2
Boston, MA

clandestine dinnersCENTRAL
Clandestino Dinners
Feb 14
Chicago, IL

Ignite - Global Week
March 5
Lansing, MI

Birding America VIII
March 6
Chicago, IL

pt reyes birdsWEST
Stone Soup - Community Dinner
Feb 14 - ongoing Sundays thru March
Truckee, CA

Ignite - Global Week
March 2
San Francisco, CA

Point Reyes Birding and Nature Festival
April 23, 24, 25, 26
Point Reyes, CA


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