The FruitGuys Almanac
October 15, 2011
Marie Seppa knows her way around a canner. A spry 91-year-old with bright blue eyes, Marie has been canning since she was a child growing up on a farm in Eastern Oregon in the ‘20s. Her specialty: pears. “All pears can, but I love Bartletts,” says Marie. In nearly sixty years of competing in the canned pears category at the Sonoma County Fair in Northern California, she has only been beaten once. Her jars of skinned pears look like they were just cut minutes before and taste fresh and crisp, preserved in a light sugar syrup. Read more and see Marie Seppa's secret for delicious canned pears here.
Apples have gotten such a good rap (“an apple a day keeps the doctor away”) that the closely-related pear, equally nutritious, should have its own aphorism: “A pear a day keeps sickness at bay.” But pears are often overlooked as a handy snack. Both apples and pears are nutrient-dense, low-calorie alternatives to a bag of chips. At only 100 calories per medium-sized pear, they are a great snack to keep piled on your desk for easy access. Healthy reasons to eat pears here.
What most of us recognize as a classic pear is the European Pear (Pyrus communis), cultivated since the Bronze Age – the Botticelli form, Audrey Hepburn neck, and colors ranging from eye-popping chartreuse to jewel-toned maroons and golds. The buttery quality that we equate with many European varieties can be credited to Belgians who carefully bred them in the 18th century to give us the names that ring out like guests to Napoleon's coronation: Comice, D'Anjou, Concorde, Bosc, and Abbé Fetel, to name a few. Pears later immigrated to America with great success and the evolution of our own lovelies such as Harrow Delight, Packham's Triumph, Blake's Pride, and the mighty little Seckel Pear, born and bred in Philly. But what of the Asian Pear? Trace the lineage of Asian pears here.
This year we crushed about a ton of Petite Syrah grapes, from a friend’s Sonoma County vineyard. We start with a quick blessing of the grapes, remembering the parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents who used to join in the tradition but are no longer with us, and then the crush begins. The bins are emptied into the crusher, which spits crushed grapes into the barrel and stems onto the ground. Story and pictures of our family grape crushing tradition here.
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!” and quick tapping clicks of the disk drive booting up. The loss of Steve Jobs feels like the loss of a large piece of American business creativity. I find myself wondering if there will ever again (in my lifetime) be such an inspiring icon of innovation. Read more what FruitGuys CEO Chris Mittelstaedt has to say about Steve Jobs.
Egypt’s revolution and the ouster of President Mubarak has kept it in the news this year while Egypt the tourist attraction, the home of Tutankhamun and the pyramids, has been placed on the back burner due to the political unrest. But it was that Egypt, the ancient ruins and pharaoh mummies, that drew me to visit there twenty-odd years ago.
During my visit to Luxor, I had a delicious soup one night at a small restaurant near the Nile River. Lentils and vegetables were pureed together with cumin and fresh lemon juice. It was perfect after a day spent hiking through the Valley of the Kings, and I asked the waiter what the ingredients were. He said if I liked the soup, I must come to his home so his mother and sisters could cook the definitive version. I accepted the invitation... Here's a lentil soup recipe inspired by this visit to Egypt.
Fall is here with its bright colors and cooler temperatures, and is a great time to be outdoors. Although New Year’s Day is the traditional time to start a new fitness routine, starting now will make you feel better come 2012. As the days shorten, increasing the amount of exercise you do helps compensate for the increased darkness, and makes getting up in the morning easier. Running is great exercise—it will help you lose or maintain weight, lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and moderate insulin response. And it is basically a free activity, once you have the right pair of shoes. If running isn’t for you, brisk walking is a good alternative and easier on the joints. Get fit for the holidays!
FEATURED RECIPE: Marie Seppa's Pear Pie
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FruitGuys Customer Service Manager Nicole Wagner answers some commonly asked questions.
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Creating Ritual of Family Meals
Lifeways & Greenways: Connectivity
Keene Tower of Pumpkins Festival
Fruit Tree Class – Orcharding in the Desert
World Congress and The FruitGuys are pleased to announce an upcoming partnership on the World Congress 2nd Annual Executive Forum on Creating a Culture of Health on October 17 – 18 in Chicago, Illinois. The FruitGuys will be providing all Forum attendees with fresh fruit during one of the afternoon breaks at the event.
The Forum annually gathers over 200 human resource, benefit and wellness executives who are transforming their organization’s culture into one that values health and wellness. For more information and to register, visit www.worldcongress.com.
HEALTHY GIFT IDEAS
Farmer's Kitchen Regional fruit and two specialty items, varies by locality. A great gift for home cooks!
WHAT'S IN SEASON?
Enjoy and be fruitful!
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