Red Navel Gazing
Citrus season is starting in earnest now and we have all sorts of farm-fresh specialty fruit coming in. Over the next month you’ll see citrus, from Navel Oranges to Satsumas to Clementines to grapefruits to Cara-Caras. Plus we’ll also cycle in Murcots, Minneolas, and a host of other citrus varieties as well. If you don’t recognize them, just click on the ladybug icon on our website at fruitguys.com and pick your crate by region (west, central, or east) and we’ll show you what’s inside. Now, here’s Cara-Cara...
I once asked my neighborhood grocery clerk if he had Cara-Caras. He looked at me a bit skeptically and said, no but suggested maybe if I looked in the “for sale” section of the paper I could find something I might like to “drivea-drivea.” So it is with Cara-Cara Navel Oranges – not a lot of people know about this specialty citrus. Rumor has it that this pink-fleshed citrus was found by a farmer walking through his orchard in South America. Citrus, pear, and apple trees have a tendency to throw out new varieties once in a while –sort of a genetic hiccup called a “sport.” Cara-Caras are supposedly a sport off of a Washington Navel Orange tree. Sometimes this fruit is also called a Red Navel.
Cara-Caras are generally a low-acid citrus with a taste that hints of sweet cherry. To my palette this fruit seems smooth and sweet without the acid bite that you sometimes find in other oranges. One medium-sized fruit has 70 calories, 16 grams of carbohydrates (5% of RDA), 3 grams of fiber (12% RDA), 1 gram of protein, 6% Vitamin A, 120% Vitamin C, and 6% Calcium. Its season is short – winter only.
Remember, Cara-Caras look almost exactly like regular Navels so don’t be too surprised if you think you’re cutting into a Navel orange and find the inside a red-pink instead. Heck -- impress folks at work with your awareness of this fruit and maybe even some jokes too. I’ll start: “How does a Cara-Cara get going in the morning? It peels out.” - - ba-da-bing! Thank you. You’re really too kind. No really. . .
Enjoy and be fruitful! firstname.lastname@example.org
Time to Hibernate?
Although we do not hibernate the same way as bears and chipmunks, we humans do respond physically to the winter season. Both colder temperatures and decreased natural light trigger responses in us we may or may not be aware of. Modern life often requires us to act against these natural changes, leaving us more vulnerable to disease and unhealthy tendencies.
Winter is the traditional season for slowing down. In temperate regions humans have always had to find ways to stay warm and fed during the cold dark days of winter. We stayed indoors around the hearth, slept much more, and limited our activity. These days we act as though winter is summer, and we work, play, and sleep as though the seasons are all the same.
But winter is still winter. Even in milder climates like California and Florida our bodies work harder to stay warm, triggering increased appetites and body-fat build-up for energy storage. Instead of slowing down we maintain our schedules and increase our stress levels with holiday planning and expectations. Add that winter is also the peak season for colds, influenza, and bronchitis, and it is easy to understand why we often feel less healthy this time of year.
Shorter days with weaker sunlight affect our circadian rhythms (sleep-wake cycle). We begin to produce melatonin, the hormone that naturally induces sleep, at twilight regardless of the season. In the winter, twilight arrives at mid- to late afternoon. Our internal biological clock is telling us to go to sleep until dawn, which doesn’t arrive until mid-morning despite daylight savings time. So by getting up early for work and going to bed long after sunset we are forcing ourselves to act against our natural responses. Studies show this can weaken your immune system right when viruses begin appearing.
Less sunlight also decreases the body’s Vitamin D production. Our skin produces Vitamin D for us in sunlight, but the combination of warm clothes, weaker light, and more indoor time means our vitamin D production drops dramatically in winter. The effects of this decrease are wide-ranging, including seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and a weakened immune system. Less widely known is the increased risk of acute depression, hyperglycemia, osteoporosis, insulin resistance, hypertension, and heart disease.
Given that we are not going to quit our jobs and sleep 12 hours a night, what are healthy responses to the season? Do get enough sleep to best cope with the physical and emotional stresses of the season. Watch what you eat and favor fruit, vegetables, and whole grains over too many holiday sweets and overindulgence. Get outside in the daylight more, even if just walking to the store. Consider supplementing your Vitamin D intake (more on this in the next issue, sign up for email delivery here). And give yourself permission to take it easy occasionally—let a little hibernation into your life!
- Rebecca Taggart
Closed for the holidays? Why not give something back to those in need. Instead of putting your order on hold, our Donate-A-Crate program lets you send your fresh fruit to a worthy non-profit organization in your area serving those less fortunate than ourselves. In 2008, FruitGuys clients donated more than 180 crates to food-banks and programs for families in need between the Thanksgiving and New Years holidays. Crates went to The Riley Center, the St. Vincent de Paul Society, Project Open Hand, Yeah!, and the Sophia Project in the San Francisco Bay Area; to Philabundance and City Harvest on the East Coast; and the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Click here for a list of the organizations in your area or choose a charity of your choice in close proximity to one of our regional hubs in San Francisco, Chicago, or Philadelphia. No additional delivery charges.
Be a Hero This Holiday Season!
Support local agriculture and small family farms when you send FruitGuys fruit or heirloom farm products to the special friends, family, clients, and customers on your list this year.
Regionally-farmed, hand-crafted, and exclusive holiday gifts from The FruitGuys starting at only $39
Send unique, regionally-produced holiday gifts produced by small family farms. Pick "west," "central," or "east" and choose a gift that brings the best of small farm America to everyone on your gift list. We can customize and co-brand large orders for your sales team at a price that works for you. Call us for details at 877-FRUIT-ME.
On dark nights in warm bedrooms, tented paperbacks of The Maltese Falcon softly rise and fall on sleeping chests. Late night movie reruns are on TV with Humphrey Bogart muttering memorable lines to complicated dames, but the lines fall on sleeping ears. All is quiet on the home front, but The FruitGuys Fruit Detectives are out on the rainy streets. With the windshield wipers slapping time to the latest and greatest, fruit buyers Rebecca North, Benn Roe, and Dan Lemley are on the road - destination: Citrus-ville...
The holidays are Satsuma season, and Dan's mission is to get customers those succulent juicy sweeties in the toe of their stockings. He presses the pedal to the metal with his size 10 1/2 gumshoes to get to California’s Butte County ahead of the weather. “Olive trees lined the road to the Chaffin's ranch, where I kicked it with Chris Kerston, the ranch’s manager. Good times. Solid dude with an amazing farm,” says Dan. Chaffin Family Orchards is a diverse close-knit operation of livestock, olives, stone fruit, and citrus. A gang of goats is mixing it up nearby, while two Anatolian flock dogs check out Dan. They give him the go-ahead; they can tell he’s not here for the goats but the amazing organic Satsumas.
The FruitGuys buyers turn up their trench coat collars as they knock on barn doors and call on old friends to line up the juicy citrus season ahead. Old pal Friend’s Ranch will be coming on line with an assortment of tangerine varieties next month and Pixies in March. The fruit collective’s orchards in the Ojai Valley should be sending out Yosemite Golds a little later in the season. Wes from Pleasant Valley Ranch has already been rolling out the Marsh Grapefruit. Harpos Organics’ Valencia and Navel Oranges are ripening now.
On the East Coast, Fruit Detective Benn located festive kumquats, fun to use as earrings or ornaments, but especially useful for a Vitamin C blast. All regions will be enjoying the season’s bright citrus from the sun belts in California and Florida. Cara Cara oranges, Minneolas, Tangelos, and always-dramatic Blood Oranges will bring some color to the grey of winter.
At Hogan’s All Night Diner in South San Francisco, the Fruit Detective follows up another lead over a cup of chamomile tea. She leaves her calling card: it says, “Bringing the Farm Home."
- Heidi Lewis
As 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 December Wellness Letter
Ask the Experts
Q: Should I wipe my kitchen counters and bathroom surfaces with bleach? I’ve seen ads saying I should, especially to combat flu viruses.
A: Bleach is an effective sanitizer—that is, it kills germs (bacteria and viruses). But for most people, plain soap or detergent and water will get rid of dirt on kitchen counters, utensils, and floors. This won’t kill most germs, but they won’t survive long if surfaces are clean and dry. A clean kitchen or bathroom does not need to be disinfected.
Read more on the best way to prevent the spread of most germs.
The password for December is zinc.
Christmas at Mount Vernon
Mt. Vernon, VA
thru Jan 6
New York, NY
Quest for the Golden Grinch
Playdate with Nature
North Chicago, IL
Live: It's a Wonderful Life
thru Dec 27
nights thru Jan 3
Pomegranates & Figs: a Feast of Jewish Music
San Francisco, CA
San Juan Bautista, CA
Sierra Club Hike - John Muir House Holiday Outing
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