August 04, 2016

Hatch Chiles
On Their Way and
Other Seasonal Goodies

hatch chile 3Hatch chiles arrive in the markets this coming week (Wednesday or Thursday – sign up for our “This Just In” emails and you’ll be the first to know!).

This year we will have both organic and conventional farmed chiles to choose from. Each market will have a weekend roasting event – weather permitting – over the next few weeks for those of you who like to secure your annual supply of fresh flame-roasted chiles. We’ll be roasting fresh Hatch chiles by the case while you wait – 23-pound cases (limit 5 per transaction) at $30 per case (fresh or roasted). If a whole case is too much, you can get lesser quantities (10-pound minimum) at $1.98 a pound. We have lots of recipes for these special chiles, too:

Please keep in mind this is all weather dependent and our supply will be limited to the product we have on hand!

2015 at Shoreline w Jim Foley

Produce Specialist Jim Foley roasting chiles at Central Market Shoreline last year.

Here’s the roasting schedule:

  • Aug. 13 and 14:  Bainbridge and Poulsbo (both 10 a.m.-4 p.m.)
  • Aug. 20 and 21: Lakemont (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.) and Ballard (10 a.m.-4 p.m.)
  • Aug. 27 and 28: Shoreline and Mill Creek (both 10 a.m.-4 p.m.)

Knee Deep in Melons

We are in full melon swing with 10 varieties from Turlock Farms in California in our markets this week – and these melons are as good as they get.

My personal favorite is the Orange Honeydew, and the Sharlyn and the Galia are right up there. But the bottom line is you really can’t go wrong no matter what variety you choose. Each of the 10 has its own unique flavor, so it’s worth it to try them all! If you’re not sure, we’d be more than happy to let you taste first.

We have nine varieties of organic melons out of California – including Cantaloupe, Mini Watermelons, Honeydew and Peil De Sapo melons. They’re all at the peak of flavor! When it comes to the specialty variety melons, whether organic or conventionally grown, the season is remarkably short. Cantaloupe and Honeydew will stick around for several weeks but many of the specialty varieties will be all but gone within just a couple short weeks. A little closer to home we do have northwest seedless watermelons and this year seems to be off to an excellent start. I cannot remember the last time we started the northwest season with better tasting melons.

Keitt Mangos Here – Our Faves

We also have just received our first deliveries of Keitt mangos. Personally I think this is the best-tasting mango of the year. Known for its large size and creamy texture, Keitt mangos have a sweet, rich tropical flavor. Their exterior colors can vary widely, from a slight yellow blush to a solid green skin. Exterior color is not an indication of ripeness. There is a trick to picking ripe-and-ready mango. Because mangos ripen from the inside out, you want fruit that is slightly soft to the touch – but not too soft. The best method, I’ve found, is to choose a couple at different stages of firmness and allow them to “condition” on the kitchen counter. It’s best to not refrigerate mangos until they have fully ripened and have been cut to eat. If you’re still unsure, we’d be happy to help you choose your mangos and show you how to prepare them. Watch our video about how to cut them:

We expect this season to run through mid- to late September.

Grapes, Pears and Apples – Oh My!

We are just beginning the late-summer season of seedless grapes. The best varieties from California with come and go from now through early October. Right now we have the Sugar Crunch green seedless, red Celebration seedless and the black Sweet Surrender seedless varieties. All of these grapes are large, sweet and crunchy with excellent flavor. Be sure to check out one of our most unique varieties – the Tear Drop, which is an elongated grape that looks like a small finger. Cotton Candy seedless grapes, which actually do have a cotton candy flavor, arrive next week. Personally, I find them too sweet but they do have a loyal following and customers have been asking about them for several weeks.

I’m heading to California soon to visit the grape-growing region and check on the varieties we’ve discovered over the past few years. I’ll be looking for what’s new and exciting, and will keep you posted.

Northwest Bartlett pears arrive this next week along with a new crop of northwest Gala apples. I expect several more varieties of northwest pears and apples to arrive over the next several weeks.

We are wrapping up one of the best northwest sweet red cherry seasons I can remember. Sadly, all our markets received their final shipments of cherries this week. When those are gone, that will be it for 2016. I’m sad to see them go, but it gives us something to look forward to next year. Besides, we do have other great fruits to take their place – including those grapes I talked about, and northwest peaches and nectarines.

The northwest berry season is wrapping up quickly. We had a great year, but it has to end sometime. All the berries have been excellent this year starting with the northwest strawberries and raspberries in June, which came and went way too early. Some more unique varieties that did exceptionally well were the red, white and black Currants and the gooseberries from Sterino Farms. We still have an excellent supply of blueberries and blackberries but just about everything else from the northwest is finished for this season. We may see a trickle of autumn red raspberries as we move closer to the end of the month, but, as always, Mother Nature will determine when and how much.

Have great week – Joe

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