October is both Fair Trade Month and Non-GMO Month – a reminder for us to pause our busy lives for one moment and to reflect on the current state of our food system. With the school year in full swing and the holiday season quickly approaching, this is a good opportunity to think critically and learn more about the food we eat and where it comes from!
Summer is winding down and while that might trigger anxiety about the inevitable blizzards and subsequent MBTA delays ahead, there's some good news: squash season is upon us. Study up on all the squash varieties you may find in your Boston Organics boxes, so you can make the most of these versatile vehicles of flavor.
In many ways, avocados defy characterization. Though often thought of as a fruit, they are most commonly eaten in a savory context, whether as a smiley green garnish or as guacamole. Their creamy texture makes them a perfect condiment to spread on toast. No matter how you prefer to consume your organic avocados, we’re here to go beneath the peel of this beloved enigma.
While working at a small, diversified farm in North Carolina, a member of the Boston Organics staff gave a tour to a group of elementary school students. The farm staff offered the kids small samples of the produce that was growing in the fields, including bits of fragrant fennel fronds. After chewing on the leaves, one of the students announced “This is the best licorice ever!” Though licorice, fennel and anise are all completely different plants, they all share a bit of that distinctive “licorice” flavor. And in general, we agree with that observant youngster; fennel is pretty awesome.
Apple season is just getting started here in New England. We will see some of the first fruits of the season this week with local McIntosh apples from Dwight Miller and Son Orchard in Dummerston, VT. As the autumn picks up, we will see an ever widening variety of apples. Study up on all the apple varieties you may find in your Boston Organics boxes, so you can make the most of this juicy, crispy and sweet time of year.
A weekly update from Boston Organics.
We’ve been talking about it for weeks, maybe months, but the time has finally come. With three different kinds of organic tomatoes coming from three different local farms, it’s safe to say that tomato season is here at last.
With fresh produce coming from seven local farms this week, it's hard to decide what we're most excited for. We're obviously giddy over the field tomatoes from Blue Ox Farm and the organic sweet corn from Lakeside Organics of Hadley. And Dwight Miller and Son Orchards is sure to wow us again with more spectacular Vermont blueberries.
What would the perfect fruit look like? It would probably be sweet and juicy. It might have a bright, edible skin so you don’t have to worry about messy peels and rinds. While you’re at it, you’d want to make it easy to grow and sturdy enough to take with you without getting smooshed like a brown banana at the bottom of lunch bag. Do you have an image in your head yet? Does it look something like this:
This is a pluot, a beautifully constructed hybrid-cross between a plum and an apricot. Some people consider pluots to be the perfect fruit, but it’s also very much still a work in progress. Though the first successfully controlled cross between a plum and an apricot occurred more than a century ago, most people are unfamiliar with pluots. And those who are fortunate enough to have tasted these juicy fruits are often filled with questions about the mysterious hybrid.
Fortunately, Boston Organics is here to take you “beneath the peel,” giving you a better understanding of the mysteries behind the organic pluot.
Even the organic food movement —as grounded as it is in a holistic understanding of traditional farming methods, environmentalism and nutrient-rich food —is not immune to fads. Every few months, it seems someone has suddenly “discovered” the benefits of eating pea shoots, grapefruit or kale.
More often than not, these foods, which are spontaneously thrust into the national spotlight, are foods that the Boston Organics Community has been growing and eating for years.
Garlic scapes, one of our favorite early summer vegetables, seem to be enjoying a just such a Renaissance moment. While the Boston Organics Crew already loves cooking with them, we’re excited to see so many people trying garlic scapes for the very first time.
The mercurial early summer weather continues to keep our organic farm partners on their toes. Gideon Porth at Atlas Farm reported that the heat caused a few rows of arugula to bolt prematurely, but the plentiful rain helped his early plantings of collard greens grow to full size in time for harvest.