FARM NEWS

Sumo's arrive at the Radish

Developed in Japan and grown by farmers in our own San Joaquin Valley, Sumo's are like large mandarins but maybe the sweetest and juiciest we've ever had (especially for their size). Sumo's are distinctive in their appearance on account of a trademark knot of skin on the top of the fruit. What makes them so apt for snacking is just that--their skin, which is loosely adhered to the flesh of the fruit, making it incredibly easy to peel..enjoy! No bitterness or sweetness here and if the ease of the peel wasn't enough, Sumo's are also seedless.

We get these beauties ourselves directly from the farmers, who hand prune the fruit during harvest. Fair warning, we're only due to have them a month or so longer so hurry in! 

Persimmon Season is Coming to a Close -- Davis Family Farms in Sunny San Diego to the Rescue

Persimmon season typically runs from late October through the holiday season and this year we've been fortunate to keep our baskets full of the finest varieties from local growers including Peacock Family Farms in Dinuba, and Burkdoll in Visalia.   As the season winds down, we're delighted to bring back Sun Dried Persimmons from Davis Farms in San Diego.

These seasonal favorites were grown, hand-picked, hung whole, and personally delivered by the family's son. We learned that there is more to their artisan approach to preserving the fruit without any compromise on taste or texture, that being, his mother's real love for drying persimmons! The slow sun-drying process retains its natural sweetness and moisture, making them a chewy, caramel like treat.

From the Patio Farm: Our First Basil Harvest is Upon Us

We’re starting to harvest our first basil crop and are consumed with olfactory reverence over this iconic edible plant.   It was no surprise to us to learn that the word ‘basil’ comes from the Ancient Greek word ‘basilikohn’, which means ‘royal’, reflecting the ancient civilization’s attitude to this highly fragrant, beautiful herb.  In India, basil was cherished as an icon of hospitality, and in Italy, it was a symbol of love.    While it was originally native to India, Asia and Africa, it now finds a prominent place in most of the best cuisines in the world, including Vietnamese, Thai, Italian, and contemporary American cooking.

For a long time, we knew only only type of basil -- Genovese, named after its origin in Genoa on Italy’s Ligurian Coast.  This is the basil of pesto; it’s a type of sweet basil and has delicate buttery leaves.  It wilts easily when it gets too warm and perks right back up with a bit of cold water.   But this is not the only kind of basil.   In fact, there are over 60 varieties of basil, all of which differ somewhat in appearance and taste.  When we first installed the herb boxes on the Urban Radish patio, we planted a varied crop including lemon basil, cinnamon basil, anise basil and sweet basil.   In our new aeroponic patio farm we planted 3 varieties:  Genovese, because we make a lot of pesto at The Radish, Thai, because it’s so beautiful and aromatic and Greek basil, because its tiny leaves grow into a wondrous globe, and…I guess because we’re Greek and a bit biased.   We’ll bring lemon basil back into the mix in the summer when Lemon Basil-Mint Lemonade is ‘oh so perfect’.

So, what to do with our varied basil crop?   Here are few key uses and recipes from our culinary team at The Radish:

  1. Genovese Basil Pesto:  the quintessential pesto for pasta and bread dipping.   In addition to pasta, we use this aromatic spread on our Breakfast Avocado Toast and it has a prominent spot on our lunch-time Burrata Sandwich.   www.urban-radish.com/recipes/genovese-basil-pesto
  2. Greek Basil:  Greek basil is more subtle and it’s sweeter than its Italian counterpart. Aromatic, lightly fresh and pleasantly spicy, the taste is somewhat like anise or cloves.   We love to use toss this leaf whole in our Insalata Caprese, www.urban-radish.com/recipes/caprese-salad.  Poli Ωραία!! (means ‘very beautiful’ in Greek)
  3. Thai Basil:  We love to put out vegetable curries for our dinner buffet – they seem to always be the first to disappear.   The Arts District loves flavor, which is great for us because we love to explore exotic spices and aromatic greens in our cooking and curry is the new comfort food.   A perfect application for the very aromatic Thai Basil is Green Curry of course.   Here’s a Caribbean Seafood Curry, which we owe thanks to the creativity of Chef Eric Rippert.  www.urban-radish.com/recipes/seafood-curry

CALIFORNIA NAVEL ORANGES MAKE THEIR DEBUT SOON!

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California is home to one of the largest supplies of fresh citrus in the world.  In the Central Valley between Bakersfield and Fresno, navel oranges alone comprise over 133,000 acres.  Although citrus is grown around the world, Central California has arguably the best growing conditions combining fertile soil, warm summers and cool winters to produce both the sweetest tasting and best looking citrus available.

Navel orange season is starting up and the new Urban Radish cargo van will be making weekly trips to Tulare county in the Great Central Valley to bring back this season's best citrus to our DTLA community.   Navels are already edging their way into the store thanks to a couple farm-direct relationships we have with growers as far north as Fresno.   The season promises to be exceptionally delicious and we're making great strides toward our 48-hour tree-to-market goal.    Over the next month we'll be profiling the citrus growers and packers we work to bring you closer to folks and the crops behind the delicious citrus you'll find in our store.  

STRAIGHT FROM THE PASTURE...

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We can’t get enough of these beautiful Pasture-Raised Araucana eggs straight from the ranch.  Araucana or ‘Easter Eggers’ are beautiful chickens known for their ability to lay colored eggs of shades varying from turquoise to deep olive to shades of brown.  We recently added local pasture-raised Araucana egg ranchers from Santa Barbara county to our farmer-direct partnerships. 

Eggs from pastured hens contain up to 20 times more healthy omega-3 fatty acids than those of their less fortunate cousins, factory hens.  Pastured eggs also have 10 percent less fat, 40 percent more vitamin A, and 34 percent less cholesterol than eggs obtained from factory farms. 

Isn't it great when delicious and nutritious go hand-in-hand?