June: A Cherry Good Month for Fresh Produce

One of the best things about summer is the abundance and availability of fresh produce. Although it is now easier to buy fresh produce year round, to get the best deals on fruits that you love you should buy them when they are in season.

Right now is a great time to buy and enjoy California Cherries. Cherries are a versatile ingredient for pies, desserts, and more! They are also a sweet treat by Fresh_Cherry_Asparagus_Salad.jpgthemselves. For a delicious cherry and asparagus salad recipe to try this summer, click here! Even more awesome recipes that incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables can be found at the Fruits and Vegetables More Matters website.

Grapes, strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries are also in season during the summer months. Remember to always try and fill half your plate with fresh produce, and to take advantage of the bountiful amount available during the summer! Check back at our blog throughout the summer for more yummy recipes!

Savannah Millburn

Savory Grape Salad

If you’re anything like me, it’s safe to say that you probably aren’t going to be winning a cooking show on Food Network anytime soon. But, that doesn’t mean your recipes have to be boring or simple and reflect that! The recipe I’m sharing today is one that I found browsing for exciting new ways to incorporate fresh produce into everyday meals. Courtesy of savorthis on Food52‘s website, this savory grape salad will amaze you at how simple flavorful cooking can be. This salad pairs great with grilled chicken and could be an awesome addition to your Memorial Day BBQ!

Ingredients:

~8 oz King Fresh Grapes (sliced thinly)

~1/3 Cup Sliced Almonds64f67419-0344-46f0-8cdd-fe68577691b7--grapes-f52.jpg

~1 Garlic Clove (sliced thinly)

~6 Basil Leaves (sliced thinly)

~2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

~2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar

~1 oz Feta Cheese

First, toast the almonds in a pan without oil. On a plate or in a bowl, add the grapes, basil, and toasted almonds together. Heat the oil and garlic in a pan, and toast the garlic. Once it is toasted, use a spoon and scoop the oil and garlic over the grape mixture. Drizzle balsamic vinegar over the grapes, then crumble feta cheese over the salad. You can season with salt and pepper, then you’ve got yourself a delicious, easy dish that is bursting with flavor! All credit for this delicious recipe goes to savorthis. For full recipe with directions and author notes, click here! For more fantastic recipes like this, visit her website here! Have an awesome Memorial Day Weekend and let us know what you think of these recipes!

Savannah Millburn

Berry Patriotic Fruit Salad

With Memorial Day weekend on the horizon, we at King Fresh thought we would share some of our favorite recipes that we’ll be serving up this weekend. One of my families summertime favorites is the Red, White and Blueberry fruit salad. This delicious salad not only tastes great, but is sure to liven up any backyard barbecue due to the brilliant colors of the fruit!

Ingredients:blueberry_commod

~1 pint of King Fresh Strawberries

~1 pint of King Fresh Blueberries

~1/3 cup of Honey

~2 teaspoons lemon or lime juice

~4 bananas

To start, wash the strawberries and blueberries thoroughly. Next, cut up the strawberries into halves or quarters, whichever you prefer. Toss the strawberries and blueberries in a bowl, and add the honey and lime juice. Sugar and lemon juice can be substituted at this step depending on your preferences, however I think the honey complements the sweetness of the fruit without overpowering it. Refrigerate the strawberries and blueberries until chilled, then before serving cut up the bananas and add them to the mix. Voila! You’ve got a gorgeous fruit salad that is sure to impress no matter who you serve it to.

Although we usually don’t end up with any leftover, this recipe will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days. The lime juice acts to preserve the bananas so they don’t brown. For the full original recipe, click here! Have a safe Memorial Day Weekend, and be sure to check back for more fun recipes!

Savannah Millburn

Grapes to the Rescue; A Vine New Twist on Heart Disease Prevention

wheezy grapesGrapes are always a delicious treat on a hot day and can be great additions to salads, desserts, and various other summer dishes. Loaded with health-boosting antioxidants and vitamins, grapes are also widely known for being a nutritious alternative to unhealthy sweets like candy and cookies. While we all know that fruit is an integral part of a healthy diet, did you know that grapes can actually lower the risk for heart disease?

New research being conducted by molecular biologist Susan Zunino with the Agricultural Research Service’s Western Human Nutrition Research Center in Davis, CA would suggest that various compounds found in cherries have a positive effect on immune systems in obese people.  In a study conducted by Ms. Zunino, two groups of obese people drank either a mixture of water and freeze dried grape powder, or a placebo that contained no additional compounds. After the study, blood samples were taken and analyzed. The group that had received the compound had a marked difference in their low-density lipoprotein (LDL) which is commonly considered “bad cholesterol”.

Research has lead scientists to believe that increased consumption of LDL lowering fruits and vegetables can be helpful in reducing risk for heart disease in obese and at-risk people. Although more research is needed to determine exactly how different compounds in grapes and other fruit effect the body and onset of disease, it doesn’t take any molecular biology to know that King Fresh grapes are a tasty, juicy and health boosting treat that can be enjoyed year-round!  To read more about research being done about health, food safety, produce and more courtesy of the USDA, click here.

Savannah Millburn

~Grandma Wheezy’s Sweet Grape Salad~

“This grape salad works as a salad or a desert!  Guaranteed someone will want to know who made it.” – Grandma Louise   INGREDIENTS: BASE 8 cups King …

~Grandma Wheezy’s Sweet Grape Salad~

Fall Favorites…in season, too!

It’s true…Fall is the time when we’re usually really excited to get back into our kitchens and spend some time experimenting and creating again: making long-simmered stews and sauces, braising, baking, and engaging in other forms of cooking that we tend to shy away from in hotter weather.  Luckily, the cooler temperatures bring a plethora of seasonal goodies to cook with, from crisp apples and juicy pears to hearty greens, sweet root vegetables, and sturdy winter squash.  Here’s a comprehensive look at what’s fresh and in season for autumn:

  • Apples
    Apples
  • Beets
    Beets
  • Broccoli
    Broccoli
  • Rapini
     Broccoli Rabe
    Brussels Sprouts
    Brussel Sprouts
    Cabbage
     Cabbage
  • Carrots
    Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery
    Celery
  • Celery Root
    Celery Root
  • Chicory
    Chicory
  • Fennel
    Fennel
  • Figs
    Figs
  • Garlic
    Garlic
  • Grapes
    Grapes
  • Greens
    Greens
  • Leeks
    Leeks
  • Mushrooms
  • Onions and Shallots
    Onions & Shallot
  • Pears
    Pears
  • Parsnips
    Parsnips
  • Persimmons
    Persimmons
  • Pomegranates
    Pomegranates
  • potatoes
  • Potatoes
  •  pumps
  • Pumpkin
  • Quince
     Quince
  • Radishes
     Radishes
  • Sweet Potatoes
     Sweet Potatoes
  • Winter Squash
     Winter Squash

Take advantage of fall’s beautiful bounty of fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables; there’s a cornucopia of options at your fingertips.  Here’s to your health!

 

Seasonal Foods – February

Grocery shopping is already a pretty time consuming task, but not knowing what to buy when you get there can be overwhelming and pricey. However, purchasing seasonal foods is a healthy and cost effective way to approach food shopping. Grocery stores tend to stock up on these items in bulk because they are plentiful, making them less expensive for you—especially when they go on sale. Now that you know which seasonal foods should be on your grocery list—making your weekly trip to the store easier on you (and your wallet)!

                                              feb

Seasonal Fruits and Vegetables for February:           

Arugula
Asparagus
Beets
Bok choy
Broccoli
Brussels Sprouts
Cabbage
Cauliflower
Carrots
Celery
Cilantro
Clementines
Dill
Fennel
Grapefruit
Kale
Lemons
Lettuce
Leeks
Mandarins
Oranges
Onions
Parsnips
Pears
Pomelo
Shallots
Strawberries
Sweet Potatoes
Tangelos
Tangerines
Taro Root
Turnips
Rhubarb

My First Produce Expo

Most industries have annual trade conventions showing off new items and packaging.  The produce industry is no different.  I was fortunate to recently attend The Packer’s Midwest Produce Convention & Expo held in Kansas City, MO and the show was fascinating!

All of the companies displaying at the shows decorate their 8 x 10 foot space with brightly colored, eye catching packaging and giveaways designed to attract the interest of buyers working in retail, wholesale and the food service industry.  Customers enjoy a unique opportunity to get to know their suppliers face to face in a fun and enjoyable environment.  Our sales staff, and the other fresh produce suppliers have learned through their many years of attending conventions that buyers have certain colored name badges and those mean decision makers and possible purchase orders. The buyers also know from experience that vendors will do what it takes attract them to their booths for a few minutes of their valuable time and an exchange of business cards.

This was my first ever produce convention; in fact my first business convention of any kind.  The whole trip was an incredible learning experience.  The King Fresh tradition of sponsoring and exhibiting at the Midwest Expo stems from our company’s satellite location in Kansas City.  We enjoy The Packer’s Midwest Produce Convention and Expo, because we never know who we will meet that could enhance our company’s future…the possibilities are endless…and that’s exciting, too!

 

Paige Wilson

~Grandma Wheezy’s Sweet Grape Salad~

 

“This grape salad works as a salad or a desert!  Guaranteed someone will want to know who made it.” – Grandma Louise

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • BASE

8 cups King Fresh grapes (Red grapes are best, the rest are good!)

  • DRESSING

8 oz. cream cheese

8 oz. sour cream (You can use plain Greek yogurt as a healthier option)

½ cup sugar

  • TOPPING

1 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup chopped pecans (Pecans are best, other nuts are good!)

DIRECTIONS:

Wash and de-stem the grapes.

wheezy grapesMix room temperature cream cheese, sour cream, and sugar into a bowl. Stir dressing onto clean, DRY grapes.

louise grape salad mix

Mix brown sugar and chopped pecans and sprinkle heavily on top of grape salad and serve. (Grandma Wheezy stirs toppings into grapes and then covers the top again for extra sweetness!)

louise grapes salad bwnsugar

There is usually dressing left over so make sure you use enough to cover grapes well. Then you can add more grapes, if necessary…if not the dressing stays great in the refrigerator.

louise grape salad 2

A Healthy & Sweet Treat! …Bon Appetit!

This Family Recipe was Contributed by:  Paige Wilson (granddaughter of Louise)

The Value of Youth Labor in the Fields

Keith Wilson, owner and operator of King Fresh Produce told his three sons early on that they could earn money working and contributing to the operations of the King Fresh Produce, the family business. Initially the boys thought their contribution would start in the office; filing, running errands, and doing other tasks, however, their father said no. According to Keith, to fully understand the business it starts in the field–working the dirt, planting, growing the crop, and harvesting. The sons were told “Field work begins in the morning so be at there at 5:30 AM tomorrow morning.” Keith told them to not forget a hat and to wear a long sleeve shirt to not get sun burned.

“Working in the fields helped me learn the value of a dollar. It makes me think if I buy something it took me this many hours to earn what I am purchasing.” Zachary Wilson, 15 years old said.

Working in the fields can be overwhelming. These young men have to wake up early in the morning since it is over 90 degrees by 10 or 11 AM.  After working in the fields for King Fresh for two summers now, Zachary is interested in working in other parts of the company.

“Working in the fields makes me realize how much an education is worth. I need to go to college because I do not want to limit myself to a manual labor job. I love working outside but having to crawl into a grape vineyard doesn’t sound appealing to me to do for the rest of my life.” Brenden Wilson, 16 years old said.

kfpvineyards

Adolescents understand that the jobs available today if only receiving a high school degree are likely to be filling orders, manual labor, and moving boxes.  More and more teens believe that receiving a bachelor’s degree is the first step in moving up in the social and economic ladder.

This generation sees education in a different light compared to the older generation who decided to go to work right out of high school. It seems necessary to earn a higher education to open the door to more prestigious jobs and higher earnings. The focus on earning a higher education’s provides our generation with a feeling of security.

Working in the fields at King Fresh Produce as  young adults has been a beneficial experience for Brenden and Zachary. They enjoy seeing their projects through and visualizing the positive effects they have on the company. They realize the small things they are accomplishing can have a huge effect on the company. They will carry the lessons they learned in the field with them throughout their life and never forget their summers spent in the fields.

-Paige Wilson