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Inland Empire CSA

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CERTIFIED ORGANIC

Organic Tree Crops

All trees that are flowering plants produce fruit, which are the ripened ovaries of flowers containing one or more seeds. In horticultural usage, the term 'fruit tree' is limited to those that provide fruit for human food, and can contain nut-bearing fruits.

Sunday
Mar042012

Apples

Sunday
Mar042012

Avocados

The avocado (Persea americana) is a tree native to Central Mexico, classified in the flowering plant family Lauraceae along with cinnamon, camphor and bay laurel. Avocado (or "alligator pear") also refers to the fruit (botanically a large berry that contains a single seed) of the tree, which may be pear-shaped, egg-shaped or spherical.

Avocados are commercially valuable and are cultivated in tropical and Mediterranean climates throughout the world. They have a green-skinned, pear-shaped fleshy body that ripens after harvesting. Trees are partially self-pollinating and often are propagated through grafting to maintain a predictable quality and quantity of the fruit.

Sunday
Mar042012

Feijoas (Pineapple Guavas)

Acca sellowiana, (Feijoas) is a species of flowering plant in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae, and is native to the highlands of southern Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay, and northern Argentina. It is widely cultivated as a garden plant and fruiting tree in New Zealand, and can be found as a garden plant in Australia and Azerbaijan. Common names include Feijoa, Pineapple Guava and Guavasteen. It is an evergreen, perennial shrub (or small tree), 1 to 7 metres (3.3 to 23 ft) in height, widely cultivated as a garden plant and fruiting tree.

The fruit usually is eaten by cutting it in half, then scooping out the pulp with a spoon. The fruit has a juicy, sweet seed pulp and slightly gritty flesh nearer the skin.

A Feijoa may be used as an interesting addition to a fruit smoothie, and may be used to make wine or cider and Feijoa-infused vodka. The flavour is aromatic, very strong and complex, inviting comparison with Guava, Strawberry, pineapple, and often containing a faint wintergreen-like aftertaste. It also is possible to buy feijoa yogurt, fruit drinks, jam, ice cream, and such in New Zealand. It also may be cooked and used in dishes where one would use stewed fruit. It is a popular ingredient in chutney. The very strong, complex flavour can make using feijoas, in combination with other fruits or vegetables, a creative and complex undertaking.

When the fruit are immature, the seed pulp is white and opaque. It becomes clear and gelatinous when ripe. Fruits are at their optimum maturity when the seed pulp has turned into a clear jelly with no hint of browning. Once the seed pulp and surrounding flesh start to brown, the fruit is overripe, but still may be eaten, or used to make a delicious juice.

The flower petals are edible, with a flavor that is slightly sweet with hints of cinnamon. The most common use is as an addition to salads.

Feijoas may be cool-stored for approximately a month and still have a few days of shelf-life at optimum eating maturity. They also may be frozen for up to one year without a loss in quality.

In California, robins, mockingbirds, hummingbirds, starlings, scrub jays, towhees, and grey squirrels feast on the petals and are presumed to be assisting with pollination. Honeybees also visit the flowers.

Sunday
Mar042012

Figs

The Common Fig (F. carica) is a temperate species native to southwest Asia and the Mediterranean region (from Afghanistan to Portugal), which has been widely cultivated from ancient times for its fruit, also referred to as figs. The fruit of most other species are also edible though they are usually of only local economic importance or eaten as bush-food. However, they are extremely important food resources for wildlife. Figs are also of considerable cultural importance throughout the tropics, both as objects of worship and for their many practical uses.

Figs have figured prominently in some human cultures. There is evidence that figs, specifically the Common Fig (F. carica) and Sycamore Fig (F. sycomorus), were among the first – if not the very first – plant species that were deliberately bred for agriculture in the Middle East, starting more than 11,000 years ago.

The fig fruits, important as both food and traditional medicine, contain laxative substances, flavonoids, sugars, vitamins A and C, acids and enzymes.

Sunday
Mar042012

Jujubes (Chinese "Date")

Jujube is a small deciduous tree or shrub reaching a height of 5 to 10 meters, usually with thorny branches. The leaves are shiny-green, ovate-acute, 2 to 7-cm wide and 1 to 3 cm broad, with three conspicuous veins at the base, and a finely toothed margin. The flowers are small, 5 mm wide, with five inconspicuous yellowish green petals. The fruit is an edible oval drupe 1.5 to 3 cm deep; when immature it is smooth-green, with the consistency and taste of an apple, maturing brown to purplish black and eventually wrinkled, looking like a small date. There is a single hard stone similar to an olive stone.

Medicinal Use

The fruits are used in Chinese and Korean traditional medicine, where they are believed to alleviate stress, and traditionally for their antifungal, antibacterial, antiulcer, anti-inflammatory, sedative, antispastic, antifertility/contraception, hypotensive and Antinephritic, cardiotonic, antioxidant, immunostimulant, and wound healing properties.

Culinary Use

The freshly harvested as well as the candied dried fruits are often eaten as a snack, or with tea. They are available in either red or black (called hóng zǎo or hēi zǎo, respectively, in Chinese), the latter being smoked to enhance their flavor. In China and Korea, a sweetened tea syrup containing Jujube fruits is available in glass jars, and canned Jujube tea or Jujube tea in the form of teabags is also available. Although not widely available, Jujube juice and Jujube vinegar (called 枣醋 or 红枣醋 in Chinese) are also produced; they are used for making pickles in West Bengal and Bangladesh.

Other Uses

  • The Jujube's sweet smell is believed to make teenagers fall in love, and as a result, in the Himalaya and Karakoram regions, boys take a stem of sweet-smelling jujube flowers with them or put it on their hats to attract girls.
  • In the traditional Chinese wedding ceremony, the Jujube was often placed in the newlyweds' bedroom as a good luck charm for fertility, along with peanuts, longan, and chestnuts, punning on an invocation to "have an honored child soon".
  • In Bhutan, the leaves are used as a potpourri to help keep the houses of the inhabitants smelling fresh and clean. It is also used to keep bugs and other insects out of the house and free of infestation.
  • In Korea, the wood is used to make the body of the taepyeongso, a double-reed wind instrument. The wood is also used to make Go bowls.
  • In Vietnam, the Jujube fruit is eaten freshly picked from the tree as a snack. It is also dried and used in desserts, such as sâm bổ lượng, a cold beverage that includes the dried jujube, longan, fresh seaweed, barley, and lotus seeds.
  • A Jujube honey is produced in the middle Atlas Mountains of Morocco.