Strawberries, A Crisp Recipe, Fruit Flies!

HERE WE GO!  The Maine growing season has begun!  We started with foraged fiddleheads and ramps then progressed into local strawberriesasparagus!  Now, we are getting into the sweet stuff with the start of pur much celebrated local strawberries!!!!  These little gems are highly prized for their sweetness and their beautiful dark, crimson color. We received our first batch of these little beauties from White Oak Farm in Warren, Maine. The local strawberry season is short lasting about 3 to 4 weeks from mid-June to mid-July.  So get them while they are here! And don’t forget, when you’re considering local strawberries for your establishment that the weight of the local berries is 11# per flat vs 8# flat for our California berries. The Maine berries are denser and have a higher sugar content which leads to a more delicious berry!


COOK THIS!!  Strawberry-Rhubarb Cobbler with Butter Cookie Dough Topping
Lifted directly from The Best Recipe published by Cooks Illustrated.

This is an easy, delicious recipe to use with almost any fruit, but its best with strawberries and rhubarb. The sugar in the topping provides enough sweetener so that you don’t have to use much in the fruit.  Also, the topping can be made ahead; be careful though, it's really tasty and may not last long!

Topping
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
Pinch salt
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup sugar
1 large egg yolk (one whole egg if doubling recipe)
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
Filling
3 cups fresh local strawberries
1 cup rhubarb
1 tablespoon cornstarch
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Directions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Mix flour, baking powder, and salt together in small bowl.
  • Beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 1 minute with electric mixer. Beat in egg yolk and vanilla until smooth. Stir in dry ingredients until just combined.
  • Stem and rinse strawberries. Halve large berries.
  • Cut rhubarb into ⅓ inch chunks. Mix together with strawberries.
  • Add cornstarch, sugar and vanilla to fruit. Gently mix together.
  • Scrape fruit mixture with rubber spatula into 8 inch square baking pan or 9 inch rough deep dish pie plate.
  • Evenly drop cookie dough topping by heaping tablespoons evenly over fruit; don’t forget the edges!
  • Bake until golden brown about 45 to 55 minutes. Serve warm or cold--doesn’t matter, it's delicious!

KITCHEN HACK with Fun Facts  What comes with all this delicious summer fruit?  You guessed it, fruit flies!! Here are some fruit fly fun facts and two quick and easy fruit fly fixes!

  • The fruit fly is a species of the common housefly known as Drosophila melanogaster (try saying that three times fast!) They get their name because of their strong attraction to ripening or rotting fruit, which serves as a food source as well as a place to lay their eggs (yuck!)
  • Adult fruit flies typically reach 3-4 mm in length and live 40 to 50 days.
  • What makes fruit flies so difficult to control is that one female fruit fly can lay as many as 500 eggs in her short lifespan
  • Humans and fruits flies are genetically similar.  A whopping 75 percent of the genes that cause diseases in humans are also found in the fruit fly.
  • Fruit flies self-medicate with alcohol too. The reward circuitry of fruit flies' brains, as in humans, gets a pleasurable boost from drinking alcohol. A study done at the University of California, San Francisco found that the male fruit flies who had been rejected by females drank four times as much alcohol as the mated flies!

Fruit Fly Fixes  Okay, now that I’ve fascinated and disgusted you with fruit fly fun facts, I bet you want to know how to get rid of these pests.  Read on below for 2 simple, effective remedies using apple cider vinegar.

  • Pour a little into a glass, or just remove the cap from a bottle. (It doesn't have to be full — nearly empty will also work). Cover the opening in plastic wrap and secure with a rubber band. Then, poke a hole for the fruit flies to enter. They can't resist the scent of vinegar, and they won't be able to exit once they're inside.
  • If you find your fruit flies are impervious to the plastic wrap, try adding three drops of dish soap to a bowl of vinegar, and leave it uncovered. The soap cuts the surface tension of the vinegar so the flies will sink and drown.

 

Summer Begins, Meet a Native Mainer, A Golden Harvest!

Coming right up…SUMMER!!!  Though summer doesn't officially start until June 21, we all know that it unofficially begins on Memorial Day!  More customers, busier service times, congested roads!! Don't despair, Native Maine has you covered!   We're open for Memorial Day!  And July 4! And Labor Day for your convenience!  You can count on us to be there when you're open!


customer serviceDon't forget, you can order 24 hours a day online at nativeme.com; to sign up for online ordering call our customer service department or talk to your sales rep. Prefer the phone? You can leave a voicemail anytime by calling 207-856-1100. Want to speak to a real person? Call the same number to speak to one of our knowledgeable, live customer service representatives from 6am to 10pm Monday through Saturday.   And speaking of customer service, here's a group shot of our daytime customer service team!  From left to right: Brittany Butler, Bill Cook (Customer Service Manager), Jordan Sears, and Taryn Libby!

Also, summer brings us a bounty of local food options!  Already, we've had local fiddleheads, ramps, and asparagus.  Soon, those amazing June strawberries will be here and then we're off with our summertime bounty.  Check out our local prduct list at www.nativeme.com for your latest availability!

A GOLDEN HARVEST for Native Maine!
In April, Native Maine Produce and Specialty Foods acquired the wholesale operations of Golden Harvest, Inc. Located in Kittery, Golden Harvest sells the freshest produce, dairy, and specialty grocery items.  By providing outstanding customer service along with the quality fresh produce, Golden Harvest built a loyal customer following. 

Jim and Carla Spencer, owners of Golden Harvest decided to sell their wholesale division to Native Maine to allow them to focus on managing and growing their thriving retail business in Kittery Maine. “Our wholesale business has grown substantially over the years, and we now deliver to hundreds of accounts all over the seacoast. Our wholesale division has taken on a life of its own and will benefit from the full-time attention and even deeper product selection Native Maine can provide,” stated the Spencers.  

Native Maine is thrilled to welcome all of Golden Harvest employees and customers into the Native Maine fold!  

Meet Your Native Mainer: Caryn Collins  In the last edition of Local Lore, we talked to Dave Cignoli formerly of daytime customer service (he's know a Native Maine area representative).  This time, we venturing into the world of nighttime customer service.  Currently, nighttime customer service is headed up by Mishka Cardin-Gonzalez (Mishka is Native Maine's first bilingual customer service rep!) and by Caryn Collins, the nighttime supervisor.  See below for more on Caryn and remember Native Maine customer service is open until 10pm for your convenience

carync

What is your job title?  Night time customer service supervisor

How long have you worked at Native Maine?
Oh my gosh, I’ve been back I think about 4 maybe 5  years...before that, I think I’ve been with Native Maine for, oh, before that it was 6 or 7 years. It’s been a long time.  I should probably ask Walter! (HR person)

How would you describe your job? HECTIC! At least, it can be during the busy time.  It’s interesting too, at the same time. In a nutshell, I answer phones and enter orders, but its a lot more than that.  Before, it was mostly data entry. Customers would leave message and I would enter order. Now that customer service is open until 10pm, I take a lot of “live” orders, answer questions.  We still have customers who prefer to leave an order on voicemail; and that’s okay!

Do you ever get odd phone calls?  Oh yes! We get a lot of calls for other departments even though we’re here in the nighttime.  Then, of course, we also get a lot of calls for Edible Arrangements. Huh, why? Their national 800 number is close to Native Maine’s #; so we get people calling up and asking: “Are you the fruit people?”  Of course, we say: “yes, we sell fruit...things get more confusing from there!”

What did you do before this job?  I was a produce buyer at Supervalu which is a large grocery store chain.  I started out as a buyer's assistant, did some merchandising, went up the chain and became a buyer.  I was buying dry goods, not fresh--a little bit less stressful.  So before I came to Native, I had a lot of produce experience.  And of course, I was (and still am) a dj!

How did you get into it?  DJing was my first career, I never really left. Radio was my passion and I did that for 20 years; now I DJ at parties and weddings and stuff.  And, of course, the Native Maine Food Shows!! These days, I DJ more to supplement my income and have fun!  Well, I call you the voice of Native Maine because you’re the voice on our voice mail!  That's right! I do announcements, I'm the MC at our tradeshows, I like doing them!

If you could switch jobs with someone at Native Maine, who would it be?  Hmmm. I guess Ross (Native's CEO); I’d go straight to the top!  Kidding! No, I actually like working nights. I've had some hearing loss over the years and Native Maine has been able to accomodate that. I"m really grateful that Native Maine for that.

If you could change one thing about working here, what would it be?  I can't think of anything off the top of my head; I think Native Maine is a good company and treats people fairly.

What do you like most about your job?  The fact that I can do it with my hearing loss!  I actually really like customer service; I really do enjoy the people and interacting with them.  Its nice that I can still do. I need to have my hearing aid really turned up!......

What’s one thing that nobody here knows about you?  I’m a crazy cat lady; I have 7 cats!!  Also, I love to sell on ebay!

Thanks, Caryn!  Happy start of summer, Everyone!  See you next time!

Fun Food Shows, Easter candy, and food dyes

29541878 1901853919856410 954022146758771489 nHi Local Lorers, Guess what's coming right up!!!!

NATIVE MAINE FOOD SHOWS!!

Monday, March 26, Portland, Holiday Inn by the Bay 12-4pm
Monday, April 2, Portsmouth, Sheraton Harborside Hotel 12-4pm

Join the fun! Huge door prizes, deep product discounts, live music, and lots of free swag! Meet the people behind Native Maine’s great products: ask your questions and learn about the latest and tastiest foods. The Native Maine chefs will be cooking up delicious dishes. Our vendors will be on hand with tons of delicious foods to sample. What’s your pleasure? We’ll have domestic and imported cheeses, charcuterie, desserts, pasta, meats, olives, condiments, pizza, juices, soda and lot’s, lots more!!

It’s not too late to register at nativeme.com; we hope to see you there!

 And Easter is on it's way too! Don't forget Native Maine is your source for your Easter dinner needs. We have local ham and lamb, the freshest seafood, the crispest asparagus, and delicious desserts to make your table shine!

Here’s some Easter candy trivia to get you in the spirit:

  • Americans will consume more than 16 million jelly beans. That's enough jelly beans to circle the globe not once, not twice, but three times — or to fill a plastic egg the size of a nine-story building.
  • 86% of Americans bite off the ears of a chocolate bunny first! 5% who eat the feet first, and 4% who eat the tail first. Seems like 5% are undecided….
  • It used to take more than a day to make a peep! Approximately 27 hours, to be precise. That was back in 1953, when each candy was handmade with a pastry tube. Today they have machines that have dramatically (!) speed up the process to just six minutes. Which is good because….
  • Americans eat more than 600 million Peeps during Easter. This makes Peeps the most popular non-chocolate Easter candy. The Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, factory makes an impressive 1 billion Peeps a year, that’s 4 million a day.

Make This! Naturally Dyed Easter Eggs--dig into your compost bin and find the ingredients to make your own Easter egg dyes!

Use only hardboiled eggs; white eggs are preferred. The longer eggs are soaked in any of the dyes, the darker the color will be. For best results, leave eggs in dye in fridge overnight.

  • Blue: Red cabbage dyed Easter eggs turn out blue! Cut 1/4 head of red cabbage into chunks and add to 4 cups boiling water. Stir in 2 Tbsp. vinegar. Let cool to room temperature and remove cabbage with a slotted spoon.
  • Jade Green:  Simmer tops from 4 carrotsr in 2 cups water for 15 minutes; strain. Add 3 tsp. white vinegar.
  • Orange: Take the skin of 6 yellow onions and simmer in 2 cups water for 15 minutes; strain. Add 3 tsp. white vinegar.
  • Dark pink: Cut 1 medium beet into chunks and add to 4 cups boiling water. Stir in 2 Tbsp. vinegar and let cool to room temperature; remove beets.
  • Lavender: Mix 1 cup grape juice and 1 tablespoon vinegar

Happy Spring everyone!  We hope to see you at our shows!

Local You Know

At Native Maine Produce & Specialty Foods we're working hard to connect our customers with the freshest, quality produce & specialty products available. We believe in supporting New England's vibrant and diverse food system by providing locally grown & processed food items alongside some of the world’s best specialty foods sourced from around the globe.

As one of New England’s leading produce wholesale distributors with 3000+ quality items in stock, our 2000+ New England customers have access to local, regional & hard to find specialty foods delivered frequently at very competitive prices. We are your neighbors; we are the Local You Know.

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