This Week in Produce

Updated every Friday

Last Updated: January 16, 2014

We've got ourselves a heat wave! It's pretty hard to believe that we'll be above freezing for parts of the weekend, given that it's only mid-January. But we won't argue with it. Besides enjoying the beautiful weather, many of us are hosting or attending the yearly rituals of football play-offs, so I'll be getting party food all ready for the games this weekend.

Guacamole is a game day staple, and if you are in charge of making it for the weekend, you're in luck. We've got beautiful organic Hass avocados, that are ripe and ready to eat this weekend, and are at a great price now that we are in peak avocado harvest season. Don't forget the other fixin's, like local garlic, shallots, and cippolini onions, along with a wide variety of dried and fresh hot peppers.

I also like to have lots of veggies around to dip, as an alternative to all the fried foods that come with the football parties. Try slices of fresh jicama (with a shake of salt and a dash of lime juice), baby carrots or carrot chips, bell pepper slices, cucumber spears, and cherry tomatoes, all great for snacking on throughout the festivities.

Citrus is really outstanding this week. If you haven't had the opportunity to try the blood oranges yet, you are really missing out and I highly recommend you pick some up this weekend. Juicy, sweet and tangy, with those berry flavor undertones, this is just a perfect orange, except it is deep red (and not orange) inside. We love, absolutely love the Johansen navel orange 10# bags. If you want a sweet and flavorful orange, nothing fancy, this is hands down the go-to. If you are apprehensive about the quantity, just know you might be surprised how quickly a 10# bag of oranges get eaten when they are this good.

Murcott Mandarins are wonderful again this week. If you can overlook a few seeds, these easy-to-peel, sweet and tangy little mandarins are a perfect citrus for the lunch box or snack break. Don't forget to check out some of our other favorites this week, including the new Orlando Tangelos (easy to peel, mild and sweet flavor), the Ruby and Rio Star grapefruit, cara cara navel oranges, and the minneolas.

Lastly, if you need something bright and beautiful to spruce up those drab winter blues, grab a floral bouquet or a cute house plant. We've got a bunch of brand new plants and arrangements in for the weekend that can be just what you need to keep the spirits up when the temperatures drop again next week.

And now for something completely different! We're starting a new little segment here at This Week in Produce, tentatively called Weekly Grower Greetings. I'm going to be bringing you updates from our favorite local farmers to see what they are up to each week. Sometimes it's hard to imagine what farmers are doing when there is snow on the ground, but even in the off season, they're busier than we can imagine. Our first Weekly Grower Greeting comes from our greatly beloved friends at Featherstone Farm in Rushford, Minnesota. Luckily for us, we are still receiving some beautiful produce from them, even in January!

This week at Featherstone, they are already busy planning and preparing for the spring. This includes choosing which plants they are going to grow, but also figuring out where everything will get planted. There are still a few crops that they have stored at the farm from last season, such as those carrots that we all love so much. These carrots and other crops are being washed and packaged for distribution. Featherstone farmers have also been busy meeting with all of their produce buyers in the Twin Cities, getting everyone ready for the upcoming growing season. They've also been doing demos around town drumming up excitement for their wonderful CSA.

Thank you Featherstone for the update! I can't wait to check back in closer to the spring to see what else is happening at the farm!