How to Plan Your Landscape

One of the most exciting things about moving into a new place is getting to experiment with a new yard! Even when reinvigorating your current yard, there are always new things to try and to improve. The best case scenario is to start from scratch, so that you can lay everything out correctly. If not, […]

What is a CSA?

CSA stands for community supported agriculture, and the purpose of a CSA is to increase consumer knowledge and the interaction between farmers and consumers. In general, a CSA is where consumers pay a set amount before the local growing season to receive weekly or bi-weekly allotments of an assortment of fresh, local produce without having […]

How Produce Fits Into the Food Coloring Equation

Whether it is finding a way to make your snacks green for St. Patrick’s Day, if you are making cake from a cake mix, or if you are eating candy, food coloring is a common theme. We use food coloring, referred to as color additives by the FDA, all the time, and we eat them […]

How the Citrus Industry is Being Threatened

The two main citrus growing regions in the U.S. are Florida and California. Citrus huanglongbing (HLB), also known citrus greening disease, has been causing a decline in the U.S. citrus industry since the disease was first discovered in Florida. There has been an estimated 75% decrease in the $9 billion Florida citrus industry, as all […]

How Is Your Produce Regulated?

Who regulates your produce? Is it the FDA? The USDA? Or someone else? And how often is it regulated? Do you know the answer to any of these questions? It is important that your produce is regulated, right? Food safety is a hot topic. Technically, your produce is regulated by the FDA, and as a […]

Fruit Trees in Bloom

Fruit trees are in bloom. What more is there to say? It is, simply, one of the most beautiful times of the year! These blossoming trees can be seen just about everywhere, from orchards to backyards. So, what is the point and how do we tell them all apart? What is the Purpose? The reason […]

How Flowers Become Bouquets

Fresh-cut flowers are available year-round at the grocery store, at retail florists, at farmers markets and anywhere else where they sell flowers. Some of these flowers are grown in open fields and others are grown in greenhouses. Just like with fresh produce, there is a lot of work that goes into growing, harvesting, packing and […]

What We Can All Learn From the Movie McFarland, USA

California supplies more produce than any other state in the country. A lot of the agriculture that takes place in California is located throughout the Central Valley. In those small towns, many of which are still underdeveloped, there exists a thriving agriculture business. The field and facility workers might not demonstrate the wealth of their […]

How to Practice Food Safety at Home

There are many consumers who worry about buying produce that could be a part of a recall or lead to a potentially life-threatening illness. With buyer specifications and the new FSMA rules in the produce industry, produce operations are guided on how to prevent food safety (pathogens/recalls/outbreaks/etc.) issues at the operation level. However, do you […]

How Baby Carrots Changed the Carrot Industry

Today, baby carrots are seen and served more often than whole carrots. When I was younger, I did not even know that baby carrots were not grown that way. I just knew that those were the carrots that I was served: at home, at school, as appetizers at get togethers, etc. Now, the industry is […]

How to Interpret Recall & Outbreak Notices

Did you know that over 1 million people get a foodborne illness each year? This is a low estimate as it is believed that there are a lot more cases that go unnoticed because some people do not always go to the doctor when they get sick. Any of these foodborne illnesses can turn into […]

Protecting Plants from Frost

With winter in full force, it is important that we do not forget about our outdoor plants! If you have any plants that are frost-sensitive or are thinking of planting frost-sensitive plants, it is important for you to maintain the plant health, monitor the weather and take precautionary measures to prevent against frost damage. Selecting […]

How Produce Fits into Your New Year’s Resolution

In the spirit of the New Year, where the most common resolutions are to diet, lose weight and exercise more, I thought it would be fun to review some recent diet trends to see how produce fits in. I have become more familiar with them since I started The Produce Nerd, and have seen these […]

The Produce Nerd’s Best of 2016!

Technically, the blog has only been live for about 7 months, but since so many exciting things have happened and topics have been covered, I thought it would be nice to review. Especially, since there have been so many new people that have joined since the beginning. Viewer Favorites These 5 articles were the most […]

How Poinsettias Became a Symbol for the Holidays

Similar to a Christmas tree and mistletoe, poinsettias have become synonymous with the holiday season. In the case of Christmas trees and mistletoe, both plants have been cut and are no longer growing and thriving. While, poinsettias are potted plants when purchased and you can determine how long they live for. You can keep them through […]

How Cuties are Harvested & Packed

By now, I am sure you have heard of Cuties. They are so popular that many refer to their brand name instead of their actual names of Clementine mandarins and W. Murcott mandarins (similar to Band-aid or Kleenex). There is an approximate six month window between November and April when Cuties are available. The Clementine […]

A Nursery Experience

Fruit trees have to start somewhere, regardless of whether they are grown for commercial production or for your backyard garden. Fruit trees can be purchased from your local retail nursery, everyday home goods store (e.g., Home Depot, Costco, etc.) or via e-commerce, but when we do this, we miss out on the actual nursery growing […]

For the Love of Pomegranates!

If you are a pomegranate fan, you better eat them while you can! The 2016 pomegranate season in California has been cut short due to the abundance of heavy rains. As a result, pomegranate suppliers are not sure they will have pomegranates available through the holiday season.[1] Pomegranates only have a two month harvesting window […]

Not Your Typical Thanksgiving Dessert!

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, because it is all about family, giving thanks, and eating a lot of food! Since Thanksgiving is upon us, I would like to share my Grandma’s Thanksgiving Jell-O dessert that she makes each year. It is not a traditional dessert, but it is definitely memorable! As grandma knows […]

Walnuts From Hulling To Packing

In recent years, the California nut industry has been growing. Not only are more orchards being converted into nut orchards, but there is also a lot of money being put into research to improve the nut industries.  In regards to walnuts, there was a 16% increase in California walnut production between 2013 and 2014, California […]

The Leafy Green “Transition”

This past week, multiple leafy green producers announced that they are currently transitioning their operations to the Arizona-California desert. What does that mean and how does it affect you and your lettuce/leafy green consumption? Have you ever wondered how the same leafy greens are available year-round despite changing climates and seasons? In the western portion […]

The Making of Sun Dried Tomatoes

How sun dried tomatoes are processed is really a sight to see! We have already seen how fruit is dried in the field with figs, but the tray drying process that takes place with sun dried tomatoes is a whole different type of operation. We are also lucky to be able see it on a really large scale, […]

Modern Day Scarecrows

It is Halloween time, which means that there are a lot of scarecrows, carved pumpkins and skeleton decorations on everyone’s front porch. With all of the commercial holiday preparation, do we really know where those decorations came from or what purpose they serve? This Halloween season, I would like to review the significance of the […]

How To Choose The Right Trail Mix

I don’t know about you, but I love trail mix…almost a little too much! The best part about trail mix is that there are so many different varieties of trail mix to choose from. The problem is that they are not always healthy for you. So, if you are going to purchase trail mix, you […]

Avocado Harvest & Packing

Avocados have quickly risen in popularity. They are being used as a healthy alternative to traditional dishes, e.g., a substitute to mayonnaise in deviled eggs, as a sandwich topping, the ever growing trend of avocado toast, etc.  The Hass Avocado Board recently proposed a new 5-year plan to make Hass avocados the most consumed fruit in the […]

Why Are Mangoes Hot Water Treated?

Ever since I started learning about food ingredients, I have been obsessed with reading product labels. In the case of mangoes, when they are bought individually, there are no labels since they are fresh pieces of fruit. However, when bought in bulk boxes, there is an extra label on the box that you do not […]

How Dried Figs Make It To The Market (Part 2: Packing)

The behind the scenes of dried figs does not end in the field! As a follow up to Part 1, this blog will cover what happens to California dried figs after they leave the field. I can promise you that it is not what you would expect! Dried Fig Storage Dried figs are stored depending […]

How Dried Figs Make It To The Market (Part 1: In The Field)

For many people, the fruit drying process is a mystery. Unless it is written on the package, you do not know if the fruit is tray dried in the field (laid out on trays in the field to dry in the sun), if they dry on the tree or drop to the ground and dry. […]

Why Don’t My Store-Bought Tomatoes Taste Good?

Have you ever noticed the difference between store-bought tomatoes and home grown tomatoes? The common misunderstanding is that store-bought do not taste as good because the store-bought tomatoes are not ripened on the vine. What really happens is that tomatoes can ripen off of the vine since they are climacteric, but there is a specific […]

Bell Pepper Packing

The great thing about bell peppers is that they are available year round! Although we see bell peppers being sold in the grocery store from other countries, bell peppers are actually grown year round in the United States, with California being the highest producing state. Bell peppers are hand harvested and transported to a packinghouse […]