The Produce Nerd Celebrates 1 Year!

Photo of a leafy green field.

In honor of the one year anniversary of The Produce Nerd, I wanted to highlight and celebrate some of my most exciting adventures. You guys get to see the final edited product, but I never elaborate much on the different visits, exciting moments or any of the crazy things that happen. So, here’s a glimpse […]

How Carrots Are Harvested

Photo of harvested carrots in the field.

By this point, we all know what a carrot is. It is a household name, just like a banana. But something fun about carrots that you may not know is all the innovation that has gone into the carrot. Carrots, come in all colors, shapes, sizes and slices! We are not getting that with bananas. […]

How Cauliflower is Harvested

Photo of a cauliflower harvest crew.

Recently, I have seen cauliflower everywhere, from marketing for the new Cauliflower Snow™ to social media influencers using blended cauliflower in their smoothies. It is a pretty multidimensional vegetable that can add nutrients to a meal as a side dish or can be prepared as the main course. Personally, I am a fan of roasted […]

Which is Better: Thick or Thin Asparagus?

Photo of asparagus with large diameters.

Have you ever wondered what causes the difference in the diameter of asparagus spears? It has been widely reported that the thinner asparagus spears are the better, more tender version.  However, that is not always true. Plant Structure To start off this discussion, let’s review the different parts of the asparagus plant. Crown – This […]

Asparagus Harvest & Packing

Photo of asparagus bunches packed into a box.

Asparagus are very interesting plants! They are unique from other vegetables in all aspects, including growing, harvesting and packing. Asparagus plants grow more like fruit trees, instead of like most other vegetables. Let me explain! When an asparagus plant establishes itself, it forms a crown underground. The roots grow from the crown, which is also […]

Rose Days: A Collection of Over 500 Disease Resistant Roses

Photo of the Foundation Plant Services Rose Fields

I thought it was just going to be another weekend, but it turned into a rose extravaganza! We saw a public announcement for Rose Days at UC Davis, and decided to attend. Who knew that we were going to get to see a real-life rose encyclopedia?! It was basically the rose version of Wolfskill, with […]

How Blonde Frisée is Created

Photo of Blonde Frisée being packed into boxes.

What is Blonde Frisée? Brace yourselves: this is pretty cool! There is a leafy green known as Frisée. Then, there is Blonde Frisée. Both products come from the same plant, but there is a little added alteration to the Blonde Frisée product. Below, you will see Frisée. It is a green, leafy green product. To […]

How Strawberries Are Harvested

Photo of a strawberry field in Santa Maria, CA.

Strawberries are one of my favorite fruits! One of the great joys of living in California is that strawberries are produced along the coast throughout the state at different times of the year, so we are able to have California grown strawberries throughout the year. Production begins in the fall and winter in Ventura County […]

How Do They Know When to Harvest Fruit?

Photo of a display of tools used to measure maturity indices.

I will always say that agricultural workers work harder than anyone. Not only is it physically demanding work, but there is a lot of attention to detail that is required. One primary example is during harvest. Not only are the workers harvesting as quickly as possible, but they are also checking for quality and fruit […]

The Best Spring Break I Ever Had: Road Tripping to Different California Farms

Photo of rows of leafy greens at Babé Farms

I cannot remember the last time that I took a breather and enjoyed spring break! From school to work to the real world, spring break gets easily lost! However, that all changed this year! I have been teaching a few classes at a local Community College this semester and spring break arrived, allowing me to […]

How to Read a Fertilizer Label

Photo of Alaska Fish 5-1-1 Fertilizer

There are three main numbers indicated on fertilizer labels. Those three numbers are reflected as X-Y-Z and are meant to help you decide which fertilizer to use. In the example above, the three main numbers on the fertilizer label are 5-1-1. Those three numbers represent the percentage of N-P-K that are included in the bag, […]

Why is Sulfur Dioxide Applied to Grapes?

Photo of a grape cluster.

A Sulfur Dioxide application to table grapes, which are those destined for the fresh market, is common practice, and has been since the 1920s. Have you ever noticed the labeling on fresh table grapes that alludes to the grapes being treated with Sulfur Dioxide? The pictures below are examples of the labeling I found at […]

How to Plan Your Landscape

Photo of a landscape design.

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?

Photo of a CSA box

CSA stands for community supported agriculture. 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 to […]

Produce Alternatives to Food Coloring

Photo of colored gummy bears.

Whether you are making cake from a cake mix, or eating candy, food coloring is a common theme. We use food coloring, referred to as color additives by the FDA, and eat products made with them all the time. Probably more than we realize. Besides food, we can also find them in everyday items (e.g., […]

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?

Photo of an overhaed view of the produce department at the grocery store.

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

Photo of peach tree blossoms

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

Wholesale flowers grown & packed at Neve Bros.

Fresh-cut flowers are available year-round at the grocery store, retail florists, 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 storing flowers. […]

What We Can All Learn From the Movie McFarland USA

Photo of a lettuce field

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

Photo of fruit stored in a bowl.

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

Photo of baby carrots

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

Photo of recall & outbreak logos.

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

Photo of lemons on a tree

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 protect plants from frost damage. […]

How Produce Fits into Your New Year’s Resolution

Photo of drawn vegetables.

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!

The Produce Nerd logo

Technically, The Produce Nerd 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 […]

How Poinsettias Became a Symbol for the Holidays

Photo of a poinsettia greenhouse.

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

Photo of a Cuties mandarin orchard

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 or via e-commerce. However, when we do this, we miss out on the actual nursery growing experience! I recently took a […]

For the Love of Pomegranates!

Photo of pomegranates, with one of them open exposing the arils.

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 […]