Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Canadian Farmers: Share your Feedback

Calling all Canadian Farmers!
The National New Farmer Coalition and the University of Manitoba have put together a survey to assess the needs of new farmers in Canada where it concerns policy and educational opportunities...
And they want to hear from you!
The results from this survey will be used to develop a National New Farmer Policy Platform that we aim to share with all levels of government.

 Take the 20-30 minutes survey here>

All respondents will be entered into a drawing for cash and other prizes, including $500, $200, and $100 and non-cash prizes of: 

The survey is also available as a PDF that can be emailed or mailed to you. Please contact or for details.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Culinary Trends in 2015: Collards

Johnny’s Product Managers are weighing in on the National Restaurant Association’s list of this year’s top culinary trends. Last week, Vegetable Product Technician, Steven Rodrigue, discussed Micro Greens. The week prior, Vegetable Product Technician, Steve Bellavia, covered the topic of Hot Peppers. This week, Vegetable Product Technician, Julius Koenig, will be sharing his thoughts on Collards:


  By Julius Koenig

  Vegetable Product Technician

Collards (Brassica oleracea) have been a staple vegetable for the southern U.S. for many decades. Now collards are becoming haute cuisine in many dining establishments across the country. The reason behind this interest could be the nutritional content; collards are packed with vitamins and minerals, also providing a great source of fiber. There has also been the comparison between kale and collards, which has many people debating which vegetable is their favorite.
At Johnny's, we offer three varieties of collards. Whether you’re looking for a Georgia type, known for savoyed leaves, or the Vates types with leaves that are smooth and flat, we have the selection to meet your needs. ‘TopBunch F1’, a lightly savoyed Georgia type that is very quick to mature in 50 days.  ‘Flash F1’ is a Vates type, with a beautiful dark green smooth leaf. ‘Champion’, our open-pollinated option, is a Vates type with large dark green leaves, but is also the best choice for baby leaf. 
Long-time Johnny’s Product Technician Steve Bellavia, who has trialed Brassicas for more than 15 years, says, “I prefer collards to kale, due to their sweetness.”  Interested in trying collards yourself? A simple Google search will yield you hundreds of recipes to try; from the traditional steamed collards to collard sushi. When cooking collards, don’t neglect the fibrous stem, which can be steamed or sautéed minutes before the leaves are thrown in the pot. 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Culinary Trends in 2015: Micro Greens

Johnny’s Product Managers are weighing in on the National Restaurant Association’s list of this year’s top culinary trends. Last week, Vegetable Product Technician, Steve Bellavia, covered the topic of Hot Peppers. The week prior, Vegetable Product Manager, Pete Zuck and Plant Breeder, John Navazio discussed Root Vegetables. This week, Product Technician, Steven Rodrigue, will be sharing his thoughts on Micro Greens:

Micro Greens

By Steven Rodrigue

Vegetable Product Technician

Spicy Micro Mix
Many growers have found micro greens to be a worthwhile addition to their offerings at farmer’s

markets and directly to chefs. Not only are they easy to grow, but the quick turnaround from seeding to harvest is a major advantage. The attributes of micro greens that are pleasing to the eye and the palate allow for versatility in the kitchen and inspire chefs with their ability to enhance the presentation of any dish.

Using micro greens in place of finely chopped, full-size greens and herbs allows the consumer to see where the flavor in their meal is coming from. By garnishing with micros, your dish becomes elegant, refined, and subtly sophisticated. Diverse flavor profiles provide micro greens with additional potential beyond garnish. Many of the micros grown from herbs complement desserts superbly with flavors ranging from sweet to tart to licorice-like. In addition to flavor, color and texture are qualities to consider when pairing micro greens with a particular dish.

There are limitless ways for how micro greens can accompany your next meal, but here are just a few:
  • As the scaled-down version of herbs and vegetables, use micros on scaled-down versions of meals. Top your miniature burgers with the micro green of your preferred flavor, texture, and color. 
  • Plan for the holidays: use bright reds and greens for Christmas and arrange micros on your hors d'oeuvre. 
  • Add a whole new level of garnish and flavor to your cocktails. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Culinary Trends in 2015: Hot Peppers

Johnny’s Product Managers are weighing in on the National Restaurant Association’s list of this year’s top culinary trends. Last week, Vegetable Product Manager, Pete Zuck and Plant Breeder, John Navazio, covered the topic of Root Vegetables. The week prior, Vegetable Product Manager, Lauren Giroux, discussed Fresh Peas.This week, Product Technician, Steve Bellavia, will be sharing his thoughts on Hot Peppers:

    Hot Peppers

    By Steve Bellavia 

    Vegetable Product Technician

Hot peppers come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and degrees of heat. They are widely used in some of the best and most interesting cuisines in the world, including Mexican, Thai, Korean, and Indian or Pakistani.
Poblanos are the mildly spicy, heart-shaped peppers used at the green stage for the famous Mexican dish ‘Chile rellenos.’ When dried they are called anchos and ground into powder for mole and other Mexican dishes. Use the powder in any recipe calling for “Chile powder” or “Chile flakes”. 
Krimzon Lee Pepper
Habanero peppers are used in the Caribbean for jerk sauces, salsas, and other hot sauce concoctions. They offer wonderful floral notes backed by intense heat. If you can’t take the heat, try ‘NuMex Suave Orange’ — it offers all of the floral notes with just a wee bit of heat. 
The hot and spicy cayennes can be used both green red, fresh or dried and made into flakes or powder. There are many cayenne varieties so one can tailor the heat of dishes by variety selection and the quantity used in a recipe. Cayenne powder is used in kimchee, the famous fermented Chinese cabbage dish of Korea. 
‘Krimzon Lee,’ a hot paprika type pepper is great sautéed, roasted, in salsas, and even spicy salads. The thick walls are sweet and mildly hot. 
Then of course, there is the jalapeno, the king of all peppers in the United States and Mexico.  It’s used for salsas, pickling, cooking, stuffing, and many other uses. If allowed to become red and smoked they become chipotles. 
If jalapenos aren't hot enough for you, consider the serrano. They are narrower, darker green, and hotter than jalapenos and can be substituted for 
jalapenos in any recipe calling for them. 
For a Spanish flair try using padrons as a tapas, a type of appetizer. They are harvested at the immature green stage when 1-1½” long, and have an excellent flavor when sautéed with a little olive oil, salt, and if you are a garlic lover, a few garlic gloves. Most padrons will be mild but about 5% will have some heat. If they grow to around 3” then all the fruits will be quite hot! 
Anaheim, also called numex, peppers are sometimes stuffed but also roasted and sautéed. Traditionally, they are used green, but they are also good when red ripe.

Pedron Pepper