Fruits are arguably the most important food group during the holiday season. From baking ideas to food platters, most of the season’s traditional tastes and scents stem from the contributions of various fruits.
Here are a few of the best fruits for the holidays parties.
Cranberries stand out as a consistent taste associated with the holiday season; their blend of sweet and tangy flavors are perfect for a variety of baking options — from cookies and scones to pies and cobblers — and they hold a deep red color that is aesthetically compatible with holiday table arrangements (pair them with something green for the full effect). These tiny fruits are also incredibly nutritious, helping to combat bacterial illnesses infections.
Organic foods have risen in prominence over the past few decades — especially within the produce industry. Now, many grocery stores and other food markets have designated whole sections to organic foods, and in the produce department there seems to be an organic alternative to nearly every offered product, from bananas to spices. Though these fully natural fruits and vegetables are plentiful now, they were once a rarity in stores across the world.
Here is a brief history of the organic produce industry.
A longstanding tradition
Organic farming, or natural agriculture, has been practiced for thousands of years; it dates as far back as prehistoric times and is the “world’s oldest and most resilient agroecosystem.” During these humble beginnings, primitive means of agriculture were introduced and leveraged toward the growing, maintaining, and harvesting of fruits and vegetables. These methods included forest gardening and the use of animals for hard labor — two approaches that would be improved and reimagined for years to follow.
Fall is just around the corner, and as the weather prepares to change to brisker conditions and more colorful aesthetics, many produce departments will soon make their own changes based on seasonal product demand.
Here are a few of the most popular fall-based produce items.
In terms of seasonal desserts alone, apples consistently stand out as one of fall’s most popular fruits. Something about the fruit’s crisp balance of sweet and tart is synonymous with cooler weather and falling leaves. In addition to their key place in pies and fritter recipes, apples tend to spike in popularity during the fall thanks to their sheer number of different flavors, which provide bakers a wide range of opportunity in terms of crafting the perfect fall treat.
As head of Montreal-headquartered CDS Foods, Cesare Della Santina oversees the import and distribution of fresh fruits and vegetable sourced from three continents. Cesare Della Santina’s company imports a wide range of products, from garlic to dragon fruit. Among the staple products handled are shallots, a member of the allium family, which also includes onions.
Sweet and mild, shallots lack the bite associated with raw onions, while imparting a subtle hint of garlic. They are ideal for dishes such as salads, where they are eaten raw and impart an onion flavor without the lasting pungency. One popular recipe is a vinaigrette that combines finely chopped shallots with apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and Dijon mustard. Shallots are also a perfect complement to hardy vegetable dishes such as roasted brussel sprouts.
A rule of thumb for shoppers is that two shallots are the equivalent of half of a large grocery store onion, and three shallots handily take the place of a smaller onion.
Poi Traditional Hawaiian Taro Root Dish Image: cookinglight.com
As head of CDS Foods in Montreal, Cesare Della Santina guides a company that sources quality products, including ginger and garlic, from around the world. Cesare Della Santina’s firm also imports a number of tropical specialty products, including dragon fruit, Asian pears, and taro root. Traditional to the Polynesian islands, taro maintains an integral role in the Hawaiian diet.
One of the early Hawaiian staples, poi is created by steaming the nutritious, starchy tuber and pounding it with wooden boards and stones. This crushing process is called poi via ku’I, and the end result is a purple-colored dish that resembles bread dough and has a mildly sweet flavor. Additional flavor can be obtained through a natural fermentation process over a couple days, which adds sourness.
For many decades, taro agriculture in Hawaii was in decline, as sugar plantations replaced traditional fields and less-nutritious potatoes took taro’s place. In recent years, awareness of the importance of taro, both as a source of nutrition and as a cultural ingredient, has come to the fore, and poi is again a common sight on many Hawaiian dinner tables.
Cesare Della Santina is a respected Montreal business owner who leads the fresh produce importer CDS Foods and sources fruits and vegetable from throughout Asia, North and South America, and Europe. Cesare Della Santina has expanded his company’s range of products throughout the years to include peeled garlic, taro, Asian pears, and ya pears.
Also known as the Tientsin and Chinese white pear, the ya pear is common in China’s Hebei province and has a similar pale golden color to that of the Japanese Pear. Unlike its rounder cousin, its shape most resembles the European pear.
Ya pears have a thin skin and a crisp texture and are commonly described as tasting like a combination of apple and pear. Made up of 90 percent water, ya pears feature a light, refreshing taste and provide a healthy amount of antioxidants such as copper and vitamin C. Like most pears, ya pears ripen from the inside and thus improve in taste and texture after picking. This gives them a lengthy shelf life and makes them ideal for shoppers who purchase fruits on a weekly basis. The high water content does mean that they are best eaten raw and are not usually recommended for pies or tarts.
An expert in produce imports, Cesare Della Santina founded CDS Foods, formerly CDS Brokers, in 2000. Cesare Della Santina ensures ongoing success by partnering with companies, like Groupe Lavigne, to periodically retrain staff.
To enhance productivity and reduce human error, retraining employees can be advantageous. It is effective when introducing new processes to operations and helps companies stay competitive within their markets. Programs should further educate employees about advanced production, sales, and management methods for improving output and therefore, customer satisfaction.
In terms of recruitment, companies must be careful not to focus solely on retraining internal staff. This creates a barrier for innovation and modernization that comes from hiring external professionals. For a good balance, human resources teams can maintain a stable and loyal workforce of veterans by implementing a retraining program for current workers. In addition, a training program should be established for new recruits to communicate processes and policies that help meet workforce demand.