All posts by Lisa Kacur

Crop update – Polar White Potatoes



As we gear up for our fall Potatoes of The World launch, marketing decided to take a trip to our farm. Millgrove, Ontario is home to many of our varieties, but there was one variety specifically we were on the hunt for, Polar White.

Discovered right here in Canada, Polar White is a true homegrown favourite.

Last year was a tough year for the potato crop in Ontario. Going through many dry spells, the yields were down. This year, the rain has been steady and our 2019 crop is growing with healthy yields.

We dug some of our Polar White plants and the number of potatoes were good, and quality was excellent. We’re excited to start harvesting this crop in a few weeks and to bring this variety to store shelves.

EarthFresh Field Manager, Len Brackenbury, is optimistic about this year’s crop, after coming off of a hard crop season last year. Len has been busy the last few weeks, starting the Ontario harvest.



Look out this fall for Polar White potatoes, from our Potatoes of the World product family, available in a 5 lb light blocking bag. It just may be the best white potato you’ve ever tasted!

2019 CPMA



On April 1st, EarthFresh announced our expansion into the U.S. with a new office, potato packing plant and distribution centre view press release here.

To celebrate, we brought a breezy springtime theme to the 2019 CPMA Annual Convention & Trade Show in Montréal.

Our 2019 theme, Blue Skies & Fresh-Cut Fries, focused on our core values by going back to the earth. We’re in the growing world, so we wanted to do something with a natural environment. We packed up our vintage airstream trailer and replicated a park with green grass and picnic tables. This year’s approach was less about displaying produce and more about creating a connection between our brand and our trade partners. Chef Carla served organic fresh-cut fries and local organic beer throughout the show.

We’ve grown our relationship with the CPMA over the last 10 years. We are now gold member sponsors, and heavily rely on the CPMA in a lot of ways including food safety.

EarthFresh has a vision of good health and good food. We aim to inspire the next generation to fill half their plate with fresh produce. Incorporating the CPMA’s Half Your Plate program is a key part of our marketing strategy, where we help promote the consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables. One of our top priorities is encouraging healthy eating habits, including highlighting the health benefits of potatoes.

Our team was honoured to receive the Best Island Booth Award and the Fresh Health Award, (acknowledging our dedicating to the Half Your Plate program and Freggie kids program)

See you in Toronto for CPMA 2020!

2019 CPMA from EarthFresh Farms Inc. on Vimeo.

Choosing the Right Potato


It’s that time of year again, when we all gather around the table to celebrate the holidays. We share in our love of food with friends, family, colleges and neighbours. It’s become a tradition that I host my family and friends for dinner every year. My guests look forward to new dishes, as I tend to change it up every year. Variety is the spice of life, and potatoes are no exception!

My kids love potatoes. The challenge for me is that one likes mashed, another prefers roasted, my son loves baked and my husband craves a simple potato salad. One potato variety is simply not suitable for all of these dishes.

Selecting the right potato for the job is key when preparing any potato dish. With so many varieties to choose from, walking into a grocery store and choosing a potato can be a bit overwhelming. Not to worry, I’m going to give you a brief Potato 101 to simplify the process

White potatoes are best suited for boiling. They are great for when you need the potato to stay firm. I choose them when cooking stews, soups and potato salads.

Red potatoes are best for roasting and will also hold their shape after cooking. They are great as a simple, flavourful side dish. The flavour and spice combinations are endless to suit any taste

Yellow potatoes are the ideal potato for mashing. Their creamy, naturally buttery flavour means there is little need for extra butter and cream. Leave the skins on to retain all of the nutrients, including potassium, vitamin C and fibre. Leaving the skins on also uses the entire potato, minimizing food waste and cost.

Russet potatoes are best for baking and make the best fresh-cut fries. The bright white flesh of the Russet becomes fluffy and dry when cooked. When fried, they become crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside.

Remember that preparing a great potato dish doesn’t have to be difficult, it can be as simple as tossing some red potatoes with a dash of olive oil and salt and roasting them in the oven. Choosing the right potato for any cooking application is most important step.

We’ve got you covered with Holiday recipes that your family will love:

Best for Baking: Pancetta and Aged Cheddar Twice-Baked Potatoes

Best for Boiling: Potato Salad with Yogurt and Dill

Best for Roasting: Horseradish Aioli Roasted Red Potatoes

Best for Mashing: Garlic and Chive Whipped Mashed Potatoes

Chef Carla, EarthFresh Chef

Blue Zones: Health habits from the healthiest regions


Blue Zones: Health habits from the healthiest regions

I first heard of Dan Buettner and his Blue Zones project at the Organic Produce Summit in Monterey California this past July. He was a key note speaker and the moment he walked on stage his presentation captivated me. Who doesn’t want tips on how to live a longer, healthier life?

Dan Buettner, a National Geographic Explorer, has traveled the globe to uncover the best strategies for longevity found in what he has coined The Blue Zones: places in the world where higher percentages of people enjoy remarkably long, full lives.

The Blue Zones gives you advice on how to live to be 100 years and older by looking at 5 spots across the planet where people live the longest. He draws lessons about what they eat and drink, how they exercise and which habits most shape their lives.

The best part? Potatoes are part of the Blue Zone eating habits – music to my ears!

Blue Zones regions are Ikaria, an island in Greece; Okinawa, an island in Japan; the Barbagia region of Sardinia (Italy); Loma Linda, a small city in California, and the Nicoya peninsula in Costa Rica.

So here you have Dan’s Nine Lessons from studying the lifestyles of the Blue Zone regions:

1. Move Naturally. Moving naturally throughout the day — walking, gardening, doing housework — is a core part of the Blue Zones lifestyle.

2. Purpose. The Okinawans call it ikigai and the Nicoyans call it plan de vida. Knowing why you wake up in the morning makes you healthier, happier, and adds up to seven years of extra life expectancy.

3. Down Shift. Stress is part of life, but Blue Zones centenarians have stress-relieving rituals built into their daily routines. Adventists pray, Ikarians nap, and Sardinians do happy hour.

4. 80% Rule. People in Blue Zones areas stop eating when their stomachs are 80% full and eat their smallest meal in the early evening.

5. Plant Slant. Beans are the cornerstone of most centenarian diets. Vegetables, fruit, and whole grains round out the rest of the diet and meat is eaten in small amounts.

6. Wine @ 5. Moderate but regular consumption of wine (with friends and/or food) is part of the Blue Zones lifestyle.

7. Belong. Being part of a faith-based community adds four to 14 years to life expectancy.

8. Loved Ones First. Having close and strong family connections (with spouses, parents, grandparents, and grandchildren) is common with Blue Zones centenarians.

9. Right Tribe. The world’s longest lived people have close friends and strong social networks.

For more information visit the Blue Zone website or follow them on social media!

By Stephanie Cutaia, Marketing Director

National Farmers Day – Keisha

Farmer Feature – Keisha Rose from East Point Potatoes, PEI.

As the Digital Brand Manager at EarthFresh, I occasionally get to step out of the office and into a potato field. This summer I had the pleasure of visiting one of our packing plants, EastPoint Potatoes in PEI.

I packed up my camera, put on my boots and headed to Souris, PEI to meet Keisha Rose, one of our growers. I was welcomed with a warm dinner from the Rose Family and a tour of the Island. From the first few hours I spent with Keisha I could immediately see how knowledgeable she was in the agricultural industry.

PEI Trip
Keisha grew up in rural Prince Edward Island, going on tractor rides with her father and grandfather. As a sixth-generation potato farmer, her roots run deep. After graduating with a business degree, she worked for the Department of Agriculture in crop insurance. After 2 years, she could no longer ignore her instincts to work on the family farm.

When I asked her about her thoughts on being a female in the agriculture industry, she said “I usually don’t think much about being a female in this industry, although people do like to point it out and I might get a few funny looks when I am going down the road in a tractor. I am very happy that I grew up in a family that allowed me to have that opportunity and if I wanted to, I was more than welcome to join the business. I know it is not the norm, but I think any female can do it as long as they are willing to learn and don’t mind getting dirty”.

Among the red soil and crisp ocean air, we talked about the natural beauty of PEI and it started a conversation about taking care of the environment. Keisha spoke about the importance of protecting the land she harvests from. Her family is always trying to make sure they are doing things sustainably to leave things like they found them.

I’d like to thank Keisha for taking the time to show me her world so I can share her story.

Lisa Pugliese, Digital Brand Manager

One Pan, Easy Fall Flavours



As we near the end of September, I find myself savouring every bit of my favourite time of year. Breathing in the crisp fall air while gathering up end-of-season local produce from the Farmers’ market has become my favourite way to spend a fall day.

Now that the kids have settled into their school routines, I can focus on what absolutely makes me the happiest: cooking.

Not only am I a fan of the fall season, but what it means for meal-time. For my family, fall food means comfort in the form of hearty soups, stews and casseroles. I look for recipes that are filling, healthy and don’t take too much time to prepare.

I’d like to share my family’s favourite fall recipe, Skillet Stewed Potato and Chicken Bake, with you and your family. This meal can go from fresh ingredients to table in just 45 minutes. This hearty dinner is loaded with good, wholesome and healthy ingredients that I feel good about feeding my family.

Simply prep your ingredients, place your loaded skillet into a pre-heated oven and set the timer so you can tackle something else on your to-do list or take some much needed me time!

Chef Carla’s Skillet Stewed Potato and Chicken Bake

Prep Time 15 Minutes | Cooking Time 30-40 minutes

Makes 8-10 Servings


Ingredients:

1.5 lb bag EarthFresh Organic Yellow Baby Potatoes

1.5 lb skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces

1 small onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 baby red peppers, sliced

1 28oz can diced tomatoes (do not strain)

1 cup low-sodium chicken stock

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp caraway

1/2 tsp rosemary

fresh basil, for garnish

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350°F.

Wash, dry and cut the potatoes into halves.

In a large bowl, add the potatoes, chicken, diced onion, minced garlic, red pepper slices, diced tomatoes, chicken stock, salt, pepper, caraway and rosemary. Gently stir to incorporate all ingredients.

Transfer the mixture to a cast iron skillet and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes. Potatoes will be cooked when fork-tender.

Remove skillet from the oven, garnish with fresh basil, and serve immediately. Enjoy!

The Fresh Ones Take on The Ride to Conquer Cancer and the Big Bike Ride



At EarthFresh, we believe in fostering a healthy lifestyle through our products, our values and employees. We are committed to helping our community live a healthy lifestyle and cultivating a team who embraces this commitment.

Our team channels the EarthFresh core values to make an impact on our community through fundraising initiatives such as this year’s Ride to Conquer Cancer and Big Bike Ride for Heart & Stroke.

The Ride to Conquer Cancer is a 2-day, 200 km cycling journey that unites a community of people who fundraise for the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. This past June, EarthFresh participated in The Ride to Conquer Cancer for the sixth year.

EarthFresh’s team, The Fresh Ones, had an impressive roster of 15 people who raised $30,123 to help cancer patients in Ontario. Our team comes together year after year to train and fundraise for months leading up to the ride. Crossing the finish line is a culmination & celebration of their efforts to change lives right in our community.

For more information on the Ride to Conquer Cancer, click here.

The Big Bike Ride is another initiative that the EarthFresh team participated in this summer. Teams get together across Canada for a 20-minute ride on the Big Bike to fundraise for the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada.

The Fresh Ones got 20-minutes of heart-pumping exercise by riding one Big Bike around the City of Burlington. Our team of 19 people surpassed our goal by raising $3,006. This goes towards the Big Bike Ride Program’s regional $195,000 goal and national $8 million goal. The team pedaled through the community to celebrate our fundraising accomplishments and stop traffic to support critical heart & stroke research.

For more information on the Big Bike Ride, click here.

EarthFresh extends a big thank-you to The Fresh Ones and members of the community who supported us in these community initiatives. We look forward to continuing to support our community and promoting a healthy lifestyle. Look out for members of our team on the upcoming Freggie Fresh Ride, where 100% of donations will go to the CPMA’s healthy-eating initiative for children, called the Freggie Friday in-school program.

For more information on the Freggie Fresh Ride, click here.

EarthFresh Herb Garden



Growing and harvesting goodness from the earth is what we do best at EarthFresh. We believe in taking care of the earth and those living on it, which inspires our sustainability and healthy living initiatives.
This summer, we are not just growing potatoes. We have planted a herb garden right outside of our EarthFresh kitchen door. This will make it simple for Chef Carla to access fresh herbs anytime and aid in our efforts to minimize food waste. We cultivate a mindset of heathy living amongst our team, and this will be a great way to accessibly add some colour and goodness to everyone’s meals.

Chef Carla is known to use fresh herbs to add flavour, freshness and colour to many of her dishes. Fresh herbs offer many health benefits and are an easy way to sneak in some added nutrition to a meal. Herbs, like most leafy green plants, are filled with super-food qualities since they contain a variety of vitamins and anti-oxidants. Fresh herbs like oregano, parsley, rosemary and basil are amongst the most nutritient-packed greens you can find. When you add flavour to a dish through fresh herbs, you make it more appealing and encouraging to eat more fresh, whole foods.

With an abundance of fresh herbs right outside the EarthFresh kitchen, you will not want to miss out on Chef Carla’s inspired, nutritious recipes this summer. We encourage you to start your own herb garden and add some nutrient-packed colour to your family’s meals.

2018 CPMA in Vancouver



The Canadian Produce Marketing Associations has been a core component of the Canadian and International marketplace for almost a century. This year the 93rd CPMA Annual Convention & Trade Show took place in beautiful Vancouver, B.C. This annual showcase of industry innovation, education and networking is the only event of its kind in Canada and is our opportunity to meet current and future business partners while supporting the CPMA.

It brings together our industry partners, competitors and suppliers under one large convention centre roof and we look forward to it every year. This is truly a passionate group of people who have a common goal of growing and selling fresh produce which in turns provides families across the USA & Canada with healthy food.

This year the focus of our booth aligned with our company’s core values: Health, Fresh, Growth and Energy. Showcasing potatoes as fresh, organic & true to our roots of what we do. The potato art mural was to showcase exactly what we are about – Canadian! We commissioned a native Vancouver artist to do the potato art mural. The rest of our booth is organized to showcase our four product groupings so it’s easy for our customers to see our products: Nutrispud, Specialty Items, EarthFresh Usage Program (The Right Potato for the Right Cooking Job) and Organics. We offer something for everyone.
Our graphics also represent who we are and what we do – one of our marketing missions is to promote potatoes as a healthy food item and an important part of our diet.

2018 CPMA from EarthFresh Farms Inc. on Vimeo.

We’re Diggin’ Potatoes!

Stephanie Cutaia, Marketing Director

Celebrating Cultural Diversity at EarthFresh

As a Chef, I am always looking for new and interesting recipes that inspire me.

At EarthFresh we proudly celebrate many cultures. I have been fortunate to learn from many employees with different cultural backgrounds who have provided me with new and inspiring recipes. Recently, I spent some time talking to many of our employees about recipes that were important to them and why; recipes that held meaning and had history. I was pleasantly surprised that potatoes had a special importance in most family recipes. This was very exciting to me!

Christina, who is one of the newest employees to join EarthFresh generously offered her time and cooked with me in our kitchen. She taught me her mother-in-law’s special potato recipe from Serbia. The dough, which is imported from Serbia, is the secret ingredient to holding the mixture of potatoes and onions together. The “Potato and Onion Pita” is simple to make and tastes amazing and authentic.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

carla-salad
Potato and Onion Pita

This recipe was submitted by Christina’s mother-in-law. Christina works for EarthFresh in the Sales Department.

Prep Time 20 Minutes| Cooking Time 60 Minutes

Yields: 18 servings

Ingredients:

1.5lb. bags of EarthFresh Organic Yellow Potatoes

2 large white onions, chopped

½ cup (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp. (5 mL) salt

1 tsp. (5 mL) pepper

9 sheets, puff pastry, thawed

** Christina used Homestyle Pastry Sheets from Gala Bakery. This product can be ordered by visiting www.galabakery.ca . Alternatively, you can use any frozen puffed pastry purchased at your local grocer. **

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).

Wash, dry and cut and the potatoes into small even pieces. In a large bowl stir together the potatoes, onions, salt and pepper. Set aside.

Lay out three pieces of the puff pastry onto a flat service and lightly brush each piece with olive oil, covering the entire surface. Place another piece of puff pastry on top of one of the three lightly oiled pieces and again brush each piece with olive oil, covering the entire service. Repeat this process with the remaining pieces of puff pastry for a total of three layered puff pastries. Place one cup of the potato and onion mixture onto each layered puff pastry and gently spread the mixture evenly over each entire pastry sheet. Finish by rolling up each pastry sheet carefully into a log. Place the three rolls into a 13 x 9 glass baking dish and bake for 45-60 minutes or until golden brown on top. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Cut each log into 6 pieces. Serve warm.

Sincerely, Chef Carla