Thank you to California Grown for encouraging me to connect with California growers and encouraging California consumers to "Choose California Grown" when they can.
I was told to expect a box of kiwis, but when I opened the door to see two crates awaiting me, I was surprisingly excited. They were adorable, full of so much potential, and fresh from the farm up in Gridley.
My kids both love kiwis, even picky Clover loves the sweet, sometimes tart taste of kiwis, so it's a regular staple in our house during their growing season. The odd thing is I never had a kiwi as a child, in fact when I was first offered one in college (!), I didn't know what to do with it (again - !). Now, I peel them, slice them, and put them out on a plate for a snack or I toss one into the blender with frozen strawberries and orange juice for a smoothie. But two boxes of kiwis called for something more exciting.
First, I opened the boxes up to let the kiwis ripen. Normally I buy kiwis fairly soft at the store because the kids will want to eat them as soon as they see them. But, like an avocado, if I need them for a later event, I buy a still hardened kiwi. For a fast ripening, they can be placed in a paper bag with a few apples (same trick works for avocados).
The boxed kiwis ripened just in time: this is my snack week for my son's class. I think I brought in 17 kiwis yesterday, enough for one per kid. Yay me!
Second, once ripe, I decided to make one of my favorite kiwi cocktails: a kiwi caipirinha.
Third, I took out the potato peeler and peels two kiwis. Many people cut the kiwis in half and scoop out the green kiwi meat, but I like my potato peeler method.
Finally, I made the drink because nothing says Christmas like a green cocktail.
The kiwi caipirinha is a cachaça-based drink that was printed in Sunset magazine, and if you're familar with cachaça, you know that a little goes a long way...toward knocking you out. Maybe I'm a wimp, but I've toned down the Sunset version to add a little more lime and kiwi to balance out the super strong alcohol.
- 1+ limes (start with one, keep extra on hand if needed for taste or as garnish)
- 2-3 kiwis
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 cup cachaça
- Juice the limes into a glass
- peel and slice the kiwi, adding to the lime juice
- muddle them up
- add sugar and muddle some more
- add cinchaca and ice
- stir and taste
Taste! Do not serve yet because this is when you decide if a pinch more sugar is needed, maybe more kiwi or a squeeze more lime. Once set, pour into two glasses and serve. I've also made a pitcher of these before because they're good and they're different, making it something people want to try. It was our Superbowl 2011 drink and has since become a regular feature during kiwi season.
If cachaça is not your thing, this kiwi mint lemonade sounds heavenly.
My cousins are orange growers in Central California and because of that, I've always had a sense of pride of how much various agriculture is grown in Califonia and I always check the labels on my fruit. When I was younger, it was to see if the oranges in the grocery store came from my cousins' farm, but as I got older and had kids, it was for a different reason. Buying fruit and vegetables grown in California means it travels less to get to me, is fresher, and there is a reassurance knowing the controls placed on California agriculture protecting us from the uncertainty that comes with less regulated foreign produce.
Oranges - indirectly - paid to put me through college. Farmers have families and employees, which is no surprise, but there are communities built around the local agriculture industry. To support a farm is more than supporting one person or one family's business, it's supporting a greater infrastructure. I like to take the kids to the farmer's market to see the farmers or their families selling what they grow. It gives my kids a story behind what's on their plates.
I loved that when my beautiful kiwis arrived, I didn't know anything about Gridley, but I looked online and not only found where the kiwis came from, but I learned about the family who grew them (and I got to see a kiwi orchard too). My kiwis were grown by the Kullar family, and I love that Jasbir Singh Kullar, the father and farm-founder, immigrated from India and worked a migrant farmer worker before starting his own farm that has grown from 1.5 acres to over 300 acres and various facilities.
Easily, 95% of the produce my family consumes come from California. I can say that with certainty because predominantly we buy locally grown food, and when at the store, I take the time to look at the labels for CA Grown. In addition, our grocery store often lists the originating town on the sign displaying the food price, but if the signs aren't there, it's easy to ask where the produce was grown. I am so proud to support the Kullars and other California farmers.
Thank you again to California Grown for sponsoring this blog post. Please click here to learn more about all of California Grown growers. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective. All opinions are my own. #CleverCAGrown #spon