It is hitting triple digits in Las Vegas, an oasis located in the middle of the desert, and it easy to assume that one is stuck using frozen or canned produce. But with four Whole Foods locations in Southern Nevada, fresh produce is available for healthy meals that are full of flavor.
Don Nishiguchi, Whole Foods Market local produce buyer and Paul Dziedzic, SoPac Regional Produce Coordinator of Whole Foods Market are experts in buying the best in produce.
Dziedzic has been in the produce industry for 30 years, working for several retail companies. He’s covered everything produce from the farm to the fork, starting as a grocery bagger in college and quickly entering the produce industry as a clerk. He worked as an assistant manager, produce manager, supervisor, quality control buyer and director of produce before joining Whole Foods Market. His work has taken him across the West Coast with experiences in the field inspecting produce, touring facilities, orchards and farms and educating at school events.
Nishiguchi has been a local produce forager for Whole Foods Market for five years. He has worked in the retail business for over 35 years. A fourth generation farmer, Nishiguchi enjoys visiting farms and seeing local growers produce their products.
The two spoke with atombash.com about buying fruits and vegetables at their peak with recipes to follow.
atombash.com: What spots is a natural part of the produce and what is not good (such as bruising)?
Whole Foods: Look out for bruising, soft spots and cracks in the skin.
How should someone store various types of produce?
We have great resources on our website for storing fruits and vegetables:
wholefoodsmarket.com/fruit and wholefoodsmarket/vegetables
Potatoes and onion should be stored in a cool dark place. Items like bananas and tomatoes should be stored at room temperature. When buying stone fruit or other fruits that aren’t quite ripe, you can store some at room temperature and others in the refrigerator so they don’t all ripen at the same time. You’ll get to enjoy them longer and have less waste. Lettuces and berries should be stored in the refrigerator until ready to eat.
Any advice on getting children to eat more produce?
The best way to get kids to enjoy produce is to get them involved and be hands-on. Cut fruits and veggies into fun, kid-friendly shapes. Plant a garden with them so they learn where fruits and vegetables come from. Take them to the grocery store and let them pick out their favorite produce item and encourage them to pick one new item to try. Kids can be great kitchen helpers! Cook with them, kids of all ages can be involved, check out helpful tools and tips for cooking with kids.
How long can produce stay outside such as a picnic before it needs to be put away. How can produce travel (ice packs for example?)
Cut items need to be kept cold. Whole fruit, like apples, citrus, pears and unpeeled bananas could be left out.
What is local produce is available in Las Vegas right now?
Nevada Fresh Pak will have lettuce, chard, kale and squash available to us. Whole Foods carry tomatoes from Hy Desert farms.
EASIEST BERRY CRISP
Serves 8 to 10
Pull together this simple fruit crisp with your favorite summer berries and a couple of pantry staples. This recipe is a fun way to feature stone fruits, too. We love using a combination of nectarines and cherries.
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the baking dish
1 ½ pounds (about 5 cups) mixed berries, such as chopped strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and/or raspberries
1/3 cup plus ¼ cup dark brown sugar, divided
¾ cup all-purpose flour, divided
1 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking oats
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Lightly butter an 8- or 9-inch-square baking dish or 9-inch pie plate.
In a large bowl, combine fruit, 1/3 cup sugar and 1/4 cup of the flour and toss until evenly coated. Transfer to the buttered baking dish.
To make topping, stir together oats, remaining 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 cup flour. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut butter into oat mixture until well-combined. Spread topping over fruit, pressing down slightly.
Bake until the top is golden brown and the fruit is tender and bubbly, about 40 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes and serve warm.
KALE, CARROT AND AVOCADO SALAD
1 bunch kale, stemmed and finely chopped
2 cups grated carrots
½ avocado, peeled and pitted
¼ cup thinly sliced red onion
2 tablespoons lemon or lime juice
2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
½ teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce
Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl. Use your hands or the back of a large spoon to thoroughly mash avocado into kale. Set aside at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving to allow kale to soften.