Thursday, March 2, 2017

Ojai Pixie Tangerines | Meet the Farmer

About Ojai Pixies:

"Ojai Pixies are not sold under trade names! We are not Cuties, Sweeties, Delites or Smiles– we are Ojai Pixies; that is, Pixie tangerines grown in the Ojai Valley. Ojai Pixies are grown by a dedicated group of farmers working on small family farms. We grow and market our own fruit. We make up less than one percent of the California tangerine crop, so enjoy the season while it lasts!"

Pixie tangerines are pale orange colored, moderately juicy and always seedless. Individual Pixie tangerines vary in shape, size and peel texture. In general, Pixies are small (1-3 inches in diameter), have a pebbly skin and are easy to peel with segments that separate easily from one another.

Pixies ripen in the spring and are therefore on the trees during California’s coldest months and are quite susceptible to frost.

 Pixie Tangerines have been around since the mid-1960s, when they were released to the public by citrus breeders from the University of California at Riverside. Because of their small size, their habit of bearing a large crop one year and a small crop the following year, and their late season, they were not thought of as a commercial fruit. However, a group of growers in Ojai, California discovered that Pixie Tangerines grown in Ojai are wonderfully delicious. They are now available in grocery stores all over the country, as well as farmer-direct in southern California.

Meet the Farmer | Friend's Ranch Ojai Pixies

The Friend's Ranch family has been growing citrus in the Ojai Valley for over 100 years!

Throughout this time, their operation has gone through a lot of changes, expansions and cuts as well as changes in the fruit they grow and sell.

Friend's Ranch currently attend four farmers’ markets in Southern California year-round as well as selling directly from our packinghouse and through our on-line mail order.  We also sell our tangerines to wholesalers throughout California, such as Melissa's Produce.

Their goal is to grow, pack and sell the best fruit we can that you, the consumer, demand and they hope you find the fruit as delicious as they do!

Friend's Ranch is truly a small family farm, operated by 4 family members, 4 employees, as well as the input of the our new fifth generation of tangerine eaters (Matthew, Andrew, Mariana, Oliver and Celeste)!

Here are a few points about Ojai Pixies that you need to know:
 - California’s Central coast provides rich growing soil.
 - The freshest citrus commercially available, picked and packed just days before delivery
 - Grown uniquely in an East to West direction allowing for longer days of sunlight which benefits the fruit in overall taste.
 - No preservatives or wax.
 - 100 years of Ojai growing experience

Ojai Pixie Tangerines:
Pixie Tangerines have a rich citrus flavor. They are a super sweet variety, and are a cross between a King and Dancy Tangerine.  This variety of tangerine is newer to the marketplace.  Developed and grown for the last 20 years, Pixie Tangerines are now grown and available on a national basis!  They have all the attractive features of what a consumer is looking for in a tangerine: seedless and low acid.

 - Late season variety:  early March – mid May
 - Grown in the prestigious citrus region of Ojai, California
 - Seedless
 - Easy to Peel
 - Low Acidity / Very Sweet

Here is a tasty recipe you can make with fresh Ojai Pixies and Steamed Beets:

1/4 cup Balsamic Vinegar
Ojai Pixie Tangerines (or Gold Nugget Tangerines or your favorite citrus) peeled and sectioned

Citrus Vinaigrette
Ojai Pixie Tangerines or your favorite citrus peeled and juiced (you need about a cup)
1/4 cup Red Wine Vinegar
Kosher Salt to taste
Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

Monday, February 20, 2017

Tropical Dragon Fruit Salad Recipe

Tropical Dragon Fruit Salad Recipe:

This tropical fruit salad recipe is a colorful mixture of tropical fruit sweetened with coconut water and can be served in a hollowed out half of a dragon fruit.  Perfect for entertaining!

1 Red Dragon Fruit
1 White Dragon Fruit
1 Melissas Baby Pineapple or White Pineapple
Water from 1 Melissas Sweet Young Coconut

- Slice, dice, or ball all the fruit into a mixing bowl. 
- Dress with water from 1 Melissas Sweet Young Coconut. 
- Mix gently together with a folding motion so that all fruit is coated generously with coconut water.  
- Garnish with a sprig of mint or cilantro and serve in a fruit cup or small parfait glass.

NOTE: Coconut water will take on some of the magenta color from the red dragon fruit as will the fruit pieces, creating an enticing pink tint to the entire dish.

Serves 2-4.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The 17 Best Crepes Recipes on the Internet

It's a brisk Saturday morning, the sun is peeking through the clouds, and you're cuddled up in bed.  In just a few minutes the kids are going to come in and ask for breakfast.  Cereal is a thing for the weekdays and you really want to surprise your kids with something special this morning.

You head to the pantry to see what sounds good and you see the pancake mix.... but you've done pancakes for the past 8 weekends. You think to yourself... What about Crepes?

But crepes can seem like one of those dishes that is too hard to master at home.  Questions come up like; how do you cook them, how do you get them so thin, how do you keep them from turning brittle?
Then you remember... there was a package of Ready to Eat Crepes in the produce department and you picked one up along with some berries.  Woo Hoo!!  You're ready to make something fancy!

Pro Tip: Crepes can be enjoyed for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert!

Here are the 17 Best Crepe Recipes on the internet... and you can make them home!

Click the Image to Order Crepes Online:

Sweet Crepe Recipes:

Monday, January 23, 2017

Top Food Trends for 2017 | Melissa's Produce

What’s new and exciting in produce for 2017?

Here are the Hottest Trends in Produce for 2017

Take an inside look at what 2017 has to offer in your local produce department. To continue your healthy eating habits in the new year we present to you convenient, colorful varieties, and snack-able sized items.

1. Convenience / Pre-cooked ingredients
Already cooked vegetables

Organic Garden Grab Bag

Coconut Heart

2. Varieties and colors

A photo posted by Melissa Reome (@grillmomma) on

3. Snack-able sized items

More Trendy Produce in 2017

4) Vegetables: Parsnip, Okra, Rhubarb, Ruby Gold Potatoes and Colorful Carrots

Mashed Carrots and Parsnips

By Melissa's Corporate Chefs


4 large Organic Carrots (approximately 1 pound)
6 large parsnips - (approximately 1 pound)
3 whole Cloves
2 teaspoons Granulated Sugar
2 tablespoons Butter (1/4 stick)
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar
Mint finely minced or Green Onions tops for garnish


Scrape the carrots and slice coarsely. Peel the parsnips, and cut in half length.

Cut again and remove the pithy centers.

In deep saucepan, place the carrots, parsnips, cloves, granulated sugar, salt, and water to cover.

Cover pan, bring to a boil over high heat, cook 25 - 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Drain, removing the cloves, and then add the butter, and brown sugar.

Mash with a potato masher (or use the food processor) and place in a serving dish.

Sprinkle the mint or green onions over the top.

5) Chile Peppers: Shishito Peppers

6) Emerging Produce items: Tatuma, Milpero, Turmeric, Org. Ginger, Thai Chiles and Guava

Gingered Fruit Salad
By Melissa's Corporate Chefs


2 Cara Cara Oranges peeled and sectioned
2 Organic Apples cored and chopped
2 Organic Peaches or Feijoas sliced
1 cup Organic Strawberries halved
1 cup Plain Yogurt
2 tablespoons Brown Sugar packed
1/2 teaspoon Ginger Root grated


Blend yogurt, brown sugar and ginger in bowl.

Toss with fruit until coated.

Serve chilled.

Can be garnished with a sprig of mint.

7) Trendy Citrus Favorites: Kumquats, Ojai Pixie Tangerines, Cocktail Grapefruit and Neapolitan Tangerines

Pixie Tangerine Crepes with Melissa's Raspberry Sauce
By Chef Tom Fraker


6 Ojai Pixie Tangerines segmented
2/3 cup Light Cream Cheese softened
1/3 cup Powdered Sugar
3/4 cup Non Fat Sour Cream
1 tablespoon Meyer Lemons, juice freshly squeezed
1/2 Meyer Lemons, zested
6 Crepes
Dessert Sauces (use Raspberry Dessert Sauce) to your taste


In a bowl, combine cream cheese and powdered sugar and blend with an electric mixer until smooth. Add sour cream, lemon juice and zest and blend. Gently mix in the tangerine segments.

To assemble the crepes, spread the mixture over each crepe and roll them up. Refrigerate until time of service.


Place one crepe on a dessert plate. Drizzle the sauce over the top.

Makes 6 servings. Note: For a little added sweetness, garnish with some dark chocolate shavings.

8) Seasonal Fruits: Butterscotch Pears, Green Dragon Apples, Christmas Crunch Grapes and Muscato Grapes

9) Tropical Fruits: Passion Fruit, Dragon Fruit, Tree Ripen Mango, Jackfruit and everything coconut

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Google's Most Searched For Recipes of 2016

What recipes did America search for this year? 

In a way, Google is just like a giant cookbook. Except it contains every dish we could ever want or need all readily available at the click of a mouse, no page-turning required. And with the probably millions of recipe searches taking place at any moment, have you ever wondered what the most popular are? Well wonder no more.

Google has released its Year in Search 2016 list, including the top 10 most-searched recipes... Can you guess what #1 is?

10. Turkey Gravy

9. Pork Chops

8. Buttercream Frosting
7. Snow Cream
6. Chicken Tetrazzini
photo: Natasha's Kitchen

5. Chicken Marsala
4. Guacamole

3. Hash Brown Casserole
2. Brussels Sprouts

1. Green Bean Casserole
photo: Smitten Kitchen
Green Bean Casserole
By Chef Tom Fraker


2 pounds Organic Green Beans washed trimmed and blanched 
1/2 pound Mushrooms sliced 
3/4 cup Whole Milk 
1 10 3/4 ounce can Cream of Mushroom Soup 
1/8 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper 
1 28 ounce can French Fried Onion Rings 


Preheat oven to 350º. Combine the first 5 ingredients and ½ of the fried onions in a bowl and mix to incorporate. 

Transfer to a baking dish. Bake, uncovered, for 30 minutes. 

Next, top with the rest of the onions and cook until golden brown and crisp.


This is a great side dish any time of the year.

And as we move into 2017, and you start prioritizing health goals, here are the top 10 diets, from 2016, that you could also consider.... pay no attention to the "Pizza Diet."  =)

1. GOLO Diet
2. Taco Diet
3. Military Diet Substitutes
4. Atkins 40
5. Ketogenic Diet Foods
6. Dissociated Diet
7. The Wild Diet
8. Pizza Diet
9. Dukan Diet Results
10. Mono Diet

Oh, and don't forget the Top Searched Workouts and Exercises:
1. Cize workout
2. Rotator cuff exercises
3. 8 minute back workout
4. Steve Reeves workout
5. Triceps workout

Monday, November 14, 2016

Potatoes 101 and 8 Potatoes You Must Try

Perhaps America’s favorite vegetable, the potato goes far beyond the classic baked Russet we all know. With thousands of varieties worldwide, ranging from tiny fingerlings to a world-record setting 8-pound Kondor, there are many delicious potatoes to try. But, potatoes weren’t always known the cross-cultural staple that they are today.  Today the potato is a vital part of the world’s food supply, the fourth most eaten plant behind maize, wheat and rice.

A Visual Guide To Potatoes:

All About Potatoes: 

Potatoes are indigenous to the Andes Mountains in South America. In the vegetable kingdom, they are a part of the Nightshade Family, which also includes tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplants, chiles and tobacco. It was the Conquistadors of the Spanish kingdom, though, that were responsible for bringing this New World crop back to Europe in the 16th Century. However, the potato was very slow to catch on outside of Spain and Ireland.

It wasn’t until the late 1700s, when the Frenchman Antoine-Augustin Parmentier wrote a treatise on the benefits of eating the tubers and launched the 18th Century equivalent of a viral marketing campaign for the lowly spuds, that potatoes finally began to gain popularity in France and other parts of Europe. Classic dishes, like a puréed potato-leek soup (Potage Parmentier) and simple cubed and peeled potatoes sautéed in butter (Pommes Parmentier), still bear his name today.

Today, people across continents enjoy potatoes. China, India, Russia and Ukraine are the world’s largest potato growers, with the United States growing many potatoes as well, most notably in Idaho, which is known as “potato country.” There, in Magic Valley along the Snake River, Melissa’s grows a number of spuds, including purple potatoes, fingerlings, Ruby Golds® and Baby Dutch Yellow® Potatoes.

How To Store Potatoes

Potatoes should be kept in a cool, dry place with good air circulation. If you choose to store potatoes in a bag for more than a couple days make sure there is plenty of ventilation and that the bag is not sealed. Don’t store potatoes too close to onions, because each produce gases that increase the ripening rate of the other, causing them to spoil faster. In general, keep potatoes out of the refrigerator. Fingerlings are an exception, but they shouldn’t stay in the fridge for long—they’re best enjoyed soon after purchase. For more tips on how to keep Potatoes for longer storage click here.

The Best Way to Prepare Potatoes

Potatoes can be boiled, sautéed, fried, roasted, grilled, mashed, smashed, puréed, baked and more. Click here and here for basic knife cuts that are taught in Culinary Schools for a guide on cutting and using potatoes. Check out this Fine Cooking article to learn how to pick the best potato for your end use. Southern Food has some great tips on cooking Potatoes and check out this Huffington Post article on the best ways Potatoes can be prepared. Check out What's Cooking America for the perfect baked potato.

Featured Potato Recipes:

Garlic Smashed Potatoes