tips for selecting applesGrocery shopping wasn’t a regular occurrence for me until I graduated college and joined the “real world.” It was then that I realized that picking out produce can be a little intimidating! What do I look for when choosing this vegetable? How do I know when a certain fruit is ripe? These were all questions running through my head as I navigated the grocery store in my new hometown more than six years ago. Fortunately, learning how to select perfect apples counted as on-the-job training for me, while tips for selecting other produce items came from the employees at my store, and of course, trial and error. I’m still learning today, but feel much more confident about what to look for when selecting each item in the produce department. In this post, I thought I would share 6 tips for selecting the perfect apples at your store. Follow these tips and you should end up with a crisp, juicy, and flavorful apple every time you shop!

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Delicate, fluffy popovers are the perfect breakfast treat; one puffy little package that brilliantly welcomes a melding of just about whatever flavors you crave… sweet, savory… or a mix of the two.

Think pancakes and bacon, chicken and waffles, or even Monte Cristo sandwiches. Each of these partnerings beautifully combines the sweet and savory characteristics of their pairings.


In this recipe, a golden sauté of chicken-apple sausage, onion and Stemilt apples is nestled inside these breakfast popovers, perfectly balancing the yin and yang of the sweet-savory spectrum… especially when topped with a drizzle of pure maple syrup and a light dusting of powdered sugar. They make an easy, delicious and beautiful breakfast plating any day of the week.

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california cherry bloomSpring officially arrives this week, but signs of the new season are already evident in California, where cherry trees at our orchards across the state are covered by beautiful blossoms right now. Every year, bloom signals the start of a new cherry season and for this post, I thought it would be fun to share the latest photos from our cherry orchards in California to fill you in on what happens during this beautiful – and important – stage of cherry development.
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green apple shamrock smoothie

We’re lucky to grow not one, but TWO delicious fruits that can help you create snacks inspired by the color green for St. Patrick’s Day. Classic sweet-sour Granny Smith apples and sweet and juicy d’Anjou pears are not only the right color for March 17th, but they are also at the peak of flavor this time of year.

Last weekend, my family celebrated an early wake-up call by my toddler son (thanks daylight savings time!) with a trip to our favorite restaurant for breakfast. It was a great treat that left us all very full, and craving a light lunch a few hours later. A refreshing green smoothie was the perfect solution – filling enough to get us to dinner time, but full of goodness to balance out the heavy breakfast we had consumed. With this blog post in mind, I used my new shamrock shaped cookie cutter on a crisp Granny Smith apple and other fresh ingredients I had on hand to create a festive Green Apple Shamrock Smoothie. Simple and ready in minutes, it’s a great one to blend up for your own St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. Get the recipe and then read on for more healthy green snack ideas for St. Patrick’s Day featuring our favorite green fruits.

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March is National Nutrition Month, and we’re celebrating on The Stem by sharing 31 nutritious ways to enjoy apples and pears during each of the next 31 days. Get new inspiration for including a serving of fruit in your weekly snacks and meals all month long so that you can reap the many health benefits apples and pears provide.

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Apples for heart healthFebruary is American Heart Month, and this week, I’m sharing how two Stemilt fruits – apples and pears – promote heart health.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), cardiovascular (heart) disease is the leading cause of death among both men and women in the U.S. each year, representing approximately 1 in 4 deaths. American Heart Month has been celebrated every February since 1963 to raise awareness of this all too common disease. As you’d expect, a healthy diet is among the CDC’s list of strategies to improve one’s heart health, which specifically lists limiting sodium, eating at least five servings of fruits and vegetables each day, and choosing foods that are low in saturated fat, trans fat, and cholesterol. Apples and pears fulfill all of these requirements and more!

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Storing Apples & Pears

Jan 31, 2014 | Farming |

Controlled Atmosphere Storage In this week’s post, I’m tackling one of the most common questions we get about our fruits and sharing with you all about how we store apples and pears. Stemilt harvests apples and pears in the fall months, but packs and ships them to your stores most months out of the year. How can that be? It’s made possible by controlled atmosphere storage technology and lots of research on understanding each apple and pear variety we grow.

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pinata apple spring rolls

While traditional spring rolls often house an Asian-infused medley of ingredients, from shrimp and tofu to various greens and veggies, this Piñata apple-salad fixing makes a great little salad roll that’s yummy for healthy snacking or convenient and tasting for on-the-go packing.

The ingredients are pretty standard salad fare…spinach, cucumber, carrot and celery coupled with a little cilantro and mint for a good herb-y bite. All of this is balanced with the sweet crunch of delicious Piñata apples. While you can dip these in any dressing of your choice, here they are matched with a little whisk of fresh orange juice, tamari sauce, and miso mayo.

And, as if this weren’t enough fresh goodness, your leftover chop offers the perfect mix for a delicious and healthy green smoothie for the morning. Click to learn how to make these two tasty preparations featuring Piñata apples.

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Pinata apple

It’s peak season for our signature apple variety, Piñata, which means it’s also the perfect time to share with you the story of how this apple came to be, and what makes it so special.

Piñata is a beautiful bi-colored apple that was developed by researchers in Dresden-Pillnitz, Germany over two decades. In the 1970s, researchers (using traditional cross-pollination methods) crossed three heirloom varieties – American classic Golden Delicious, England’s Cox’s Orange Pippin, and the Duchess of Oldenburg from Russia – to create a new apple cultivar, which they called Pinova.
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Salads are pretty much a mainstay in our evening meals; providing a great way to get the healthy and nutritious leafy greens, veggies and/or fruits we crave in one bountiful side… or main course, depending on how they’re tossed up.

Similar to the soups I love, salads allow you to chop and drop just about anything that appeals to you in one bowl, with little need to follow a recipe, and end up with something delicious. And while the “chop and drop” method is the route I follow on most nights, I do really love a more composed, plated salad as well. I think plated salads appeal to the inner artist that resides somewhere in all of us; providing an opportunity to layer flavors and colors in a truly appealing manner. This is especially true when you want to showcase one or more ingredients that are just plain delicious… and visually alluring… like these d’Anjou pears from Stemilt. Sweet, juicy and immensely flavorful, d’Anjou pears are the perfect cap to this simple salad of lightly dressed arugula dotted with plump, fresh, ruby-red pomegranate seeds, some toasted walnuts, and a few slices of pumpkin-orange Fuyu persimmons.

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