Tag Archives: vegetables

grocery

Expect to Pay More for Certain Groceries

With California experiencing one of its worst droughts on record, grocery shoppers across the country can expect to see a short supply of certain fruits and vegetables in stores and to pay higher prices for those items. Professor Timothy Richards of the W. P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University recently completed some research on which crops will likely be most affected and what the price boosts might be.

“You’re probably going to see the biggest produce price increases on avocados, berries, broccoli, grapes, lettuce, melons, peppers, tomatoes and packaged salads,” says Richards, the Morrison Chair at the Morrison School of Agribusiness within the W. P. Carey School of Business. “We can expect to see the biggest percentage jumps in prices for avocados and lettuce – 28 percent and 34 percent, respectively. People are the least price-sensitive when it comes to those items, and they’re more willing to pay what it takes to get them.”

Industry estimates range from a half-million to 1 million acres of agricultural land likely to be affected by the current California drought. Richards believes between 10 and 20 percent of the supply of certain crops could be lost, and California is the biggest national supplier of several of those crops. For avocados, the state is the only major domestic source.

Richards used retail-sales data from the Nielsen Perishables Group, an industry analytics and consulting firm, to estimate price elasticities – how much the prices might vary – for the fruit and vegetable crops most likely to be affected by the drought. Those most vulnerable are the crops that use the most water and simply won’t be grown, or those sensitive to reductions in irrigation.

He estimates the following possible price increases due to the drought:

* Avocados likely to go up 17 to 35 cents to as much as $1.60 each.
* Berries likely to rise 21 to 43 cents to as much as $3.46 per clamshell container.
* Broccoli likely to go up 20 to 40 cents to a possible $2.18 per pound.
* Grapes likely to rise 26 to 50 cents to a possible $2.93 per pound.
* Lettuce likely to rise 31 to 62 cents to as much as $2.44 per head.
* Packaged salad likely to go up 17 to 34 cents to a possible $3.03 per bag.
* Peppers likely to go up 18 to 35 cents to a possible $2.48 per pound.
* Tomatoes likely to rise 22 to 45 cents to a possible $2.84 per pound.

“We predict the increased prices will change consumer purchasing behavior,” says Sherry Frey, vice president of Nielsen Perishables Group. “We’ve identified certain consumers who will be more heavily affected by the price increases — for example, younger consumers of avocados. In addition, there is a larger department and store impact retailers will need to manage. While some consumers will pay the increased prices, others will substitute or leave the category completely. And, for a category like avocados, there are non-produce snacking categories, such as chips, crackers and ethnic grocery items, that will be negatively impacted.”

Richards adds, “One other thing for shoppers to understand — Because prices are going to go up so much, retailers will start looking elsewhere for produce. This means we’ll see a lot more imports from places like Chile and Mexico, which may be an issue for certain grocery customers who want domestic fruit and vegetables.”

147318567

Bringing Farms to Arizona Cities

Green living innovator Greg Peterson has an idea of bringing 10,000 urban farms into big cities of Arizona.

By creating farms closer to homes in large cities, fresh foods are more readily available to help create a healthier way of living.

Peterson, contributing writer for Phoenix Magazine and Edible Phoenix, began gardening 35 years ago when he realized the importance of growing your own food.

“Stress, environmental toxins, and lack of nutrition contribute to disease. We can control the quality of the food were eating,” Peterson said. The diagnosis of a tremor causing one of Peterson’s hands to shake “spun” him into learning more about health.

Peterson’s idea of the Urban Farm began after he transformed his backyard into an entirely edible landscape with over 70 fruit trees, three solar applications, and recycled building materials. The site is open to the public and offers tours and classes on how to garden and farm.

Most of the food bought at major grocery store chains travels an average of 1500 miles before it reaches shelves to be purchased, Peterson explains. This means that fruits and vegetables have to be picked before they are ready, leaving people with a limited amount of nutrients in their diets.

Restaurants located in bigger cities are beginning to garden and farm on site of their locations. Pizzeria Bianco and The Parlor, both located in Phoenix, have fresh menu items by growing their ingredients on the restaurant’s property.

Fruits and vegetables are more power packed with nutrients when they are grown and sold closer to homes in urban areas because they don’t have to be picked so far ahead of time for long destinations. Food is healthier for people when it doesn’t have to travel as far.

The hot, sunny weather in Arizona sometimes makes it difficult to maintain a garden or farm, let alone do this in bigger city areas of the state. Tim Blank, a man who works directly with the Department of Energy and NASA, has created a product called the “Tower Garden” to grow fresh food in any environment.

The “Tower Garden” is an environmentally friendly product that uses 90 percent less water in growing plants. Ongoing drought problems in the state of Arizona makes conserving water an important issue.

Nutrition educator and Tower Garden owner, Ellen Stecker, grows tomatoes, squash, zucchini, and cilantro with the product on her property at home.

Tower Gardens are so popular, that they have been featured on ABC news, CNN, and the New York Times. This invention is an important tool that helps bring gardening closer to homes in the city.

With his idea of creating 10,000 urban farms in Phoenix, Peterson says that the Tower Garden inspires healthy living.

Elements at the Sanctuary - AZ Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010

Elements At The Sanctuary Provides A Feast For The Eyes And Stomach

My dining companions and I took in the gorgeous view at the Sanctuary Camelback Mountain Resort & Spa in Paradise Valley, as the sun set behind Mummy Mountain in a swirl of pink and purple, before settling into a deep blue. But make no mistake, it was the food that took center stage.

elements’ location within the Sanctuary must be some sort of homage to the resort’s name, as the restaurant is truly a haven for food lovers. With prominent chef Beau MacMillan — of Iron Chef America fame — at the helm, elements has flourished into an innovative restaurant with a flair for bringing out the best in every dish. MacMillan has a passion for fresh and organic ingredients, and believes food should be appreciated for its simplicity and natural goodness. After the Sanctuary’s renovation last year, elements’ kitchen doubled in size. MacMillan seized the opportunity to expand the menu to feature more local ingredients obtained from organic farmers, hormone-free meats, as well as more vegetarian and gluten-free dishes.

In the sleek, modern dining area, we began the night with some exquisite ginger eggplant hummus, served with fresh, crunchy bread. The hummus was unlike anything I’d ever tasted before, with an unexpected ingredient, ginger, that gave it a kick.

For our appetizers, we chose the roasted corn bisque, black truffle and lobster fritter; the pan fried, short rib ravioli topped with sugar-cured shallot, horseradish hollandaise and tomato jam; and last but not least, the crispy soft shell crab with green garlic aioli. They were all, to put it bluntly, fantastic. Each appetizer had its own unique flavor, but somehow left us with the same expression: Yum! The bisque had a smooth, creamy texture with hints of lobster. Meanwhile, the pan-fried, short rib ravioli was definitely a new spin on an old favorite.

Next up we sampled elements’ salads, which also featured an interesting mix of ingredients. The braised bacon and poached egg salad sounded more like breakfast, but turned out to be a good complement to the organic greens, shaved vegetables and soy sesame vinaigrette. But the standout was definitely the beet salad, featuring salt roasted beets and fennel, goat cheese, mizuna and toasted walnuts.

Soon it was time for the entrees. Over pleasant conversation and beautiful backdrops, we sampled various dishes. From the classic chicken dish to the special of the day, we kept our taste buds tingling. Another old favorite that garnered positive feedback was the prime flat iron steak. You can’t really go wrong with steak, and elements turned things up a notch — with roasted oyster mushrooms, heirloom baby potatoes and spring onions. After the tasty ginger hummus, we selected the carrot and ginger gnocchi as one of our dishes, and a good thing we did. The punch of flavor that the ginger brought once again surprised us — an unexpected but perfect addition.

Of course, we couldn’t leave without sampling some dessert. And were we glad we did. The piña colada was just as delicious as the cocktail, minus the alcohol. Featuring warm pineapple upside down rum cake with vanilla coconut anglaise and coconut gelato, it was the perfect ending to an exquisite meal. You might say all the “elements” were there for a perfect evening, as well.

If You Go:
elements at Sanctuary
Camelback Mountain and Spa
5700 E. McDonald Drive
Paradise Valley
(480) 948-2100

Arizona Business Magazine Nov/Dec 2010

Food Basket

Listen To Mother: Eat Your Vegetables And Reduce Your Diabetes Risk

Eat your vegetables. Your grandma said it, your mom said it — even Popeye said it — and now your doctor should be saying it regularly as well. A new analysis of existing research suggests that eating more green, leafy vegetables can significantly reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Why is this important? Nearly one in five hospitalizations in 2008 involved patients with diabetes, according to a recent federal report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. And, the cost of caring for those patients was $83 billion for 7.7 million stays, or nearly one in four dollars of hospital costs that year, according to the report. The report also says the average cost for each of those diabetes-related hospitalizations was $10,937, nearly $2,200 more than the cost of a stay for a patient without a diagnosis of diabetes.

The rates of type 2 diabetes have been going up in the United States as the population has become more overweight, the authors of the analysis noted. So, one of the consequences of not eating our vegetables is that it hits our wallets as drastically as it hits our waistlines. For decades, scientists have been trying to understand the role that diet plays in the development of the disease. Researchers, led by nutritionist Patrice Carter at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom, examined six studies that looked at the links between diet and the incidence of type 2 diabetes. They found that compared with those who ate the least amount of green, leafy vegetables (0.2 servings daily), people who ate the most (1.35 servings daily) had a 14 percent reduction in risk for type 2 diabetes. However, the analysis didn’t show that increasing overall intake of fruit, vegetables, or a combination of both, would make a significant difference in risk, Carter and colleagues reported in the Aug. 19 online edition of the BMJ (British Medical Journal).

Still, in the analysis, the authors concluded that “increasing daily intake of green, leafy vegetables could significantly reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes and should be investigated further.” Evidence also indicates that these vegetables may play a role in prevention of certain cancers, as well as obesity and its consequences. So, what are some green, leafy veggies of choice? Well, spinach, of course, but also broccoli, kale, sprouts and cabbage can reduce the risk by 14 percent when eaten daily, because they are rich in antioxidants and magnesium, which has been linked to lower levels of diabetes. Whether we like it or not, no matter who it comes from, “eat your vegetables” is sound advice.

sushi platter

Sushi Roku Blends Trendy With Traditional For A New Dining Experience

At the heart of the new W Scottsdale, Sushi Roku is taking the dining world by storm. With various locations in the Los Angeles area, as well as one in Las Vegas, this contemporary twist on Japanese cuisine has arrived to make its mark on Arizona territory.

The architecture and decor are a sleek combination of modern design and traditional Japanese accents. The bar area is comprised of concrete and a large, natural tree-root that sits at its base. Dark wood floors, an elliptical sushi bar flanking the dining area, and a dim, candle-lit atmosphere lure you in. No, this is no ordinary sushi place, but rather a total dining experience.

Sushi Roku dishUpon entering the restaurant, staff members enthusiastically greet diners, yelling out “Irasshai!” This warm Japanese welcome was the beginning of the flavorful journey that we were about to embark on. We began the evening with some traditional starters, including edamame, as well as a unique offshoot of the well-known favorite, edamame hummus, served with vegetable wonton chips. The edamame were warm, crisp and salty — just the way I like them. The hummus was also a hit, complemented by the flavor-packed chips. The standout from the appetizers was definitely the Kobe beef skewers. The tender, moist beef was offset by a punch of spice that woke up the taste buds.

Sushi RokuDining in a restaurant with sushi as part of its namesake made our dinner selection a no-brainer. We began with a natural choice for sushi lovers: the oldie but goody, California roll. After sampling a wide array, including caterpillar, softshell crab and salmon sashimi, we were still hungry for more. We decided on the katana roll, and the signature dish was well received; a combination of tuna, yellowtail, spicy tuna and shrimp tempura, it had just the right amount of zest to please. But the pièce de résistance of the sushi selections was the baked lobster roll. Covered in a creamy miso sauce, the roll had a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth taste that was a perfect balance of flavors — not too spicy, not too bland, but just right. Side tempura dishes of eggplant, sweet potato and carrot made eating vegetables a pleasure rather than a chore. Sure they may have been deep fried, but it still counts in my book.

No meal is complete without dessert and to my delight, it didn’t disappoint. Though we enjoyed the frangelico creme brulee, there was a clear winner in my eyes. A chocolate lover at heart, the lava cake was the perfect ending to a satisfying meal.

Sushi Roku can be described as part trendy sushi bar, part elegant dining excursion. All in all, Sushi Roku is a fusion of great tasting Japanese cuisine, sleek design and a hip presentation of meals. As the staff pleasantly says when you leave, “Arigatou!” Thank you! And we will indeed come again.

If you go:
7277 E. Camelback Rd.
Scottsdale
480-870-2121
www.sushiroku.com

Kona Grill opening new location

Kona Grill Opens Third Location In The Valley

By Noelle Coyle and Janet Perez

Despite the sluggish economy, restaurants continue to open or expand in the Valley, and Arizona native Kona Grill is no exception. Originally founded in Scottsdale in 1998, the restaurant has expanded throughout the United States, with locations in Missouri, Nevada, Indiana, Colorado, Connecticut, Michigan, Louisiana, Illinois, Nebraska, Texas and Florida. In June, it came back to its roots with the opening of a new location in Gilbert, and there are more plans for growth on the horizon. The Gilbert location joins two other Kona Grills in the Valley at Scottsdale Fashion Square and Chandler Fashion Center.

The new Gilbert restaurant opened at SanTan Village, one of many recent outdoor lifestyle malls built in the Valley. Kona Grill’s interior includes many of its signature features, including soft lighting, a granite sushi bar and a 2,000-gallon saltwater aquarium filled with exotic fish.

Like its decor, Kona Grill’s menu is an inspired combination of American comfort food and Pacific Rim ingredients.

The appetizers exemplify this philosophy with onion rings served with a pineapple chipotle and spicy mustard sauce; blackened catfish or macadamia nut chicken tacos; calamari with a spicy aioli dipping sauce; and Kahuna Bites, beef sliders seasoned with onions and thyme. I was disappointed to see that one of my favorite Kona Grill appetizers is no longer on the menu, a spicy salmon sashimi paired with sour cream and avocado and wrapped in a flour tortilla that is then flash-fried. Here’s hoping Kona Grill brings that delight back.

Kona GrillThe dinner menu abounds with baby back ribs, pizzas, macadamia nut chicken, lemon grass crusted halibut and sweet chili-glazed salmon. The pizza toppings run the gamut of exotic from regular pepperoni to shitake mushrooms and goat cheese. The macadamia nut chicken might sound simple, but it features a shoyu cream sauce and a pineapple-papaya marmalade.

A special treat is the Big Island Meatloaf. If you’re expecting it to be just like Mom used to make, you’ll be in for a surprise — unless Mom hails from Hawaii. The meatloaf is made with sweet Italian and Andouille sausage with a mushroom ragu. The dish is topped off with white cheddar mashed potatoes and wok-tossed vegetables.

If you’re in the mood for steak, Kona Grill provides with 6 and 10-ounce filets, and a 20-ounce, bone-in rib-eye.

Now for me, the real attraction to Kona Grill is the sushi. I love sushi, but I realize not everyone shares my enthusiasm, so with its full-complement of non-sushi dishes, friends and I can go to Kona Grill and both be happy.

The basic rolls and sashimi are handled well at Kona Grill, but it’s the restaurant’s specialty sushi dishes that are a real delight.

Called Kona Rolls, my favorites are the spider roll, deep fried soft-shell crab with crab mix, avocado and cucumber wrapped in seaweed and soy paper, and topped with a sweet eel sauce; and the Sunshine Roll, spicy salmon with cucumbers wrapped with rice and seaweed, and topped with fresh salmon and thinlysliced lemon. Of the chef’s specials, I’m a fan of the Volcano, a dish made of baked crab, white fish and yamagobo (pickled burdock plant) and topped with motoyaki sauce, sriracha and eel sauce.

The Asian-fusion philosophy doesn’t extend to the dessert menu. The goodies there are strictlyall-American with fudge brownies, apple crisps, banana pudding and even a root beer float. The one exception is the crème brûlée, in which the traditional custard is infused with fresh passion fruit.