our products – what to look for
Welcome to Bristol Farms Product Portfolio. Bristol Farms is proud to offer the widest range of the highest quality fruits, vegetables, and specialty produce items grown both locally and from around the world. Whether it is a locally grown strawberry from Orange County, a golden pineapple from Hawaii, or a papaya from Brazil, you’ll be sure to find it on our shelves. Discover unique and rare offerings from our selection of gourmet mushrooms and tropical fruits, or uncover an entire market place of Latin, Asian, or other ethnic-influenced specialty items.
At Bristol Farms, we offer an incredible array of fresh vegetables that start with quality growers, which in turn produces what we’d like to define as exceptional quality products. Many vegetable varieties that were virtually unknown and hard to find over the years are now at your finger tips. As a matter of fact, the enormous selection is so extensive it’s rather difficult to list. Our fresh vegetable selection we offer has never been better, both conventional and organically speaking. We at Bristol Farms have a very diverse and tight niche network of locally grown farmers and specialty growers that work day and night to see that quality remains impeccable.
Our grower community is where our success starts and it is the driving force to our wonderful selection of fresh fruits and vegetables and rare specialty items. Bristol Farms partnerships are essential to getting great produce from the fields to our markets and into your hands.
Apples & Pears
Look for firm, fragrant well colored apples with skin that is free of bruises or soft spots. Since apples absorb odors from other food, it is wise to store them away from strong smelling foods. Apples properly stored under refrigeration can last up to two months.
Pears are always picked when they are mature but not at stages of full ripeness. Once pears are stored at room temperature they will naturally begin the ripening process. To accelerate the ripening process you may place pears in a paper bag with either an apple or a banana. Be sure to check them daily and once they reach the preferred stage, they may be refrigerated. Unlike other fruits, pears will not change colors when ripe.
We like to refer to them as the jewels of the produce department. Not only are berries multi versatile but they have been recognized by many physicians as some of the most nutritional items on the planet. Select berries that are rich in color for their particular variety and ones that are uniform in size. Strawberries should have fresh green caps or hulls while other berries should not. If varietal berries still have hulls it means that they have been harvested well before the ripening stage and will, more than likely, be sour or tart. Berries should not be washed until you are ready to eat them and should be stored under refrigeration in air tight containers. At Bristol Farms, we carry a wide seasonal assortment of locally grown berries consisting of strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries.
Juicy sweet peaches, tantalizing white nectarines and succulent plumcots are truly the tastes that mark summer. Stone fruits are picked when they are fully mature. This means that the fruit has achieved its full sugar content and ripe color. Ripening is the process of mature fruit beginning to break down, becoming soft and juicy. Ripening can take place either on or off the tree. The physical changes that occur during ripening are noticeable softening, decreased acid levels and prominent changes in color to the fruit. Stone fruit will continue to ripen (soften) at home when left at room temperature. Once the fruit has reached the desired ripeness, it is safe to store in the home refrigerator. Stone Fruits can be stored in the refrigerator for approximately one week.
Grapes & Cherries
Whether they’re used for making wine or producing commercial items like jams and raisins, it’s the fresh table grapes that are enjoyed the most. Grapes are more or less classified by their specific colors; black, red or green, and whether they have seeds or are seedless. When selecting table grapes, you should look for large, plump, full colored fruit that is still attached to the stems. White or green grapes that are fully ripe will turn somewhat amber in color while black and red grapes should be rich in color with no signs of green. Once purchased, you may store grapes unwashed in a plastic bag or container for up to one week in the refrigerator.
Whether it is Jumbo Bing or Golden Rainiers, you’ll always find cherries through the summer months at Bristol Farms. Bing cherries are sweet and juicy with colors ranging from deep purple to almost black while Golden Rainiers resemble a rainbow of red and gold. Look for plump, bright colored fruits with green stems still attached. You may store cherries, unwashed, in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to three days. Cherries are fabulous for cooking and delicious as snacks.
Citrus & Melons
It’s no surprise to many that eating citrus may help lower blood pressure and cholesterol, fight against cancer as well as aid in the body’s natural healing processes. Citrus is power packed with lots of nutrients that contribute to good health. Select firm fruit that is heavy for its size and consistent in color throughout. Most citrus items will last under refrigeration for up to two weeks.
Melons generally fall under two different categories; muskmelons and watermelons. Select muskmelons that are heavy for their size. Ripe melons will always yield to slight pressure near the blossom end and will start to have a fragrant aroma to them. Avoid melons that are mushy or that have excess dimples. Melons will ripen at room temperature and once ripe may be stored up to five days under refrigeration.
To pick a ripe watermelon, look for a yellow belly. A yellow bellied watermelon usually means that the melon has been on the vine long enough to reach maturity and ripen. You can also test for ripeness by scratching the surface of a watermelon with your fingernail. A greenish-white color beneath the outermost layer of the rind indicates a ripe watermelon. Lastly, try thumping it. When you thump the side of a ripe watermelon, it should sound as if the fruit is hollow. If you hear a thud or a tone that is high in pitch, you're dealing with a fruit that isn't ripe.
Potatoes & Onions
Potatoes are a fantastic source of carbohydrates that fuel your body and brain. A medium potato has zero fat, no sodium or cholesterol, and only contains 100 calories. Select potatoes that have smooth unmarked skins and always avoid those with soft spots, sprouting, or greenish hues. Although potatoes can be stored under refrigeration, it has been shown that they can last up to two weeks if stored in a cool, dark, ventilated area.
Onions, although quite potent too many, are one of the world’s most important ingredients. Onions are a great source of vitamin C and potassium. Onions are also high in antioxidants and have anti-cancer fighting properties. Onions fall into two categories; dried & fresh. Onions are descendants of the lily family. Dry onions are the mature onions that have papery skins and are usually yellow, red, or white in color. Select onions that are firm and heavy for their size. Dried onions may be stored in a cool, dry, well ventilated area for up to two months. Fresh green onions, scallions, or leeks have immature bulbs and long green leaves. Look for crisp colored tops and a firm white base. To store, place in a plastic bag and refrigerate for up to five days.
Tomatoes & Avocados
Tomatoes are extremely versatile and are the star of the show for many cuisines. Tomatoes come in all shapes and sizes and while red and yellow are the most popular, you may find them in green, purple, and orange as well as heirloom varietals. Always select tomatoes that are heavy for their size, blemish free, and have nice even colorings. When tomatoes ripen, they will yield slightly to pressure. Tomatoes are best when stored at room temperature and should be consumed within three days for maximum flavor.
Avocados have a wonderful buttery and nutty flavor when ripe, however all may have a different appearance upon ripeness and variety. Depending on the season, we carry locally grown Hass and organic fuerte varietals. Avocados can be round or pear shaped, weighing in at anywhere from ounces to up to four pounds. Their skins may vary in texture (pebbly or smooth) and in color (dark black or green). However you slice them, it’s always that light green and creamy texture that keeps us coming back for more. Avocados ripen best at room temperature, away from any refrigeration.
Tropicals and Bananas
You may think that seasonal, tropical items such as Carambola, Guavas and Mangosteens are hard to find, but not at Bristol Farms. Our produce buyers scour the world for these luscious fruits to bring you a taste of tropical paradise. Many tropical items are low in calories and cholesterol free. Tropical fruits continue to ripen after they have been harvested, mostly due to their worldly travels. Most tropical items should be kept at room temperature as they ripen and then later refrigerated.
Bananas are one of the few fruits that actually develop a better flavor while ripening off of the plant. More frequently, bananas are harvested very green and then stored at room temperature to continue their natural ripening process. Look for evenly colored bananas with no bruises and that are plump in size. Don’t throw out your ripe bananas, they can be stored under refrigeration and although the skin may turn brown or gray, the inner fruit is still absolutely fine. Over ripe bananas are perfect for baking breads, muffins, and other desserts.
Mushrooms & Herbs
If you’re looking for mushrooms, we’ve got them. You are sure to find a great assortment of cultivated whites, cremini, chanterelle, and maitake, just to name a few. We also offer a wide range of hard to find dried varietals that, once rehydrated, are absolutely fantastic in any gourmet meal. When you are selecting mushrooms, always look for ones that appear fresh and are not spotted, moldy or slimy. Refrigerate mushrooms in their original packaging or in a paper bag. Most varietals will keep up to a week, but are always best when used within a few days of your purchase. To clean mushrooms, you can quickly rinse or wipe with a damp cloth or paper towel.
Packed with flavor, our large assortments of fresh herbs are bound to add that special flavor to any meal, drink or salad. For centuries, fresh herbs have been valued for not only their special flavors but also for their medicinal properties. Many of our ancestors discovered that fresh herbs possess high antioxidant properties and are a great source of vitamins. Always select fresh, bright colored herbs with aromatic fragrances. You may wrap most herbs in a damp paper towel and store in an air tight container for up to a week.