By: Merrilyn Tauscher, FoodE Expert at Byerly’s Maple Grove
It all started with a recipe contest for Lunds and Byerly’s FoodE Experts: develop a winning recipe using Driscoll’s Berries to demo in our stores. The prize? A chance to visit Driscoll’s University in California!
Gingered Berries ‘N Balsamic Salmon (recipe below) won me a trip to discover a new appreciation for berries.
My first day began at their corporate office in Watsonville, California with other teammates from Lunds and Byerly’s. We learned how the Driscoll family started growing berries in California more than 100 years ago. Today, Driscoll’s is a fourth-generation, family-owned and operated company.
The berry ranches we visited were extraordinary! I was especially impressed hearing Driscoll’s simple but powerful mission statement: “To continually delight our berry consumers”. Everything I saw reflected this goal, from the research and development teams and food safety to growing, harvesting and shipping their beautiful berries to our stores.
How Driscoll’s Berries are Grown
Their berries begin by being propagated in tissue culture labs. They’re then moved to greenhouses, next to a “hardening off area,” and finally sent to growers. Driscoll’s does not actually grow berries for harvesting, only for their test plots. However, their berry farms or “ranches” on every continent (except Antarctica), assure we can enjoy these fruits year round.
Every year, breeders come up with new varieties to hybridize. Potential new varieties are cross-pollinated by hand to obtain the best traits. Breeders look at about 25,000 new seedlings each year and are lucky to have one to five new varieties at the end of five years.
From the Fields to Your Table
All berries are hand-picked and then quickly transported to Driscoll’s cooling facility. There the fruit undergoes inspection for berry count per container, shape, appearance, overall condition and Brix testing to gauge sweetness. If a load of berries doesn’t measure up to Driscoll’s high quality standards, it’s rejected. Driscoll’s focus on quality and customer service is apparent on their websiteand their prominent toll free number printed on every clampack of berries.
Whether I was eating my way down rows of luscious ripe organic raspberries or trying my hand at “picking and packing” a flat of strawberries for judging, I now appreciate the amazing science and hard work behind growing berries. And, equally important, the trust, passion and respect shared between Driscoll’s, their growers and their customers. Enjoy!
Gingered Berries ‘N Balsamic Salmon
Add grilled asparagus and our Lunds & Byerlys Wild Rice Farro Blend for a perfect summer supper!
½ cup each Driscoll’s raspberries, blueberries and blackberries
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons Lunds & Byerlys Balsamic Vinegar
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lime juice
¾ teaspoon minced Lunds & Byerlys Crystallized Ginger
4 (6 ounce) salmon fillets
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
Rinse berries; drain. In small bowl combine sugar, vinegar, lime juice and ginger. Stir in berries until thoroughly coated. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, stirring once.
Rinse fillets; pat dry with paper towels. Rub both sides of fish with oil and sprinkle with salt.
Prepare grill. Spray grill rack with no stick cooking spray. Using direct heat cooking method, arrange fish flesh side down on grill rack 4-5 inches over medium-hot coals. Grill, uncovered, turning once, until opaque in center (about 10 minutes per inch of thickness).
Arrange fillets on serving plates; divide berries and sauce over each fillet. Garnish with lime twists.
Amount: 4 servings
FoodE Tip: Also enjoy this berry mixture…
- Over grilled pork chops or pork tenderloin, chicken breasts or halibut fillets
- Topped with a dollop of crème fraiche, Greek yogurt or whipped cream
- Mixed with 3 tablespoons olive oil, a pinch of salt and tossed with baby spinach; then topped with grilled chicken and crumbled blue cheese