What's in Season in Your Region this Summer?

Strawberries in January? Pears in May? With so many fruits and vegetables being grown in greenhouses or imported from other states and countries, it can be difficult to know what's really in season where you live. We've broken down the contiguous United States into large regions where you can see what produce is seasonal in summer based on your area. Of course, there are variations to our lists depending on where you live specifically, even within a certain region, so be sure to research your area using information from local governments or food guides for more details.

NORTH EAST Summer apples, arugula, asparagus, beans, beets, blueberries, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cantaloupes, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, cherries, collards, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, fennel, garlic, grapes, green beans, kale, leeks, lettuce, melons, mushrooms, nectarines, okra, onions, peaches, pears, peas, peppers, plums, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, raspberries, rhubarb, salad greens, spinach, squash, strawberries, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, watermelon, zucchini SOUTH Summer apples, asparagus, beets, blueberries, cabbage, cantaloupes, cauliflower, collards, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, figs, grapes, green beans, okra, oranges, peaches, peas, peppers, plums, potatoes, pumpkins, raspberries, salad greens, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, watermelon MIDWEST Summer apples, arugula, asparagus, beets, blueberries, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cantaloupes, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, cherries, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, grapes, kale, leeks, lettuce, melons, mushrooms, onions, peaches, pears, peas, peppers, plums, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, raspberries, rhubarb, salad greens, spinach, squash, strawberries, tomatoes, turnips, watermelon, zucchini SOUTHWEST Summer apples, arugula, blueberries, cantaloupes, chiles, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, figs, garlic, grapes, green beans, leeks, melons, mushrooms, nectarines, okra, onions, peaches, pears, peppers, plums, pomegranates, potatoes, pumpkins, raspberries, squash, tomatoes, watermelon, zucchini NORTHWEST Summer apples, apricots, artichokes, arugula, asparagus, beets, blueberries, broccoli, cabbage, cantaloupes, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, cherries, chiles, collards, corn, cucumber, eggplant, fennel, figs, garlic, grapes, kale, leeks, lettuce, melons, mushrooms, nectarines, onions, parsnips, pears, peas, peppers, plums, potatoes, radishes, raspberries, rhubarb, salad greens, spinach, squash, strawberries, tomatoes, turnips, watermelon, zucchini

Northeast

Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Vermont

Apples, arugula, asparagus, beans, beets, blueberries, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cantaloupes, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, cherries, collards, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, fennel, garlic, grapes, green beans, kale, leeks, lettuce, melons, mushrooms, nectarines, okra, onions, peaches, pears, peas, peppers, plums, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, raspberries, rhubarb, salad greens, spinach, squash, strawberries, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, turnips, watermelon, zucchini

Midwest

Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin

Apples, arugula, asparagus, beets, blueberries, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, cabbage, cantaloupes, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, cherries, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, grapes, kale, leeks, lettuce, melons, mushrooms, onions, peaches, pears, peas, peppers, plums, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, raspberries, rhubarb, salad greens, spinach, squash, strawberries, tomatoes, turnips, watermelon, zucchini

Northwest

Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming

Apples, apricots, artichokes, arugula, asparagus, beets, blueberries, broccoli, cabbage, cantaloupes, carrots, cauliflower, celery, chard, cherries, chiles, collards, corn, cucumber, eggplant, fennel, figs, garlic, grapes, kale, leeks, lettuce, melons, mushrooms, nectarines, onions, parsnips, pears, peas, peppers, plums, potatoes, radishes, raspberries, rhubarb, salad greens, spinach, squash, strawberries, tomatoes, turnips, watermelon, zucchini

South

Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia

Apples, asparagus, beets, blueberries, cabbage, cantaloupes, cauliflower, collards, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, figs, grapes, green beans, okra, oranges, peaches, peas, peppers, plums, potatoes, pumpkins, raspberries, salad greens, spinach, squash, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, watermelon

Southwest

Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah

Apples, arugula, blueberries, cantaloupes, chiles, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, figs, garlic, grapes, green beans, leeks, melons, mushrooms, nectarines, okra, onions, peaches, pears, peppers, plums, pomegranates, potatoes, pumpkins, raspberries, squash, tomatoes, watermelon, zucchini

Posted in: Features | By Melissa Walters

5 Drinks of Summer

When the weather starts to warm up, it’s hard to stop thinking about sandy beaches, sunshine, and of course, relaxing outside with an ice cold cocktail. So put your feet up and enjoy the beautiful weather with a drink that will make you feel like you’re on an extended vacation.


1. Caipirinha

This is sunny Brazil’s national drink for a reason! Refreshing citrus makes the Caipirinha an ideal drink to sip on a hot evening.

Caipirinha

Recipe

  • 1/2 lime, quartered
  • 1 tsp. white sugar
  • 1 1/2 oz. Cachaça
  • Squeeze limes and place them in a rocks glass
  • Add sugar
  • Fill with ice
  • Stir in glass

2. Applejito

Fruity apple and cool mint combine with vodka to make a drink with a freshly-picked taste.

Applejito

Recipe

  • 1/3 cup vodka
  • ¼ cup apple juice
  • 1 oz. bar syrup
  • 10 mint leaves, crushed in glass
  • Pour liquid mixture over ice
  • Stir gently in glass
  • Garnish with apple slices

3. Peach Mango Summer Sangria

Perfect for serving a crowd, the fruit, wine, and Grand Marnier mingle together to make this drink a summer favorite.

Peach Mango Sangria

Recipe

  • 1 cup Grand Mariner
  • 1/4 cup bar syrup
  • 1 bottle of white wine (TBD)
  • 1/4 cup mint
  • 1 mango, diced
  • 2 peaches, sliced
  • 1 cup seltzer water (optional, for a little sparkle)
  • Stir all ingredients into a pitcher and serve

4. Gin Basil Smash

When combined with the classic flavor of gin, basil and lemon juice offer a summery perspective in this tasty drink.

Gin Basil Smash

Recipe

  • 4 oz. gin
  • 2 oz. lemon juice
  • 2 oz. bar syrup
  • 10 basil leaves
  • In a cocktail shaker, crush basil leaves with lemon juice and bar syrup
  • Add gin and fill with ice
  • Shake and strain into a glass with more ice
  • Garnish with the basil leaves

5. Mexican Mai Tai

This classic tiki drink gets a makeover with tequila, but still incorporates the tasty citrus flavors of the original.

Mexican Mai Tai

Recipe

  • 1 1/2 oz. tequila
  • 1/2 oz. orange curacao
  • 1/2 oz. orgeat
  • 3/4 oz. lime juice
  • Rimming salt
  • Rim a rocks glass with salt
  • Shake liquid ingredients well
Posted in: Bar Supplies | By Sabrina Bomberger

The Resurgence of Hard Cider and Sour Beer

Although hard cider and sour beer have been around since before Prohibition, they’re just now regaining popularity! Many millennials have been recently introduced to cider and sour beer, but for those who have been able to legally drink for more than five or so years, all we’ve really known is craft beer, wine, craft beer, liquor, and well, craft beer. But the times are changing, and so should you! Learn more about these alternatives to hoppy beers and why you should have one on tap.

Hard Cider

Hard cider and beer have developed a love hate relationship. You see, hard cider used to be what beer is today. It has deep roots in American history, and it was actually the most popular beverage in Colonial times! It all began when apple seeds were originally brought over from England, and the first apple orchards were planted. Cheers, Johnny Appleseed.

However, the 1900s eventually came around, and so did German immigrants with a love for beer. America soon developed an obsession with breweries, and since the Midwest soil was barley-friendly, it was easy to produce. Twenty years later, cider making saw its demise with Prohibition, and unfortunately, it never really had a comeback… until now!

Thanks to the emergence of microbreweries in the 1990s (that’s the love part), cider has made its comeback, and is picking up momentum. In just the past few years, sales have increased, and in 2014 alone, they grew by 71%. Not only are ciders making their ways into bars and pubs across America, but cider bars are popping up along the West and East coasts.

Why America Loves Cider

  • It's made from fermented apples for a crisp and refreshing taste.
  • It can be enjoyed any time of the day – John Adams used to drink it with breakfast to settle his stomach.
  • It's naturally gluten-free which markets well in society with millions of people affected by Celiac disease.
  • Non-wheat diets are becoming a trend.
  • Other fruits and spices can be added in the brewing process for unique flavors.
  • Globalization has given America access to cheaper apples from across the world.

Sour Beer

Like hard cider, sour beer was in existence well before the popular craft beers we enjoy today. Sour beer is most likely one of the oldest styles of beer in the world, and it all started as a beer that brewers thought needed to be fixed. Before refrigeration technology and advances in the science of fermentation, naturally occurring bacteria and yeasts were present in beer, including Lactobacillus, which is known as the sour milk bacteria. These living organisms gave beer a higher acidity level than normal, resulting in a beverage with a sour or “funky” flavor that people weren’t particularly fond of.

In the nineteenth century, after modern advancements in fermentation and refrigeration, most sour beers disappeared for years. And, just like hard cider, they’ve slowly been making a comeback since Belgian sours made their appearance in the 1970s. Now, brewers work to craft the perfect sour beer; and, although the process is hard, the end result is one you shouldn’t miss out on!

Why America Loves Sour Beer

  • It's a delicious combination of sour, sweet, and tangy.
  • It's highly refreshing and light.
  • It serves as a great drink during the spring and summer months.
  • Many wine drinkers enjoy it due to its acidity.
  • Select varieties combine fruit and spices for a unique flavor.
  • People usually only enjoy one sour beer, and it's a common after-dinner drink since it aids in digestion.

It’s important to understand that hard cider and sour beer have been in existence well before many other alcoholic beverages we’ve grown to know and love. These drinks are refreshing, crisp, and unique, and if you own a bar or restaurant, it’s important to have at least one of these options on tap for those who, dare we say it – don’t like most beers!

Posted in: Features | By Ashley Kufera

Refrigerant Regulations

Yes, the rumors are true. Regulations are changing on the types of refrigerant you can use in your business. Here's the quick lowdown on what's going on!

What is happening?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), through the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program, is regulating class I and class II refrigerants in many industries including stationary refrigeration and air-conditioning units. They're also approving more refrigerant options that have low global warming potential (GWP) and changing regulations on the disposal of certain refrigerants. EPA's final rule is effective starting May 11, 2015.

Why is it happening?

This regulation is part of President Obama's Climate Action Plan that encourages a reduction in any substances that produce greenhouse gases. Through the SNAP Program, which is part of the Clean Air Act (CAA), the EPA continues to evaluate all chemicals and substances that may deplete the ozone. They determine which substances are safe or unsafe for use based on their potential to harm the atmosphere.

The EPA determined the current refrigerants being used are harmful to the environment and can damage the ozone. So, we need to limit how much we use them and eventually get rid of them entirely. The Stratospheric Ozone Protection section (Title VI), of the CAA explains class I and class II ozone-depleting substances as well as the EPA's course of action to phase them out of use.

What / Who does it affect?

Short answer: The EPA has started to phase-out class II refrigerants (HCFC substances) with the goal of making them illegal for use by 2030. Until that time, use of these substances is restricted, but there are still exceptions. For example, it's legal to use class II refrigerants that are recycled, and you can use them in refrigerators that are manufactured before January 1, 2020.

Long answer:

As of January 1, 2015, the EPA has started to phase-out class II refrigerants (HCFC substances) by making it unlawful to produce large quantities of them or introduce them into interstate commerce unless they meet certain criteria. Their goal is to make the production of class II substances illegal by 2030. They've already taken similar actions with class I refrigerants in the past. Title VI, Section 605 explains as follows:

42 U.S. Code § 7671d - Phase-out of production and consumption of class II substances

(a) Restriction of use of class II substances

Effective January 1, 2015, it shall be unlawful for any person to introduce into interstate commerce or use any class II substance unless such substance—

  • (1) has been used, recovered, and recycled;
  • (2) is used and entirely consumed (except for trace quantities) in the production of other chemicals;
  • (3) is used as a refrigerant in appliances manufactured prior to January 1, 2020; or
  • (4) is listed as acceptable for use as a fire suppression agent for nonresidential applications in accordance with section 7671k (c) of this title.

As used in this subsection, the term “refrigerant” means any class II substance used for heat transfer in a refrigerating system."

In addition, the EPA has approved several flammable refrigerants, under certain use conditions, that are acceptable substitutes for refrigerants with high GWP. The substitutes include: difluoromethane (also known as hydrofluorocarbon (HFC)-32), ethane, isobutane, propane, and the hydrocarbon blend R–441A. All of these substances, except for difluoromethane (HFC-32), are exempt from CAA Section 608's restrictions on ventilation, release, and disposal because the EPA doesn't find them to be a threat to environment at this time.

These changes apply to the following types of residential and light commercial air conditioning equipment:

  • Window AC units
  • Packaged terminal AC units and heat pumps
  • Portable room AC units

These changes apply to the following types of refrigeration equipment:

  • Stand-alone retail food refrigeration equipment
  • Household refrigerators and freezers
  • Very low temperature refrigeration and freezers
  • Thermosiphons (non-mechanical heat transfer equipment)
  • Vending machines

Any food service business that uses these types of refrigeration and AC units is subject to the new regulations, but make sure you read the terms and conditions of using substitute refrigerants as they appear in the final rule.

What can I do?

Many refrigeration equipment and AC manufacturers have already switched to refrigerants that are HCFC-free, so you shouldn't have a problem complying with these regulations if you're planning to buy new equipment. It's not illegal to use a class II refrigerant in an appliance made before January 1, 2020, but if you have an older machine, you can still check out the list of approved refrigerant substitutions to find one that you can use with your current model. If you want to know more about your specific unit, talk to your manufacturer and ask what their company plans to change as a result of this ruling.

Posted in: News | By Melissa Walters
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