At one time, Hawaii grew 70 percent of the world's pineapples -- fruits that have nothing to do with either apples or pines. Most of the pineapples we see in markets today are grown in Mexico or Costa Rica, but Hawaii is getting back into the game. To thrive, this fruit needs very specific environmental conditions: mineral-rich soil that is moist but well-drained, low humidity, full sunlight, and temperatures that never sink below freezing or rise above 90 degrees.
Pineapples are retailing for $2 to $2.50 each right now. To choose the best pineapple, look at the crown of green leaves on top. That crown needs to be velvety green -- if you see a lot of shriveled brown leaves, that's an old pineapple. Now pick it up. The heavier it is for its size, the more juice, sugar and flavor. And, finally, close your eyes and sniff the cut end. If it smells like Hawaii, that's a good pineapple. At home, set your pineapple out on the counter for at least two days -- but place it gently on its side. The ripest part of the fruit is always the bottom end. If all the weight of the fruit is there, it can soften and bruise.
Michael Marks is the marketing manager for FreshPoint.
39 to 50 cents each
Tips: This is the very first corn of the California season. The ears of early season corn tend to be slightly shorter, but it tastes just as sweet.
45 to 50 cents each
Tips: At this time of year, garlic cloves contain less oil, which means less flavor, so double the quantity of garlic in your recipes.
99 cents to $1.50 each
Tips: This is the very peak of the season, so the quality is superb. Keep them ice cold.