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Fall is finally upon us! For some, that means bring on the pumpkin spice lattes and cardigans. For others, it means a slow, sad goodbye to the last rays of summer. Whatever camp you’re in, we hope you can enjoy–or at least be consoled by–the advent of comfort food season. Yes, that’s right! With the gradual decline in temperature from now through February comes the joys of filling our bellies with a warm bowl of hearty chili, your mom’s famous chicken pot pie, or a roast you’ve been crock-potting all day. But wait! Fresh fruits and veggies are still popping up out of the not-yet-frozen soil and falling off still-green trees! And with that, we have the best of both worlds. We would argue it’s fall’s favorite fruit: the apple.
And if you, like us, are a fan of the apple…well you’ve come to the right place. Both figuratively and literally. If you’re in Washington (as we suspect you are), you’re in the top apple-producing state in America. I don’t know if you know this, but we’re kind of a big deal. In fact, 58% of America’s apples are grown right here in your own backyard. You read it right. That’s more than half. With all these apples growing great in your own state, there’s no reason to ever eat an apple from elsewhere. Lucky for you, Tacoma Boys and H&L Produce have the skinny on all the best locally grown apples and a few suggestions on how to have them.
First, let’s talk types. If you hear “Granny Smith”, “Jazz”, and “Lady Alice” and assume we’re talking about your neighbor’s Tuesday morning bridge club, you’re not alone. But alas, they’re actually the names of a few of the 7,500 varieties of apple in the world. It’s a lot of information to sift through. So here’s a quick guide to some of the varieties you’ll see on our shelves.
Our Favorite Fruit in Many Forms
You’ll know it’s a Honeycrisp as soon as you bite into it. Crisp and juicy, we love Honeycrisp for its distinctly sweet-but-not-too-sweet flavor. Perfect to eat all by itself or chopped up on a salad. Swing by Tacoma Boys or H&L Produce this week and get a great deal on a 20lb bag! With an apple so versatile, you’ll be glad you did!
Graventstein is one of the oldest varieties of apples. It harkens from Europe, although the specifics are unclear. This variety is known for its exquisite flavor. It’s one of our favorite fruit because it makes great applesauce and desserts. Gravenstein is considered a high quality apple variety and has been celebrated in festivals and fairs all its own.
These hail originally from Japan (named after Mt. Fuji). Their fantastic crisp and sweet flavor have made them a favorite go-to snack for years. You’ll recognize them by their mostly red coloring with just a touch of yellow and/or green.
This mild little cutie is a delightful yellow-to-green color with freckles for good measure. Just a little bit sweet and not too tart, it’s easy on the taste buds and doesn’t like to make waves. Great for snacking! Or mix them with apples that have a little more tartness and bake into a pie.
A Few Ways to “Fall” in Love with Apples
Apple Walnut Salad
Start with a spring mix, preferably one with spinach and arugula. Then, add cranberries, walnuts, and chopped apples (honeycrisp is a great choice for this salad). Finally, toss in the dressing of your choice. We recommend Brianna’s Homestyle Blush Wine Vinaigrette from our dressing aisle. Serve as a side salad with pork chops, or add chopped chicken to it to make an entree salad!
Ooey Gooey Caramel Apples
Is it really fall if you don’t sink your teeth and get them stuck in the stickiest, messiest treat around? You may think of it as “hard to eat,” but we think of it as a rite of passage. This recipe from Just a Taste calls for Granny Smith apples and strikes the right balance of easy and fun. Swing by our candy aisle for topping ideas (Hint: Seattle Chocolate’s “Mexican Hot Chocolate” bar, chopped into tiny pieces so it sticks). Go ahead, take a bite out of fall.
Classic Apple Pie
Are you so excited to spend hours peeling, coring, and chopping apples? More power to you! But for the rest of us who love America’s favorite dessert but aren’t down for the prep time, Tacoma Boys and H&L Produce has just the thing. Swing by our freezer aisle, and pick up a bag of frozen Granny Smith Apples from Remington Farms. Grown right here in Washington and frozen at peak ripeness, these delicious apples are already skinless, seedless, cut and waiting to be thrown in a pie. Nobody will guess you didn’t do it yourself and we won’t tell! Try this recipe from Taste of Home and wow your friends and family with your domestic prowess.
One Tree Cinnamon Caramel Hard Cider
Ok, so it’s a bit of a jaunt from the produce aisle. But One Tree cidery uses Washington apples to produce a cider that’s absolutely perfect for fall. Seriously, it’s like apple pie in a bottle. Looking for more fall flavors? While you’re perusing our cider aisle, check out Whitewood’s “Gravenstein” Cider and 2 Towns Ciderhouse’s “Easy Squeezy.”
Find All Your Favorite Fruit at Tacoma Boys!
If you’re a local looking for Washington’s favorite fruit done right, look no further than Tacoma Boys and H&L Produce. We’re lovers of all things local, especially our local farmers and apple producers. So swing by today and buy the best apples Washington has to offer.
Are you lamenting the end of gardening season? Or maybe you’ve got a black thumb and can only keep plastic alive. Either way, we at Tacoma Boys and H&L Produce have just the thing your plant-loving heart needs. Succulents!These hearty little fellas are cute as buttons and–most importantly–hard to kill. Ideal for your mantle, tabletop, bathroom shelf, or any other spot that could use a little life, these saucy succulents are a perfect way to brighten up your home. Just in time for fall and the PNW’s notoriously dreary winters!
Still pessimistic about your ability to properly love and care for these adorable little houseguests and give them the long life they deserve? “I’ve killed succulents before,” you may say. Well, have no fear. Here, we’ll walk you through not only the great selection of saucy succulents available at your local Tacoma Boys and H&L Produce locations, but also how to help them live their best life. Because, even if they are hearty…you still have to read instructions. So first, a foray into the general care of succulents.
3 Tips to Happy Houseplants
1. DO NOT OVERWATER.
I know what you’re thinking. “I thought plants LOVE water.” They do. But enough is enough, and too much is way too much when it comes to succulents. This tip is first because many a succulent has died at the hands of a water-happy gardener.
The trick is to forget about them for looooong stretches of time, past the point when all your other plants would have shrivelled up and died. Then guilt water it like crazy. Really soak it. Then forget about it again. Seriously though, infrequency is key, but so is the deep soak. It gives them all the water they need, but a chance to dry out in between. This is especially important in Washington winters. If it takes a week for your towel to dry out, how do you think your plant feels? Wet. That’s how it feels. Give it a break.
2. Succulents, like sinuses, need drainage.
Repeat this tip like the life-giving mantra it is. It goes hand in hand with the overwatering tip. They’re both weapons to fight your sweet little succulent’s greatest enemy: soggy roots. And before you get overwhelmed by fancy gardening terms like “drainage,” calm down. It just means make sure your pot has holes in the bottom. All that water from the occasional guilt downpour has to have somewhere to go. How would you like to sit in a soggy mud bath for a week or more? Your plant doesn’t like it either. When it comes to extra water in your pot, take Elsa’s advice and “Let it go.” Hairy the houseplant will thank you.
3. May the sun shine upon the face of your saucy succulent.
Succulents would love to be outside in Arizona more than they want to be in your house. Once you swallow that tough pill, your life and the life of your new little friend will be easier. Honor its roots (see what we did there?) by giving it a room with a view of the sunny outside life it longs for. Or at least a spot by a window. Preferably, a window that gets a lot of sun. If you’re in the Northern Hemisphere, that means a southern-facing window. Still struggling? Go inside. Face the sunset. Is there a window to your left? That’s a great home for Hairy!
Now that you’ve read our tips and are thus an expert succulent grower, you’re ready to pick out your new friend. Succulents grow in a wide variety, and we have plenty to offer at Tacoma Boys and H&L Produce. We try our best to set you up for success, so the following are our sauciest succulents, guaranteed to thrive in the PNW. Ok, no guarantees, but we’ve done our best to overcome your black thumb, and that’s all we can really do. Without further ado…
Tacoma Boys’ Lineup of Saucy Succulents
Hens & Chicks (Sempervivum tectorium)
Ok, even the name is cute! Hens and Chicks are clumping rosettes that stay green all year long. They flower a lovely purple in the summer, and their babies are easily transplantable (hence the clever nickname).
So the name’s not so cute, but the plant more than makes up for it. It’s known for the multitude of tiny little leaves that flock its stems in an arrangement that creates a square shape. Some people call it “Princess Pines,” and we’re here for it. This little guy is an “invasive species,” but we like to think of it as ambitious!
Stonecrop (Sedum “Coppertone”)
Called “Stonecrop,” because the only thing easier to care for are stones (who says gardeners don’t have a sense of humor?). This is the plant for you! These plants (along with many succulents) literally get their start just by lying on top of soil. That’s it. You can do this! Bonus: They sprout a cute little white flower in midsummer.
Panda Plant (Kalanchoe)
Yep, you heard right. It’s called a Panda Plant, and it’s adorable. Soft, fuzzy and spotted, it’s basically a pet you don’t have to feed. But speaking of feeding pets…don’t feed Panda Plant to your pet, as it’s toxic to them. But if you’re a cat free home looking for a fur baby to call your own, Panda Plant is the succulent for you!
Shop Succulents and More at Your Local Specialty Store!
So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen! And those are just to name a few of the saucy succulents we have to offer here at Tacoma Boys and H&L Produce. After you pick out your new greenery, don’t forget to check out our incredible selection of pots. Right now, you can buy one and get TWO free! Head to one of our locations today and get everything you need for happy, healthy succulents today!
Looking to answer the age old question, “What’s for dinner?” Look no further. Tacoma Boys and H&L Produce has everything you need from the first bite to the last drop and everything in between! Let us help you plan dinner and the perfect pairs of dessert and drinks to go with it.
You would think the hardest part of getting dinner on the table would be slaving over a hot stove for hours, but alas, no. Ask anyone who’s in charge of the menu, and they’ll tell you. It’s choosing. It’s picking something easy, something fast, and something you haven’t already had twice in the last week (frozen buffalo wings, anyone?) And having options should make it easier, but the choice paralysis is real. The good news is, you can stroll into your nearest Tacoma Boys or H&L Produce any day and let the shelves speak to you. With so many options that will be ready in thirty minutes or less, you can have dinner on the table in no time!
If you’re less a fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants shopper and prefer to have a plan, we don’t blame you! We’ve taken the guesswork out of it and done the planning for you. Here are some options for dinners and their perfect pairs of drinks and desserts you can come in and grab today!
Tacoma Boys’ Perfect Pairs to Try for Dinner Tonight
Dinner: Take & Bake Chicken Pesto Pizza
You seriously can’t go wrong with this amazing pesto pizza. Measuring in at 15 inches, this bad boy feeds the whole family. The pesto sauce keeps this pizza light, while grilled chicken makes it hearty enough to satisfy. If you’re on the lookout for something as easy as pie, this pizza pie’s the thing for you.
Drink: Silver City Kwik Stout (Mocha Milk Stout)
Why is it the perfect pair for pizza? Well, besides the fact that beer and pizza just go together, Silver City’s Mocha Milk Stout is a grown up drink with strong chocolate milk vibes. With notes of cacao, coffee, and vanilla, this milk stout goes down silky smooth. Bonus: Silver City Brewery lives in Washington! Grab a can from our beer aisle and get a taste of local craftsmanship.
Dessert: Eat PastryⓉ Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough
Clearly we’re doing a throwback, laid back kind of night in, which calls for eating cookie dough right out of the tub. Eat Pastry’s dough is made without eggs (it’s completely vegan, actually), so you can break all the rules about not eating raw cookie dough. Be sure to save some of your milk stout to go with dessert for a cookies and milk combo.
Dinner: Chipotle & Lime Crusted Tilapia
Swing by our butcher for these pre-crusted fish fillets ready to cook! We do all of the seasoning for you. Just trust us on this one…you’ll love it. Simply fry lightly in oil and you’ve got yourself a delicious start. As a side, try our incredible sweet corn! It’s locally grown and deliciously juicy. Check out our weekly specials for a great deal on a half dozen this week!
Drink: Airfield Estates Sauvignon Blanc
You know fish pairs well with white wine, and Airfield Estates Sauvignon Blanc won’t disappoint! Dry with notes of lemon lime, this wine echoes the flavors of the fish perfectly. Plus, it scored 90 points from the Tasting Panel Magazine! Airfield Estates was founded by Washington natives and is located right here in Yakima Valley, so you’ll be supporting local business while enjoying a glass of excellent white wine.
Dessert: Ruby Jewel Lemon and Honey Lavender Ice Cream Sandwich
If you haven’t tried Ruby Jewel’s ice cream sandwiches, today’s the day! You will not regret it. Their Lemon and Honey Lavender is a surprising and refreshing combination. They’re perfect pairs with the bright flavors of dinner. From a Portland based small business, this sandwich boasts local honey and organic lavender. You can find Ruby Jewel Sandwiches in our frozen section. They’re enough to share…but we think you’ll want your own.
Dinner: Tacoma Boys Spicy Sicilian Spaghetti
Did you know we have our own pasta sauce? It’s true! For a quick and easy–but deceptively delicious–dinner, grab a jar of Tacoma Boys Spicy Sicilian pasta sauce. We have a multitude of pastas to choose from, but if you’re feeling wild, try Marella Farfalline Zebra pasta from our shelves. These fun bowties hail from Italy, and their black and white zebra stripes bring levity to an otherwise straightforward dish. If you’re craving a little extra protein, swing by our frozen section and grab a package of meatballs. Viola! Dinner in no time.
Drink: “The Vincent Red Board Track Racer 2017”
This red blend is a perfect complement to pasta. 60% cabernet, 25% merlot, and 15% malbec, it’s a well balanced wine with notes of cherry and raspberry. It hails from Mark Ryan Winery in Washington State, which has been acclaimed by local wine drinkers along with other experienced winemakers from the region.
Dessert: Chuckanut Bay New York Cheesecake
The folks at Chackunat Bay make their cheesecakes with real, all natural ingredients, and have produced a portion size perfect for one. Locally owned and family operated, Chuckanut bay operates out of Baine, Washington. Follow up your spaghetti with an individual cheesecake or share one big one, curl up with your glass of red wine and enjoy a relaxing evening in!
Let Tacoma Boys Work for You
Here at Tacoma Boys and H&L Produce, we always have something on hand for dinner tonight. From the simplest of meals (I mean…it doesn’t get simpler than take and bake pizza) to something a bit more sophisticated, we have just the thing. And we have the things hat go with the thing! Stop by one of our locations today. Our friendly associates are always ready and willing with a suggestion. We’re confident you’ll walk out our doors knowing exactly what’s for dinner tonight.
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One Pan Chicken
For some recipes, the cleanup can be worse than the cooking itself. Watching those dishes pile up is no fun! Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about a huge cooking mess when it comes to this simple, one pan, chicken recipe.
At your local Tacoma Boys and H & L Produce we have all the fixings for this meal. From our year round supply of fresh vegetables, to our well sourced fresh and frozen chicken.
Just place your Tacoma Boys vegetables of choice on one side of the pan, thickly diced chicken breast in the middle, and diced potatoes on the other side. Then, bake at 425 for 45 minutes.
You can have fun with a one pan chicken recipe by switching up your veggies and seasonings. Here are some of our favorite ways to add a little flavor:
- Use Italian dressing on the chicken
- Season veggies with some garlic powder and olive oil
- Add some olive oil and pepper on your potatoes.
Gluten Free – Butter Chicken With Cauliflower Rice
A tasty crowd-pleaser. This gluten free Chicken Recipe is even dairy-free. Try this tasty recipe tonight! (more…)
SHEET PANNED ITALIAN CHICKEN
In a sealable plastic bag add 6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts. Then add some salt, olive oil and a quick pour of balsamic vinegar (⅓ cup). Add some Italian seasoning, pepper and garlic powder to your preference. (Some folks cheat and use a bottle of Italian dressing, but we think this version is much fresher). If you can refrigerate for 1 hour, that is ideal, but not necessary. (more…)
BRUSCHETTA-TOPPED CHICKEN AND SPAGHETTI
Have a craving for Italian food? Going out to eat at a restaurant is nice for a special occasion. But, with help from Tacoma Boys, you can make a quality Italian meal right at home! From artisan pastas and cheeses to the best quality meat, we have everything you need to turn your favorite Italian dishes into easy weeknight dinners. And, this delicious recipe is ready within 30 minutes!