Gift Ideas for the Lunar New Year 2018: The Year of the Dog

This year, Friday February 16th marks the first day of the New Lunar Year! The date changes every year and is based on the Chinese Lunar calendar which uses a 12 year cycle instead of the more familiar Western 12 month cycle. The holiday used to be called Chinese New Year (and still sometimes is), but since the holiday is celebrated among many Asian cultures, it has now become more commonly known as the Lunar New Year, and more recently, the Spring Festival.

Despite the fact that most Asian cultures have adopted the Western yearly calendar, Lunar New Year has maintained its status as a culturally significant and historically important annual holiday. The celebrations begin on the eve of the holiday (February 15th this year) and last for 15 days culminating with the magical Lantern Festival.

The Lunar New Year is a big gift giving holiday. Gifts that symbolize prosperity and good fortune for the coming year are offered to business associates and extended family alike. Whether you are sending it from afar, or bringing it to your host for a traditional Lunar New Year’s eve reunion dinner, there are some simple rules to follow when choosing an appropriate gift for Chinese New Year.

Fruit Baskets

Fruit baskets are time-honored gifts for Lunar New Year. Lucky for Manhattan Fruitier! And luck is what this holiday is all about. Customary gifts are those that are symbols of good luck, wealth and prosperity. Typically, citrus fruits are given this time of year for several reasons. First of all, the Lunar New Year falls during the cold winter months when citrus is the most abundant fruit. Secondly, citrus fruits are round in shape and “gold”en in color: roundness suggests fullness in the belly and the pocket, and having “gold” means having wealth. Finally, the way the names of citrus fruit such as tangerines and oranges are pronounced in Chinese sounds like the same word for “success”.

Every year at Manhattan Fruitier we like to create a new Lunar New Year gift that incorporates only propitious fruits along with cookies hand-iced in lucky red and gold colors and made in the shape of the animal of the year: this year, it is the dog, known for its loyalty, sociability, smarts and courage. How adorable is this gift?

Traditionally, fruit baskets are displayed on the Lunar New Year dinner table as a kind of centerpiece so a pretty fruit basket filled with symbols of good fortune is a perfect Chinese New Year gift to bring whether for family, friends or business partners!

Money

Cash gifts are also common to give on the Lunar New Year. This makes sense as the holiday is all about welcoming wealth. This time of year, shops in Chinatown here in Manhattan are simply overflowing with lucky red envelopes for cash. If it’s wrapped in red it’s more than just the dollar amount: it’s considered lucky money! Make sure the bills are clean and crisp as it would be considered highly disrespectful to give a gift of old or dirty cash. And take care not to use white envelopes: these are reserved for cash gifts given at funerals only.

Numbers hold great traditional significance. For example, the number four when spoken is very similar to the word for death in Chinese. So for the lucky Lunar New Year, you will want to avoid giving a monetary gift in an amount that includes the number four. Even numbers are the best bet and since the luckiest number is eight and it is believed that good things come in pairs, it has been suggested that $88 is the perfect amount of money to give if you are going to give cash for a Lunar New Year gift.

Among business associates, paying off of any debt incurred during the past year is expected before the Lunar New Year begins. It does not bode well for prosperity if you carry a debt into the New Year, so it is also considered de rigueur to refuse giving a loan to someone you care about.

Dog-Themed Gifts

Since 2018 begins the Year of the Dog, it could be a fun idea to send a gift that is sweet and untraditional, but on topic with the Lunar New Year, such as our litter of six chocolate French Bulldog puppies: 2 each of dark chocolate, milk chocolate and white chocolate!

 2018 Lunar New Year Gift Idea

2018 Lunar New Year Gift Idea

Dogs themselves are considered lucky animals to the Chinese. Dogs are faithful companions who will be loyal to you whether you are wealthy or not. One adage is that if a stray dog comes into your home, it is a sign that good fortune is coming soon. So an unexpected gift of chocolate dogs will be welcomed on Chinese New Year!

Rice Jars

A symbolic gift to give for the Lunar New Year is a proverbial jar full of rice! In Asian culture, a full rice jar connotes affluence and the good fortune to be free from concern about having enough food to eat. During the Lunar New Year celebration, it is important to have food be plentiful as a harbinger of the riches to come. While many modern day kitchens do not have an actual physical jar of rice, the sentiment of this gift for the holiday will not be lost.

Liquor

A gift of liquor is also quite common at this holiday, especially among corporate colleagues. Look for the amber-colored spirits and wines in keeping with the belief that gifts of gold color will bring wealth and good fortune. There are so many interesting options available these days with the artisanal spirits trend: whiskeys are more popular than ever! Before giving a gift of wine or liquor, it’s always a good idea to be sure that your recipient drinks alcohol.

Gifts to Avoid

There are certain gifts that would be considered bad omens to bring into one’s home and should be avoided during the Lunar New Year. For instance, although fruit baskets are customary gifts at this time of year, pears should not be included because the way the word for pear sounds when spoken in Chinese is not auspicious. Scissors and knives are thought to represent the act of slicing apart or splitting and can suggest the severing of a relationship. Also, if you were to cut yourself on the gift, it would bring bad luck for the following year. Clocks symbolize the passing of time and the approach of death, which is not what one wants to bring into their home. Beware about giving a necklace, a tie or a belt as a gift, unless it is to someone you have an intimate relationship with as these items are all things that are believed to bind you together so are usually exchanged only between couples.

Colors carry deep meanings in Asian cultures. As I mentioned above, the color white is associated with funerals. Black or blue color signifies death. So when considering a gift for the Lunar New Year, be careful to wrap your present in a lucky color. Red is believed to be a color that scares away evil spirits that bring bad fortune; yellows and golds symbolize wealth and prosperity. So be sure to include these colors in your Lunar New Year gifts and you will clearly communicate the wish you want to bring with the gift you give.

In my next blog about the Lunar New Year, I’ll talk about some of the history and holiday traditions of this fascinating ancient celebration.

Valentine’s Day Gift Basket Ideas

As January progresses past New Year’s and the month of February approaches, our attention begins to turn to the next holiday: Valentine’s Day! Most people associate the spirit of the day with romantic and sexual love, so when we think about giving gifts on Valentine’s Day, we have a tendency to focus on things that are associated with passion and indulgence. And that’s what I’m going to spotlight today when I share with you my classic “themes of love” Valentine’s Day gift basket ideas.

Sensual Fruits

Fruits embody sensuality. First, fruits are actually “ovaries” that develop around fertilized seeds after the reproductive process of pollination. Second, think about the words we use to describe fruit: sweet, fleshy, juicy, succulent, luscious, ripe, and tender to name a few. Third, the way we eat fruit can be pretty sensuous to experience and to observe. It doesn’t take much imagination to see the sexiness in all that!

Finally, certain fruits are believed to possess properties of an aphrodisiac. For example, the apple is a notorious symbol of temptation since Biblical times, and in Greek mythology, the lure of eating pomegranate seeds was too much for poor Persephone to deny and thus she sealed her own fate to live below the earth’s surface in Hades.

To learn more about other “fruits of love”, refer to our popular blog from February 2014 written with knowledge and affection by our own Matthew J!

Roses

The red rose is a classic symbol of love. When you send red roses, the meaning of your missive is unambiguous! Many of our Valentine’s Day gift baskets are paired with red roses for that very reason. A fresh fruit basket or a box of chocolates suddenly takes on a whole new implication once we add red roses to the gift.

We order well over a thousand long stemmed red roses for Valentine’s Day every year! We actually start looking at the roses much earlier, around the middle of January. We purchase several varieties from different farms and we experiment with them to find the best performer. We want to learn how fast they bloom, how big they open, and how long they last. We want the roses you send to open in a wildly flirtatious way and look good even as they are fading! This year, we have selected a red rose called “Freedom”. If you are looking for Valentine’s Day gift basket ideas that include red roses, ours will be available on February 12th, the Monday before the holiday.

Chocolates

Chocolates have also become rather de rigueur in Valentine’s Day gift baskets for him or for her. Chocolates and their creamy sweetness represent indulgence and Valentine’s Day is a perfect time to pamper your sweetheart with treats of all kinds. Chocolate-covered strawberries are ubiquitous this time of year. For the best options, look for smaller strawberries as they are the tastiest. Some even come with their green tops still on for extra charm. Harder to find is a strawberry dipped in real, premium chocolate, like Valhrona. Most “chocolate” that is used is completely fake, and although it may look like chocolate, it doesn’t taste like chocolate.

Not sure whether to send fresh fruit, roses or chocolates? Why choose? We can solve that dilemma by offering Valentine’s Day gift baskets (for her or for him) that include all three components! We call them our Three Part Harmony Gifts, in three sizes:

Three Part Harmony: Tenor, Alto (pictured), and Soprano

Lavish Gifts

This may be the year when you want to express your ardor in a monumental way: go for it! Think sumptuous and extravagant. Create a feast of love with an intimate tableau in your own living room (or bedroom). You can do it yourself, or let us do it for you. Our luxe and deluxe Epicurean Hamper will tempt with delicate delectables from appetizers to dessert. Consider having it delivered with caviar and champagne to amp up the passion even more.

Epicurean Hamper with Caviar

Or perhaps you’d prefer to send our “Lavish Love”: a new Valentine’s Day gift basket idea that we developed for 2018. The name says it all! We set the stage with champagne, chocolates, caviar and red roses, and you provide the rest for a perfect romantic experience.

New for Valentine’s Day 2018

Whether you create your own “themes of love” gift baskets, or choose to send one of ours, don’t be sexist in your thinking about this holiday! Traditionally, Valentine’s Day gifts tend to be for her, but men like getting Valentine’s Day surprises too. Our romantic selections make great Valentine’s Day gift baskets for him as well!

New Year’s Eve Gift Ideas

What do you like to do for New Year’s Eve? I know there are some people who bah humbug the entire holiday season and can’t wait for January 1st to arrive so it can all be over! These people are happiest when they can go to bed early on New Year’s Eve and let the revelers revel on without them. But I believe most of us think New Year’s is a fun time of year. It’s a celebration of new beginnings.

Whether you gravitate to the gleeful commotion of a big party or prefer a small, quiet, more intimate affair, you’ll want to think about what kind of food and beverages to bring or serve at the festivities. Sending a gift to a loved one near or far is also a wonderful gesture that will end the year on a high note and set the tone for 2018.

As we have been developing our wine collection this year, we have been paying particular attention to our New Year’s gift baskets that we pair with champagnes and sparkling wines.

 

ROMANTIC GIFT BASKETS FOR NEW YEAR’S EVE

 

Caviar & Champagne

Nothing says New Year’s Eve like caviar and champagne! This is such a classic combination. At Manhattan Fruitier, we keep this gift simple but sophisticated while providing everything you need in one basket (except for the champagne glasses). We pair Osetra caviar (sustainably farmed) with crème fraiche, mini blinis and a horn serving spoon, and add a delightful Champagne by Paul Clouet, one of the finest smaller batch producers in France. This New Year’s gift basket is the perfect idea for a quiet romantic evening for two at home.  Send it to friends or family, or treat yourself!

 

NYE gift ideas - caviar

Caviar Chests with Champagne for New Year’s Eve

The Epicurean

You could spend the time researching and gathering all of these sweet and savory luxury treats from around the world, or you could simply order one of our Epicurean Hampers with Champagne to be delivered to your doorstep or to the home of friends or family. This tasting menu paired with the Paul Clouet Champagne is ideal for a small gathering where people can nibble on their favorite delectables (be it Scottish smoked salmon or Valrhona chocolate bonbons). The Epicurean would also make a complete picnic for two in the living room (or the bedroom).

 

NYE gift ides - hamper

Epicurean Hampers: Celebrate New Year’s Eve in Style and Good Taste

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

Maybe your New Year’s Eve celebration involves dinner out or going to a party, but you like to return home to share an amorous dessert. Nothing seems to epitomize the sensuous more than luscious fresh strawberries dipped in good chocolate. Be sure to look for the smaller strawberries that use real chocolate for the best flavor when thinking about this as a Happy New Year gift idea.

 

GIFT BASKETS TO BRING TO A PARTY

Stilton and Pear Basket with Port

We based this New Year’s Eve gift idea on a classic English holiday tradition: eating Stilton cheese! We import the blue Stilton in a wheel from the tiny Colston-Bassett Dairy in England that has been making traditional Stilton cheese for over a hundred years. We hand cut the Stilton ourselves and pair it with the perfect time-honored accompaniments: pears and Port. Ours is a Tawny Port from Portugal – bold and rich enough to stand up to the pungent aromas and flavors of the blue Stilton.

 

NYE gift ideas - cheese and port wine

Stilton Cheese Paired with Pears and Tawny Port

Champagne, Craft Spirits, Special Cocktails

So much of the celebration of New Year’s Eve centers round drinking alcohol. Even if you don’t drink, the host of the party you will be attending would probably really appreciate a gift of alcohol. There are many ways for alcohol to make a festive New Year’s Eve gift. Champagne and other sparkling wines are an obvious choice since the bubbly personifies giggles and fun times. But also think about bringing a craft spirit. There are some amazing botanical hand crafted gins, or bourbons made with organically grown grains, for example.  Parties are also the perfect place to make specialty cocktails. Consider bringing your host the recipe and all the ingredients to make a cool cocktail — and then offer to help bartend.

 

GIFTS THAT HONOR NEW YEAR’S TRADITIONS

Watching the Ball Drop

Here in New York City, an estimated 2 million people will witness the ball drop in Times Square this year! Most of us will watch the iconic crystal ball descend from the comfort of our own living rooms. But if you are going to join the crowds, think about supplying your mates with some kitschy paraphernalia like party horns, plastic sparkly 2018 eyeglasses, or green foam Statue of Liberty crowns.

Watching Fireworks

Watching fireworks at midnight is a popular tradition across the country. In NYC, fireworks at midnight is the official start to the 5K run in Central Park. It’s really fun to do. People wear crazy costumes and no one is seriously trying to win it. But the vibe is not unlike the marathon with people (a little drunken perhaps) cheering you on from the sidelines. It’s worth running in at least once. Jehv and I did it impulsively in 2012 when the weather was unseasonably mild. Think about organizing a group of friends to run a race one year as an alternative to other Happy New Year gift ideas.

Resolutions

Making New Year’s resolutions continues to be customary in our culture. Often New Year’s resolutions revolve around fitness and health. Why not set your friend or loved one off to a great start: gym memberships are popular New Year’s gift ideas. Fitbits, work out gear, a gift certificate to a running store or yoga shop, or perhaps a coupon for a spa day!

Miscellaneous

Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s day is supposed to bring good luck. This is a Southern tradition that some of my Northern friends have adopted. Think about sending a good recipe for Hoppin’ John with all the ingredients or make the dish and bring it over to friends or family.

I recently learned about a tradition among some Latin cultures of wearing colorful underwear to set the tone for the kind of year one is going to have. I love this New Year’s gift idea! I guess “black” underwear would not be a happy portent! Think about giving some colorful underwear to your family, friends and partners. Practical and fun too!

No matter how you choose to celebrate New Year’s this year, we hope we have given you some good New Year’s Eve gift ideas to enhance your enjoyment of this exuberant holiday! For friends and family who live in New York City or New York State, we are able to deliver or ship Champagne and wine, separately or paired with a fine food gift basket.

Health & Fitness Gift Ideas for Men and Women

Healthy gift giving has never been more popular! As more and more people are embracing healthy living themselves, we are finding more people looking for health and fitness gift baskets to give as presents. Similarly, the thoughtful gift-giver is also more aware of the dietary restrictions and eating choices of their friends and family, and so they search for gifts that include heart healthy foods; foods for special diets such a vegan, gluten free and Mediterranean; and gifts that promote physical fitness.

As the holiday gifting season approaches, we know that you may be starting to think about what health conscious gift options might be available. So we are looking ahead to the winter months (which are really not very far off!) and sharing some health and fitness gift ideas specific to the winter time and appropriate for both the men and women in your life.

Outdoor Winter Activities

We all know that one of the best ways to stay healthy and fit is to engage in physical exercise.  Most runners and bikers tend to head inside during the winter months, and understandably so! Not only is the cold weather a deterrent, but ice and snow can make it a dangerous surface for running shoes and bicycle tires. If you can’t exercise out of doors, it makes for a long, dark, cold winter while you wait for the better weather of spring.

  1. Snowshoeing

Introducing friends and family to some fun outdoor winter activities is a wonderful way to find a healthy gift for men and for women.  Snowshoeing doesn’t take any more skill than walking so it makes a great gift for promoting health and fitness in people who are new to exercise. Walking in the snow (even when wearing snowshoes) does exert more energy than walking on other surfaces and you can get a great work-out.  Giving a gift of snowshoes to already physically fit friends and family can prompt a whole new way to enjoy the out-of-doors in the wintertime and be a fun gift that is also suited to healthy men and healthy women alike.

health fitness gift ideas

We recently re-discovered the joys of snowshoeing and it has brought variety into our exercise routines and really helped us to find the joys of the winter season. Our first snowshoe experience was when we were 25 years old on some trails in the Sierra Nevada’s near Lake Tahoe. It was a glorious warm morning in early Spring with rays of sunshine glistening off the deep snow. After walking for a few hours, we lunched on a boulder that looked into a valley shaped like a bowl. From that vantage point, we made the fateful decision to walk back on the other side of the hill instead of re-tracing our footsteps. The problem was that we couldn’t find the trail and then found that it was getting too late to circle back. So we had to make our way down the steep side of the hill in order to get to the valley more quickly before the sun went down. Somehow we made it to the road in the dark and hitched a ride to our car. It was a hair-raising experience, especially afterward when we realized that we were walking in an avalanche zone!  We didn’t snowshoe again until about 4 years ago when we borrowed snowshoes and trekked around in the New Hampshire woods with friends. It was then that we decided that snowshoeing could be our new favorite winter outdoor activity.

During our first snow shoe excursion to Central Park in Manhattan after the East Coast blizzard of January 2016, we learned the hard way that we also needed to buy some good waterproof pants and jackets to keep us dry: the backs of the snow shoes were kicking up snow behind us as we walked hitting our thighs, butts and lower backs. We were rather soaked through on that first trip but came home happy and exhilarated! Our peak snowshoe experience was in the woods in Litchfield County, CT. We were alone and walking on snow that no one else had walked on. It was meditatively quiet and then it began to snow. Somehow the snow brought an even greater silence to the woods and we felt we were literally in a winter wonderland.

  1. Skiing and Snowboarding

We have lots of friends who look forward to downhill skiing every winter. If you have friends or family who like to ski or snowboard, there are a variety of options you have to promote their healthy lifestyle. Ski gear such as boots, poles, gators, gloves and ski pants can be just the right health and fitness gift idea. Gear for outdoor winter sports can get expensive, so a gift certificate to a ski shop in an amount you can afford can go a long way to help defray some of the cost while still giving a gift of fitness.

If you have a thicker wallet, you might want to consider springing for a weekend at a ski resort, with transportation, breakfast and ski lift tickets included. This gift is perfect for a group: plenty of opportunities to go off on your own and meet up later at the lodge for drinks in front of the fireplace. Ski resorts always offer lessons, to both kiddies and old folk, and can be a safe way to encourage someone to try a new winter sport, or to help hone the skiing skills of someone with experience.  Ski resorts also offer cross-country skiing trails for those of us who have never downhill skied and aren’t especially attracted to heights and speed. Like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing offers a superb aerobic work-out with all the pleasures of being outside in the snow.

  1. Ice Skating

If you live in the temperate zone, you are likely to have frozen bodies of water in the winter time or at least outdoor ice skating rinks. Skating is definitely an acquired skill and does require practice to minimize falls and feel confident moving across a slippery surface on pieces of skinny metal! But like snowshoeing and skiing, ice skating is another fun outdoor winter activity for health and fitness.

Most of us skated at least occasionally as kids: some of us quite seriously. In Canada and the most northern parts of North America, ice hockey is a serious sport and no longer just for boys: there are now many girls on school ice hockey teams.

health gift ideas: ice skating

Venturing onto a skating rink as an adult can be a little daunting. If you want to encourage friends or family to ice skate with you, give them the gift of a day at a rink including skate rental and some lessons. Try to find a rink that is not overcrowded. Sometimes small town rinks are the best. We have a tradition of skating on New Year’s Day in Newport, RI — no tourists, just locals. Even though we aren’t very skilled skaters, the smiles on our faces show that we feel like kids again! Perhaps the best part of ice skating is getting a hot chocolate at the concession stand and watching the other skaters as you warm up and rest your weary ankles.

Indoor Winter Activities

Nothing is nicer than coming in from the cold and warming yourself at a fireplace, or with food and drink. If you are looking for holiday gift basket ideas for healthy men and healthy women, think sustenance: cooking, eating, and drinking.

  1. Cooking and Eating the Mediterranean Way

We tend to want to eat more hearty food in the wintertime. We do expend more energy in the cold as our bodies work to keep us warm. But eating hearty doesn’t have to mean eating un-healthy. The Mediterranean Diet has received unprecedented press in recent years as the best guide for eating healthy. Our Mediterranean Diet gift collection offers a selection of gift basket ideas for health and fitness. You can give a gift of a healthy pantry and fill it with fine artisanal olive oils, vinegars, canned fish, olives and nuts. Or you can send a gift, such as our Santorini healthy gift basket, featuring all of the finest ingredients you need for making an exceptional Mediterranean meal.

healthy gift basket

Our Santorini gift basket is a generous and healthy gift for men or women.

  1. Drinking Natural, Organic, and Bio-Dynamic Wines

As we become more aware of the importance of making healthy life choices, more of us are looking to natural and organic ingredients in the foods we eat, and natural and organic processes in the way our wines are made. A very thoughtful gift for health- and fitness-minded men and women is a gift of natural, organic or bio-dynamic wines. These kinds of wines may be harder to find, but there are some specialty wine stores out there that focus on more natural wines. Natural wines are made with as few additives as possible, but generally have a small amount of sulfites as a preservative, especially the Old World wines. Organic wines may either be sulfite-free or may contain sulfites if they occur naturally, although in much smaller quantities than most wines. Bio-dynamic wines are made from grapes grown in organic soil supplemented with natural additives believed to improve the condition of the soil. These practices produce grapes that reflect the terroir, or the sense of place where the grapes are grown. Planting and reaping schedules can be very strict and may need to align with a particular phase of the moon, for example. Consider a wine gift club: having a new wine to try that arrives at your doorstep monthly or quarterly makes a memorable gift.

If you are a health conscious person, you can find a healthy gift that will make you feel good about supporting the health and fitness of your friends and family. Our healthy gift ideas for winter activities can be appropriate for children or teens (except the wine, of course!), young adults, senior citizens, or a man or a woman! We hope we have made it easy for you. Remember, healthy gifting is always in style!

 

What are the Best Fall Fruits?

Although the Autumnal Equinox is not until September 22nd, you can sense the coming of Fall much earlier. On the drive north to visit my Dad in Connecticut shortly after Labor Day, I saw the first indisputable signs of Fall — changing leaves on some trees along the highway! Shortly after that, Jehv and I took out our air conditioners and opened our windows to the cooler night air. The next morning, I awoke to the sounds of the birds chirping (which I hadn’t heard all summer with the air conditioners roaring). It would have been an entirely lovely experience to hear the little birdies if only I could have gotten back to sleep!

Fall is truly upon us and while we may lament the loss of the long, lazy days of summer, Fall brings its own unique pleasures. For instance, what’s better than tasting an apple from the first crop of the season? We all look forward to the fruits that are harvested during the autumn months and here is what I think are some of the best Fall fruits!

Apples

Lady Apples, Fall FruitApples of all varieties are ripening in the orchards right now and some will be ready to pick before others. October is the peak month. Drew says “Apples are ready for picking when it’s cold enough for your nose to run!” Love the visual, Drew…..

Why are apples the number one best fall fruits when we can eat them year round? Because of their freshness! After picking, apples are placed in cold storage to retain their flavor and can last a long time. That’s why we can offer apples in our gift baskets year round. But there is nothing like biting into a crisp, juicy apple at the peak of its freshness!

At Manhattan Fruitier, we look forward to getting the first crop of freshly picked apples to put into our Fall gift baskets. We are always on the look-out for more unusual, antique apple varieties grown on smaller local farms. We also strive to select as many organic apple varieties as possible for our fruits for the Fall season. Below is an example of the kinds of apples we feature in our gifts for Fall.

September: Jonagold and MacIntosh apples.

October: Black Oxford, Blondees Champlain, Blue Pearmain, Esopus Spitzenbury, Hidden Rose, HoneyCrisp, Jazz, Mollies Delicious, Opal, Orlenas Reinette, Rambour Franc and Zester Champlain.

November: Northern Spy and Winesap

 

Pumpkins

What fruit better characterizes the Fall season then the pumpkin? Yes, pumpkins are technically fruit! (Fruits are the seed bearing part of the plant that grows from the ovaries of the flowering part. Vegetables are other parts of the plant: the stem, the leaf, the root and the bud). Pumpkins are one of the top fruits for Fall. We all associate the Fall with the pumpkin: in October, it’s the Halloween Jack-o-Lantern; in November it’s pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving dinner. Those of us who frequent Starbucks’ stores know that the limited edition “pumpkin spice lattes” launch in early September! Many of us probably recall the tradition of going to pumpkin farms on school trips in October or with your family as a kid. You could pick-your-own pumpkins, have some hot apple cider, and grab a hay-ride too! Maybe you are planning a visit to a local farm with your own kids this year.

 

Pomegranates

Pomegranates, Fall FruitThe height of pomegranate season is in the Fall and that makes them another distinctive fruit for Fall season. The first pomegranates are harvested in California in October. Pomegranate season lasts until January. But we are able to offer pomegranates pretty much throughout the year for two reasons. First, as soon as you pick a pomegranate, the ripening process stops. If you can keep them in cold storage, pomegranates can retain their flavor for a long time, just like apples. Second, pomegranates are grown successfully around the world so that they can be available for import year round. For example, pomegranate season in the Southern Hemisphere is from March through May.

 

Cranberries

Cranberries are one of the few fruits native to North America and have a long tradition in New England culture. Most cranberries (which grow on vines) are farmed in Massachusetts in water-logged bogs. Cranberries are truly a Fall season fruit. The cranberry harvest is relatively short beginning in mid-September and ending sometime in early November before the frosts.  Cranberries have an especially strong connection to the Thanksgiving holiday: cranberry relishes are ubiquitous at the Thanksgiving table and probably have been since the time of the first settlers.  

 

Grapes

Bunch of Grapes, Fall FruitGrapes are readily available at the supermarket year round, but in the United States, the grape harvest begins in mid-summer in California and continues well into September. At Manhattan Fruitier, we especially look forward to muscat grapes. Muscat grapes are a bit more unusual than the familiar seedless red and green Thompson grapes, although we love them too! Muscat grapes have a distinctive perfume-y taste.  They look different too, tending to be larger than most grape varieties with slightly thicker skins which some people like to peel, a few big seeds, and a color that is a combination of green and red looking rather as if it is blushing! We think Muscat grapes are one of the best Fall fruits to look forward to.

 

 Figs

mission-figsGenerally, fresh figs have two crops. The first crop is picked sometime from May to July depending on the variety, and then again from September to November. At Manhattan Fruitier, we pair our Prosciutto and Parmigiano gift basket with fresh figs whenever they are in season.  Prosciutto and figs are a classic Italian combination, and nothing beats the synergy of those flavors. We get our fresh figs from California and typically use the rich and deep purple Black Mission figs. Sometimes we use the lighter tawny colored Kadota figs or the dark Brown Turkey figs.  If you’ve tasted a fresh, ripe fig, you’ll understand why we have highlighted them as one of the most eagerly anticipated fruits for Fall. And if you’ve never tasted a fresh fig, get to your local market — you are missing out on a real treat!

Want some inspiration for fall-themed gifts? Check out our 5 Fall Gift Basket Ideas post.