CENTRAL CALIFORNIA UPDATE
February 28, 2019
The locals are getting ready. Shishito peppers are out and about while the padrones are not far behind. The rain this year has been slightly above average but no major “wipe it out” storms so far. The reservoirs are full and flooding is minimal. There has been some black ice on the roads in the morning which is unique for this area confuses drivers for about three hours a day. Early reports from Happy Boy, DelCabo, Coke Farms, and Andy’s are that the cold set was good and harvest should be strong. That means a lot of tomatoes, a lot a high quality herbs and salad greens, and good supply of stone fruit. Farmers Markets are already rolling out the heirloom tomatoes, spring garlic, and peppers. Looks like an early harvest as well. Baby tomatoes are soon to be everywhere but they won’t be at their sweetest for a few months yet. Root vegetables are sweet from the slow winter growth but limited in availability. For specific items please check with your Culinary rep weekly, as product comes on fast.
SPECIALTY POTATO UPDATE
We do not know why or how but over the last month we have seen a definite change in the fingerling potato market. There has been a steady increase in mixed fingerling potatoes. This is the three color mix and as far as our customers go, that must include purple. To date we have been able to meet this demand and if it continues, we will adjust our planting schedule to meet that need. Curranty both of our loading points are packing this product and we even have stock at our forward distribution facility in Pennsylvania. Of course, our standard Russian Banana fingerlings are readily available everywhere and we have a St. Patrick’s Day special. If you give us notice next week and not a day beyond, we will take any amount of potatoes you specify and leave them under florescent light so they will turn green. We will then pack and ship them to your specifications. Earliest shipping for this would be March 9th. Or, you could do this yourself and avoid the “up” charges. We’re just saying…
NEW PRODUCE QUIZ – – WHAT AM I??
No strings on my head, but I do have a frond. When my coiled frond peaks through the soil it’s a sure sign of SPRING! Asparagus used to represent this but we have taken over. I am a foragers dream (and fortune), they have not figured out or bothered to figure out how to cultivate me. Introduced to French settlers by the Malachite Indians in 1783, the French developed our culinary capabilities. I am only available to harvest for about two weeks in each area I grow before I unfurl into graceful greenery of inedible plumes. The eastern U.S.A. is my prime terrain, but I have a darker, grayer variety foraged out of the Pacific Northwest that arrives about a month before we do, and lately we have seen some relatives from Canada. My taste is a cross between asparagus, green beans, and artichokes, with a very appealing crunchy texture. I can be steamed, simmered, braised, sautéed, or boiled. I am excellent as a side dish with hollandaise, maltiase or butter sauces. I love a vinaigrette drizzle, and I do fine served raw in salads. I am an excellent source of vitamin A & a good source of vitamin C and fiber. I am a spring thing and summer finds me blown away.
NEW PRODUCE QUIZ – – WHAT AM I??
A member of the large rose family, Homer called me “the gift of the gods.” I have been cultivated for over three thousand years and held in high esteem by the Greeks, Romans and Chinese. Today my largest production comes from China, Italy, the United States, and Russia. I have several hundred varieties, a result of the cross breeding done in the 17th and 18th centuries. Most of my varieties are teardrop shaped, but some cousins are completely round. We are very thin-skinned as a group but quite colorful with a range of colors including yellow, brown, red and green. Whatever the skin color my flesh is always white or cream-colored and finely textured. My core is small with about 8 to 12 small seeds. My starch converts to sugar best after I am picked, and I ripen beautifully outside the cooler in a paper bag. I am rich in fiber as well as potassium and copper. Best eaten out of hand, I can be poached, juiced, or dipped. I am used in salads, sorbets, cheese platters, marinades, and stuffing. Contrary to my name, I am allowed to go out alone.
Answer to last weeks quiz…PEARS…Congratulations to all winners!
Call 908-789-4700 –Lisa or Richard– Fax 908-789-4702
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Culinary Specialty Produce, Inc., 2015