August 27, 2015

  Market Notes
  August 27, 2015

Not only is the heat refusing to leave, other areas that provide us with specialty baby veggies are now being hard hit as well. Let’s start up north. The Salinas Valley and King City growing areas remained very hot and volume is down across the board. Baby spinach remains the hardest hit while kale appears to prevail. Baby lettuces, mesclun’s, arugula, frisee and other salad components are extremely limited and orders will remain pro-rated. The price increase will stay the same and the only saving grace for many grower/packers is the yearly slowdown that always occurs mid-August. If the heat continues past the vacation season, the shortages will increase dramatically. Further south in the San Joaquin Valley temps are in the mid 120’s daily. While Salinas had a break with a few cooler days, no such luck in these fertile fields. Peppers, peas, and citrus are all seeing lower yields. Root vegetables are either topless or yellow tops with the occasional green. Good deals to be made on topless bulk root veggies. Now the rain has hit Guatemala pretty hard so the quality and availability of Sno-Peas, Snap- Peas, French Beans, and baby squashes will be affected. This is a quality issue on a quantity shortage which immediately raises the price once again confirming the notion that bad produce costs more.

We are back in season with Fingerlimes and this year we have a new program that we are quite pleased with. While we are working on a new retail pack we are currently shipping bulk product in beautiful one pound burlap bags. The grower does not believe in packing brown fruit, nor does he pack small fruit. Overall we feel this is a better program. These Fingerlimes are organic as well and like the past they will be available throughout the year with occasional small gaps. The Australian Fingerlime seems to be catching on in popularity. While we still see it as a novelty we also got a sneak peek at a retail package in development by Sunkist. It will be interesting to see if they destroy this like they did the Cara-Cara. Ah, but we digress. Another wonderful aspect about our new grower is winter when his farm produces the finest cherimoya this planet has ever produced. From a decoration, to a serious sauce component there are numerous dishes that can benefit from the use of Fingerlimes, and they spread curiosity and class wherever they are used..

’ve gone from growing wild, to slave plantations, to industrial production. A perennial grass, I am grown in about 80 countries in the tropics and subtropics and can grow from 6 to 23 feet in height. My cut shoots are 1 – 2 inches in diameter. I am first documented in India in 1000 BC. Early on, I was used in medicine; Dioscorides, a first-century Greek physician, considered me “worth my weight in silver.” You’ll find me mentioned by Jeremiah, Ezekial and Isaiah in the Old Testament. Europeans viewed me as a fabulous food and expensive medicine brought through deserts to their ports. In fact, in 966, Venice’s fate and fortune were founded on me and on the trade of silks and spices. My most popular output is — cut; crushed for my juice which is extracted with water; purified, concentrated by evaporation, and crystallized. In ancient times, you might have chewed me, or in an Arab harem, made me into a depilatory. For nouveau cuisine, cook me as a skewer for shrimp. Raw, I am 96-99% sucrose. Originally a rare and valuable plant, I became so popular that by 1979 there were more of my products produced than could be consumed. Today, ecologists propose my juice as an alternative food source for pigs and poultry, and scientists are mapping my DNA to help understand plant genes. Hard to beet me!

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Culinary Specialty Produce, Inc., 2015

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