February 17, 2017

  Market Notes
February 17, 2017


In a season where unprecedented is almost common, the California rains fit in perfectly. After a very brief recovery the storms continue, this round we are expecting five. Aside from the potential winds and already soft ground, California will have some form of precipitation for the next 8 days. No predictions past that but this will effect agriculture in a big way. From spillway overflows to inability to harvest production is down. Aphids have attacked moldy organic greens in Yuma and that won’t repair until the northern transition. Conventional cannot catch up with the demand. From baby veg to root veg, from citrus to baby lettuce, from tomatoes to herbs, the next few weeks are going to be very tough for domestic harvest. Mexican imports will increase and we have found pockets of good weather with limited availability. We will be able to cover most of our standing orders, but there won’t be much extra. Fortunately our potato program is fine. There are also great supplies of colored cauliflower and romanesco.


This Monday, while the whole country celebrates President’s Day, the Los Angeles Market and ancillary companies will be closed. As many other produce markets throughout the country remain open this always creates a weird crunch. So, standard market deliveries, consolidations, air shots and transfers are all on hold until Tuesday. Please make arrangements for Saturday or Tuesday so you are not caught in the trap. FOB grower direct, Yuma and east coast operations all remain the same.


While we love to brag and take every opportunity to do so, we don’t always have the material to make it work. This time we do. As this is being written the Harvest Moon crew is in the middle of their second demo in NYC. The first one was a huge success. Our potato prodigy cooked and wowed the supermarket crowd, sampling the potato with two simple ingredients, olive oil and salt. Being the grower’s wife (which our Hot Potato Mama is) every question was handled with ease and integrity, appealing to families (kids went bonkers), couples, and singles looking to make something easy and great. They were able to dispel the theory that potatoes were bad for you and got to promote the earth healthy process of biotic farming. Then, of course, there is the star of the show; the stunningly beautiful Harvest Moon. Fortunately no one was blinded by the brilliant golden flesh hidden by the smooth purple skin. There are three more demos this week and we would love to see you there. So, if you are in the city Friday, Saturday or Sunday and want to see what all the excitement is about, give us a call and we’ll give you the time and the place. If you are not in the city, no worries, this show is going on the road, soon to be in a city near you.


I am the fruit of a small South American tree, Bixia orellana. I reside in a seedpod with a prickly exterior for protection. A pulp that makes for a very popular food dye surrounds me. In the 16th Century, Spaniards were amazed to find I was used by Mexicans to redden their chocolate beverages. American Indians once used me to color their bodies orange red, but today I am used to color cheeses, butter, smoked fish and baked goods. Although I am primarily used for my color, I do provide a slight musky flavor. I am often crushed into a powder and used as a regular condiment in Latin America and India. I am often gently heated in oil or lard simply to provide color and then cooled and stored for later use. Available in a powder, paste or seed form I am an essential ingredient in pibil, a Yucatan dish where I am used to marinate chicken parts providing a glowing color and a pungent flavor. In Southeast Asia, I am essential in the production of ukoy, a shrimp and potato cake. In some cultures I am used as a substitute for saffron. Saffron has much more flavor, but is significantly more expensive. I have no real vitamins or minerals of any value to speak of, but I am definitely a good source of color.

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Culinary Specialty Produce, Inc., 2015

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