July 23, 2015

  Market Notes
  July 23, 2015

       We talk about this every season and after yesterday’s taste we know it is worth talking about again. Dry Farmed Early Girl Tomatoes are the richest and thickest tomato known to us.  They are not for every occasion.  They do not have the amazing acid/sugar balance that heirlooms are famous for.   They do not have that amazing burst of sweetness like the Sunburst and Sweet 100’s are known for.  The dry farmed Early Girl tomato is very thick walled and basically tastes like unseasoned tomato sauce or tomato paste.  If you want for a tomato for sauce or canning, this is it.  Currently these saucy fruits are abundant here on the central coast, most prominent in Santa Cruz and surrounding counties. Usually sold in 20# bulk cases and in most cases organic, these are a no brainer for retail packaging. Call for details or samples. Japones and Shishito Peppers, two other very popular seasonal items are showing up in stores on menus and at the farmers markets. Finally, proof that the dog days of summer are upon us is made with the rainbow of beans.

        When we are asked for the correct temperature potatoes should be stored at, we routinely respond with 38-40 degrees.  While we believe this to be factually true, we are becoming more and more aware that this does not always fit the refrigerated temperatures of our receivers. This can cause confusion and requires a choice.  Most receivers have several different cooler temperatures but the most popular ones seem to be 34-36 degrees and 46-48 degrees. So where do you store the potatoes?   In most cases we find our customers choose the warmer temperatures. This is incorrect.  Potatoes will remain sleepy in the colder temps. Just don’t freeze them!  If you do not believe us, try one case in your colder room and see how long they last compared to one in the warmer temps.

This has been quite some summer, thus far.  Mother Nature seems determined to remind us of her power.  Over the last week or so storms have damaged crops such as wheat, alfalfa and corn in wide swaths across southern Indiana.  Recent storms in the Carolinas and Virginias have slowed things down at the very least and there are scattered reports of crop damage in watermelon and squash fields throughout the region.  These phenomena, when weighed alongside continuing droughts in Texas and California and the recent declaration of parts of Kansas’ wheat and corn crops as victims of a natural disaster in the form of summer storms in June, paint a picture of a future produce market which may be a bit more unsettled and even less predictable than it has always been.  Mother Nature is in control, folks, and she’s gonna make sure we know it.   

       I am the strongest member of the cabbage family being able to withstand frost and snow.  For this reason I am a staple winter vegetable, especially in rural areas where I am used in colcannon.  Originally cultivated in the Mediterranean region, I was an important crop in Roman times and a staple food of the peasants during the middle ages.  I am a sprouting plant and like broccoli or spring greens I have no heart.  My leaves do not form a head, they grow freely in a wavy, curled, or toothed form.  We bloom in a rainbow of colors ranging from reddish brown to bluish green, pink, white, and purple.  As an adult I must be cooked to be digested so our Peacock and Nagoya varieties are often picked young and used as salad components or in mesclun’s.  Sometimes I am so pretty I’m simply left alone to add beauty to the landscape.  With a flavor reminiscent of cauliflower and broccoli I can be braised, steamed, grilled, boiled, or stir-fried.  I am great with bacon, garlic, and goat cheese.  Vinegar or lemon juice will help keep my color during cooking. Oh, I also forgot to mention, I am probably the most popular single produce item in the country.  It’s my time and it does not look like it is going to end any time soon. They are even studding me out.

Answer To Last Quiz….Romaine Lettuce……Congrats To All Winners
Call 908-789-4700 –Lisa, Mark or Richard– Fax 908-789-4702
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Culinary Specialty Produce, Inc., 2015

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