June 23, 2016

  Market Notes
June 23, 2016



Monday we celebrated the summer solstice with the day of the year. Tuesday crops started burning up. In both Southern and Northern Baja and all the way up through the San Joaquin Valley the temps have been as high as 120 degrees during the day and over 90 degrees at night. This affects a lot of crops, some good some bad. In the herb category, tarragon has burnt up to a large degree and good quality product has become scarce. Other delicate herbs are wilting as well. The baby root vegetable category has shown leaf damage across the board. The tops have either yellowed or blackened. This is evident in all colors of baby carrots along with beets, turnips, and radishes. If you do not care about the condition of the tops there are probably deals to be made, but museum quality is simply not available. Grapes are very happy with this heat and as long as the nights cool down they will thrive. Melons are not scared of the heat at all and also build up their sugar, making them sweeter and slightly less firm. Some potatoes have been a problem. As fields in Edison and Bakersfield continue to be dug, it becomes impossible to get the heat out of the potato. After a few days in the cooler the heat from the inside of the spud creates rot and spotting that does not show when harvested or post-harvest cooling. This damage has all but eliminated our red and white creamer program until August when there is another harvest. If this is June, we can’t imagine what August will feel like. Global warming indeed.


Some call it Corn Porn. Some call it Corn Smut. Others call it blueish gray and disgusting. In Mexico they call it huitlacoche, the Mexican truffle, and it is delicious. Whatever you choose to call it this fungus is a disease that affects corn crops. Many many moons ago some clever scientists found a way to infect the corn to create this delicacy. With the advent of modern technology there is less natural fungus the smut has become more difficult to procure. For the past several years we have only been able to get it frozen. Unfortunately, we just found out that our last inoculated crop failed so the summer season of smut has been lost. As we have many customers asking for smut, we regret to inform you that we will not have product until late October. We will keep you informed as to when we will be able to ship again.


While several crops are burning up, others are thriving to the point where there is excess. While this may change in the next several weeks, we can currently offer great deals on baby lettuce (heads) and Russian Banana Fingerling potatoes. Both of these items are in abundance, perfect for holiday salads, and have excellent pricing. If you are looking for an ad or just a real good holiday deal, please contact your Culinary rep about these two items.


I am the number one cash crop in the United States. Originating in East Asia (Manchuria), I arrived on the U.S. shores with the Matthew Perry expedition. I have more protein and calories than any other legume. I grow on a small bush two to six feet high. I am raised in a velvety pod that can be gray, yellow, black, white or brown. I have an amazing amount of uses. In my infant stage I am used in salads as a sprout. I am fermented, used as coffee substitute, made into cheese, jam, flour, grits, or used for imitation beef, ham, or chicken. Industrially my oil is used for soap, paint or vanishes. I am also a very popular cooking oil. When brewed I make a wonderful sauce, but often my sauce is packaged without any of me in it. It’s truly a shame that water, salt, vegetable protein, corn syrup, and caramel color, cheaply replace my rich tangy flavor. I must be cooked to neutralize the anti-nutrients I contain (phytic acid, and trypsin). If defatted or dried, I will store moderately well. If fresh, I must be refrigerated or I will turn rancid in short order. When they dry us we are used in stews and casseroles but our pleasant hazelnut like flavor is best when fresh.

Answer To Last Week’s Quiz…JICAMA…Congrats To All Winners

Call 908-789-4700 –Lisa or Richard– Fax 908-789-4702
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Culinary Specialty Produce, Inc., 2015

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