March 16, 2017

  Market Notes
March 16, 2017


The amazingly beautiful weather in Yuma is making our last pickings shine. Baby lettuce remains limited, but our customers love what is in the box. To some degree we can provide specific varieties but BMX seems to prevail. In either case we are getting four pounds of quality baby heads. We had some bumps with mesclun but we are past that and the mix is riding high. Spinach and kale are no problem and on any given day we can fill orders for mizuna,, chards, and all that fancy stuff. That was all on the conventional side. The organic side is a different word. Here we have troubles. The stove didn’t blow up, but we sure wish the aphids would. Organic product is a daily surprise. Spinach, kale and mesclun are allocated daily assuming we have product to allocate. We are told that this will all get better at the beginning of April when the deal transitions back up to the Salinas Valley. We have contacted everyone about the transition and this round, like most of the others, should be very smooth. Loading in Watsonville commences on April third, and the new northern exposure will meet the demand and bring on the summer season.


The problem with spring harvest and forage is that it never lasts. That’s also the allure. Spring garlic or green garlic is yellow just about done. Garlic Scapes are available for three weeks, ramps are six weeks and done. Here is this week’s forage feast. Morels are still hit and miss. The orchard morels are a little dirty and the Chinese Morels (if you do that) are limited and expensive. This is just the early tease; the main flush is still a few weeks away. Western fiddlehead ferns will be available by the time you read this, and while they will taste quite similar, they are not the vibrant color of the eastern fiddlehead ferns which are about a month away. Miners lettuce (claytonia) is available but it is better when there is a bit more growth but there are small plants available now. Then, there is the king of spring greens, the lowly ramp. Onion and garlic never had it so good. So, technically, in order to be the first to market foragers pick ramps as soon as they pop through the ground, there are tiny ramps available. In three weeks they will be abundant. Three weeks after that they will be gone.


As the luck of the Irish would have it we had a few (and I mean few) finger limes this week. They are long gone but every year there is a brief spring flush of fruit then we have to wait until July when season begins and product gets strong. Hopefully we will have some for the next two weeks. If you are interested let us know and we will do our best to meet your needs.


In Ancient Greece, when Daphne begged the gods to protect her from the amorous Apollo, they turned her into my tree — sweet, noble and true. Indigenous to the Mediterranean basin, but originally from Asia Minor, my tender perennial evergreen is a member of the avocado family and grows to 10-20 feet with clusters of tiny greenish yellow flowers that produce shiny blue-black berries. I am oval, smooth, firm, glossy dark and about 2-4 inches long. Recently seen fresh, but usually dried, you love my strong flavor and aroma, but only if you drop me in, then pull me out, before you eat whatever I’m flavoring — sauces, soups, stews, meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, legumes, pates, marinades. My volatile oil is cineole and is popular in liquors, colognes, and aftershaves. An indispensable seasoning since the 1st century AD, I am antiseptic, digestive, expectorant, and anti-rheumatic. I’m good for stress reduction, wound disinfectant, and for varicose veins. I’ll live for a long time, sealed and hidden in the dark, but when I get old and impotent, please be kind and discard me. You may not know that when crushed, I repel cockroaches; whole, I will keep weevils out of your dried goods. Without me, you wouldn’t have bouquet garnish, an Old shellfish boil, a Nobel or poet laureate.

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Culinary Specialty Produce, Inc., 2015

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