COLD COLD COLD
As we write this our New Jersey headquarters is shut down. Our electricity is out and the roads are impassable. Trees are down everywhere and while we are contemplating what is necessary to get us up and running again, we also need to prepare for the next storm which is predicted for Sunday. While this certainly slows us down and with our servers down eliminates several accounting functions our California office is open and our east coast staff all has home offices. So we are up and running but our servers are not and as such we cannot send computer generated sales information. We are going old school, back 25 years ago when we had hand written passings, and BOL’s. Based on the third Nor’easter this weekend we don’t know when our power will back, but other than some beautiful handwriting, you would never know. The cold has also affected several products in Yuma. The lower than usual temperatures have slowed the growth of many of our baby green varietals. Over the last week we have had to allocate and/or cut kale, arugula and spinach. Fortunately the past several days have been very sunny in Yuma with temperatures in the 80’s. This has brought a lot of our baby greens to life and supply will be much improved over the next three weeks until we move north on April 3rd.
We are fully aware of the great irony of writing about the country freezing and following up with greens showing signs of spring. None the less this is the case. The first highlight is fiddlehead ferns. These are not the brilliant green ferns that appear later in the season, rather a lighter color sometimes with a touch of gray. They are harvested from the Pacific Northwest and available out of the LA market for consolidation or forager direct from Oregon. Along with the ferns and imported morel mushrooms we wrote about earlier, nettles and miners’ lettuce (claytonia) are also both available. The young nettles are awesome but most of our customers prefer to wait for the claytonia to get a bit larger. Next comes the big question; when do the ramps start? Believe it or not, we are hearing two weeks even though the growing areas are covered with ice. Early product is usually small, dirty, and expensive, but they hit peak pretty quickly in this ten week season.
NEW PRODUCE QUIZ – – WHAT AM I??
I grow on a drought and frost resistant deciduous tree, a relative of the tree that produces turpentine. My tree can live for centuries in its natural state. Just shake us down and gather us up. I know you’ll be surprised to learn that I am a fruit. Actually, I am an ovoid drupe, but unlike a peach, it’s my pit not my hull, that is prized. Since ancient biblical times, as early as 7,000 BC, my treasure has fueled many peoples. The Queen of Sheba is said to have hoarded us for royal consumption exclusively. Today, as migratory nomads travel with herds across the northern parts of the Middle East, they depend on my kernels growing in the wild. Legend claims that good fortune comes to lovers that hear my shells crack on a moonlit tree. Iranians describe my open shell as laughing. This mature split is unique and allows us to be processed and marketed in our secure clothing. Migratory nomads along with the Queen never found us dressed in red. That was a dye applied by the humans to cover harvesting stains as well as creating an alternative product. Historically imported, I was considered an exotic specialty in the United States until 1970 when California began commercial production increasing supply while reducing the price. Consumed alone and whole, with or without salt is our most popular use. You will also find us in chicken and cake batters, cookies and confections, ice-creams and soups. We are packed with potassium, protein, carbs and fiber. And yes, these days I guess you could call the majority of us Wonderful.
Answer To Last Week’s Quiz:…SESAME SEEDS…Congrats To All Winners
Call 908-789-4700 –Lisa or Richard– Fax 908-789-4702
Visit us at www.culinaryproduce.com
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Culinary Specialty Produce, Inc., 2015