Market Notes March 2nd, 2023



     The roads moving from the northwest to points east have opened and the blizzard in LA is gone. While not falling from the sky, the water remains on the ground not in the ground.  One grower hyperbolized snorkeling for root vegetables. Very sad when we should be at peak winter crop. We can offer two positive points for procurement.  First, Yuma and other desert growing areas have not, as of yet been effected, and there is a tremendous amount of growing there.  That deal moves north in about six weeks so hopefully the warm days and cool nights will continue until then.  Second is Mexico and points south. While hit with many days of rain it was not nearly severe as what we experienced here in the states. While this has caused hundreds of acres of lost crops, it has also hindered plantings extending time for new harvest.  Not quite over but fair to access this was a rough winter throughout the country. We will bounce back but it might be slower than anticipated.


    Being the fingerling fanatics that we are, we do our best to keep track whats growing where, when it is going to be killed, harvested, suberized, sorted, and packed.  One of the deals we were depending on to come to market by the middle of this month has… well… drowned. Water is sitting three inches high in the field after the kill. This is natures form of mashed potatoes that would probably keep the even the buffalo away.  As mentioned above, not only do we  lose the field, but we also lose the time to prep for the next planting. What was hoped to be mid-March relief, is now mid-April relief. That’s just about the time the winter crops from Colorado, Idaho, California, and Oregon run short. We had plans for this gap but the delay in planting due to flooded fields could delay our plans. The State of California has announced increased water allocations for growers this year. Silver lining maybe, but it’s a thin one.


    I’m sure you know me, but do you love me?  I am an ancient and perennial survivor, from Europe, North Africa, northern Asia, and North America. Tiptoe amongst us, and then trim away our young leaves for a tangy, chewy treat.  Before we flower, collect our buds to marinate or deep-fry. Take an early morning walk and wade through fresh flowers lopping off our heads.  Weave our stems to make a crown, and then collect our manes to add our petals to favorite dishes or make my nostalgic and beatific brew.  As the colder nights settle in, enjoy my leaves from your greenhouse, a bit longer, paler and milder than from the wild, but just as good.  Try them fresh or wilted with a hot strong dressing, maybe a bit southern with salt pork and garlic as well.  Or try a Pennsylvania Dutch sweet-sour recipe.  Cook me, just a bit, to soften my texture and mellow my flavor, but don’t cook me too long like some other bitter greens.  Enjoy a coffee-like brew from my root, or perhaps, open a vintage fermentation.  Okay, so you’re not a romantic — you’ll prefer the story that snickers at the French loving our bitter greens and naming us “lion’s tooth” because of our jagged leaves.  You’ll belittle chefs turning us couture. Amused that we’ve become cultivated and harvested by hand or foraged from the wild, you’ll never fall in love with us; you’ll fertilize and dig us out of your perfect lawn.  You’ll find our sticky milk irritating your sensitive skin.  You’ll moan when we grow back where you’re sure you’ve killed us.  You’ll never know how well we aid appetite and work as a diuretic and laxative, but you’ll love the nickname Pissabed, since to you we’re just a weed. If you ever do try us for our calcium, potassium and vitamins A and C, you can buy us year-round, with April and May being our heyday.  Just avoid us at the side of the road or where chemicals are used.  Are you sure you don’t love us a little bit?  You really never blew our seed puffs across the wind or read Sci-Fi writer Ray’s book?

The answer to last weeks quiz was….CREAMER POTATO… Congrats to all winners.

Call 908-789-4700 –Lisa or Richard– Fax 908-789-4702 Visit us at “like” us @ Culinary Specialty Produce on Facebook© Culinary Specialty Produce, Inc., 2020