Market Notes
August 3rd, 2023


    The weird weather continues to affect crops throughout the country. It’s almost upside down, and a few weird patterns and crops say nope.  Stone fruit requires a cold winter for the fruit to “set” then in the warmer weather the fruits flourish until ripe.  If the temperature is too high there is limited fruit set. Add to that, when the warmer spring weather that is supposed to encourage growth turns into a freeze or two you get crop failure resulting in limited fruit of smaller sizes and a lower brix.   Believe it or not the State of Georgia is number three in domestic peach production,  and this season has all but dried up for them.  The second largest producer, South Carolina, has a similar issue but not as devastating. So, the number one producer, California is supposed to come to the rescue until the crop on the west coast starts to dry up. We expect Farmers Markets will have fewer offerings and this year the shortage is so bad that we might even see a shortage of canned peaches this fall.


   The tight and getting tighter market for organic potatoes surges forward and the powers that be could not be happier, but there might be some relief in sight.  The supply and demand game is in full force and some price have dropped significantly. In the next few weeks, more product is poised to hit the fresh market and when combined with the summer demand lull the scales should tip a bit more to the supply side getting stronger. New crop in Washington State, California, Arizona, and Colorado will all ramp up by mid-August and competitive pricing will ensue. One positive note is specialty seed is not as tight as it has been in the past. This may well encourage growers to expand and overall potato volume will increase.


   I’m a popular edible in my native eastern Asia, but outside of Japan, Korea and China, you’ll mainly find me listed on not-wanted lists, such as the Alien Plant Invaders list and the FDA MedWatch Safety posting.  I’m really beautiful, but it is true that my two species of woody climbing vines grow so quickly I choke out other plants. And, I admit that I contain nephrotoxins that in large doses or over time cause problems when undetected in traditional Chinese herbal remedies.   But, on the other side of the argument, my flowers are fragrant and we fruits look rather otherworldly, like flattened sausage pods.  In September and October, my long purplish shell (2-5” long) splits to reveal thick, semi-transparent flesh, with little black seeds.  Insipidly sweet, you can eat me raw with lemon juice, or pureed into a cream or drink.  My plant’s soft young shoots are a treat in salads.  Pickle them or stuff my bitter skin with miso and chicken and deep-fry.  Make my dried leaves into tea.  Make sturdy baskets from my vines. Here at my Asian home, I’m a historic honey; anywhere else; I’m labeled as an infestation or an undesirable. You’re more likely to find us in Japanese literature than near your home. The five-leafed variety of my tree, sometimes called chocolate vine, can be found growing throughout the eastern U.S. as an ornamental tree (a.k.a. alien invader).  My fruit is a good source of fiber and potassium as well as being antirheumatic, depurative, diuretic, stomachic and tonic.


The answer to last weeks quiz was….CAPE GOOSBERRY… Congrats to all winners.

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Culinary Specialty Produce, Inc., 2020