Market Notes February 16th, 2023



    You have heard us on endlessly about the silly definition of “handler” in the new organic rules.  At last writing we were certain that brokers who did not touch the product in any way would be exempt, but the USDA did not agree based on absurd example. Screw the English language,  extortion rules! Asa much as we disagree as a corrupted democracy we must abide.  Now comes a whole new world of weirdness which will in many cases end up as a mother may I.  At this point three things seem important. First is who you get to certify you.  While a few of the basics remain the same the fee structure varies  tremendously.  Second is the application. It is the same as the grower’s application or for handlers who literally  handle organic produce. We have visited at least four different certifying companies and they all have completely different agendas but nothing is tailored to process handlers who do not handle. We will affect and essentially write  the procedures policies and fees for this law so for those who apply, please speak your minds. This is a chance to mold the application of new laws.  Finally, there is enforcement of these laws which begins in March of 2024. I have got to believe that the handlers who don’t handle will be at the bottom of the list for enforcement due to the extreme difficulty domestic produce brokers would have committing fraud. There remain numerous situations and questions to be answered. Will the non-handling handlers be used as an example. The next word that will change its meaning is compliance and maybe even purpose.  It is going to be a wild ride but one way or another we will atone to the certified side.  Gotta  pay to play.  


    Monday, February 20, 2024, is Presidents’ Day.  While it is a federal holiday, so banks and post offices and governments will be closed for the produce industry.  Most of our west coast markets and loading docks will be closed and re-open Tuesday, but many of our mid-west and east coast customers remain open wondering why they can not load in California on Monday. Other holidays are lopsided the other way.  As good old JP sang, “That’s The Way That The World Goes Round.” Oddly enough Yuma, Arizona docks seems to be open so a lot of veg and greens shippers will remain on schedule.  


    Although my young leaves can be eaten in fresh salads, I am a member of the daisy family and primarily used as a root vegetable, similar in shape to a carrot or a parsnip.  Not particularly popular in the United States, I have been known in Southern Europe for over two thousand years.  I was not cultivated until the 17th century and today Belgium is one of the leading producers of me.  My skin can be either black or brown, but my flesh is always cream-colored.  I am primarily a cold weather crop as my taste gets sweeter after the ground has been covered with frost.  My seed ball opens up every morning, works until noon, then closes up for the day.  Great work if you can get it.  Strangely enough my flavor has been compared to that of oysters, which is only true if you consume me while eating oysters.  I think I have a mild flavor, which can be compared to a cross between globe artichokes and asparagus.  In either color, you must peel me before eating and my flesh will turn black fast when exposed to fresh air.  To avoid this, you can soak me in vinegar or lemon water, or boil me for 15 minutes before peeling.  Do not overcook me or I will get all mushy on you.  Cold I am great shaved into salads.  I blend particularly well with potatoes, leeks, and spinach.  I can be glazed like carrots, used in soups or stews, baked au gratin, braised with veil, or topped with béchamel or cheese sauce.  I am a good source of potassium as well as providing Vitamins B6 and C.  I also contain inulin, a carbohydrate starch replacement that does not affect the level of blood sugar.  

The answer to last weeks quiz was….HEARTS OF PALM… 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