Market Notes July 21st, 2022



   We made it out of California which is both good and bad. We kiss the suppliers who helped us get through the tightest fingerling market we have ever seen. We are also on break, once again, with the organic mix out of Lamont, but they will be back again.  We were greedy and are being forced to take a pause. We say goodbye to Wong and possibly Lehr and recognize that the specialty potato market just got tighter. But the harvest in New Mexico is on and product is being packed and shipped out of northern Colorado. As we write this our first truck is loading for the east coast. On Saturday we load for the west coast.  These are all yellow fingerlings, but on subsequent loads we will be offering mix, individual colors, and specialty packs.  In the weeks to follow we will have both conventional reds, yellows, and purples.  It won’t be until the end of August when we begin organic russets.  Finally, we are back to good quality on the yellows, and the price is down.  We do expect further drops as more growers bring their product to market, but we think that will be a few months, and even then we are looking at a steady increase of about 25%. Just a guess but we think the market will stabilize there, even when product is readily available. Right now we are simply thrilled to have steady supply.  You should be too.  


All potatoes go through a sweat. Depending on equipment and environment that process (called suberization) can take anywhere from four days to five weeks.  In tight markets that process is often cut short hoping the temps will drop and the lenticels will close without problem. This allows growers to fill market shortages and capitalize on higher FOB’s. The heat adds a major problem this time of year.  When temps reach over ninety-five degrees, it is possible for the potato to actually cook. Soil is cooler than the ambient temps but at temp over one hundred degrees the potato can actually cook. Harvest is done in the cool mornings but if the heat remains, the potato can literally melt two to three weeks after being packed. In a tight market potatoes are often sold and consumed before this can occur, sometimes not. The game is to dig when it’s cool, check internal temp regularly, cool down quickly, load quickly and pray. Growers are well aware of this but these days they say, “go for it!” Hence the field runs for the very desperate. Needless to say, right now, the game is on!  


It’s Hatch Chili time for the next six to eight weeks. This versatile chili is a summer requirement from the grill. These cross-bred peppers come in two different colors and four different heat categories including, mild, medium, hot, and very hot. Developed by the University of New Mexico and grown in Hatch (duh) these peppers are so popular surrounding towns now grow them as well. They will be followed by the also popular Padrone pepper but if you want Hatch, now is the time.  


Grown in hot regions all over the world, I am the most popular of all tropical fruits.  I even had a train named after me.  Carib Indians hung me either whole or a crown of my leaves above the entrance to their huts as a sign of welcome and a promise of food and drink.  I am native to the lowlands of Brazil and spread throughout the world easily propagated by cuttings.  I have dwarf siblings whose core is completely edible and I have monster parents who weigh over eleven pounds each.  If you want me to be sweet, you better pick me ripe because I have no reserve of starch to convert to sugar.  I can be used fresh, sautéed, broiled, grilled, frozen, chunked, rung, or juiced.  I am famous as a cake but you would have to stand on your head to see me.  I have also been used as a sore throat remedy and a meat tenderizer.  Lately I’ve been seen in pink without  a hat, but the coconuts still love me. You will too!.  

Answer to last quiz….HEDGE-HOG MUSHROOMS…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