Market Notes March 16th, 2023



    A band of moisture stretching from the Hawaiian Islands to the west coast creates incredible movement of moisture particles, often producing pounding precipitation in the higher elevations and mountain ranges. This phenomenon, originally coined atmospheric rivers in the 80’s also known as the Pineapple Express, is a necessity for the water supply in California.  The result of this deluge is usually in the form of a slow snow melt in the Spring, allowing the water to be captured and well utilized. When the temperature within the atmospheric river is slightly higher, there is no snow, just rain.  Massive and powerful rain that destroys roads, breaches levees, floods fields, and floats homes. While the  central coast is enjoying a reprieve today and possibly through the weekend, another “express” or two is expected for Monday through Wednesday of next week.   Fortunately, these meteorologic events are easy to forecast. Unfortunately, when it released as pounding rain there is not much that can be done.  Currently many of the roads that were blocked or destroyed are just beginning to reopen only to be dumped on again.  Hydroplaning has become common along the coast and vehicles in ditches are a common occurrence. While the fields in the Salinas Valley, Watsonville and surrounding areas remain unplantable, loading and basic transportation is challenged as well. Many geographic areas have been cut-off by trees, floods, mudslides, and  collapsed roads and bridges. Even with the exceptional emergency repair California is directing, transportation is going to be rough for the next week, at least. Obviously, this adds to the delay of cultivating and seeding  for the Spring season. Safety first, then repair and clean-up, then back to business. Disaster relief and emergency financial assistance will be critical for both the residential communities and the farming operations.


   Monday is the calendar date for the first day of Spring, and while the storms across the country make it counter intuitive, the forage season is wasting no time. We already know the Morel mushroom are rapidly becoming a year-round item, but the domestic orchard morels should be available next week. Ramps, one of the few remaining non-cultivated seasonal Spring indicators, are expected the first week of April. They will be clean, but small. Western Fiddlehead Ferns are already in the LA market and will come on strong in the next few weeks. Eastern Fiddlehead Ferns should be shippable by tax day.  Nettles are also currently available.  We expect miners’ lettuce will be ready to ship by the end of the month. They yellowfoot mushroom and black trumpet mushroom will have to suffice until late April when the chanterelles  and sprinkling of porcini begin. Based on the weather patterns last fall and this Winter, the forage volume is expected to be quite large.  


   I am delicate, petite, pretty and succulent.  I grow in the coolest regions of the northern hemisphere.  My European varieties derive from the species Rubus Idaeus while the American varieties come from Rubus Strigosa.  I am frigid and prefer the cold or I will rebel, perish, leak and stain.  I was barely seen until the 18th century when I became popular on the dessert table in fruit salad, served with peaches and cream, or pureed and used in jellies, sauces, sorbet, and puddings.  My family covers a rainbow of colors ranging from white to yellow, orange, pink, red, purple, and black.  My Scottish cousins are the envy of the family.  Due to the damp cool climate of Scotland, they are reputedly the best of their kind in the world.  I am high in fiber, a good source of Vitamin C and contain traces of calcium and vitamin A.  I am certainly welcome on a dessert tray, but my association with discolored skin makes me an unpopular participant in a bike or marathon. I can also be created by covering your mouth with your hand and blowing, but that doesn’t taste nearly as good.

The answer to last weeks quiz was….SAGE… 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