Market Notes May 6th, 2021



We can now confirm that this has been the shortest ramp season on record. What was supposed to start at the beginning of April did not begin until April’s end.  While the ramp season often runs through the end of May and some years into June will be done by the middle of May.  Is this due to Global warming? Several pickers suggest it is but we will need a few more seasons in order to define a trend. In the meantime arrival of good quality ramps have become scarce. Backwards weather (eighty degrees in February and below 32 degrees in May) has caused plant confusion and damage.  The late frost prohibited mature growth of several acres and many of the plant that did mature had black spots on their leaves, another indication of frost damage. Before the end of this month we will be offering ramp bulbs which, ironically, are stored frozen until they run out.  Man plans, Mother Nature laughs.  


    Many of our ramp customers have asked us about the harvesting of fresh ramps.  They wanted to know if we picked the bulbs or just cut the bottom of the plants leaving the bulbs to grow again the following season. While we knew they were picked with the bulbs intact (after all, we sell ramp bulbs) we wanted to better understand if there was a sustainable program or was it just like foraging.  What we found out from our program manager was very interesting. Here’s what we were told; “If we remove the roots from the ramps they would wilt and have very little shelf life.  We harvest the mature ramps that are 3 plus years old and allow the 1 and 2 year olds to mature for future seasons.  We have shipped them without the roots and they tend to spoil within a day or 2 instead of a shelf life of 10 days to two weeks.  We have harvested the same spots for over 30 years.  Also the plants give off over 64 seeds and it takes 3 years to mature for harvest.  Mother Nature makes the harvesters move every 2 weeks and ensures a good future for the ramp to regenerate.” After the abbreviated season we are going through now, this sustainability is good to know.  


Need orchids? Edible roses?  Red teardrop tomatoes?  Saturday delivery? Fiddlehead ferns? Perhaps a pallet of potatoes or some emergency micro-mix? A drop ship directly to your customers? Early predictions indicate that this will indeed be a very busy holiday weekend. Followed by Memorial and Independence Day we hope this is the ramp up for restaurants across the nation we have all been anticipating.. We certainly hope moms everywhere catch a break and get out of the kitchen. As social dining continues to increase Culinary will be right there with you, continuing to provide the service, price and economy the “new normal” demands.


     Although I am a member of the carrot family, I have no fear of being eaten by rabbits.  I am beautiful and internationally popular. One of my names is derived from the word bedbug because it is said that I emit a similar odor. An ironic fact considering that I am known for increasing the appetite as well as for being a fragrant ingredient in various perfumes and cosmetics. Dating back over 3000 years, I was used by Hippocrates as a medication. The Romans added me to vinegar to preserve meat, and the Chinese Han dynasty (207 B.C. – A.D. 220) believed I possessed the powers to give immortality. In the Arabian fantasy The Thousand and One Nights, I was referred to as an aphrodisiac. My entire plant is useful, including my roots, leaves and seeds. My flowers are white, pink or pale mauve. My leaves are light green and look a bit like flat parsley, but my taste has much more bite. My long roots have a nutty flavor while my seeds have overtones of citrus. I am used everywhere in the culinary world and I play nicely with beets, onions, or potatoes. My leaves and seeds are essential ingredients in any good curry, and no good guacamole could survive without my leaves chopped into it. My roots thrive when combined with marinated mushrooms, tomato or pasta salads.  While my seeds make a lovely tea, as a whole I provide vitamin A, potassium, and calcium. Used as a bitter herb during Passover, you will find me in many a stuffing for Thanksgiving dinner.


The answer to last weeks quiz was..PLUOT…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