Market Notes Oct. 1, 2020



We won’t bury the lead. There have been no deaths. But other than that, the Glass Incident Fire has been brutal. This fire began 9-27 on the border of Napa and Sonoma counties, and fire authorities are anticipating two weeks for full containment. Admittedly we were wrong when we suggested last week that the overall fire situation was on the mend.  So far only 2% has been contained. Mandatory evacuations are over 70K and over 114 structures have been burned to the ground. Wineries, restaurants, tasting rooms, resorts have been destroyed. Over 48l acres have been burned including the Michelin three star Restaurant at Meadowood.  It has not yet been confirmed but early investigations suggest that this fire was started by downed power lines.  Estimates for losses of wine are in the hundreds of millions.


Heirloom tomatoes have tightened up, both conventional and organic. It looks like the domestic product is finishing up while the Mexican product will not begin for about two weeks.  We anticipate Los Angeles loading to begin as early as October 12. There are a few cases available as growers finish up but any reasonable pallet volume with color, quality, and legs are going to be tough to find. Organic Early Girl tomatoes are just beginning harvest here in central California and the crop looks great. These are dry farmed tomatoes so they are thicker skinned lower water content and increased sugar. The thick walls of the dry farmed tomato with the reduced fluid in the flesh make this Early Girl taste like sauce. This is a quick season (8 weeks if we are lucky), possibly made quicker by quirky weather. Finally we are just a long week away (10 days) from yellow tomato harvest in northern Florida.  We will start taking orders late next week.  


     Buddha Hands usually indicate the beginning of the winter citrus season, and we are pleased to report that they are in stock both grower direct and well as being in the markets. They vary greatly in size and right now, because they are so new, are being sold individually. Etrog (Ponderosa Lemon) are also in stock so the football season can have its citrus mascot. As always the season starts off bitter and ends up sweet. As always our customers want the sweet stuff now and the bitter tuff in the spring. Too bad, here’s what we got. Kaffir limes and Yuzu fruit are available for all those authentic sauces you’ve been waiting to make. The latest and greatest sour meme Sudachi is also ready for the zesting and the retail packed sweet limes complete the initial lineup. Kumquats and mandarins can’t be far behind along with the first of the blood oranges that are usually the opposite of sweet and lacking in color.


   In Ancient Greece, when Daphne begged the gods to protect her from the amorous Apollo, they turned her into my tree — sweet, noble and true. Indigenous to the Mediterranean basin, but originally from Asia Minor, my tender perennial evergreen is a member of the avocado family and grows to 10-20 feet with clusters of tiny greenish yellow flowers that produce shiny blue-black berries. I am oval, smooth, firm, glossy dark and about 2-4 inches long. Recently seen fresh, but usually dried, you love my strong flavor and aroma, but only if you drop me in, then pull me out, before you eat whatever I’m flavoring — sauces, soups, stews, meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, legumes, pates, marinades. My volatile oil is cineole and is popular in liquors, colognes, and aftershaves. An indispensable seasoning since the 1st century AD, I am antiseptic, digestive, expectorant, and anti-rheumatic.  I’m good for stress reduction, wound disinfectant, and for varicose veins. I’ll live for a long time, sealed and hidden in the dark, but when I get old and impotent, please be kind and discard me. You may not know that when crushed, I repel cockroaches; whole, I will keep weevils out of your dried goods.  Without me, you wouldn’t have bouquet garnish, an Old shellfish boil, a Nobel or poet laureate.


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., 2015