April 9, 2015

cul  Market Notes
  April 9, 2015

Finally, with the transition from Yuma complete, our baby lettuce grower is back and the lettuce is stunning. The reds are vibrant and the greens are museum perfect. As a mixed pack the case weight is as much as 8 pounds, while the straight packs weigh less due to their bulk. The varieties include red oak, green oak, lolla rossa, lolla biondo, green romaine, red romaine, tango, and green bibb. These products can be combined with mesclun blends, frisee, arugula, spinach, chard, and kale. We can also place them at any dock in the Salinas shipping area for consolidation. The large pack, the lovely product, and the very compelling price make this a no brainer for anyone in the baby lettuce market. This is the kind of box that when opened you go wow. It actually makes you want to eat a salad. Please contact your Culinary Rep for details and if you ask nicely we just might send you a sample.

So Ramps are officially in season, but they are far from peak of production. We believe the last week of April through the first three weeks of May will be the highest volume period. We expect the price to drop early next month as northern areas begin to produce these garlicky greens. Spring, which in the world of produce was represented by the first asparagus, is now defined by morels, fiddlehead ferns, and Ramps. Morels are becoming more abundant daily and prices are dropping fast, so don’t buy too heavy or you will get stuck. The deal on fiddlehead ferns is still out west. Look for the beautiful green eastern fiddleheads late April. Other tempting seasonal items have begun as well. On the commodity side, English peas, fava beans (leaves/tendrils available as well) and green strawberries are in the market. On the specialty side there are good supplies of nettles, miner’s lettuce (Claytonia), wild onions with flowers and spring garlic. Many of these products have a six week harvest cycle and then it is on to next year, so if you want to jump, now is the time.

A member of the large rose family, Homer called me “the gift of the gods.” I have been cultivated for over three thousand years and held in high esteem by the Greeks, Romans and Chinese. Today my largest production comes from China, Italy, the United States, and Russia. I have several hundred varieties, a result of the cross breeding done in the 17th and 18th centuries. Most of my varieties are teardrop shaped, but some cousins are completely round. We are very thin-skinned as a group but quite colorful with a range of colors including yellow, brown, red and green. Whatever my skin color my flesh is always white or cream-colored and finely textured. My core is small with about 8 to 12 small seeds. My starch converts to sugar best after I am picked, and I ripen beautifully outside the cooler in a paper bag. I am rich in fiber as well as potassium and copper. Best eaten out of hand, I can be poached, juiced, or dipped. I am used in salads, sorbets, cheese platters, marinades, and stuffing. Contrary to my name, I am allowed to go out alone.

Answer To Last Quiz….LEEKS……Congrats To All Winners
Call 908-789-4700 –Lisa, Mark or Richard– Fax 908-789-4702
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Culinary Specialty Produce, Inc., 2015

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