Aug. 8, 2019

  Market Notes
Aug. 8, 2019


    It does seem ironic that a State that is often in fear of drought only has a short season for dry farming and a shame that it mostly applies to the tomato category. Perhaps California agriculture history will show once again the necessity is the mother of invention. Anyway it is dry tomato season. For those who might not be familiar with this form of farming please allow this brief and down and dirty lesson. First, it’s the Early Girl tomato, and we won’t get into seed source. Does it have to be Early Girl? No, but some plants take to this growing style better than others. So you plant the tomato and water it just enough to get the roots well established and stop, forcing the plants roots to go further into the soil looking for water. The parched tomato either dies of thirst or finds enough water to produce a small fruit with less liquid.  The result is walls are thicker and the taste is richer, much richer, like eating tomato sauce. Not enough water to grow into a large fruit the smaller fruit is dense, meaty and you won’t find a better candidate for pasta sauce, pizza sauce, red sauce or gravy.  Call it what you like, dry farmed tomatoes are now in season and a good percentage get canned in one form or another. While this is not a regular market item, they are now being harvested by numerous tomato growers around the state making it easy to consolidate from San Diego to Sacramento and all the airports, coolers and freight forwarders in between. Dry farmed Early Girl tomatoes are available both conventionally and organically.  We love ‘em.  You know what to do if you want them too.


   Unlike most stone fruit trees where the fruit on the tree ripens at different time the Green Gage plum trees more or less pop.  With traditional stone fruit you will forage a tree three maybe four times and pick the fruits at peak of perfection, run home and brag. This is not the case with the Green Gage plums. The Green Gage all ripen at the same time. If they are not harvested within a day or two they become too soft and they lose their food service appeal. The late harvest fruits are great for baking and canning but it is a very short window that allows them to be eaten out of hand. There are a good few weeks once harvested but that harvest time is critical. This is why we ask for pre-orders (thank you to those who already have) and they pack out is maybe two weeks. Are they worth it?  Why go through all the trouble of hand pollination and maniac harvesting?  Have you ever tasted a properly grown Green Gage?  We rest our case. So, back to the “pop” of the fruit. It is the magic of Andy himself that bring us these amazing stone fruits picked perfectly so who better than him to know when the “pop” is upon us? Andy says the “pop” is next week. Pre-orders are still available. They should get filled next week. Welcome to the world of specialty.


    Originating in the hot sultry climate of the Mediterranean region and then spreading to Southern Europe, and much later to North America, I am the herb for all occasions. I am the perfect herb, growing as a vine or a bush, and I have over 400 different varieties. Sometimes I am referred to as French, English or the Mother, my Greek name means “courage”. The Greeks truly thought of me as an aphrodisiac as noted in the poem below. But I have also been thought to produce happiness, thriftiness, strength and courage. My other medicinal uses include treatment for nervous conditions, asthma, sore throat, whooping cough and stomach cramps. My versatility has let me stand the test of time as a culinary giant. My tiny leaves are very soft, but use me with restraint, because I have a strong pungent flavor and leave a faint clove aftertaste. I am one of the herbs in Bouquet Garni. I’m used in breads, beverages, salads, sauces, meat entrees, eggs, cheeses, vegetables, oils, vinegars and even fruits and desserts. Pick a few of my blossoms early and serve them on your favorite summer drink.

Answer to last weeks quiz…SUGAR CANE..Congrats to all winners!

Call 908-789-4700 –Lisa or Richard– Fax 908-789-4702
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Culinary Specialty Produce, Inc., 2015

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