August 20, 2015

  Market Notes
  August 20, 2015

       Our California office is located in Corralitos, just north of Watsonville and just south of Santa Cruz. We are right off of Route One so the office gets an ocean breeze and the temperature in this area is considered very desirable and similar to a Mediterranean climate.  By 10:00 AM this past Saturday and Sunday the thermometer on the porch, in the shade, read 110. It peaked at 118 and you can add another 10 degrees if you dared step out of the shade. Since then things have returned to normal.  Highs are now in the 80’s and the mornings are cool and foggy. But the effects of the weekend had taken their toll. Here’s what we know.  Out of the LA area white turnips are gone.  The only good radish is a French Breakfast, and while beets are OK, their tops are not. English peas have disappeared, but baby carrots have survived.  Further north, spinach and frisee are lost and not yet found. Baby lettuces and mesclun mixes are scarce.  Most fields are recovering from the sun drenched weekend but our grower says they are only shipping top quality. Nothing even marginal will make it into a pack.  Prices remain higher and will stay that way through next week. We still recommend heavy and early ordering so your cuts will still give you something. Two weeks and we should be out of this.

       Like Ramps, we are coming into a 5-6 week season. But there are changes on the Paw-Paw horizon.  While the Paw-Paw season was one that was exclusively foraged when the wild trees were ready, that scenario has now changed.  Cultivated seeds that were planted about a decade ago are now producing fruit. This means Paw-Paws may start to show up in some odd places.  We still think the Ohio Valley contains the abundance but we have heard of fresh crop from the Michigan Peninsula to the west coast. While origins may change volume is still limited. We expect first picking within two weeks and then they are gone by the end of September. The American history of the Paw-Paw is amazing and this hopeful comeback is long overdue. As this fruit gets softer it gets sweeter but we would rather that happen on your customers kitchen counter than in the box we ship you. So we will be at the front of this deal and back away before they turn into nature’s crème Brulee. Check with your culinary rep for prices and availability.  This is primarily an airport deal.

       We have changed our LA list.  This is for many reasons. First and foremost while we do cover the LA Market very well we also cover growers throughout the west coast. Secondly, while we go through tremendous pains to give you accurate availability and pricing, one day and everything changes. We do not believe our customers are scanning the pages for price changes.  We feel lucky if you glance, so a glance is what you are going to get. In classic Culinary style, this week we introduce “What’s Hot and What’s Not.” This gives you a snapshot of what is cool and what we can’t get.  Five seconds and you will know everything you need to know and if you don’t you can call.  That’s the point of the Thursday Media Marketing program, so enjoy the easy read and call with complaints and large orders. Any suggestions are welcome but we reserve the right to ignore you. Please call often.

      I originated in Ancient China and Eastern Asia, and I am a fundamental food in many Asian and European countries.  In the 1800’s Chinese gold prospectors brought me to the United States via California. I am often called the staple food of the poor, but was referred to as a “precious thing” in 17th century Chinese literature. People call me by many names and most of those names are incorrect. I am often called celery or mustard, but people are wrong to do so.  In Laotian I am even called hach us. Since I am a precious thing, simply asking for me by name is not enough, you will need to recognize me in a crowd.  So use your accomplished eye when picking me out of the crowd of leafy vegetables. To aid in your quest I will tell you that I have long glossy white stalks and deep green leaves that are shaped like spoons. In my natural and pristine state I am packed full of vitamins A and D.  So you should call me by name because in choosing me you will get two veggies for the price of one: leaf and stem. As a baby I am tender and can be mixed in a salad. My head is white and is formed by long glossy stalks that are fleshy, and crisp, and have a milder taste when cooked. My raw leaves are tangy and peppery in flavor and become sweet and tender when cooked. My leaves taste best when added after my stalks have been cooking for a bit. I can be stir fried, boiled, or steamed, but taste best when stir fried and seasoned with ginger, sesame seeds or hot peppers. Cooked I am an excellent source of potassium, vitamins A & C, folic acid and iron.

Answer To Last Quiz….PAW PAW……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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