February 12, 2015

culFebruary 12, 2015


We are sure that something is going on next Friday but maybe that’s just a day to catch our breath. So, Monday is Presidents’ Day, Tuesday is Fat Tuesday, the culmination of the Mardi Gras festivities in the Big Easy, Wednesday brings Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the celebration of Easter, and Thursday initiates the fifteen day long Chinese New Year celebration. The Year of the Goat is certain to make walking in Chinatown impossible in NYC and SFO. Quite the week, but really the only one we are professionally concerned about is Monday, Presidents’ Day, because the LA Produce Market will be closed. This means no drop off, no consolidations, no airport runs or overnight shipping. Weekend pick-ups will be delivered on Tuesday and loading will resume Tuesday as well. Truck runs to the market are on for Friday Load and Saturday Delivery. Our growers and packers are all working on Monday, so Monday load for Tuesday delivery is not a problem. For those businesses that are closed have a great three day weekend. As for the rest of us, please make arrangements accordingly. Culinary will be open.

ingerling Potatoes, particularly the standard yellow varieties (Russian Banana, LaRatte, and Austrian Crescent) have been growing in popularity for the last two decades. We at Culinary Specialty Produce, along with our partners in SPA can humbly take credit for the growth of this product. SPA in particular has worked very hard to maintain very high standards from seed selection and field practices to post harvest and packing. To that end we have been very successful. Driven by consumer demand SPA is collectively the largest fingerling potato distribution network in the country. This year we have seen a huge increase in both growers and acres planted. Fingerlings are on their way to becoming a commodity. No worries, for the specialty market it is a counter-intuitive success. Unfortunately, as Fingerling Potatoes rightfully retain their specialty status there is bound to be some substandard product within the crop. So as the word spreads and prices drop, we say buyer beware, you will get what you pay for. We have seen this happen before.

now peas and sugar snap peas were covered in ash as a result of the Fuego volcano eruption in Southwestern Guatemala, but they remain quite inexpensive to load in Miami. While there was no damage, the fallen ash will be great for the soil. The volcano which erupted on Saturday had completely subsided by Sunday and no evacuations were required although many local residents wore masks. Further south and to the west as well, we do have an asparagus shortage, Jumbo are the most scare, followed by large and standard are easily available but our guess is they will be on the small side. Slow production time in Peru combined with bad weather in Mexico create this size gap. Aside from the grass shortage, quality is very good and prices are silly cheap. Carrots and beans in the mid-single digits with snow peas and snap beans doing the same. Could this be because of the ice/snow covered northeast? We’re just saying….

am a perennial found throughout southern India. I became popular in Greek and Roman cooking after Alexander the Great’s soldiers introduced me to Europe. Today I remain popular in Eastern and Arab countries but receive little attention in the west with the exception of Scandinavia, who, strangely enough, has taken quite a liking to me. I am elite in my class, only being out priced by the likes of vanilla and saffron. Beginning as a thumb thick creeping root stock I grow up to 8 feet tall producing a three-celled pod containing up to 18 seeds. Long dark-green leaves with lanceolate tops and silky smooth bottoms protect my pod.   My yellow or bluish flowers can be found near the ground. My Malabar variety is tops, but often substituted with the lesser qualities of the Cambodian or Sri Lankan varieties, respectively. Although I can be found in ground or seed form, it is best to buy me by the pod to insure I am not mixed with imposters. My pod color will vary by region due to the style of processing. I’m sun-dried and green in India, oven-dried and brown in Asia and Europe, and bleached white in the United States. Used as a substitute for gluten, I can be found in breads and cereals. I also add flavor to eggnogs, wines and liqueurs, fruit compotes, fruitcakes and marinades.   I am a prime ingredient in curry and garam masala. A few of my seeds steeped in boiling water makes a soothing tea that will aid digestion. Sometimes you will find me used as a replacement for ginger or cinnamon. I am a good source of potassium and also provide calcium, iron and zinc.

Answer To Last Quiz….ARUGULA……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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