February 18, 2016

  Market Notes
  February 18, 2016


So this was supposed to be the year. Without any doubt there would be an El Nino weather pattern. Not only that, it was supposed to be vast and for an extended period of time. From the beginning this seemed believable and encouraging. There were notably more rainy days and not of the flooding type. These were steady all day rains that fell at moderate rates so as not to overflow the very dry ground. It also went on for days, Just as predicted. This went well and as expected. The dessert was cooler than the Salinas valley throughout the winter months. Then came February and the rains subsided, completely. Since the beginning of the month we have barely seem a drop. While the previous rains have most certainly helped the crop in Santa Maria and the San Fernando Valley, they barely hit the average, not coming close to what was predicted. Snow fall in Northern California has been outstanding so the melt will be very successful but not enough to fill the reservoirs. While we still have a few months left, we are not hearing of any steady rains to speak of and we have returned to the kind of temperatures that we are embarrassed to mention to those struggling back east. Hopefully we will see the rains return in the next few months. If not this El Nino should a bill of goods. It’s getting to the point where we can predict a President easier that we can predict the weather. We’re just saying….


Some things we look forward to on a yearly time frame. We can swin in the ocean in August. There is fresh corn in the summer. Christmas is always on December 25th. Internally and subconsciously our internal clock anticipates these events and it helps keep us grounded, warm and fuzzy. So, when we tell you that Western Fiddlehead ferns are going to be available Monday, it kind of rocks your world. These fronds that peak their heads up in the early spring are an indication of just that, spring. So selling Fiddleheads in February is certainly counter-intuitive. If that doesn’t confuse you enough the fact that these are coming from Canada should push you over the edge. Then, you would think that Fiddlehead Ferns in February would be like Alba Truffles in August and must cost an absolute fortune. Then you would be wrong again as these Canadian forged greens are quite reasonable. While this western variety is not quite the beautiful radiant green that their eastern cousins, they still have that wonderful crunch and basically the same flavor. So move over asparagus and step aside butternut. Fiddleheads are the new kid in town and everybody is talking. We start shipping Monday.


We’ve been raised hard, not soft. From years on the ground our skin has grown tough, not thin. You have one narrow window of opportunity to eat us, but you’ll be robbing the cradle. Some desperate folk steal our unripe, 3 to 4-inch children. Can you imagine! Our roots are thick, tough and ancient. People in Africa call some of us “woo lo gwa”. Our exact origins are a mystery. It’s a toss-up between Africa and South America, or perhaps we were old enough to have originated on Pangeia. Either way our seeds arrived from one continent to the other via ocean currents. We were cultivated in North America over 8,000 years ago and in South America/Africa over 12,000 years ago. But today we can be found growing all over the world, some of us in trees but most of us on vines. We are fruits believe it or not, and we produce flowers that are white. We come in all sizes, shapes and colors, with lumps, bumps, knobs, protrusions, warts, and grooves. With all these complexion problems we are still admired for our beauty, or perhaps our extreme ugliness. We have so many shapes that we have developed numerous functional uses. For soup, we can be the soup, the ladle, the bowl or all three. Some of us are shaped like basketballs, but we don’t bounce, so don’t try. Others of us look like bananas but you can’t bite into them raw, and they don’t peel. Our Canteen cousin is aptly named as it can be used to carry water. Many family members are shaped like a Club, and some are carved into breadbaskets. We also come in a Nine-Gallon size, my largest form. Some of us are called Apple, but not of your eye. Some of us are called snake, but we won’t slither by. We may not be as high in potassium and carotene as some of our relatives, but we are still a good source of fiber. We have small amounts of calcium, magnesium and a bit of iron and zinc. When ripe we have fair amounts of vitamin C and folic acid.

Answer To Last Week’s Quiz…SAPODILLA or NESPARO…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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