February 26, 2015

cul  Market Notes
  February 26, 2015

After what seems like a year, the Port of Los Angeles has come to a long awaited agreement with its workers and things have begun the slow process of getting back to normal. The effects of strike related issues were, overall, fairly manageable but were responsible for occasional frustrating delays.   Where product is concerned….. Baby Vegetables, with the exception of peeled carrots, are a bit hit and miss as is fairly usual for this time of the year. Baby Squash are all on a “Call for Updates” status. They are out there and overall they look pretty nice but as the South American season enters the home stretch, we will see more and more availability/quality concerns.   We will, of course, keep you updated. On the fruit side there are some interesting things. One must be careful with the citrus this season but there are a few gems. Shasta tangerines eat great along with the pixies. Soursops still arrive in small irradiated batches and there is also a good selection of stone fruit including Sugar Plums, and Pluots. Passion Fruit both yellow and red speckled along with Kiwi Berries round out the offerings. There are small amounts of Miner’s Lettuce and Fiddlehead Ferns showing up here and there on the Market. So, get your spring menus ready to go!!   All of the springtime goodies, Morels, Ramps, Miner’s Lettuce, Fiddleheads, Scapes and the rest will be showing up in volume before we know it. Be ready for it!!

ingerlimes are winding down from their winter season. The few we have remaining take so long to pick it is either not worth it or prices will rise spectacularly. Also as this time of the year we need three days advance notice to get any type of volume. The Wild Australian Fingerlime remains a bit elusive in its harvest. While we do have a good summer and winter program which is a little strange in itself, there is also a brief spring blush that gives us fruit for two to four weeks. Then we are done until July, This blush is caused by two factors and it is all weather related. If it does not freeze the small fruits grow larger and smaller late blooms produce new fruits as well. So, while it is inaccurate to say that we are out until summer, we can also not predict how much of an inter-mezzo harvest we will have. Typically growers want to leas the plants alone for a few weeks and let them a bit more prolific so the time picking yields something that is worthwhile. Please keep the orders coming, what we do not have one week we will have the next.

he 18th century French dramatist and critic, Mercier said of my ancestors and me that we were an “inestimable gift to the numerous class of the needy” and that we were “to have the greatest influence on Man, his liberty and his happiness.” Even though many other European countries were cultivating us, many people of Mercier’s time thought we caused leprosy. But later that century, as a result of the French Revolution, it became a sign of patriotism to uproot your roses and replace them with us. By this time, and despite the initial rejection of my species, there were over 40 varieties of me. Now there are hundreds of variations of me. My ancestors originated in the Peruvian Andes and in the 16th century the Spaniards brought us to Europe. Although it is a mystery how we came to North America, the earliest recorded date of my cultivation was in New Hampshire in 1719. Suffice it to say that I’m as American as apple pie because Americans consume approximately 138 pounds of my relatives and me a year. I, in contrast to my relatives, am always getting left behind. Dug up along with my elders, yes, but then I pop out, get run over, or fall through the harvester. I just don’t make the grade. But I get the last laugh; I’m much more premium than my counterparts. I am harvested by human hands and get wonderfully delicate treatment. I can’t do anything to help your coffee, though my name might imply it. You could probably tee off with me, as my size is appropriate, but most likely I would explode before landing. Rarely skinned like my older relatives, I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy as I grow in red, white, or blue. I’m excellent roasted, grilled or cooked in the microwave. I can be halved, and scooped then filled with caviar, sour cream, cheese, bacon etc. I can be sliced thin and served under a cheese sauce. I am high in potassium and vitamin C, and contain eleven other vitamins and minerals. With me, as with your answer, size does matter!

Answer To Last Quiz….ANGELICA……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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