March 17th, 2022

  Market Notes March 17th, 2022


   We have been writing about the changes in the strawberry industry for a while now and this week it made three moves, all in the interest of the more perfect berry. First is the indoor strawberry from Bowery. The indoor facility is in the heart of industrial New Jersey and goes through a process that never sees the sun. The proprietary process includes robots and bees. Only at hoity toity NYC locations right now, plans are under way for commercial farms in the other major cities. Second is Driscoll’s Berries, headquartered in Watsonville, California, the strawberry capital of the world.  Strawberry fields here may not be forever.  Driscoll’s is building a vertical indoor strawberry farm in the northeast, which is the largest berry consumption region in the USA. When successful, this year-round growing from a single location along with the ability to grow varieties that don’t survive outdoors and local distribution will have a serious impact on the  agriculture in Watsonville, Santa Maria, Oxnard, and will limit the need to import in colder weather.  Less water, smaller footprint, significantly reduced transportation,  robots, and bees!  What could possibly go wrong?


    The southern season that started rough and messes with our kale, frisee, and arugula is happily coming to and end. Over the next several weeks most of our baby green growers will be moving back to the Salinas Valley.  The first week of April (4-1 – 4-4) is the weekend when most of our growers are moving.  No, we are not fooling, but April 1st will be the last pick-up date in Yuma and we will need Monday 4-4 orders by 3-29. Weather appears to be reasonable in both growing areas so as long as the machinery doesn’t explode, transition or hell day should be reasonably smooth. We will contact everyone and personalize the transition like we always do, this is just a heads up that its around the corner.  Hopefully your commodity growers agree.


   Last week we wrote about the two holidays that were to occur this week.  In fact, they are both today. But we got it wrong. While today is definitely St. Patrick’s Day, it is just as definitely not Passover.  The holiday mentioned should have been Purim.  So, make some noise, drink some green beer, assimilate. We apologize for the inaccuracy.


  There is evidence that the Assyrians and ancient Persians ate me, but the Greeks were probably the first to cultivate me.  The Romans even referred to me as the “Greek Nut”. I do know that I originated in parts of Western Asia, and from there spread to the Mediterranean.  Now I also grow in California, Australia, and South America. I require warm weather to grow and take up to five years to reach my fruit baring age. People who cultivate me now often use honeybees because I am genetically self-incompatible and need the assistance of bees for my pollination. The Hebrews used me as a symbol for haste because I blossom suddenly, but the Greeks and Spaniards used me as a symbol for good luck. Medieval Europeans used me instead of cow’s milk in order to avoid the rules of fasting days. Pliny, Plutarch and the Englishman, Gerard, thought that I was a reliable cure for drunkenness. My culinary value is unmatched. I can be used in anything from salads or chicken dishes, to Danishes and syrups.  I can be fuzzy, green, and liquid, or I can be fuzzy green and solid, or I can be brownish and solid. Some of my varieties are considered toxic because I contain prussic acid when raw, and so my bitter form is banned from sale in the United States, but my sweet side provides a nutritional powerhouse because I am packed full of calcium, fiber, folic acid, potassium and Vitamin E.  

Answer to last quiz….HERBS…Congrats to all winners!

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