March 19, 2015

cul  Market Notes
  March 19, 2015

Most of us, or at least most of us in the 50+ age range, remember the song by Harry Chapin titled “30,000 Pounds of Bananas”. The song was, as some of you may know, based on real life events. 50 years ago this week, on March 18, 1965, in Scranton, PA. a load of bananas were on a truck heading toward central Scranton when the driver, Gene Sesky, lost control of the truck following a brake malfunction. Mr. Sesky is long remembered for his selfless deeds on that day. He stayed with the truck until the very end in an effort to avoid any people or buildings on Moosic St. Even as the truck barreled down the hill at nearly 100 miles per hour, he avoided harming anyone. We live in a world where few “heroes” rise to the top. Let us take a moment, then, to remember that day 50 years ago when one man was what we all hope to be; A produce hero.

Spring things are beginning to show up here and there around the country. Even spring begins tomorrow. In an effort to prepare you for spring menu planning, we are listing some of the major items and their ETA.

Orchard Morel Mushrooms- Available NOW. Straight from the orchards of the Northwest. Smaller than Morels but every bit as flavorful.

PorciniA meaty and wonderful Spring thing. Available within the next month or so.

Fiddlehead Ferns-Western variety are available NOW. The western product is greyish in color when compared to the eastern stuff. The eastern variety will be available within the next month if the weather ever clears!

Stinging Nettles- Available NOW!! Yeah, I know. “Stinging” is not an adjective that one wants in front of the name of something they are about to eat. But these little guys are wonderful! (And they don’t hurt!) In the future we will simply call them Nettles.

Miners Lettuce (Claytonia)- Available NOW!! Eaten by miners in the old days to prevent scurvy, this delicate edible is a pleasant addition to any salad.

Ramps Available in April, Ramps are the sweetheart of the Spring veggie deal. A North American wild onion which has garlicky undertones. Sautéed, roasted or grilled, you simply cannot go wrong with these babies!

Garlic Scapes- Delicate and Garlicky! Scapes will be available in late April/early May. Used in many, many recipes, they are best when raw!!

Chive Blossom- Available NOW. Aromatic and pretty! Lasting for only a very short period in the spring, Chive Blossoms are a beautiful, oniony blossom of the Chive plant. Get them while you can. They don’t last long!

Fuzzy Green Almond Immature almonds! Available NOW! These are “immature” almonds whose shells are fuzzy and not fully developed. They can be utilized in salads and even some dishes where regular almonds would be called for. The liquid (milk) also has many culinary uses.

The first time I was consumed was approximately 800 BC, on archaeological sites in Peru. I have over 150 varieties and I am native to tropical America. As a member of the myrtle family my tree can grow thirty feet high and I have incredibly aromatic flowers. Europeans loved me when I arrived in Haiti and later became established in India and Southeast Asia and have remained popular there ever since. Today I am also grown in Hawaii, Southern Florida and Southern California. I can vary in size and color but usually I range from apple to plum in diameter. Some of my varieties are strawberry and pineapple. My taste is sweet and tart (but I’m not a candy) made possible by my essential oil eugenol which is also found in cloves. I have a musky odor and many gritty seeds. Many folks will just devour me out of hand, but I am really wonderful when cooked. I am stewed or preserves in jams, jellies or made into a paste. I can be used in sweet or savory dishes. In Mexico, I am a favorite combined with sweet potato. I am used in fruit salads, pies, puddings, tapioca, ice-cream, yogurt and beverages. Known for my astringent and laxative properties, I’m and excellent source of Vitamin C and Potassium.

Answer To Last Quiz….Kaffir Lime Leaves……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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