March 24, 2016

  Market Notes
March 24, 2016



Oh, the cache of Ramps. Those tasty fronds that come right after March Madness (although they are a bit early this year) make foodies crazy. After all, this is simply a wild leek. So, why such a fuss? After all, onions and garlic are available all year long so why the madness? First is because they are foraged, wild and unable to be cultivated. While there have been rumors of propagation that has never turned into much. Second because the season is short. That makes these plants a temporary commodity. There are those that need to be fist on their block and other that wait for the lowest price possible, but they all want to be in the game. Finally, there is the joy of use and the flavor. While working with Nettles or Claytonia their flavors are more subtle and can often get lost in preparation. Not ramps from the look on the plate to the robust aroma their incorporation into savory (and sometimes sweet) dishes is easy and evident. The look of a braised ramp across a steak is compelling. Cooked into sauces or veggie medleys, Ramps stand out and are appreciated. So, the madness is justified, and the season is here. Contact us for brisk delivery and great pricing.


We could make a really bad joke about Brussels and Belgium, but we don’t dare, our hearts, prayers and support go out to them in hopes that the terrorism will stop. However, good quality Brussels Sprouts seems to be the uber short item of the season. This is for two reasons. First, there was a freeze in Mexico that simply stopped the growth. From that we went to incredible heat which forced the growth of the plant so quickly they bolted instead of sprouting.. So we have sporadic availability which challenges the sizing categories. There are no smalls. And the mediums are a cross between medium and large. No true jumbo either. Product is expected to stabilize within the next few weeks and new fields begin.


We are entering transition week. The first casualty is baby lettuce. Processing will quit over the weekend. All orders for next week need to be placed by tomorrow. Next up are all mixed greens. Monday is the final day for ordering product to pick up in Yuma. Facilities move over the weekend of April first (no joke). Monday is hell day and we strongly recommend that you set up for Tuesday pick up instead of Monday. These transitions never go smooth. By Wednesday, things will be running smooth. The good news is that product in the field is looking great!


Long ago and far away, you may have picked me up along the roadside or maybe stumbled across me as you haunted the dark winding cemetery paths. I was so like my bright white cousin with her closely drawn veil, but instead, you chose me with my tan skin. And, the darker my skin, the more beautiful you found me, even with my torn or missing veil. You called to me in Italian and ignored my older sisters who were flaunting their dark gills nearby. Cultivated on a huge scale since the time of France’s Louis XIV, I may be the best known of my kind in the western world. My ring is partially upturned and quite small and you may get a faint red stain from caressing my head or neck. I have a heartier, richer flavor than my perfect white cousin. Ready any time and nearly any place, I can couple with most cuisine, but you’d do best to marry me well with beef, wild game and vegetable dishes. Just wipe me clean and enjoy low calories and high fiber. I may not be the Prince of my family, nor do they compare me to filet mignon, but call me a baby of my big sister, and I’ll fetch a premium market price.


Answer To Last Week’s Quiz…Passion Fruit…Congrats To All Winners
Call 908-789-4700 –Lisa or Richard– Fax 908-789-4702
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Culinary Specialty Produce, Inc., 2015

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