March 3, 2016

  Market Notes
March 3, 2016



Maybe it has been about twenty years since the hybrid stone fruit craze began and in that time frame there have been continuing improvements in variety, flavor and color. From the Pluot to the Nectacotum, these fruits have become like varietal wines. Some have more plum and less peach while others have heavy cherry and lite peach. The combinations are both mind-boggling, and taste bud tantalizing. So what would we do when summer ends? Traditionally we go south for winter stone fruit and while Chile always filled the bill the product was ok, not much more. Well, we can now with confidence tell you that this program has matured. Not only has the quality greatly improved in the varieties we are just getting familiar with, they are now importing their own unique varieties with all the complexity of flavor we have come to expect from the domestic fruits. Along with the traditional Dapple Dandy Plums there are now Emerald Candy Plums, Larry Ann Red Plums, and Black Ebony Plums, to go with the Donut Peaches and Green Gage from New Zealand. If you have not had a chance to enjoy these unique varieties, we encourage you to do so.


One of the strongest winter greens is Mache. In season these velvety green leaves almost grow like a weed. Mache loves the cold and as it can be grown indoors hydroponically so it is certainly not bothered by snow. People, however, are bothered by both cold and snow so when the storms hit and business slows down, the Mache is still growing. See where this is going? Our East Coast Mache grower is anticipating extra crop this season and is offering compelling discounts for volume orders. Delivered prices will vary depending on delivery area. For those out of the area we can ship E or EH containers anywhere around the world. The Mache can also be shipped along with Upland Cress, Baby Arugula, Micro Greens, Baby Kale and Baby Mizuna. There is also a red veined Sorrel, another winter greens delight. All products are available in a bulk box or retail pack. Compelling indeed!


Florida is now in season with potatoes. Fingerlings, reds, yellows, and whites are all available, Marbles are not available but creamers that look like they were manufactured are. Prices are high as usual but they can offset transportation from the west coast in some cases. That was the “More part”. Asparagus are relatively inexpensive compared to what they will be in two weeks. Quality is great and pull is from three locations. French beans are silly cheap and looking outstanding. Snows and snaps are looking great, good color great tips and on the low end price wise. Snows and snaps are available from Guatemala, Peru, or Mexico. Trucking is available up the west coast from LA, up the east coast from Florida, and air shots for points in between.


Related to cabbage and mustard family, I was the main game in Europe until the potato took my number one spot. Often considered a poor man’s vegetable, as I am easy to grow. I do well in poor soil, ripen quickly, and I keep relatively well. I can be shaped like a carrot or a basketball. As a CRUCIFEROUS vegetable I can weigh up to 40 pounds or be the size of a golf ball. My colors range from black to white including yellow, green, red and purple, but my innards are always white. As a baby I am delicate and sweet but as I grow my sulpher content increases which gives me a coarse, woody texture and a tangy, peppery taste. I contain trace amounts of arsenic, and I’m a fair source of vitamin C. My tops are often used for spring greens while my bulb is usually peeled, boiled and served with butter, salt and pepper. I am a great ingredient in mashed potatoes. I can be boiled, steamed, mashed or pureed, stir-fried, cubed, poached, braised, or used raw in salads. I can even be deep fried for chips. Several people claim to have just fallen off my truck, but I’ve never seen this and I’ve been around!

Answer To Last Week’s Quiz…QUINCE…Congrats To All Winners
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Culinary Specialty Produce, Inc., 2015

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