May 19th, 2022

  Market Notes May 19th, 2022



   There were a few tell tail signs, but it wasn’t really obvious until January of this year.  The true beginning was the state of the grower’s mind.  The 2020-2021 season was super extra fabulous for every potato on the planet… except fingerlings. One would have thought they contained the covid-19 virus itself as piles of fingerling potatoes  were ignored and dumped or sold at prices that could barely justify the labor. So, the following season growers, remembering their loss, planted fewer fingerlings. Combine that with land that lost water rights, labor issues, water issues, one bad season for a large grower, and the crop is done early.  Like knocking down bowling pins one at a time, first the growers we expected ran out, six weeks early. Then some trickled and went down. Then, very unexpectedly, the mother ship sank and the supply all but disappeared. What is most interesting that while there was steady supply no one ever cared about fingerlings.  Our best guess is that about 40% of american consumers are familiar with or use fingerlings. While we meet a lot of new potential customers inquiring about availability, (we were unable to supply them as we were barely maintaining product to our base) the fever and worry we created being unable to provide all that our base needed. They could not switch to another potato or erven another fingerling color. It took a shortage for the wonderful yellow fingerling to finally find its place in the potato family! Things are on the mend now. One grower is almost steady, two more come on next week.  Supply lines will easily be filled by the middle of June and there should be no problem with supply for Independence Day. That’s the supply side. The cost side is a different story.  Are growers making up for last year’s losses? Is this pure greed? Will this price hike keep growers growing fingerlings? We don’t know.  Increased supply usually lowers prices  and in a few months the whole Colorado thing begins so things will level off, but we can’t predict where they land. Our guess is there will be increased volume next year and that’s good for the market. While we are very thankful to the customers and growers we continue to make crazy, there is one shout out we can’t avoid being exceptionally grateful to.  As our regular growers simply ran out of product, we called everyone we knew to look for product. We were nothing more than fair-weather friends, but Wong Potato came through for us, having only worked with them only once or twice over the past two decades. They provided us with a half load of fingerlings when no one else had any while their phone was ringing non-stop.. Not only was it a wonderful deal, we have come to find out that it was their last volume load, not for the season, but forever.  After 59 years of  growing potatoes in the Klamath Valley of Oregon, they are closing their doors forever. No bad reasons for this.  No siblings to take over and its retirement time. While it is very sad to lose a specialty potato grower, we wish the Chin family and all their staff a wonderful, continued adventure. They will be missed.


  I am never alone.  Wanting to be pure and simple my whole life, but it was just not meant to be.  I guess my first association was Greek.  Then I went wild and since then I have been associated with Italians, Mexicans, golden showy, beautiful, wooly white, and happy hills.   While I might be as old as the hills, that flavor won’t make you happy unless you want something scentless, tasteless, and green.  Keep that in your medicine cabinet to make poultices help with your everyday scorpion bites, sore muscles, and hair loss.  The Greeks and the Romans discovered me first and I was considered a medicine by many, including Pliny and Dioscorides.  Then the colonists brought me to America for their gardens, but I escaped, becoming wild once again.  Free in the new land, I searched for good ground.  Along the way I meet and fell in love with the tomato, a relationship that has been nurtured ever since.  I also flirted a lot with zucchini and was often the toast of the cucina.  Then I met my sister (so they tell me) Marge and the confusion began again.  Will it be her green leaves or my white flowers?  Coarse rigidi from Greece, or dried for a sprinkle?  Her sweet oil, or my intense concentrated oil?  Did you know it takes 200 pound of my leaves to produce a single pound of my oil?  Anyway, no matter what I end up being called, I am essential in pizza, pasta, and many chili powders.  I am popular in blossom, in fresh green leaf, or dried.  I am often used as a healing tea.  My nutrients include calcium, potassium, vitamin A, magnesium, phosphorus, and iron.  Don’t carry me in a baggie or you’ll be suspect.  

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

Call 908-789-4700 –Lisa or Richard– Fax 908-789-4702 Visit us at “like” us @ Culinary Specialty Produce on Facebook© Culinary Specialty Produce, Inc., 2020

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