October 21st, 2021
HOLIDAY WOES – PART ONE – PRODUCT
So we have arrived at the very beginning of the first serious food holiday since people were allowed to gather. Availability is going to be shaky. We call this the Shi-itake sham. Many moons ago when the Shi-itake mushroom was the greatest inventions since Agaricus. One year every mushroom grower grew as many as they could, and there was a huge glut. Many a grower lost out on the premium price these mushrooms had commanded. They following they returned to growing whites and browns, creating a shortage, taking the price back up. It took three seasons for the market to create a steady balance. The same situation can be applied to Thanksgiving products. Growers that were stuck with a lot of product last season were more conservative with their yield estimates this season. With covid lurking but gathering encourages we could see many a yam or bean or even pumpkin run short. If demand is high, prices will soar, and product might well disappear. It will be an interesting economic, but we are betting on very busy season and a classic holiday shortage season. For our part we will encourage you to stay as far ahead as you possibly can, and we will build strong inventory on the products our customers depend on us for. No matter what happens, remember, you can only pay with exact change. Then, after all that, there is the truck.
HOLIDAY WOES – PART TWO – TRUCKS
There are two factors here: cost of trucks and availability of trucks. Of course the two are related, but truck inventory is lower than is has been in a long while and we are already feeling the pain of this. LTL and even full load trucking up and down either coast is either scarce or silly expensive. Over the road is out of control. These tolerable changes would suffice in the normal course of business but when you add turkey trucks, tree trucks and sled transportation for seasonal elves, rolling wheels could easily dry up. Add to that the future of robot road rule and you have a scary situation. While we begrudgingly accept the holiday high prices, what will we do when there is simply no equipment. Perhaps the pandemic remnants will sadly be just strong enough and deter enough activity to balance everything. The Peter Principal reversed if you will. Either way, like the Shi-itake Sham mentioned above it is going to take a few seasons to balance this all out. This is definitely the balance season. Sounds painful but the challenge makes it quite fun. To some degree, isn’t that why we love the produce business?
NEW PRODUCE QUIZ – WHO AM I ???
It’s truly amazing that the climb of a high-ranking family was probably spring boarded by me. Of course, I’m only kept around for my decorative elements. But the whole family comes in third behind wheat and rice in the world production of cereal crops. I’m one of those tall coarse annual grasses with seeds that are cereal grains. With us, what you eat is actually part of my plant’s flower structure. All of us in our family are both male and female. The early American settlers ate me; but then again starvation wasn’t an appealing alternative that first winter. To prepare me, Native Americans used alkaline materials to remove my hard skins. Unlike the vastly popular “knee high by the Fourth of July” variety, I’m proud that I’m not the result of selective breeding for my paleness color, sweetness, or tenderness. I’m the true native, but those palefaces are what Americans prefer. They call me Flint for my hard exterior, you know – a thick skin, so I can hold my own against the insults of my more edible relatives. Do you think Columbus would have noticed us without my colors — ranging from white, red, purple, and brown, to multicolored? You may like related varieties that explode when heated, but don’t feel you need to eat me, please. I live a much longer life when preserved for my rich beauty. Mais oui, I am Zea Mays — no relation to baseball’s Willie. Visit one of the Maize Mazes and you are unlikely to see many or any of me, but decorate for harvest celebrations and I’m there, dignified, and full of starch.
Answer to last weeks quiz…APPLE…Congrats to all winners!
Call 908-789-4700 –Lisa or Richard– Fax 908-789-4702
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Culinary Specialty Produce, Inc., 2020