Sept. 10, 2020

  Market Notes Sept. 10, 2020



At this writing there are currently 30 active fires on the West Coast. 19 of them are in national forests and 11 of them are being controlled by the State.  While this years is setting records for the amount of individual fires as well as the amount of acreage burned.    While many of these fires are in dense uninhabited woods there have been 12 fatalities and over 3500 structures destroyed by fire. Loss of wildlife is immeasurable but there are no reports of domesticated animals suffering from the flames. Just because it is not reported does not mean it has not happened, it just means it has not been reported.  Northern and central California is covered in smoke. While this makes for Hollywood style orange/brown Armageddon like skies with a red sun which make for great photos, there is a continual layer of ash thickening on everything from cars to homes, buildings and of course agriculture fields. The EPA reports moderate air quality but when ash is falling on you when you are outside, one can only wonder how healthy that is for our respiratory system.  Covid 19 or not, facemasks are not even a question, they are essential.  Processed produce will eliminate any residue and some ash is even good for the soil, but we anticipate many items from artichokes and broccoli to grapes and head lettuce to show some residue. We will do what we can to provide the cleanest produce possible but our greatest concern is the health of the field workers that provide for us. We don’t really see an ending to this for at least one week as three of the California fires have zero containment and may be left to burn for some time. We will update you weekly on the ag part and the national news will provide the larger picture.


The trick in the San Luis Valley of Colorado is to dig all the potatoes before the ground freezes. The freeze will damage even the “killed” potato plant often causing early rot and large lenticels.  Well, the ground has not yet frozen but it is covered with 12 to 14 inches of a very early snow.  While the warm air should eliminate this unusually early snow relatively quickly it will bring digging to a complete halt. We are told that snow coverage without freezing temperatures will actually insulate the crop keeping the potatoes warm. The problem this creates is time lost before the real frost sets in.  Also for those who dig and pack, that process is delayed for at least a week, challenging availability. Other than some electrical outages we have heard of no people or property damage and look forward to the resumption of normal operations in the valley by early next week. Just another craziness in an already insane 2020.


    While a rose by any other name, would smell the same, my color is the only thing the queen of our family and I share.  Perhaps not.  Like her thorn, I can be sour yet like her scented petals I can be sweet.  We sweeties prevail, with about 900 varieties as compared to the 300 sour types. First described by Theophrastus in 300 BC, I was blossoming in all the hot spots along the Mediterranean well before that. How well I remember those early days when the beauty of my spring blossoms would awe the town’s folk into a wide-eyed drooling silence.  Now they’ve just come to expect it every year with picnics, my pies, and festivities.  That’s just the first act, after the blossom comes the fruit.  Like Jacob’s coat I am the fruit of many colors.  While predominantly dark red, I vary in shade from pale to black but also look great in yellow or white.  Technically I am a stone fruit and I‘ve often thought we got that name from the effect we have on birds.  When our feathered friends get their beaks on our fermented seniors, the result was drunken birds falling to the ground.  That definitely rattled our pits. Anyway, you use our different varieties for different reasons.  From meat sauces to pies, from drink garnishes to liqueurs, even candied in your fruitcake.  I am a good source of potassium, vitamin A, as well as providing fiber. Just try eating me out of hand and see if you can stop. Bet ya can’t eat just 100.


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., 2015

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