South of the Border, Down Mexico Way

Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 4.08.01 PMWinter is rapidly retreating from whence it came, and spring is tiptoeing our way. Though it’s very exciting, we here in California are not quite ready to revel in the spoils that arrive with the coming weather. So while we wait for our native land to blossom, let us all tip our hats to our neighbors south of the border. Without the strong agricultural community that comprises Mexico, Americans during the winter months would be left wanting for cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers, and many more items that are too numerous to name here. Veritable Vegetable is proud to bring in a host of Fair Trade certified labels like Wholesum Harvest and Del Cabo for those of you who demand such products. So when you’re dipping into your ratatouille at dinner or nibbling on your cucumber sandwich at teatime, make sure you’re grateful for the farmers and farm workers toiling in the Mexican soil.

Fruit

Apple and Pear

Much of the domestic supply of apples is winding down, and we are going to have to say good-bye to some of our favorites.  Luckily, the import season is just around the corner with the start of Galas so we will soon have some very fresh product to offer you.   There is still supply on Granny Smith, Fuji, Cameo and Pink Lady that continue to eat great!

Domestic pears have gone the way of the domestic apple; the import season is just around the corner.  We’re all holding our breath for green Bartletts which should arrive on the first of March!  And don’t worry, red Bartletts are just a few weeks behind their green counterparts.

Banana

Plantains continue to be scarce and we have had trouble getting any in-house for weeks. We will make sure to shout it from the rooftops when they are back on our list! Unfortunately at this point there is no light at the end of the tunnel on the shortage.

Berry

Strawberries are making their presence known earlier and earlier as these warm weather winters continue. At least if we don’t have rain in February we can drown our drought sorrows in strawberry shortcake. This also means that blackberries and raspberries will become more readily available and from closer and closer locations!

Citrus

In exciting citrus news – the California Valencia orange season has started!  And it is off to a really great, flavorful start!  Even though we welcome these local flavors, we will continue to provide supply from Mexico as they are eating great and priced very attractively.  Time to break out the juicer!

The fun doesn’t stop there. Navels are super yummy and are coming down in price—be sure to check out our upcoming special!  Cara Cara and blood oranges are both still eating great and should be in good supply for some time yet.  Try cutting up a plate of Navels, Cara Cara navels, and Blood oranges to see all the color and flavor variances, in addition to a big dose of Vitamin C. You won’t believe your eyes.

Tangerine offerings continue to change as we move into the later season varieties.  A steady supply of Gold Nugget and Pixie tangerines are in our future!  These are both really great snacking pieces of fruit, both flavorful and seedless! We still have some other great varieties as well, like TDE tangerines and Murcotts, also seedless and wonderfully tart-sweet.  Make sure to check in with your Account Manager to see what is available as the scene is ever changing.

Lemon pricing is going up!  But Meyer lemons are still bountiful making their pricing too good to be true.   Mexican limes are carrying us through the season, along with some silver limes grown in California by Beck Grove.  What’s a silver lime you ask? Why, just a riper version of the standard green limes that we are all used to.  But guess what?! They are juicy and ripe and certified biodynamically grown. It is only a cosmetic, exterior color issue. Oh, and they are priced to move!

Grapefruits are all Ruby all the time and they taste fantastic!  These beautiful yellow skinned fruit with juicy pink flesh are in great supply.  Thank you B&J Ranch for growing such delicious fruit!

Kiwi

Our kiwi sales are hitting all kinds of records and we know it’s because the fruit is so tasty this season. Wild River packs in single layer, cello bags, volume-fill cartons and 125 pound bins for every application. You can’t go wrong with this fruit that is continuing to grow in popularity worldwide.

Mango

There’s lots Peruvian Kent mangoes on the market. They look great, taste great, and are an easy way to combat the winter blues. Their pricing makes them a perfect promotable opportunity. We are still waiting to see the Mexican Tommy Atkins and Altaulfo’s mangoes; hopefully they will land in the US in the next couple of weeks. Keep your fingers crossed. And keep checking with your Account Manager!

Pineapple

The tropical pineapple jewels of Costa Rica will have a regular place in the produce department as we move into spring. Supply from Mexico will also be increasingly steady. We’ll have sweet fruits of various sizes all adorned with beautiful crowns! Perfect for these warm sunny days. Watch for prices to shift down. And for you juice people, watch for choice or second grade to get the best prices available.

Plum

We are having big fun with plums! Our good friends in New Zealand have grown a superb quality Fortune plum this season and it is eating great and priced to move. We also have tray packed Happy Giant red plums from Peru that are delicious. There will be a short flurry of Green Gage specialty plums from New Zealand, for those of you who are in the know on your plum stuff. Grab them when you can!

Specialty Fruit

Supplies are sparse but there are a few boxes of Cherimoya and Passion fruit making their way through our warehouse.  Be sure to talk to your Account Manager if you are interested in getting your hands on either of these delicious and interesting fruits!  No muss no fuss Pomegranate arils will continue for a few more weeks. We are also hearing noise about a new import deal for fresh Pomegranate that will start up in March from Chile, stand by for that.

 

Vegetables

Artichoke

We have a steady supply of artichokes available- even Cal-Organic has started their artichoke season. We expect prices to start to come down in the coming week. We also have loads of Rodoni Farms chokes available for promotions and volume deals. We’re still seeing a few “frost kist” chokes but overall they’ve been really clean and nice.

Asparagus

Help your customers grok that spring has sprung by bringing some deep green grass to your store or menu. Heck, we have so much asparagus in-house that now is the time to push it to your customers with an ad or promotion. The Mexican asparagus price has dropped significantly. The local, California grown grass is at a higher price, but with the unusual warm weather more growers will soon come into supply bringing the California price down. If you haven’t tried this season’s asparagus, please do. The flavor has been awesome.

Bean

Nature’s Nectar has lots of beautiful green beans available in their 25# loose pack. However, Taylor Farms is experiencing issues with their green bean production so if you are interested in their cello-packed green beans be sure to get you orders in early! If you miss out on the Taylor but are attached to the cello-pack, consider giving the cello-packed French beans from Nature’s Nectar a try! They are a gorgeous earthy green color, uniformly slender, and flavorful in each bite.

Broccoli & Cauliflower

Broccoli just keeps on trucking through February with excellent pricing and even better quality. There have been dribs and drabs of the different little broccoli varieties over the last few weeks: rapini, broccoli rabe, sweet baby Broccoli. None of them have been in huge supply or in any way consistent, but we are getting what we can! Be sure to check with your Account Manager regularly- you never know what you can get your hands on!

Cheddar cauliflower is back in the game! This wonderfully bright orange vegetable looks wonderful in produce stands and adds some extra flare to any recipe or menu item. On top of just looking cool, cheddar’s color comes from the extra beta-carotene naturally stored in its florets, which gives this cauliflower 25 percent more vitamin A than the more common white variety.

Brussel Sprout

It’s so sad to say, but the warm weather has brought on the aphids in Brussel sprout land (Cal-O is done for the season), though T&D Willey Farms’ Brussels are looking great. And for those of you not needing to source close to home, Boskovich Organic is offering gorgeous Mexican grown sprouts. The Mexican Brussel sprouts are more available and therefore better priced than the California sprouts. Ask your Account Manager for some today!

Cabbage

Napa cabbage is back and it sure is gorgeous– time to get your kimchee and sauerkraut recipes back out! We have a great supply and can have pallet quantities available upon request. We are also seeing better supply on both red and green Savoy, too. Savoy cabbage is extremely beautiful and can be used for numerous different wraps, rolls, or to add texture and pop to any display or menu. If you haven’t tried it yet, please do so. You can’t go wrong.

Carrot

Our carrots we have all been looking plump, crisp and clean, and tasting great! They are a great deal for the price right now and you get a lot of bang for your buck.

Cucumber

Hooray! The slicing cucumber supply is finally recovering from the long winter shortage! Prices are falling and availability is up, please feel confident that we will have plenty of supply and great prices to meet all your needs. Juicers rejoice and retailers bulk up you stands! Relief is finally here!

Ginger

It’s not too late for some ginger tea or a yummy, spiced stir fry! We have loads of aromatic ginger on the scene. Yellow Peruvian grown ginger has been steady and looking good. We also have Mexican yellow ginger by Mayan Fresh Farms, at a great price.  If you are looking for the Hawaiian yellow ginger supply, get it now since production will soon be winding down.

Greens

Kale, kale everywhere! It’s got to be the hottest item in the supermarket and on any menu. We are wrapping up our special on Dino aka Lacinato kale just in time to start up a green kale ad! Do not miss out on this excellent pricing across the board on all kales, chards and collards. It’s a great time to like produce! Eat your Greens!

Quality and pricing on spinach is starting to level out and we should see some excellent deals happening in the next few weeks!

Baby bok choy pricing has been like a seesaw for the past couple of weeks. First the price is up, then down, and now up again! But man, if you haven’t seen Cal-O’s baby bok, you are missing out. It’s has been beautiful– tender and great when stir fried. For those of you who think bigger is better, our full size bok is in steady supply. Unlike the Baby bok price the big bok price has continued to stay low.

Leek

No news is good news in the leek category. Prices and availability have remained consistent.  And leeks are ever so famous with our farmers- You can order from Riverdog Farm, T&D Willey Farms, Something Good Farms and Lakeside Organic Gardens.

Lemongrass

We’ve finally reached the end of the lemongrass gap. We are in the final throws of ironing out the details with a new supplier who can offer 1-lb bags of lemongrass. They typically only offer clipped stalks in clamshells, but we’re working with them on getting a pack of longer stalks in plastic bags as well. Please check back with your Account Manager when you can.

Lettuce and Retail Greens

Little gems are back and just as adorable as ever! These compact heads of lettuce are sweet and tasty, perfect for salads. They are ever-so-popular, so get ahead of the curve and order some little gems today!

Warm weather and lots of sunshine means people will want lots of light springtime salad greens so bulk up on the high quality spring mix the warm weather has brought forth! This light and tasty mix of field greens includes many varieties of lettuces, chicories, and spinaches that are the perfect beginning to every salad! Between retail cellophane bags, convenient plastic clamshells and the bulk 3# box, there are options for all applications, retail or food service. We even handle environmentally friendly reusable plastic crates (RPCs), ask your Account Manager for details. Choose your favorite grower, and keep an eye out for the return of an old favorite, Blue Sky Farms!

Mushroom

All Season’s Mushrooms is back in action and ready to move! We are happy to announce that starting immediately we are able to offer their cremini, white button, and portabella mushrooms in both loose/bulk packs and retail packs alike. If you love their label, please let your Account Manager know so we can be sure to have plenty of supply for all interested parties.

Onion

With one of our biggest suppliers of onions previously reporting their supply to run out mid-February, the onion scene was starting to look somewhat bleak. However, that supplier, Peri and Sons, is now reporting that all colors of onions will last the full season, until the end of March. Hopefully, this translates to a steady price for the remainder of the season as well. Stay tuned. And order up.

Pea

As long as the weather doesn’t get too much warmer, expect to see more and more of these tasty, crunchy critters. And as we start to see more growers offering more peas, you can also expect to see prices continue to go down over the next few weeks.

Pepper

Bell peppers of all colors and sizes are now plentiful and more readily available in the market, so get ready to stock up! Chili peppers are generally in good supply, although Del Cabo’s production of Shishito peppers has slowed way down. However, their Padron pepper production is up and its price is down so if you love specialty chilies and haven’t seen their Padrons recently, give them a try!

Potato

There’s still red and yellow potatoes available from up north. As the Northwest potato season is ending there have been some reports of scarring and minor discoloration on both the yellow and red skins. But remember… inner beauty always wins! These spuds are perfect on the inside with a creamy, buttery flesh.

Fingerlings are going strong. There are still lots of Russian bananas and ruby crescents available. The French fingerlings are a bit more limited but they’re out there. Please check out the mixed creamer potatoes. They’re beautiful and will definitely liven up your stand. The mix consists of 3 colors: red, purple and yellow. They are super tasty when roasted.

Root

Still lots of beautiful, colorful varieties of hearty, healthy roots available at good prices: bright green and pink watermelon daikon, brilliant gold beets, deep red scarlet turnips, creamy white carrots and many more. Try a few of each and your root section can bring a refreshing splash of color to your entire department!

Squash

Despite the warm weather, winter squash is still available in several varieties and sizes. Customers tired of winter squash soups? Display some squash with your grilling equipment: cubed butternut make a great addition to kebabs, and sliced half-moon acorn squash brushed with butter are great for grilling!

If you are already on the summery vibe, there is a LOT of zucchini for sale out in the world right now! All our growers have a lot to sell and are looking to move high volume at low prices! Wholesum Harvest is offering their medium zucchini at a Special Low Price for our customers and we’re happy to say that they are Certified Fair Trade! Wholesum Harvest’s Fair Trade program is a model in the industry and Veritable Vegetable is very proud to be able to support their program through you: our loyal customers! If you didn’t have a chance to check out our blog on our partnership with Wholesum, and want to learn more, click here.

Tomato

There are lots of slicing tomatoes out there and they are priced to sell! We are happy to offer Fair Trade Certified slicing tomatoes from Wholesum Harvest at a special low price starting Saturday, 2/27 for all our customers. Roma tomatoes are also bountiful and beautiful this month and priced to sell, Sell, SELL! Cherry tomatoes are also in good supply, we have lots of red round cherries available in addition to the well-loved grape cherry tomatoes.

Floral Program

The warmer weather has helped boost production of flowers and we are moving towards a full-blown floral program, featuring Thomas Farm in the Santa Cruz area, and Full Belly Farm, in Yolo County. There are many sizes, varieties and bouquet choices at different price points. Pre-order to ensure your selection is fresh cut. Ask your Account Manager for details.