It’s about time to slap on your skipping shoes and start frolicking through the fields because spring is upon us! The vernal equinox is on its way and it is not coming alone. With it comes a world of new fruits and veggies that are raring to get into your store displays and on your menus. Though we’re not fully inundated with all those springtime favorites like asparagus, strawberries and English peas, it is not too early to start planning out and transitioning for the coming season. So as we watch the sun cross the celestial equator, get on the phone with your Account Manager and let us be your guides through your spring time journey.
Apple and Pear
Our last of the Cuyama Orchards Pink Lady and Fuji apples are here and they are still eating wonderfully. Don’t miss the opportunity to get some of the best tasting apples grown in California! This is not the end of Fuji and Pink Lady however; there are still supplies in the Northwest waiting to get packed up and shipped to us. Gala and Granny Smith supplies are winding down but are not done yet and we should expect to see the first of the import Gala by the end of the month. For a great apple this time of year try the Cameo – it’s also value priced!
The first Bartlett pears are here! Grown in Argentina, these fruit have made their way into California to bring us the first taste of the fresh import pear crop. They look great, eat great, and are very juicy. The Red Bartlett crop is not far behind so be sure to check in with your Account Manager for updates.
Strawberries are going strong and even though California did see some rain, we were in great supply over the last week- we expect supply to continue into the weekend. Don’t miss out on this stellar offering!
Blueberry imports are also still showing great quality and we will run with these until the USA production begins.
Raspberry and blackberry have not seen any great changes in price and that should continue to hold moving forward for the next week of sales. Stable production and quality make these a great staple to our list of fruits for March.
Even as we move past the peak of citrus season, we are still able to provide our customers with tasty treats and lots of variety, so don’t give up yet! Though the much needed rain has made it a challenge to pick the fruit, we are confident that we can fulfill all your citrus needs! Tangerines are the late varieties now and we have some wonderfully delicious Murcott, Tango, and Pixies in house. Royal mandarins are going to be the next to go, so get ‘em while you can. They are such a beautiful piece of fruit; juicy too!
The domestic Valencia orange crop is continuing to grow and we have a couple growers to offer to you – they happen to be a couple of our favorites too – Las Palmalitas Ranch and B&J Ranch. If you haven’t tried them yet, their flavor and juice are off to a great start this year.
The navel crop remains strong and the flavor is really there; the navel is such a great eating piece of fruit. And we don’t want to brag but we do have some of the best tasting Cara Cara navel oranges around! If you are looking for a pop of color, Moro blood oranges are still plugging along with fantastic internal color and flavor.
Not much news on limes this time around, but we have plenty of these beautifully green fruits from Mexico. Lemon pricing continues to inch up, so look for some good pricing on our off-sized lemons – there is a value to be had on the larger and smaller spectrum of the sizing scale. Meyer lemons have moved past the peak of their season so expect prices to go up.
Ruby grapefruit from B&J Ranch continues to look and eat just perfectly! The fruit makes for a great snack or delicious juice. Though the ways to use grapefruit are endless, you can’t go wrong eating grapefruit with fennel in a salad.
Help is on the way. Though we are still seeing lots of gorgeous Kent mangoes, our growers are reporting the Mexican Tommy Atkins and some Altaufo’s will land in the next week or two. Be sure to check in with your Account Manager!
We’re moving some pineapples! We continue to receive weekly shipments of fresh, green fruit with clean beautiful crowns from Costa Rica and Mexico. Display them prominently to signal the coming warm and sunny days of spring. Can you say pina colada?
This asparagus season started with a boom. All of a sudden there was lots of California grass available and pricing dropped way down. The rain has changed things a bit. Also, as growers are finishing up their season we are seeing prices start to inch their way back. Don’t be alarmed– the increase is minor. Availability may be tight for about a week as there may be some delays in harvest because of the rain. It should bounce back so order it up!
Wow, the cello-packed green beans from Taylor Farms have been looking fantastic lately! They are washed and trimmed, ready to pop in the microwave or stovetop for a quick meal or snack and are highly shelf-stable! They keep beautifully on the shelf and at home in the crisper. Offer your customers an easy-to-grab option that is sure to please. If you haven’t seen the Taylor beans, give them a try!
Broccoli & Cauliflower
We are starting to see the transition of product from the deserts up to more local fields in the Central Coast and closer to the Bay Area. This means that we are beginning to see a lot of vendors starting up on new items, including broccoli! We expect to see it stay steady for the next few weeks.
Earlier in the week we had an abundance of 9 count cauliflower but had trouble sourcing smaller sizes. After the rain stopped and our growers could get into the fields to pick, we have every size you can think of. Prices have started to slowly creep up and this may continue until the transition from southern production creeps back up north.
The California Brussel sprout season is slowly coming to an end. Most growers are reporting that their season is complete including T&D Willey, Cal Organic, and A&A Organic. We have enjoyed beautiful Mexican Brussel sprouts from Boskovich Farms this past week but these are quickly coming to an end as well.
It’s almost time for St Patrick’s Day, so be sure to stock your menu and produce department with all things green- especially cabbage! We always see insane spikes in sales for green cabbage as many people across the country are buying it up to put into their corned beef and cabbage recipes. Don’t sleep on this cabbage party!
We’ve got lots of delicious and juicy celery around for you to enjoy. Just like our friend the cauliflower, we have seen prices start to inch up, but nothing too drastic. In the next month we will also see more variety on label choices and potential for ad volumes. Be sure to let your Account Manager know if you are interested.
Slicing cucumbers continue to be plentiful and are available in bulk in a variety of different sizes! Whether you are interested in juicing them, pickling them, or just plain eating them by the bushel, we have lots of them available. English Hot House cucumbers are also readily available for all your retail and eating needs.
Ginger? Did someone say ginger? We have loads- both yellow Peruvian and Hawaiian are going strong. Turmeric is also in great supply which is great news because it’s the cold and flu season and turmeric is known to have anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. It’s also well known as an immune booster. Help keep your immune system strong this winter by making turmeric tea or adding some to your morning smoothie. You can never have too much turmeric!
The transition of farm locations from south to north will likely create some gaps or high prices over the next few weeks, but we will do our best to make sure that you always have fresh and beautiful product to choose from. As far as this weekend goes, we have excellent availability and pricing on chards, collards and kales! Don’t forget, stock up on these green St. Patty’s Day items!
Bok Choy Supply has become extremely limited. Cal-Organic is in the process of transitioning back to the Central Valley and this usually causes some products to be limited and unavailable. But we won’t have to wait long- they’re forecasting more baby and full sized bok choy by the end of the week. Keep an eye on our availability list so you don’t miss out.
Veritable Vegetable now offers fresh retail herbs from Maristone Farms. In addition to bunches or clamshell packs, bulk 1# bags of oregano, rosemary, spearmint, and thyme are available by preorder. Be sure and try them out- we don’t think you’ll be disappointed!
Pricing is holding steady and these are some of the sexiest leeks you’ve ever seen. Have you added them to your order lately?
Lemongrass coconut curry? Rainy or sunny, sounds good to us! Brighten up your curries and stir fries with citrus notes from this tropical herb now available in 1 lb bags from Maristone Farms.
Lettuce and Retail Greens
We’re so excited to tell you that many of our local growers starting with lettuce production. Everyone seems to be seeing great sizing on lettuces and wonderful crisp leaves.
As our boxed and retail greens supplier transitions their growing region from the deserts of Arizona back to the Salinas/Hollister region, we have been experiencing and will continue to experience some shortages in product and some quality issues. Bulk boxed greens have definitely been hit the hardest, although the retail packs have been getting prorated as well. The wild arugula situation has greatly improved, and baby spinach orders are trickling in. Spring mix items continue to experience very few quality issues and almost no limited availability. Thank you for your patience during this unpredictable period. Be sure to ask your Account Manager about the daily status- s/he is there to help!
Fiddlehead ferns are here, a sure sign that Spring is not far away! This wild-harvested delicacy has a delicious, asparagus-like flavor and is a novel addition to any spring menu. They are gathered in the forests of Oregon by Far West Fungi and are available in both a loose, 5 pound pack and a retail clamshell pack for all your fanciful springtime needs!
Onion prices are holding steady as Peri and Sons Farms wind down for the season. They are not expecting to have yellow onions again until April, when they transition from Nevada to California. Red and white onions will continue from Peri and Sons Farms, possibly without interruption, through the transition. We may see some limited availability of yellow onions, although out-of-state growers should be able to provide good quality onions with minimal interruption. You’ll need them for your St. Patty’s Day needs!
Great for eating raw or cooked, English, snow and sugar snap peas are now available from California growers! If you’ve been sampling the peas so far this season, you certainly know that we’re approaching the peak of the season, as flavor is starting to improve across the board. Expect supply and flavor to improve for the next several weeks, unless the weather continues to be erratic, as both high heat and sporadic storms can negatively affect both pea production and flavor.
We have bell peppers in the full rainbow of colors readily available at great prices! Red, orange, yellow and green– grab some blueberries and purple kale for a full-spectrum rainbow display!
The Northwest red potato season is just about done. Yellow potatoes are also winding down, but they are looking good, and Russets are going strong and should last through April. Specialty potatoes like fingerlings have become very popular lately. Mixed fingerling as well as mixed creamers are great roasted with a little salt. Try a new recipe with Andersen Organics purple potatoes. Their nutty flavor goes great with garlic and herbs.
Oh, and if you are looking for sweet potatoes, look no further. We’ve got a great, steady supply at a good price.
Jicama is here! If you haven’t tried these juicy, crunchy, and slightly sweet specialty roots yet, you are missing out! Bigger and more uniformly shaped than the California variety, with a slightly thicker skin, the Mexican variety also has a more complex flavor, with earthy tones but a nice crisp texture that will make your mouth water. Display jicama with your limes to inspire delicious springtime salads and slaws!
The zucchini roller coaster ride continues! Prices are up and availability is down, as some growers finally called it quits and cut their zucchini crops off early because the market bottomed out several weeks ago. When prices hit rock bottom many growers were not able to cover costs of picking, packing, and shipping their zucchini and were actually losing money trying to sell their product at market rate. Many growers dropped out entirely, choosing to just cut their losses and move on. Growers who decided to stay in the game were forced to keep harvesting in order to keep the plants alive and producing. Most growers who kept picking had to compost the majority of what they picked last week because it was cheaper to throw it away at the farm then to pack, ship, try to sell it. It’s been a tough season for these growers, let’s do what we can to support them and get them fair prices for the remainder of the season!
And don’t forget, we still have winter squash available! California butternut and green kabocha are still yummy and looking good. Butternut should continue through March and beyond, but don’t expect kabocha to last as long. We may see a brief lull and in some varieties of hard squash as our Mexican squash growers are between harvests. Our friend green acorn is done for the season, but spaghetti and red kuri will be back in a week or two. Keep checking our daily availability list or ask your Account Manager for an update.
Hans Wilgenburg’s greenhouse-grown tomatoes are back and ready to move! These are the first California tomatoes to come back into our market and we couldn’t be more excited to offer their beautiful, greenhouse-grown tomatoes to our customers. Wilgenburg Greenhouses is a family-owned and operated farm located in Dinuba, California, where the Wilgenburgs have been growing a variety of summer-time crops since 1989. Their tomatoes are all vine-ripened, before being hand-picked and -packed at their peak ripeness for maximum flavor and quality.
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.