Pluot: The New Summer Fruit

Pluots

In the stone fruit world, there are many types including unique hybrids that combine varieties of plums and apricots. Pluots, plumcots, apriums, apriplums—the possibilities are endless. Pluots are a relative newcomer to the summer hybrid fruit lineup—but it has quickly become a favorite!

Pluots refer to a large number of varieties that have a higher plum to apricot ratio. The term “pluot” was trademarked in the 1980s by Zaiger Genetics. Most often confused with a plumcot, which is a 50-50 split between a plum and apricot, the pluot is more plum than apricot. Common varieties include Dapple Dandy (also known as Dinosaur Egg), Flavor Grenade, and Flavor Heart.

Pluots are uniquely colored (inside and out) with sweet, intense flavor. Ripe pluots are fragrant and give to slight pressure. They can be enjoyed in any number of ways—summer salads, smoothies, ice cream and more!

 

*Keep a lookout for our staff picks noted in orange.

 

Fruit

Apple and Pear

We’re seeing the last of domestic apples and moving full steam ahead with imports. New Zealand imported Braeburn is in good supply. The last of all domestic Fuji is in-house. Get ‘em while you can! Prices are on the rise and only imports will be available going forward. Domestic Gala is done. We’re seeing higher prices on Gala imports from Chile. Great pricing on Cripps Pink, also from Chile.

We’re approaching California pear season! California grown Bartlett is predicted to come on as early as mid-July. California grown Bosc is expected to start mid-August. Import pears are winding down but we still have plenty of import Packham pears from Fruits and Life!

Berry

Strawberries are in good supply. The impact on production levels from the recent heat wave has yet to be determined. Blueberries from Sierra Cascade Blueberry Farm are in high demand. This Chico based grower offers 12×6 ounce clamshells and 10 pound bulk boxes. Inventory is strong now but recent high temperatures may impact production levels as much as 20%. Now that it is summer, berries are ideally kept in a refrigerated case or cold table. If you do not have access to either, a display on a dry table will work. Remember to store your unsold berries in the cooler overnight. Being exposed to room temperature too long will cause the berries to break down.

Citrus

B&J Ranch is all done with grapefruit for the season. We’ll have star ruby grapefruit available from Eco Farms and Juju Bee moving forward. More of our growers are coming on with Valencia oranges. Buck Brand is here! Twin Girls and Cousins are available but very limited for the next week or so. Pauma Valley Citrus has steady supply. The recent heatwave has affected most of our citrus vendors picking schedules. Sespe Creek should be coming on soon. Look for their Valencias in a few weeks! Lemon prices are on the up and up. Historically lemon prices are at the highest they’ll be all season during July and August. Pauma Valley Citrus is almost done with their lemons but we should see a small shot next week. Sespe Creek should have steady supply through the summer. Marsalisi Meyer lemons are in-house! Supply is limited; order some before they’re gone! Another 3-6 week gap is expected after we sell out. California limes from Eco Farms and Beck Grove are coming on. Look for increased supply in the next few weeks.

Fig

We saw our first shot of Black Mission figs from both Maywood and Vertical Foods earlier this week. The black mission will gap for a few weeks then come on again around mid to late July. In the meantime we have steady supply of Brown Turkey figs from Gless Ranch.

Grape

Supply is steady on summer royale black seedless grapes in the Dragon label from Larson Ranch. Great pricing on green sugraones. The grapes brixed at 15.9 and have good flavor. Most growers are still loading red grapes out of the Coachella region but a move to California’s Central Valley growing region is imminent. Supply will tighten up soon. Gemma Rose and Sweet Scarlet varieties will be coming on in the next few weeks. Prices are expected to increase on red grapes once the new varieties come on.

Melon

The market is very tight on seeded watermelon and limited on seedless watermelon. Several growers are experiencing a short gap until July 1st. The market on mini seedless is tightening but supply should be steady with Rundle Family Farms is coming on. Goldie is going strong on cantaloupe. New to our melon offering are Hami melons— a new variety, also grown by Goldie. They have crispy texture and mild flavor—which makes a delicious addition to fruit salad. Orange dew and honeydew are in good supply while Galia has tightened. Look out for goddess melons from Full Belly Farms. Goddess melons look and tastes a lot like cantaloupe but the “netting” on the skin is not as raised as that of a cantaloupe. The flesh is also softer and the fruity flavor is great in smoothies! Melons should be stored out at room temperature until ready to be eaten. Refrigeration is useful if they are too ripe and you want to stop ripening process. Always refrigerate an opened melon!

Stone Fruit

Hot weather in Northern California does not bode well for stone fruit. Trees stop producing and triple digit temperatures creates challenges for picking. Expect the market to tighten and prices to go up.

Just as soon as it started, apricot season is quickly coming to an end. There is still some fruit available from small growers but prices are steep. California grown cherries are done for the year. Northwest grown Darksweets are in the house, with Bings expected to start in about ten days. Overall the cherry crop is strong and prices will come down rapidly once the pipelines are filled for the July 4th holiday. Rainier cherries are starting up; this light colored yellow cherry has a red blush and high sugar content, making it many peoples favorite variety. Supply is tightening up on white nectarines. We expect the market to improve once Ferrari Farms comes on with their fruit. Yellow nectarine supply is still a little tight but prices have dropped slightly signaling volume should improve soon. Yellow peach is in good supply with attractive pricing. White peach supply,  on the other hand, is tightening. Donut peaches are coming on strong with plenty of fruit from Twin Girls. The Galaxy variety is a staff favorite with out of this world flavor! Red Raven black plums are in good supply with sharp pricing. This variety has a dark purple-black skin on the outside but beautiful red flesh inside. The flavor is jammy and delicious! These are a good option for sampling tables so customers can taste. Supply is slowly loosening on red plums. Price is also slowly coming down. Lots of varieties and sizes to choose from! Pluots are finally here! Early Dapple Dandy from Wild River are the first of the season. Supply is still limited but quality and flavor are strong. Dapple Fires should be coming on around July 10th.

 

Vegetables

Bean

Green beans continue to be in good supply from Rundle Family Farms. Price is sharp! Romano beans and yellow beans are limited. Purple beans from Sunrise Organic Farm will gap in supply for about a week.

Broccoli

The broccoli market has been steady but high temperatures in the Salinas Valley may impact quality and supply.

Cauliflower

Cauliflower supply has tightened and harvest numbers have light. Similar to broccoli, record high temperatures may disrupt production and price.

Cabbage

Green cabbage is steady but red cabbage is still not in volume supply in the market. Price on red remains high compared to green. Napa cabbage is still very limited. Savoy cabbage prices are slowly coming down.

Celery

Just as celery supply was becoming steady, the Salinas Valley was hit with a heat wave. The celery market will most likely be impacted, but it’s still too soon to tell the extent.

Corn

Corn is off to a slow start this season with many growers experiencing delays in harvest. However, Phil Foster Ranches is expected to start soon, followed by Dwelley Farms and Herbert Family Farm after July 4th.  We should be seeing bi-color and white corn.

Eggplant

Pasha has ended with globe eggplant. We still have incoming globes from Wilgenburg Greenhouses but supply is limited and not quite at steady volume. We’re seeing small amounts of specialty eggplant trickle in from Coke Farms. It’s on the early side for specialty varieties. We should see more growers come on this summer.

Lettuce, Greens and Herbs

The lettuce and greens growing regions was also subject to the extreme heat that passed through last week. Any effects on the market has yet to be determined. Tomatero Farm is harvesting bunched kale and collards from a fresh field—quality is good. Bunched spinach has strong supply. Boxed spinach is steady.

Marjoram and oregano bunches are gapping in supply; clamshells are still available. Bunch basil from Watsonville, California based Tomatero Farm is in good supply. Quality is strong. Cross merchandise with heirlooms and mozzarella for the perfect summer salad!

Onion

At this point in the season, we’re moving into intermediate varieties for all onions. Supply is pretty steady on red and yellow as more California growers have come on. Jumbos and mediums are in better supply. White onions are more limited in all sizes. Shallots are still gapping until late July or early August.

Pea

English peas are extremely limited; we’re bringing in everything we can. Snow peas are still gapping in supply. Sugar snap peas are in good supply.

Pepper

Green peppers are steady. We’re starting to see local supply from Gilroy based grower Uesugi Farms. Mexico grown red, yellow and orange bells are more limited from Wholesum Harvest. California red bells are expected to start early July. Jalapenos are in strong supply from Pasha and Rundle Family Farms. Quality is excellent! Check out our specialty padron and shishito peppers which are great for summer grilling!

Potato

New crop russets are in steady supply from Tomorrow’s Organics. The skins do not have a hard cure on them but quality is good and as expected for this early in the season. More growers are slowly coming on with California grown russets. Yellow potatoes are really tight and red potatoes are limited. Specialty potatoes are in better supply—lots of fingerlings including Ruby Crescent and Russian Banana. Full Belly is offering Bintje, Red Lasoda and Yellow Finns. Top Brass Purple A’s add a pop of color!

Specialty Veg

We’re seeing small quantities of okra come in from Coke Farms and Comanche Creek. Volume is expected to pick up with the warmer weather. Young Thai coconut is gapping in supply for at least a couple more weeks.

Squash

Zucchini is in strong supply on both fancy and medium product. Attractive pricing makes this a great ad or promotion item this summer! Check out the mixed medley and straight pack soft squash options from Comanche Creek. See a variety in the medley that you want as a straight pack? Talk to your Account Manager!

California hard squash season is starting with butternut, green acorn and delicata are all coming on. Mexican red kuri and spaghetti squash are winding down. #2 California spaghetti squash should be available soon.

Tomato

Warm weather is generally good for tomatoes but hot weather results in roasted tomatoes. The recent heat wave means our California tomato growers are off to a slow start. Givens Farm and Terra Firma Farm are coming on with California grown Romas. Volume will be small to start. Supply will be steady with Mexican grown Romas to supplement. Tomatoes on vine (TOV) are in good supply. Durst Organic Growers is expected to start with cherry tomatoes from the Capay Valley and Coke Farm should be increasing volume on their Salinas, California area grown cherry tomatoes. Heirlooms are steady with supply from Wilgenburg and Ram’s Farm. More California growers should be coming on soon with heirlooms.

 

Fresh-Cut

Now that we have passed the Summer Solstice, customers will be looking for fresh and healthy items to fill their baskets. Now is the time to inventory your fresh-cut displays and make sure it has the latest and greatest. Don’t have a fresh-cut program? Talk to your Account Manager about getting started today! Our list includes hundreds of items prepared in a variety of ways—peeled, cubed, julienned, sliced and more! We can even do seasonal custom mixes (think guacamole kits, mirepoix, or kebab kits).

 

 

Grocery and Dairy

In addition to the freshest organic produce, we offer select grocery items from organic producers like Three Trees almondmilk. Three Trees produces unsweetened almondmilk made without gums, additives or added sugar. Clean and pure, the distinctively creamy and almond-rich taste comes from the quality and quantity of the organic almonds that are used. Three Trees uses the best fresh organic almonds which are then blanched to remove the skin, and steam pasteurized for food safety. The filtered water used in the milk undergoes a reverse osmosis filtration system to ensure consistent quality and taste. To minimize the impact on the environment, the water is sourced from local municipalities where the milk is produced, rather than trucking in spring water from faraway places. Available in unsweetened original, unsweetened vanilla and cold brew coffee Three Tree’s almondmilks are rich, delicious and nutritious!

We also offer biodynamic eggs from Stueve Organic Family Farms, organic milk and yogurts from Straus Family Creamery, maple products from Maple Valley Co-op Creamery, Mi Rancho tortillas, Wild Rose Farms quinoa, Masa Farms brown rice, Marian Farms raisins and almonds and Hodo Soy tofu. Talk to your Account Manager to learn more about our certified organic grocery program.

Floral

Both Full Belly Farm and Thomas Farm have new floral order deadlines. Check with your Account Manager and subscribe to our weekly floral availability list for the most up to date details.  Thomas Farm is offering Dahlia, Cosmo and Sunflower straight packs. Sunflowers are sold by 16 count bunches with 5-7 stems per bunch. Full Belly’s has added many new flowers to their offering including Aloha Rose, Black Eyed Susan, Lacy Blue Statice, Ornamental Quinoa, Queen Anne’s Lace, Safflower, Sunflowers (5 stems per bunch) and more! Mixed bouquets from both growers are also available.

 

 

Merchandising Corner

Cross Merchandise

By adding merchandise from other departments into the Produce Department you can drive sales for multiple items. Suggesting ways to prepare a produce item also adds value for your customer. Produce can also be merchandised in other departments. Here are a few suggested pairings:

  • Tomatoes—with basil, olive oil, fresh mozzarella or other salad add-ons.
  • Strawberries—pound cakes, dessert shells, whipped cream, glazes and chocolate dips.
  • Lemons—near the fish counter.
  • Corn—with butter or corn holders.
  • Avocados—with tortilla chips (in the Produce Department or chip aisle).
  • Apples—with caramel dip.
  • Apples or other hand fruit—at the deli counter, if sandwiches or other prepared food is available.
  • Bananas—in the cereal aisle.