September is National Mushroom Month! So for all you mushroom fans out there, it’s the perfect time to let the mycopia mania begin! Ancient Egyptians believed mushrooms were the immortality plant. In traditional Chinese medicine, mushrooms are believed to have medicinal value. Although there is no concrete evidence for such uses, mushrooms are very nutritious and contain substantial amounts of Vitamin D. Mushrooms are also used in various studies as possible treatments for diseases. The magic of mushrooms is still a mystery.
If you’ve ever thought about expanding your mushroom set beyond white button, Portabella, and crimini, now’s the time because we have a diverse selection of local mushrooms including Trumpet Royale, Maitake Frondosa, Beech, and more!
With nearly 50% of all consumers purchasing mushrooms, it’s clear they have a very broad appeal. As we head into fall, take advantage of the wide mix of varieties available and build up your mushroom display.
Keep a lookout for our staff picks noted in orange.
Apple and Pear
Biodynamic Red Gravenstein from Mount Hood Organics have arrived! Pink Pearl are readily available. Look for Cox’s Orange Pippin and Cortland heirlooms next. California-grown new crop Fuji have started. Supply will be light to start but improve as more growers come on throughout September. Washington Fuji are expected to start mid-September. Gala are readily available. California supply is steady. Prices are coming down on Washington Honeycrisp. Rosalynn have started. Look for a new hybrid, Smitten coming soon.
New crop pear season is officially underway and there are lots of varieties to choose from! Bartlett and Bosc are steady. Abate Fetel have arrived. Beautiful green and red Orca are available. This variety is named after Orca Island in Washington. Starkrimson are in good supply. We love Seckels. These pears are petite, crunchy, and ultra-sweet—perfect for snacking and canning or poaching whole. Asian pears are readily available. Shin-Li offer wonderful crisp, spicy flavor while the Shinko are sweet and juicy with a brandy aroma and crisp, firm texture. Kosui offers juicy, crisp, sweet flavor with hints of vanilla. Kosui does not brown when sliced, so it’s great for salads, cheese platters, and sampling.
Blueberry production out of the Santa Maria, California region will be low the next several months. No word yet on when the South American season will start. Local strawberry is becoming less available as cooler weather returns. Prices are going up. Raspberry is very limited. Blackberry should remain in good supply.
Valencia orange are still going and should last through September. Mexican lemons are steady. California lemons are starting up next week. Lime availability is improving. Prices on finger limes are expected to come down. Grapefruit is ending soon. Prices are up.
Black Mission fig prices are going up. Adriatic and Kadota supply are limited. Brown Turkey are winding down a bit.
Thompson grapes are readily available. Biodynamic Thompson from Marian Farms has just started. Bronx grapes are almost over, a bit earlier than expected. We love the lush, candied flavor of this lovely pale green-pink variety. The super popular classic grape jelly flavored Concord have come on, from Hienke Family Farms, and they are in environmental paper totes! Flames and other red seedless are steady, and prices seem to be firming up. Thomcord, a seedless concord flavored grape, are in good supply, as well. In general, plenty of red, green, and black options to meet your needs. Talk to your Account Manager about which varietals are right for you. Retail wisdom is that the more varied the selection you offer, the more you will sell.
Kiwi berries are here! These adorable grape-size fruits are a small variety of kiwi with smooth (fuzz-free!), edible skin. Eat these when the berry is soft—when they are at their sweetest!
Kent mango supply from Mexico should last through next week. These mangoes are non-treated, which means they do not require chemical or hot water treatment. This ensures natural ripening and delicious flavor. After next week, expect a gap in supply until November when Ataulfo and Tommy Atkins from Ecuador come on. Narango are still available.
Mini seedless watermelon is readily available. Prices are competitive. Mixed melons are plentiful—Cantaloupe, Canary, Honeydew, Galia, and Piel de Sapo are in steady supply. Check out Sugar Kiss melon—this specialty varietal has creamy netted skin, orange flesh, and refreshingly sweet honey flavor.
Pomegranate season is off to a delicious start with the Purple Velvet variety. The arils have beautiful deep purple color and satisfying sweet-tart flavor. Get these on the sample table and show customers how to open and eat a pomegranate!
Dragon fruit is back, much to everyone’s delight, but we don’t know how long the surge will last! Sapote have arrived. This exotic fruit is distantly related to citrus. It has green to yellow skin outside and custardy flesh similar in color and texture to avocado. The flavor is sweet and mild—with notes of banana and mango. Sapote can be enjoyed fresh—just cut in half and scoop out with a spoon. Watch out for the seeds! Fresh Li jujube (also known as red dates) should be available through September. This variety has a round shape, light texture, and refreshing sweetness. Quince have arrived just in time for fall. This relatively unknown fruit is related to pears and apples since it grows on trees, but the similarities end there. Quince fruit is knobby and irregularly shaped with gray fuzz on underripe fruit. Ripe quince is golden in color with smooth skin. Quince is completely inedible raw due to its tough and spongy flesh inside. When cooked, quince is transformed into a sweet, delicate, and fragrant treat. This specialty fruit also boasts another secret—its aroma. When left to ripen at room temperature, it releases a delicate fragrance of vanilla, citrus, and apple
Stone fruit is winding down rapidly. California’s yellow nectarine, yellow peach and white peach season are done. There is some limited supply from Washington. Black and red plum are coming from California and eating great. We should see availability for a few more weeks before we start pulling plums from Washington. Pluots are getting closer to the end but should last another month. The next variety of pluot we expect is the Flavor Fall, also sometimes sold as a red plum. Washington has fruit already, and Dapple Dandy are available if you love the mottled look and sweetness of them.
Baby bok choy (mei qing) is in better supply. Bok choy is gapping.
Broccoli is in good supply and prices are holding steady. Cauliflower availability is expected to improve this week.
Brussels are a little bit limited; prices are up.
Green, red, Savoy, and Napa are in good supply.
New crop bunched Nantes carrots from California growers are not expected to arrive until late September. Fortunately, supply from the Northwest will keep up going until then.
Supply is steady, but prices are a bit all over the place.
Bicolor corn is coming to an end. The last of the supply is in-house. White should continue through mid-October.
The slicer cucumber market has been fluctuating daily, but our supply has been pretty steady. Mexican-grown cucumbers are extremely limited and prices are high.
Greens, Lettuce & Herbs
Bunched kales are in better supply. Chard prices are up as supply has tightened. Bunched spinach is limited but available. Boxed spring mix and arugula are more limited due to quality issues. Red leaf lettuce and romaine have been limited due to slow growth and delays in harvesting. Cilantro and Italian parsley remain in good supply.
Green bells are plentiful. Orange and yellow bells are limited. Red bells are steady on choice and large sizes. We’re seeing steady volume on chili peppers at great prices. Check out our selection of Anaheim, Jalapeno, Padron, Poblano, and Serrano. For a little less spice, specialty peppers like Sweet Jimmy Nardello, Shishito, and Italian Frying bring all the flavor without the heat. Sweet peppers have good volume. We love the medley pack from family-owned Veliz Organic Farm, located in Hollister, California.
Bagged beets are steady and plentiful. Growers are coming back on with turnip, parsnip, and rutabaga. Local volume has not picked up just yet.
Zucchini prices are going up. Our supply of Gold Zucchini is just about done. Sunburst are in good supply. More growers are coming on with hard squash. The market is plentiful with supply and variety. Green Acorn, Butternut, Delicata, Kabocha (green, red and orange!), Spaghetti, and Sugar Pie are all readily available. Looking for a hard squash assortment? Check out our mixed squash boxes which include Acorn, Orange Kabocha, Carnival, Butternut, and Festival.
Tomato on the vine (TOV) are extremely limited. One- and two-layer slicer tomatoes have steady supply. Local supply on Romas has picked up again. We should not experience any gaps. Cherry tomatoes are still going strong. Sungold are very limited. Heirlooms are readily available.
There is no shortage of grapes right now, so don’t be shy about ordering and showcasing all the variety the season has to offer. A large display with colors and variety will increase your grape sales. Alternate reds, greens, and blacks for a gorgeous display customers cannot resist. Start with quality grapes and regularly cull through for any that are breaking down.
Sampling is a great way to boost sales. Set up a demo area near your grape display to supplement engagement. Once you draw in customers with the eye-catching colors, offer them samples of all the varieties. Tasting a delicious grape will entice customers to buy a bag, especially when it comes to lesser-known varieties.
It’s also very important to cross-merchandise grapes during this time. Help customers envision all the ways grapes can be prepared and enjoyed. Scoop out the center of melons and fill with grapes before wrapping and stocking in your cut fruit display. Display next to Brie and assorted cheeses with crackers for easy cheese platter shopping. Sample out Waldorf salads and stock walnuts, grapes, apples, pre-chopped lettuce, and ready-made dressing nearby so customers can pick up everything they need.