Author Archives: Veritable Vegetable

Year End Merchandising Tips

The end of the year is busy time for produce as the holidays come one right after another. With Thanksgiving down, we have just a few more to go. Hanukkah (December 2-10th),  Christmas (December 25th) and New Year’s Eve (December 31st)  are filled with cultural and ethnic traditions that will affect your customers’ food and shopping habits. Get to know your customers well and customize your merchandising and displays to their needs.

Christmas Ingredients: Many of the same products popular for Thanksgiving will also be in demand for Christmas celebrations. Provide full displays of potatoes, herbs, celery, sweet potatoes, winter squash, green beans, Brussels sprouts, nuts and chestnuts, and cranberries.

Traditional Hanukkah Ingredients: Many Hanukkah foods are deep fried in oil symbolizing the oil from the menorah used in the Temple. This may include latkes or potato pancakes (with apple sauce topping) and jelly donuts. Stock up on potatoes, apples, onions, sweet potatoes, citrus fruit, honey, and walnuts. Chocolate gelt, a candy is also popular.

Celebrate Citrus: Tangerines are in full swing and very popular as stocking stuffers, gifts and all around daily snacking. Satsumas, Fairchilds, Orlandos and Clementines are all in great supply and never fail to impress with their amazing flavor. Grapefruit and navel oranges are also popular items at this time of year. Highlight your new seasonal fresh citrus items by building big citrus endcaps or placing bins of satsumas or bagged grapefruit in the entryway of your store.

Dried Fruit & Nuts: Holiday season is the time for these categories to shine. Build up a display to include shelled nuts, nuts-in shell and various dried fruits such as raisins, prunes, persimmon, dates and jujube. Provide a delicious fruit cake recipe for easy reference.

Convenience Items: Holiday season also means holiday party season. Make it easy for both guests and hosts to shop with a well-stocked fresh cut display and plenty of options for grab-and-go meals. Precut veggies, mirepoix mix, veggie spirals, riced veggies, cooked beets, and bagged salad mixes are all popular items. Don’t forget to order up on seasonal floral bouquets for the perfect hostess gift.

Party Platters: If your deli department has the resources to offer party platters, get on this trend! Veggie platters, fruit trays, cheese plates, wraps and sandwiches are great items to offer during the holiday season.

Follow these tips for a successful holiday season. Reach out to your Account Manager for additional merchandising and planning assistance. It’s not too early to think about New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day planning. Check back for merchandising and display tips in our next Produce Notes.

Orange Fever

Nothing is quite as exciting as the start of citrus season, specifically the return of California grown navel oranges. Navels are large, seedless, sweet and easy to peel. The juicy segments separate easily, which make these the perfect citrus snack. Navels gets their name from the “bellybutton” or the under developed fruit protruding at the blossom end of the orange—which resembles a human navel. Although there are several navel varieties out there, the Washington and Cara Cara are the most common. A Cara Cara navel is a red-fleshed navel that is a cross between a Washington navel and the Brazilian Bahia navel. Other navel varieties include Fukumoto, Lane Late, Riverside, Robertson and Skaggs Bonanza.

The navel originated from a single tree that was planted in Brazil in 1820. This tree had a mutation, causing two oranges to be produced within one single piece of fruit. The navel first made its break onto the California scene in the late 1800’s and helped create what we know today as the California citrus industry. The navel is one of the more famous stand out products that California has to offer. This exceptional citrus grows all over the state giving us great supply and a long harvest season.

Keep a lookout for our staff picks noted in orange.

 

Fruit

Apple and Pear

We’re seeing sharp pricing on Fuji #1 medium bins from local grower, Cuyama Orchards. Local Pink Lady is readily available in 113 count fruit. Local supply of Granny Smith is winding down. We’ll move to Washington supply next. Lots of delicious heirloom varieties are still available such as Arkansas Black and Crimson Gold. Check our list to see our full offering of apples!

Asian pear are winding down fast; we’ll only see Olympic going forward. Locally grown Bartlett are still available.

Avocado

California Hass is just about done and Mexican Hass should continue for at least 2-3 months. Prices are stabilizing as supply is steadier, now that the Mexican growers strike is over. California-grown greenskin avocados are starting up. We’ll see Bacon, Zutano, Ettinger and other varieties for about a month. Greenskin fruit is generally big.

Berry

Strawberry supply is limited and prices are high both California and Mexico grown berries. Supply from Baja, California is expected to improve mid-December. Import blueberries from Chile, Mexico and Peru are in good supply; prices are sharp. Mexico grown raspberries are now in production both Baja, California and the Michoacán regions. Supply looks steady. Mexican supply of blackberries is steady. Cranberries are ending soon.

Citrus

Recent rain may affect citrus supply. Navel oranges remain steady. Cara Cara Navel are starting this week. Mexican choice grade and juice grade Valencia are here. Rio Red grapefruit is readily available with competitive pricing. We’ll see Ruby grapefruit from beloved grower, B&J Ranch come on mid-December. Meyer lemons have strong volume and quality. California limes are plentiful and ripe for the picking. Our longstanding grower, Beck Grove is offering Biodynamic fruit grown in Southern California. Tangerine season has taken off! Satsumas are in good supply (and tasting great.) Daisy tangerine have come on; supply is limited. Fairchild tangerines are steady. These are great for juicing! Orlando Tangelo have just arrived. We’ll see Page mandarins in the next week or so.

Kiwi

California grown green and gold kiwi are readily available. The gold variety is trademarked by the grower, Wild River Fruit, as Tropikiwi (you may see this name on the box.) The flavor is sweeter, slightly tropical and less tart than green kiwifruit. The gold also has less fuzz on the outer skin than green kiwi.

Mango

The last of the Ataulfo mango are here—get ‘em while you can! Tommy Atkins from Ecuador are in good supply with promotable pricing.

Melon

Supply out of Mexico is very limited. Mini seedless watermelon and cantaloupe may gap until mid-January while some availability of honeydew continues.

Persimmon

Fuyu and Hachiya are steady. Not sure which persimmon is right for you? Fuyu are non-astringent, which means they can be eaten when firm and crisp. Perfect for a snack or sliced into a seasonal salad! Hachiya are astringent with high levels of tannins that make them unpalatable it eaten before completely ripened. Fully ripe, they are creamy and very sweet—great for baking, purees or ice cream!

Specialty Fruit

Cherimoya has arrived! This tropical fruit is also known as a Custard Apple because of its creamy, sweet and slightly tart flesh. The flavor is a blend of vanilla, pineapple and banana. On the exterior, the skin is green with some scaly depressions. Neither the skin nor black seeds are edible. Mark Twain referred to the Cherimoya as “the most delicious fruit known to men.” Dragon fruit is back in supply with red, pink and white varieties available. Passionfruit and Yuzu are still going.

 

Vegetables

Asparagus

Green asparagus prices are going up. Purple asparagus is not available at this time.

Bean

Mexico grown green beans has steady supply. Prices have come down slightly.

Broccoli/Cauliflower

Production out of California’s Imperial Valley and Arizona’s Yuma regions are off to a slow start and prices remain high. Cauliflower supply is limited.

Cabbage

Green, red and Savoy remain steady.

Cucumber

Persian cucumber pricing is coming down; supply is steady. Slicer cucumbers are plentiful. English Hothouse supply is a bit limited.

Ginger

Peruvian yellow ginger supply is very tight. Prices are going up. Yellow ginger from Hawaiian grower, Kolo Kai is expected to come on in January. Turmeric and galangal are steady.

Greens & Lettuce

While larger growers are transitioning to their winter growing regions in the California desert, several of our local small and mid-sized growers are continuing steadily with dino aka lacinato kale, curly kale and collards.

As of November 26th, the romaine warning issued by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) was narrowed to include only romaine harvested In the Central Coast growing regions of central and northern California. Additionally, the CDC recommended growers utilize a new labeling system designed to provide consumers with information on the region where romaine is grown and harvested. Our larger growers who ship from multiple regions have started shipping out of California’s Imperial Valley and Yuma, Arizona and have adopted the voluntary labeling agreement on romaine and romaine hearts. Our smaller growers such as Tomatero Farm, Givens, Full Belly Farm and Perry Farms, who do not ship from multiple regions, are adding harvest date sticker to boxes. Growing regions are indicated on the box itself. The warning has heavily impacted the lettuce market overall. Prices continue to fluctuate and are not yet stable. Because of the limited romaine on the market, demand for other lettuces has increased dramatically. Green leaf, red leaf, butter, and iceberg are limited; prices are high. Boxed greens are also feeling the effects of the impacted market; prices are up.

Mushrooms

Recent rainy weather means we’ll see increased availability for wild mushrooms. Maitake Frondosa and Trumpet Royale are a just a couple specialty ‘shrooms available. Check back often as availability changes daily. Rain spurs the growth of wild mushrooms, but at the same time, the moisture causes growth of unfavorable bacteria that compromises the compost used in cultivated mushrooms. Button mushroom supply may start to tighten. Oyster and shiitake remain in good supply.

Pea

California sugar snap peas are continuing steadily. English peas have limited supply.

Pepper

Green bell peppers are limited but we should not see any gaps in supply. Orange bells are extremely limited. Yellow bells are steady. Red bells are also limited; prices are going up. Anaheim and Poblano chilies from Mexico have started up. Jalapeno prices are coming down.

Potato

New crop red and golden potatoes from Road 20 Farm are expected to come on the first week of January. These spuds are a seasonal favorite; they look beautiful and taste amazing. The potatoes are hand dug to ensure sizing, consistency and yield. Available for wholesale exclusively through Veritable Vegetable!

Root

Parsnip and rutabaga are readily available. Radish supply has tightened and prices are up. Turnips are steady—white, purple-top, gold—we got ‘em all! Baby white turnips are gapping.

Squash

Zucchini supply has tightened; prices are up. Gold zucchini is steadier. California hard squash is winding down on most varieties. Butternut is still going strong. Delicata and Acorn have good supply. Green, red Kabocha and Red Kuri are limited. Gray Kabocha is done.

Sweet Potato

We’re seeing strong supply on all sweet potatoes: Garnet, Jewel, Hannah, Japanese and Purple Stokes.

Tomato

Tomatoes-on-vine (TOV) are steady on availability and price. Roma and cherry prices are very high. One and two-layer slicers are prices bit volatile but supply should be steady. Heirlooms are coming on any day now! This early in the season, expect less variety in mix medley packs.

 

Nuts

Chestnuts are available in jumbo and colossal sizes for just a bit longer! Gorgeous and delicious, don’t miss out on Heath Ranch’s finest chestnut crop yet. Fresh chestnuts are versatile and can be enjoyed in any number of ways—roasted, steamed, boiled, deep fried and even microwaved! Don’t forget to score the skin of a fresh chestnut before cooking to allow steam to escape and prevent exploding chestnuts. Fresh chestnuts can be frozen whole of shelled in a freezer-safe bag for up to three months.

 

Floral

Sunflowers are done for the season. Come January, look for Dutch Iris, Tulips and other winter varieties like Anemone, Sweet William, Calendula, Snap Dragon, and Protea from Thomas Farm. In observance of the holidays, Thomas Farm will not be shipping from December 23rd to January 3rd  of the New Year. Orders for Thursday, January 5th must be in by Wednesday, January 2nd at 7AM. Dried floral bouquets and dried wreaths from Full Belly Farm are available for a limited time only. The farm will be on holiday from December 8th through January 8th. The first shipment in 2019 will be January 9th.

For your floral needs, check out our new grower, Wild Ridge Organics and their beautiful mixed Protea bouquets. Husband and wife team, Rick McCain and Michelle Noble McCain have been growing unique and drought tolerant flowers since 1997. They specialize in South African and Australian cut flowers grown in Aromas, California.

 

Grocery

It’s that time of year—eggnog season! Alexandre Family Farm Homegrown Eggnog mixes A2 organic milk with Alexandre Kids organic, pasture-raised eggs and a dash of nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, allspice, and turmeric powder. The eggnog is made with whole eggs to get the whole benefit of balanced fats and proteins! Straus Family Creamery Organic Eggnog is so good, you won’t miss the rum! Their old-fashioned Organic Eggnog is made with simple, organic ingredients and finished with a touch of organic nutmeg. No emulsifiers or thickeners are used in this rich blend of organic milk, organic cream, organic sugar, and organic and pasteurized egg yolks. Both eggnogs are seasonal and only available through the end of December by preorder only.

The winter season is a great time to showcase maple flavor in holiday cooking. We offer a full line of organic maple products including maple syrup in glass containers and bulk sizes from Maple Valley Co-Op, a growers co-op. Maple sugar candy and whipped maple cream are perfect for stocking stuffers and gifts!  All Maple Valley products are certified organic and free of additives, preservatives, and formaldehyde as well as being kosher certified and vegan.

 

Merchandising Corner

Year End Merchandising Tips

The end of the year is busy time for produce as the holidays come one right after another. With Thanksgiving down, we have just a few more to go. Hanukkah (December 2-10th),  Christmas (December 25th) and New Year’s Eve (December 31st)  are filled with cultural and ethnic traditions that will affect your customers’ food and shopping habits. Get to know your customers well and customize your merchandising and displays to their needs.

Christmas Ingredients: Many of the same products popular for Thanksgiving will also be in demand for Christmas celebrations. Provide full displays of potatoes, herbs, celery, sweet potatoes, winter squash, green beans, Brussels sprouts, nuts and chestnuts, and cranberries.

Traditional Hanukkah Ingredients: Many Hanukkah foods are deep fried in oil symbolizing the oil from the menorah used in the Temple. This may include latkes or potato pancakes (with apple sauce topping) and jelly donuts. Stock up on potatoes, apples, onions, sweet potatoes, citrus fruit, honey, and walnuts. Chocolate gelt, a candy is also popular.

Celebrate Citrus: Tangerines are in full swing and very popular as stocking stuffers, gifts and all around daily snacking. Satsumas, Fairchilds, Orlandos and Clementines are all in great supply and never fail to impress with their amazing flavor. Grapefruit and navel oranges are also popular items at this time of year. Highlight your new seasonal fresh citrus items by building big citrus endcaps or placing bins of satsumas or bagged grapefruit in the entryway of your store.

Dried Fruit & Nuts: Holiday season is the time for these categories to shine. Build up a display to include shelled nuts, nuts-in shell and various dried fruits such as raisins, prunes, persimmon, dates and jujube. Provide a delicious fruit cake recipe for easy reference.

Convenience Items: Holiday season also means holiday party season. Make it easy for both guests and hosts to shop with a well-stocked fresh cut display and plenty of options for grab-and-go meals. Precut veggies, mirepoix mix, veggie spirals, riced veggies, cooked beets, and bagged salad mixes are all popular items. Don’t forget to order up on seasonal floral bouquets for the perfect hostess gift.

Party Platters: If your deli department has the resources to offer party platters, get on this trend! Veggie platters, fruit trays, cheese plates, wraps and sandwiches are great items to offer during the holiday season.

Follow these tips for a successful holiday season. Reach out to your Account Manager for additional merchandising and planning assistance. It’s not too early to think about New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day planning. Check back for merchandising and display tips in our next Produce Notes.

The History of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is synonymous with celebrations around food and sharing the bounty with friends and family. It is believed that the first Thanksgiving occurred in 1621, a three-day feast between Plymouth colonists and Wampanoag Indians to celebrate the bountiful corn harvest that year. It was celebrated on and off after that but it wasn’t until 1863 that President Abraham Lincoln declared a national Thanksgiving Day be held each November.

This first Thanksgiving meal may have included fowl and deer on the menu, although there is no record of what the actual menu was. Historians believed that many of the dishes were likely prepared using traditional Native American spices and cooking methods. However, the Pilgrims had no oven and there was little sugar available, so it’s likely the menu did not feature desserts or sweets.

Today, Thanksgiving feasts look very different although they still focus on cooking and sharing the bounty with others. Turkey has become a staple item—nearly 90% of Americans eat it in one preparation or another. Popular sides may include cranberry, chestnut stuffing, mashed potato, greens and of course, pies. With the merging of various cultures, “traditional” Thanksgiving dishes continue to change and evolve. No matter the dish, there’s no denying that Americans love to cook on this holiday—make sure you’re stocked and ready!

 

Keep a lookout for our staff picks noted in orange.

 

Fruit

Apple

We’re at the peak of the season and you’ll see no fewer than 30 varieties on our list, including heirloom options. Our selection constantly changes as we bring to you new varieties when they become available. Check out our apple guide for a complete breakdown of our apple listing. We’re seeing sharp pricing on locally grown bags of Fuji, Gala and Pink Lady. There is also competitive pricing on early Fuji bins from Cuyama Orchards. These taste great and will keep you well stocked through the holiday rush.

Avocado

California grown Hass is expected to continue for a few more weeks. Larger sizes are becoming very limited. #2 fruit is steady; mostly small sizes are available. A growers strike in Mexico is impacting prices and availability on Mexican grown fruit. Overall, market prices are expected to increase and may last through November and December. Rumors are that California grown Bacon avocado will start in a few weeks

Berry

Tis the season for cranberries! Supply is plentiful and should continue steadily through December. Shoppers will be looking for this key holiday ingredient. Stock up for Thanksgiving festivities. Raspberry and blackberry supply from Mexico is not consistent but should be steady. Local strawberries are still going for a bit longer. We’ll supplement with fruit from the Oxnard region in Southern California and eventually Baja, California towards the end of the month. There should be no gaps in supply. Blueberry supply from California is limited, but imported Chilean blueberry supply is expected to improve.

Citrus

California lemons have good volume. Meyer lemons are steady. California limes from biodynamic grower, Beck Grove are plentiful. This small, family-owned farm in San Diego County grows some of the best citrus in the state! Navels have started; the fruit is clean. California Valencia are just about done. We’ll see early Mexican grown Valencia next week. Cara Cara will be coming on at the beginning of December. Satsuma tangerine are in good supply and tasting great. We’ll see more growers come on mid-month or later.  Grapefruit remains steady.

Grape

With the rain holding out, the grape season is continuing a little longer. Some growers are winding down but we still have supply of seedless red, black and some green. The last of the Concord are here; grab some of this flavorful grape before it’s done for the season!

Kiwi

California grown kiwi is steady. The green kiwi is the very popular Hayward variety. We love the sweet tangy flavor and vibrant green flesh. Gold kiwi is also readily available. This variety is trademarked by the grower, Wild River Fruit, as Tropikiwi (you may see this name on the box.)  Although the flesh is not as golden-yellow as the name implies, due to young vines, the flavor is sweeter, slightly tropical and less tart than green kiwifruit. The gold also has less fuzz on the outer skin than green kiwi.

Mango

Tommy Atkins are here and available. Ataulfo has good availability. Fair Trade Ataulfo is also available—let your Account Manager know if you’re interested.

Melon

Watermelon, honeydew and mixed melon from Mexico are trickling in. The full season will ramp up mid-November.

Persimmon

Fuyu season is in full swing. Supply is readily available. Hachiya is just starting up. Do you know the difference between the two varieties? Fuyu are short, squat and non-astringent. They can be eaten when firm and crisp. Fuyu are round, elongated and astringent. The high levels of tannins makes the Hachiya unpalatable it eaten before completely ripened. Fully ripe, they are creamy and very sweet.

Pomegranate

Pomegranate have strong supply. Many sizes are available, including bins! Arils are readily available in different pack types—this is a great grab-and-go item to stock for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Specialty Fruit

Passionfruit is continuing with steady supply. Red dragon fruit is available. Look for more white dragon fruit coming soon. Yuzu is available for a limited time. This traditional Japanese citrus is used almost exclusively for its aromatic rind. Quince is readily available.

 

Vegetables

Artichoke

Artichoke supply is strong from local growers. Pricing is competitive. Volume deals are available; talk to your Account Manager if interested!

Asparagus

Green asparagus availability is expected to improve. Purple asparagus is readily available as are green and purple tips.

Bean

Local green beans are winding down. There may be a gap in supply before Mexico starts up. Purple, Romano and yellow specialty beans have better availability.

Broccoli/Cauliflower

Broccoli has strong, steady supply.  Cauliflower is readily available; especially purple, green and orange. Romanesco also has strong volume.

Brussels Sprout

California grown Brussels sprouts are in good supply. Prices are competitive which is just in time for Thanksgiving! This popular veggie shows up in many forms for holiday celebrations—roasted, sautéed, steamed and even raw preparations for slaws and salads!

Celery

Celery has strong and steady supply; this is expected to continue.

Cucumber

Persian cucumbers are steady. Slicer cucumbers are in good supply; prices are finally coming down. English Hothouse are plentiful.

Eggplant

California grown Globe has great supply. Mexico grown Globe has also started. There should be no gaps in supply as we head into the holiday season. Japanese eggplant is also available.

Greens & Lettuce

Chard supply remains tight. Dino aka lacinato, green kale, red kale and collards continue to have steady volume. Bunched arugula is in good supply. Spinach is more prone to mildew at this time of year but so far, quality has been looking strong. Both box and bunched spinach are a little limited but should be steady. Romaine and romaine hearts continue to be tight. Green and red butter and green and red leaf have steady availability. Iceberg is not consistent. Dill is readily available. Parsley is steady. Cilantro remains in good supply. Tarragon is still in a production gap.

Mushrooms

With the current dry weather, cultivated mushroom supply remains steady. However, the absence of rain has also created very limited availability for specialty wild mushrooms. Rain spurs the growth of wild mushrooms, but at the same time, the moisture causes growth of unfavorable bacteria that compromises the compost used in cultivated mushrooms. It is a double edge mushroom sword, indeed! Mushrooms are a popular ingredient for Thanksgiving and savory fall dishes. Keep your mushroom display stocked and plentiful.

Pea

Sugar snap peas are steady. Taste tests revealed great crunch and good flavor. We may see a small shot of English peas soon.

Pepper

California green bells are still going; prices are sharp. Mexican orange and yellow bells are limited. California red choice bells has good volume and price; quality is great. Mexican red choice is very limited. Jalapeños are extremely limited; expect prices to go up. However, Serranos are in great supply and Poblanos are a bit steadier.

Root

California parsnip is ramping up. Rutabaga is plentiful. Turnip supply is steady; prices are coming down a bit. Jicama is done for the season due to quality issues. Bunched baby white turnips have good volume. We love the mild and sweet flavor of this variety.

 

Squash

Local zucchini is still going strong. Pricing is low. We’re seeing some beautiful specialty squash from Hollister grower Veliz Organic Farm. Check out our listing which includes: Yellow 8 Ball, Crookneck, Gold Zucchini and a mixed medley for when you want a little of everything. In hard squash land, Butternut is in good supply. Prices are going down. Delicata has steady supply. Acorn, Kabocha (red, green and grey) and Spaghetti are readily available. Looking for some specialty hard squash to boost your display? Check out Angel Hair Spaghetti, Butterkin, Carnival and Jahrradale. Jahrradale is a cross between a Blue Hubbard and a Cinderella pumpkin. It has distinctive blue-gray skin and thick orange flesh—making for a nice pop of color. Angel Hair Spaghetti is smaller than a standard Spaghetti squash with even finer strands of flesh. Don’t forget to talk to your Account Manager about hard squash prebuilt pallets for the Thanksgiving rush!

Tomato

One and two-layer slicer tomatoes are limited. Tomatoes-on-vine are also limited. Local Roma prices are way up. Open pint cherry tomatoes are just about done. Heirlooms are winding down.

 

Nuts

Chestnuts are in steady supply in both jumbo and colossal sizes. Heath Ranch did a fabulous job sorting and the colossal size will knock your socks off; they are gorgeous. Fresh chestnuts can be prepared in any number of ways—roasted, steamed, boiled, deep fried and even microwaved! Don’t forget to score the skin of a fresh chestnut before cooking to allow steam to escape and prevent exploding chestnuts. Check out this creamy chestnut soup with crispy prosciutto. Fresh chestnuts are tough to crack, but this soup is worth it!

 

Floral

Full Belly Farm has Sunflowers for a limited amount of time. Dried floral bouquets and dried wreaths from Full Belly Farm are now available. We wait all year for these unique handmade arrangements—no two are alike! These are great for holiday centerpieces and hostess gifts! Thomas Farm is continuing with Sunflowers and mixed bouquets (cutie and seasonal). The last day to get your Thanksgiving floral orders in for Thomas Farm is Monday, November 12th. Only bouquets will be offered for orders during the week of Thanksgiving. There will be no orders shipped November 25th through December 1st.

Grocery

Eggnog has arrived and flying off the shelves! Get your preorders in now for the Thanksgiving rush. We’re offering eggnog from Straus Family Creamery and Alexandre Family Farm—both are creamy, delicious and downright addictive!

Alexandre Family Farm is our newest dairy producer. This family-owned and -operated farm is located in Crescent City in California’s Del Norte County. The farm operates four grass-based organic dairies with crossbred cows that produce milk that contains A2/A2 beta-casein protein. This protein is present in human milk and is easier for most people to digest. The farm uses old-fashioned methods and simple ingredients combined with a holistic approach to farming to produce some of the most delicious dairy products we’ve ever tasted. Check out their 6% butterfat whole milk (yes, 6%!), flavored milks (vanilla, chocolate, ginger turmeric), cream-top yogurt, and pastured eggs.

With the arrival of fall, we can officially say its maple season again! We offer a full line of organic maple products including maple syrup in various size packs, maple sugar candy, and whipped maple cream from Maple Valley Co-Op, a growers co-op. All Maple Valley products are certified organic and free of additives, preservatives, and formaldehyde as well as being kosher certified and vegan.

 

Merchandising Corner

Thanksgiving Merchandising Tips

It’s time to transform your department and get into the full swing of Thanksgiving. Start building up those displays of sweet potatoes, yellow onions, russets, butternut squash, satsumas and persimmons. These items will start moving in larger volumes through Thanksgiving. Bigger displays is an easy way to increase sales. When customers see more product to select from, they are more likely to buy more of their favorites like satsumas and staples items like sweet potatoes.

Customers have been waiting since spring for the return of satsumas. Capitalize on this early season, high-demand item by placing them in a heavy traffic area such as the entryway. They make for a bright and attractive display. Satsumas are generally a higher priced item that customers buy in large amounts and buy consistently throughout their growing season. Keeping a well-stocked larger display will keep this product moving for you, keep your customers happy and increase you department sales.

Sweet potatoes and yellow onions are not only key produce picks for Thanksgiving but also staple items in the kitchen during the fall and winter months. These are hardy, low maintenance products that are easy to manage so don’t be shy about ordering larger amounts and going bigger on the displays. Potato and onion displays don’t need to be rotated everyday but should be checked daily for soft, breaking down or sprouting product. Keeping your display free of undesirable product is important to keep these items moving.

On the Monday before Thanksgiving, start stocking up on your other holiday items like Brussels sprouts, celery, cranberries, mushrooms, green beans, Italian parsley and all the other culinary herbs. If you have access to your last year’s sales information, use it!  Tracking the amounts sold the previous year can help you dial in your order amounts for this year. Be optimistic and plan for a slight increase over what you sold last year. A good rule of thumb is 2% growth over the previous year. Following these holiday tips should help you have a successful Thanksgiving season.

 

 

Apples to Apples

Fall delivers not only crisp autumn air and beautiful foliage, but our favorite crisp, autumn treat—apples! Supply is abundant with many varieties available. While pumpkins get much of the attention in fall, we think apples are the real shining star. We’re at the peak of the season and you’ll see no fewer than 30 varieties on our list, including heirloom options. Our selection constantly changes as we bring to you new varieties when they become available. So how do you know which apples are better for baking vs. cider? Which ones pair better with pork dishes or should be used as garnish because they don’t oxidize? Read on for a breakdown on taste, flavor, and preparation of our complete apple listing.

Apple Varieties

Ambrosia
• Creamy yellow flesh is crisp and juicy with a sweet flavor and low acidity.
• Adds sweetness and moisture to cakes, doughnuts, and muffins.
• They hold their shape and flavor when cooked, making them perfect for pies, tarts, and baked apples.
• Slow to brown when cut, making them perfect for adding to salads or serving as part of a cheese tray.
Arkansas Black
• Flesh is golden-hued and juicy with a fine-grained, crisp texture.
• Highly aromatic with sweet-tart flavor.
• Excellent cooking apple; bake, sauté, or roast, puree into soups or sauces.
• Juice is excellent for ciders and jams.
• Pairs well with winter squash, pecans, cranberries, vanilla, thyme, sage, cinnamon, and cardamom.
Braeburn
• Crisp flesh is creamy yellow and juicy.
• Perfect balance of sweet and just slightly tart with subtle hints of pear and cinnamon.
• Sweet-tart flavor mellows slightly when cooked.
• Slow to brown when cut, making them perfect for use in salads or as part of a cheese board.
• When raw, their flavor and crisp texture is best when served slightly chilled.
Cameo
• Thin skin with a delicate texture.
• Flesh is dense and creamy white to yellow in color with a crisp and juicy texture.
• Perfect balance of sweet and tart with nuances of honey.
• Resists browning when cut, making them a great choice for fresh presentations.
• When cooked, their dense flesh holds up extremely well and their flavor is enhanced.
• Pairs well with squash, bacon, pears, and flavorful cheeses such goat, cheddar, and ricotta.
Empire
• Creamy white flesh is crisp and juicy.
• Flavor is sweet like a Red Delicious and tart like a McIntosh.
• Pairs well with pumpkin, pear, sharp cheeses, and warm spices such as ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
• Sliced or cut apples stay white longer if put in a bowl of water containing two tablespoons of lemon juice.
• Their size and low susceptibility to bruising make them an excellent snacking apple.
Fuji
• Creamy white flesh is juicy and crisp.
• Low in acid, the flavor is mild yet very sweet with hints of both honey and citrus.
• Thicker skin, dense flesh, and sweet flavor hold up well when cooked.
• Roast, bake, sauté, or boil down into sauce.
• Pairs well with sharp cheeses.
Gala
• Dense flesh is creamy yellow and crisp, offering a mildly sweet flavor and floral aroma.
• Great for snacking as they are low in calories and high in water content, and offer a fair amount of vitamins A, C, and B.
• Delicate flavor and texture of the Gala apple shines in fresh preparations.
• Sweet flavor becomes milder when cooked, making them perfect in baked preparations when paired with stronger flavored apples such as Granny Smith, Arkansas Black, Pippin, and Mutsu.
• Flavor complemented when paired with pears, winter squash, onions, pecans, turkey, curry, brie, cheddar, and Swiss cheese.
Golden Delicious
• Firm, crisp, and white-fleshed. These apples have a balanced sweet-tart aromatic flavor, which has been described as honeyed.
• Sweet-tartness makes this a good fresh eating variety.
• Has the necessary acid content and stability for baking.
• Pairs well with savory items such as onions, cabbages, pork, cheeses, and strong herbs.
• Good option for juicing or drying.
Granny Smith
• Firm and juicy apple with thick skin.
• Flesh is bright white and crisp in texture with a tart, acidic, yet subtly sweet flavor.
• Great for baking because of their high acidity and ability to hold their shape when cooked.
• Slow to brown when cut; perfect for fresh preparations such as caramel apples, lunchboxes, salads, and salsas, or sliced and paired with cheese.
Honeycrisp
• Creamy white flesh is exceptionally crisp and aromatic.
• Balanced content of sugar and acid provides a pleasant sweet-tart flavor.
• Maintains sweet flavor when cooked; great for baking.
• Remove the skin and slow-cook slices to make applesauce, preserves, and apple butter.
• Crisp texture shines in raw preparations.
Jazz
• Crisp, juicy apple is great for snacking and eating fresh.
• Combines the sweetness of a Gala with the tartness and crunch of a Braeburn.
• Bears a likeness to pears with slight floral flavor and gritty texture.
• Firmer flesh softens but stays nicely intact for cooked dishes where some texture is ideal, such as apple crisp.
• Not ideal for cooking applications where a smooth texture is desired, such as applesauce.
Jonagold
• Flesh is juicy and creamy yellow in color.
• Offers the sweet-tart taste found in the Jonathan and the aromatic honey-like scent of the Golden Delicious.
• A popular dessert apple; can be used in a variety of sweet preparations such as pies, tarts, muffins, and cakes, or baked whole.
• Perfect for use in sauces, preserves, and jam.
• Sweet-tart flavor complements savory applications as well.
Kanzi
• Rounded crimson red color has eye-catching attractive look.
• Deliciously well-balanced sweet and sour flavor that comes from a blend of a juicy Gala and tangy, sweet Braeburn.
• Crisp apple with a mild but pleasant apple flavor; slightly sharp rather than sweet, and quite juicy.
• Mainly used for fresh consumption.
King David (Heirloom)
• Crisp and juicy; flesh is creamy yellow with a coarse texture.
• Rich spicy flavor with nuances of wine complements sweet and savory dishes.
• Excellent cooking apple—bake, sauté, or roast; also great in stuffing.
• Perfect for cider, sauces, juice, and preserves.
MacIntosh
• Later-season apples take on a slightly sweeter taste than those picked earlier in the season.
• Crisp flesh is exceptionally juicy and bright white in color.
• Early-season apples have a strong sweet-tart taste with nuances of spice.
• Use cooked or raw and in both sweet and savory preparations; flesh is delicate and will break down when cooked.
• Slightly spicy flavor and juiciness makes them perfect for juice and cider.
Mutsu
Firm white flesh is crisp and juicy.
• Sweet-tart flavor has subtle hints of spice.
• Sweetens with cold storage.
• Chosen as an excellent dessert apple; it also complements savory dishes.
Newtown Pippin
• Light green skin with yellow tinge. Flesh is yellow and crisp.
• Complex, tart, sprightly aromatic flavor.
• Great for pies and other desserts as well as cider.
• One of the best storage apples.
Northern Spy (Heirloom)
• Juicy and sweetly tart, with flesh that is crunchier than most.
• Bruises easily; handle gently.
• Versatile apple that can be eaten out of hand, baked, roasted, or pureed. It is considered the ideal pie apple.
• Well known for cider making qualities.
Opal
• Bright yellow with distinctive firm texture.
• Floral aroma and sweet, tangy flavor.
• Naturally non-browning after cut.
• Great for salads, lunchboxes, and garnishes.
Pacific Rose
• Distinctive rosy-red blush makes this apple too pretty to resist.
• A natural Gala/Splendour cross, this apple gets its signature pink hue from Splendour and its unique taste profile combines both parents’ flavors .
• Refreshing, sweet, and crisp.
• Best eaten out of hand, but its delicate sweetness lends well to salads, sandwiches, and desserts
Philo Gold
• Light golden skin speckled with small spots called lenticels.
• Sweet flavor and firm crisp texture.
• Left unwaxed, their natural perfume comes through.
• Great cooking apple that retains both color and shape.
• Long-standing reputation for eating out of hand.
Pink Lady
• Crunchy texture and a tart taste with a sweet finish.
• White flesh is juicy and crisp, and offers a “fizz”-like burst of flavor.
• Ideal for fresh, out-of-hand eating.
• Retains shape when baked or poached.
• Slow to oxidize when cut, making it good for cheese boards, sandwiches, and salads.
Pinova
• Creamy white inner flesh with a crisp, crunchy texture; great for out-of-hand eating.
• Sweet flavor has subtle tropical undertones, such as banana and pineapple.
• Holds up to high temperatures when cooked, so they are ideal for pies, tarts, and baking.
• Can be refrigerated for up to two months.
Red Delicious
• Dark and intense crimson color makes it the quintessential red apple that is also high in antioxidants.
• Fresh and sweet with very mild flavor; few notes of acidity.
• Flesh is juicy and has a light crispness.
• Beautiful red color makes it a nutritious choice for smoothies and juice.
Rosalynn
• Deep red color and mildly sweet-tart flavor.
• Flesh is firm, crisp, and juicy.
• Best suited for eating out of hand.
• Does not turn brown when cut, making it a great for raw preparations including salads and lunchboxes.
Sierra Beauty (Heirloom)
• Fine-grained flesh is crisp and juicy with a creamy yellow color.
• Balanced sweet-tart flavor with nuances of spice and a floral aroma.
• Excellent for use in desserts or savory dishes.
• Serve as an accompaniment to aged meats and cheeses.
Skinner Seedling (Heirloom)
• Greenish-yellow apple, blushed pink.
• White and fine-grained flesh with tender, juicy, mild sub acid flavor.
• Good for eating fresh, sauce, or other dishes.
Smitten
• Yellow base with a cheeky blush and natural “wild apple” coloration.
• Complex aromatics and hints of tart behind the sweetness.
• Refreshing crunch makes for the perfect fresh eating apple.
Spitzenberg (Heirloom)
• Fine-grained flesh is creamy yellow with a crisp bite.
• Highly aromatic; has a rich and sweet taste with slight hints of nuts and spice.
• Excellent for desserts, sauces, and preserves.
• Slightly spicy flavor makes them a great choice for juices and ciders.
Splendour (Heirloom)
• Thin skin; light green with faint pink blush.
• Sweet, crisp, and juicy with low acidity.
• Stores well, but bruises easily.
• Pairs well with nuts, seeds, or nut butter.
• Flavor lends well to eating fresh, other raw preparations, baking, and cider.
• In New Zealand, considered the Prince of Apples.
Sweetie
• Sweet flavor with mild spice-like undertones. Lack of tartness makes the Sweetie a very sweet apple.
• Juicy, yellow flesh with a firm and crisp texture, like its Braeburn parent.
• To balance the sweetness of the hybrid Sweetie apple, combine with a tart apple for sauces or pies. Can be poached or baked, allowing its naturally sweet flavor to be enhanced.
Swiss Gourmet
• Red with yellow flush and some russeting at the bottom.
• Well-balanced sweet-tart dessert apple.
• Ideal for eating fresh and raw preparations such as salads.
• Pairs well with sharp cheeses.
Winter White Permaine (Heirloom)
• Pale yellow skin with streaks of reddish blush.
• Cream-colored flesh is fine-grained, crisp, juicy, and aromatic with a rich, sub acid to sprightly flavor.
• All-purpose apple; especially for fresh use.
• Believed to be the oldest known English apple.

What is Heirloom?

Heirloom varieties are older varieties that sometimes date back hundreds of years to when apples were grown for specific purposes such as cooking, baking, juice, or hard cider. In the mid-1800s, there were thousands of apple cultivars in the United States, some of the most astounding diversity ever developed in a food crop, with each one prized for its unique characteristics. These heirloom apples were diverse in shape, size, color, texture, and taste. Over time, many apple varieties fell out of popularity and gave way to apples that were uniform in color and shape and bred for transportation hardiness. Many of the heirloom varieties became commercially extinct, but not quite biologically extinct. However, many orchardists such as Apple Farm, Mount Hood Organics, and Heirloom Orchards continue to revive and grow delicious heirloom varieties. Check out the heirlooms currently in season:

  • Arkansas Black (1870, Benton, Arkansas)
  • King David (1893, Arkansas)
  • Northern Spy (1800, New York)
  • Sierra Beauty (1900, Northern California)
  • Skinner Seedling (1887, Santa Clara, California)
  • Spitzenberg (Late 1700s, Hudson Valley, New York)
  • Splendour (1948, New Zealand)
  • White Winter Permaine (1200, England)

 

Merchandising Corner

Apple Merchandising

We are hitting the peak of apple season, and that means an explosion of apples in produce departments everywhere. After months of dealing with delicate stone fruit, it is a welcome change to start stocking hardy apples.

Apples can be displayed in a cold case or on an unrefrigerated dry table. With so many heirloom and standard varieties, having multiple display locations is a great way to push apple sales and create interest. Try having an heirloom apple display separate from the other more common varieties. Grouping all your heirlooms together calls attention to their uniqueness, and will create interest and promote sales. Most customers are curious about the history behind the different varieties and the flavors that make them so special. Providing a little history and flavor profile on shelf talker cards is a great way to get this information to your customers. Many heirlooms are also great for baking and making applesauce, so a general use of the apple would be great information to include on the shelf talker too.

Honeycrisp and Fuji are generally the most popular apples. A big tall display of one or both of these apples in the front of the store generates excitement and usually will trigger an impulse-to-buy reaction. Also try cross-merchandising with gallons of apple ciders and mulling spices into the display. All of these items together make for a nice fall display that is very much in the spirit of the season.

As for displaying the standard varieties, it’s important to create color breaks with all the apples so that it is easier for customers to tell the difference between the varieties. Maintaining the freshness of apple displays is essential to keep the apples moving. Since apples are firm and hold up well unrefrigerated, they don’t need to be rotated every day. A complete rotation of product every other day is sufficient but displays should be checked daily for fruit that is breaking down or starting to wrinkle. Provide your shoppers with easily accessible bags and they will fill them up with their favorite apples as they enter the store to continue shopping.

Another strategy to boost apple sales is through interactive sampling. Apples are not ideal items to sample out on a free-standing sample tray since many varieties oxidize and turn brown after being cut. Taking a piece of fruit around and cutting and offering samples is a great way to have conversations with your customers. It gives you a chance to talk up product, answer questions, and build a reputation for excellent customer service.

 

Apple Recipes

Apples are a versatile ingredient for both sweet and savory recipes. Think apples are only good for apple pie? Think again! Apples are showing up in savory meat dishes, hearty side salads, baked into chips, and in cocktails! Pick your favorite recipes and print them out for shoppers to grab. Cross-merchandise the ingredients they might need in one display for easy shopping.

Apple and Fennel Soup

Apples Baked in Cider

Apple, Celery Root and Carrot Salad

Apple, Sausage, and Smoked Cheddar Breakfast Casserole

Baked Cinnamon Sugar Apple Chips

Blue Ribbon Apple Pie

Brussels Sprouts with Apples

Chickpea Waldorf Salad

Chunky Pork and Apple Stew

Cinnamon Apple Tahini Muffins

Easy Apple Butter

Fresh Apple Shrub

Kale & Bulgur Salad with Brown Butter Apple Vinaigrette

Quick Pickled Apples

Mom’s Apple Cake

Skillet Apple Crisp

Slow Cooker Pork Belly with Braised Apples and Cabbage

Smoked Trout Apple Hash

Spiced Apple Cookies

Vegan Apple Brownies

We acknowledge Specialtyproduce.com for their contributions to the above copy.

The History of Halloween Pumpkins

With Halloween just a couple weeks away, the pumpkin mania is at its peak. Every grocery store, coffee shop and bakery has pumpkin displays, drinks, and baked goods prominently promoted. But did you know that the association of pumpkins with Halloween is a relatively recent phenomenon?

Halloween comes from the Irish festival Samhain, (pronounced sow-win) a celebration that marked the transition from the summer harvest season to winter. It was believed that spirits of the ancestors lurked in the shadows during the festival. To distract the spirits, people would carve faces into large turnips and set candles inside. They would place the turnip lanterns on roadways and next to gates to light the way for travelers.

The celebration of Halloween in America is traced back to the mid-1800s when Irish immigrants began arriving. The first mention of pumpkin carving was in 1866 in a children’s magazine. This tradition grew more and more popular and by 1920, Halloween was embraced everywhere in the country. As pumpkin carving grew into a lucrative industry, American farmers bred new lines of squash specifically for carving. Massachusetts farmer John Howden developed the Howden pumpkin in the 1960s, and it is still the most popular carving pumpkin in America.

 

Keep a lookout for our staff picks noted in orange.

 

Fruit

Apple and Pear

There’s no shortage of heirloom apples right now. We’re seeing some not-to-be-missed varieties! King David is a lesser known variety with sweet and tart flavor with spicy nuances of wine.  Northern Spy offers a bit of tartness with sweet, pear-like flavor. Check out our full list of heirlooms! Smitten is winding down. Rosalynn, Jazz, Kanzi and Mutsu (aka Crispin) have arrived. In Japan, the Mutsu is known as the “Million Dollar Apple” and is revered for its delightfully sweet, crunchy and spicy flavor. Fuji, Gala and Honeycrisp are in good supply.

Pears are plentiful with many delicious varieties on the scene from local and Washington growers. Bartlett, Bosc, Orca, Red Comice, Red D’Anjou, Red Hailey, Seckel, and Starkrimson are all available now. New Century, 20th Century, and Kosui Asian pears are steady.

Avocado

California grown Hass should continue for three more weeks. The oh-so-creamy, nutty flavored MacArthur is limited. Get ‘em while supply lasts!

Berry

Strawberry production from local growers is winding down this month. We’ll  start to see more fruit from the Santa Maria region before Mexico grown berries come on in November. California supply of blueberries will be spotty until December when production improves. However, South American blueberry season has started and should keep supply steady. Mexican grown raspberries and blackberries should start this month. Cranberry will be steady from now through December.

Citrus

California lemons are tight due to rain in the desert growing regions. Overall supply should be steady with plenty of fruit from Mexico to supplement. Meyer lemons are back in supply and should remain steady for the next few weeks. We’re seeing strong volume of California limes have beloved biodynamic grower, Beck Grove. This small, family-owned farm in San Diego County grows some of the best citrus in the state! Valencia are almost done and will gap until the winter season starts up. Grapefruit is limited.

Fig

Brown Turkey is winding down. Black Mission are steady. Supply has tightened; fig prices are up.

Grape

Grapes are continuing until the rains come.  We have seedless red, green and black from various growers in paper totes, pouches and with different berry sizes depending on variety. Ask your Account Manager for guidance. The big-flavored seeded Concord and seedless Thomcord will keep going for several more weeks.

Kiwi

California grown green kiwi is expected to start any day now. We should see California gold kiwi in a few weeks.

Mango

Narango mango is available for a bit longer. Ataulfo from Ecuador should come on mid-month. We’ll see Tommy Atkins towards the end of the month.

Melon

Overall, the California melon season is winding down. Cantaloupe is steady from Rundle Family Farm. Canary melon will continue for another week or so. Honeydew is limited; we’re getting all we can. Mini seedless watermelon is done for the season. Mexico grown melons are expected to come on in November.

Pomegranate

Pomegranate is continuing with steady supply. Many sizes are available, including bins!

Specialty Fruit

Fresh jujube is ending soon. Quince is in good supply. Although inedible raw, when cooked, quince is transformed into a sweet and delicate treat. Quince is high in pectin which makes it perfect for baked goods when paired with other fruits. It also releases a wonderful vanilla-apple fragrance when ripening. White dragon fruit and passion fruit are limited. Magenta fleshed dragon fruit are in steady supply, for now. Rambutan from Honduras is coming soon, a rare treat. Native to Indonesia and similar to a lychee, Rambutan have delicate, perfumed white flesh with a soft shell. While lychee have a smooth shell, Rambutan have crazy looking red-spiked shells and are sweeter than lychee.

 

Vegetables

Artichoke

Artichoke supply is plentiful. Prices are expected to go down.

Bok Choy

Baby bok choy (mei qing) and bok choy are back in steady supply.

Broccoli/Cauliflower

Broccoli is readily available; prices are up slightly. We may see some tightness in cauliflower supply in the next week or so.

Brussels Sprout

California grown Brussels sprouts have strong volume. Quality is high.

Cabbage

Green and red cabbage are steady; prices have increased. Price remains up on Savoy. Napa should be steady through October.

Celery

Celery is in good supply but prices have been ticking up.

Cucumber

Domestic cucumbers are just about done, locally. Product from Mexico is limited; prices are up as the impact of Hurricane Sergio remains unknown. The market is tight!

Eggplant

California grown Globe and Japanese eggplant are steady. Mexican grown eggplant is about a week out.

Greens & Lettuce

Boxed savoy spinach and bunched spinach are readily available. Green kale has good volume. Dino aka lacinato kale is limited. Collards are steady. Rainbow chard remains limited. Red and green chard are in better supply.

Demand is outpacing supply on romaine, green leaf and red leaf. Supply will continue to be limited, but improving slightly. Iceberg has better availability. Romaine hearts continue to be tight.

Pea

Sugar snap pea is in better supply; but not yet consistent. We should see English peas soon as well. Snow peas are still not available.

Pepper

Red and green bell peppers are plentiful. Prices are sharp. Orange bells are very limited. Yellow bells are in better supply than orange. Domestic Jalapeno are winding down. Red Jalalpeno are readily available from local growers. We’ll start to see Mexican grown chilies available soon.

Root

More and more growers are coming on with roots. Colored turnips are still not steady. Purple daikon is back! Red, gold, Chioggia, and Forono beets are all in good supply.

Squash

Red Kuri is limited. Butternut, Delicata, Acorn, Sugar Pie, Kabocha and Spaghetti are in good supply from local growers. Straight pack and mixed squash bins are also available for pre-order. Don’t forget to order your Jack O’ Lantern pumpkin bins for Halloween! Local zucchini and gold zucchini are still going strong.

Tomato

One- and two-layer slicer supply remains very tight. In efforts to keep up with demand, growers are harvesting early. Tomatoes picked early may be light in color, but will develop color as it ripens. Tomatoes-on-vine (TOV) are readily available. California grown Roma availability seems to be picking up; supply is steady. Sungold and Mini Charm are extremely limited. Prices are up. Hurricane Sergio is expected to hit Baja California before turning into a tropical storm. This will likely affect some of the tomato growers in the Ensenada area. Prices have increased on cherry and sugar plum tomatoes as supply tightens. Local heirlooms still have good volume for a couple more weeks.

 

Nuts

Chestnuts are in steady supply in both jumbo and large sizes. Fresh chestnuts can be prepared in any number of ways—roasted, steamed, boiled, deep fried and even microwaved! Don’t forget to score the skin of a fresh chestnut before cooking to allow steam to escape and prevent exploding chestnuts. Check out this creamy chestnut soup with crispy prosciutto. Fresh chestnuts are tough to crack, but this soup is worth it!

 

Floral

Dried floral bouquets and dried wreaths from Full Belly Farm are starting! We wait all year for these unique handmade arrangements—no two are alike! Thomas Farm is continuing with Sunflowers and Dahlias for a bit longer. The last day to get your Thanksgiving floral orders in for Thomas Farm is Monday, November 12th. Only bouquets will be offered for orders during the week of Thanksgiving.

 

Grocery

Eggnog is coming! Eggnog is coming! Preorders start October 17th. Save the date! You don’t want to miss out on this rich and creamy seasonal treat.

We are now carrying organic dairy products from Alexandre Family Farm. This family-owned and -operated farm is located in Crescent City in California’s Del Norte County. The farm operates four grass-based organic dairies with crossbred cows that produce milk that contains A2/A2 beta-casein protein. This protein is present in human milk and is easier for most people to digest. The farm uses old-fashioned methods and simple ingredients combined with a holistic approach to farming to produce some of the most delicious dairy products we’ve ever tasted. Check out their 6% butterfat whole milk (yes, 6%!), flavored milks (vanilla, chocolate, ginger turmeric), cream-top yogurt, and pastured eggs

With the arrival of fall, we can officially say it’s maple season again! We offer a full line of organic maple products including maple syrup in various size packs, maple sugar candy, and whipped maple cream from Maple Valley Co-Op. All Maple Valley products are certified organic and free of additives, preservatives, and formaldehyde as well as being kosher certified and vegan.

 

Merchandising Corner

Pumpkins, Squash and Roots

With the drop in temperature, all thoughts turn to fall and fall produce such as pumpkins and hard squash. Now is the time to bring in those bins of Jack O’ Lanterns and other festive squash like Turban, Carnival, Hubbard and get into the swing of the Halloween/Fall season. Although most people wait until right before Halloween to carve their pumpkin, most want to pick out their perfect specimens now to take home to show off and admire for weeks before the carving date. Don’t wait too long or you’ll miss out on the perfect window time to maximize your Jack O’ Lantern and other decorative squash sales.

Besides looking to decorate for fall, shoppers are looking to switch up their eating habits to fit with the changing seasons. Make sure you are offering abundant supply of the favorites like yellow onions, sweet potatoes, specialty hard squash, Brussels sprouts, root vegetables and hearty greens. Soups and roasting tend to be at the forefront of shoppers’ minds. Hard squash and root vegetables are key ingredients when customers are shopping for soup and roasting meals. Squash such as Butternut, Red Kuri, Delicata, Kabocha and even the little Sugar Pie pumpkin are very popular squash for soups. Butternut will always out sell the others but it’s a good idea to provide some if not all of the fancier culinary hard squash. Providing a nice selection for soup making will help promote sales in other product category areas. Shoppers will generally be looking for garlic, bunched herbs, onions, ginger, greens, peppers and mushrooms to combine with or to complement soups.  Displaying printed recipe cards that have multiple produce ingredients is a sure way to boost your hard squash sales. Try this creamy roasted pumpkin soup recipe and see how this strategy helps sell not only the pumpkins but other items in your department as well.

While beets and carrots are always in great supply, at this time in the fall season, we are seeing more root vegetables such as parsnips, celery root, rutabaga and turnips. Keeping their appearance fresh is key to their success in the department. Check your set daily for soft or shriveling roots. Remove undesirable roots from the set and try rehydrating in lukewarm water to see if they can be brought back to life If not, discard and replace with new fresh product. Keep the roots well hydrated throughout the day while on the rack to maintain freshness. Nothing will slow down your root sales more than rubbery roots. Customers are looking for firm crisp product. Daily rotation and hydration will help keep your roots fresh and moving. Don’t forget recipe cards for your roots! We love this simple roasted root vegetable dish that lets the flavors of the veggies shine. Try these seasonal tips and get ready to take on the beginning of the fall eating season.