The fall season brings not one, but two common varieties of delicious persimmons: Fuyu and Hachiya. There are other specialty types occasionally available, such as Giant Fuyu, Chocolate, or Tamopan. In Greek, the Fuyu persimmon’s botanical name, Diospyros means “divine fruit.” In Japan, known as Kaki, persimmons are considered the country’s national fruit. Persimmons may be slowly gaining popularity in the USA but they have been cultivated for over a millennium in most Asian countries, including India.
While both Hachiya and Fuyu have a predominantly sweet flavor and are a striking orange color, the similarities stop there. Hachiya persimmons have an acorn shape and reddish-orange skin. They are also very astringent and should be consumed when they are fully ripe. At peak ripeness, the texture will be extremely soft and requires gentle handling. The gelatinous fruit takes on a sweet flavor with notes of mango and apricot.
Hachiya are ideal for sweet preparations such as fruit shakes, muffins, bread, ice cream, and puddings, as well as eating out of hand. In Japan, dried Hachiya persimmons are revered for their flavor and texture qualities and are traditionally made into Hoshigaki, a process that involves gently massaging the fruit while hanging from a string for weeks. Given as gifts Hoshigaki are enjoyed as a slightly spicey but very sweet, chewy snack.
Fuyu persimmons, on the other hand, are non-astringent and can be eaten raw at varying levels of ripeness or used in sweet and savory dishes. Their shape is squat, similar to a tomato, and their texture is firm like an apple with a satisfying crispness that enhances the apricot cinnamon flavor. The thin skin is fully edible. Fuyu add a bright color and crunch to salads, and are an excellent replacement for out-of-season tomatoes.
Whether you’re Team Hachiya or Team Fuyu, the season is short. Don’t miss out on this treasured fruit!
New & Exciting!
Arkansas Black Apple (right): Heirloom variety with deep purple skin, golden flesh. Juicy with a fine-grained, crisp texture and sweet-tart flavor. Excellent cooking apple; bake, sauté or roast, puree into soups or sauces. Juice is great for ciders and jams.
Evercrisp Apple: Coming soon! Sweet & juicy, combines the best of Honeycrisp and Fuji. Intense candied-apple sweetness with a slight tang. Very versatile apple, stores well & maintains sweetness and firmness like no other. Great for snacking or baking, or both!
Concorde Pear: Excellent all-purpose pear. Crunchy and sweet with a distinct vanilla flavor.
Purple Kohlrabi (left): Beautiful violet hued skin, white flesh with crunchy and snappy texture and flavor similar to broccoli stalks and turnips. Cooking brings out its sweetness. Peel before you use it to remove outer skin. Don’t forget–the leaves are also edible and taste delicious sautéed!
Fun Fact: Kohlrabi means “turnip cabbage” in German.
Buddha’s Hand Citron (right): Lemon-esque fruit with long tentacle-like segments. Contains no juice, seeds, or pulp. The aroma is sweet, a bit lemony, and a little like lavender. A dramatic table ornament and conversation starter. Primarily used for zest, cooked into jams or infused into drinks.
Fun Fact: In China the Buddha’s Hand citron symbolizes happiness and long life.
Early Sweets Valencia: The Mexican season is starting. It is normal for this early variety to be pale yellow and a low brix with less juice compared to the California fruit. Still great tasting!
Fairchild Tangerine: Cross between a Clementine mandarin and an Orlando tangelo. The skin is thin with a deep orange color, is somewhat pebbly. It is very juicy with a rich and sweet flavor.
Key Lime: Smaller and contains more seeds than the more common Persian lime. Highly sought after for its distinctive juice which is sweet and tart and amazing in Key lime-based desserts, marinades, and cocktails. Named for the Keys, the islands off the coast of Florida,
Oro Blanco Grapefruit: Floral scent, delicate sweet juicy flavor with no acidic or bitter aftertaste. Nearly seedless! Oro Blanco means ‘white gold’ in Spanish.
Satsuma Tangerine: Coming soon! Juicy, sweet, seedless and easy to peel. It’s no wonder it’s one of the most popular tangerine varieties!
Variegated Pink Lemon (left): Less tart than regular Eureka lemons, with a more fruity, floral flavor. This specialty variety has unique coloring–green-yellow patterned skin and bright pink flesh!
Bunched Broccoli: Supply is plentiful, volume deals available. ‘Stalk’ up on this staple vegetable for Thanksgiving and after!
Chestnut (left): Fresh chestnuts are equally delicious roasted in the oven, steamed or boiled! The sweet, nutty, buttery flavor of cooked chestnuts takes any dish to the next level! Readily available in a variety of sizes: Large, Jumbo, Colossal and Super Colossal from Heath Ranch, a small farm VV exclusive. Packed in convenient 8-lb mesh bags, ask your Account Manager about multi-unit pricing deals!
Tip: Make an ‘X’ on the flat side of the chestnut to relieve pressure while cooking and make it easier to peel.
Cranberry: Time for cranberries to shine! 8-ounce and 12-ounce bags readily available. Just in for Thanksgiving—20-pound volume-fill cases from Oregon-based grower, Black Moon Farms.
Fuyu Persimmon: We’re seeing steady supply and sharp pricing on this fall favorite from several different labels. Nothing says autumn like a display full of bright golden Fuyus. Offer samples in-store to entice new palates!
Globe Eggplant: Low pricing and abundant supply.
Hard Squash: ‘Tis the season for soup, stew and roasting delectable winter squashes. Acorn, Butternut, Delicata (right), Spaghetti all have strong supply. With long shelf lives, order up and take advantage of our holiday promotional pricing.
Russet Potato: Lots of availability, pricing remains promotable.
Snap Pea: Strong supply and great quality from small California growers, Veliz Organic Farm and Luna’s Farm. Sweet and snappy!
Artichoke: Still limited
Cherry Tomato: Very limited; prices are up.
Green Bean: Supply is very limited, prices are high. We’re bringing in everything we can find.
Roma Tomato: Extremely limited
Rutabaga: Availability is improving.
Strawberry: Supply is limited until the Mexican season starts in December; we may see some gaps.
Watermelon: Mini seedless supply is limited and unpredictable through the end of the month.
Done for the Season
Are You Ready for Thanksgiving?
For many retailers, Thanksgiving is one of the busiest and highest revenue producing times of the year. Here are some essential holiday planning tips that you can use for Thanksgiving and other holidays this year.
Pre-Packaged Products: Demand for items that haven’t been overly handled by the public has continued long after the pandemic. Customers will be looking for pre-packaged and pre-bagged products. Consider packing products in-house if you have staffing available. Offer pre-cut packaged items of holiday staples like celery, butternut squash, and yellow onions.
Holiday Displays: Keep your displays creative and full of essential items! Order your pallets and half-pallets of key products ahead of time. Place larger orders with your Account Manager at least 2-3 weeks in advance to assure you will be well-stocked through the holidays. Key items to keep plentiful include: sweet potatoes, russet potatoes, hard squash, mushrooms, apples, cranberries, onions, green beans, Brussels sprouts, celery, carrots, persimmons, and herbs. Don’t wait until the last minute to secure what you need!
Pre-Made Holiday Meals and Sides: If you have a kitchen in-store, consider offering pre-orders for pre-made holiday meals or prepared sides in grab-and-go cases. Many customers will appreciate the convenience of these offerings.
Holiday Crowd Control: Consider the number of occupants in your store for your staff and customers to move around freely. Expect an uptick in customers during the holiday week and be prepared to manage the crowd or queue a line, even if this is not something you need to worry about on a regular basis.
Signage: When customers are trying to get in and out of stores as efficiently as possible, bright, eye-catching signage is a great way to get their attention and improve their experience. Highlight a farm or label, post product information, provide storage recommendations, or share recipes. addition to creating beautiful displays, signage is a great way to keep shoppers informed about operational changes during the holidays (extended hours, pre-order pick-up areas, etc.) and pandemic related safety protocols.
Storage: Assess your storage needs during the holidays. Will you need more dry space? More cold storage? Some retailers source a temporary refrigerated unit that will be placed outside to store turkeys and holiday overflow. Bonus: Customers will be able to pick up pre-orders outside, reducing the traffic inside the store.
Future Orders: The week following Thanksgiving tends to be quieter as customers recover from holiday festivities. Review your future produce orders with your Account Manager to forecast what you may need. Tip: Bananas are typically not high on shopping lists post-holiday and pre-orders may need to be reduced.