All Hail the Mighty Kale

Kale Produce notes article

These days, kale is a well-known ‘super food.’ It can be found on menus near and far, as well as thousands of recipes online. But did you know that kale wasn’t a widely eaten vegetable in the United States until the 1990’s? And the trendy craze, as we know it, didn’t start until 2010, when celebrities started to promote dried kale chips on TV.

Although common in Europe and parts of Asia for centuries, kale was considered an ornamental plant by most Americans – used to decorate landscapes in the winter. Kale can survive -10°C (14° F)! It wasn’t until the incredible nutritional benefits of kale became widely known that it was welcomed, cooked and raw, on dinner plates. And smoothies.

Kale is one of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet. It has tons of Vitamin C, A, and K. It is also rich in antioxidants and a good source of minerals, including Calcium, Manganese, and Potassium. While there are dozens of kale varieties, some of the most commonly consumed are green curly, dino (aka lacinato), and purple or red bore kale.

We predict this versatile and classic vegetable will never go out of style. Keep your shelves well-stocked with this leafy green this season!


Merchandising Corner

Super Bowl Pre-Game

February is packed with produce-centric holidays including the ever popular, national football event: the Super Bowl. This year, Super Bowl LVI takes place on February 13th, a tad later than past years. If you don’t already have a display and promotion plan, here are a few ideas to help you get ready for the big event

Avocados are the real Most Valuable Player (MVP) for any Super Bowl gathering. What Super Bowl party would be complete without fresh guacamole? Make sure to have plenty of fruit on hand ripening in backstock. You want plenty of breaking avocados for 3 to 4 days before game day. Build displays with complementary items such as onions, cilantro, lemons, limes, chili pepper and garlic. Consider getting a little fancy and working green garlic into the mix! Bring in chips, tortillas and beer from other departments to help cross-merchandise items that pair well together. Remember sharply priced California-grown green skin avocados, like Bacon and Fuerte, are a great value and make terrific guac!

Baked Potatoes are another great Super Bowl party food. Build a display with all the ingredients to draw attention to this delicious dish. Include russet potatoes, green onions, and some cross merchandised products from other departments like fresh chives, cheese, sour cream, bacon, or chili to bring it all together. Don’t forget to post a recipe!

Jalapeno Poppers are a crowd please for any party. This can be a simple display made with Jalapenos, cream cheese, bacon, and panko crumbs. Add some recipe cards of different versions of this favorite party treat and this display is done!


New and Exciting

Asparagus: Steady supply and USA grown. Prices are up as we kick off the season. We love them sauteed, or roasted with a little olive oil drizzled on top!

Citrus - Royal MandarinCherimoya: This specialty fruit has a sweet tropical flavor like a blend of banana, vanilla, mango, papaya, pineapple, and coconut. The flesh is soft, smooth, and custard-like, but is studded with large, black, inedible seeds. Enjoy fresh with a spoon—just like ice cream!

Mini Seedless Watermelon: Just in! Mexican grown, sweet, and the perfect addition to winter fruit displays.

Passion Fire Grape: These Peruvian-grown, seedless grapes are a gorgeous dark purple, and offer a clean and crisp bite.

*Royal Mandarin Tangerines (above): The flavor is a complex blend of tart and sweet, with juicy flesh that’s easy to peel. Steady supply from B&J Ranch, a VV exclusive grower.

*Cherry Tomatoes (right): Go green with cherry tomatoes in environmentally friendly packaging! Sugar Plum and Heirloom Medleys are available in pint-size paper board clam shells. The packaging is made of recycled paper material, while the plant-based cellulose window is home-compostable!

Tulips: Coming soon! Bright and vibrant, these are perfect for Valentine’s Day! Get your floral preorders in for one of the biggest floral holiday of the year!


* Staff Picks


Avocado: California-grown Bacon, Fuerte, Zutano and Hass are all readily available right now. With so many choices, check with your account manager to match your needs on variety, price, and size.

Brussels Sprouts: Strong supply coming out of Mexico. Brussels sprouts have a sweet, nutty, smoky flavor that’s hard to resist.

Cara Cara Navel Orange: Enjoy a complex and sweet flavor, with low acidity. This popular variety is a great promotion for February holidays.

Star Ruby GrapefruitEnglish Hothouse Cucumber: Prices are coming down; we expect steady volume for the next couple weeks.

*Grapefruit (left): Rio Red and Ruby grapefruit are in good supply. Ask your Account Manager about bins and short bins of netted bags to keep you well stocked all month long.

Green Kiwi: Sweet, tart, and delicious from our local grower, Wild River in the Sacramento Valley.

Mixed Medley Heirloom Tomato: A beautiful assortment of heirloom tomatoes – they taste delicious and will make your produce shelves pop!

Murcott Tangerine: Sweet and mildly acidic with lots of juice, this variety is easy to peel and is very popular!

Pink Lady: This apple is a staff-favorite and has a sweet and acidic balance, with a crisp bite and beautiful pink skin.

Red Bell Pepper: Mexican grown and readily available, with aggressive pricing.

Sugar Snap PeaRed D’Anjou Pear: Sharp pricing. The distinctive dark maroon coloring makes them a perfect addition to displays. Juicy with a fresh, sweet, and slightly tangy flavor.

*Pea (right): Snow and Snap Peas are becoming more available. The sweet flavor and crisp texture are a nice contrast to leafy winter greens! Try these in a stir fry, soup, or a fresh snack!

Sweet Pepper Medley: Not a fan of jalapenos? Try stuffing these sweet peppers with cream cheese for a colorful and tasty Super Bowl snack!




Baby Bok Choy


Cilantro: Prices are up

Raspberry: Supply still limited but starting to open up; prices remain high

Yellow Squash: Extremely limited

Done for the season




New VV Video Release

As a values-driven business for over four decades, we demonstrate a radically different approach to food distribution. Our core values guide every decision we make and motivate us to operate sustainably while maintaining the highest level of excellence and commitment to the communities we serve.

We are excited to share our new brand video that showcases who we are and how our values show up in our work. Check it out! We hope you enjoy!



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