Signs of spring are all around us – birds chirping, flowers blooming, and of course, California asparagus season!
Asparagus has been enjoyed throughout the Mediterranean region for over 5,000 years. There are ancient frescos on the island of Crete distinctly showing cultivation and harvest of asparagus. Today, this wonderful crunchy green vegetable is grown all around the world in places like China, Peru, Germany, and the United States.
Asparagus has a juicy flavor that can vary from mildly sweet, to fresh and earthy. Size is an important consideration; California asparagus sizes are based on the stalk diameter as measured at the widest point. This sizing chart will help you figure out how to label your asparagus.
So, what’s the best way to store your asparagus? For optimal freshness trim 1/2 inch off the bottom of the asparagus bundles and place in a glass jar with an inch of water. Loosely cover the asparagus with a plastic bag and store it in the fridge.
Asparagus is vascular and will absorb moisture, much like fresh cut flowers. Although there are slight differences in thin and thick asparagus, they are both delicious!
Merchandising Ojai Pixie Tangerines
Ojai Pixies are about to hit the market and we’re thrilled. These sweet, seedless tangerines are some of the yummiest we’ve tried this season. Ojai Pixies are a late season fruit grown in the Ojai Valley, in Southern California. This super-popular citrus deserves some special placement in your produce department. So, let’s talk about how to promote Ojai Pixies!
- Create a large display with pre-bagged product. Pre-bagged fruit creates a great opportunity for an impulse buy. The Ojai growers offer free preprinted paper bags, so talk to your Account Manager about getting some with your purchase. (see top of display in photo above)
- Signage with talking points will help move the product. Some great points are: seedless, kids love them, easy to peel, great for eating out of hand, and super sweet.
- Try adding fresh flowers to your display. Bright colorful bouquets complement the sweet orange gems and really make them pop. A beautiful display of flowers and pixies brings together the two best spring items, for one eye-catching display.
Ojai Pixies will have a smaller yield than usual this year, so the season is expected to be short. The upside to the smaller crop is that the fruit will be larger than it has been in the past few years. Don’t miss out; grab some Pixies as soon as you see them listed!
New and Exciting
*Asparagus (left): California asparagus season is here! Enjoy this perennial crop now for peak flavor– juicy, sweet, and earthy. Try them on the grill for a little smokiness and char, especially as the weather warms!
*Little Gem Lettuce (right): Red and green varieties just in! Beautiful coloring, high quality, and delicious crisp flavor.
Purple Fiesta Potato: This mid-season fingerling specialty potato has smooth brilliant purple skin and deep purple flesh. This variety is ideal for steaming, boiling and baking. Bonus: it retains its beautiful color when cooked!
Seville Marmalade Orange: This sour, tangy variety is best suited for juicing, zesting and making marmalade, The name comes from Seville, Spain – it was introduced from Asia in the 12th century, and was so beloved by the Spanish that they named it after Seville.
Sundowner Apple: A cross between Golden Delicious and Lady Williams, this is the sibling to the Pink Lady Apple, and was made by the same breeders in Australia. These apples have a sweet, sharp flavor, and are also known as Cripps Red.
Young Thai Coconut: Each coconut is wrapped for individual sale. Inside is a refreshing liquid and soft jelly-like meat. Coconut water is exceptionally high in potassium and great for hydration. The white coconut meat has a sweet flavor that is soft enough to be eaten with a spoon. In Hawaii, fresh young coconut is called ‘spoon-meat’.
*Avocado (left): California-grown Hass are mostly small size, because it is still early in the season and the fruit has not been on the tree very long. As a result, we are offering great promotions on 70 count and 84 count sizes. Talk to your Account Manager for detailed quotes.
Blackberry: Great quality and strong supply from Mexico. These sweet berries are bursting with flavor!
Brussels Sprout: Great quantity coming out of Mexico. This popular cruciferous vegetable is delicious roasted, steamed, or sautéed.
Cherry Tomato: Sugar plum and heirloom medley remain plentiful. Sharp pricing makes these the perfect items to add to your promotions and spring displays.
Kent Mango: Grab these while you can! Quality and flavor are 100%–this is the last of the season for Peruvian-grown fruit.
Orange Bell Pepper: We’re seeing excellent pricing on both choice and large orange bells. Orange bell peppers have a tangy, fruit taste that is sweeter than green bell peppers and is similar to the riper flavor of yellow and red bells.
Raspberry: Mexican grown raspberries are in steady supply and tasting great. This superfood is high in powerful antioxidants and a good source of fiber!
*Ruby Grapefruit (right): Among citrus connoisseurs, this variety is considered the best of the season! Exclusively from B&J Ranch, the Ruby is sweet, juicy, and easy to peel.
Snap Pea: Get your snap peas now—supply is plentiful! We can’t get enough of the sweet, crunchy taste and oh-so-satisfying “snap” with every bite. Enjoy fresh or toss into stir fries, soups, salads! More supply from California growers starting soon!
Soft Squash: After weeks of tight supply, the squash market has turned around. Steady volume on yellow straight-neck squash and zucchini; prices are coming down.
Tangerine: Murcott and Royal Mandarin tangerines are both in great supply and are absolutely delicious. Sweet, seedless, and perfect for tiny hands!
Artichoke: Will be limited for about two weeks.
Cauliflower: Prices have risen; limited supply for a week or two.
Chard: Supply is tighter as desert programs wind down amid aphid pressure.
Jalapeno Pepper: Gapping.
Jicama: Gapping until late March due to product curing issues.
Lime: Prices remain high and supply is extremely limited.
Lettuce: Desert production is quickly winding down due to heavy aphid pressure. Expect some gap in availability until new growing regions start later this month.
Serrano Pepper: Gapping
Done for the Season
Sugar Bee Apple
Celebrate B Corp Month with us!
As a B Corp, we consider the impact of our decisions on our staff, growers, customers, community and the environment. We demonstrate this commitment to building a sustainable food system in all aspects of our business. Here are a few ways we do this every day:
- Our award-winning green fleet uses renewable diesel to run at near zero emissions.
- We donate over a million pounds of food annually to the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank.
- Our pay scale from the highest to most entry level workers is only 4:1.
- We divert 99% of our waste from the landfill.