First Taste of California Tomatoes

The tomato is considered one of the most popular vegetables in current food culture, although it is actually a fruit! The wild tomato originated in the Andes in South America. Originally the size of peas, tomatoes were cultivated throughout Mesoamerica by many cultures. The word “tomato” is derived from the Nahuatl word tomatl. Tomatoes were transported to Europe by homeward-bound Spanish conquistadors in the fifteenth century. Colonizers in North America were later introduced to the tomato from Europe in the eighteenth century, after it had been enthusiastically adopted. Now extremely popular and familiar around the world, tomatoes come in every size, color and shape. 

Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, lycopene, magnesium, and iron.  Cherry tomatoes are direct decedents of the wild tomato and the first tomato species to be domesticated. California-grown cherry tomatoes are already bursting into season and taste terrific. Their flavor is a delightful balance of sweet and tart. We are so happy to see California-grown slicing tomatoes, Saladettes, Heirlooms and Beefsteaks coming on, with the ‘tomato-cult’ favorite, the dry-farmed Early Girl variety, expected as the summer progresses. -Add these delicious summer fruits to your order today!  


Merchandising News

Summer Merchandising Inspiration 

Summer produce practically sells itself but here are a few retail merchandising ideas to get your creative juices flowing! 

(Elroy’s Fine Foods, Monterey, CA) 

Vibrant green herbs and purple-hued red onions add nice color contrast to a mostly red and yellow tomato display. Open pint containers and some strategically placed baskets create vertical height and textural intrigue. 

(Bi-Rite Market, San Francisco, CA) 

A waterproof container packed with ice allows you to display wet rack items such as corn on a dry table with other peak season produce that might be purchased together. Don’t forget to replace the ice periodically throughout the day. 


Weather Watch

Early July rains in Mexico’s Nayarit and Sinaloa states have adversely affected the Ataulfo Mango crop. Volume is limited through July and prices are ticking up. 

Further north, here in California, a multi-day heat wave ended the Breba crop for Black Mission figs way early. There will be a gap until the second crop comes on in August. 

One of the good results of the wet winter we had here on the West Coast is the grape harvest is strong, with large uniform berries, and excellent production. Although several weeks ‘later than normal’ we expect good supply and excellent quality. Those vines needed a good long drink! 

South America has been experiencing extreme flooding which does not bode well for crops coming from Chile, Ecuador, Argentina or Costa Rica for their next harvest. The apple, pear, and pineapple crops, and tropical fruits (like Rambutan) are taking a beating. Remember, it’s winter there right now! 


Produce Resources

Stone Fruit Variety Overview 

Masumoto Variety Notes 

Check out the Customer Toolbox on our website (login required) for more produce resources! 


New & Exciting!

Apricot: White Lightning arrived this week! This variety has white flesh and beautiful light rose blush on the skin. Super delicate and aromatic, they are a staff favorite and are only available for a short time! 

Grape: Black grapes are starting up from Anthony Vineyards, grown in Bakersfield, California. Specialty grapes from Murray Family Farms are here with Thomcord (below) and Candy Snap. The brixThomcord Grape rating on these specialty varieties will be over 18—which is very sweet! 

Hard Squash: California-grown new crop season has started. Butternut, Acorn, Delicata, Kabocha, and Spaghetti all available. 

Melon: Cantaloupe is back in steady supply. Black seedless watermelon bins are available. Staff tastings rated these ‘Black Jacks’ from Durst Farms a score of ten! Black references the unique super-dark green skin; the flesh is a beautiful red color. Yellow seedless watermelons, on the other hand, are bright and sunny yellow inside. More specialty melons from Full Belly coming soon! 

Okra: Mild and sweet grassy tasting. It can be enjoyed raw, pickled, fried, pan fried, or added to soups and stews! A staple in African and Southern American cuisines, this versatile vegetable is growing in popularity strawberry

Strawberry (right): The time for strawberry is now! Check out open pint packs from Blue House Farm in Pescadero. Strawberry flavor is peaking for every label and variety. 

Tomato: The California tomato season is starting to pick up. Heirlooms are coming on in small amounts. Mixed packs and Purple Cherokee are available. Cherry tomatoes are bursting onto the scene—Mixed Medley, Sungold, and Sweet 100. The first Early Girl tomatoes from Comanche Creek are also here! 



Blueberry: Although the California season is done, we are expecting good volume of berries from Northwestern label LaPierre (pronounced Lah-Peer). 

Cherry: Plenty of fruit coming in from the Northwest. Skeena (delicious with good snap!), Dark Sweet, and Rainier varieties are available now. 

Green Bean: Readily available from Rundle Family Farms.  Clean, crisp, and delicious fresh flavor.  

Slicer Cucumber: Veliz Organic Farm is coming on strong with slicer cumbers in 36/42 count sizes. Small amount of 30 count available. 

Watermelon: Rundle seedless watermelon are still plentiful for the next couple weeks. These melons are a staff favorite–crisp, juicy, and addictively sweet! Watermelon in Field

Zucchini: Volume on local supply. 



Black Mission Fig: The Breba crop is ending early due to high temperatures last week. Expect a gap until the second crop comes on. 

Corn: Dwelley Family Farms bi-color corn has started but overwhelming demand for this popular grower has caused supply to tighten up. Some supply from other local farms Riverdog Farm and Durst Organic Growers available. White corn will be available soon! 

Globe Eggplant: Extremely limited. No availability from Mexico and local California supply is coming on very slowly. 

Lemon: Expect slim supply and smaller sizes available for the next few weeks. Prices are going up. 

Lime: Beck Grove is gapping. Prices are up due to limited availability out of Mexico. 

Napa Cabbage: Gapping but plenty of red and green available! 

Raspberry: Local California supply is limited but should improve soon. 

Snap Pea: Very limited. 

Sweet Peppers: Prices are up. 

Tomato: One and Two-layer Beefsteak are very limited. Check out TOVs as an affordable alternative! Prices are trending up for Roma tomatoes. 


Done for the Season

Rundle Seeded Watermelon

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