Summer may be winding down but the chili pepper market is just heating up. Chili pepper is the fruit of the plants from the genus Capsicum, members of the nightshade family. Chile peppers originated in Mexico and can be traced back to the human diet in the Americas as early as 7500 BCE.
Chili peppers get their pungency from capsaicin and several related chemicals. The quantity of capsaicin varies by variety and on growing conditions. The intensity of the “heat” of chili pepper is reported in Scoville heat units (SHU). A bell pepper has zero SHU while mild Hatch chilies have 1,000-1,500 SHU. On the other end of the spectrum, a very hot chili like Habanero has 100,000 – 350,000 SHU.
Chilies are used in many cuisines across many cultures. In 2014, 33.2 million tons of fresh green chilies was produced worldwide. Although chilies can add heat to dishes, they also add endless color, flavor and dimension. The chili pepper market is ripe with chilies of every variety, flavor and heat level. Don’t be afraid to try a new variety, talk to Account Manager about your pepper needs today!
Planning for the Holidays
The key to a successful holiday season is to plan early. Starting early ensures supply is there when you need product come November. In most cases, the other departments in your store have already placed their holiday orders. To get good projection numbers, run movement reports from last year and add 3-5% to last year’s amount. Of course, that number is dependent on your store sales. If it has been a slow year there’s no harm in being conservative with your projections. If your business has been steady, aim a little higher. So what items are wholesalers and growers looking for projections for? Let’s take a look at the high demand holiday items.
- Cranberry: Giving growers and packers numbers early will ensure they pack enough bagged product or have plenty of bulk cases on hand depending on your preference. Don’t get caught cranberry-less!
- Herbs: Thyme, Rosemary, Holiday Mix, Chives, Italian Parsley and Bay Leaves are the most popular holiday herbs. Giving the grower a heads up to expected increased
- volume will help them plan for the extra labor they will need for production and packing.
- Green Bean: The supply is always a little shaky leading right up to Thanksgiving so any projected numbers is helpful. This gives wholesalers a starting point on sourcing.
- Brussels Sprouts: This popular little vegetable flies off the shelf. Even though there is generally plenty of supply, these seemingly sell out every day. Cover your bases and put in some pre-orders a week or two before the week of Thanksgiving.
- Walnut and Chestnut: Nuts are limited and in high demand for Thanksgiving. Now is the time to talk early numbers with your Account Manager.
- Bins: If there are any products you would like to offer in bins instead of the traditional case pack like hard squash, celery or yellow onions, communicate that desire soon!
Staple items such as Garnet sweet potato, celery, butternut squash, and yellow onion all tend to be in good supply but if you need large amounts including full or half pallets to build big displays, it would be good to give your Account Manager a heads up about your plans. This pre planning information will help ensure you receive the quantities of holiday items that you need, when you need it. Get started today!
New & Exciting!
- California-Grown Apple: new crop Fuji fruit from local grower Ferrari Farms. Early season fruit is typically lower color than regular season Fuji but flavor and crispness is still 10/10. Breaking news: Granny Smith are also coming on!
- Coconut Topping*: small chunks of fresh organic coconut meat. Gluten free with no added sugar, this specialty item is perfect to enjoy as a snack or add to smoothies, juices, salads and more!
- Concord Grape: aromatic, tangy and sweet with a unique musky flavor. The quintessential grape for grape juice, grape jelly and candies. Distinctive bluish-purple color is striking and is a slip-skin variety meaning the skin can easily be separated from the fruit.
- Dragon Fruit: Supply is just starting up but will be steadier soon. This antioxidant rich superfood can range in color, but this current variety has gorgeous magenta-hued flesh. Texture is juicy, slightly crunchy with tiny edible seeds—similar to a kiwi!
- Fresh-Cut*: Just in for retail–CeCe Veggie Co. products including Butternut Squash Noodles and Cubes, Summer Squash Grillerz, Beet Noodles, Zucchini Noodles, and Zucchini Veggicinne. All organic, single ingredient products perfect for many plant-based diets.
- Hatch Chili: Known for having an earthy flavor thanks to the soil and mountainous area where they are grown. Grown specifically in the Hatch Valley in and around Hatch, New Mexico. Available in “medium” and “hot” heat intensity, these peppers take on a delicious buttery flavor when roasted.
- Jujube: fresh, not dried! Also known as a red or Chinese date, these sweet, chewy fruits are high fiber and low calorie! Perfect snack food!
- Kiwi Berry*: Sweet and addicting! Kiwi berries offer the same bright fruity flavor as the classic kiwi fruit but without the fuzzy skin. Yes, these fun-size fruits can be eaten whole! The season is short; get ‘em now!
- Passion Fruit: Sweet but tart with a tantalizing fragrant aroma. The seeds and gelatinous pulp are all edible straight from the shell. Grab a spoon!
- Apple: Lots of Washington fruit available at fantastic pricing. Local, California fruit coming on soon. Get your customers hooked into apple season with some great deals!
- Asian Pear*: Hosui and Shinseki varieties are tasting great from local, black-owned EARTHseed Farm. Sweet, crisp and juicy!
- Candy Snap Grape: delicious high flavor red seedless grape
- Globe Eggplant: sharp pricing; supply is steady.
- Hamburg Muscat grape (add image): very attractive Biodynamic grape has deep purplish black color with a nice bloom (natural protective waxy dust). Extremely sweet with few seeds.
- Thompson Green Seedless Grape: Small, amber Biodynamic grape from local grower, Marian Farms. Intensely sweet, juicy flavor; hand-picked at peak ripeness. Offered in sustainable recyclable paper totes.
- Thomcord Grape: hybrid of the Thompson Grape and Concord Grape. Plump, juicy, with mild but sweet flavor. Seedless with gorgeous blue-black color.
- Yellow Nectarine: volume is steady. Enjoy the last weeks of summer stone fruit while you can!
- Yellow Peach: abundant supply with great tasting varieties still available: Summer Gold, Summer Blaze, Summer Flame, and more!
- Bunched Spinach
- Brown Turkey Figs: our main grower is reporting poor harvest yields
- Corn: high worm pressure is impacting supply on bicolor and white corn; seeing the last of supply for the season.
- Iceberg: gapping
- Lettuce: leaf lettuces, Little Gems and Romaine availability is tightening quickly; prices are up. September is generally a transition period for the planting of leafy crops as well as transitioning between growing regions. To add to the mix, extreme hot weather has damaged crops; expect gaps and shortages.
- Table Carrot
- Young Thai Coconut: gapping due to delays at the port.
Done for the Season:
- Green seedless Muscat grape
- Piel de Sapo
- Yellow Corn