The tomato is considered one of the most popular vegetables in current Western culture, although it is actually a fruit! The wild tomato originated in the Andes in South America. It was then cultivated by the Incas and Aztecs in Mexico around 700 A.D. The word “tomato” is derived from the Aztec word tomatl. Tomatoes were delivered to Europe by homeward-bound Spanish conquistadors in the fifteenth century. North America was introduced to the tomato from Europe in the eighteenth century.
Tomatoes are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, lycopene, magnesium, and iron. They come in a large variety of sizes, shapes, and colors. Cherry tomatoes are direct decedents of the wild tomato and the first tomato species to be domesticated. They range in size from the tip of a thumb up to the size of a golf ball. They can range from spherical to slightly oblong in shape—the latter of which are known as grape tomatoes and share characteristics with plum tomatoes. California-grown cherry tomatoes are bursting into season and tasting wonderful. Their flavor is a fine balance of sweet and tart. Add these delicious summer treats to your order today!
How to Organize Your Produce Department Systems
Need a boost to get your produce department more organized? Here are a few tools to fine-tune ordering and keep workflows moving– all while making sure nothing gets overlooked!
- Loss Log: Keeping a loss log is the first step in controlling inventory. Anytime product is pulled off the floor, keep a record of what and how much you are tossing out. You may discover you are throwing out more than you are selling. If you do not have access to daily/weekly sales reports, you can use the data in your daily loss log and compare it with what you have purchased, providing you with your total shrink.
- Par Sheet: Creating a weekly par sheet will help you keep your orders on track and your inventory under control. A par sheet will be easier to set up if you have access to weekly sales reports. But if you don’t have access, you can start by taking a month’s worth of invoices and averaging out your weekly purchases. The next step is dividing the totals between the number of deliveries you get. For instance, if on average you order 8 cases of celery a week and you get deliveries 3 times a week, that’s (2.66 cases) 3 cases of celery you need to order per delivery. This is how you will start the par list. If this is a new program you are introducing to track sales and inventory, you will need to maintain tracking, comparing, and adjusting amounts until you find your true weekly par. Most accounts find out that they are missing out on sales because they are running out of staple or popular seasonal items. Sales reports will not tell you that information because they don’t track missed sales but tracking your ordering will. If you are always selling out of celery or almost running out to the point you have no back stock and your floor display is almost empty the day before your next delivery, it’s a safe bet you could up your order by a case or so to keep your display looking full and attractive to your customers which will lead to increased sales.
- Daily Shift Guidelines: Laying out clear expectations for each shift of your team will help keep them on task and working efficiently and effectively. Instead of walking into the department every day without plans, filling holes, and putting out fires; make sure to set up and outline clear shift duties. When your team knows what they are expected to accomplish during their shift, it makes their efforts run more smoothly. The best method for outlining the shift duties is using scheduled breaks to set benchmarks for task completions. List tasks that need to be accomplished before the first 15-minute break, before lunch, last 15-minute break, and ending with what needs to be done before clocking out–including cleaning up their work area before leaving for the day. Having each shift be responsible for specific duties will ensure that all the needs of the department are taken care of each day because all important tasks have been assigned and delegated.
New & Exciting!:
- Brussels Sprouts*: California-grown here now and looking great!
- Japanese Eggplant: California-grown starting up. Long and skinny shaped. Dark purple almost black in color. Spongy, white flesh contains tiny seeds. When cooked, flavor is mild and sweet with a tender texture.
- Listada Eggplant: California-grown. Small, typically 5-6 inches in length and egg-shaped. Striking coloring with violet and ivory striping. Excellent flavor and very thin skin. When cooked, stripes disappear.
- Majestic Pearl Nectarine*: Very large size. Dark red exterior has very little freckling. White flesh. Great flavor- very sweet with sub-acid notes. One of the best eating nectarines of the season!
- Piel de Sapo Melon*: Name means “toad skin” in Spanish. Oval and long, with a striking rind. Sweet flesh ranges from white to pale green coloring. Extremely aromatic and a staff favorite! Long shelf life and displays well.
- Red Fresno Chili Pepper*: Looks similar to a red jalapeno but has wider shoulders and a hotter flavor. Red Fresno peppers have a slight note of sweetness with their heat. They are often pickled or blended into sauces. Spice up your summer offerings and order now!
- Rosa Bianca Eggplant: Exterior is white with purple stripes. Medium-sized, bulbous in shape. Delicate flavor, less bitter. White flesh has fewer seeds than other varieties.
- Ataulfo Mango*: Oval-shaped and slightly crook-necked with a golden yellow exterior and bright yellow flesh. Exterior skin of is tough. Inner flesh is soft, sweet and juicy.
- Bean: French, green, Romano, and yellow varieties all back in good supply. Add some beautiful beans to your summer displays!
- Celery: In very strong supply and looking great!
- Cherry Tomato*: In robust supply and tasting amazing!
- Goddess Melon*: Here now with special pricing. Oval shaped with slight suturing and medium coarse netting. Soft orange flesh tastes exceptionally sweet and juicy.
- Golden Nugget Tangerine: Seedless, sweet tangerine named after its bright orange, slightly bumpy rind. Sweet, full-bodied flavor. Promotional pricing and deals available! Talk to your Account Manager to order now!
- Grape*: Central Valley production is really kicking in, with all colors of seedless, red, green and black! Also, specialty types like petite Champagne grapes are in good supply. Environmental paper-totes are on their way, let your Account Manager know your preferences.
- Mini Seedless Watermelon*: This summertime essential melon is tasting great from VV exclusive grower Rundle Family Farms!
- Blackberry: Very limited in supply.
- Crookneck Squash
- Raspberry: Gapping in supply.
- Retail Greens: Somewhat limited with prices on the rise due to production and labor costs.
Done for the Season:
- California-Grown Apricot
- Hami Melon
- Rainier Cherry