Chili peppers are native to South and Central America. They are members of the Solanaceae or nightshade family—relatives of tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants—and belong, to the genus Capsicum.
In 1493, European contact in the Caribbean led to the spread of ‘New World’ peppers to other continents, along with many other crops, corn, chocolate, tobacco, and tomatoes among them. The Portuguese brought peppers to India in the early 16th century, and eventually spread farther east. American peppers were thriving in China and Japan within 50 years. Chili peppers have long been established in the cuisine and food culture of the area now known as southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico. Recently, chili peppers have become increasingly popular with their attractive appearance, flavor, and signature heat.
Not all chili peppers are hot, but many are. Pepper hotness is commonly expressed in Scoville Heat Units (SHU). One end of the spectrum are mild peppers, like the bell pepper with SHU score of 0. Peppers with SHU scores above 500,000 are designated to be superhot, like the ghost pepper with SHU score of a million! We carry a great Diablo Pepper Mix from Comanche Creek Farms that include California-grown Carolina Reaper, Ghost, Habaneros, and Paper Lantern peppers. Heat up your offerings and talk to your Account Manager about all the chili peppers we have available!
Tomatoes, Tomatoes, Tomatoes
Grocery stores, famers markets, and restaurants are all overflowing with the abundance of tomatoes from local suppliers and regional growers. Here are some tips from Meghan Kelly, the Produce Manager at Davis Food Co-op, on how to keep tomato displays fresh, interesting, and exciting throughout the season:
- Change up the display every few weeks to keep it looking fresh. Try displaying recipe cards for customers, which can also be great content to feature on social media.
- Utilize heirloom varieties. Go for impact and stack a few layers high on a good-sized table. They give a great visual and it is fun to spread out all the colors evenly– almost like you are coloring in a picture!
- Cross merchandise with tomatoes. Local garlic, basil and olive oils all go well with tomatoes.
New & Exciting!:
- Carnival Hard Squash: Small to medium in size. Round and squat with furrowed edges. Skin is thick with variegated spots and striped with white, oranges, yellow and green coloring. Flesh is firm, dry, and pale orange. When cooked, flavor is nutty, buttery and slightly sweet.
- Dragon Fruit: Brightly colored pink, thin skin that has the appearance of succulent scales overlapping, with green tips. Flesh is magenta and dotted with black edible seeds. Texture is like kiwi fruit. Tastes sweet with mild acidity. An antioxidant superfood with high amounts of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Try adding signage to your retail display to entice customers that are seeking nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables!
- Dry-Farmed Tomato*: Just starting up! Limited in availability. Supply will improve as season progresses.
Did you know…dry farming is the method where all irrigation is cut off is cut off after plants have become established? This lack of water stresses the plant, forcing its roots deep into the soil in search of water and focuses its efforts on producing fruit. Dry-farmed tomatoes are usually smaller and lower in yield, but pack tremendously intense flavor and a dense, firm texture!
- Gravenstein Apple: Skin has green to yellow undertones and is covered in red and orange striping. White flesh is crisp and rich in juice. Classic sweet-tart flavor with hints of honey. Touted as one of the best baking apple varieties!
- Green Bell Pepper*: California-grown from our exclusive grower Veliz Farm. Very strong supply.
- Hosui Asian Pear: Very round and medium to large in size. Flavor is sweet and slightly tart. Crisp and crunchy texture similar to an apple.
- Peach and Pluot ‘Fiber-Clamshells’*: Frog Hollow Farm new fiber-clamshells are compostable and great for retailers that are looking for plastic-free options! These environmentally friendly packs make it easy for customers to grab a pound of delicious stone fruit.
- Brussels Sprouts*: California-grown in good supply.
- Cucumber*: Slicers in plentiful supply.
- Fig*: California-grown Black Mission, Brown Turkey, and Kadota figs in good supply. Black Mission figs are extremely sweet with a deep purple exterior and beautiful pink interior. Brown Turkey figs have a brown to dark purple skin and a milder flavor than other figs. The interior tends to be a paler pink. Kadota figs have light green skin with pale interiors. They are less sweet than other figs and are perfect to use for jams and preserves.
- Gala Apple: California-grown new crop in great supply! Fruit is looking sharp and tasting great.
- Goldline Peach*: Rare white peach. Distinctive thin golden line runs through fruit. Extremely delicious with a balanced sugar and acid flavor.
- Grape*: Red, black and green varieties all in great supply with sharp pricing.
- Green Bean: California-grown in steady supply.
- Heirloom Tomato*: In very strong volume from Exclusive Grower Veliz Farm. Looking great. Sharp pricing with volume deals available.
- Lemon Cucumber: In good supply.
- Pear: California-grown Bartlett and Bosc pears in good supply.
- Yellow Nectarine: In good supply with sharp pricing!
- Zucchini: In very strong supply from exclusive grower Veliz Farm. Use this classic and very popular summer squash to make a beautiful display for your customers.
- Ataulfo Mango: Mexican fruit winding down.
- Berry: Raspberry in better supply, but still very limited. Blackberry is in short supply. Gaps are expected.
- Green Kabocha: Gapping.
- Lime: Inclement weather in Mexico is causing very limited supplies with very high pricing.
- Mushroom: Pink oyster gapping in supply until the third week of August.
- Orange and Yellow Bell Pepper: Limited in supply.
- Passion Fruit: Available in limited numbers. Small, oval shape. Skin color has dark purple and red hues. Interior seed cavity is filled with edible yellow to green jelly and medium black seeds. Pulp is very aromatic and has a tropical sweet tart flavor.
- Red Plum: Limited in supply.
- Tomato-on-the-Vine: Extremely limited.
Done for the Season:
- Green Seedless Muscat Grape
- Porcini Mushroom