Rhubarb season is here and we hope you’re ready! Rhubarb is a unique vegetable with a beautiful red coloring and a shape reminiscent of celery. Due to rhubarb’s sour, tart flavor, the veggie is never eaten raw – but it creates a wonderful flavor combination when paired with something sweet. This is why, even though rhubarb has been familiar in Europe since ancient Greek & Roman times, it wasn’t a popular food until the advent of cheap sugar in the 17th and18th centuries. Native to China, and known as a medicinal plant, it has been used for millennia.
Even though rhubarb is a vegetable, it’s often used as a fruit, and is very popular in juices, jams, pies, and sauces. Rhubarb sauce is commonly served as a side to meat and savory dishes, or served over ice cream or pound cake as a dessert.
While we all love our strawberry-rhubarb pies, it’s important to keep one thing in mind – you need to trim the leaves before cooking or eating rhubarb. The leaves have high quantities of oxalic acid, also found in spinach and amaranth, but might cause tingling in sensitive tissues. Once you trim the leaves and wash your rhubarb, you’re good to go!
Looking for some inspiration as rhubarb season picks up? We found this great article with 28 recipes for rhubarb. Something for everyone!
You can also check out this great 2~ minute video from our merchandiser, Kerri, on how to merchandise rhubarb.
Prepping for Cinco de Mayo
Cinco de Mayo is quickly approaching and it’s a great holiday to promote in any produce department. Here are a few quick ideas for how to plan for a successful holiday.
Plan with your Account Manager: Discuss display ideas with your Account Manager, and secure orders for items in your display as early as possible.
Produce Themed Displays: Plan on featuring items like avocados, limes, jalapeños, zucchini, mangoes, cilantro, and tomatoes. Did you know Cinco de Mayo is the second largest holiday for avocados in the USA? Super Bowl is the biggest! Make sure you build big, festive displays with lots of color contrast.
Recipes: Try incorporating recipe cards or signage explaining all the uses of different produce items and what they pair well with.
Cross Merchandise: Design displays around salsa and guacamole themes. Cross-merchandise produce displays with items like tortilla chips, fancy gourmet salts, or citrus reamers. Coordinate with other departments in your store to see what other cross-merchandising opportunities are available!
Have Fun: Holidays like Cinco De Mayo are a great opportunity to get creative, to try something new, and to experiment with your displays!
New and Exciting
Abate Fetel Pear: (pronounced ah-BAH-tay-fuh-TEL) Long considered “Italy’s favorite pear,” there was a time when these weren’t available outside of Europe. But the secret’s out now, and these delicious pears are ready to move. These long-neck pears have a wonderfully distinct sweetness, and should be eaten when crisp.
Artichoke: Artichoke supply was thin for the last few weeks, but it’s finally here in good numbers, and we’re so excited to welcome the season! We hope you enjoy the mild earthy, nutty flavor of this delicious vegetable.
Fava Bean: This springtime bean should be coming any moment. Fava beans have a milder taste than lima beans, and offer a creamy, earthy, nutty, experience with a flavor that is slightly sweet. A chef’s favorite, we recommend them in soups or salads!
*Flowers: Sunflowers will be starting soon, and are a wonderful way to brighten up store displays. Reminder that April 18th is the deadline for Mother’s Day flower orders!
Potato: California potatoes are starting up, with Yellow A in plentiful quantity. Round to slightly oblong-shaped, with thin skin that is pale to golden yellow, the Yellow A potato has a buttery flavor with a creamy, somewhat waxy, texture. They are well suited for boiling, steaming, mashing, roasting, grilling, and au gratin dishes.
Purple Broccoli: This broccoli has a striking purple color and will make your produce aisles pop! A reminder, heat will dissolve the purple pigment, so to retain the beautiful coloring, it’s best eaten raw, in salad, or crudité.
*Rhubarb: An incredibly versatile vegetable that has a uniquely tangy flavor. It pairs perfectly with sweet fruit in pie and jam. This beautiful ruby red veggie is coming out of Oregon, and is ready now. Get shoppers fired up for something new!
Young Thai Coconuts: Coconuts are back in stock! These coconuts are harvested before they have time to fully mature and fall from the tree. Inside is a refreshing juice and a soft jelly-like meat. This white coconut meat offers a sweet flavor that is soft enough to be eaten with a spoon.
Bell Pepper: Yellow and Red bell peppers are steady and low priced. Add a little color to your shelves with these beautiful fruits!
Blackberry: These plump, juicy berries are super sweet and are coming out of Mexico in great quantities. Ready to move!
Cherimoya: Cherimoyas, also called custard apples, are coming back! They have a texture like creamy custard, and a uniquely sweet flavor that tastes like the best parts of banana, vanilla, mango, papaya, pineapple, and coconut! Fun Fact: They used to be marketed as dinosaur eggs!
Celery: Great quantity coming out of Mexico. Promotable pricing on this classic refreshing vegetable!
*Hass Avocado (left): We have great supply, especially on 60 count and 84 count, which are promotable, from Las Palmalitas Ranch, an exclusive VV supplier. The Hass avocado is such a popular variety for a reason – its creamy, smooth texture and nutty, sweet finish are delicious, as well as nutritious! Talk to your account manager to get ready for Cinco de Mayo!
Ruby Red Grapefruit: Refreshingly sweet and juicy, with just the right balance of tartness. Great supply on these delicious grapefruit from B&J Ranch, an exclusive VV supplier.
*Tommy Atkins Mango (right): These mangoes out of Mexico look amazing, with a beautiful red and orange blush. They have a wonderfully sweet flavor and are perfectly juicy. Promotable pricing!
Yellow squash: Steady supply with prices coming down!
Hard squash: Sizes are somewhat small and quantities are a little unpredictable
Globe Eggplant: Prices are up
Lime: Limited until May
Roasted garlic in jars
Done for the Season