Did you know there are more than 500 types of cultivated green beans? Green beans can be a myriad of colors, from burgundy to green to brilliant yellow. They are a class of edible podded beans grown specifically to be eaten while still “green,” meaning unripe and young. Green beans are known by many common names including French beans, string beans, snap beans, and the French name haricot vert.
All common green beans can trace their origins back to Central and South America. Historically, Native Americans plant the “three sisters” – corn, squash, and beans- together as corn stalks provide trellising for the trailing squash and beans! Known as companion planting, each ‘sister’ contributes to healthy soil, providing shade, nitrogen, or support for climbing vines to one another. Three Sisters companion technology was practiced in regionally appropriate ways by the Iroquois in Northeast America, called the Wampanoag method, the Missouri River nations, called the Hidatsa method, and in the arid areas of New Mexico by the Zuni.
Green beans are a powerhouse of nutrition and have high amounts of vitamin C, A, and B as well as protein, fiber, and folic acid. They are sweetly delicious and can be eaten fresh, charred, steamed, roasted, fried or even pickled! Green beans are a favorite of many for their ability to taste delicious in a variety of applications. Order up on California-grown green beans today!
Stone Fruit Merchandising
Rick Kilby, a retail produce veteran, has been the Produce Manager at Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op for the past five years. He has been through many stone fruit seasons and shared with us his go-to stone fruit merchandising tips.
- Delicately hand stack peaches and nectarines. These are fragile fruits and need to be handled with as much care as possible to maintain their integrity.
- Labeling the specific varieties is important for customer education. Yellow peaches are not all the same. Customers have favorites but there is always opportunity to introduce them to new exciting varieties.
- Cherries can easily be displayed in the poly bags or stand up pouches they are packed in. They can be stacked two to three layers high. Don’t worry, this won’t squish them. They are tougher than you think, and the bag does offer some protection.
- Use baskets or fiber pints to merchandise smaller fruits like Santa Rosa or Ume Plums. These fruits are on the smaller side and can easily get lost in larger displays. The baskets help them to stand out and get the attention they deserve.
- Try cross merchandising with summer grilling items. Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op has had great success with this. A peach and corn display they do every summer is wildly popular with customers.
- Stock up on top sellers. Yellow peaches and yellow nectarines tend to be the most popular. Make sure to always have plenty on hand.
- Don’t forget your color and texture breaks. Plums and apricots are great for breaking up the peach and nectarine varieties and keeping them from blending all together.
Stone fruit practically sells itself but working in some of these seasonal tips will help you boost your sales.
New & Exciting!:
- Black Plum: Crisp yellow flesh has a sweet and tart flavor. Early season variety that tastes spectacular! Great to add to stone fruit displays for color contrast.
- Blenheim Apricot*: Exterior is a rich golden yellow-orange hue. These delicate fruits bruise easily so be careful when building your displays! The golden orange flesh is firm and dense. Balanced honey-sweet flavor with hints of tangy, slightly acidic nuances. Fruit emits an aromatic, honeysuckle-like fragrance. In great supply and available in ReadyCycle compostable pints!
Did you know…Blenheim apricots ripen from the inside out? The best way to determine ripeness is to look for vivid, vibrant coloring. However, fruit can be perfectly ripe with hints of green on the shoulders!
- Dazzle Apple*: Bright red, glossy skin. Delicious, sweet flavor. Bright white flesh has unique, delicately crisp texture- similar to a watermelon!
- Floral*: Thomas Farm now offering ‘Assorted Farmers Choice Bouquets.’ A VV Exclusive offering of single variety bouquets. A mix of Thomas Farm’s best selection! Bunched Lavender is now available from Full Belly Farm!
- Lemon Cucumber*: Round, yellow, and tennis ball sized. Thin tender skin. Inner flesh is pale green to yellow with edible seeds. Flavor is milder than a slicer cucumber and slightly sweet. Cool, crisp texture.
- Melon*: Early Queen Black PlumCalifornia-grown cantaloupe and honeydew in strong supply. Make sure to build a large melon display for all the warm-weather picnics happening now!
- Okra*: Pods are pale green with furrowed lengthwise grooves. Great for pickling or cooked applications. Most commonly use in soups and stews. Good source of fiber and is said to help aid digestion.
- Painted Serpent Cucumber: Slender, elongated, and curved shape. Thin, edible skin has dark green and light green stripes with textured furrows. Crisp, sweet, and succulent. Flavor is similar to a slicer cucumber. Great for fresh, cooked, or preserved applications. Good source of potassium and vitamins C, A, and K.
- Rainier Cherry*: Beautiful coloring and tasting amazing. Skin is taut, glossy, and thin with a golden yellow base, covered in red and pink blush. Flesh is yellow to cream-colored. One of the sweetest cherry varieties and a popular favorite. Very limited. Talk to your Account Manager to order now! The California crop is short, but Oregon and Washington Rainier cherries will be coming in a few weeks.
- Red Beaut Plum: Early-season variety. Smooth red exterior with crisp, yellow flesh. Deliciously sweet and tart!
- Tomatillo*: California-grown in strong supply. Also known as husk tomatoes. One or two inches in size with a characteristic paper outer skin. Slightly sticky husk encloses a firm, green fruit. Slightly tart and acidic flavor. Perfect to use raw or cooked in salsas, sauces, or jams.
- Basil*: California-grown from Tomatero Farm in full swing with sharp pricing.
- Blueberry: California-grown fruit peaking in production and flavor. Add some to your order now!
- Green Bean*: California-grown in flush supply.
- Red Cherry*: All varieties of California-grown red cherries have been eating fantastic this season! Coral Champagne, Chelan, Benton, Bing, and Royal Hazel are all superb! Price should finally start coming down, demand has been very strong resulting in very unusual prices this late in the season.
- Specialty Potato*: California-grown specialty spuds are in good supply! Thin-skinned and new crop. Talk to your Account Manager for all the varieties we have to offer!
- White Peach*: Strong volume in 70/72 sizes with promotional pricing. Semi-thin, fuzzy skin has an ivory base coloring covered in red and pink blush. Bruises easily so be careful when building displays! Inner white flesh is soft, tender, and aqueous. Aromatic floral scent when ripe. Flavor is mildly sweet with very little acidic notes.
- Yellow Peach*: Smaller sized fruit in bountiful supply and tasting great. Talk to your Account Manager for volume deals!
- Zucchini*: In strong supply and perfect for grilling season! Try adding some to your BBQ-ready themed displays!
- Bell Pepper: Green and red bells very limited. Orange and yellow bells gapping in supply.
- Blackberry: Very limited with possible gaps in supply.
- Green Kiwi: Import in short supply.
- Jicama: Gapping in supply.
- Pixie Tangerine: Winding down for the season. Order now before they’re gone!
- Roma Tomato: Extremely limited in supply.
Done for the Season:
- Cara Cara Navel
- Golden Nugget Tangerine
- Murcott Tangerine
- TDE Tangerine