Avocado lovers rejoice! California avocado season is fully upon us. Did you know Hass avocados are native to California? California postman Rudolph Hass grew avocado seedlings in his suburban orchard, named the variety after himself, and patented it in 1935. Hass avocados gained popularity; the fruit has a delicious rich, nutty, slightly oily taste. Hass avocado trees outpace other varieties as they grow vigorously and produce an impressive amount of fruit. Hass’ thick, pebbly skin also makes them easier to handle and ship, providing long lasting, sturdy but delicious fruit.
The avocado originated in south-central Mexico, sometime between 7,000 and 5,000 BCE. However, it was several millennia later until avocados were cultivated. Archaeologists have found domesticated avocado seeds buried with Incan mummies dating back to 750 BCE and there is evidence that avocados were cultivated in Mexico as well.
California-grown Hass avocados have great availability and pricing—just in time for the Cinco de Mayo holiday, avocado toast, guacamole, tortilla soup, and more!
Cinco de Mayo Planning with La Montanita Co-op
Cinco de Mayo is quickly approaching and a great holiday to promote in produce departments. This week, we chatted with Heather Mallery, the Produce Manager of La Montanita Co-op in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This is the first year La Montanita Co-op will run a centric Cinco de Mayo theme throughout the store. Heather shares her plans on how to execute for the upcoming holiday:
- Plan with your Account Manager: Discuss display ideas with your Account Manager. Secure orders for items in your display as early as possible.
- Produce Themed Displays: Plan on featuring items like avocados, limes, jalapenos, 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: Heather’s produce department plans on designing 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!
Get creative and have fun! Trying out new holiday displays or promotions could turn into annual campaigns your store takes on.
Heather Mallery, Produce Manager of La Montanita Co-op in Santa Fe, New Mexico
New & Exciting!:
- Amber Crest Peach*: Stone fruit season is upon us! Here now and in good supply until the beginning of May. Large sized fruit. Full red finish on exterior, with bright yellow flesh. Full flavored and juicy. Prices trending high for this early-season variety.
- English Pea*: California-grown starting up. Large, bright green inedible pods encase round, succulent, and tender peas. Flavor is fresh and sweet.
- Fava Bean: Large, plump, flat green beans are developed inside thick, bright green, elongated, inedible pods. Each bean is encased in a white, waxy, and semi-translucent skin. The skin is edible and has a chewy texture. Fava beans have a sweet, earthy, and nutty flavor. When cooked, texture becomes soft and buttery.
- Green Bean: California-grown here now! In steady supply and looking great.
- Globe Eggplant*: California-grown starting up. Meaty texture and large size make them perfect for grilling season.
- Kylese Apricot: Starting up the first week of May. Attractive orange skin. Freestone flesh has balanced acidic-sweet flavor.
- Short-Day Onion: Spring is a transitional time for onions. Storage, or long-day, onions are done for the season and short-day onions are coming on. The first onions of the spring season are called short-day because they are planted in the fall and their growing patterns are matched to days with shorter periods of sunlight. Short-day varieties offer a sweeter flavor profile and shorter shelf life compared to long-day varieties. Be mindful when merchandising as short-day onions have thinner, lighter colored, and fewer layers of paper skins—making them susceptible to nicks or bruises. Make sure to remove loose skins to keep your displays looking fresh!
- Ume Plum: Bright green exterior and no larger than a golf ball. Firm, incredibly sour. Never eaten raw! Best used in pickling or made into vinegar, infusions, or jam.
Did you know…Ume plums are the fruit of the Japanese apricot tree? They are popularly used when they are harvested young to make salty pickled plums called Umeboshi.
- Zucchini*: California-grown starting up and in strong supply. Great to display with other grill-ready veggies!
- Hass Avocado: California-grown. Middle sizes in great supply from VV Exclusive grower Las Palmalitas Ranch. Make sure you’re stocked up for the upcoming Cinco de Mayo holiday and beyond! Rich in flavor with a high oil content. A staple for avocado-lovers!
- Little Gem Lettuce*: California-grown in flush supply.
- Persian Cucumber: Very strong supply with soft pricing. Talk to your Account Manager for volume deals!
- Pixie Tangerine: In flush supply with sharp pricing. Volume deals are available!
- Rhubarb*: In strong supply with promotional pricing. Stalks range in color from light pink to ruby red. Appearance and texture is similar to celery. Flavor is clean, fresh, tart and astringent. Most often cooked down with sugar for dessert applications like jams, or pies; also wonderful with savory flavors in chutneys. Can be used in raw applications such as juicing or in salads. Great to cross-merchandise with strawberries!
- Sugar Snap Pea*: In great supply! Tastes sweet and succulent. Click below to watch Kerri Williams, Field Merchandiser at VV, showcase spring peas and share valuable retail merchandising tips!
- Yellow Potato: California-grown new crop in great supply!
- Bell Pepper: Red and yellows extremely limited with high pricing. Orange bell prices are trending up.
- Cauliflower: Very tight in supply. Romanesco availability is shaky.
- Corn: In short supply due to growing regions transitioning. Availability expected to improve by the second week of May.
- Meyer Lemon: Gap in supply until mid-May
- Mini Watermelon
- Napa Cabbage: Remains limited
Done for the Season:
- Pinkerton Avocado