The fall season brings not one, but two varieties of delicious persimmons: Fuyu and Hachiya. In Greek, the Fuyu persimmon’s botanical name, Diospyros means “divine fruit.” In Japan, persimmons are considered the country’s national fruit. Persimmons may be slowly gaining popularity in the U.S, but they have been cultivated for over a millennium in Asian countries.
While both Hachiya and Fuyu have a predominantly sweet flavor and are orange in color, the similarities stop there. Hachiya persimmons have an acorn shape and reddish-orange skin. They are also very astringent, and should be consumed when they are ripe.
At peak ripeness, the texture will be extremely soft and requires gentle handling. The gelatinous fruit takes on a sweet flavor with notes of mango and apricot.
Hachiya are ideal for sweet applications such as muffins, bread, ice cream, and puddings. In Japan, Hachiya persimmons are revered for their drying ability and are traditionally made into hoshigaki, a process that involves hanging Hachiya from a string for weeks to enjoy as a sweet, chewy snack.
Fuyu persimmons, on the other hand, are non-astringent and can be eaten raw at varying levels of ripeness. Their shape is squat, similar to a tomato, and their texture is firm with a satisfying crispness that enhances the apricot cinnamon flavor.
Hard squash is here, and it seems like new varieties are popping up every year. When you have such classics like Butternut, Delicata, Spaghetti, and Acorn, how do you choose what other varieties to bring in?
The answer really depends on the size of your department. Do you have room for a mixed bin of squash? This is a great option and generally offers a better price point. When you bring in a bin you can also bring in random cases of squash that aren’t in the bin and mix them in to create an even larger selection to choose from. If you don’t have room for a bin of squash, you can easily create a smaller display that works with the size of your department. Rotate the varieties you bring in. Keep one or two of the staples in stock and change out the other varieties. This is also a great way to keep your customers happy with standard varieties while also introducing them to new ones. Here are a few suggestions to get your customers excited about all the winter squash and keep them coming back to try them all.
- Introduce new varieties in an endcap with ingredients to prepare the squash. For instance, make a display with the Black Futsu, surrounded by walnuts, cranberries, onions, bagged quinoa, and olive oil to generate interest and provide inspiration. Including recipes in any display like this is always recommended.
- Provide shelf talker signs describing flavor notes and best ways to prepare.
- Mixed bins are great but sometimes they are a bit confusing for customers who are unfamiliar with the different varieties. Whether you carry mixed bins or not, it’s always a good idea to provide small displays with the individual varieties separated—this will help customers understand what the specific squash varieties are.
- Build displays with complimentary items like herbs, greens, mushrooms, leeks, apples, persimmons, pears, and pomegranates. These are all other produce items that pair well with squash.
New & Exciting!
Black Futsu Squash: Sweet and slightly nutty, with a smooth, creamy texture. It has deeply ribbed, bumpy skin that changes from deep black-green to a warm orange buff color as it grows. Great roasted, fried in tempura, pureed in pies or soups, or pickled. The skin is edible! Check out our hard squash guide for more great info!
Chestnut: Heath Family Ranch (VV exclusive) has a limited crop of huge sized and particularly sweet nuts this season–get them while you can.
Fair Trade Hass Avocado: Mexican fruit now at more attractive prices; supply is not yet steady.
Finger Lime: taste is similar to a typical lime but less sour. The flesh comes in the form of small caviar-like beads, and can be sprinkled on any number of dishes.
Kanzi Apple: Hybrid of Gala and Braeburn. The name is South African for “hidden treasure.” Extreme juice and crunch with a flavor punch. One of Europe’s favorite apples!
*Pomegranate (above) Wonderful variety here now! The sweet and tangy arils are perfect for eating fresh, sprinkling on a salad, or juicing.
Quince: #2 fruit readily available—perfect for manufacturers and processers. Jams, jellies—yum!
*Tetsukabuto Squash (right) The sweet, earthy flavor has rich notes of hazelnut and browned butter. The green skin is dark, appearing almost black. Flesh is golden yellow. Check out our hard squash guide for more great info!
*Yellow Dragon Fruit (left) The sweetest and most coveted of all the dragon fruit! Bright yellow skin, white flesh, and pleasant floral notes. We love this one in fresh, fruity salsa that pairs well with fish, or just eat it straight out of the skin with a spoon.
Bartlett Pear: The classic pear flavor with lots of juice and a smooth, buttery texture.
Blueberry: Peruvian grown fruit is in steady supply. Sweet, juicy, and high in antioxidants, these are perfect for healthy recipes all season long.
Brussel Sprout: Readily available with great quality. Roasted, steamed, or chopped finely for a winter slaw, there’s no wrong way to enjoy this cruciferous powerhouse.
Bunched Spinach: Good volume and the price is sharp.
Butternut Squash: Sweet, nutty, and earthy flavor with texture that is softer than a roasted sweet potato. Extremely versatile & popular; lends itself to roasting, pureeing, mashing, and soup.
Cranberry: Canadian-grown berries are here now with steady supply. With a tart, invigorating taste, cranberries aren’t just for Thanksgiving! Add to your smoothie, yogurt, or fall salad for a pop of color and flavor.
Dino Kale: The quintessential super food is a must have item for warding off cold weather illnesses. Fun Fact: It is often called dinosaur kale because it’s said to resemble reptile skin.
*Fuyu Persimmon (left): delicious, sweet flavor—like an apricot sprinkled with cinnamon. The skin ranges from light yellowish-orange to deep reddish-orange, and the fruit with darker skin will typically taste sweeter.
Honeycrisp Apple, Pink Lady, and more: Heirloom varieties are winding down but there are still many specialty and classic apples available. Envy, Mutsu, Rosalynn, Smitten, and more! Sharp pricing and steady volume on the apple heavy hitters Pink Lady and Honeycrisp. Lots more to come!
Lemon: Check out the combo pack—competitive pricing and nice alternative for choice grade fruit.
*Spaghetti Squash (right): Mild, sweet flavor with yellow pasta-like strands. Perfect for a low-carb noodle substitute.
Seedless grapes (Red, Green, Black): Grape season is still going strong. Get ‘em while you can! Green, red, and black seedless varieties are still in good supply.
Arugula: recent rainy weather is impacting supply
Baby Peeled Carrots: expected to be limited through mid-November.
Bell Pepper: transitioning back to Mexico for the season; supply is still tight and limited
Heirloom Tomato: winding down for the season
Oyster & Lion’s Mane Mushrooms
Passion Fruit: colder weather is causing the fruit to color up slowly
Strawberry: local strawberry season ending soon; Mexican supply not yet available.
Sunburst Squash: A bright yellow, scallop-type squash with mild and tender flavor. New, but limited.
Tomato: TOVs and Roma both limited as we transition out of local supply to Mexico-grown fruit. Prices are up.
Done for the Season