How to Train Your Dragon (Fruit)

Dragon fruit are unique! Very few superfoods can boast an almost mythical appearance, cool name, amazing flavor, and be really good for you!

Dragon fruit are actually cacti, and like almost all cacti, they’re native to the Americas – specifically southern Mexico and Central America; they have been an important food source for indigenous people for centuries. Today, Vietnam is the leading producer and exporter of dragon fruit, and locals call it thanh long, which translates to “dragon’s eyes.” This is believed to be a possible origin for its common English name.

While dragon fruit looks like it’s from another world, the mild taste is actually familiar. It is often described as a mix of kiwi and pear, with low acidity and a sweet, floral flavor. Nutritious enough for dragons, dragon fruit is a good source of fiber, iron, and magnesium, chock full of anti-oxidants, with no complex carbs.

The internal flesh and edible part of dragon fruit comes in a variety of colors—white, pink, or red, with skin that is either yellow or red. The flavors are similar but vary in sugar levels. A true conversation starter, some cut samples will stop people in their tracks!

We offer a unique variety of dragon fruit called the California Sweet Dragon. It is a hybrid of darker fleshed fruit, with a super-sweet taste. Sure to fire up your taste buds!


Merchandising Corner

Seasonal Changeover: Apple Displays

Fall is approaching, and it’s time to switch from your seasonal summer displays to more fall focused items like new crop California-grown apples. Try some of these merchandising suggestions to keep your apple displays fun and eye-catching.

  • Decorative baskets help create displays with multiple levels. This allows you to merchandise and clearly label several varieties of apples. Consider adding a small display to your larger set of the more popular new crop apples like Gala, Fuji, and Granny Smith.
  • Cheese pairs well with apples and is easy to work into displays. Dry cheeses like Parmigiano Reggiano and aged Gouda can sit out of refrigeration for short periods of time, which makes them a perfect cross-merchandising item in any display.
  • Contrasting color breaks will draw attention to heirloom varieties and make the whole display pop. Retail signage also helps customers get to know a new or lesser-known variety.
  • As Halloween nears, consider building a caramel apple endcap to keep apple excitement going. Merchandise with ingredients like condensed milk, wooden popsicle sticks, caramels, and Maldon salt for salted caramel apples!
  • Cull and check daily for bruised and non-desirable fruit. The goal is to keep your displays fresh and fully stocked.


Weather Watch

Although the heat wave that swept through the Western states in early September has cooled down, the residual impact is still being felt across many categories of California-grown crops. The intense heat not only caused visible damage to crops, it made it impossible for growers to get in the fields to harvest, causing a rippling effect on supply.

Hamburg grapes from Marian Farms and Bronx grapes from Lagier Ranches burned up on the vine in 112-degree temperatures and became raisins! Both crops ended two weeks early, and were a loss for both farms.

Riverdog Farms’ melon crop cooked in the fields of Yolo County, near Sacramento. Fuji apples from Cuyama Orchards will be delayed, as the next harvest has fried in the heat.

Coke Farms saw heat damage on green beans and Brussels sprouts. Several local growers had to pull the plug on peppers because the skins were burnt.

Comanche Creek could not get into the orchards to harvest their pomegranates, and locally grown Roma tomatoes were roasted in the field.

Hurricane Kay approaching Baja California, Mexico

Jayleaf lost a crop of baby spinach in Hollister due to ‘tip-burn’ which is yellowing of the edges of each leaf. Cal-Organic is projecting major impact from the heat on upcoming table carrot yields; stand by for details.

Further down south, Hurricane Kay pummeled the west coast of Baja California with heavy rain causing flooding and evacuations for Jacobs Del Cabo. Mexican-grown cherry tomatoes, plum tomatoes and peppers are expected to be very limited. Hurricane Kay also caused floods in Sinaloa and other states in Mexico, resulting in a severe and sudden green onion shortage.

Please be patient as our Purchasing and Inventory Control teams are working around the clock to secure supply, minimize gaps, and ensure that you receive the best quality product available.


New and Exciting

Angelino Black Plum: This late season variety has dark red, almost black skin, with pale yellow flesh, and a pleasantly sweet flavor.

White Nectarine* Arctic Snow White Nectarine (left): The last white nectarine of the season is super- sweet with low acidity. It has a beautiful blush with lots of juice.

Black Garlic: Black garlic has a striking black color and comes from a garlic clove that has been aged with heat and humidity. It has a rich, earthy taste that is sweeter than a typical garlic clove, and the texture is creamy enough to be spread on bread.

Fun Fact: A 2014 health study found that anti-oxidant levels were much higher in black garlic than in raw garlic cloves.

* Dragon fruit [aka pitaya] (right): California-grown dragon fruit is here! This fruit (technically a cactus) has a beautiful dark pink colored flesh with a deliciously sweet and mild taste. The majestic pink and green exterior is sure to add a nice pop to your displays and generate excitement

Finger lime: Finger limes are back in stock! They have been called the caviar of citrus, as their citrussy beads are large and resemble brightly colored flying fish roe, or tobiko in Japanese. They taste like limes, but have a satisfying pop when chewed. Goes great on sushi or Hors d’oeuvres, and will make any citrus shelf stand out!

Floral: Snapdragon, Chrysanthemum, and Marigold are here and they’re all stunning! Keep an eye out for these new flowers on the floral availability list, and ask your Account Manager to sign you up if you’re not already receiving it.

Jonagold Apple: Large and sweet, with a satisfyingly tangy aftertaste providing a well-balanced flavor profile. These apples have pale skin with red streaks across the skin that make them stand out.

Jujube: While many people are used to seeing dried jujubes, these are fresh. A pale light green, almost white, with dark speckles, this sweet crunchy fruit is the size of a golf ball, with a very tiny pit. A superfood with great nutritional qualities, fresh jujube can be eaten out of hand, or used in savory soup and stews.

Scarlet Royale Red Grape: Sweet and seedless with a hearty crunch, this mid-season grape has dark red skin and is sure to satisfy your customers.

Ya-Li Asian Pear: ‘Ya’ translates to ‘duck’ in Chinese and ‘li’ means pear – so Ya-Li is often referred to as the Duck Pear. This juicy fruit has a distinct, elongated shape with a round base and long neck. Sweet and mildly tart, this pear is a staff favorite.



Artichoke: Prices are coming down and supply is improving. Look for artichokes from Rodoni Farms to start soon.

Blackberry: Reaching the peak of blackberry production with abundant supply. These local berries will knock your socks off – huge, firm, and dry, but very sweet.

Cauliflower: Steady volume with supply improving this week.

Celery: Bountiful volume of this staple item.

* Grape (left): Thompson green seedless grapes come in environmentally friendly totes, have a taste worthy of their cult following, and are in abundant supply. The great deals make this fruit taste even sweeter!

Hard Squash: Strong volume of Spaghetti, Kabocha, Delicata, Butternut, and Acorn.

Leek: Great deals on leeks!

Did you know – Leeks are members of the onion family and have been consumed since ancient times, even appearing in ancient Egypt archaeological sites, wall carvings, and drawings!

Pear: Flush volume on Asian pears, with solid deals on the 100 count Bartlett pear.

Reed Avocado: Creamy, rich, and priced to move!

Red Bell Pepper: Don’t miss the promotional pricing on the choice grade Red Bell pepper!

* Yellow ‘A’ Potato (right): Low in starch and a great all-purpose potato. Check out our potato guide to learn more.

Yellow Peach: Fantastic prices on the 48 / 50 count yellow peaches. Enjoy the last month of summer stone fruit before the season winds down.




Broccoli: Supply is improving, but is still limited. Broccoli crowns are limited.

Brussels Sprout: Limited due to aphid pressure.

Carrot: Sizing has been unpredictable.

Fig: Very limited, possibly gapping on the Kadota, Excel, and Adriatic.

Fuji Apple

Green onion: Hurricane Kay has disrupted supply.

Kale: Both Kale and baby kale have been affected by the heat wave, and are limited.

Pepper: California-grown mixed medley peppers were wiped out in the heat wave. Rain and flooding from Hurricane Kay damaged a lot of the Mexican-grown peppers.


Done for the Season

Avocado: California grown Hass have all been harvested, although we still have some sizes in inventory

Bronx grape: Burned up on the vine in 112 degree temperatures.


Grape: Red seedless grape in paper tote from Fruitworld and Capay Canyon

Muscat & Hamburg Muscat


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