It must be summer, because the temperature is heating up and we find ourselves craving that oh-so-refreshing taste of a juicy watermelon from Rundle Family Farms.
Watermelons have been quenching thirst for thousands of years. Their known history dates back over 5,000 years to southern Africa, where the drought resistant ancestor of watermelons first grew. The fruit was prized for its ability to store water, and early explorers even used watermelons as canteens. Throughout the warm climates of the world, farmers selectively bred varieties and saved their seeds.
During the 20th century, significant progress was made to improve the watermelon, such as the introduction of the seedless watermelon. More recent variations focused on making watermelons that vary in size, are disease resistant, and even have more flavor. Regional favorites and heirloom varieties, like ‘Moon & Stars’ and the huge oblong ‘Charleston Grey’ are often only available at Farmers Markets these days.
We’re excited to eat our share of watermelon as we gear up for grilling season and all the outdoor fun that summer brings. Fun Fact: the heart of any watermelon has the most sugar.
Check out our Merchandising article about how to sell watermelons. And watch our watermelon tasting video, with some more great merchandising tips!
Talk to your account manager and make sure that you’re fully stocked up on watermelons this summer! We’ll have Rundle Watermelons on special for the 4th of July holiday as well.
Getting ready for the 4th of July
The 4th of July is the biggest holiday of the summer and the perfect time to showcase all the best summer foods. Here are some key things to focus on to make sure your customers have a great time.
- Watermelon bins are a must for the 4th of July. Even a small store can move through an entire watermelon bin over the holiday, because everyone is looking for this fruit! If there isn’t space for a full bin, you can floor stack cases of mini melons at registers for quick impulse buys. Also, remember to keep bins shaded if they’re outside.
- Berries, berries, berries. Make sure to have your department stocked with plenty of berries with an emphasis on strawberries and blueberries. Berries will be used for everything from salads, to drinks, to desserts. Inspect daily for the beginning signs of breakdown, and cull out all undesirable looking fruit.
- Pre-cut fruits and other items. There’s always high demand for precut produce for the holiday, and fruit that’s been cut and wrapped will fly off the shelf. If this is something your store offers, make sure to have plenty of backstock prepared.
- Cross merchandising opportunities. The 4th of July is a big outdoor holiday, so supplies for the grill, plus beer and chips, are obvious items to add to your displays. Floor stacking beer, soda, and sparkling water next to your tables or in a standalone display is a great way to increase ‘basket size.’ Also, when stocking beverages don’t forget to add lemons and limes to your display!
- Stock up on stone fruit. Customers will be looking for peaches, nectarines, and apricots, as they have become popular grilling items and are fantastic when given a slight char. They’re also popular ingredients for holiday cocktails, desserts, and fruit salads.
- Corn-on-the cob. What more needs to be said?
This is our first edition of Weather Watch; we will use this section to bring you updates about how weather (and other factors) are affecting price, availability, or quality of the food we sell. We hope you find it useful!
- An extreme weather event in April brought snowstorms and prolonged frost to the Northwest, during cherry blossom bloom (see photo above). This is causing an unprecedented delay in production, and the overall crop is expected to be very short. We hope to see the harvest start by July, and prices are expected to be very strong as a result of the low yields.
- Summer heat in the Salinas region is ending local pea supply from Veliz Organic Farm and Luna’s Farm.
- Blueberries from Sierra Cascade Blueberry Farm have been lost due to the drought, an abnormally warm winter, and a strong frost that came in April. You can read more about it here. There may be some gap in blueberry supply until the Northwest production starts at the end of June.
New and Exciting
* Apricot (left): Royal Blenheim Apricots are here, and they have an incredible flavor and promotable pricing! Check out this Royal Blenheim tasting video. They have a beautiful color, but you’ll want to act fast – supply won’t last long!
Beans: Coming soon! Green, Yellow Wax, and Romano will be starting soon.
Pickling cucumber: Pickling cucumbers are here, and they’re ready to move! The flesh is succulent and crisp, but stays snappy, even after preserving! Homemade cucumber Kimchi, anybody?
Fig: Black Mission figs have just arrived. Uniquely sweet with a creamy texture, this fig has dark purple-brown skin, pink-red flesh, and is sure to satisfy.
Masumoto Peach and Nectarine: Fruits that VV staff always look forward to! The Spring Lady and Flavor Crest peaches from Masumoto Farm are delicious with a beautiful blush. The Rose Diamond Nectarines have yellow flesh and a wonderfully complex flavor that balances sweet and acidic.
Mixed Cherry Tomato: Coming soon from Comanche Creek!
Plum: Red Raven Black Plums have just arrived. They have dark skin and beautiful red flesh, with a sweet and juicy flavor. Great cooked in savory or sweet dishes, or for eating out of hand.
Yellow Dragon fruit (Pitaya): Yellow dragon fruit is considered the sweetest variety of dragon fruit, with the lowest acid. We love them and know you will too! Organically grown in Ecuador!
Bunched Broccoli: Promotable pricing with great inventory!
* Green Bean (right): Top quality coming in from Rundle Family Farms, our exclusive supplier. Strong supply with promotable pricing.
Lime: Prices are dropping again, and it’s the perfect time to stock up!
Melon: Cantaloupe out of El Centro have started producing in big volume, with promotable pricing; look for them on special from June 12 – 18! Honeydew are also coming on strong, with prices going down.
Mushroom: We have Crimini as well as a number of other varieties available.
Red Potato: Prices are coming down on Red potatoes. Great time to stock up!
*Red Flame Seedless Grape (left): These grapes have an amazing texture with a super sweet taste, and the prices just dropped!
Strawberry: Super delicious, with a beautiful color, and an even better price!
*Watermelon (right): Seedless bins are available in 36ct, 45ct, and 60ct out of Mexico as well as El Centro. Seeded bins are also available. Rundle Family Farms estimates that they’ll have mini watermelons and bins by June 18.
Yellow Nectarine: A great promotion or ad opportunity with strong supply and pricing This season’s nectarines are sweet and juicy!
Artichoke: As we move into the summer months, the higher temperature is causing the artichokes to flower. Artichokes will become limited by next week, but they will be back in the fall.
Avocado: Hass prices are still going up. Las Palmalitas is predicting increasing limits on supply, so expect prices to go up.
Cherry: This year’s crop from the Northwest is late to start and will be short in volume, due to late frosts & snowstorms. We hope to see harvesting start by July.
Globe Eggplant: Gapping out of Mexico. California ETA is July 1st
Young Thai coconut
Done for the Season
Abate Fetel Pear
VV is Hiring!
Veritable Vegetable is hiring for our trucking, warehouse, sales, and finance departments.
Check out our careers page to learn about these opportunities and see our full list of benefits!