Lucky Citrus and Lunar New Year

This year, Lunar New Year falls on February 12th and will be ushering in the year of the Ox. For many who celebrate this holiday, food and especially citrus play a vital role during Lunar New Year. Many citrus varieties are considered symbols of luck, abundance, and good fortune. They are frequently displayed as decoration and presented as gifts. The round shapes and golden hues of citrus symbolize fullness and wealth. Wholeness is another important concept during the Lunar New Year. Wholeness symbolizes a good beginning and end to the year, but also the completion in work and life. Citrus fruits are typically presented with the leaves and stems still on them, ensuring wholeness and balance.

Citrus varieties are also lucky for the sound they bring when spoken. The Chinese word for mandarin sounds similar to the word for “gold.”  Mandarins around the home at Lunar New Year are thus said to bring riches into your life. The Chinese word for orange sounds similar to the Chinese word for “success.” The Chinese word for pomelo sounds like “to have” and “again.” Eating pomelos is thought to bring continuous prosperity. Traditionally the more pomelos you eat, the more wealth it will bring!

Try adding signage to citrus varietals, touting their importance and symbolism for Lunar New Year. Citrus will be in high demand well into the new year. Make sure your store is stocked up on all “lucky” varieties!


Managing a Successful Ad Program

BriarPatch Cia Harden

Cia Harden is the Lead Produce Buyer at BriarPatch Food Co-op in Grass Valley, California.


Curating a great ad program is essential for keeping customers excited and coming back. Cia Harden, Lead Produce Buyer at BriarPatch Food Co-op in Grass Valley, California shares her insight and strategies on how to manage a successful ad program. Cia has been with BriarPatch Food Co-op for nineteen years. She knows what her customer’s buying patterns are and what they are looking for. Here’s what Cia takes into consideration when developing an ad program:

  • Track Inventory: Keep an eye on your daily inventory and know when and how much product is moving through your department. This is key when making buying decisions and selecting good items to put on ad. It’s easier to increase sales on a product that customers love and frequently buy. Tracking will also help guide when you need to up or back off on ordering. By tracking inventory, you will be able to give accurate projections to your suppliers and secure products for your ad cycle.
  • Pricing: Attractive sale pricing is very important. Finding the sweet spot for an item’s pricing will directly affect product movement. With a great ad price, you can more than double your normal movement.
  • Displays: Display location is a very important to consider when planning your ads. Make a grand visual impact on customers the moment they walk into the department. Place displays in high foot-traffic areas. Build a large display with popular items that tend to move quickly. Proper placement is essential for optimizing movement and success.
  • Promote: Work with your marketing team for in-store and social media support to bump up your ad offerings. Print out special in-store signage for products like staff testimonials, flavor notes, and recipe cards. Promoting the ad on social media is a good way to get the word out to the public.

BriarPatch Produce Department

 BriarPatch Food Co-op’s Produce Department.



New & Exciting!:

Apple - Crimson Delight

  • Crimson Delight Apple: Cross between Gala and Splendor apples. Great storage life. Crisp, sweet, and flavorful with a slightly tangy finish. Brilliant crimson red coloring with an occasional slight golden blush.
  • California-Grown Hass Avocado*: New crop is just starting. Supplies will be light for another month.
  • Kumquat*: Meiwa, Nagami and Mandarinquats are here! Kumquats are small, bite-sized oval citrus with a sweet yet slightly bitter edible peels. Pulp is juicy with a mildly acidic and tart taste. Meiwa kumquats are the sweetest variety. Nagami kumquats are more oval in shape and tastes more sour than other varieties–perfect for jams and jellies. Mandarinquats are a hybrid of mandarins and kumquats. Mandarinquats can be eaten whole. Twice the size of a kumquat with a teardrop shape. Flesh tastes slightly tart while the rind is very sweet.

Citrus- Minneola

  • Minneola Tangerine*: Round with a large, pronounced neck at the stem end which gives them a ‘bell-like’ appearance. Skin is red-orange, mostly smooth, and easy to peel. Orange flesh is sweet, tart and juicy with few to no seeds. Available until the end of February. Order now!
  • Murcott Tangerine: Medium-sized, round, and slightly flattened at both ends. Thin rind is easy to peel. Flesh is bright orange with a juicy, sweet flavor. Can be seedless or may have a few small seeds.

Pomegranate - I Love Pomegranates Arils 4.4oz Cup

  • Pomegranate Arils: Here now! Fresh pomegranate arils in convenient 4.4-ounce cups. Great superfood to offer customers looking for pre-packaged and easy-to-eat produce.

Did you know…most of the health benefits that pomegranates are known for comes from eating the arils? Pomegranates are known as a superfood thanks to their high levels of antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber!




  • Brussels Sprout*: Volume deals available. Talk to your Account Manager!
  • Green Cabbage: Strong supply.
  • Celery: Domestic and import availability has improved and supply is steady. Softer pricing.


  • Cherimoya*: Velvety, thin, light green skin that has the appearance of overlapping scales. The inner white pulp offers a sweet flavor that is a blend of banana, vanilla, mango, papaya, pineapple, and coconut flavor notes. Texture is soft, smooth, and custard-like. Flesh is studded with large, black inedible seeds.
  • Collard Green
  • Ginger: Peruvian yellow ginger in good supply with softening prices.

Tomato Mixed Heirloom

  • Heirloom Tomato*: Bountiful volume of Mexico-grown. Talk to your Account Manager for volume deals!
  • Kent Mango*: In good supply. Dark green exterior often has a bit of red blush. Sweet flavor. Texture is juicy, tender, with limited fibers. Add a tropical twist to your displays!
  • Maple Syrup: Organic maple syrup products from Maple Valley Co-op here now! Ask your account manager for details on the February promotion.
  • Meyer Lemon: Looking sharp! Talk to your Account Manager about volume deals!
  • Shiitake Mushroom*: Supply is flush and looking great.
  • Snow Pea: Strong availability.

SugarBee Apple

  • SugarBee Apple*: Tasting great! Rich flavor, very sweet, and extremely crispy. Thin and glossy skin is a bright red blush with yellow-green undertones.
  • Zucchini: Prices softening as availability picks up.
  • Zutano Avocado: Last of the domestic greenskins. This bright colored fruit offers a great value.

*Staff Pick




  • Berry: Inclement weather severely affecting raspberry supply. Prices continue trending higher. Strawberry extremely limited with gaps in supply. Domestic blueberries are gapping until the mid-February. Import blueberries are in better supply.
  • Cucumber: Persian and English Hot House very limited with gaps. Cold and wet weather has affected production. Prices on the higher side.
  • Jalapeno Pepper: Extremely limited with high pricing.
  • Lion’s Mane Mushroom
  • Oyster Mushroom: Limited availability expected until mid-February.


Done for the Season:

  • Bacon and Fuerte Avocado
  • Chanterelle Mushroom

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