"Luke, I am Your Fava"

You don’t have to go to the dark side to enjoy a taste of this delightful spring vegetable. Fava beans, AKA broad beans, are known for their tender texture and earthy “vegetal” flavor. The plant is in the legume family known as ‘pulses;’ the beans are extremely nutritious, with tons of protein and fiber. Favas are annual plants that grow from seeds. They are relatively drought tolerant and are often planted in the fall or early spring. Common as a cover crop to replenish the land, favas are highly valued by organic and subsistence farmers because they put nitrogen back into the soil.

Fava beans have a rich history and were domesticated in the Mediterranean basin and the Middle East over 11,000 years ago. Scientific evidence suggests expansive cultivation occurred in many ancient civilizations, including Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece, and Rome. Today, fava beans are grown in many countries including Italy, Spain, Morocco, Egypt, India, China, the Sudan, and increasingly in the USA.

Fun Fact: In 2016 the United Nations encouraged “the need to heighten public awareness of the nutritional benefits of pulses and to further sustainable agriculture.”

With their distinctive buttery texture and subtle nutty undertones, these beans offer a delightful contrast to the crispness of other spring vegetables. They are versatile and are enjoyed in many cuisines. Most traditionally they are steamed or boiled until tender, and tossed or mashed in a mixture of salt, olive oil, and lemon juice. Grill and eat like edamame beans, or puree and spread on crostini. They are also a great base for dips, stews, soups, and even falafel.

Like many beans, they are often shelled and dried for later use. But favas, in particular, are a culinary delight when fresh. Remember: fava beans are okay but are not often eaten raw. Blanching in hot water and a dip in an ice bath makes shelling a breeze!

Fun Fact: Many Sicilians believe that fava beans bring good luck and therefore it is prudent to carry one in your wallet or pocket and to always have a few in the pantry.


Are We There Yet?

There is so much to look forward to as we ease into Spring. Slightly cooler than average temperatures have slowed most crops from maturing.  Here’s what’s ahead in the coming weeks!

Apricot: Growers are reporting a good crop this season!

Cherry: We expect the California harvest to start by May 3rd. Heavy yields are expected, which means small sizes generally, but great prices. Here we go!

Corn: Arriving mid-May.

Greens: New-crop local bunched greens are just around the corner.

Kiwi: As the California crop finishes, we expect New Zealand kiwi to start up.

Nectarine: If we’re lucky, we may see a small trickle at the end of May!

Peach: Expecting the season to start the last week or two of May; the season will really get going in June.

Tomato: Veliz Family Farms says their California-grown cherry tomatoes will start at the end of May.


New & Exciting!

Bosc Pear: Crisp and woodsy with a honey sweetness.

ZucchiniCantaloupe: Mexican-grown melons are back in supply for the next 6 weeks. Delicious and juicy!

California-Grown Green Bell Pepper: Coming soon!

California-Grown Green Bean: Coming soon! Delicious snappy beans are on their way!

California-Grown Zucchini (right): Local supply of sweet and tender zucchini squash has begun! The season is just kicking off so expect supply to be a little erratic to start.

New Crop “Short-Day” Onions: With Spring comes the arrival of new crop or “short-day” onions. Spring/summer onion varieties 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 onions are sweeter than storage onions and have thinner lighter-colored skins. Be gentle, as they bruise more easily. These are best used fresh and not over-cooked. All of our onion growers are transitioning to short-day varieties.

Rhubarb (left): Rhubarb and strawberry go together like PB&J! Now that the local strawberry season is underway, build up displays, recipes and promotions featuring both spring superstars.

Strawberry: Ripe sweet berries from beloved Tomatero Farm are here! Availability will continue to improve as long as the weather cooperates!

Stueve Organic Eggs: Now that winter is over, the chickens are back in action. Stueve eggs are in good supply again!



California-Grown Asparagus (right): Tender, grassy and sweet, asparagus tastes best in-season right now! We source ours from cult favorite Durst Organic Growers in Yolo County.asparagus

Fava Beans: AKA Broad Beans. The flavor is delicate, buttery and nutty. Supply is plentiful for spring promotions!

Nagami Kumquat: Plentiful supply from Beck Grove, in Southern California. Complex tart-sweet flavor that is deliciously addictive. The entire fruit is edible, including the skin, flesh, and seeds. Eat them fresh or cook them in marmalades, jams or as a dessert topping.  Try topping pasta with thin slices of kumquats and hazelnuts and a drizzle of hazelnut oil, lovely and surprising, no sauce needed! Beck’s kumquats are Biodynamically grown.

Cinco de Mayo Favorites

Cinco de Mayo falls on Sunday, May 5th. Get ready for a weekend of food-centric celebrations with these must-have items!

  • Cilantro: Readily available at promotable pricing. The perfect garnish for any number of Cinco de Mayo dishes.
  • Cucumber: Slicers are steady and low-priced. English Hot House and Persian are plentiful. Cucumber spears are a healthy alternative to chips for scooping guacamole!
  • Hass Avocado: Great price and supply on California-grown 48 count fruit from Calavo Growers and Foothill Organics. No celebration is complete without guacamole! As well as premium grade, we offer sharply priced #2 grade Hass, a great inflation buster! Tell your Account Manager what you need for this big weekend, and we’ll get those avos to you!
  • Limes: Rapidly displacing lemons in American food culture, limes are essential!
  • Mango: Ataulfo and Tommy Atkins have strong volume and sharp pricing! Both are perfect for this easy and delicious mango salsa.
  • Medjool Date: Deliciously sweet Medjool dates paired with the spicy flavor of Tajin chili lime seasoning makes for a mouth-watering Cinco de Mayo snack!
  • Ruby Grapefruit: You heard it here first, grapefruit margarita! Get deals on all sizes from B&J Ranch.
  • Tomato: Good supply and price on red grape, TOVs and mixed heirlooms. Tomatoes are a must for Cinco de Mayo dishes!
  • Tortilla: Mi Rancho organic tortillas are available in whole wheat, flour and corn. Made locally in the Bay Area with simple ingredients.
  • Sour Cream from Straus Family Creamery: what taco is complete without some “crema”?

Avo-cation Corner

Hass Avocado

Las Palmalitas Ranch as well as other California growers need your support this year, more than ever. This year’s crop has a high percentage of exterior cosmetic damage. Thrips are a small leaf-eating insect that can sometimes cause scarring on avocado or citrus skin and requires it to be graded choice or #2. The avocado flesh is unaffected; the fruit inside looks and tastes just as delicious as ever. Please educate your staff and customers on the value of “inner beauty” of fruit and vegetables. It’s particularly important to support small farms by using all they grow! Join us to prevent food waste!



Bunched Leafy Greens

Cauliflower: Limited, costs are up

Celery: Limited, costs are up. New crop celery is expected to come on in late May/early June.

Chili Pepper: Jalapeno and Poblano are both still limited.

Lettuce: Limited/gapping all types.

Meyer Lemon

Navel Orange




Done for the Season

Red & Yellow Dragon fruit



Merchandising Corner

Cinco de Mayo display

Prepping for Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo is quickly approaching and it’s a great holiday to promote in any produce department. Here are a few quick ideas for how to plan for a successful holiday.

Plan with your Account Manager: Discuss display ideas with your Account Manager, and secure orders for items in your display as early as possible.

Produce Themed Displays: Plan on featuring items like avocados, limes, jalapeños, cilantro, mangoes 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: Design displays around salsa and guacamole themes. Cross-merchandise fresh produce displays with items like tortillas, 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: Holidays like Cinco De Mayo are a great opportunity to get creative, to try something new, and to experiment with your displays!


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