Mangoes are beloved for their bright color and intensely sweet, tropical flavor. The mango is purported to be the most widely grown edible fruit on the planet (beating out bananas), and is cultivated in every tropical region. Mangoes are believed to have originated in South Asia, (India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar) thousands of years ago.
The mango is culturally, economically, and nutritionally important in many parts of the world, and is the national fruit of India, Pakistan, and the Philippines. Some of the biggest producers of this cherished fruit include Mexico, Peru, Brazil, and Nigeria, with India and China being the largest growers.
Fun Fact: although related to cashews, mangoes are classified as stone fruit (similar to peaches, cherries, and plums) because there is one hard seed surrounded by tasty fruit.
There are over 500 varieties of mangoes, varying in color, taste, and size. Some of the most popular varieties in the USA are Ataulfo, Kent, Keitt, and Tommy Atkins.
- Ataulfo: Small sized, with bright yellow skin, and a lima bean shape. Sweet with a non-fibrous creamy, smooth texture.
- Kent: Yellow skinned with a slight red/orange blush. The Kent offers a sweet, succulent flavor and near fibreless flesh. Tends to be softer than other varieties when ripe.
- Keitt: Green skinned with light red blush. Ripeness is indicated by a slightly soft texture. Their non-fibrous flesh has a creamy texture and a honey-sweet flavor.
- Tommy Atkins: The most widely marketed mango. The skin is green with a red and yellow blush. It has a large round shape, with fibrous flesh that makes it firm, hardy, and long-lasting, hence its commercial success
At certain festivals in South Asia mangos are given as seasonal gifts; one perfect fruit can be auctioned for the equivalent of hundreds of US dollars!
Ataulfo and Kent mangoes are available now, with Tommy Atkins coming in soon. The Kents are on their way out, so you’ll have to act fast!
Most Anticipated Spring Items
Despite our prolonged rainy season, spring products are starting to make their appearance. Bring these items in now and get customers excited for the season! Here are merchandising tips for some early-spring items that will have your produce department looking bountiful!
Asparagus & Artichoke: California-grown artichokes and asparagus are sure signs of spring, and both will be in abundance soon. Pair their striking green with orange citrus, bright yellow lemons, white onions, or colorful red apples for an appealing color contrast. Asparagus should be succulent, crisp, and firm. Pull any stalks that look withered or soft. Artichokes should be firm when given a slight squeeze. Post a grilling recipe beside to inspire customers on how to enjoy these delicious vegetables.
Pixie: Pixie Tangerines from Ojai are some of the most anticipated citrus of the season. They are sweet, seedless, easy to peel fruit, and they deserve a stand-alone display. Offer a few pounds of pre-bagged fruit for a quick, impulse buy. Build a combination display of bulk and bagged fruit to give customers options.
Mango: Ataulfo and the soon-to-arrive Tommy Atkins mangoes basically sell themselves, so don’t be afraid to go big with your mango display. This fruit can be worked into any dry table display, and complements avocados, peppers, citrus, and other tropical fruit like bananas, pineapples and papayas. If you don’t have enough shelf space to accommodate a large display, try making floor-stacked displays in a high traffic area. Mangoes store at room temperature and come in the perfect sized box for stacking within your sizable and exciting display.
The Produce Department Manual provides tools and resources for product ordering, inventory management, in-store merchandising, and more.
Save time and boost sales with our ready-made shelf talkers. Shelf talkers help educate employees and shoppers alike, with flavor notes, nutrition, and eating tips.
Jayleaf Retail Greens Shelf Talkers
Fair Trade Avocado Shelf Talkers
California’s Salinas Valley is currently experiencing significant widespread flooding. Both the Salinas River and Pajaro River breached their levees in several areas due to heavy rainfall. Farms have to delay planting until fields are accessible, and with more rain expected in the coming weeks, it is uncertain when the ground will dry out enough for people and equipment. Strawberries, in particular, are greatly affected; a massive clean-up needs to happen before the full damage can be understood. We know lettuce, berry and bunch greens will have volatile pricing months from now, due to short supply. We will share any updates.
For more information, view this 1 minute video or read the related article.
Rain and cold weather in the Salinas Valley is also affecting other crops: arugula will continue to gap as long as the cold weather continues, and baby spinach leaves are growing slowly. Other regions in California are also challenged by the rains: citrus growers are unable to get into orchards to pick due to wet conditions. New crop Hass avocado harvest is also delayed, making the market a bit unpredictable.
Random and damaging hail hit many fruit and nut orchards in the Kingsburg area in the Central Valley, but damage to stone fruits has yet to be determined.
New & Exciting!
* Bartlett Pear (right): Bartlett and Red Bartlett pears are coming in from Argentina. Bartletts are juicy, with a refreshingly sweet flavor and buttery smooth texture. Red Bartletts offer the same delicious taste but with striking red skin. These pears are best eaten when ripe. Apply gentle pressure to the stem end, and if there is a little give, then the pears are ready to eat!
Fiddlehead Fern: This unique looking vegetable has the appearance of a tightly wound, small coil, and is popular with chefs. It is vibrant green, with a taste similar to asparagus. Sauté or steam lightly for a great, fresh flavor.
New Crop Potato: New crop potatoes are coming soon! New potatoes are freshly harvested and cured before packing, but never stored. Yellow potatoes will be here by mid-late March. The flesh is firm and dense with a waxy texture and buttery flavor. Red potatoes will be here in the first week of April. They have a mild, earthy flavor and are extremely versatile. Learn more about new crop potatoes in this article.
* Pixie Tangerine (below): Ojai tangerines have a strong following, and the Pixie is one of the most popular. Pixie tangerines are seedless, easy to peel, and remarkably sweet. They have low acid, but just enough tang to keep the flavor exciting. Super popular with kids and citrus lovers!
Tommy Atkins Mango: Mexican-grown Tommy Atkins are coming on soon! This variety has attractive coloring and is known for its long shelf life and hardiness during handling.
- Granny Smith: The classic baking apple has strong volume and good pricing.
- Cosmic Crisp: Large and strikingly red, this somewhat new variety is a cross of Honeycrisp and the Enterprise apple with a refreshing taste and a growing fandom.
- Pink Lady: This sweet-tart apple is high in both sugars and acids, giving it an exciting flavor. Check out the Washington Extra Fancy 100 Count and Premium 113 Count for juicy deals. Ask your Account Manager about pallet pricing!
Asparagus: Mexican Asparagus is expected to be in strong supply through April, with promotable pricing.
Cara Cara Navel Orange: Cara Caras have pink flesh and a complex, tangy-sweet taste, with just a hint of berries. Plentiful supply with inflation-busting price!
Cremini Mushroom: In great supply, and available in 5-Pound cases from our new Canadian mushroom grower, Champs.
* Kent Mango (below): The last of the Peruvian Kents are here. They are deliciously sweet, with a beautiful red blush, and priced to move. Get them before they’re gone!
Red Cabbage: Bright, beautiful color with a mild, peppery taste; the flavor mellows and becomes lightly sweet when cooked. In comparison to its green counterpart, Red cabbage has 10x more vitamins and antioxidants.
Ruby Grapefruit: Sweet-tart flavor with light pink flesh that is mostly seedless. Great promotable price from B&J Ranch, a VV exclusive grower.
*Strawberry: Extra sweet deals on strawberries, with strong supply out of Baja, Mexico.
TDE Tangerine: Sweet, seedless, and easy to peel, the TDE is a beloved tangerine. The season is nearing its end, so act fast!
Beet: Red and Gold are both limited.
Green Bell Pepper: Limited, costs are up.
Lion’s Mane mushroom
Done for the Season
Celebrate B Corp Month With Us!
As a B Corp, we consider the impact of our decisions on our staff, growers, customers, community and the environment. We demonstrate this commitment to building a sustainable food system in all aspects of our business. Here are a few ways we do this every day:
- We recycle, compost, or reuse 99% of our waste.
- Our warehouses are powered by solar and renewable energy.
- Our sustainable fleet uses renewable diesel and produces near-zero emissions.
- We have donated over a million pounds of food to the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank and anti-hunger organizations
- We support small farms and pay farmers fairly.
- Our pay scale from the highest to most entry level worker is only 4:1
Learn more about B Corp on our blog!
Food Movers & Shakers
Courtesy: Katie Brimm and Modern Farmer
Kristyn Leach is a farmer, champion seed saver, educator, and entrepreneur. She runs Namu Farms, located in California’s Sacramento Valley, in partnership with the Namu Restaurant Group, which provides their San Francisco restaurants with organic Asian produce. Kristyn mostly grows Korean and East Asian herbs and vegetables as a way to stay connected with her South Korean heritage and culture.
Kristyn’s deep-rooted dedication to saving seeds is the motivation behind her farming practices. She believes “If you control seeds, you control food.” She co-founded Second Generation, a seed company and California farmer collective that connects Asian communities to their traditional crops. The work is especially personal for Kristyn, who places great value on being connected with the foods of one’s culture and homeland.
Many nutritious and delicious heirloom varieties are in danger of extinction, due to consolidation and corporatization of the seed industry; without the care and attention of seed savers, these ancient foods will be lost forever. On her farm, Kristyn experiments with seed breeding to create heirloom crops that are tolerant to drought, appropriate for California conditions. By blending cultural history, science and a sense of place, Kristyn Leach is an inspiring agricultural activist, developing food security and food sovereignty, literally from the ground up.
Kristyn also co-runs Seed Stewards, an educational program that provides communities the opportunity to share their stories around Asian heritage foods, fruits, and vegetables. Says Leach “Whether you garden, farm, or kill every plant you touch, you still play a role in the preservation of culture as it exists in food.”
Learn more about Kristyn Leach and the importance of seed saving in this 4 minute video.