Morel of the Story: Eat More Mushrooms

Assorted shiitake mushrooms

Mushrooms are a unique food because they are actually fungi, and not a vegetable. And while there are an astonishing 14,000 different mushroom species, only 300 species are edible for humans, and only about 10 species are grown commercially. We can now find mushrooms at any grocery store and trust they are perfectly edible, but this wasn’t always the case. In ancient Rome, the emperor had an official taster to make sure his mushrooms were safe to eat!

Mushrooms boast numerous health benefits—they are the only non-animal food that supplies us with dietary Vitamin D. They have also been used for medicinal purposes for centuries, acting as antibacterial, immune system enhancers, and cholesterol lowering agents. They’re also a great low-calorie source of fiber, protein, and antioxidants.

But we love mushrooms for more than their health benefits–they also taste amazing! Mushrooms are versatile and equally at home in a salad, a sauté, a soup, or a delicious Thanksgiving gravy. They are also the vegan’s best friend, as they offer a meaty texture and add a savory, umami taste to any dish. Plus don’t forget that protein – oyster mushrooms have the most protein by weight.

We have a variety of mushrooms available – both the staple ‘shrooms and the wild-harvested and specialty fungi to liven up holiday dishes! Talk to your Account Manager to get set up with mushrooms this Thanksgiving season.

Top Tip: Keep your mushrooms fresh and lasting longer by storing them in the fridge, in an open paper bag, lined with a paper towel.


Merchandising Corner

shelf talkers in a grocery store

Let’s Talk Shelf Talkers

Retail signage, especially shelf talkers, plays an important role in customer education and product promotion. During busy periods, shelf talkers can be an extension of your produce department, sharing product information when clerks may not have time to chat with customers. Just a little bit of info can build shopper confidence and push them to try a new item or buy more!

Here are a few tips to create and use your shelf talkers effectively.

  • Address the common FAQs. How should I store this product? How can I cook it? What does it taste like? Shelf talkers are great at addressing these common questions, and save your staff time for more pressing tasks.
  • Be strategic. Not every item needs a shelf talker. Consider the items you want to call out and get people excited about, the items you need to move fast, or the items you get the most questions about. You can also rotate shelf talkers from week to week, depending on what needs to be pushed. Keep everyone guessing what will be featured next!
  • Add some flair. If your signs have blank space, add in some extra details that can help drive purchases, such as promotional pricing, farm information, or something as simple as ‘NEW!’ or ‘Staff Favorite.’
  • Cross sell. If your shelf talker includes recommended pairings or ways to cook an item, place those ingredients nearby, and make it easy to add to the basket!

In preparation for the Thanksgiving holiday, we’ve prepared complimentary shelf talkers of the most popular Thanksgiving produce items. Use these signs to educate staff and customers, drive sales, and celebrate these beloved holiday staples.

Download and print our complete set of Thanksgiving shelf talkers.

Simply cut and display on your produce shelves. Laminate for reuse, or recycle when no longer needed.


Weather Watch

While several days of rain and snow in California has ski bunnies jumping for joy, many crops are less pleased, at least in the short term. Broccoli, cauliflower, and leafy green harvests are impacted, as it’s too wet to send a crew to the fields, straining already tight supply from the heat wave last month. Citrus grower Buck Brand had to suspend the harvest at the start of their season due to the wet weather.

As days shorten and temperatures drop, we expect more impact on crops across all categories. Oregon mushroom grower, Top Hat Mushrooms, has reported that cooler air circulating from outside into their temperature-controlled rooms has stunted growth on their Shiitake mushrooms. Heath Ranch and other citrus growers are waiting for color, so cold nights are welcomed, which makes orange rind turn orange!

New and Exciting

Autumn Glory Apple: Some describe this apple as tasting like apple sauce, others say it’s like cider. Crisp and sweet with a subtle, cinnamon caramel flavor, this apple works great both in baked recipes and eaten out of hand.

D’Anjou Pear: Red and Green D’anjou pears are pear-fect for building a striking display this season. D’Anjous are juicy and have a fresh, sweet and slightly tangy flavor. The skin color does not indicate any taste or texture difference.

Fairchild Tangerine: Coming soon from VV exclusive grower, B&J Ranch! Juicy, rich flavor. One of the sweetest of the tangerine family.

Grape Paper Totes: Seedless Red and Black grape paper totes are back in stock from Benzler Family Farms! Just in time to excite your environmentally-conscious customers this Thanksgiving. Both Red and Black grapes are available in 20-pound boxes, with 12 totes each.

Radicchio: These heirloom winter chicories from Rundle Family Farms are totally rad! Radicchio Bianco is round and similar in shape to the better-known Chioggia variety, but has green leaves and is only mildly bitter. Sugarloaf Radicchio is an oblong variety with green leaves resembling Romaine hearts in appearance. The flavor is earthy and pleasantly bitter. Excellent raw, but gets sweeter when cooked! Great on pizza, broiling is a staff favorite!

RosemaryRambutan: This tropical fruit is a close cousin to Lychee and Longan. Similar in texture to a grape with a sweet, slightly floral, and tropical flavor. To enjoy, split the skin and peel it back to get to the white fruit inside. Don’t worry, the spines look sharp but are soft and bend back easily. Watch out for the seed inside!

* Retail Herbs: Herbs are an essential ingredient for Thanksgiving dishes. These specialty herb mixes are convenient and pair perfectly with poultry, meats, and seasonal veggies. The Poultry Mix includes Rosemary, Thyme, and Sage while the Holiday Mix includes Rosemary, Thyme, Sage, and Savory.

Satsuma Tangerine: The winter citrus season is starting up and we couldn’t be more excited. First on the docket, the oh-so-popular Satsuma! Sweet, juicy, seedless, and easy to peel—a staff favorite! Available in beautiful 5-pound gift boxes, ship them to your distant relatives and gift to your neighbors!

* Specialty Mushroom: Foraged food lovers are rejoicing as wild mushroom season is well under way. Lobster, Chanterelle, and Matsutake are a few of the specialty varieties we’re excited about. Lobster mushrooms are known for their meaty texture, their sweet and nutty aroma, and a lobster-like taste. Chanterelles have a peppery flavor with notes of fruit. Matsutakes have a firm, meaty texture and spicy flavor. But more than their taste, Matsutakes are appreciated for their unique sweet pine-like aroma. Check our list for full availability and get your pre-orders in before Thanksgiving!



cranberry close upBrussels Sprout: Stock up on this popular winter veggie. Clean, nicely sized, and locally grown in California!

* Cranberry: ‘Tis the season for cranberries! We have 8 oz, 12 oz, and 24 oz retail packs! Talk to your Account Manager about which pack type is best for your holiday needs.

Fuyu Persimmon: Fuyus are a delicious and versatile winter fruit—eat fresh, use for baking or a sweet alternative to tomatoes in salad! Volume-fill and 1-layer cases available. Bins are also available by pre-order!

garnet sweet potato* Garnet Sweet Potato: #1 Garnets are readily available at promotable prices. Check out our new local supplier, Pacific Union Produce, growing sweet potatoes in California’s Central Valley for nearly a century!

Keitt Mango: Sweet deals on this large, green-skinned variety. California-grown and delicious. Get ‘em while you can!

Lemon: Sharp pricing on Mexican-grown choice and fancy grade fruit.

Lime: Supply is plentiful for California-grown fruit. Volume deals available—ask your Account Manager!

Russet Potato: Fantastic deal on 50-pound bales (10 x 5-pound bags). This versatile spud is anything but basic. Mashed, baked, or made into crispy French fries, Russets are well-suited for any number of Thanksgiving dishes.



Baby Bok Choy

Bell Pepper: Both locally grown and Mexican-grown bells are extremely limited

Broccoli and Cauliflower: Rainy weather has impacted harvests affecting already limited availability.

Cantaloupe: supply is very limited; prices are up

Cucumber: Mexican grown slicer cukes are becoming limited

Honeydew: Gapping until mid-November

Honeynut Squash

Lettuce: All Gapping or limited; iceberg, leaf, and romaine are very expensive.


Red Cabbage

Red Kabocha Squash

Strawberry: Local production is ending soon; expect a gap until December when Mexican-grown fruit from the Baja region comes on.

Tomato: Cherry, One & Two-Layer, and Tomato-on-Vine are limited


Done for the Season

Apple: California-Grown Pink Lady, Orin, Pinova

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