The Northwest pear season is in full swing, and we couldn’t let it pass without a tribute to the elegant pear.
Pears are one of the most popular fruits in the world and have been for thousands of years. They were cultivated in China by 2,000 BC, or earlier and were a favorite of ancient Persians, Greeks and Romans. Homer, the ancient Greek author, called the pear “a gift from the gods.”
Fortunately, the gods have been kind and today, there are at least 3,000 known varieties of pears grown in China, Italy, and the USA. The most common ones we see are the Bartlett, D’anjou, Bosc, Asian pears, (such as Hosui & Shinseki), Comice, and Red pears (such as Starkrimson & Red D’Anjou). That’s just the tip of the pear iceberg though!
The texture of pear flesh varies by variety, from crisp & juicy to soft & creamy to grainy & sugary. Pears are packed with dietary fiber and are high in heart-healthy potassium. An extremely versatile fruit, pears are great for eating fresh out of hand, in salads, in baking or added to savory dishes. Sweet and chewy dried pears are a staff favorite. There’s no wrong way to enjoy a pear!
Whether you’re just building up your pear program or looking to spruce up your winter fruit display, there’s a pear for you. Talk to your Account Manager to find your pear-fect match!
During the winter months, the citrus category shines brightly, bringing warmth, joy and delicious fruit! From grapefruit to pomelo, kumquat, orange, tangerine, citron and more–we’ve got you covered with our comprehensive Citrus Variety Guide.
Download and print this 1-page Citrus Variety Chart for quick reference throughout the citrus season.
Herb is the Word
Herbs are particularly popular at this time of year when meals are centered around warm savory dishes. During the fall and winter, we see an increased demand for Chives, Rosemary, Sage, and Thyme as well as holiday specific blends. As wonderful as they are, herbs are delicate and require a high level of maintenance. For most produce departments, herbs are one of the most frequently tossed out items due to shrinkage. So, the big question is bunched or packaged? The answer depends on how quickly herbs moves in your produce department.
Clamshell packed herbs generally have a longer shelf life than “naked” bunched herbs. The plastic clamshell offers protection from the harsh airflow in the cold case and helps to keep them from drying out when sitting on a dry table. This is particularly helpful for finnicky herbs like Basil. The clamshell also reduces damage caused by excess handling, climate and storage, making them lower maintenance than bunched herbs—a good option if you’re tight on labor. Although clamshell herbs have a longer shelf life, they still need to be moved quickly and checked daily for product breakdown.
Bunched herbs are visually more attractive and are environmentally friendly- no excess packaging!. Bunched herbs can be stored in containers with a small amount of water to keep them fresh. They can be kept like this for a day or two but ideally need to be moved out quickly before they start to look tired. If you are not selling through certain herbs fast enough, clamshells for those varieties might be the better option for your store.
Don’t forget to educate your staff and shoppers on best practices for storing herbs once they get home. Optimal storage can prolong herb life and reduce waste by several days!
- At home bunched herbs can be stored in a container like a mason jar on the countertop with a small amount of water. If the herbs will not be used in a day or two, consider an airtight container of choice in the refrigerator for longer storage.
- Clamshell herbs can be left out of refrigeration for a day or so but should be moved into refrigeration in a paper bag if they need to be stored longer.
Need an herb assessment? Contact Kerri Williams, our Merchandiser at firstname.lastname@example.org, for an in-person or virtual consultation!
New and Exciting
Cara Cara Navel Orange: Very sweet with hints of cranberry and blackberry, and low acidity. Beautiful pink raspberry colored flesh makes this a seasonal favorite.
* Cosmic Crisp Apple (left): A cross between a Honeycrisp and an Enterprise, these apples are large and strikingly red, with a sweet , tart balance, and refreshing flavor. The name comes from the impression their ruby red color, with little specks of yellow, looks like a brilliant night sky. This variety is slow to oxidize, making it ideal for fresh recipes: salads, cheese boards, or dipped in nut butter as a snack
Cherimoya: Also known as Custard Apple thanks to its soft, creamy texture, this sweet tropical fruit tastes similar to banana and pineapple. Eaten raw when soft to the touch, like an avocado; the skin and seeds are not edible. Native to the Andes in South America cherimoya is appreciated chilled, or in compotes, ice creams and drinks.
Daisy Tangerine: From B&J Ranch, a VV exclusive grower in Coachella, this tangerine is perfectly balanced between sweet and tart. Expect some sporadic seeds! The classic tangerine flavor is worth it. Available in medium, large, jumbo and mammoth sizes.
Finger Lime: are back from Edulis Garden, get them while you can.
Mixed Heirloom Tomatoes: Heirloom season in Mexico is just starting up! Our mixed medley pack is from Ram’s Farm, known for their high quality and consistent flavor. Varieties in the pack may include Pink Brandywine, Black from Tula, Kellogg’s Breakfast and Ananas. Watch this 3-minute tasting video for a sneak peek of what to expect!
Maple Candy: Made with organic maple syrup and nothing else, this all-natural treat makes for a great stocking stuffer! Each 1.5-ounce box comes with six candies in an assortment of decorative shapes. Learn more about Maple Valley Co-op (a farmer owned co-op) and their sustainable practices!
*Rambutan (right): Spruce up your produce displays with this beautiful fruit that is closely related to Lychee. Almost furry-like in appearance, it has a soft red and green spiny outer shell that is a sure conversation starter. The shell peels back to showcase the sweet mild fruit reminiscent of grapes in texture with a light perfume flavor. Native to Southeast Asia, this fruit was grown by a family farm in Guatemala! Rambutan has long shelf life and freezes well!
Fun Fact: In Vietnam, rambutan is called chôm chôm, which translates to “messy hair” and references the fruit’s “hairy” exterior.
Apple: Honeycrisp USXF grade (this grade has less red color but the taste is just as fantastic) and Pink Lady are on the list. Competitive pricing and promotable.
Bacon Avocado: California-grown greenskin with rich buttery flavor. Ask your Account Manager for volume quotes (as size permits).
* Brussels Sprout: The sprout market is flush; prices have come down. It’s a good time to promote this popular winter item. Ask your Account Manager about volume deals!
Bunched Collard: Prime season for this versatile vegetable. Steamed or sautéed heat will mellow the mildly bitter taste and bring out a subtle earthiness. Great deals happening now! Cook up a mess of greens!
Cranberry: Promotable pricing on the 18 x 8-ounce bag and 12 x 12-ounce bag. Thanksgiving may be over, but there is still a place for cranberries in the kitchen and the cocktail and mocktail bar. The sweet-tart flavor is a perfect complement in pies, muffins, chutney, compotes and more.
Delicata Squash: Local supply of this delicious winter squash remains strong. Highly nutritious, easy to prepare with a wonderfully creamy flavor when cooked. The skin is edible—no peeling required!
Globe Eggplant: The meaty quality makes this variety an ideal protein substitute. Absorbs flavor well and maintains texture during cooking. Sharp pricing and readily available!
*Satsuma Tangerine (right): Supply is plentiful on this fan favorite citrus. Easy to peel, sweet, seedless, and extremely juicy!
Soft Squash: Prices are falling; excellent deals are happening on Zucchini and Straightneck squash.
Broccoli & Cauliflower: remains tight until desert production picks up at the end of the month. Cold weather has delayed harvest.
Celery: Remains limited; prices are up.
Gold Kiwi: Winding down for the season but Green Kiwi remains in good supply
Grape: Red and Green grapes are extremely limited.
Herbs: Makrut lime leaves are expected to gap through December and possibly into the Nea Year. Thai Basil is coming back into supply. Supply is tight on bunched Italian Parsley.
Leaf Lettuce: Limited or gapping until desert production gets into full swing, price remains high.
Leek: Supply is tight.
Melon: Larger size Mini Watermelon are becoming limited.
Passionfruit: Very limited
Pomegranate: Winding down for the season. Arils expected to be available through January.
Done for the Season
Fuyu Persimmon bins