Spring is just around the corner and Ojai Pixie tangerines are entering the scene. Popular for its explosive sweet flavor, seedless flesh, and easy-to-peel exterior, Ojai Pixies are a late-citrus season favorite. Pixies are small, typically measuring one to three inches in diameter. Their pale orange peel has a pebbly texture. The flesh is segmented and separates easily. Pixies are grown in the unique microclimate of Ojai, California where extremely hot days are followed by cool nights—giving the fruit its characteristic off-the-charts sweetness.
Pixie tangerines were introduced in 1965 and have gained popularity and a devout fanbase. Add some sweetness to your spring displays with Ojai Pixie tangerines!
Planning a Produce Department Remodel
Getting new equipment and fixtures for your produce department is always exciting. Upgrading your store helps refresh the visual influence of your products and entices shoppers to buy more. Replacing equipment like an old cold case is a large and impactful project. We spoke with George Boulos from Isla Vista Food Co-op in Isla Vista, California. George has been the Produce Manager for the past five years. He shares his insight and tips on how to approach remodeling a produce department:
Evaluate Your Equipment: George noticed issues with his produce case from day one and started inquiring about a new case. He did research to figure out what case would be a good fit for the store and what would work with the store’s budget. When the old case finally got to the point where it became a financial and labor burden on the store, he was given the green light to purchase the new case.
Research: Do you want a new case or will a refurbished case work for your store? Do you have budgetary constraints? These are important questions to answer before you start searching for new equipment. Reach out to other stores to seek advice if you have trouble deciding.
Measure: Make sure the fixture you want to install will fit in the designated space, through doors and around corners it will have to maneuver around. You might have to plan to temporarily remove store doors or fixtures on installation day.
Coordinate: Coordinate with other in-store departments! Make sure everyone knows you have a big project or installation planned. Have a designated team ready to help clean once old fixtures are moved. Coordinate with outside support teams like electrical, refrigeration and plumbing. If your store is older, you may need to have repairs done before new equipment is installed.
New Equipment Specifications: George learned that after the new produce case installation, it needed to run for 24-48 hours before it could be filled with new product. George had to quickly adjust and execute a plan on continuing to sell product like lettuce without a cold case. Make sure you know the specifics of the new equipment purchased.
Adjust Ordering: Before installing, make sure to reduce your inventory leading up to the day of replacing fixtures like a cold case. You want to make sure you don’t lose product! Plan for a large order post-installation. When it comes to filling up new case, order more than you think you might need. There is a lot of space to fill up!
Details: Have a schematic of your new setup ready to make filling the case easier. Plan for all the little details like new signage, clips, shelf channels, case liner, baskets, bag mounts and bags.
Even with all the planning ahead, we all know things don’t always go as accordingly. Setbacks are common so plan extra time buffers to deal with any unforeseen delays. Just breathe and find a way to work through and meet the end goal—a beautiful and updated produce department!
Isla Vista Food Co-op Team Members (pictured left to right): Armondo Rios, George Boulos, Karla KJ Ramos
New & Exciting!:
- Abate Fetel Pear*: Smooth skin has yellow-green coloring with red blushing, freckling, and brown russeting. White, crisp flesh has a velvety texture. Aromatic with a very sweet flavor. Entire pear is edible, including the seedbed! A pear for the connoisseur!
Did you know Abate Fetel pears are considered “Italy’s favorite pear” because for many years they were rarely available outside of Europe? They were developed in 1866 by a monk named Abbot Fetel and were only grown in the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Lucky for us they were eventually cultivated in South America!
- Aloe Vera: Here now! Aloe vera is superfood-packed with antioxidants and vitamins. The gel inside the aloe vera leaf, as well as the skin, are safe to eat. The gel has a clean, refreshing taste and can be added to a variety of recipes, including smoothies and salsas. The skin has a mild flavor and crunch texture- perfect for adding to salads.
- Clementine Tangerine*: Bright orange, glossy, leathery peel clings loosely to juicy flesh. Flavor is a balance of acidity and sweetness. May contain a few seeds but is generally seedless.
- Golden Nugget Tangerine*: the shape is round and slightly flattened. Golden nugget peel is somewhat bumpy, but easy to peel, releasing bursts of bright citrus fragrance when torn. Mostly seedless flesh. Tastes sweet, fruity, and mildly acidic. Classic tangerine flavor!
- Floral*: Spring florals are trickling in! Make sure your departments are flush with florals for the upcoming Passover, Equinox and Easter holidays. Talk to your Account Manager to make sure you’re signed up for our weekly Organic Floral Availability List!
- Green Seedless Grape: Import fruit in good supply and tasting great. Available in ready-to-display pouches.
- White Corn: Mexico-grown starting up! Looking clean and will be in steady supply.
- English Hot House Cucumber*: In great supply with promotional pricing!
- Horseradish*: The Passover holiday begins on March 27th, so make sure you are stocked up on this symbolic root! Passover (Pesach) is the Jewish holiday of freedom, commemorated with a festive meal called Seder. Horseradish is typically a part of the Seder plate. The root has semi-rough skin, covered in notches and bumps, and ranges in color from tan to light brown. The flesh is white, dense, and crisp. Horseradish root has a hot and pungent flavor that emerges when crushed or ground, creating a mustard-like heat.
- Pineapple: Sharp pricing on beautiful fruit! Order now before prices climb back up!
- Pink Lady Apple: In bountiful supply with sharp pricing.
- Pixie Tangerine*: Supply peaking in “pixie” sized fruit! Sharp pricing. Talk to your Account Manager for volume deals.
- Artichoke: Supply is gapping but expected to improve the last week of March.
- Baby Broccoli: Production shortages are causing gaps in supply. Expected to last into April as growing regions transition to California.
- Cauliflower: Supply is extremely limited with prices on the rise. Impact on availability expected until the last week of March.
- Cucumber: Persian and slicers extremely limited in supply due to cold weather in Mexico. Prices on the rise.
- Napa Cabbage: Extended gap in supply expected until early April.
- Sugar Snap Pea: Low volume of Mexico-grown expected until the end of March with possible gaps in supply. California-grown are expected to come on at the beginning of April.
- Sweet Pepper: Supply is tightening up with prices increasing.
- Yellow Squash: Gapping in supply.
- Zucchini: Tight in supply due to cold weather impacting growing regions in Mexico. High pricing.
Done for the Season:
- Bacon Avocado
- Pinkerton Avocado
- Red D’Anjou Pear
- Royal Tangerine