One of our favorite gifts of Spring is here – California-grown strawberries! While strawberries have been used medicinally by Europeans for thousands of years, the variety we eat today has roots that are indigenous to the Americas. Tribes such as the Chippewa and the Mescalero Apache often used strawberries; one method was to add them to cornbread—the future strawberry shortcake! The Iroquois even held festivals to honor strawberries.
Early colonists in North America were surprised to discover that the indigenous fruit they found was much sweeter than the European counterpart. They shipped these strawberry plants back to Europe as early as 1600, where several crossbreeding programs began to mix the European and the American strawberry into what we have today.
Strawberries maintain a balanced acidity level with sugar contents that vary from sweet and tart, to candy-like syrup. They are packed with nutrition and are an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Sweeten up your spring displays with California-grown strawberries!
Make your mangoes look their best!
Citrus is winding down and stone fruit hasn’t fully kicked in yet, so what item is in good supply? Mangoes! Mangoes are delicious and easy to work with. They’re one of the most eaten fruits on the whole planet, they’re versatile enough to work with any display, they are forgiving, and have a long shelf life!
Here are a few ways you can showcase mangoes in your department.
- The tropical grouping placement is the most obvious way to display mangoes. Floor stack next to your banana table or give them more space with your pineapple, papaya, and cherimoya. Keeping the topicals together boosts the visibility of the category.
- Mixing mangoes in with avocado, lemon, lime, chili peppers, and tomatoes is another great way to manage a display. Guacamole and salsa are side dishes that customers make frequently. Mixing mangoes in with those items inspires thoughts of mango salsa and mango guac.
- Melon season is fast approaching. Combining mangos and melons in a well-located area can bring attention to both and promote sales on both items.
- Watch for quality. Although mangoes are extra sweet and delicious when they are wrinkly, over wrinkled fruit doesn’t look great in a display. Inspect fruit for soft spots and dark discoloration. If you have a prepared foods section, these fruits can be used for processing. It is also best to keep mangoes and all tropical fruit out of refrigeration. Store and display them at room temperature.
Mangoes are so popular that they practically sell themselves, so get some now!
New and Exciting
Apricot: Harbingers of the stone fruit season, these delicious fruits are sweet like a peach with a nice blush, and just a tiny punch of tartness. The first shipments are expected to land in 2- and 3- layer packs, with the Kylese and Dream Cot varieties coming in.
Baby Artichoke: These California-grown baby artichokes are actually fully mature, and not adolescent artichokes. They’re smaller because they grow lower on the plant and receive less sun. They’re also much easier to prepare and eat, because the choke often never develops.
Blueberry: Central Valley Production has started, and we expect dry pint packs to be available in May.
*Cherry (left): Cherries have just arrived! They are sweet, juicy, and just bursting with flavor.
Coconut chunks: Fresh organic coconut meat that’s diced and put into resealable pouches. Perfect for smoothies, fruit salads, and adding to cereal or granola. 45-day shelf life.
Golden potato: (Coming soon) Delicious, even with very little seasoning, golden potatoes will light up your dishes with their unique color. Their gold to light brown skin is thin, and they offer a creamy and tender consistency with a rich, buttery, and earthy flavor. Learn more about Golden potatoes in our Potato Guide.
*Melon (right): Cantaloupe and Honeydew have just arrived from Mexico. These melons are juicy and rich with a wonderful floral aroma.
New Crop Onion: Also called short-day varieties, these are different from onions you will find most of the year. Whereas storage onions have thick, sturdy outer skin layers, new crop onions have thin, flaky, shaggy outer skin layers.
New Crop Red Potato: New crop potatoes are recently harvested from the farm. They tend to be smaller and thin-skinned. Learn more about New Crop Potatoes on our blog.
*Strawberry (left): Strawberry season is coming on strong in California, and you can expect large, red fruits that are bursting with flavor. Promotable pricing and strong supply.
Ume Plum: Available by preorder only, Ume plums are becoming incredibly popular for their use in jam, pickling recipes, and even simple syrup. Check out our ~3 minute video on how to make simple syrup with Ume plums!
Broccoli: Broccoli and baby broccoli are in strong supply, with great pricing on both. Fun fact: baby broccoli is not actually juvenile broccoli, it’s fully grown and it’s a combination of broccoli and gai lan, also called Chinese broccoli. You’ll love its tender texture and mild, sweet flavor.
Cauliflower: Supply is improving, and prices are expected to continue falling.
Cilantro: Promotable prices on cilantro. This herb has delicate, lacy green leaves, as well as a complex flavor that ranges from pungent to citrusy. Cilantro leaves are often added to a dish just before serving because their flavor diminishes with cooking.
Curly Kale: The most common variety of kale, these have bright green leaves and hold up well to sautéing and other cooking methods.
Fuji: Steady pricing and strong supply out of Washington. These apples are super sweet and have a beautiful color.
*Hass Avocado (right): The market is tough right now and prices are high, but we have the best California-grown fruit on the market. Talk to your account manager to get ready for Cinco de Mayo!
Roma: Prices are coming down and supply is picking up.
Ruby Grapefruit: Sharp pricing on this juicy grapefruit with a sweet-tart flavor. This variety contains few, if any, seeds, and has a wonderful aroma and flavor profile.
Sweet Pepper Medley: With a beautiful variety of colors, this medley is available in 1-pound bags, and will brighten up any display. They are sweet and offer a delectable texture.
Asparagus: Mexican asparagus is becoming limited.
Celery: Supply is tight and costs are up.
Dried Fruit: Dried Mangos gapping for another 2 weeks.
Hard Squash: Acorn, Butternut, Delicata, Kabocha, and Spaghetti are all limited or gapping.
Red Bartlett Pear: There have been some quality issues, and growers may be done for the season.
Done for the Season
Grapefruit: Rio Reds are done.
Kiwi: Domestic Kiwi is winding down and we are on our last shipment. Get them while you can!
How to Make Ume Plum Simple Syrup
Ume Plums are extremely popular for pickling, turning into jam, or a sweet syrup. Our merchandiser, Keri Williams walks you through all the steps to get the perfect Ume Plum Simple Syrup! Try it on ice cream, cocktails, pastries, and even on your pancakes!
These versatile plums are from Fruit World, a small farm out of Reedley Ca.