Broccoli, botanically known as Brassica oleracea italica, is native to the Mediterranean and closely related to cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. The name broccoli comes from the Latin bracchium, meaning “strong arm” or “branch,” as broccoli has many strong “branches” or “arms” that grow from the stout main stem.
Broccoli has been considered a valuable food by the Italians since the Roman Empire. Although there are records of commercial cultivation in the United States dating back to the 1500s and Thomas Jefferson experimented with seeds in the late 1700s, broccoli did not become a popular vegetable until the early 1920s. Broccoli slowly gained recognition and increased in consumption due to its vitamin rich reputation. Broccoli is a powerhouse of nutrition—uncommonly high in vitamin A, potassium, iron, fiber, beta-carotene, and anticarcinogens.
Broccoli is a cold-weather vegetable that can be consumed raw or cooked. It is in great supply and a staple for those looking to increase their nutritional intake during winter. Try mixing up your displays with different cultivars of broccoli like Purple Sprouting, Romanesco, and Broccolini!
Valentine’s Day Planning with Mary Diaz from Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op
Mary Diaz (pictured above) in the “Build Your Own Bouquet” station at Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op.
It’s time to start planning for Valentine’s Day florals! We spoke with Mary Diaz, Produce Clerk at Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op, to see what her plans are for the holiday this year. Mary has been at Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op for six years and has organized and worked the “Build Your Own Bouquet” station for the last three years. Since launching the “Build Your Own Bouquet” station, sales for Valentine’s Day have tremendously increased year over year. Customers “build” their bouquets by selecting flowers for Mary, or another staff member, to assemble and style. In addition to offering a build your own option, the co-op also sells pre-made bouquets that customers can quickly and easily purchase. Mary shared her insight and suggestions on how to execute a successful Valentine’s Day floral program:
- Offer a Large Selection: You can never have too many flowers! Offer a large and diverse selection of fresh-cut florals for customers to select from. You can also try adding house plants or blooming bulbs. These are nice long-lasting alternatives to cut flowers that can be enjoyed for years to come.
- Best Sellers: The bestselling items tend to be big bouquets. People are going all out for Valentine’s Day. Tulips and roses are the most requested flower varieties.
- Cross Merchandise: There are some great cross merchandising options that display beautifully with florals such as wine, chocolate, whipped cream and pound cakes. Bath and other wellness products display nicely and sell well when displayed with florals. Try placing a few bouquets near produce displays as well. Berries are the most sought-after produce item during Valentine’s Day. Strawberries are the most popular, but it’s a good idea to keep all berry varieties on hand. Get creative and have fun with your floral displays!
- Place Floral Pre-Orders Early: Most importantly, place your floral orders early to secure your supply. Keep in tight communication with your Account Manager for ordering deadlines. You don’t want to be stuck unprepared for the holiday!
New & Exciting!:
- Asparagus: California-grown starting up with high prices.
- Hass Avocado*: California-grown Hass avocados are just starting. Supplies will be limited for another month or so, but growers on the Central Coast, near Santa Barbara, are beginning new crop harvest.
- Milk*: Ultra-high temperature (UHT) A2 milk from Alexandre Family Farm now available for pre-orders! UHT milk is ultra-pasteurized milk that has a longer shelf life and comes in sterilized cartons that helps keep the milk fresher longer. This milk is offered as Reduced Fat 2% and Whole 4%.
Did you know…A2 milk comes from cows that naturally produce only the A2 protein. A2 milk has many health benefits and is easier for people with milk intolerance to digest!
- Seville Orange: Just starting Aromatic with a sour, acidic and tangy flavor. Best suited for juicing, zesting, and cooked applications. Sevilles are mostly used to make marmalade.
- Tulip*: Here now from Thomas Family Farm and looking amazing! Their organic tulips are grown outside, instead of in a greenhouse. They’ve stood up to the elements and are bigger, bolder and last longer than most other Tulips. Tulips are also featured as part of Thomas Family Farm’s Cutie, Seasonal, and Jumbo Mix Bouquets. Talk to your Account Manager to sign up for our weekly Organic Floral List.
- Brussels Sprout: California-grown and imports in plentiful supply.
- Floral*: Make sure to talk to your Account Manager to sign up for our weekly Organic Floral List. Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching and the ordering deadline for the holiday is January 29th. Make sure you’re prepared and place your pre-orders now!
- Grapefruit: In strong supply with promotable pricing.
- Kent Mango: Imports in good supply. Dark green exterior with the occasional dark red blush. Juicy tender flesh has limited fibers. Tasting great.
- Meyer Lemon*: In great supply with promotional prices. Talk to your Account Manager for volume deals!
- Navel Orange: Tasting amazing and in abundant supply.
- Red D’Anjou Pear*: Sharp pricing. Distinctive dark maroon coloring makes them a perfect addition to add to displays. Juicy with a fresh, sweet, and slightly tangy flavor. Texture is creamy.
- Arugula: Boxed greens remain limited due to weather affecting quality.
- Berry: Strawberry and blueberry are extremely limited. Supply expected to improve by March with Mexico-grown fruit. Raspberry and blackberry somewhat limited due to cold weather affecting production. Prices trending higher.
- Green-skinned Avocado: California-grown winding down for the season. The last of the Bacon, Ettinger, Fuerte, and Zutano are coming in. Don’t miss out while they are still available!
- Herbs: Retail clamshells of basil, thyme, chives and sage limited.
- Pineapple: Costa Rican fruit will have limited numbers until March. Prices on the rise.
- Specialty Mushrooms: Chanterelle and Hedgehog ‘shrooms very limited.
- Yellow Squash: Very limited with prices trending higher.
- Zucchini: Exceptionally limited with possible gaps in supply. Prices have gone up tremendously.
Done for the Season:
- African Shaddock Pomelo
- Oro Blanco Grapefruit
- Page Mandarin