Romanesco broccoli is a chartreuse hued vegetable in the Brassica family, closely related to cauliflower and broccoli. It was first documented in Italy in the 16th century. Romanesco has flowers that form perfect geometric spiral patterns that repeat called fractals. When you look closely, each spiral bud is composed of a series of smaller buds, all arranged in yet another spiral that continues at smaller levels. The number of spirals on the head of Romanesco is called a Fibonacci number. Romanesco’s unique appearance make it an attention grabber in produce displays, or on a crudité healthy snack-platter. It has a firm texture and delicate nutty flavor. In addition to looking and tasting great, Romanesco is a great source of nutrition– rich in vitamin C and K, dietary fiber, and carotenoids. Spruce up your winter displays and mesmerize your customers with Romanesco!
Managing a Successful Produce Department
Tim Kilkenny, Produce Buyer at El Cerrito Natural Grocery
In any retail store, the produce department is considered the flagship. It’s a bustling department where things move at a fast pace and change daily. Tim Kilkenny is the Produce Buyer from El Cerrito Natural Grocery in El Cerrito, California. He shares his expertise on what it takes to juggle the daily needs of a produce department. He has been working in the produce industry since 1980 and has been at El Cerrito Natural Grocery for the last 20 years. His duties include a little bit of everything– pricing, signs, stocking the floor, organizing the floor, loading the cooler, and inventory. Learn how Tim approaches his day and runs a successful produce department:
- Assess Your Needs: At the start of each day, make a quick assessment of your department’s needs for that day. Recognize the high priority items and address those first. Each day will have its own unique challenges.
- Be flexible: Don’t get thrown off if the day does not go as planned. There are so many variables that you can’t control like staff call-outs, crop failure, miss-picks or no-shows on your deliveries. Even a late delivery can set you back. Breathe and do the best you can!
- Delegate: Depending on the size of your department, delegate duties to other clerks. You can’t do everything yourself.
- Know Your Products: Eat what you sell! Since samples cannot be offered to customers during COVID-19, it is crucial to give flavor and tasting notes of what you are trying to sell to customers. This can be done in-person on the floor or even with signage.
- Know Your Customer: Listen to your customers’ feedback and find out what they are looking for. Their input is important to direct sales and the products you offer. It’s important to help customers feel heard. They will keep them coming back if they feel important and have a connection with the store. For example, El Cerrito Natural Grocery is in an area where customers consider themselves foodies. The demographic looks for specialty and hard to find items. Figure out what your customer base is looking for and provide it to the best of your ability.
- Take Care of Yourself: Always be mindful of proper lifting technique. When you are repetitively lifting and twisting, it is easy to get tired and lose your form while moving and that could lead to injury. Staying hydrated and being well rested contribute greatly to having a successful workday.
New & Exciting!:
- Ataulfo Mango*: Mexican fruit here now with promotional pricing. Oval shaped and slightly crook-necked. Golden yellow exterior. Bright yellow flesh is soft, sweet, and juicy. Less fibrous than a traditional mango.
- Kishu Tangerine*: Very limited supply! Small, golf ball sized. Glossy, bright orange rind peels away easily. Flesh is seedless, juicy, and candy sweet. Talk to your Account Manager if you’re interested in these specialty citrus treats. They will go fast!
Did you know Kishu tangerines are also known as Kishu mandarins? In Japan, they are known as Kishu Mikan, “mikan” meaning mandarin orange. They were called such because the oranges had come from China, where Mandarin was one of the spoken languages!
- Oyster Mushroom: Yellow and Pink oysters available in limited quantities. When cooked, yellow and pink oyster mushrooms develop a balanced nutty flavor.
- Tulip: Here now from Full Belly Farm! Talk to your Account Manager to sign up for our weekly organic floral list!
- Mini Watermelon: Seeded and seedless in good supply out of Mexico.
- Asparagus: Mexico-grown supply is robust with promotional pricing. California-grown will be starting early March.
- Broccoli*: Strong supply with low pricing.
- Brussels Sprout: Flush supply with volume deals available.
- Fennel*: Supply is strong with very sharp pricing. The rooted bulb has thick, ribbed, hollow stems growing from it. Green feathery foliage sprouts off the stems. The entire vegetable is edible and has a sweet, licorice-like flavor.
- Kiwi: In great supply and tasting fantastic!
- Kent Mango: Soft pricing and supply will be winding down shortly. Dark green exterior often has a bit of red blush. Sweet flavor. Texture is juicy, tender, with limited fibers. Get these while you still can!
- Pink Lady Apple: in great supply with sharp pricing. Talk to your Account Manager for volume deals!
- Sugar Snap Pea*: Strong supply with promotional pricing. Looking and tasting excellent!
- Berry: Freezing temperatures affecting blackberry production and supply. Prices trending high. Strawberry and raspberry in limited supply. Availability expected to improve in March.
- Cauliflower: Cheddar and Graffiti are both gapping.
- Cucumber: Slicers continue to be extremely limited. High pricing.
- Green Bean: Limited supply with high pricing.
- Hass Avocado: Grown in California. Picking is erratic, but 70ct 2-lyrs are in good supply this week, and a great value.
- Herb: Cold and wet weather affecting basil and tarragon production. Supply is extremely limited.
- Lime: Low availability with prices on the rise.
- Maple Sugar Products: Delayed in transit due to winter ice storms in Mid-West.
- Orange Bell Pepper: Limited with high pricing.
- Passionfruit: Supplies are limited but we get as many as are available.
Done for the Season:
- Delicata Squash
- Page Mandarin