Spring Tip: Eat More Asparagus


The arrival of California asparagus AKA ‘grass’ is the true sign of spring’s arrival. While imported asparagus is available year-round, the delicate, grassy and sweet flavor of freshly harvested in-season local asparagus is hard to beat! Originally a wild vegetable, asparagus has been cultivated for thousands of years. Ancient art from Egypt and Crete portrays people harvesting rows of tender asparagus as early as 3000 BCE. 

Fun Fact: Asparagus was so prized that the Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus was said to have built a fleet of ships to transport asparagus around the entire Roman Empire.  

Like leeks, onion and garlic, asparagus is a member of the lily family. It is also a perennial plant and can produce an annual crop for 15+ years! Most notably, it can take three years for the root crown to produce a harvestable crop, which contributes to its high dollar value per pound. But the wait is worth it! Asparagus is available in various stalk sizes—ranging in diameter from ‘extra small’ all the way to ‘colossal’. Many people have a strong preference for plump or slender, but it is important to know that stalk diameter is NOT a reliable indication of the tenderness or maturity of the stem.  

Fun Fact: Enjoyed world-wide in many cuisines, the name evolved into ‘sparrow grass’ in some parts of England, and is still known by that name today. 

The sweet distinctive flavor of fresh asparagus lends itself to a myriad of culinary preparations. Enjoy raw and thinly shaved, or added to soups, pastas, or salads. The bright green color remains when quickly roasted, steamed, or broiled. No matter how you enjoy it, don’t miss this springtime favorite!    


New & Exciting!

California-Grown Asparagus: Tender, grassy and sweet, asparagus tastes best freshly picked and in-season right now!   

California-Grown Fava Beans: AKA Broad Beans. The flavor is delicate, buttery and nutty. Some fans describe the sweet vegetal taste as “tasting like spring!”  A chef’s favorite, we recommend them in soups or salads! Supply is plentiful for spring promotions!

California-Grown Snap Peas: More growers are coming on with green and purple snow peas and green and purple snap peas.

Pixie Tangerine: Save the best for last! This late season tangerine is a staff favorite. Sweet, seedless and easy to peel! The crop is small this year from the Ojai Pixie Association so act fast! Sizes range from extra-small “Pony” to extra-large “Mammoth.” 

PineapplePineapple: Absence has made our pineapple hearts grow fonder. After much anticipation, Costa Rican pines from Bio Sweet are finally arriving!  These pineapples are grown in the heart of pineapple growing region in the central highlands of Costa Rica. It’s a ‘family and friends-owned’ operation with a local Costa Rican crew of workers who are deeply committed to what they do. Supply is expected to be steady year-round. 

Fun Fact: The Bio Sweet farm is watered from their own wells and powered using family installed solar power. 

Purple Sprouting Broccoli: AKA ‘PSB’ The trademark violet hues on the florets make this item a stunner for any spring display. Sweet, nutty flavor and can be used in the same ways as green broccoli. All parts of Purple Sprouting Broccoli can be used—leaves, florets and stem! Raw PSB contains anthocynanins, a powerful antioxidant which gives it its characteristic purple color.   

Fun Fact: PSB keeps its color when cooked, unlike purple asparagus or purple beans.   

Rhubarb: A hallmark of spring, this beautiful pink and green vegetable is often used as a fruit. The tangy flavor is best enjoyed when cooked or baked with a sweetener. Only the stalks are edible; the leaves should not be consumed. 



California-Grown Hass Avocado: The season is up and running including fruit from beloved Las Palmalitas Ranch. Las Palmalitas as well as other California growers need your support this year, more than ever.  This year’s crop has a high percentage of exterior cosmetic damage. Thrips are a small leaf-eating insect that can sometimes cause scarring on avocado or citrus skin and requires it to be graded choice or #2. The avocado flesh is unaffected; the fruit inside looks and tastes just as delicious as ever. Please educate your staff and customers on the value of “inner beauty” of fruit and vegetables. It’s particularly important to support small farms by using all they grow!  Join us to prevent food waste!

Cosmic Crisp Apple: The perfect balance of tart and sweet. Ideal for snacking, baking, cooking and however you like to enjoy apples! Steady supply and promotable price! 

Grapefruit: Great deals to be had on Rio Red and Ruby grapefruit from B&J Ranch. The quality is strong, and the flavor is unbeatable! Supply is expected to last through May and into June. 

Mango: Ataulfo and Tommy Atkins are still readily available. Tommy Atkins is the most widely marketed mango. The skin is green with a red and yellow blush. The golden flesh is fibrous, firm and hardy. The Ataulfo has a creamy texture and is less fibrous than most mangoes, but still delivers classic mango flavor.  

Nagami KumquatNagami Kumquat: Complex tart-sweet flavor that is deliciously addictive. The entire fruit is edible, including the skin, flesh, and seeds. Eat them fresh or cook them in marmalades, jams or as a dessert topping. Biodynamically grown by beloved Beck Grove, in Southern California.   

Red Bartlett Pear: Sweet with a striking appearance. Great for eating out of hand and equally well suited to baking. 

Red Bell Pepper Choice: Strong volume on choice peppers. Versatile, delicious and adds a bright pop of color to your displays. 

Valencia Orange: California-grown Valencia oranges from B&J Ranch are in good supply. The sweet-tart flavor and high sugar content make this variety perfect for juicing. 

Floral Bouquets for Mother’s Day: Mother’s Day is coming up on Sunday, May 12th. Don’t miss out on one of the biggest floral holidays of the year! From Thomas Family Farms (near Santa Cruz), your floral orders shipping May 8-14th must be placed with us by 4PM on Sunday, April 21th!   




Broccoli: Desert production is nearing the end. Salinas production is slow, and supply will be tight until Salinas production picks up 2nd half May. Baby Broccoli remains limited. 

Cabbage: Napa and Savoy is limited/gapping. New crop expected late May. 

Chili Peppers: Extremely limited. 

Bunched Greens:  Cal-Organic’s central valley production steady. Desert is done for season. Coastal production remains limited due to wet, cold weather. 

Green Onion 

Lettuce: Limited due to the recent storm in California’s Central Valley. All crops suffered hail damage.  

Passionfruit: Very limited. 

Tomato: Supply is limited on one and two-layer through early May; expect prices to go up. Prices are up on TOVs. Romas suddenly limited. Cherry tomatoes will be limited for another 3-4 weeks. 


Done for the Season

Lemons from Shanley Farms (Haury label) 

Royal Mandarin from B&J Ranch 


Merchandising Corner

purple flowers and bee

Celebrate Earth Day (Everyday!) 

One of our favorite holidays is on Monday, April 22nd. First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day is celebrated by focusing on conservation, sustainability and protecting our precious planet from unintended human impact. Over one billion people participate in Earth Day every year, making it the largest secular observance in the world. Promote the importance of organic farming and regenerative agriculture in mitigating climate change and damage to our soil, air and water. Showcase products with recyclable or compostable packaging. Our oceans do not want any more plastic! Many ideas for Earth-friendly produce departments are simple and creative. Reducing food waste with a ‘bargain bin’, featuring bulk greens, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and berries, using thin flat paper bags or compostable bags instead of plastic produce bags, and identifying local farms throughout the department are easy and cheap innovations. Explaining your actions can be a great way to engage your customers and build loyalty; you and your customers make a difference with good food choices. Let’s make everyday Earth Day!    

Earth-Friendly Products 

  • Mushrooms for plant-based menus and, reducing your carbon footprint!  Bulk packs produce less packaging and paperboard clamshells from Far West Fungi of Oyster and Shiitake mushrooms are entirely recyclable. 
  • Red, Russet and Yellow Potato Compostable Bales (Ladybug) – These 16×3-pound bales can be composted or recycled. 
  • Red or Yellow Onion Earthbags (Peri & Sons) – The name says it all. Earthbags are made from paper/bamboo mesh and are 100% biodegradable and compostable! 
  • Retail Herb Compostable Clamshell (Bay Area Herbs) –  Retail clamshell packs from Bay Area Herbs are made 100% out of compostable packaging. Check out these high-quality herbs that are better for the planet! We have laminated shelf talkers available—ask your Account Manager if interested in receiving some!   
  • Reusable Glass Milk Bottles (Straus) – Straus’ organic cream top milk is bottled in reusable glass bottles. By choosing glass, you can help keep plastic milk containers out of landfill. Learn more about the glass milk program! 

Climate change disproportionately affects vulnerable communities around the world. Buying Fair Trade fruits and vegetables is a great way to improve the farming communities we rely on, protect the environment, and build resilient supply chains.  

  • Fair Trade certified Cherry Tomato Kaleidos and Poppies (Wholesum) – Fairly traded, sustainable, and exactly what inspired shoppers are looking for right now. 
  • G.R.O.W. Bananas (Organics Unlimited) – Ethically sourced and fairly traded. A premium from every case of G.R.O.W. (Giving Resources & Opportunities to Workers) bananas sold goes back to support underserved agricultural communities in Mexico and Ecuador. 


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