Spring is in full swing with longer days, warmer weather, and the start of California-grown strawberries! Strawberries are native to North America, and Indigenous people use them in many dishes. Colonists in America shipped the native larger strawberry plants back to Europe as early as 1600. Strawberries are members of the Rosaceae family (yes, relatives of roses!) and there are hundreds of varieties of strawberries, each displaying unique attributes, including flavor profiles, resistance to disease, size, shape, and even coloring.
Did you know strawberries are not actually a true berry, but rather a greatly enlarged stem end of the plant’s flower? Strawberries have an overall conical heart shape with seeds on their exterior rather than their interior, which distinguishes them from a berry and a true fruit. Strawberries maintain a balanced acidity level with sugar contents that vary from sweet-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!
Preparing for Mother’s Day: Insight from A Farmer and Merchandiser
Floral Bouquets at Elroy’s Fine Foods
Mother’s Day is the second largest flower holiday in the United States. Jamie Collin is the owner of Serendipity Farms located in Carmel, California and the merchandiser at Elroy’s Fine Foods in Monterey, California. Jamie’s background has been in farming and running famers markets. Since recently stepping into a retail-orientated role, she has learned that the needs of fresh products holding up in a retail environment are different than farmers markets. Jamie shares her thoughts and game plan for executing Elroy’s Fine Foods’ first Mother’s Day holiday.
- Projections: Using data from previous floral focused holidays is key to planning for Mother’s Day! Elroy’s Fine Foods was not open for Mother’s Day 2020, so Jamie will be using sales data from Valentine’s Day to run projections. This allows the team to plan on how many bouquets they will need to pre-order. Jamie advises to increase order amounts slightly to account for year-over-year growth. It is always better to have some bouquets left over than to run out!
- Communicate with Your Account Manager: Touch base with your Account Manager and communicate any special needs your store may have! Make sure you are aware of pre-order deadlines—which are coming up quickly this year.
- Place Orders Early: Place your floral orders with your growers and distributors as early as possible! From a farmer’s perspective, having pre-orders is very useful to plan labor for harvests, bouquet making, and delivery.
- Maintain Freshness: Keep your displays looking abundant and fresh! Keep water buckets full and refill with fresh water every day. Clean out buckets thoroughly every other day for optimal freshness. Check your displays daily and cull wilted, damaged flowers and shedding foliage. Store flowers overnight in a cool location, preferably in a cooler if you have access to one, to prolong their life.
Jamie Collin, Owner of Serendipity Farms and Merchandiser at Elroy’s Fine Foods
New & Exciting!:
- Oatmilk*: Oat & Seed Oatmilk now available from Three Trees! Creamy, delicious, and made with 100% clean ingredients.
- Salanova Red Butter Lettuce*: Beautiful deep maroon coloring. Excellent quality and the perfect pop of color to add to spring displays! Round base with a robust set of leaves that grow in a rosette pattern. The unique core is removable with one cut, easily separating the entire head ready for use. Sweet flavor with a soft buttery texture.
- Yellow Potato*: California-grown new crop here now! These are freshly harvested and offer delicious buttery flavor. The flesh is firm and dense with a waxy texture. When cooked, they develop a velvety texture due to reduced starch content. Talk to your Account Manager to add these ‘spuds to your order today!
- Artichoke*: California-grown in steady supply. Great to cross-merchandise with spring asparagus!
- Floral*: Organic spring florals from Thomas Family Farm and Full Belly Farm are bloomin’ and looking amazing this season! Make sure you are well prepared and have your pre-orders in for the Mother’s Day holiday! We have single variety bouquets and mixed bouquets of different sizes available. Talk to your Account Manager to sign up for our weekly Organic Floral Availability List.
- Hass Avocado*: In strong supply, finally! Sharp pricing on California-grown fruit from Las Palmalitas Ranch. Talk to your Account Manager for deals. Stock up for the upcoming Cinco de Mayo holiday!
- Mini Seedless Watermelon: Mexican fruit in good supply.
- Shiitake Mushroom*: In great supply and looking sharp.
- Sugar Snap Pea*: California-grown in good supply. Edible-pod. Thick pod walls contain rounded peas. Sweet flavor and crunchy texture. Available in 12-ounce ReadyCycle sustainable packaging from Coke Farm!
- Ataulfo Mango: Limited in supply until the end of April.
- Berry: Import blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries extremely limited in supply.
- Green Bean: Tight in supply with prices trending up.
- Honeydew Melon: Imports gapping in supply. Expected to improve by end of April.
- Jalapeno Pepper
- Napa Cabbage
- Parsley: Tight in supply with prices trending high.
- Serrano Pepper: Gapping in supply.
- Sweet Pepper: Limited availability with prices on the rise.
Done for the Season:
- Cosmic Crisp Apple