Satsuma tangerines are in plentiful supply and one of the sweetest citrus varieties this season. Satsumas are also known as unshiu, and are of Chinese origin, named after Unsyu, China. They were introduced to the west via Japan from the Satsuma Province, where they earned their English name. Satsumas’ thick, leathery, red-orange peel is rich in aromatic oils and is known as “zipper skin” because it peels away so easily. Satsumas are fragrant, juicy, segmented, and nearly void of seeds. They keep well at room temperature, but should be refrigerated for longer storage. Make sure to handle Satsumas carefully, as their loosely attached skin bruises easily and affects its flesh and quality.
Satsuma mandarins are rich in vitamins C and A. They are a good source of dietary fiber and potassium, and contain small amounts of copper, calcium and magnesium. Satsuma mandarins are also a valuable source of antioxidants. Try incorporating these long-awaited fruits into your holiday displays for a fresh pop of color!
Navigating Thanksgiving During the Pandemic
With California’s new stricter mandates, it’s hard to know what to expect or what could change before the Thanksgiving holiday. We have been checking in with retailers to see how they are preparing for what can only be described as a wildly unprecedented time. Rick Kilby, Produce Manager at Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op expects an increase in volume as customers prepare to shelter at home while celebrating Thanksgiving. The 46,000-square-foot store is prepared to quickly implement crowd control, providing a safe shopping experience for customers. Rick shares his tips and insight on how to navigate the holiday during the pandemic.
- Labor and Staffing: Schedule labor hours evenly throughout your store from now through Thanksgiving. Typically, normal holiday scheduling is concentrated on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Rick expects customers to spread their shopping out over the week before and the week of Thanksgiving, even extending to the days after Thanksgiving.
- Pre-Made Holiday Meals: Sacramento Natural Foods Co-op is open on Thanksgiving Day. Their kitchen is offering pre-orders for full holiday meals for pick-up that are ready to be set on the table. This is the first year they have offered this service and they hope that this will be beneficial to their customers who want to enjoy the full Thanksgiving meal experience without having to battle crowds to shop for it. This will also serve the customers that are fatigued from all the cooking they are doing while being home and not traveling, or able to share preparations with extended family.
- Plan Ahead: Good communication with your suppliers is key. To make sure you have your product needs covered you need to have great transparency and planning with your suppliers. The further ahead of time you can project what you will need helps them source or save product for you. Consider a backup supply for product in case your planned source falls through. The weather around Thanksgiving is always tricky and can sometimes put a damper on your original plans. Coordinate and communicate often with local farms and wholesalers are early as you can.
- High Demand Items: This time of year, celery is in high demand and flying off the shelf so don’t waste valuable labor prepping this item. Make sure to add more convenience items. This year, Sacramento Natural Foods will be pre-packing most of their items so customers can just grab a bag and go. This makes customers feel more confident that the product they are purchasing hasn’t been touched by the general public.
- Execute Administrative Duties Early: Do all the administrative work you can before the week of Thanksgiving. Complete schedules, POS, pricing, payroll, and anything office related to free up your time to work the floor and to back up your team.
New & Exciting!:
- Bacon Avocado*: Deep green smooth-skinned avocado. Flesh is a pale yellow color. Less oily than Hass avocados, but still very delicious. Full flavored, buttery and creamy in texture. California-grown from VV exclusive grower Las Palmalitas Ranch. In good supply for one month.
- Buddha’s Hand: Deep lemon-colored citrus used for its fragrant zest. Rind is oily and flavor is a blend of sweet and acidic. Fruit contains no pulp or juice and is inedible in its raw form.
- Fairchild Tangerine*: Medium sized, round and flattened at each end. Rind is slightly pebbled in texture, clings to flesh, and a deep orange color. Bright orange flesh is juicy and richly flavored with low acid and sweet notes. Contains seeds. High in vitamins A and C, fiber, and folate.
Did you know…Fairchild tangerines are a hybrid variety that is a cross between a clementine and an Orlando tangelo? They are often referred to as the “first of the season” tangerines.
- Juici Apple: A cross between the popular Honeycrisp and Braeburn apples. Its thin skin is mostly red with a yellow background. Texture is dense and crunchy. Flavor is balanced sweet with a tart finish. Less sweet than a Honeycrisp. Great to eat out of hand or used for baking and juicing.
- Koru Apple*: A cross between Fuji and Braeburn apples. Exterior is a beautiful orange-red color over a yellow background. Fairly large in size with a squat shape. Flavor is sweet, juicy, and crunchy. Keeps shape when baked, making them great to use in cooked applications.
- Oro Blanco Grapefruit*: Large in size with a round to ovate shape. Peel is smooth, glossy and slightly pebbled. Exterior color ranges from green, yellow-green, to bright yellow as it matures. Underneath the peel is a thick, spongy, bitter-tasting white rind. Flesh is pale-yellow, juicy, soft, and nearly seedless. Flavor is delicately sweet with no acidic or bitter notes. Very limited in supply so make sure to talk to your Account Manager if you’re interested!
- Berry: Cranberry in good supply with sharp pricing. Make sure to incorporate these essential holiday berries into your displays! Raspberry in great supply. Blueberry in good supply.
- Chestnut: In great supply! Make sure your departments are well stocked with these holiday favorites. Try displaying recipe cards or tips on roasting next to them. Great to cross merchandise chestnuts with other holiday essential produce!
- Jazz Apple: Sharp pricing and in good supply.
- Kiwi*: California-grown fruit in great supply for a short window. Season is expected to be shorter this year with import supply having crop losses. Prices expected to be on the rise in the coming weeks.
- Mushroom: Shiitake and cremini in great supply. Mushrooms are a staple in many Thanksgiving recipes so make sure you have your orders in!
- Satsuma Tangerine*: 5-pound gift boxes in great supply. Fruit look very sharp with great coloring. These boxes make for great eye-catching retail displays!
- Yellow Onion*: In great supply with sharp pricing. These alliums are essential during the holidays so make sure you order ahead and are well stocked!
- Yellow Potato: In great supply with aggressive pricing.
- Artichoke: In very tight supply. Expected to improve after Thanksgiving.
- Baby Greens: Growing regions are transitioning to Mexico. Occasional gaps in supply for boxed baby greens across all varieties are expected until the end of November.
- Brussels Sprouts: California-grown in tight supply. Mexico-grown in good supply but still somewhat limited.
- Chioggia Beet: Gapping in supply.
- Cucumber: Supply is tight as California-grown ‘cukes are done and growing regions transition.
- Green Bean: California-grown very limited in supply. Cold weather has frozen and affected crop production. Mexico-grown in better supply but still limited.
- Red Bell Pepper: Very limited in supply with gaps expected.
- Strawberry: Limited in supply. Californian fruit may not return due to rains and cold weather.
- Tomato: Heirloom and cherry tomatoes limited in supply.
Done for the Season:
- Baby Corn
- Keitt Mango
- Mutsu Apple