Friday, September 30, 2011

Produce notes from Allen......140! All Time Record!

Here comes the next great apple- the Snow Sweet, developed at the University of Minnesota, the same Pomologists who gave us the Honeycrisp.  It's a sweet apple, with just a bit of tartness.  Its snow white flesh is very slow to turn brown after cutting.  This makes it an ideal apple to cut into slices for snacking and for salads.  Great for cooking, baking, canning, freezing, for cider, sauce.  It's also really great for eating.

The Macoun apples have started a bit early this year.  It's a great eating apple, also good for apple sauce.  Pronounce it "macown", not macoon.  Most people will think you are weird, but farmers will be impressed.

Many members have expressed a desire for Grapes with seed.  We now have Concord and Niagara Grapes with seeds.  On Monday 10/10 we expect our first Ribier Grapes, a huge long black grape with seeds.  The season for the seeded varieties begins later than the seedless.  The only grape with seeds that we have not been carrying is the Red Globe.  We have been unsuccessful in the past (horribly unsuccessful), keeping the red seedless and the red seeded varieties from being inadvertently mixed.  We have gotten many complaints from people who then inadvertently bought the wrong kind, so we will not be able to carry the Red Globe until everybody promises to be good. 

The Lychee season has probably ended for the year.  I'm trying to trick the Lychees into making me wrong. 

It looks like the Corn season is over.  Now that conventionally grown sweet table Corn could include some product that may be genetically modified, we will not be carrying sweet corn this winter.  If we can find a grower who will guarantee non-GMO product we will carry it, but it may be difficult to find one.

Oyster mushrooms herald the beginning of the fall variety of mushrooms.  Look for other varieties soon, including chanterelles and lobsters.

Amy Hepworth has dropped our cost of Heirloom Tomatoes to $1.50 per pound (from $2.00).  Next week she is cutting our cost per cup of Cherry Tomatoes to $1.50 per cup (from $2.00).  She wants us to eat more Tomatoes and she wants us to eat them faster. 

We have 10 kinds of Winter Squash this week, and will have at least 13 next week.

We have a new PSFC all-time record for local items - 140!

- Allen Zimmerman
  General Coordinator - Produce Buyer

Support Your Local Farmers: A call to action from our members.

Few New Yorkers are unfamiliar with the plight of our local farmers upstate.  Hurricanes Irene and Lee, reaped an enormous amount of damage upon them.  The timing could not have been worse.  The flooding of fields just weeks before the fall harvest is catastrophic to the finances of our beloved local growers.

Most of these farms rely upon credit to get themselves through the spring, summer and into the fall.  Fall's harvest is how most farmers pay down their debt, buy new equipment, order seed for the spring, and (hopefully) provide themselves a small cushion to get through the winter.  This is an over simplified description of how roughly 36,000 New York State farmers go through season after season, year after year.  The margins are nearly as thin as it gets.  In spite of it all, they accounted for $4.7 BILLION in sales in 2010 (per New York Farm Bureau).  That is an average of $130,000 per farm.  So when Richard Ball of Schoharie Valley Farms "estimates that losses in gross revenue will be in the $100,000 plus range", one can better put their difficulties into perspective.

These farmers need whatever help they can get.  Agriculture does not fall under FEMA.  Much of their assistance will call upon renegotiating loans from the USDA or FSA (Farm Service Agency).  In light of this, there are many other supportive groups and efforts emerging.  Please take the time to look at the links (any words highlighted in blue) below*.  Times are tough for many people right now.  Not everyone can contribute; but please consider passing some of this information along.  

Evolutionary Organics:  
Check out this novel, and very transparent, approach Kira is taking.     Click Here

Benefit organized by Blue Moon Fish (Grand Army Plaza Fish Monger) 
November 6th 2pm-8pm at Southpaw on 5th Avenue 

Cooperative Recovery Fund:
Three cooperative development organizations have come together to organize a relief fund. 

*This is a list in progress.    Any suggested additions are welcome, please email me at 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Produce Notes From Allen.....128 local items

Despite the problems farmers are having with the heavy, unrelenting rains, we have 128 local produce items.

More than 70 of these items are coming (entirely or in part), from Hepworth Farms. Amy Hepworth reports that it feels like she's functioning in a swamp. There are some items like Cucumbers and Zucchini, that are still out there, but they can't be harvested, and it is feared that the rest of those crops will be lost. Amy is not complaining when she reports this and says that most of the farmers around them are already shut down for the season. It does look like a great deal of the local harvest will end early, and Amy as well as other local farmers are hoping for a strong supply of storage crops to help pay the bills. There is some fear however, that some of the late crops, like Pumpkins, will not fare well at all.

We have heard from our major supplier of California Avocados, Sundance Natural Foods Company, that the avocados that we will receive on 9/29 will be their last of this year's harvest. The next harvest out of that region will begin in December. In the interim, we will have to make do with Avocados from Mexico, and if that crop in turn becomes exhausted, we will begin buying Avocados from Chile. Since we have been buying Avocados directly from Sundance, we have been able to keep the Avocado prices down, relative to what they will be in a couple of weeks. Prices are at a record high; our members have been slightly shielded from them by our relationship with Sundance. Prices will go from bad to horrible in October.

The external quality of the Thai Coconuts is not that great, and no improvement is in sight. What we have is as good as it is going to be for the near future. Please try to get past the cosmetics. After all, you don't eat the hull anyway.

In addition to the minimally treated Asian Pear, we are now carrying a Pennsylvania pear from Subarashii Kudamono. Their first offering is the AsaJu Pear, a thin skinned juicy variety.

Organic Pineapples are scarce; we expect to sell out this weekend

The harvest of local Baby Arugula that we have been carrying in cups, as well as loose, has failed due to the rain storms. We are lucky that a new local harvest of bunching Arugula has begun.

We were lucky to learn of a farm in Pennsylvania that has managed to produce some Green Beans. (There were none in the entire Hunts Point Wholesale Produce Market of any quality.) We have been offered a small amount of local Organic Beans for Monday.

Local Broccoli has returned and we expect Local Organic Broccoli Rabe to return this Monday.

Oyster Mushrooms this Monday will herald the return of an expanded selection of Mushrooms for the fall.

Enjoy the Local Corn while it lasts (not much longer!)

We have a new, very cute product from Amy Hepworth, cups of Mini Sweet Peppers. The harvest of Local Sweet Peppers will end very soon. Don't wait to try these!
Look for gorgeous new Blue Potatoes under the Avocados, opposite the display of the other Potatoes.

Many members are aware that there has been a recall of Cantaloupes in the past 2 weeks. The Cantaloupe in the news is causing listeria infections and calls have come to the coop from members who fear that we may have this melon. The offending fruit was grown in Colorado, ( we have never ever had a Colorado Cantaloupe in the coop. Really never ever). The recalled Cantaloupes are conventionally grown. All of our Cantaloupes were organically grown in California. They are delicious, SAFE, and are helping me get over the end of the Watermelon season. Enjoy them without fear!

Gerry of Hepworth Farms

Small but MIGHTY!
Gerry of Hepworth Farms in front of $23,365 of local produce ready to be received last Friday.

Friday, September 09, 2011

Produce Notes From Allen....125 Local Items

Excepting the organic Red Delicious (in their last week of storage season), All Apples Are New Crop. New crop organic apples are scarce or unavailable. Local Macintosh and Jonamac begin next week.

Pixie Tangerines, unexpected at this time of year, are delicious. Try them now or wait until November for clementines.My advice-don't wait!

Cherries will end this weekend. Champagne Grapes ended today. Concord Grapes were delayed until next Tuesday by rain.

The Hepworth Peaches and Nectarines are fantastic. They won't be here forever...

Watermelon season winding down, but not done yet. Yellow Seedless arriving Saturday Sugar Baby with seeds arriving Monday.

A great deal of Arugula was destroyed by flooding and we won't see bunched Arugula for a while. Organic Green Basil, Organic Thai Basil, Organic Purple Basil, may have been entirely lost to flooding, but perhaps may have a brief return before the fall.

Local Broccoli is back, but ltd. this week. Lots more starting Tuesday. Local Scallions, loose Salad Mix, and Cilantro ruined by excessive rainfall.

Look for a brief return of many varieties of Summer Squash this Monday for a day or two.

Local Baby Tatsoi is tender and a great addition to your salads. Try something new; buy just a tiny bit and find out if you like Tatsoi. By the way... you DO.

There were huge losses of Cherry Tomatoes in the Hepworth fields this past week. Price has gone up a bit as a result, but Amy Hepworth is working hard to keep up our supply through the end of the season. We are discussing a tryout of Mini-Heirlooms Tomatoes; look for them soon!

Welcome back Local Organic Watercress, hot and spicy. Think wasabi in a green leaf. Your sinuses will thank you.

Allen Zimmerman
General Coordinator
Produce Buyer

Flood Updates

(A Non Profit Organic Farmers Co-op
in Lancaster, PA)
"Thanks to everyone for having patience with us in dealing with the weather. Bridges have been washed out and fields have been flooded. Eli from Elm Tree Organics called me Wednesday evening around 1am and said the water in his basement is above his shoulders. A small portion of his field had winter squash bobbing in the water are splitting by the second."

Angello's Produce
"I was re-routed twice just on my way to work (of course I live an hour north of the office)....the streams are wild and wicked up this way too. Westminster (Farm) is all but done except for some roots they were able to salvage, and Markristo (Farm) is out too. Miller's Crossing (Farm) is reassessing currently, and won't have anything available for a while. Soggy.... We've had more massive flooding here in the Hudson Valley this week, so Saturday availability is, well, perhaps a bit lackluster. Taliaferro (Farm) in New Paltz lost 16 of 33 acres. Stoneledge Farm is completely flooded and finished for the year. Lucky Dog (Farm) completely flooded and shut down."

Finger Lakes Organic Growers' Cooperative
"Mary Dolan just informed me that their fields are under water. They
cannot harvest anything for Monday. That means we have no more kale available,and of course, no mesclun.
There must be a lot of farmers out there hurting worse than we are
here on the high lake plain."

Hepworth Farms
could not deliver on Thursday because the highway outside of their farm (NY route 9W) was closed due to massive flooding.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Frozen Delicious Dog Food!

Zoe's Premium Dog Food is now available in the freezer. you can learn more about them here-

You can find them in the lower section of the freezer a few doors to the left of the waffles.

Zoe's Premium is full of nutritious minimally processed ingredients.

oh and they're local! from Brooklyn.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Produce Notes From Allen.......136 Local Items

Local Apples are starting to increase in variety. Ginger Gold, Golden Supreme, and Tydeman apples will be joined by Gala next week. Apples from the southern hemisphere are disappearing or already gone, so this weekend's apple supply at the coop will be tight.

Local Pear varieties added this week are the Devoe and Seckel. The Devoe, with it's classic European look, now fairly well known in the northeast, was actually developed at Hepworth Farms, first bred by Amy Hepworth's father. He appreciated its classic look, and gave it it's French sounding name.

Champagne grapes should end this weekend, and local Concord Grapes begin next Tuesday.

Although Lychees will gap this weekend, we expect more on Tuesday.

North American Mango season now nearly over. The last arrival of the last decent variety out of Mexico, the Kent, does not change color from almost entirely green as it ripens. You can test for ripeness by feel and smell, but color will not help you know.

Donut Peaches have returned. They are a yellow flesh variety, bigger than other donuts. (Bagel peach?)

Planning your Labor Day menu? 3 tons of personal size and small Sugar Baby Watermelons arriving on Monday.

Pea Tendrils have returned with cooler weather, and are very limited.

This same cooler weather has slowed growth of Summer Squashes. The local season has not at all ended, but varieties and quantities are becoming limited.

136 local items, despite the ravages of the hurricane!

Thursday, September 01, 2011


We have a BEVY of beautiful and delicious local beans today.
From left to right: Sequoia, Yellow, Red Swan, Edamame, Dragon Tongue, Green.