Friday, August 10, 2012

Produce notes from Allen....129 local items!

A few odds and ends to mention this week.

The lychee season came and went and we had almost none at all. The reason for this is that China has almost completely taken over this market and as a result there were very few Mexican or Taiwanese imports this year. We avoid buying fresh produce from China, and until we have confidence that Chinese produce is safe, we will continue to avoid it. Coop members love lychees and I will be sorry if we have little hope for any during its peak season, which has just ended. We look forward to the Israeli season and are now offering one slight consolation to lychee fans. This week (and we hope) for the next few weeks, we will offer the organic Florida longan, a cousin of the lychee. Similar in flavor, with a hint of a spice, maybe cinnamon taste, they are scarce and expensive and delicious.

The first two apples of the season, Ginger Gold and Paula Red, will arrive from Hepworth Farm this Tuesday, along with their first pear, the Green Clapp

Some of the items disappearing from the shelves next week are apricots, local organic blueberries, and champagne grapes. Rainier cherries have ended and red cherries will end soon after. 

You may wonder why the poblano peppers and jicama disappeared for a while. Jicama has returned, and we will wait for the Hepworth harvest of organic poblanos. The reason we could not get them was that the truck transporting them was hijacked (along with our Yuca that week). It makes you wonder what the hijackers thought was in that truck.

You may wonder why we went almost a week without organic pineapples. Customs inspectors intercepted a container of organic pineapples that could not be allowed into port because of a type of insect that was found. When this happens, the container is fumigated, and the product within will not and can not be sold as organic.

There is starting to be a good deal of competition for our local organic tomato business. Some farmers are lowering their prices in some cases to try to get our business and also to encourage higher sales. As we negotiate prices with our farmers, we try to balance being fair to them with offering the best prices for our members. During this peak of the season, which coincides with our slowest sales period of the year, it is impossible to make any of our farmers satisfied with our level of purchases. It is challenging to juggle the various needs and stressful to try to say no to any of the farmers. If it was easy, i guess "Support Your Local Farmer" would not have become a bumper sticker.

I'm going to leave you this week with some images of the beautiful rainbow of produce coming in.  Enjoy!

This week is our high this year, 129 items from small local organic family farms!

Allen Zimmerman - Produce Buyer - General Coordinator

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