Friday, October 05, 2012

Produce notes from Allen....151 local items!

Riddle: How can you tell when a carrot has to go? (See below for the answer)

After writing about a local farmer's kiwi berry failure, I was surprised by the number of members who were concerned and curious about this crop failure. The farmer did their best to salvage what they could of a crop that was heavily hit by hail in the spring. There was no damage to the trees and we all hope for a better next year.

I recently explained that because we avoided buying fresh produce from China, we almost entirely missed out on the recent Lychee season, as China has almost completely dominated the market.  I asked those in attendance at the 10/2 General Meeting if they agreed with this decision, and an overwhelming majority of those who responded did agree, nearly unanimously.  The Israeli Lychee season has begun.  The early offerings at the Hunt's Point Market were not good, but we hope to find better ones this week.

OMG! Some of you may register "sticker shock" at the increase in the price of Honeycrisp Apples. All of Amy Hepworth's minimally treated Apples cost the coop $30 per (38 pound)  case and that price has been constant for a good decade.  Honeycrisp had cost us $50 up till now, but last week we agreed to pay $70 for a case.  That price is in fact lower than prices we saw in the Hunt's Point Market for conventional Honeycrisp.  The demand for Honeycrisp is just too high and supplies continue to be limited.  This new price feels high, but it is fair.  If Honeycrisp busts your budget, let this be an opportunity for you to try something else.

The end is near!  Tomato supplies are rapidly diminishing and prices are creeping or leaping up.  We were lucky to even have Plum Tomatoes this week, as our supply from Hepworth Farm was expected to end.  I called our three (gigantic) national suppliers of organic produce, and none of them had any! None from Florida, California or Mexico.  I told Amy this and she said "I'm going to do this, I'm getting you what you need".  Late yesterday afternoon, she sent a team of pickers to see what they could reap at the last minute from a nearly completely harvested field, and her truck showed up with 31 cases of Plum Tomatoes early this morning.  We believe in supporting our local farmers.  Our local farmers believe in supporting us back.

The Mexican Mango harvest has ended.  That is the usual end of the North American Mango season, but now we have the last of the final California harvest.  This Mango is very expensive and will be still more expensive next week, and then it will be gone.  The Brazil harvest follows and the Brazil Mango is, well, for people who just have to have Mangos.  I am a huge Mango fan and will eat the somewhat fibrous Brazilian fruit, but I won't get happy until the world revolves a little bit more and the Ecuadoran harvest begins.  This California Mango is the best Mango you will have for a fairly long time. Enjoy one now.

Another OMG! Where are the Grapefruit?  Unfavorable weather has seriously harmed the California crop, and while the Florida harvest has begun, I have a report today from a fruitarian friend and supplier who lives in Florida and loves Grapefruit, who warned me that the early Florida fruit is much too sour. 

New organic items next week include Cranberries, Pearl Onions, the last of the Roly Poly Squash for the year, and a one day supply of White Satin Carrots arriving on Monday.

Allen Zimmerman - Produce Buyer - General Coordinator

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