Monday, April 29, 2013

Ginger notes 4/29/13

In the 4/19/13 produce notes we forecast that Peruvian ginger would return for May.  It's April 29th and Peruvian ginger returned today, a little early.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Produce notes from Allen......61 local items!

Items ending:
  • Organic Black Grapes-the season for southern hemisphere organic grapes is over. Mexican and California seasons begin mid-May.
  • Nappa Cabbage will gap for a few weeks
  • Organic Green Beans are scarce so we brought in conventional.  When Organic Green Bean supplies become more abundant, we will discontinue the loose conventional and the pre-bagged organic.
  • The new crop of Sweet Organic Onions out of Texas has already ended for now.  We will wait for the next new crop sweet organic onion.
"New crop" refers to the first harvests of the year.  Unless they are imported from the southern hemisphere, the Potatoes and Onions we eat all winter and spring have been stored since last fall.  The new crop items this week are:
  • Sweet Vidalia Onions from Georgia
  • 3 pound bags of Onions
  • Organic Red Potato
Coming Monday (we hope!):
  • Red Bananas return
  • Organic Florida Blueberries
  • Organic Peaches from Mexico
  • If we are lucky, maybe a couple of hours supply of Hawaiian Ginger
From Chesapeake Organics:
  • Mustards
  • Green and Red Kale
  • Scallions
  • Spinach
  • Organic Florida Corn

"Mandarin" is the family of citrus that includes Tangerines, Clementines, Satsumas and some of the hybrids that include Mandarins in their parentage.  A hybrid of a Tangerine and Orange is known as a Tangor.  Some hybrids occur in nature, as did the Temple Orange, discovered in Jamaica in the 1890's.  As we near the end of the Mandarin season we offer:

Mandarin Murcott of unknown parentage but likely a hybrid of the Honey Tangerine and a Sweet Orange.  The Honey Tangerine used to be known as the Honey Murcott, but that name was shortened and the name "Murcott" lives on in the Mandarin.  This late season offering is very sweet, not that juicy, and rich in flavor.
Orri Mandarin comes from Israel and is a cross between a Temple Orange and a fancy Tangerine.  It is easy to peel, very sweet and juicy.  Small orange citrus that are easy to peel, sweet and juicy are often packed in 5 pound boxes and sold as clementines, but we know better and call them Orri Mandarins

Allen Zimmerman - Produce Buyer - General Coordinator

What happened to the ginger?

The answer begins in China, whose Ginger we do not buy.

Over the last couple of years, China has had huge harvests of Ginger.  The vast quantities kept the prices low which made it hard for the rest of the world's producers to compete.  It also held down the profitability for the Chinese producers. Their plan was to reduce production this year to help them raise their prices, and some farmers had already chosen to plant more profitable crops.

When Ginger is harvested, it is typically cured for one or two months.  This aging and drying process is used to improve the quality, the retention of flavor and the shelf life.  It allows the Ginger to be brought to market over a longer period of time, avoiding a glut and surfeit cycle.  This practice allows us to have access to "fresh" Ginger year round and fosters the illusion that Ginger does not have only seasonal availability.

China experienced unseasonably cold temperatures this past winter which led to a reduction in the size of the expected crop, beyond the amount reduced by fewer plantings.  This cold weather delayed the washing and drying process for months and during this extended storage more of the Ginger was lost to decay.  All of this added stress to the supply of Ginger from other parts of the world.

We are at the end of the Hawaiian harvest.  For the last few weeks we have only been able to obtain about a tenth of our need.  The conventional Brazilian harvest and the organic Peruvian harvest typically arrive in the USA at some point in May.  We don't know exactly when and we don't know how supplies and prices will be affected.  We still don't know when we will see Ginger again, but now you know why.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

A peek at a few produce tidbits and fun facts.

This morning between 5:30 and 8:30 we received 29 pallets of organic produce, about 1600 cases, more than 20 tons.

This week, on Monday and Tuesday we sold 93 cases of Bananas weighing 3,700 pounds

This week, on Monday and Tuesday we sold 125 case of Strawberries, 1,000 cups

Monday and Tuesday 41 cases of Kales or 984 bunches. (no kale wars here, Daily News)

On Tuesday alone we sold 35 cases of Haitian Mangos

Like babies.........280 lbs worth?

- Baby Turnip -
- Baby Tatsoi -
- Baby Mizuna -
- Baby Cress -
 - Baby Bok Choy -

- Baby Lacinato Kale -
- Baby Yu Choi Sum -
- Baby Purple Kale -
- Premium Mix -

*1 mushroom was harmed in the making of these photos.*

Monday, April 08, 2013

Produce notes from Allen.....55 local items!

Odds and ends, comings and goings in the produce aisle:

The season has recently ended for:
·      Local Stayman Winesap and Pink Lady Apples, and the quality is gone from the organic Granny Smith.
·      Butternut Squash (that is the storage crop from last fall) 
·      South American Blueberries
·      Sumo citrus (Dekopon) and soon Pomellos
·      Organic Green Grapes quality has faded. The report on the next batch, which we will not buy, was "3% mold, 4% amber, 12% loosened Grapes"... and then I stopped listening
Grab an excellent deal on the end of the season Hepworth Farms Gold Potatoes!

Some gaps in supply:
·      Raspberry price went loony and supply tightened so we dropped out for a week or two.
·      Blackberries became scarce
·      Artichokes are not even listed in organic offerings to us. Conventional prices are either very high or "offerings insufficient to quote"
·      Green Beans were severely damaged by frost and available at high prices, in fine quality and absurd bags
·      Organic Ginger is very scarce. We are buying every pound of Peruvian and Hawaiian available to us and not buying any from China
·      Organic Turmeric is very scarce. Even though we have managed to buy a huge percentage of the stock from the company that imports it, we can't get enough. Turmeric has two r's in the spelling. If you insist on pronouncing it "toomeric", you can't have any.
·      The Mexican organic Mango has season has only barely started and we have had limited supplies of the Haden and Tommy Atkins varieties. We found some Haitian organic Francis Type Mangos and hope for better supplies next week.
·      The southern California Broccoli harvest is winding down and the more northern harvest isn't there yet. Even at higher prices we couldn't get enough and are supplementing with some of the conventionally grown crop. 
·      Cauliflower may not gap but price is starting to climb.

New or returning soon:
·      South American Bosc Pears
·      Fava Beans for Karen Mancuso and everyone else
·      Turmeric-a half week supply (we hope)
·      Raspberries
·      Organic Black Grapes with seeds 
·      Jerusalem Artichokes. We have been waiting for the spring thaw to allow our local farmers to dig up the "wintered over" crop
·      Ramps - This deep freeze has delayed much new growth.  Last spring was really warm!  We probably won't see any ramps for at least another couple of weeks.
·      Nettles – Soon!  Maybe next week.

Here are the coming attractions from Hepworth Farms over the next couple of weeks:

We are seeding lots of cut greens tomorrow in our tunnels and expect to have LOTS of Baby Arugula, Asian Greens and Mustard in 21 days.  I wanted to give you a heads up -
we are planting the following beds of:
Mustard Mix
Garnet Giant, Golden Frill, Green Wave,Purple Osaka, Red Giant, Ruby Steaks
Asian Green Mix
Purple Mizuna, Mibuna, Komatsuna,White Stemmed Pac Choy, Vivid Choi, Tat Soi, Prize Choy Pach Choy, Yukina Savoy, Mizuna, Shanghai , Red Choi
Asian Greens
Yu Choy Sum, Red Choi, TatSoi
Surrey Greens

We also have others greens already seeded and you will be getting:
Red Russian, Pac Choi, Tat Soi, Mizuna, Premium Mix, Yukina Savoy, Collards, Cress and Beet Greens (they are a bit slower maybe next week) in smaller quantities than will be available in 21 days!