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The latest in fresh produce news

Market Outlook

Produce Express

Market Outlook - January 18, 2018

the flower farm

We now have local Blood Oranges and Meyer Lemons from The Flower Farm, located in Loomis, CA. The Flower Farm was established in 1905 and has been farmed continuously ever since. Originally, the land was a thirty acre plum orchard. Today, The Flower Farm is home to seven acres of mandarins, a wide range of fruit trees, including Blood Oranges, large vegetable gardens and a cutting flower bed. The Flower Farm is also committed to the environment as much of the electricity used on the farm is produced by solar panels, they practice environmentally friendly farming methods and compost daily. 

  • Blood Oranges have the most interesting and complex flavor of any orange. The juice is sweet and rich with a hint of raspberry, and is less acidic than regular oranges. Their distinctive dark flesh color is due to the presence of anthocyanin, a natural pigment common to red fruit and flowers, but usually uncommon to citrus fruits. The degree of coloration depends on light, temperature and variety. Moro and Tarocco are the two varieties of blood oranges found in the market. The Moro variety is more popular as the season is longer and the color more distinctive. Available by the 20# case or by the pound.
  • Meyer Lemons are most likely a cross between a lemon and a mandarin. The Meyer is somewhat smaller than a regular lemon, rounder in shape, with smooth skin and a distinct taste. The flesh is much less acidic making them sweeter than other varieties. The season typically runs from November through April. Available by 10# case or pound.

Enjoy the harvest from The Flower Farm!

portabella mushroom
chef challenge

Produce Express is teaming up with Premier Mushrooms to make 2018 the year of the Portabella, but we need your help! Premier Mushrooms will supply the Portabellas, and all you have to do is (1) create a dish, (2) post a picture of your creation on social media, (3) tag @producexpress (4) challenge another local chef. We will kick off the challenge with those who attend our Premier Mushrooms field trip on Monday, January 22 (8:15am to 1:30pm). For more information or to reserve your seat for the trip, please contact sales at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call/text (916) 956-5536.

Premier Mushrooms, located in Colusa, CA, is our source for the following:

  • Portabella- solid texture and rich, meaty flavor. Usually 4-6 inches across the cap, these are basically overgrown criminis. Sold by the pound.
  • Crimini– brown mushroom with solid texture and full flavor. Available whole by the pound, or sliced in a 10# case.
  • White– most familiar and widely used mushroom. Medium, Button, or Large by the pound; Open and Jumbo- 10# case; Thick Sliced- 5# case; Thin Sliced– 10# case.

 elegant beans and beyond

Elegant Beans and Beyond has been producing certified organic heirloom dried beans in our area for over 20 years. We were saddened late last year to hear that the founder, Chip Morris, passed away suddenly. The company continues to be operated by his wife, Bobbie, and a staff of loyal employees. Elegant Beans and Beyond recently received the Slow Food Sacramento Snail of Approval award for their dedication to promoting good, clean and fair food. Three of the beans Chip grows (Jacobs Cattle, Christmas Lima & Hidatsu Red) have been placed on Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste, a catalogue of delicious and distinctive foods facing extinction.

The individual varieties vary in size, shape, color and texture, and are available in 5# bags:

  • Black Valentine– medium size black bean, turning purple-black when cooked. Meaty texture, nutty flavor, cooks quickly.
  • Green Black-Eyed Peas– small, light green bean with distinctive black mark at sprouting point. Earthy sweet flavor & buttery texture. Used often in Caribbean or African cooking.
  • Green Flageolet– small pale green bean used often in French cooking. Holds shape well when cooked.
  • Hisatsu Red– a Native American bean originally from North Dakota. Nutty flavor, dark red color, medium size, and similar in texture to kidney beans.
  • Jacob’s Cattle– plum, white and red speckled, kidney shaped bean.Full-flavored with rich aroma. Holds shape under long cooking.
  • Pebbles– varying colors ranging from white to black. Their tender skin and mild flavors make them an excellent salad bean.
  • Pigeon Peas– small bean, beige in color with brown speckles, and sweet flavor. Used often in Caribbean countries.
  • Runner Cannellini– large, flat white bean, popular in Italian and Greek cuisines. Very smooth texture, full body, and nutty flavor.
  • Snow Cap– beautiful bean with white and tan coloring and creamy texture. These beautiful beans retain markings after cooking.
  • Sunset Runner– medium size purple and black bean with creamy texture and distinct flavor. They are excellent when used as a baked bean.
  • Christmas Lima– large, flat bean, bicolor-cream with dark maroon splotches. They have a buttery texture and chestnut-like flavor.

Market Outlook - January 11, 2018

penna olives

Penna Olives has been known for consistency and quality for decades. Their olives are grown, processed and packed right at M&CP Farms in Orland, CA. Owned and operated by Maurice and Cindy Penna, M&CP Farms is the only end-to-end handler- from tree to package. Maurice is a recognized authority on olives and is responsible for all phases of olive production. Freshly harvested olives are bitter and must be cured before eaten. The traditional method of curing uses lye to neutralize the natural bitterness. Maurice uses a second method- fermenting with lactic acid- which leaves more of the natural olive flavor intact. We are proud to offer the following:

  • Italian Deli Mix– a mildly spicy blend of pitted olives with pearl onions, and Greek and California peppers. 2/5# bags in brine.
  • California Mixed Olives (pitted or with pit)– blend of Sevillano, Mission, Manzanita, and Picholine. 2/4# bags.
  • Calamon Olives (pitted or with pit)- a California grown Kalamata, this olive is a large, purple/black olive with rich and fruity flavor that makes it a great table olive and excellent in tapenades. 2/4# bags.
  • Calabrese Olives– a unique variety of Sevillano olives that are cured in a salt brine for 12-18 months, desalted, then packed with olive oil, herbs, and hot pepper flakes. 2/5# bags.
  • Stuffed Olive– premium olives hand-stuffed with California jalapeno flavored with Mexican lime. Excellent for a dirty martini! Available in a 1 gallon tub.
  • Lucques Olive– crescent shaped green olives with firm meaty texture (with pit). 2/5# bags in brine.
  • Pitted Sicilian (Sevillano) Olives- Large meaty green olive with mild fruity flavor. Pairs well with sheep and goat milk cheeses. 2/5# bags in brine.
  • Preserved Meyer Lemons- packed in salt for several months until cured. Preserved Meyer Lemons pair nicely with olives and can be used to enhance the flavor of braised or roasted meats, soups, stews and salads. 2/5# bags.

nicolau farms artisan cheese

It takes quality milk to make quality cheese, and the family of Nicolau Farms has been doing just that since the early 1900’s. Their farm is located in the fertile San Joaquin Valley, allowing them to produce some of the finest farmstead cheeses. Nicolau uses an older method of pasteurization that does not impart a cooked flavor on the milk. We are proud to offer the following: Black Truffle Casiago– robust flavors of black truffle flow throughout this mixed milk cheese. Distinguishing notes of Italian black truffle combine beautifully with buttery cow milk & rich goat milk in this semi–hard Asiago style cheese, aged 45-90 days. 6# wheel. Capra Stanislaus– their flagship cheese is firm, dense, and slightly salty, with notes of caramel goats milk and a toasted, nutty-olive finish from the sea salt brine. This hard cheese is aged 2-4 months and is the perfect balance of creamy and dry. 5# wheel. Quatro Pepe– hard, aged cheese is studded with “Quatro” peppercorns- black, white, pink, and green. Notes of sweet creamy goat milk blend beautifully with burst of intense and savory peppercorns creating the perfect balance of salt and pepper. 5# wheel. Enjoy!

 

electronic trucking mandate

At Produce Express, we are committed to offering the freshest produce at the best value possible. Sometimes, changes happen with weather and the economy that affect pricing in the supply chain beyond our control. Such could be the case in the near future thanks to the new Electronic Trucking Mandate that took effect as of late December.

Here is the deal:

  • Truck drivers are allowed 14 hours per day including driving time and waiting time at both the pick up and drop-off locations. A new weekly hourly limit has also been enacted.
  • The mandate requires truckers to log their hours using an electronic logging device (ELD).
  • This has caused some truckers to pull their trucks off the road to have the devices installed.
  • This is all happening at a time when there is a lot more product that needs to be transported than trucks available to do the necessary jobs.
  • The imbalance in the supply and demand of trucks will allow the available carriers to be able to charge higher rates.
  • Availability gaps might also become an issue as carriers might be less willing to pick up at multiple locations which may eventually result in higher produce price and longer transit times.

Rest assured, Produce Express remains dedicated to keeping your pricing as low as possible. Thank you for your continued support. 

        premier mushrooms field trip

Join us for a tour of Premier Mushrooms in Colusa, CA on Monday, January 22! We will meet at Produce Express at 8:15am, leave promptly at 8:30am, and return by 1:30pm.

Premier Mushrooms is our source for Crimini, Portabella, and White Mushrooms. We will tour their state-of-the-art facility and learn about their growing, harvesting, and packing procedures.

This tour is hosted courtesy of Produce Express and is open to anyone in the restaurant industry. We highly encourage back of the house staff to attend. Please spread the word to your staff and team. Light lunch will be provided. 

Seating is limited so please RSVP to Marissa at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (916) 956-5536 (text or call).