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Market Outlook

Produce Express

Market Outlook - December 12, 2018

nicolau farms artisan cheese

The Nicolau family has been making cheese since the early 1900’s in Stanislaus County. Over a century later, nicolau farmstead artisan cheeseWalter Nicolau III continues the tradition by creating delicious farmstead cheese following the same principles as his great grandfather. Their farm is located just outside of Modesto in the fertile San Joaquin Valley. Nicolau Farms cheeses begin with quality milk produced from their herd of dairy goats. Nicolau uses an older method of pasteurization that does not impart a cooked flavor on the milk. All of their cheeses are skillfully and delicately handled and cared for on a daily basis. We are proud to offer the following from Nicolau Farms; available in 5# wheels:

  • Black Truffle Casiago– robust flavors of black truffle flow throughout this mixed milk cheese. Distinguishing notes of Italian black truffle combine beautifully with buttery cows milk & rich goats milk in this semi–hard Asiago style cheese aged 45-90 days.
  • Capra Stanislaus– the flagship cheese of Nicolau Farms is firm, dense, and slightly salty with notes of goat’s milk, caramel 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.
  • Quatro Pepe– hard, aged cheese that has a pale ivory body studded with “Quatro” peppercorns- black, white, pink, and green. Notes of sweet and creamy goat milk blend beautifully with burst of intense and savory peppercorns creating the perfect balance of salt and pepper.

perfect puree

Perfect Puree allows chefs and bartenders to use a complete array of handmade purees, concentrates and mixers year round without the added time and cost associated with hand-crafted purees. The Perfect Puree produces fruit purees and blends with ideal consistency and exceptional flavor. Their flavors are made from the finest raw ingredients harvested at the peak of ripeness. The fruit is quickly processed and frozen to retain the highest degree of quality and freshness. Their products are completely smooth in texture and absent of any particles or graininess; ideal for cocktails, marinades and sauces, glazes, salad dressings, vinaigrettes, soups, ice creams & sorbets, custards, candies, tarts, cakes and icings and much more! We offer the following flavors in 30oz jars:

Pomegranate •Passion Fruit •Kiwi • Cherry •Prickly Pear •Apricot • Blood Orange •Cranberry •Key Lime • Mango •Meyer Lemon •Banana • Caramelized Pineapple •Strawberry • Tangerine/Mandarin •Black Currant • Red Raspberry •White Peach •Cherry• Pink Guava •Coconut •Blueberry • Papaya •Tamarind •Green Apple • Lychee •Sir William Pear • Ginger • Marion Blackberry • Chipotle/Sour • El Corazon (passion fruit, blood orange and pomegranate blend) • Red Sangria (berry concentrate blend) • Thai Basil & Black Pepper • Yuzu Luxe Sour (yuzu, lemongrass and kaffir lime blend)

thank you for a great 2018

We had fun and learned a lot on our educational field trips to Premier Mushrooms, Hodo Soy Beanery, Twin Peaks Orchard, Clover Sonoma Dairy, DiNapoli Tomatoes, Barsotti Family Juice Co, Larsen Apple Barn (pictured above), and Produce Alive.



Our Tasting Tuesdays were a great opportunity to learn about and sample a variety of items such as Perfect Puree, Cordillera Chocolate, Local Cheeses, Fresh Pasta, Impossible Burger, seasonal produce, dairy and grains.



Our Summer and Fall Farmer’s Markets were our best ones yet with over 300 local chefs and farmers coming together to enjoy delicious food, celebrate our community and local bounty. Thank you to everyone who attended and participated!

You can find more pictures from tastings, tours and farmer's markets on our Facebook page.



We added several new products to our line-up: Produce Alive local hydro Watercress and Flowering Wasabi Arugula, The Impossible Burger, Sac Sprouts local microgreens, Pure Rice First local Calrose rice, Early Bird Farm Pancake Mix, and Sierra Nevada Hatch Chile Jack Cheese.

If you were not able to make it to an event this year, stay tuned for our 2019 plans! We hope to see you on a tour or at a tasting! Upcoming events can be found on Facebook, Instagram (@producexpress) and our website event page.

We recognize that you have many choices when sourcing produce and we appreciate your continued loyalty and support of Produce Express as your local produce provider, and of all the local farms we work with.

holiday hours

Please note that we will be CLOSED on Tuesday, December 25th for Christmas and Tuesday, January 1st for New Year’s Day. The office will be closing at 2pm on Monday, December 24th and Monday, December 31st. Our answering machine will be in operation throughout the holiday.

SPECIALTY ITEMS: For delivery on Wednesday, December 26, all specialty items should be ordered no later than Wednesday, December 19. For delivery on Wednesday, January 2, all specialty items should be ordered no later than Wednesday, December 26.
PRE-CUT ITEMS: must be ordered by noon on Sunday, December 23 and Sunday, December 30.

The more notice we have increases our ability to locate product. Many items will be scarce due to inventory reductions and freight schedules. Please plan ahead!

From all of us at Produce Express,

Market Outlook - December 5, 2018

Seasonal from Riverdog farm

Riverdog is a 450 acre, certified organic, diversified family farm located in Guinda (Capay Valley), CA since 1990. Owners Trini Campbell and Tim Mueller grow a variety of fruits and vegetables using a system that promotes healthy soil and a sustainable ecosystem around the farm. We offer the following seasonal items from Riverdog:

  • Scarlet Queen Turnips– spicy, red skin with sweet, crisp, white flesh that reveals beautiful splashes of red color when sliced. Scarlet Queen Turnips are smaller and more tender than other turnips and do not need to be peeled before roasting. Their flavor is sweet and light on the palette. The hairless, green tops are similar to mustard greens and have attractive red stems that can be used in salads or cooked on their own. Scarlet Queen Turnips may be enjoyed raw in salads and appetizers, slow cooked in soups, stews and braises, roasted with other root vegetables, and also makes a great puree. Available by the 10# case.
  • Beets (Gold and Chioggia)– beets have the highest sugar content of any vegetable. Gold beets have a golden-orange flesh that is firm, earthy and sweet. Chioggia beets have a deep earthy flavor; dusty ruby colored root with pink colored mid ribs and wavy green leaves. The flesh of the chioggia is a ring pattern of magenta pink and bone white. All beets may be roasted, steamed, or braised; roasting will bring out the most flavor. Beets may be served cold or hot; they make delicious salads, both on their own or with greens. Beets pair well with arugula, apples, oranges, cheeses such as goat and gorgonzola, shallots and vinegars. Available by the 12ct case.
  • King Richard Leeks– an heirloom variety of leeks with an edible 6-10 inch blanched white stalk; longer than the traditional leek. Their flavor is sweet and delicate. The tough, strappy, green leaves should be trimmed away, leaving the pale green and beautiful white stalk. King Richard Leeks add wonderful flavor to stocks, soups, stews and braises. They can also be blanched and served chilled in salads, fried for garnishes, or grilled as a vegetable side. Available in a 12ct case.
  • Bloomsdale Spinach– a sweet, heirloom variety with a deeper and more interesting flavor than the standard flat leaf spinach. Each leaf is heavily crinkled, giving it a heartier texture perfect for sautéing or wilting; no need to separate leaves from the stem. It may also be enjoyed in salads, appetizers, soups and braises. 4# case.

local kiwi

We now have local Green and Gold Kiwi from Wild River Farm. Owned and operated by the Noland family for over five decades, Wild River Farm is located along the Yuba River and is naturally nourished by the highly fertile, nutrient- rich topsoil. The Noland family is very hands-on with all aspects of the farm from designing state-of-the-art irrigation system to planting, pruning and harvesting.

  • Green Kiwi- popular Hayward variety known for its sweet, tangy flavor and vibrant color. Wild River Green Kiwi is CCOF-certified organic, grown without chemical fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides. Green Kiwi has fuzzy, fibrous brown skin and bright green, soft flesh with a starburst of small, black seeds. Green Kiwi contains an enzyme which allows it to be used as a meat tenderizer. They are ready to eat when they are soft to the touch. Available in a 36 count case or volume-filled (108 count) case.
  • Tropikiwi- smooth, bronze skin with flesh that varies in color from light green to golden yellow. It is lower in acid and higher in sugar content than the green variety, resulting in a sweeter, less tart fruit. Tropikiwi lacks fuzz on its skin which means it can be enjoyed without peeling. Available in a 12.5# (about 72ct) case. 

citrus season

Citrus season is in full swing with the following now available:

  • Chandler Pummelos- a large oversized mildly sweet grapefruit with thick rind (great for candied citrus), pale pink flesh and tart flavor. It has very little of the bitterness associated with the common grapefruit. Available from Twin Peaks Orchard in a 25# case.
  • Melogolds- a cross between a Pummelo and a White Grapefruit, this fruit has a very thick rind, yellowish-green pebbly skin and pale yellow flesh that is sweet-tart in flavor. Almost seedless and very juicy, this delightful fruit can stand on its own, and is great in salads. Melogolds are only available for a few months throughout the year from Twin Peaks Orchard in a 25# case.
  • Cara Cara Oranges– a type of navel orange, crossed with a ruby red grapefruit. It has a distinctive pinkish red flesh that is characterized by a sweet cranberry-like flavor; seedless, tender and extremely juicy with bright citrus aromatics. It is a great juicing orange for cocktails/beverages, delicious eaten out of hand or in salads, marmalades, jams, compotes and syrups. 20# case.
  • Satsuma Mandarins- a seedless, easy to peel mandarin with rich, tart-sweet flavor. Available from Twin Peaks Orchard in a 25# case or by the pound.
  • Meyer Lemons- a cross between a lemon and a mandarin. The Meyer is smaller and rounder than a regular lemon with smooth skin. Its flavor is distinct as the flesh; much less acidic, making them sweeter than other varieties. Available from Twin Peaks Orchard in a 10# case or by the pound.


A few months ago, a new vegetable dubbed Caulilini SweetStem Cauliflower was introduced by Mann Packing. Caulilini has long edible green stems and blonde, open white florets that resemble lace. Its flavor is sweetly succulent without the slight bitterness associated with traditional cauliflower. It is entirely edible from flower to stem and adds both flavor and texture to a variety of dishes. Its sweet, tender stalk turns bright green when cooked. Caulilini may be roasted, steamed or blanched. It is delicious when enjoyed raw in salads, on a vegetable or crudité platter, and adds beautiful decoration to cheese platters. Its sweet flavor would make a great addition to pastas and is excellent when paired with Asian sauces, stir fried, or fried for tempura. Available in a 6# case (3/2# bags).

Market Outlook - November 28, 2018


Although available year-round, many vegetables in the brassica family are recognized as “cool season” crops. The most familiar brassicas include Broccoli, Cauliflower, Cabbages, Brussels Sprouts, Radishes and Turnips. With Broccoli and Cauliflower experiencing weather related shortages, resulting in increased market pricing, here are some other items you might want to substitute into your menus:

  • Romanesco– striking in appearance, Romanesco is an heirloom cauliflower; the florets form a pyramid of spiraling, pointed cones. It is sweet with a mild nutty flavor without the somewhat pungency of cauliflower.   6-8ct case.
  • Broccoli Rabe– looks like tiny bunches of broccoli on long stems nestled among spiky large leaves; a yellow flower or two may appear. Its strong flavor is pungent and bitter. 10ct case.
  • Carnival Cauliflower– available in a 6ct mixed case; or individual colors available by the case- purple (9ct), orange (9ct), and green (12ct).
  • Kohlrabi– distinct protruding stalks topped with collard like leaves. Kohlrabi has tough, green outer skin and whitish/green, firm, crunchy flesh with a flavor similar to broccoli. Roast or steam them for stir-fries and pasta, puree into a soup, toss them in a salad, or grate them to make fritters or a delicious slaw. 12ct case.
  • Brussels Sprouts– a very versatile winter vegetable; Brussels may be steamed, roasted, braised, sliced or shredded and sautéed. 25# case or by the pound.
  • Radishes– mixed cases, Easter Egg, and French Breakfast radish available. 24 bunch case.

clover sonoma eggnog

Produce Express is now stocking everyone’s favorite holiday dairy product- Eggnog. Clover Sonoma Eggnog is rich and creamy; delicious by itself, as part of a holiday cocktail, or added to Lattes, Bread Pudding, French Toast, and Ice Cream. Like all Clover Sonoma products, their Eggnog starts with milk from family farms on the North Coast of California. All of Clover’s dairy products are rBST, antibiotic free, gluten free, low in sodium and fresh pasteurized. Eggnog is available in traditional flavor in a 1/2 gallon; or try the new non-alcoholic Maple Bourbon Eggnog in a quart.



holiday menu planning

The holiday season is here and for many restaurants that means special holiday menus, banquets, and special events. In addition to seasonal produce items like citrus, pomegranates, persimmons, cranberries, chicories, and squash, below are some items you might need to complete your menu:

  • Local Dairy Products from Clover Sonoma- cream, butter, eggs, buttermilk, sour cream, milk, and cheeses (organic options available with a pre-order).
  • Local Grains from Early Bird Farm– soft white wheat flour, hard red wheat flour, white corn polenta, and pancake/waffle mix.
  • Extracts– vanilla, maple, lemon, and orange.
  • Local Dried Fruits & Nuts– currants, figs, cranberries, raisins, golden raisins, pears, apples, shredded coconut, coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, chestnuts (frozen), walnuts, almonds, pecans, cashews, and hazelnuts.
  • Spices– pumpkin pie spice, ground cinnamon, cinnamon sticks, cloves, whole nutmeg, all-spice, crystalized ginger, vanilla beans, sugar, brown sugar, and sugar cane.
  • Fruit Purees for sauces and cocktails– pomegranate, blood orange, mandarin, meyer lemon, black currant, orange zest, and more.
  • Local Honey & Fruit Spreads– honeycomb, wildflower honey, orange blossom honey, yellow star thistle honey, California coriander honey, California pomegranate honey, apricot/cherry honey fruit spread, apricot honey fruit spread, and tart cherry honey fruit spread,
  • Local Olive Oil from California Olive Ranch– 80/20 chef’s blend, 50/50 blend, Corblend extra virgin olive oil, and Arbequina.
  • Local Cheeses– Sierra Nevada aged goat cheddar; Nicolau Farm black truffle casiago and Capra Stanislaus; Point Reyes Blue, Bay Blue and Toma; Marin French triple crème brie and camembert; Laura Chenel cabecou; Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam and Red Hawk, Cypress Grove Humboldt Fog and much more.