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The latest in fresh produce news

Market Outlook

Produce Express

Market Outlook - April 26, 2018

farmer's market strawberries

We have reached that magical time of year when strawberries are at their peak– sweet, juicy, and red all the way through! California strawberries account for 88% of the strawberries produced in the U.S., with three major growing regions– Santa Maria, Watsonville, and the Southern District (Orange, Riverside, and San Diego counties). The mild days and cool nights in Watsonville produce the sweetest tasting berries, especially in the spring months. The peak harvesting season runs through June, when up to 10 million pint baskets are shipped daily. All strawberries are picked, sorted and packed by hand in the field. Large growers that ship to outlying areas rush the full trays to onsite refrigerators that quickly cool the berries down to 34 degrees to create a longer shelf life. Strawberries from smaller operations are picked riper, are more flavorful, and are typical of the quality you find at farmer’s markets. This week we begin offering a farmer’s market quality strawberry from Watsonville, carefully sourced by Ainslee Urkofsky-Reyes. Farmer’s Market Strawberries are hand-packed into 12/1# pint baskets and available by the flat only. Price is slightly higher than 8/1# flats, but the yield is greater as well. Because Farmer’s Market Strawberries are picked at the peak of ripeness, they should be used within 3 days. Please specify FARMERS MARKET STRAWBERRIES when ordering or we will send a conventional case.

spring brunch pop-up
tasting tuesday
may 8, 2018
1pm-3pm

We hope you can join us for a special Tasting Tuesday featuring a variety of products perfect for all your brunch needs! Stop by our warehouse (8340 Belvedere Avenue, Sacramento) anytime between 1PM-3PM. Tasting Tuesday events are open to anyone involved in the industry. This is a great opportunity for your team to learn more about the products you cook and serve every day. Please spread the word to your staff and team members. The menu will feature:

cinco de mayo

Whether Mexican themed dishes are a staple on your menu, or you are planning some specials for Cinco de Mayo, we have you covered– from fresh
ingredients such as avocados, an array of peppers, cilantro and other herbs to Mexican cheeses, rice, beans, tortillas, chips, and salsa!

  • Mixed Chips– a 50/50 blend of thick and crispy corn chips and totopos chips, made with blue corn, quinoa, chia, and maca grains. Perfect for nachos and dipping, as they will hold their texture when heaped with ingredients. Available in a 15# bulk case only (perfect for the Cinco de Mayo crowds!)
  • Medium Salsa (red)– made with tomatoes, onions, peppers, vinegar, & cilantro; with a bit of heat. Sold by the gallon.
  • Salsa Verde– a tart and tangy salsa made with fresh green tomatillos. Sold by the gallon.
  • Queso Fresco Cheese– a creamy, soft and mild un-aged white cheese with a trademark salty/sour flavor; often used to garnish soups and tacos. Available by the 7# wheel.
  • Oaxaca Cheese– a semi-soft, slightly acidic cheese often called ‘string cheese’ as it pulls apart similar to mozzarella. Perfect for quesadillas, stuffing chilies, and in vegetable dishes. Available by the 5# wheel.
  • Cotija Cheese– a dry aged cheese, similar to Parmesan with a nutty/salty flavor. Use crumbled over enchiladas and bean dishes. Available by the 7# wheel.
  • Corn Tortillas Cut for Chips (30# case)
  • Tortillas: 14” Flour (10 pack case), 12” Flour (10 pack case), 10” Flour (10ct package or 12 pack case), 8” Flour (10 pack case), 6” Flour (12 pack case), 6” Corn (12ct package or 40 pack case), 4” Corn (45 dozen/case)

Market Outlook - April 19, 2018

J. Marchini Farms

J. Marchini Farms is owned and operated by the father-son team, Joe and Jeff Marchini. Growing up on his family farm, Joe Marchini enjoyed gardening from a young age, starting with tomatoes. In the ‘80s, Joe began experimenting with a lettuce seed from Italy called radicchio, making him the original radicchio grower in the U.S. The Marchini family now grows several varieties of Italian specialty vegetables, including three varieties of chicories– Radicchio, Treviso, and Castelfranco. Chicories are a closely related group of leafy vegetables that exhibit a variety of sizes, shapes, colors, and textures. Chicories are quite versatile and may be used in any manner of culinary techniques. They are excellent raw in salads, and have a sturdy texture that is great for both braising and grilling. We are pleased to offer the following varieties from J. Marchini Farms (LeGrand, CA):

  • Radicchio– globe shaped, similar looking to a small head of red lettuce or cabbage with a distinctive bitter flavor. 12 count case or by the each
  • Treviso– a radicchio with romaine shaped heads of red and white. 12 count case only.
  • Castelfranco– seasonal variety with the mildest flavor of all the chicories. Individual heads with attractive purple red flecked, creamy white leaves. 12 count case only.
  • Mixed Chicory– a “Toy-Box” of Treviso, Castelfranco and Radicchio. 12 count case only.

green almonds

Green Almonds are unripe almonds that are picked before the shell has had a chance to harden. Like their cousin, the peach, green almonds have a fuzzy exterior with a gel-like interior. The "nut" has a gelatinous texture, similar to a firm grape. Green Almonds have a delicate, grassy and fruity flavor. They are a rare delicacy and are very popular in Mediterranean cuisines. Green Almonds can be sliced whole to be used as a garnish for soups and salads. European chefs make a green almond paste for pastries, and they pair very well with fish and seafood. Produce Express offers Green Almonds that are locally grown by J. Marchini Farms. Available in a 10# case.

 

 

cowgirl creamery

Cowgirl Creamery was founded by Sue Conley and Peggy Smith in 1997. Prior Both women established careers in prominent Bay area kitchens– Sue co-owned Bette’s Oceanview Diner in Berkley and Peggy spent 17 years at Chez Panisse. Together, they established Tomales Bay Foods, helping chefs access delicious products from West Marin farms and dairies. Shortly after, they began using milk from neighboring Straus Family Creamery to make delicious fresh cheeses. Two decades later, they’ve earned dozens of awards, have 2 creameries and 4 retail stores, and they have produced over 2,000 tons of cheese that is loved by chefs and consumers alike. One reason that Cowgirl Creamery cheeses are so special and delicious is that each cheese starts with milk made from only one source creating unique flavor profiles that can’t be created anywhere else. Produce Express proudly offers their Mt. Tam and Red Hawk year-round, and we rotate their seasonal cheeses accordingly.

  • St. Pat– their spring seasonal cheese, with its distinctive green rind, is now available! Its flavor is mellow and tangy, with notes of smokey artichoke. Made with single source organic Holstein milk from John Taverna’s Jersey Dairy, the rich, creamy wheels are wrapped in wild nettle leaves harvested by Paradise Valley Farms. 10oz piece.
  • Devil’s Gulch– we have a limited amount of this seasonal cheese available so order before it is gone until next year. The rich bloomy rind wheels are dusted with a mixture of sweet and spicy ground heirloom peppers from Allstar Organics. It has a bright, sweet spice softened by the rich creaminess of the paste. 10oz piece.
  • Mt. Tam– their first aged, soft-ripened cheese is named for a Northern California landmark, Mt. Tamalpais. This elegant triple cream cheese has the delectable flavor of cultured butter with hints of white mushroom. Mt. Tam starts with milk from Straus Family Creamery. 8oz piece.
  • Red Hawk– the creamery’s first washed-rind cheese is heavily allocated with limited pieces produced. This cheese cannot be made anywhere else because the wild bacteria that defines this bold, sumptuous cheese are native to Point Reyes. Red Hawk is aged four weeks and washed with a brine solution that creates the sunset red-orange rind. Its flavor is rich and smooth, complemented by pungent aromas. 8oz piece.

save the date
for our next tasting tuesday!

produce express spring brunch pop-up
tuesday, may 8, 2018
1pm-3pm
8340 belvedere avenue, sacramento, 95826

We will be serving pancakes made with Giustos Vita-Grain Flour, 3 different brunch toasts highlighting Z Specialty honeysnut butters, and fruit spreads, yogurt parfaits with Clover Sonoma yogurt and Nuthouse GranolaAmazon Planet Acai Bowls, Chocolate Fish Coffee, plus we will be showcasing a variety of spring produce!

Market Outlook - April 12, 2018

sausalito springs organic watercress

Sausalito Springs Organic Watercress is uniquely grown by a small farm in Sonoma County. Watercress is the only crop grown at Sausalito Springs so it is safe to say they put a lot of love into every step of growing, harvesting and packaging. While conventional watercress grows in the wild in clear, shallow streams, Sausalito Springs watercress is grown in fresh well water. When harvesting, they hand-cut only the tops of the plant. They are then triple washed, hydro-cooled, and hand packed loose-leaf (rather than bunched) in clear, plastic bags. Moisture is added after packaging to promote continued growth- Sausalito Springs Watercress is a living product. Watercress contains a unique mustard oil, similar to those in radishes, which gives it a unique peppery flavor. When properly handled, shelf life is 10-14 days. It is best stored in its original bag, kept flat and turned daily. When stored in restaurant containers, keep covered with a wet towel. Sausalito Springs watercress is excellent in salads and sandwiches, pairs well with fish, and would make a flavorful watercress pesto. Available in a 2# bag.

dragon gourmet mushrooms

Dragon Gourmet Mushrooms (Sloughhouse, CA), a staple at local farmers markets, has supplied local restaurants since 2000. Dragon Gourmet Mushrooms are grown indoors using a very scientific method involving untreated hardwood, sawdust, and wheat or rice bran; and controlled moisture, humidity, and temperature. No manure, supplements, herbicides, pesticides or any other additives are ever used in their growing process. We proudly offer the following varieties from Dragon Gourmet:

  • White or Brown Beech– quarter size caps with 2-3” white stems. Their crisp, crunchy texture holds up when cooked; a hot sauté brings out their mild nutty flavor. 4#
  • Oyster– scallop-shaped, soft brown caps with a delicate, sweet flavor and velvety texture. 5#.
  • Shiitake– tan to dark brown with broad, umbrella shaped caps. Rich, earthy, umami flavor with a meaty, slightly chewy texture. 5#.
  • Eryngii (aka Trumpet Royale or King Trumpet)- wonderful savory flavor with a firm, meaty texture. They are often used in place of wild mushrooms. 5#.
  • Lion’s Mane (*limited*)– crab-like texture and a buttery flavor; fantastic substitute for crab. 5# case.

 acai for breakfast, lunch & Dinner

Acai bowls have been popping up on menus all over Sacramento, following a craze that has been all the rage among consumers in Southern California and the Bay Area for years. Acai berries became popular in the early 2000s when they were found to improve blood sugar management. Acai berries also contain anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant benefits from polyphenols which are most dark berries such as blackberries and cranberries. Although acai bowls and smoothies are great on breakfast menus, consumers love acai any time of the day. Acai bowl are a delicious meal replacement when topped with a variety of fruit, granola, nuts, and seeds. Acai is also the perfect alternative to ice cream and frozen yogurt. Produce Express offers pure Acai (pronounced “ah-sigh-EE”) from Amazon Planet. Their Acai is wild-harvested and sourced directly from local farmers based in the Amazon Rainforest where Acai groves are an important part of the fragile ecosystem. The acai fruit looks a lot like a blueberry, but unlike the pulpy flesh of the blueberry, acai has a hard, inedible seed covered by a very thin, edible skin that is packed with nutrients. The thickness of acai is an indication of how many fruit solids—and therefore nutrients– it contains. Amazon Planet’s Acai maintains the taste of real acai– a velvety, natural, dark chocolate taste- because it is free of additives or filler juices. The mild and creamy acai packs are neither sweet, nor tart, allowing you to sweeten to your customer’s desired taste. Amazon Planet Acai is also certified Kosher, gluten free, and organic with 0g of sugar. We offer unsweetened Acai in frozen 100g (3.5oz) pouches with 64 pouches per case.

+ TOP IT OFF WITH NUTHOUSE GRANOLA

Nut House Granola is packed with whole nuts, juicy fruit, and pure maple syrup. The granola is mixed by hand in small batches then slowly baked to create a beautiful granola that is perfectly balanced in richness, sweetness, and saltiness. The final product is rustic and delicious with an addictive texture. Nut House Granola is made in Berkeley, CA using all natural ingredients including California farm-direct Almonds, Walnuts, Pecans and Raisins, Organic Oats, Coconut, Agave Syrup, and Non-GMO Verified Canola Oil. We offer Nut House Original Granola in convenient 10# bags.