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The latest in fresh produce news

Market Outlook

Produce Express

Market Outlook - March 2, 2017


Riverdog Farms Flooded

The recent storms and flooding in California inundated farmlands up and down the state, dealing a blow to virtually every crop. While the series of heavy storms benefited some drought-stricken areas, it also caused flooding to Northern California farmlands, delaying harvest for many growers. Several areas in Northern California, including around the Sacramento River Delta farming region, have already exceeded their annual water year totals. Some citrus and nut growers were hurt by the loss of trees from strong winds. For many farmers, muddy fields make it too difficult to get in to plant, or they have crops that are next to impossible to harvest.

We contacted a couple of our local growers to ask how the weather has affected their current crops and what it means for Spring and Summer crops. Here is what they had to say: Trini Campbell, Riverdog Farm in Yolo County (pictured above): “We source from well water in Cache Creek so we hope the abundance of water charges the well. We should be able to get in and harvest after just a few weeks of sun. Our greenhouse is also full with the first planting of tomatoes done.”

Camelia Miller, Twin Peaks Orchards in Newcastle: “We definitely had some water damage to late season small citrus, but still lots of new healthy growth on the trees. Our bloom is about 2 weeks behind the drought years, which is okay as long as the rain will hold off to allow flowers to set and bees to pollinate when they do bloom. Hopefully we can dry out for a couple of weeks. If this wet pattern does continue we might start to worry. Expect the stone fruit season to start within a couple of weeks of normal, mid May to early June.” 

We will continue to keep you informed as we know more.

california asparagus is now available

California Asparagus

California Asparagus season has begun and we are now stocking it in 28# cases. The California harvest begins in Southern California then moves up north to the Sacramento Delta. The season is extended by the supply of Washington State crops, then comes back to Southern California as the season finishes by going back to Mexico and other parts of the world. California growers expect a similar season to last year, with good supply and quality.

However, each year asparagus acreage shrinks as less than 10,000 acres of asparagus has been planted in California in 2017, down from 36,000 acres a decade ago. Farm labor is another issue farmers have to contend with. Asparagus is harvested by hand and one of the most labor intensive crops. The wage increases coming to California will have a direct effect on asparagus production and will likely contribute to the declining acreage. We have not heard yet how the rain and flooding will affect the Sacramento Delta crop.

We currently have no information to give as to when, or if, the local crop will start.

New california citrus vinegar from sparrow lane

Sparrow Lane Vinegars

Produce Express carries a full line of vinegars from Sparrow Lane, based in Napa, CA. Sparrow Lane uses wine grapes from Northern California to create their true-to-type varietal vinegars. The word vinegar comes from the French ‘vin aigre’, meaning sour wine. Vinegar is made by bacterial activity that converts fermented liquids into a weak solution of acetic acid- the element that makes vinegar sour. The dominant styles in the market are: distilled vinegars (grain-alcohol mixture); apple cider vinegar (fermented apples); malt vinegar (malted barley); wine vinegars (red and white wines), with the most recognizable being balsamic vinegar, an aged Italian vinegar made from the white Trebbiano grape. Other types of vinegars include those made from fruits such as raspberries or blueberries and rice vinegar (fermented rice). The strength of vinegar is known as grain and is determined by the percent of acetic acid in the product (minimum 4%). 40 grain vinegar indicates 4%, 50 grain, 5%, etc. Good quality wine vinegars have a 60-80 grain strength.
We carry the following varietals sold by the gallon:

  • California Citrus (NEW)- California Orange, Lemon, and Lime with barrel aged Chardonnay. Light and crisp. $14.75.
  • White Wine Vinegar– Slight golden color, smooth, crisp, and clean. $13.75.
  • Red Wine Vinegar– Dark red color, robust and full bodied. $13.75.
  • Cabernet Vinegar- Ruby red color, lush and full bodied. $15.50.
  • Champagne Vinegar- Delicate, crisp and fresh, with classic color of champagne. $14.75.
  • Zinfandel Vinegar- Deep red in color, old vine flavors with plenty of pepper, spice, and slight port overtones. $16.50.
  • Sherry Vinegar- Deep caramel color, smooth and assertive crisp deep oak flavor. $17.75.
  • Gravenstein Apple Vinegar- Fresh Sebastopol apples gives this rich golden colored vinegar a crisp zing. $14.75.
  • Golden Balsamic Vinegar- Honey colored with slight floral tones of the sweet Muscat grape. $17.75.
  • Dark Balsamic Vinegar- Rich dark chestnut color with slightly sweet silky hints of caramel. $17.75.
  • D’Anjou Pear Vinegar-Light yellow color with a luscious crisp pear flavor. $17.75.
  • Pear Raspberry Vinegar- Dark rose color, bright and slightly sweet with tastes of sweet pears and luscious raspberries. $17.75.
  • Mango Vinegar- Sweet white wine married with distinctive orange-peach flavor of fresh mango juice give this light amber colored vinegar a unique refreshing flavor. $22.75.
  • Rice Vinegar- Made from locally grown Lundberg Farms, non-GMO rice. The rice is made into Sparrow Lane’s proprietary sake using traditional brewing techniques in the new Nippon Shokken plant in West Sacramento. then the sake is turned into rice wine vinegar at their facility in Modesto. $13.75.