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The latest in fresh produce news

Market Outlook

Produce Express

Market Outlook - January 17, 2013

Frozen Tundra

Winter weather, place of origin and the simple rules of supply and demand combine to create rapidly changing scenarios that result in quality issues as well as price increases to many produce staples at this time of year. The annual produce transition that occurs in the weeks following Thanksgiving saw a series of weather related events that are influencing the current status of a variety of vegetables. Initially, warm weather in Yuma, Arizona and Northern Mexico allowed for successful planting of crops-to the point that several crops arrived ahead of schedule. Lower temperatures then slowed down field growth and created the first 'gaps' of the season. Now, frost and freeze has extended the gaps, resulting in a lack of supply and subsequent higher prices. Note-While frost conditions usually damage certain delicate vegetables, the same cannot be said for the current artichoke crop. Artichokes are harvested 'frost-kissed' at this time of year. Frost causes the outer leaves of the artichoke to turn brown. While the brownish color may not look appealing, frost intensifies and enhances the overall flavor of the artichoke. Once cooked, this color disappears, resulting in a delicious green artichoke. Please read the Market Movers section on the back page for information regarding crops on the rise.

Handmade Ravioli

Produce Express offers handmade ravioli from Sacramento's Getsala Pasta Company. Each of the five fillings are made from scratch using fresh, seasonal produce. 5# box of frozen ravioli-$34.75. Vierra Farms Butternut Squash Ravioli-A rich, smooth filling of roasted butternut squash, whole milk ricotta, Parmigiano-Reggiano, & a touch of nutmeg. Spinach and Ricotta-An Italian classic. A creamy blend of fresh spinach, whole milk ricotta, Parmesan, and garlic.  Portabella Mushroom-Local Portabella mushrooms are first caramelized then deglazed with white wine and combined with whole milk ricotta, garlic and fresh herbs to create an intense mushroom flavor. Sundried Tomato-Chunky sundried tomatoes, fresh thyme, virgin olive oil and garlic are blended together to create a lively ravioli. Green Olive Arrabiatta-A unique blend of Castelvetrano olives and Calabrian Chile peppers creates an excellent filling with soft lingering heat at the finish.

Market Outlook - January 10, 2013

Red Sunchokes

sunchokesActually a tuber, the thin-skinned sunchoke looks like a small, knobby potato or ginger root. They vary in color from pale brown to white, red or purple. The sweet, crisp, white flesh has almost a sweetly fresh nutty taste with subtle hints of artichoke heart and salsify. Ivory and crunchy, the chewy texture is quite similar to jicama or a water chestnut. There is much debate regarding the origin of the name for this tuber. It is safe to say that maybe nobody knows for certain where the name originated or why some refer to it as Sunchoke while others refer to it as Jerusalem Artichoke. Some give credit to Will Kinney, an organic farmer in Vista, CA with devising the name "Sunchoke" in 1965. However, in 1950 Charles Heiser writes that a Swedish farmer created a hybrid of a Jerusalem artichoke and a common sunflower, to use as a sugar crop, and called it "Sunchoke". It is most likely that Native Americans, in Virgina, had already had a name for the plant and had been calling it "sun root" since the early 1900's. Local, organic Red Skin Sunchokes available from Del Rio Botanical.

Bianca Aged Goat Cheddar Cheese

bianca-aged-goat-cheeseBianca Aged Goat Cheddar Cheese from Sierra Nevada Cheese Company, located in Willows, CA. Aged for over six months, this semi-soft, raw milk cheese offers a cheddar-like quality with creamy smooth texture and complex, nutty flavor, a good melting cheese. Seasonal variations in the raw milk accentuate a diverse range of flavors. Perfect for cold weather Panini, pizzas, & baked pastas, as well as cheese plates and appetizers. We also offer the following local cheeses from Sierra Nevada: Chevre, Goat Feta, Organic Farmhouse White Cheddar, Gina Marie Cream Cheese, & Organic Smokehouse Jack, & Habanero Jack.

Market Outlook - December 27, 2012

The Year in Review

'Tis the time of year that we are likely to take a moment or two to reflect on all that is right with the world and to give thanks for our families and friends. We at Produce Express would like to take that moment and thank all of our customers for choosing us as your produce distributor. Simply said, without our customers we are not a company. We also wish to thank all those involved in agriculture, particularly those in California. We wish to thank the farmers, large and small, conventional and organic. We wish to thank all those who work in the fields. We thank all of the growers, packers, shippers, truckers and distributors who take the time to move our delicate products up and down these highways. We thank the other produce companies that we work with on a daily basis and supply us for all of our produce and we thank all those who supply us with our specialty products-California Olive Ranch and Sparrow Lane Vinegar and DiNapoli Tomatoes and Lundberg Family Rice and Grass Valley Grains and Clover/Stornetta and many, many more. And we thank those that come to work every day-our employees. We look forward to the coming year because that's what you are supposed to do now. We can start again with our seasonal approach to sourcing fresh produce and, while there really aren't any new fruits and vegetables (except for candycots), I'm sure that we will find a new farmer or two to add to our existing list of local growers. And we plan to be very involved in the recently created Farm-to-Fork program in Sacramento. And there's a few more cheeses to bring in and maybe someone does come up with the next big thing. Happy New Year from all of us to all of you!

La Tourangelle Nut and Seed Oils

In the past two weeks, we have called on several chefs to sample our new line of nut and seed oils from La Tourangelle and the response has been very positive. "Pure and clean", "very flavorful", "excellent oils" are among the many comments offered by local chefs. These oils are all produced in Woodland, CA. using local crops whenever possible as well as sourcing from other countries. We are now stocking the following oils:

  • Roasted Almond Oil (California)-Delicate almond flavor. Liter
  • Roasted Walnut Oil (California)-Rich walnut flavor with clean finish. Gallon
  • Roasted Hazelnut Oil (Oregon)-Clean, delicate hazelnut flavor. Liter
  • Note-the above oils need to be refrigerated after opening.
  • Avocado Oil (California)-Light flavor, very high smoke point, great for poaching fish. Liter
  • Grapeseed Oil (Spain/Portugal)- Neutral flavor with a high smoke point. Gallon
  • Pumpkin Seed Oil (Austria)-Deep green color, rich and flavorful. 250ml
  • Sesame Oil (Japan)-Clean, pure and very flavorful. An excellent oil. Liter