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The latest in fresh produce news

Market Outlook

Produce Express

Market Outlook - February 7, 2019

new vanilla, sugars and extracts

Vanilla cultivation is a specialty that requires years of constant tending and a complex, exacting combination of soil, sun, rain, hand-pollinating and curing. We partner with a locally based company, Jones & Co., to source high quality vanilla and vanilla products from small vanilla bean farmers in remote growing regions around the world. Products are packed in Auburn. We proudly offer the following:

  • Pure Vanilla Powder  *NEW* (1.5# jar)- vanilla bean extractives in a dextrose base; ideal for adding concentrated vanilla flavor without the alcohol found in liquid extract.
  • Sweet Dough Powder  *NEW* (1.5# jar)- natural sweet vanilla and citrus flavors in a dextrose base add delicious flavor to pancake and waffle mixes, cookies, cakes, cinnamon rolls, coffee cake, pastries and more.
  • Vanilla Sugar  *NEW* (2# jar)- made with pure cane sugar and finely ground vanilla beans grown and cured in Vera Cruz, Mexico. Add an extra kick to a variety of baking applications.
  • Cinnamon Sugar  *NEW* (2# jar)- made using raw cane sugar and both ground and stick Ceylon-type cinnamon grown in Mexico. Spice up lattes, toast, cookies, frosting and more!
  • Vanilla Beans (4oz)- grown and cured in Vera Cruz, Mexico by a fourth-generation family of vanilla farmers. The excellent unique flavor of these large beans are the ideal addition to any baking application.
  • Vanilla Extract (quart)- deep in color and rich in flavor, this house blend extract is perfect for adding delicate sweet flavor to whipped cream, custards, ice cream, a variety of baking applications and more. We also offer Maple Extract, Almond Extract, Lemon Extract and Orange Extract– great for crafting beer, chocolates, cocktails, ice cream and more.
  • Vanilla Puree (quart)- intense and concentrated house blend purée makes a wonderful addition to a mocha, drizzled over pancakes, added to a pork or salmon glaze, stirred into a craft cocktail, or baked into coffeecake.

carnival cauliflower & romanesco

Although cauliflower is available year-round, it is most popular in the fall and winter months. Cauliflower is great because it is incredibly versatile– it can be baked, boiled, fried, steamed, mashed, “riced”, or enjoyed raw. It is also delicious in gratins, soups, purees, and added to salads. We offer the following varieties:

  • White (12ct case)
  • Orange (9 count case)- sometimes referred to as “cheddar” even though it doesn’t taste anything like cheese. Its flavor is mild, slightly sweet and creamy.
  • Purple (9 count case)- mild, slightly sweet and a little nutty in flavor.
  • Broccoflower (12 count case)- green cauliflower.
  • Carnival (6 count case)- orange, purple, and green cauliflower.
  • Romanesco (6/8 count case)- part of the same family as cauliflower and broccoli but its own unique appearance and flavor. Its conical shape is made up of series of spiraled florets and its flavor is sweet and nutty.

california olive oil shortage

Due to extreme irregular weather patterns, California olive growers experienced a drastic shortage in production in the 2018 season, with olive crops across California down more than 50% from the previous year. California Olive Ranch, our source for local extra virgin olive oil, lost 80% of their crop and has cut off all food service suppliers from certain varietals including the COR Blend and Arbequina. In search of replacements, our sales team researched and tasted a variety of olive oils, most of which came from South American olives. We remain committed to offering local products and are pleased to be able to offer a high quality, great tasting extra virgin olive oil from Sciabica, a local source based in Modesto. The Sciabica family has been cold-pressing olive oil on the same property in Modesto for over 80 years, making them the oldest producer in the United States. The artisan tradition of olive oil production was learned in Sicily in the olive oil mills of Castelvetrano by Nicola Sciabica, the patriarch and founder of Sciabica’s California Olive Oil. Their olive oils are 100% GMO-free, sustainably farmed, and artisan-crafted in small batches. Sciabica EVOO is certified extra virgin by the Olive Oil Commission of California. We are proud to offer the following solutions for your olive oil needs:

  • Sciabica Mission Trail 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil– *this is the replacement for the COR Blend EVOO from California Olive Ranch.* Made from Mission variety olives, this oil has a lush buttery flavor, with a delicate touch of sweetness and subtle notes of olive blossoms; no bitterness or pungency. This oil is perfect for general use such as cooking, garnishing plates, baking and more. Packed in a 2.634 gallon bag-in-box (10 liters). Bag-in-Box packaging extends shelf-life, preserves quality, dispenses reliably and is environmentally conscious.
  • Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive Oil– *we will continue to send California Olive Ranch Arbequina for one more week, or while supplies last.* Arbequina EVOO is loved for its strong fruity notes with little pungency. It has a very pleasing clean taste and flavors of tropical fruit and fresh artichoke. Used for “strong” pestos, and works well for vinaigrettes and finishings. Packed in a 2.64 gallon bag-in-box (10 liters).
  • California Olive Ranch 80/20 Blend– an all-purpose blend of 80% non-GMO expeller pressed canola oil and 20% extra virgin olive oil (from South America). Versatile for most any cooking application, a mild and buttery blend with light hints of fresh olive flavor. Available in a 5 gallon box.
  • California Olive Ranch 50/50 Blend- Made with a 50/50 blend of Canola and Extra Virgin Olive Oil (from South America), it is milder in flavor and lighter in color than pure olive oils. It is ideal for high-heat cooking and is great for recipes that require a light taste profile. 5 gallon box.

Market Outlook - January 24, 2019

full belly farm

Full Belly Farm is a certified organic farm growing over 80 different crops in Capay Valley. Founded in 1985, Full Belly is a family farm supporting organic and sustainable farming practices with a focus on helping to create a strong local food economy. The following seasonal items are now available:

  • Savoy Spinach– an heirloom savoy spinach variety similar to Bloomsdale. Its leaves are slightly crinkled with clean, sweet flavor. Sold by the 4# case only.
  • Broccoli de Cicco– a sweet and tender heirloom broccoli variety; looks similar to broccoli rabe but has a sweeter taste and more delicate texture. All parts of Broccoli de Cicco are edible from the stalk to leaves and florets. Sold by the 14ct case only.
  • Dino Kale (also known as Lacinato, Tuscan, or Black Kale)- an Italian heirloom kale variety with dark green, heavily crinkled leaves. It has a strong flavor that is rich, sweet and earthy. Young, tender leaves are best sautéed quickly while larger leaves do well in a long, slow cooking process like soups and braises. Sold by the 12ct case only.
  • Nantes Carrots– a French heirloom carrot variety that is distinctly sweeter than other carrots with a smooth skin and crisp texture. Delicious in stocks, soups, braises, salads, or as vegetable side. Sold by the 24 bunch case.
  • Tokyo Turnips– a small radish-sized turnip with a crunchy texture. It has a juicy, bitter-sweet flavor when eaten raw that becomes more buttery-sweet and delicate when cooked. Serve raw in salads and appetizers, slow cook in soups, stews, braises or use for a root vegetable puree. Sold by the 10# case.
  • Mixed Mizuna– serrated, dark green and red leaves with narrow white stalk; Mizuna has a mildly peppery and slightly spicy flavor. Use as a garnish, enjoy raw in salads or cook into stir-fry and soups. Sold by the 12 bunch case.

cowgirl creamery

Founded in 1997 by chefs-turned-cheesemakers, Sue Conley and Peggy Smith, Cowgirl Creamery has produced over 2,000 tons of award-winning cheese that is loved by chefs and consumers alike. We offer the following:

  • Devil’s Gulch (8oz round)– only available for a limited time during the winter months, Devil’s Gulch is one of four seasonal cheeses. The rich, bloomy rind dusted with a mixture of sweet and spicy ground heirloom peppers looks beautiful on a cheese board. It has a soft, creamy texture and bright, sweet flavor with hints of spice. Devil’s Gulch starts with organic Holstein milk from Bivalve Dairy near Pt. Reyes station.
  • Mt. Tam (8oz round)– a buttery, triple cream cheese aged to perfection! Mt. Tam melts well and makes a wonderful addition to sandwiches and cheese boards. Cowgirl’s most popular cheese is made from organic milk from Straus Family Creamery.
  • Red Hawk (8oz round)- pungent aromas complement the rich, smooth flavor of this triple cream cheese. It is aged four weeks and washed with a brine solution resulting in the sunset red-orange rind. The wild bacteria that define this bold cheese are native to Point Reyes; it literally could not be made anywhere else.

dinapoli tomatoes

DiNapoli canned tomato products start with freshly harvested tomatoes grown in California’s Central Valley and Yolo County. The tomatoes are rushed to a local cannery to be processed within hours of harvest. Special attention is paid to tomato selection- only the best tomatoes with deep red color, soft texture and naturally sweet flavor are chosen for packing. By using lower temperature evaporators and high speed canning lines, DiNapoli is able to provide extra thick and rich consistency without destroying the natural fresh tasting tomato flavor and color. We proudly offer the following DiNapoli products by the case (6/#10 cans):

  • Bianco DiNapoli Whole Tomatoes and Bianco Crushed Tomatoes (Organic)- a wonderful collaboration between James Beard award winning chef, Chris Bianco, and Rob DiNapoli– organically grown plum tomatoes are peeled with steam, hand-selected for yellow shoulders, and packed with a bit of sea salt and hint of basil. No calcium chloride is used in the process. Available whole or crushed.
  • San Marzano Style Plum Tomatoes– packed whole and peeled in natural juice. These tomatoes are the closest thing to the hand picked San Marzanos that the DiNapolo family once raised in the countryside near Naples.Peeled Tomato Strips– delicate San Marzano Style whole peeled tomatoes are randomly chopped, seeded and topped with a light puree.
  • Diced Tomatoes– peeled tomatoes diced to a cube, holds shape during cooking.
  • Ground Tomatoes in Puree- 50% chunky ground, vine ripened, peeled tomatoes, 50% fresh pack tomato puree create a rich, full body marinara or pizza sauce.
  • Tomato Sauce– rich, flavorful sauce of whole peeled plum tomatoes, seasoned, cooked and strained.
  • Tomato Paste– whole peeled tomatoes cooked and reduced to a rich red concentrate that adds thickness and body to soups and sauces.
  • Tomato Puree (Extra Heavy)- whole peeled tomatoes, briefly cooked and strained to a thick liquid.
  • Whole Peeled Tomatoes- cold-pressed, uncooked, whole, peeled, round, tomatoes.
  • Diced Tomatoes- cold-pressed, uncooked , peeled, diced tomatoes.
  • Marinara Sauce– perfect for pastas.
  • Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes in Juice– red, ripe tomatoes are roasted over an open fire to blackened perfection! Natural hardwoods create robust smoky flavors that make these diced tomatoes ideal for a soup, marinara, chili or a pizza topping.

Market Outlook - January 16, 2019

wrinkle crinkle cress

Chefs love Produce Alive products because of their consistent quality, beautiful color and fresh flavor! Produce Alive products are 100% hydroponically grown which allows owner, Eric Powell, to use 90% less water than traditional growing methods in his 4,100 sq. ft. greenhouse. We are proud to offer the following from Produce Alive (Loomis, Placer County, CA):

  • Wrinkle Crinkle Cress (1/2# bag)– broad, spoon-shaped leaves that are wrinkled and ruffled on the edges. Their unique curled leaves add wonderful texture and flavor to salads, soups and sandwiches; also makes delicious vinaigrettes and pesto. Wrinkle Crinkle Cress has a warm, spicy, peppery flavor upfront with a sweet finish.
  • Watercress (1# bag)– a member of the mustard family, Watercress is a succulent, leafy plant with a sweet, spicy flavor and unique peppery taste. Use as part of a vibrant salad, pair with roasted meats, use to accompany salmon, scallops, and shrimp, puree into soups and sauces, use on sandwiches and pizzas. 

**Please note that Wasabi Arugula is gapping until March.**

daikon varieties from ray yeung

Commonly used in Asian dishes, varietal Daikon have become popular in an array of preparations and applications such as stir-frying, pickling, adding to a salad, slaw, stew or soup, slow cooking, roasting with other vegetables, or topping avocado toast. We currently have the following from Ray Yeung (West Sacramento):

  • Daikon Radish (20# case)- grows up to 20” long and 4” in diameter. Daikon has a mildly peppery spice with a crisp and juicy texture.
  • Lobok Daikon Radish (40# case)- ranges from 3-8” in length and 2-4” in diameter, Lobok is shorter and more round than a regular Daikon. Its flavor is a bit sweeter than a regular Daikon with a mild peppery bite. Lobok is also crisp and juicy.
  • Purple Daikon Radish (10# case)- around the same shape and size of Lobok; Purple Daikon has a beautiful inner flesh that is white with stunning starburst splashes of violet matching its purple skin. Its flavor is mildly spicy with a hint of sweetness.

fresh, locally hand-made pasta

Our fresh, handmade pasta is made daily in midtown Sacramento at Paragary Bakery. The bakery uses high quality ingredients like Giusto’s stoneground Duram flour and farm fresh eggs. We offer the following fresh pasta options, available by the pound:

  • Pasta Sheets– made to fit a full-size hotel pan, these sheets are perfect for lasagna. They can also be cut into desired size and shape such as Ravioli, Cannelloni, Tortellini, Agnolotti, and other stuffed pasta. Approximately 2 sheets/pound; $4.95 per pound.
  • Pappardelle- a 1-inch wide, flat ribbon of pasta traditionally used for rich, heavy sauces and ragu of meat and game. $5.75/pound.
  • Tagliolini- long, cylindrical ribbons of pasta best served with smooth, light bodied sauces. $4.95/pound.
  • Fettuccine- a flat, thick noodle, slightly wider than Tagliatelle. Traditionally, fettuccine is served with slow cooked meat or chicken ragu or sugo but also pairs well with cream or butter based sauces. $4.95/pound.

dried egg pasta

We also offer several varieties of dried egg pasta made by Eduardo’s in San Francisco. Their pastas are made with a blend of semolina and wheat flours and local farm eggs. No salt, preservatives or artificial colors are ever added. It is dried very slowly at low temperature to preserve the unique chewy texture and flavor. We offer the following dried egg pastas by the case (12/12oz bags per case):

  • Shells (Conchiglie)- medium in size, the shell shape of the pasta allows the sauce to adhere to it.
  • Penne– a cylinder shaped pasta with angled ends. The hollow center allows it to hold sauce nicely.
  • Fusilli and Tri-Color Fusilli– short cork-screw shaped pasta. Available in plain or tri-color (egg, spinach and beet pastas).
  • Rigatoni– large tube shaped pasta with ridges down the length and square cut edges. Its namesake ridges make better adhesive surfaces for sauces and grated cheese than smooth-sided pasta like Ziti.
  • Spinach Fettuccine– long, flat pasta made with spinach. The thickness of Fettuccine makes it suitable for ragu type dishes and other hearty sauces.