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News From The Farm

The latest on market factors that effect price, quality, and supplies.

November 15, 2017

Market Briefings

The Ultimate Fall Produce Guide

The Ultimate Fall Produce Guide

  • Our comprehensive market outlook flags seasonal items, new farmers, and general trends that should be on your radar this fall.
Tomatoes Tough Through Thanksgiving

Tomatoes Tough Through Thanksgiving

  • Rounds, grapes, and cherry tomatoes struggling down south, yellows are impossible.
  • Plums, mix medleys, and organic TOV’s are your best bet through Thanksgiving.
Early Bird Gets the Worm! Order Early for the Holiday!

Early Bird Gets the Worm! Order Early for the Holiday!

  • Southern green beans are very limited and expensive.
  • Mexico is revving up with new supplies and Guatemalan French beans are decently priced.
  • Be sure to get your orders in early for all holiday items, including turkeys. Use Wednesday as a last resort.

Produce Pat Prepares Us for a Special Thanksgiving

New wild mushrooms and red watercress are here to brighten your holiday table. Bronx-born, living basil in pods, now available year-round!

Commodity Updates

Apples

Current Market

We have the full line of new crop apples from the Hudson Valley and Washington, including pink-flesh Hidden Rose. Be sure to check out the 3 Lady Apple varieties - miniature Granny Smith, Gala and Delicious. Petite, pretty and tasty, they look lovely on a holiday breakfast buffet.

Featured Growers

Seasonal Transitions

Region Season Details
Region: South America Season: January - August Details:

Apples flourish in the colder areas of Central and Southern Chile. These regions grow more than 20 varieties, but their major exports are Gala, Braeburn and Fuji.

Region: Northeast Season: August - November Details:

New York is one of the country's top apple producers, second only to Washington State in annual production. The Northeast is also home to a number of small, family-owned farms that focus on rare heirloom varieties. 

Region: West Coast Season: August - December Details:

Washington State grows more than half of US apple production. Although harvest happens in the fall, storage crops from this region remains on the market almost year-round.

Characteristics

  • Heirloom apples available from Vermont in limited quantities through December. 

Prep & Storage

  • Optimum storage conditions for apples are a temperature near 32 degrees Fahrenheit and a relative humidity between 90 and 95 percent.

Beans & Peas

Current Market

Green beans are struggling down south but we're turning to Mexico's new crop. Guatemala's French beans remain abundant. We will have enough to meet holiday demand, but pricing will be high throughout the holidays. Sugar Snaps and Snow Peas, on the other hand, are dropping weekly.

Featured Growers

  • Guatemala 

Characteristics

  • If you're looking for a deal, sugar snaps and snow peas are decreasing in price weekly. 

Prep & Storage

  • For shelling beans - if you're going to use the beans within a couple of days, simply refrigerate them in the pods. If you're going to store them for a little longer, shuck them first.

Berries

Current Market

There's good quality and supplies in an up market for all strawberries, including Wellpict label stems. Raspberries, blackberries and blueberries are plentiful and we have wonderful Mexican Jumbo blues the size of small cherries! In the organic category, only strawberries remain tight.

Featured Growers

Characteristics

Prep & Storage

Once you bring your fresh berries home, the key to keeping it fresh is to kill any spores on the fruit.  The pH of vinegar does that job. Wash them in a vinegar-water bath:  1 cup of white vinegar and 8 cups of water. Let the berries sit in the vinegar-water bath, gently moving them to help dislodge any dirt, grime and letting the vinegar kill spores and bacteria. Drain the berries in a colander and then thoroughly rinse the fruit (to remove any vinegar flavor).

Broccoli & Broccoli Rabe

Current Market

Broccoli and broccoli crowns remain steady with good supplies. Broccoli rabe is plentiful with prices slightly higher due to the usual uptick in holiday demand.

Featured Growers

Seasonal Transitions

Region Season Details
Region: California Season: May - October Details:

California grows over 90 percent of the broccoli in the U.S.There are many varieties of broccoli, the most common being the Calabrese variety, named for Calabria where it came from.

Region: Maine Season: June - October Details:

Research teams are working with growers in the East to determine if they are able to extend the growing seasons with some of the newer hybrids.

Region: Yuma, Arizona Season: November - April Details:

Arizona is the country's second largest broccoli grower. The desert area of Yuma grows 12, 000 acres of broccoli every year.

Characteristics

Prep & Storage

Store broccoli as close to 32 degrees Fahrenheit as possible without actually freezing the vegetable. At this temperature, given ideal airflow and humidity, broccoli lasts upwards of 21 to 28 days. The warmer the storage temperature, the shorter the shelf life.

Brussels Sprouts

Current Market

No lack of Brussels sprouts here! We have them in every size and color - organic loose and clamshells from the Hudson Valley, and baby purple and green from Holland. The market is strong on full size from the west coast with holiday demand peaking.

Featured Growers

Seasonal Transitions

Region Season Details
Region: California Season: May - October Details:

The Salinas region of California is the source for our summer supply of Brussels sprouts. We source from here when we can't get them from locations closer to us.

Region: Mexico Season: November - April Details:

Production comes from the Mexicali, San Luis and coastal areas of Mexico, where cool temperatures and the coastal fog that are characteristic of this district, are ideal.

Region: Holland Season: August - April Details:

Most of Dutch crop is grown in the province of Zuid-Holland. Large loose Holland Brussels are uniform in size. Green baby Brussels sprouts start in September, followed by a smaller crop of baby purples.

Region: Northeast Season: September - November Details:

Artisan Hudson Valley famers grow limited amounts of Brussels sprouts organically, both loose and still attached to their stalk, which makes a great autumn decoration.

Characteristics

  • We still have a local option available for Brussels from Hepworth Farms. 

Prep & Storage

Store Brussels sprouts in a plastic bag in your  crisper, where they'll keep for at least one week, if not a little longer. Sprouts still on the stalk will stay fresh longer than those sold individually.

Cabbage

Current Market

Local, organic baby bok choy, red, and Savoy cabbages are steady from Pennsylvania. The northeast is still supplying most conventional cabbages except Nappa, which is done in our area but available out west.

Featured Growers

Seasonal Transitions

Region Season Details
Region: George, Florida & Texas Season: December - May Details:

Although California grows most of the country's cabbage, we buy from these southern states in winter because they are closer and take less time to reach us by truck.

Region: Northeast Season: June - November Details:

New York and New Jersey grow most of the local cabbage we sell in the warmer months, including Nappa and Bok Choy varieties.

Characteristics

Prep & Storage

Keep your cabbage whole until you plan to use it. When you cut cabbage in half, it begins to lose its vitamin C. Store the cabbage in the crisper of your fridge. Keeping your cabbage cold will help it retain its nutrients and crisp texture.

Carrots

Current Market

Peeled baby rainbow carrots are very short; orange are easier. Note the change in packaging which improves quality and shelf life. Large Canadian carrots are good now, but a deep freeze last weekend caused major damage to several Canadian growing regions. Markets are expected to rise.

Featured Growers

Seasonal Transitions

Region Season Details
Region: California Season: Year-Round Details:

California grows 80-90% of the US carrot crop and is our primary source for fresh carrots. Production is mainly in the southern and central coasts.

Region: Canada Season: July - August Details:

Carrots are grown in all regions of Canada, and enjoy long, cool growing seasons there. The majority of carrot production occurs in Ontario (44%) and Quebec (35%). This is where we source carrots for processing.

Region: Israel Season: March - June Details:

We source carrots from here during this period mainly for processing.

Region: Georgia + Mexico Season: June - August Details:

We source carrots from here during this period mainly for processing.

Region: New York Season: June - March Details:

Production is small in NY, mostly centered on small, independent farmers. Northeast carrots are grown both organically and conventionally. Their ten month availability window includes local storage carrots.

Characteristics

Prep & Storage

Once the greens are trimmed off, all you have to do to keep the carrots crisp and fresh is put them in a container of water and store in the refrigerator. Whole carrotsstay nice and crunchy in their cold water bath, and this is also a great way to storepackaged baby carrots.

Cauliflower & Romanesco

Current Market

Prices on conventional and organic cauliflower dropped this week, after weeks of running sky high. Better supplies are now coming out of Yuma, AZ. Local Romanesco is winding down and west coast Romanesco is hitting the wall with higher pricing.

Featured Growers

Seasonal Transitions

Region Season Details
Region: California Season: May - October Details:

California is the major cauliflower-producing state in the United States, growing about 90 percent of the nation's supply. In 2016, total U.S. cauliflower production was 666.1 million pounds.

Region: Yuma, Arizona Season: November - April Details:

The same growers who supply us in California move their fields to warmer Yuma for the rest of winter into early spring, with quality the same.

Region: Maine Season: July - October Details:

Cauliflower needs warm weather to grow and the Maine crop comes on in the height of summer. Both large and small heads come with full jacket on.

Region: New York Season: September - October Details:

We get beautiful cauliflower from LI and the Finger Lakes regions towards end of summer. Orange and purple varieties are available also in smaller amounts. Romanesco are steady from this region for the full two month window.

Characteristics

  • Turreted, lime-green Romanescos are autumn's party hat! Cook them simply and often this season to celebrate the bounty of fall.

Prep & Storage

Transfer to a loosely sealed plastic bag, with a paper towel tucked in to absorb any excess moisture. Whole heads of cauliflower can be kept in a loosely sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator for 4 to 7 days. Precut florets should be stored for no more than 4 days.

Citrus, Grapefruits

Current Market

Pink flesh Pomelos started this week. They're a natural, non-hybrid grapefruit variety from California. The peel is very thick and bitter, while the pink meat is mellow and low acid. Red Heller grapefruits from Florida are steady now but will remain pricey all season.

Featured Growers

Seasonal Transitions

Region Season Details
Region: Florida (Red Grapefruit) Season: October - April Details:

75% of Florida’s grapefruits are grown in the Indian River region of the state. It is considered the best growing region because of its built-in freeze protection from the nearby Gulf Stream and buffering swamp lands.

Region: California Season: January - April Details:

Most grapefruit orchards are located in the Coachella and Imperial desert regions. The San Joaquin Valley picks up in March and lasts into May. Pommelo, Oroblanco and Melogold hybrids from California run from November to March.

Region: Texas Season: October - April Details:

Texas Rio Star grapefruits love the sub tropical climate of the lower Rio Grande Valley. The dark red color and extreme juiciness and sweetness make is one of American's favorite grapefruits.

Region: Florida (White Grapefruit) Season: April - June Details:

Marsh white grapefruits account for 40% of Florida's entire grapefruit crop. With their pale yellow flesh, then have a mildly tart flavor and crisp aroma.

Characteristics

  • More salmon pink than ruby-red, Bernard Ranches unwaxed red grapefruits are among the most delicious grapefruits of its kind. 

Prep & Storage

Store whole grapefruit at room temperature up to a week, or for 2 to 3 weeks in the refrigerator. Tip: You'll find grapefruit to be juicier and sweeter if you return it to room temperature right before serving.

Citrus, Mandarins

Current Market

Satsuma quality has improved since their first arrival a couple weeks ago. We found this load to be meatier, juicier and much sweeter. Stem & Leaf Satsumas are due next week.

Featured Growers

Characteristics

  • Satsuma mandarin skin is soft, pliable, and has an “airy” and puffy look and feel. Don't let the looks of the peel fool you—this is a deliciously sweet-tart mandarin, one of our favorites.

Prep & Storage

  • Satsumas can be stored at room temperature for a couple of weeks or refrigerateSatsumas for up to several weeks. 

Citrus, Oranges

Current Market

Organic Valencias are the first California juicing oranges to arrive. The color is pale and sugars are moderate, but they are the best organic juicing orange around. Navels are the better snacking orange and are now abundant.

Featured Growers

Characteristics

Prep & Storage

Oranges don't ripen any further once they've been picked and the refrigerator is the best place for maximimizing their shelf life. At room temperature, oranges usually keep for up to one week — in your fridge, they'll generally stay fresh for three to four weeks.

Citrus, Specialty

Current Market

Early Chilean kumquats are in and pricing is high. Prices will drop with the arrival of California kumquats next week.

Featured Growers

  • Rising C Ranch, CA

Characteristics

  • Yuzu citrus varies from green to yellow throughout the season; both have the same flavor. 

Prep & Storage

Buddha's Hand and Etrog can be stored at cool room temperature for up to two weeks or refrigerated for up to four weeks. Store Kaffir limes and yuzu citrus the way you would store limes. 

Cucumbers

Current Market

Florida field cukes haven't yet recovered from September storms but nice cucumbers are crossing the border from Mexico. Additional freight costs and some truck back-ups at the border are keeping the market less than optimal.

Featured Growers

Characteristics

  • Our top pick are these persian cucumbers - smooth, thin skin, crispy and juicy with mild flavor. Few tiny edible seeds, enjoy skin and all.

Prep & Storage

  • Wrap the cucumber in plastic wrap. Keeping thecucumber wrapped minimizes the amount of moisture on the cucumber, which slows the process of decay. After wrapping, put the cucumber in the refrigerator. This should keep it cold enough to stay fresh for one week to 10 days.

Fresh Herbs

Current Market

Chervil will be in for the holiday and we've lined up several sources for thyme, sage, tarragon and rosemary. Don't forget fresh basil in pods from our Bronx neighbor, Sky Vegetables. Place all your herb orders early!

Featured Growers

Characteristics

Prep & Storage

The best way to store fresh herbs is to snip off the bottom of the stems, make sure the leaves are completely dry, fill a jar or a water glass partially with water and place the stem ends of the herbs into the water in the jar, and place in the fridge covered loosely with a plastic bag.

Grapes

Current Market

Autumn Kings and Celebration Reds still reign supreme in California and will last through December. This is the last stretch for organic Concords, Canadice and Mars grapes from Buzzard Crest Vineyards in the Finger Lakes.

Featured Growers

Characteristics

  • Our top grape pick are these beautiful Autumn Crisps. 

Prep & Storage

Place grapes into a sealed plastic bag or airtight container without washing them. Store your grapes in the back of the refrigerator. Separate stacks of grapes when buying in bulk to promote air circulation. Grapes will stay fresh for up to three weeks if stored correctly.

Leafy Greens

Current Market

This week brings plenty of volume on all conventional and organic leafy greens including kale. Prices are low, making this a great week for promotions.

Featured Growers

Characteristics

Prep & Storage

Line a plastic storage container with paper towels, dump the leafy greens in an even layer on top, and covered it with another layer of paper towels before locking down the lid. The paper towels will absorb the moisture and allow your leafy greens to last longer! 

Lettuce & Salads

Current Market

Yields in Mexico, Yuma and Huron, CA are all abundant now and prices are good.

Featured Growers

Characteristics

Prep & Storage

  • Line a plastic storage container with paper towels, dump the lettuce in an even layer on top, and covered it with another layer of paper towels before locking down the lid. The paper towels will absorb the moisture and allow your lettuce and salads to last longer! 

Mushrooms

Current Market

Wild Pacific Northwest Pom Poms and Mousseron (aka Fairy Ring) from Bulgaria are the newest fall mushrooms of note. Dometic Chanterelles, Matsutake and Cauliflower mushrooms are the other wild west funghi we celebrate this time of year.

Featured Growers

Characteristics

Prep & Storage

Prepackaged mushrooms should stay in the package. Keep fresh mushrooms in a paper bag or in a damp cloth bag in the refrigerator. This allows them to breathe so they stay firm longer. Avoid storing mushrooms in a plastic bag, which causes them to deteriorate quickly.

Pears

Current Market

PNW Bartletts and Comice will never be better than now, both organically and conventionally. Golden and brown Bosc are also peak. Be sure to check the neck for ripeness; if it gives with slight thumb pressure, it's ready to eat.

Featured Growers

Characteristics

Prep & Storage

Unlike other fruits, pears ripen from the inside out so by the time they are soft on the outside, the inside flesh may be overripe and mealy. Ripe pears should be stored in a refrigerator set at 35 to 45 degrees. Leave unripe pears at room temperature in order to induce ripening.

Peppers

Current Market

Organic and conventional hothouse peppers have nearly doubled due to transition gapping from Mexico to the Dominican Republic and Israel. Good options are field-grown yellow peppers or east coast green peppers. Both are plentiful and fairly priced. Field red peppers, however, are higher this week.

Featured Growers

Characteristics

  • We're stocked with great local peppers from Eckerton Hill, ranging from mild to extra spicy. 

Prep & Storage

Put peppers in perforated plastic bags and store them in the crisper of your refrigerator.

Potatoes

Current Market

New Adirondack blue/red rounds and yellow/red fingerlings are in from the Hudson Valley. Oriental sweet potatoes have white, dense flesh, hugely popular with chefs. The limits and fluctuating prices on GPODs are due to rail car routing issues, rather than supply issues.

Featured Growers

Characteristics

Prep & Storage

Potatoes keep best when placed in a well-ventilated container and stored in a dry location, away from sunlight, and at temperatures between 45 and 55 degrees F.

Root Vegetables

Current Market

Organic purple Daikon radishes and red beets from Taproot Farms in PA are perfect for hearty holiday side dishes. Local, organic mixed beets, full/baby radishes, and rutabags continue. Baby turnips are tough, but plenty beets, turnips and parsnips from Michigan are in at great pricing.

Featured Growers

Characteristics

  • Have you heard of oca tubers? This unique veggie is available now from Peru. 

Prep & Storage

Place unwashed turnips in a perforated plastic bag and store in the crisper. They should keep for at least 1 week and up to 3. Parsnips tend to lose moisture quickly when they are exposed to air. To store them, wrap them in paper towels and place in a perforated plastic bag in the crisper.

Squash

Current Market

Fresh, local, hard shell squash is steady, including local Delicata. Markets are higher on southern squashes with very light volumes. Mexican yellow squash yields are also lower with freight adding to their cost. Organic zucchini is a best buy this week.

Featured Growers

Characteristics

Our top local pick is this organic delicata squash from Lancaster Farm Fresh. 

Prep & Storage

Frost shortens shelf life, so keep hard squash at room temperature and dry. 

Tomatoes

Current Market

Tomato troubles will loom right through the holidays. Round reds and yellows, grape and cherry tomatoes will be tough to come by and costly due to Florida's storms. Better supplies on plums, mixed medleys and organic tov's can help ease the situation.

Featured Growers

Characteristics

Try Sweet Campari tomatoes from Village Farms. 

Prep & Storage

Keep unripe green tomatoes, stem side down, in a paper bag or in a cardboard box in a single layer. Place in a cool area until they turn red in color. Perfectly ripe tomatoesshould be kept at room temperature on the counter away from sunlight

Unique & Specialty

Current Market

Passion Fruit is still super short with no relief until NZ fruit starts in January. New crop Ataulfo mangos are here from Ecuador. A small crop of Florida Starfruit is due this weekend, the first since Irma destroyed all plants. Pricing will stay high until the Tawainese crop starts in March.

Featured Growers

  • Ecuador

Characteristics

  • Florida starfruit is perfect for the holidays. 

Prep & Storage

Ripen star fruit at room temperature until you can smell their aroma then refrigerate for up to a week.