Purple vegetables have been around for a long time, some naturally and some selectively bred slowly over time to be more colorful. With the spring season here, vibrant purple veggies are popping up everywhere.
In addition to their striking color, purple vegetables usually contain higher amounts of antioxidants. A type of antioxidant called anthocyanins gives plants their vibrant color. Anthocyanins protect purple vegetables from sun damage and cold temperatures, and also attract bees and other pollinators. Similarly, when you consume vegetables with this antioxidant, it can offer a wide range of health-promoting benefits such as reducing inflammation and increasing brain and heart health. Some purple vegetables have more health benefits compared to the same vegetable in other colors.
The taste of purple vegetables is similar to their non-purple counterparts, but there are definitely slight nuances in flavor. When cooked, some purple vegetables lose their color. Check out our wide variety of purple veggies including: artichoke, asparagus, carrots, red cabbage, cauliflower, eggplant, daikon, garlic, kale, red onion, purple majesty potato, and stokes sweet potato. Liven up your palate with a healthy dose of purple today!
Keep a lookout for our staff picks noted in orange.
Apple and Pear
Fuji apple is in good supply and expected to last through the end of May or beginning of June. Granny Smith and Pink Lady are winding down. Prices are going up as supply dwindles. Cameo are done for the season.
Red Bartlett and Bartlett remain steady. Abate Fetel has good volume. We love the rich sweetness and creamy texture of this pear. Look for Packham coming soon!
Hass avocados are tasting great right now and will only get richer as the summer approaches. Supply is strong with attractive pricing and volume deals available as we inch closer to Cinco de Mayo. Be sure to build up your display and stock up for what will likely be a high-demand weekend. We’re especially fond of fruit from Las Palmalitas Ranch, a grower located near Carpinteria, on California’s central coast. Las Palmalitas has been owned by the same family for over 150 years and is currently managed by Will and Billy Carleton. The father-and-son team manages 20 acres of avocados while other family members have 50 acres on adjoining property. All the fruit is packed on site, which gives them full quality control.
Local strawberries have come on in full force, although cooler weather is causing supply to tighten slightly. Overall, the market is steady with fruit from Southern California available to supplement. Blueberries from Homegrown Organics are a staff favorite. Their spring variety is grown on California’s central coast near Santa Barbara, resulting in plump, sweet and firm berries—perfect for eating fresh! Raspberry and blackberries continue to be limited; raspberry prices are way up.
Lemon prices are starting to go up. Larger-size fruit is very promotable. Look for sharp pricing on 75 and 95 counts. 115 and 140 counts are limited. Meyer lemons are starting to wind down; prices are up. Lime prices have also come down slightly. Be sure to stock up for Cinco de Mayo! Valencia oranges remain in good supply as more California Valencia growers come on next week. B&J Ranch Ruby grapefruit is still readily available and expected to last for another three weeks. Sizing is more limited at this point in the season. Golden Nugget tangerines are steady and expected to continue through the end of May, into June. Look for a small shot of Pixies from Churchill Orchards next week! Most other specialty citrus have finished or are winding down.
Red flame seedless will be the first variety to come on from California’s Coachella Valley in mid-May. Production will be light to start, with volume picking up after Memorial Day. Expect demand to be high to start with prices to match.
Kiwis are starting to get a bit more limited. Prices are up and are expected to move up slowly as the season end approaches.
Ataulfo mangos are gapping and Tommy Atkins are limited. We’re getting everything we can. Smaller sizes are nowhere to be found.
California peaches have started with the arrival of Amber Crest yellow peach. The flavor is sweet and tart, which is pretty ideal for early-season fruit. It’ll be a few more weeks before we see other peach varieties come on. Apricots, apriums and yellow nectarines are a couple weeks away. Volume may start slow and prices will likely be high.
Purple artichokes have arrived! This variety has a slightly nuttier taste than its green counterpart. Unlike other purple vegetables, purple artichoke does not lose its color when cooked.
Brussels sprouts are limited and prices are rising sharply.
Red cabbage is limited while green cabbage prices are on the rise due to increased demand.
Slicer cucumber prices are going down. Supply appears to be steady. Bulk Persian cucumbers are gapping but clamshells are more readily available. We’re seeing sharp pricing on English ‘cukes. California product from JND Farms, located near Fresno, should be starting in a few weeks.
Globe eggplant is in steadier supply. Prices are still high and expected to continue to go up. Specialty eggplant are also in better supply.
Greens, Lettuce & Herbs
The transition for boxed greens is pretty much done so supply should be good for all items. Dino and green kale have strong volume. Collards are less available. Romaine and Little Gem are plentiful. All herbs are plentiful including local supply of cilantro and basil.
We are aware and closely following the E.Coli O157:H7 outbreak associated with romaine lettuce from the Yuma, Arizona growing region. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is continuing their investigation and has not identified a common grower, supplier, distributor or brand. At this time, we are not selling any type of romaine lettuce sourced from this region and are not planning to do so until the CDC has issued a public health notice that the outbreak is over. Our romaine lettuce is sourced from local California growers. We can confirm this for whole heads of romaine, chopped romaine and romaine salad mixes.
We’re seeing sharp pricing on shiitake mushroom from Oregon grower, Top Hat Mushrooms. This third-generation family farm is based in Scio, Oregon, on the western foothills of the Cascade Mountains. They have been producing high quality shiitake mushrooms while maintaining their commitment to sustainable agriculture since 1991. Learn more about the shiitake mushroom process and watch this 3.5 minute video from Top Hat.
In other mushroom news, Monterey Mushroom cello products, including Crimini 12×8 ounce, White 12×6 ounce and Portabella 8×2 ounce are arriving in a new recycled black plastic material, called rPET. rPET stands for recycled polyethylene terephthalate and comes from plastic that has already been used for packaging, such as plastic bottles. This plastic is sorted, cleaned and transformed so that it can be reused as a food product, as approved by the FDA. The container is 100% recyclable, the over-wrap film holds on better and provides a better contrast of color between the packaging and the mushrooms. There is no change in the shelf life of the product as compared to paperboard till.
The most challenging part of the season is behind us now. With both domestic and import onions available, supply is steady on yellow, red and white. Shallots are winding down so grab them while you can!
As we hit the throes of Spring, the pea market is steadily improving. California snap peas are coming on. English peas and snow peas are in good supply from Mexico; quality is high.
The pepper market is tight and prices are up all around. We’re seeing the first offering of California green bell pepper from the Coachella region. Orange and yellow bells are in better supply. Red bells are more abundant but prices are still high. Anaheim and Serrano chili peppers are steady. Poblanos are gapping. Jalapenos are limited.
Parsnip will continue for a few more weeks. Turnips are still available. Jicama is readily available in both medium and large sizes. We love the sweet taste and crisp texture of this versatile veggie.
California zucchini has started and is in good supply. Yellow squash prices are up. Acorn, Kabocha, and Spaghetti are readily available. Butternut availability has improved and now has better volume. Delicata will be limited until the California season starts up again.
Roma prices have jumped up and supply is tight. Sweet grape cherry tomatoes in compostable fiber baskets are steady. Check out honey bunch yellow cherry tomatoes! They are juicy with a nice pop of color. Tomato-on-vine has good availability; prices are coming down. Heirlooms are continuing steadily with some small gaps in California supply due to volatile weather.
The deadline for Thomas Farm orders delivering between May 9th—16th for the Mother’s Day holiday on Sunday, May 13th has now passed. However, Full Belly is still offering mixed bouquets to deliver between Thursday, May 10th and Tuesday, May 15th. Make sure to reach out by 4pm on Tuesday, May 1st if you want to stock up for this major floral holiday!
The Thomas Family Farm Dutch Iris bouquets have begun and the fields are ready for the picking! In the Thomas Farm mixed bouquets, you will see many if not all of the following varieties: Sunflower, Iris, Godetia, Protea, Saponaria, Snap Dragon and Sweet William. These bouquets come in varying sizes: Cutie, Seasonal, and Large Holiday.
At Full Belly Farm, a little of everything is mixed into their large mixed bouquets. Expect to find about 12 to 15 stems per bunch of such beauties as Bells of Ireland, Delphinium, Snap Dragon, Bachelor Button, Agrostemma, and Calendula flowers. Ranunculus and Anemome are done for the season. Next, keep an eye out for Godetias coming soon!
Shoppers respond to a clean, well-stocked department and reflect that appreciation by having fuller shopping carts. A clean department (sales floor and backroom) also protects the quality of the produce by preventing bacteria growth on storage/display racks and cases. Reducing bacteria reduces product loss/shrink.
Simple steps to take include:
- Set up a cleaning schedule and use a log to verify the schedule is maintained. A sample Cleaning Schedule is available electronically at veritablevegetable.com in the Customer Toolbox.
- Carry a rag at all times and clean as you work in the department.
- Clean mirrors on the wet rack with a mild vinegar solution (1 part water to 1 part vinegar) to prevent lime buildup without the use of caustic chemicals.
- Sweep and mop floors once or twice each day.
- Be alert to water on the floor from ice in the wet rack, ricochet from the sprayer hose and spills.
- Utilize “Caution: Wet Floor” signs to warn shoppers of a potential hazard.
- Keep a close eye on sample displays as they create waste. Frequently wipe display domes to eliminate fingerprints.
- Don’t let produce boxes accumulate. Break down all but one or two boxes, which can be used for culling and rotating product. Carry boxes to dumpster or recycle bin safely and easily by placing all flattened boxes inside one of the saved boxes.