With the increased interest in superfoods, it’s no surprise turmeric has been exploding in popularity. However, this ingredient du jour is not new. In fact, it’s been around for thousands of years in Asian, Indian and African culture and is believed to have originated in Southeast Asia. These days, turmeric is showing up in all sort of recipes from heart-healthy grain bowls to cold pressed juices, golden lattes and even ice cream.
The obsession with this knobby root can be attributed to the fact that it is really really good for you. That, and its vibrant golden color lends itself to beautiful Instagram-worthy photos. Turmeric contains curcumin, a molecule that contains anti-inflammatory properties. It has been linked to dozens of health benefits including relieving joint pain, reducing cancer risk, improved digestion, improved brain function and many more.
Turmeric is available as a ground spice (pantry-friendly) or as a fresh root. The fresh root, which can be peeled and grated like ginger, packs way more flavor than its dried counterpart.
We’re sourcing our fresh turmeric from Kolo Kai Organic Farm, located on the beautiful island of Kauai, in Hawaii. Don’t wait to hop on this golden superfood train!
Keep a lookout for our staff picks noted in orange.
Apple and Pear
Fuji supply is still going strong. Gala and Granny Smith are in good supply. There is limited amount of Orin available. This will be the last of Washington fruit for the season.
Abate Fetel pears have arrived from Argentina. This variety has a slightly crisp texture and delicious sweet floral flavor. They are ready to eat when just barely soft to touch. Bartlett and D’Anjou have good volume but smaller sizes are not available. Red Bartlett are readily available.
Cinco de Mayo promotions are building up and demand is strong. Prices are climbing slightly, particularly on smaller sizes, which are more limited in supply. The good news is that finally availability seems to stabilizing from our Central Coast growers, particularly our beloved Las Palmalitas Ranch. Prices are expected to go down after Cinco de Mayo and our California weather becomes warmer.
Local strawberries should finally be available after heavy rain caused production delays last week. The weather did not impact Southern California strawberry production so supply is steady overall. We’re loving the Chandler strawberries from Be Wise Ranch, located in the Santa Fe Valley. Sweet, delicious—this variety is the perfect eating strawberry! Prices are expected to come down as California blueberry season starts up with production overlapping between coastal and valley regions this month. Raspberries are very limited with high prices. Quality issues are affecting blackberry production; supply is spotty.
Valencias are steady with both California and Mexico product available. Blood oranges continue to be in good supply. Cara Cara Navels are just about done for the season. Lime supply remains tight and prices high. Lemons are plentiful but with mostly larger size fruit. Smaller fruit is more limited. Ruby grapefruit is readily available, including bins of 5-pound bags. Get your tangerine fix as the season winds down with delicious Pixies. We love these for their sweet juicy flavor and lack of seeds! Minneolas are winding down but still tasting great as the fruit has had a chance to ripen fully before harvesting. Murcotts and Tangos are still going strong.
Tommy Atkins supply is tightening. However, Ataulfo aka “honey mango” are on hand to ease mango supply. We love the creamy, buttery texture of this less fibrous variety.
Artichokes are in good supply with promotable pricing. Purple ‘chokes are coming soon!
Green asparagus is readily available. Prices have come down. Purple asparagus is steady. Compared to green, purple asparagus has a milder flavor. When cooked, purple asparagus will eventually turn green. It tastes delicious raw so try shaving some into a salad for a pop of color.
Green bean supply is still limited but should improve in this coming week as more growers come on. Fava beans are very limited.
Despite some slowdown from last week’s rain, broccoli has strong volume. Prices are coming down and expected to remain sharp. Cauliflower prices are also sliding.
California Brussels are just about done. Supply is limited and prices are high. Mexico grown Brussels are readily available with sharp pricing.
Red cabbage supply is tight and prices have increased. Green cabbage is in better supply. Expect to see some gaps in supply of Savoy cabbage due to sizing and color issues. Napa cabbage appears steady.
Mexican grown fresh yellow corn is expected to come on towards the end of April. This season, don’t expect to see white corn until late June or early July.
Bulk Persian cucumbers are gapping and clamshells are limited. Supply is improving on slicer ‘cukes and prices are coming down. Fair Trade slicers are limited. English Hothouse has strong supply and very promotable pricing.
Greens, Lettuce & Herbs
The arugula market is a bit tight due to quality issues but thanks to diverse mix of growers, supply should be unaffected. Spinach and spring mix are not facing the same issues and are steady. Bunched kale and chards are readily available.
Romaine supply has improved and expected to be steady. Iceberg is in better supply than previous weeks but still pretty limited.
Tarragon and Makrut lime leaves are back in supply. Basil is steady; prices are dropping.
Spring is a transitional time for onions. Storage onions are done and we transition to short-day onions, first imported then domestic as they are ready. The first onions of the season are short-day varieties, which unlike onion varieties harvested later in the season, have thin, fragile outer layers and do not store well long-term. Mexican yellow onions from Del Cabo have come on and going strong. There were some sizing issues at the start of the season but we expect them to be sorted out soon with the setup of a new sizer. Domestic red onions are winding down. Mexican product is arriving soon but there may be a small gap in supply. Quality has been high on Mexican white onions. Shallots are finishing up so grab some while you can!
Strong supply and sharp pricing on snap peas has made this vegetable a hot commodity. Snow peas are steady while English peas a somewhat limited.
Yellow and orange bell peppers are in better supply. Red bells are ready available. Green bells are limited on large and extra-large sizes. Jalapenos are tightening up; prices are following suit. We have some #2 quality jalapenos with sharp pricing.
Russets are limited and expected to continue through the end of May. Red and yellow California new crop potatoes are here. Similar to onions, new crop potatoes are freshly harvested with thinner skins. They tend to have more moisture inside and taste sweeter than storage potatoes.
Roots are winding down as we head into spring but there is some supply still available for die-hard root fans. We’re still seeing supply of parsnip, rutabaga and turnip. Early yields for jicama have been low. Medium sized jicama is very limited. Let us know if you’re interested in large or jumbo size! Bunched gold beets are gapping. Bunched reds and bagged gold, red and Chioggia have better availability.
Rhubarb supply is steady and prices are down slightly. The variety currently available is known as Crimson Red from Montecucco Farms in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The region’s unique climate is known for producing rhubarb with intense red color, good flavor, and tender stalks. When rhubarb is in season, we love adding it to desserts to balance the tartness. Strawberry rhubarb pie anyone?
Zucchini supply is abundant. The market dropped fast as growers all came on with supply at the same time. Yellow squash is in good supply. Butternut is very limited. Acorn, Delicata, Kabocha and Spaghetti are in better supply.
It’s time to celebrate Spring with fresh, locally grown bouquets from Thomas Family Farm and Full Belly Farm! Both farms grow their fresh-cut flowers outside rather than in a greenhouse, which means they are especially resilient and will stay vibrant longer.
Time to get your Mother’s Day floral orders in! The deadline for all orders delivering between Wednesday, May 9-16th is fast approaching. Mother’s Day falls on Sunday, May 13th this year and will be here before you know it!
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 with a mix of ornamental greens.
Customers looking for simpler arrangements will enjoy straight packs from Full Belly Farm. Picked at the heart of the season, their colorful Anemone, Ranunculus and now Calendula straight packs come 8 bunches to a case. Ranunculus are winding down so this week may be the last chance! Full Belly Farm is also offering Stock and Delphinium Belladonna in light and dark blue shades as straight packs. Keep an eye out for Snap Dragons and Bachelor Button coming next!
Merchandising for Cinco de Mayo
Ah, Cinco de Mayo. It may seem like a small holiday but it’s the small holidays like these that can be a hit or miss for your department sales. Since Cinco de Mayo falls on a Saturday this year, it is likely to be even more popular. Here are four key items that will ensure you maximize sales potential.
- Ripe avocados. Having an ample supply of stand ready ripe avocados takes planning but it’s easy to do. Customers shopping for avocados close to Cinco de Mayo are looking for ready to eat product or fruit that will be perfect in a day or two. This means you need to bring in avocados a least 3-4 days before May 5th. Bring a few cases and store them in your backstock area to allow them to ripen up. Use these ripe avocados to build an impressive display on the 4th. If you are a larger store that always has a rather large avocado display, order up and keep your display topped off with ripe fruit regularly to boost your sales. Most customers aren’t willing to take the time to ripen their own fruit so making sure you have ripe fruit on hand ensure you always capture that sale.
- Don’t forget the limes! Limes are not only an essential ingredient in guacamole, salsa and for squeezing on delicious tacos but they are also a necessity for festive drinks. Display limes in close proximity to your avocados and also with your strawberries (strawberries for strawberry margaritas, of course!). Having multiple locations for key items increases visibility and helps boost sales.
- Tacos, tacos, tacos. Although there are many other dishes that will be made, the street taco is an easy favorite and one that is easiest to merchandise for. Cabbage, cilantro, onion and limes are all key items. Make sure your cabbage display is large and highly visible. Cull and butt the cabbages making sure that all outer leaves that maybe withered are discarded. If the produce is looking it’s best, it will move quickly. Cilantro can be stocked next to cabbage in the wet rack as well as placed in containers of water and placed next to your onions. This encourages the sale of both items when ingredients are displayed in close proximity and in multiple locations. Your dry displays are also the perfect places to cross merchandise packs of tortillas to promote your fresh taco ingredients.
- Large focal point cross merchandising display. Work with other departments to create a display that combines all of the big key items like chips, beer, tomatoes, avocados, dry pack dip mixes, onions and drink mixers. Make sure the display is in a highly visible area like the front of the store. This gets shoppers excited and strategically suggests multiple products to purchase in combination. This is a great opportunity to encourage impulse buys and bump up your average basket size.