Fresh Talker



Chokes and Asparagus:
Supply Challenged
for These May Favorites

Here we are in May and we’re looking at the approach of desert artichokes, sweet red cherries and stone fruit while enjoying Washington asparagus and California sweet corn.

For the first time in my 38 years in the fresh produce business, we’re seeing a lack of abundance of Green Globe Artichokes from Castroville, Calif. There are still ‘chokes available but we never really got that great value in the giant artichokes that we’ve typically seen in the past. We hear the acreage growing this particular variety had to be cut way down, and that costs more than doubled over last year

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Check Out April’s Best:
Pristine Grapes, Mangos
and Wash. Asparagus

Pristine Grapes GreenPristine green seedless grapes arrived in our markets last week– undoubtedly one of the best green grape varieties of the Chilean grape season. They’re known for being extra-large in size, and for having a deliciously crunchy texture and sweet flavor.

These grapes command a premium because

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No Place Like Home
(or at Least Closer)
to Find Fresh Food

Not long after we last connected, the labor dispute that had brought ports on the West Coast to a virtual standstill was settled.  We had mentioned concerns about possible quality issues and our commitment to checking closely to be sure that if any occurred, we wouldn’t let them pass through to you.

I’m happy to report we don’t see any quality issues being a concern for a few reasons: The dock workers have made great progress in getting things moving, ports are slowly returning to normal and besides, winter is almost over and we get to move closer to home to find fresh food any

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Labor Issues, Weather
Change the Landscape
for Fresh Produce

Unusual weather and labor unrest are both affecting the food you see in our Markets, and on your table.

The contract dispute between West Coast dockworkers and a maritime association of companies continues to play a significant role in supply issues for several items that must be brought by vessel from South American during our winter. Between the apparent slowdown and weekend shutdowns of ports, we are seeing some disruption in bananas, grapes, blueberries, mangoes, pineapple, melons and selected stone fruits. Fortunately, we have a relationship with Family Tree Farms and they have b

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Stocked and Stoked
for Thanksgiving Meal

 

Thanksgiving is upon us and the markets will be ready with all the traditional holiday favorites like fresh cranberries, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, asparagus, fresh herbs, winter squashes, potatoes and onions. All of the

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Orchards Runneth Over
with NW Apples
and Other Fresh Facts

There is no shortage of apples.  In fact, you might want to change up that old saying: “An apple a day …” to: “Several apples a day … “

The Washington apple crop is estimated to be 30 percent bigger in many varieties o

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Love Chanterelles?
Be Glad for the Rain

 

Fall officially began at 7:29 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 22 – and luckily it opened with a long overdue rain.

I’m not normally so excited about rain, but we’ve had such a dry, warm September that it virtually shut down the

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On the Road Again:
From Earthbound Farms
to Grape Growers

I recently visited Earthbound Farms’ salad facility in central California and saw firsthand why they are our packaged organic salad company. At the top of the list is their strict food safety program. They not only test the product for any possible food contamination, but also the water and the ground in which the product begins before planting.

After harvest, all the products are tested for any potential health hazard and held for 24 hours before it’s allowed to enter the processing line. If any trace of possible contamination shows up, the entire lot is destroyed and completely

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NW Fire and (no) Rain
Dominate Crop News

Ironically it wasn’t rain that brought a fast end to the red raspberries, as I warned in my last post. It was actually that long stretch of dry heat. The fruit ripened all at once and we are now down to just a small trickle of berries. The blackberries will run a little longer than the raspberries, but not much. Luckily we were able to get through our Big Board Buys deal on the raspberries this past week, so I hope those of you who wanted to make preserves were able to get it done in spite of the heat.

You wouldn’t know it today – or tomorrow either from what I understand – bu

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The Tasty Highs
and Thirsty Lows
of Calif. Farm Tour

Last week was spent reaffirming our relationships with growers throughout California’s San Joaquin Valley – growers anyone would be happy to have as friends and business partners, an

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