The 2015 summer growing season continues to throw out curve balls. The ongoing drought in the western United States and multiple rounds of temperatures hitting the upper 90s are changing the rules of the fresh produce game. And it’s only early August!
Many growers are saying the normal rules just do not apply this year. Most crops are maturing early or failing in some degree ranging from a shortfall to a complete loss. The most recent was when Turlock Fruit Co., our California melon grower, called last week and asked us to cancel our annual promotion of variety melons – their tr...
The Northwest growing season is well under way – some things are wrapping it up for the year, while some others are just getting started.
The berry season is all but done. We are at the tail end of Northwest blueberry season, although blackberries should continue for a couple more weeks. Washington apples are right around the corner as are Northwest pears – is it really that time already?
Our yellow and white flesh peaches and nectarines are now all Northwest grown and some of the best-eating varieties of the year are becoming available. This week, my favorite peach variety, “...
I visited Sterino Farms’ raspberry field in the Puyallup Valley on the last Friday of June and the news isn’t good. Jake Sterino tells me, in fact, that this year is a bust with a crop at about 25 percent of normal. He suspects an early freeze last November is to blame, although he’s not absolutely certain.
We are using Hayton Farms in Skagit Valley and another grower to try to fill in our raspberry needs, but those farms also are experiencing crops on the short side. In normal years, the peak of Northwest red raspberry season would fall around July 10. But I think we’ll be co...
Our Northwest strawberries have been a huge hit this last week. They’re from Hayton farms near Mount Vernon, where they’ve worked hard all year to bring these berries to market for just a few short weeks each June. Sadly, we’ve reached the peak for Northwest strawberries and the supply will slowly wind down over the next week to 10 days. I hope to see some resurgence in August with the Albion variety that was planted at Hayton this spring. The bonus is these will be certified organic.
Speaking of organics and Hayton, Donny Hayton said he thinks we’ll get some organic Obsidian...
Northwest summer berries are coming fast and furious. Sweet, local strawberries already are in our markets and will be peaking over the next week to 10 days. We are working with a new local berry grower this season – Hayton Farms in Mount Vernon – and so far, this looks to be a winning relationship. We have an excellent supply in traditional June-bearing varieties. This particular grower planted several acres of certified organic strawberries in May and we could possibly see a few come this fall. Stay tuned!
Both organic and conventional Northwest-grown blueberries arrive this wee...
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...
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...
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...