July 09, 2013

A Freshness Profusion,
and a Word About Corn

What a great week- nothing like warm, sunny weather to whet your appetite for fresh meals with plenty of fruits and vegetables.

Bountiful Berries

Sterino Farm’s berries are picking up steam with all this great weather.  I’ll admit I was a little worried a week or so ago when we had all that warm rain, but Jake Sterino was able to swim his way out of the mud. This week starts the best two weeks of the Northwest red raspberry season. Whether you are making jam, pies or just freezing them whole, now is the time to prepare your Northwest raspberries for the long winter ahead (sorry to be a downer, but you know it’s coming!). We have a great value this week on Jake’s red raspberries and blackberries on the Big Board Buys that starts tomorrow, July 10.

I just got off the phone with Dan at Sakuma Brother’s Farm in Mount Vernon. He said strawberries will take a short break over the next few weeks. We will continue to have them, but supplies are on the short side. We expect the strawberries to pick up again during August and we should see enough to offer promotions well  into September.

The other good news is that Dan expects to start delivering blueberries later this week. We may have them as soon as Friday, July 12. Dan says the crop looks great and we expect to have large enough volumes to run promotions for several weeks. Watch for them to come up on the Big Board Buys very soon –  we always try to target “peak of season” fruit for great value as our way of saying “Thank You” for all your support!

(Pictured above, left: A blackberry field at Sterino Farms in Puyallup. Above, right: Blueberries at Sakuma Brothers Farms in Skagit Valley)

Challenging Cherries

Northwest cherries have been a real challenge this year. I have never seen a year where virtually every variety and nearly every grower gets hit with rain like they did this year. When rain hits cherries as the fruit gets close to being harvested, they split. This makes it a real challenge for growers to sort out the damaged fruit. Some growers were hit so hard they were unable to harvest any of their fruit at all. Over the next few weeks we will do our best to find the largest and best-eating cherries available.

Pending Peaches

Northwest-grown peaches may start late this week. Dan from Gunkel Orchards says he is getting close! In the meantime, we still have great yellow- and white-flesh peaches and nectarines from Family Tree Farms in California.

Perfect Plumogranates

The fruit I’m most excited about right now are the plumogranates and we have them at an excellent value starting tomorrow, July 10. Plumcots (plumogranates are a variety of plumcot) get their name because of their deep-red interior – they actually have nothing to do with pomegranates despite the similarity of their names. It is high in antioxidants and has an exceptional flavor. The fruit eats best when it gives slightly to the touch, but remains on the firm side. If you would like to try one, we would be happy to give you a sample. Just as a Produce Market employee when you’re in one of our stores.

Carrots Coming Close

Ralph’s Green House Organic Farm in Skagit Valley is coming on strong with some great bunched carrots Choose from the Nantes variety orange carrot, the rainbow mixed carrot or the purple carrot. All of them have excellent flavor. Ray at Ralph’s says he is only a couple weeks away from his new crop of leeks. The organic leeks from his farm are by far the best leeks available. Once they start we will have them through March of 2014. Leeks are one of those crops that can be harvested all winter long!

Multitudes of Melons

Now is the season for melons. Turlock Melons out of California are arriving as we speak. We started this past week with the cantaloupe and green honeydew.  Their orange honeydew began to arrive this past weekend. And next week the heirloom cantaloupe and more of the variety melons are due to arrive. We think the peak this year will be the last week in July and the first 10 days of August. Please don’t hesitate to ask for a sample if you are not sure which one you would like best.

Cherry Tomatoes Churning

The Durst Organic Growers out of California, where they grow superb cherry tomatoes, began sending us a small quantity a couple of weeks ago.  Volumes were so tight that we have yet to be able to promote this great product. But finally we’re seeing volumes pick up dramatically. Look for a great value on these cherry tomatoes in the near future. These taste so great you can eat them like jelly beans. A full basket seldom makes it home, let alone into a salad at my house!


For the Record: We Don’t Sell GMO/GE Corn

On a sort of unrelated note, we get more and more questions and concerns surrounding the corn we offer and GMOs (Genetically Modified Organism) or GEs (Genetically Engineered.)

People want to know whether or not our corn is GMO/GE. I want to assure you that the fresh sweet corn on the cob that we offer in our Markets is NOT GMO or GE corn.

We work very closely with two partner growers who supply our corn throughout the entire year. The first partner is Glenn at G & S Farms and his partner growers in Brentwood, Calif., and the other is Jake Sterino in the Puyallup Valley.

Each year we ask and each year they assure us that none of the corn they grow is GMO or GE. I hope this helps put you at ease and helps clear up any confusion.

(Pictured above, left: Jake Sterino checks his corn crop in Puyallup. At right, Glenn of G&S Farms, our other trusted corn grower.)

Have a wonderful day!    

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