First of all, a big shout-out to Jake Sterino of Sterino Farms in Puyallup, Wash. His pumpkins look fantastic and we’re excited to showcase them in our markets again this year! We’ll also feature his Washington-grown cabbage and celery for several more weeks. Unfortunately, his sweet yellow corn is all but done. This will be its last week but it’s been an absolutely delicious and outstanding this year! Thank you, Jake.
Now is the Time for Northwest Apples
Northwest apple lovers rejoice! All our local varieties are peaking and the second half of October is the best time for new crop Northwest apples — both organic and conventionally farmed. We’re passionate about offering the best eating experience and so we generally let go of certain apple varieties after Nov. 1 because we just don’t feel like they stay consistent. By that point, some of the earliest varieties are well over two months into their harvest and get a little too soft for our taste buds. If you have ever had a mushy apple you know what we mean. We’re not perfect, of course, but we do our best to keep the tastiest, crispiest varieties on hand at all times. The only apple we’re still waiting for is the Cosmic Crisp…we expect our first arrivals during the second or third week in November, just in time for Thanksgiving!
Wild Mushrooms Still Playing Hard to Get
Last time we talked, we hoped all the recent rain would lead to a better supply in wild chanterelle and lobster mushrooms. It has ticked up a bit but it’s not quite at promotable volume. We had 11 days of dry weather in late September here in the Northwest and we’ll need a few more heavy sprinkles to get us into healthy mushroom supply. Having said that we do have some fresh chanterelles, cauliflower and porcini mushrooms. We also had matsutaki pine mushrooms as recently as last week but they’re already gone. We will see fresh truffle arriving soon out of Oregon.
And while we’re talking about it, we may as well mention the farmed brown crimini mushroom from Canada. We are currently experiencing an unusual shortage in supply resulting from a batch of poor performing compost at the source. Crimini mushrooms are generally short during Thanksgiving and Christmas due to colder winter temperatures and high holiday demand, but we’ve rarely seen short supply this early in the year. We are currently using several sources and have been able to get about 70% of our needs. We’re working hard to find more.
Sweet, Crisp Grapes Abound
Now that the local berry season has wrapped up, we have moved to imported blueberries and red raspberries. We are rarely so optimistic about imported berries, but we’ve secured high-quality and value for the rest of this month. I know they’re not local…but they are fresh.
Variety and eating quality of seedless grapes in the markets is exceptional right now. Not only are they sweet, they’re big and crisp, too. The bad news: as we move toward November the organic side will wind down, and as we move toward Thanksgiving so will the conventional. Enjoy while you can because once the domestic grapes are done the imports won’t be all that great until well into next year.
Bear with us — we’re in a bit of rough patch moving away from Northwest row crop veggies… We’ll make a brief stop in California but they’re ALSO in wind down mode. The next stop will be the winter-growing areas of Mexico and Arizona — fresh broccoli, lettuces, parsley, chards, greens, beans, cauliflower and more. The good news is we have an abundance of Brussels sprouts! This is the season for this side vegetable to take center stage.
See you next time when we’ll sneak peek into November…