November 19, 2013

Fresh for the Holidays
from Peru to Oregon

I recently had an opportunity to visit a partner farm in Peru. I should preface that with the assurance that we are very committed to locally grown produce. It’s our practice to not go any farther from home than we have to in order to get high quality, fresh products. We always move back closer to home as soon as possible! In the case of the winter supply of fresh asparagus – from late October through December – Peru is the best source for high-quality asparagus.

I am happy to say that the farm where we get that asparagus continues to grow, and is able to support its local community and provide work for several families annually – up to 100 families seasonally. Keep in mind this farm not only provides wages for the workers, but contributes to a retirement fund for them, along with medical coverage and schooling for their children. Over the past few years, they’ve been working on adding crops they can grow well and that don’t compete with crops closer to home here. Since the seasons are opposite those of the Northwest, Peru provides an opportunity to fill a need here at home during the winter months while contributing to the standard of living in the communities in other parts of the world. In the end this also creates jobs here at home during the off season that may not otherwise be possible.

It’s hard to believe my last update was Oct. 15. I did squeeze in a short vacation and a trip to the Produce Merchandiser Association’s annual convention where we discovered a few new products that you’ll soon see in our markets. One is a line of salad toppers with three distinct combinations of nuts, cheese and fruit created to top off those grab-n-go fresh salads or to add to your own home made salads. Look for these to arrive shortly.

Just as I warned in my last update, this annual seasonal transition to the southern growing areas is a bumpy one, for the most part. We’re still not quite out of the woods in some of the row crops, but we do see light at the end of the tunnel. Most markets should return to some level of normality as we move through the end of the month and into December

Now for the good news. Thanksgiving is upon us and the markets will be ready with all the traditional holiday favorites such as fresh cranberries, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, asparagus, fresh herbs, winter squashes, potatoes and onions. They’re all available in both conventional and certified organic.

Speaking of Cranberries

Cape Blanco Cranberries are back! These cranberries are 100 percent Northwest grown and this grower does fresh right! The fruit is allowed to fully ripen on the vines and is only harvested at its peak. The sugar brix (brix is a unit of measurement used in the food industry for measuring the approximate amount of sugars in fruits, vegetables, juices, wine and soft drinks) of these cranberries are up to three times higher than other brands.

Unfortunately, we might not be able to get enough of this fruit to get us through Christmas this year. I recommend you buy extra and freeze them if you want to be sure to have them for the next round of holidays!

If you are looking to save time we will have the washed, trimmed and cut Brussels sprouts halves, yam (sweet potato) and butternut squash cubes and French green beans. The one-pound bag of French green beans is an exceptional value starting Wednesday, Nov. 20 – just in time for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Chanterelle mushrooms! What a year we have had. After last year’s dismal crop of wild mushrooms it has been wonderful to have the abundant crop we have had this year. We expect availability through Thanksgiving.

Last but not least I would like to thank each and everyone one of you for all your support over the past year. It is a real honor to be your trusted source for fresh produce through the year.

Thank you so much! Have a great holiday. Enjoy your friends and family. And it’s OK to have seconds – especially PIE!

After this it’s only four weeks until Christmas!


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