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The latest in fresh produce news

Market Outlook

Produce Express

Market Outlook - August 23, 2018

local summer produce

We have reached the time of year when local produce is at its peak, both in abundance and variety. Below is a summary of current locallocal-cucumbers-peppers-eggplant-jimmy nardellos-squash-summer-produce farm availability and forecasts to help our chefs with menu planning:

  • Corn– outstanding yellow and white Brentwood corn available from Dwelley Farms & Dixon Ridge.
  • Cucumbers– mixed toy box available from Del Rio Botanical in a 10# box. Perfect for cocktails or adding an extra crunch to salads.
  • Melons– varieties include Twice as Nice, Crème de la Crème, and Diplomat; available in a mixed case or as individual varieties. The season is starting to wind down; we expect availability through the end of August/beginning of September.
  • Eggplants– this late summer crop is thriving; organic from Riverdog Farm. Available in a mixed case, or single varieties include Listada di Gianda and Graffiti.
  • Figs– the second crop of figs are available from Windmill Farms and includes Candy/Tiger Striped, as well as Kadota, Violetta, and Black Mission in 12 pint cases.
  • Fresh Beans– Bluelakes, French, Romano, and Yellow Wax continue to impress from Dwelley Farms. Cranberry beans available but limited.
  • Nectarines– yellow and white available from J&J Ramos; Twin Peaks Orchard white nectarines are done for the season. We are hoping for one more crop of Twin Peaks yellow nectarines in a couple weeks.
  • Peaches– Twin Peaks Orchard is winding down and will be done after this week. We will source additional fruit from J&J Ramos.
  • Pears– Delta Bartlett, Red Bartlett/Stark Crimson, and Bosc available from Stillwater Orchard. We are hoping to have Comice and Seckle available in the next week or two.
  • Peppers– Padron, Gypsy, and Jimmy Nardellos from Riverdog and Hatch Peppers from Del Rio Botanical; should be available through mid September.
  • Plums & Pluots– plums are available from J&J Ramos. Pluots are coming from Dwelley Farms & J&J Ramos.
  • Squash– excellent quality from Castaneda Bros.; varieties include Italian Squash, Yellow, Gold Bar, Sunburst, Ronde Nice, and Summer; available as a mixed toy box or individual variety. We also have Baby and Teenage Squash from Del Rio.
  • Tomatoes– continue to impress from Uncle Ray Yeung; see website for available heirloom varieties. Cherry tomatoes also outstanding.

New & Local

We are proud to partner with a few new local farms to offer our chefs a variety of exciting new items. The following are new items thatedible-flowers-marigold-calendula-sweet william-snap dragon-dahlia chefs have been raving about:

  • Flowering Wasabi Arugula (Produce Alive, Loomis)- less peppery, yet spicier, than standard arugula with an almost sweet finish. Hydroponically grown; 1/2 pound bag.\
  • Hydro Mixed Lettuce (Produce Alive)– red and green butter lettuce in 24ct case. Chefs love that this product is available year round from a local source with consistent quality. The color of the leaves are vibrant and the flavor is mildly sweet.
  • Hydro Watercress (Produce Alive)- the perfect balance of sweetness with a hint of spice; perfect atop sandwiches, salads and soups, blended into sauces, paired with meat or seafood and more! 1# bag.
  • Local Edible Flowers (Stone’s Throw Farm, Colfax)- blossoms sold by the individual variety in a 2oz clamshell; varieties include Marigold, Calendula, Sweet William, Snap Dragon, and Dahlia. They are unwashed to allow for ultimate freshness.

Scroll down for details on an upcoming tour of Stone’s Throw and Produce Alive. Save the date!

cowgirl creamery

One of the reasons that cheeses from Cowgirl Creamery are so special and delicious is that each cheese starts with milk made from only one source, creating unique flavor profiles that cannot be created anywhere else. Cowgirl Creamery was founded by Sue Conley and Peggy Smith in 1997. Two decades later, they’ve earned dozens of awards and have produced over 2,000 tons of cheese loved by chefs and consumers alike.

  • Red Hawk– cannot be made anywhere else because the wild bacteria that defines this bold, sumptuous cheese are native to Point Reyes. Red Hawk is aged four weeks and washed with a brine solution that creates the sunset red-orange rind. Its flavor is rich and smooth, complemented by pungent aromas. It is heavily allocated with limited pieces produced. 8oz piece.
  • Mt. Tam– an elegant triple cream cheese has the delectable flavor of cultured butter with hints of white mushroom. Mt. Tam starts with milk from Straus Family Creamery. Available by the 8oz piece.

 upcoming events

  • Tasting Tuesday featuring Local Specialty Cheeses & Paragary Pasta– Tuesday, September 11 • 10am-1pm: we will have cheese reps here from Nicolau Farms, Fiscalini Farmstead, Orland Farms Creamery, Sierra Nevada Cheese Co. and more. We will also have Laurel with Paragary Bakery here cooking up their fresh pasta with cheese from Nicolau Farms. Join us and find the perfect cheese for your next banquet or cheese board.
  • Placer Grown Tour with Twin Peaks Orchard, Stone’s Throw Farm, & Produce Alive– Wednesday, October 17 • 8:30am-2:30pm: join us to explore Twin Peaks and learn about their citrus trees, plus we will check out the gorgeous flowers at Stone’s Throw and learn about the hydroponic growing system at Produce Alive. Please RSVP to your sales rep or Marissa with inside sales at (916)956-5536/ email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Fall Farmer’s Market– Wednesday, November 7: don’t miss the fun! Save the date on your calendar now!

Market Outlook - August 16, 2018

additional heirloom tomato varieties
from uncle ray

Highly praised by local chefs for their intense flavor, unique sizes, shapes, and colors, Uncle Ray Yeung’s heirloom tomatoes are a stapleray-yeung-local-heirloom-tomatoes-sacramento-valley on summer menus. Yeung Farm has over two dozen varieties during the season, which usually runs from now through October. We are pleased to offer the following in 10# single layer cases.

  • Toy Box Case– a combination of the following varieties.
  • Pineapple– large, golden-orange beefsteak tomato often with red stripes and a luscious, very rich, sweet pineapple like flavor.
  • Patty’s Striped Beefsteak– deep orange skin streaked with thin red stripes and beautiful orange/red marbled flesh.
  • Green Zebra– striped green/yellow skin with juicy green flesh; more tart flavor than other tomatoes.
  • Giant Black Zebra– beautiful mahogany flesh with purple/mahogany skin with deep green steaks. Its flavor is rich and complex with hints of smoke and sweetness.
  • Kellogg’s Breakfast– large, deep orange beefsteak style tomato that is thin-skinned and meaty with few seeds. Its flavor is rich, sweet, and somewhat tangy with good acid to sugar balance.
  • Carolina Gold– beautiful gold/orange skin and flesh; sweeter than red varieties.
  • Pink Brandywine– lovely pinkish red skin and flesh; distinctive rich flavor; tends to be on the larger side.
  • Yellow Brandywine– delicious, intense sweet flavors balanced with a slight tartness; yellow/orange/gold skin and flesh.
  • Cherokee Purple– deep red/purple skin with dark green shoulders; more acidic than sweet.
  • Japanese Black Trifele– the shape and size of a Bartlett pear ranging in color from intense black to dark grey blushed with magenta. Flavor is intense and rich.
  • Great White– low acid tomato with delightful sweet melon-like flavor, meaty texture, and few seeds; skin and flesh is cream colored with yellow hue.

local edible mixed flowers
from stone's throw farm

edible-flowers-local-organic-stones-throw-farmWe are excited to team up with Stone’s Throw Farm to offer our chefs a local option for edible flowers. Stone’s Throw is located in Colfax, CA, and is operated by Steven and Bryanna Eisenhut. Bryanna is a Colfax native and is an active part of the community, including local farmer’s markets. All of their flowers are harvested, washed, packed, and sold within one day and a few miles of their farm. We are impressed with the vibrant colors and quality of their flowers. Produce Express will offer their organic, field fresh flowers in a mixed clamshell. Varieties will rotate based on availability. They will be sold whole to allow for ultimate freshness. Just pick the petals and add a pop of color to your plates and cocktails! Edible flowers also add unique flavors and health benefits to your dish! Enjoy the harvest!

 

local hydro mixed lettuce
from produce alive

We are pleased to partner with Produce Alive to offer a variety of local, hydroponically grown items. Produce Alive is owned andhyrdoponic-hydro-produce-alive-butter-lettuce-red-leaf operated by Erik Powell in Loomis, CA (Placer County). Erik chooses to grow 100% hydroponic because it allows him to control the environment and guarantee consistency even with poor weather. He grows year round in his 4,100 square foot green house, using 90% less water than traditional growing methods. New this week, we offer Produce Alive Hydroponic Mixed Lettuce packed in a 24ct case with a mix of green and red heads. Butter lettuce has a small, loosely formed head with soft textured leaves. The flavor is mildly sweet and succulent. Butter lettuce is an ideal ingredient for almost any meal including salads, sandwiches, soups, smoothies and its leaves are also the perfect size, shape, and texture for rolling wraps.

 

local calrose medium grain rice
from pure rice first

local-rice-calrose-medium-grain-sushi-riceCalrose Rice is a pearly white rice known for its sticky texture. Its naturally soft starchy structure holds flavor beautifully while maintaining texture and form. Calrose rice works well as a sushi rice, used for paella, or enjoyed as a standalone table rice. We are pleased to offer a medium grain Calrose rice, locally grown by Pure Rice First in Lincoln, CA. Please specify “Medium Grain Local White Rice” when placing your order. Available in a 50# bag, $29.75.

Market Outlook - August 9, 2018

Local fresh dug potatoes

Fresh dug potatoes are distinct from conventional Russet or Idaho potatoes both in their flavor, moistness, texture, and seasonal availability. We are pleased to offer the following fresh dug potato varieties from Riverdog Farm (Organic) and Coke Farms:

  • Nicola– rich golden brown skin with cream colored flesh and mild taste make this potato delicious in a variety of applications. It is one of the waxiest varieties and has one of the lowest glycemic indexes. Excellent as a salad or boiling potato and wonderful for mash. 25# case from Riverdog Farm.
  • Masquerade– creamy and buttery flavor; bicolored, thin skin has a golden yellow base spotted with purple and violet. Their flesh is yellow to light gold and is firm, dense, and moist. 25# case from Coke Farms.
  • German Butterball- a Russet-type potato loved for its rich, golden flesh, buttery flavor, versatility, and long-term storability. Smaller size and round shape. 25# case from Riverdog and Coke Farms.
  • Colorado Rose- heirloom potato with red skin and flesh; retains color when cooked. It has a sweet flavor and is deliciously moist and creamy. They are not waxy which makes them great for most uses- baked, mashed, steamed, scalloped, and uniquely colored fries and chips. Available in a 10# case from Coke Farms.
  • Yellow Finn- perfect balance of sugar and starch; makes delicious mashed potatoes, gratins, gnocchi, and salads. A great all-purpose potato with yellow flesh, creamy texture, and buttery flavor. 25# case from Riverdog Farms.

produce alive hydroponic mixed lettuce

We are pleased to partner with Produce Alive to offer a variety of local, hydroponically grown items. Produce Alive is owned and operated by Eric Powell in Loomis, CA (Placer County). Erik chooses to grow 100% hydroponic because it allows him to control the environment and guarantee consistency even with poor weather. He grows year round in his 4,100 square foot green house, using 90% less water than traditional growing methods. New this week, we offer Produce Alive Hydroponic Mixed Lettuce packed in a 24ct case. The case includes both green and red heads. Butter lettuce has a small, loosely formed head with soft textured leaves. The flavor is mildly sweet and succulent. Butter lettuce is an ideal ingredient for almost any meal including salads, sandwiches, soups, smoothies and its leaves are also the perfect size, shape, and texture for rolling wraps.

We also offer Produce Alive Watercress and Flowering Wasabi Arugula in 1# bags.

delta pears

Local pear season is upon us! Stillwater Orchards is located next to the Sacramento River in the town of Courtland– an area known to produce some of the best pears in the world. The land has been owned and operated by the Elliot family since 1860 when their ancestor, David Osborne, settled on the Delta on the heels of the Gold Rush and ordered the area’s first pear trees from France. The Elliotts take pride in producing some of the most flavorful pears. They grow, pack, and ship on site ensuring the highest quality standards. We are currently offering the following, with more varieties to follow as the season progresses:

  • Delta Bartletts- classic summer pears that are sweet and juicy with buttery flesh and distinct aroma. Their wonderful flavor and smooth texture make Bartletts a wonderful addition in a variety of application from salads, pizzas, and jams to pies, galettes, and canning; or simply add to a cheese board. 40# case, pound, or piece.
  • Stark Crimson/Red Bartlett– this colorful red pear has the same characteristics as the Bartlett. When fully ripe, the skin is at its brightest. 20# case or pound.
  • Bosc– one of the most useful and commonly available varieties for cooking. A ripe Bosc will still be firm and dense, with tender flesh that is honey-sweet, rich and aromatic. A Bosc with heavily russeted skin will not change color when ripe, those with light russeting will turn yellow when ripe. 40# case, pound, or piece.

buffalo mozzarella

In Italy, mozzarella almost always starts with buffalo milk, while the dense, chewier cow's milk version we often see in the U.S. is knownbuffalo-mozzarella-cheese-fresh as fiore di latte. Buffalo mozz is a fresh, soft, semi-elastic textured cheese with twice the fat of cow’s milk mozz. It has a plump texture that exudes sweet, rich, grassy whey when sliced. Its flavor is slightly nutty with gamey notes and is a bit more acidic than cow’s milk mozzarella. The cheese goes well in antipastis, with salads, pastas, calzones, vegetables and various side dishes. Our buffalo mozzarella is made by di Stefano Premium Italian Cheeses, a family owned company in Los Angeles. Their cheeses are made fresh daily using locally sourced milk. The milk for their buffalo mozzarella is sourced from Wilton, less than 30 miles southeast of Sacramento. Available in a 3# case (6 cups with 2-4oz balls/cup); $39.75.