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Archive for January, 2022

Moro Blood Oranges

Moro Blood Oranges grown in the Central San Joaquin Valley are just a few of the wonderful types of citrus in season.  The red flesh of the Blood Orange varies in intensity depending on the variety, location where the trees are grown and the degree of fruit maturity. Brought to America in the 1930’s by Italian and Spanish immigrants they are now grown commercially in Southern California, Texas and Florida. Hot days and cold nights are needed to bring out the best flavors in blood oranges.

Blood orange rounds and slices

Market Disruptions and Price Increases

Historically December and January see disruptions in organic markets due to various factors such as frosts, winter storms, less daylight hours and holidays.  2021 continued to bring even more challenges with Covid-19. Unfortunately, many workers have been hit hard by Covid-19 with many packing sheds having challenges. Consequently, field laborers and trucking companies are experiencing challenges due to the lack of workers, tightening up an already challenged labor force. Trucking issues have caused numerous challenges around the holidays and beyond. Covid-19 has thinned the volume of available trucks leading to loads that do not have a way to get to us, limiting supply on many items. Imports are limited as well, mostly due to extreme backups in the Southern California ports.

Frost on Lakeside Organic Lettuce Holtville, California

Prices and availability are the most unstable often in these months. One thing to remember is that most of the US is pulling produce from the same area that we do at this point in the season.  Demand is great – supply isn’t. Price and quality do not track side by side. Often higher prices reflect difficult growing conditions and veg has more cosmetic challenges than we are used to. Prices are also increasing as growers struggle with trucking shortages and higher gas prices, labor shortages and wage increases, higher material prices on pallets, boxes and packaging materials, shipping delays due to labor shortages and extreme weather challenges.

We feel immense gratitude for our resilient growers who keep their workers safe while continuing to harvest and ship quality organic produce to sustain our communities during these adverse conditions. 

Moro Blood Oranges

Moro Blood Oranges are now coming out of the Central San Joaquin Valley. The red flesh varies in intensity depending on the variety, location where the trees are grown and the degree of fruit maturity. Brought to America in the 1930’s by Italian and Spanish immigrants Blood Oranges are now grown commercially in Central and Southern California, Texas and Florida. The season starts in San Diego County, overlaps and finishes in the foothills of Fresno County.

The Moro variety is the most commonly found in the supermarket because it develops the most consistent red flesh color at peak flavor. At the beginning of the season the flesh will have a slight red tinge to it with a sweet and tart flavor.  Citrus picked early in the harvest will not have developed their full flavor.  After a month or two of eating blood oranges the flesh has become super sweet and turning that deep red almost purple color with a floral fragrance and berry flavor,  It is still not known exactly why the insides turn red but it could be because blood oranges contain anthocyanins , a family of pigments common to many flowers and fruit, but uncommon in citrus fruits.

Blood Oranges are packed with vitamin C, carotenoids and are high in potent antioxidant properties. Hot days and cold nights are needed to bring out the best flavors in blood oranges. The red blush on the outside of the fruit is because of the sun and not related to the red color of the flesh. Fruit that is exposed more to the sun on one part of the tree will have more of a blush color on the skin which will become darker later in the season if left on the tree longer. Choose a blood orange the same as you would any citrus, look for the heaviest fruit which means more juice.  Eat them out of hand or juice for a healthy beverage.

2022 Is Off To A Bumpy Start

Cold, rainy, and snowy weather, the New Year Holiday week, Covid, labor issues and logistical challenges have kept a lot of workers out of the fields and the packing sheds and equipment off the road.  Trucking out of Nevada and the Pacific Northwest continues to be very tight and almost all the passes out of Washington are closed. Blewett Pass in Chelan County is closed due to heavy snow and limited visibility. It is located on US 97, the main Highway bringing apples from Chelan Fresh in eastern Washington. Loads that were scheduled to be on the road before the weekend are delayed. In addition to the challenges mentioned above, cold and rainy weather in California and Mexico have also slowed down production on many crops and prevented growers from getting their pickers and equipment into the muddy field. 

Blewett Pass Wenatchee Mountains Washington State

A few items to note: Fujis, Galas and Pink Lady apples will be tight this week until trucks from Washington can make the journey over the snowy passes. Peri and Sons red, yellow, white and sweet onion supply out of Yerington, Nevada will look better this week. Red and yellow cipollini onions will remain limited.  Tasteful Selections is struggling with their fingerlings and we will move fully into Wong potatoes out of the Klamath Region this week. 12ct Cauliflower is not sizing up in the desert due to low overnight temps. 16ct Cauliflower will be more prevalent. Covilli 15# Green Beans(Mexico) will be limited this week. Rain in Covilli’s fields flooded some areas and they are seeing some rusting.  Rain is forecast to be back Tuesday and Wednesday this week so we may see a gap on Covilli beans at the end of the week. Cool and rainy weather in California has slowed down strawberry production. California strawberries are gapping, and we have moved into Fresh Kampo (Mexico) with larger fruit and good color. Forbidden Blueberries will return mid-week. Central West Produce Blueberries will start off the week. CWP is wrapping up their California Raspberry deal and there is not a lot of fruit on the market. We will see Fresh Kampo(Mexico) trickle in as they start production out of Baja. Some of the more delicate herbs such as tarragon, dill and basil, are challenged by the cold weather. Ralph’s out of Mt. Vernon is finally not snowed in and will start harvesting again and we will see leeks in 1-2 weeks. In the meantime we will have plenty of Lakeside and Josie’s leeks. Asparagus volume is looking up out of Mexico and we will see mostly large sizes.  California Artichokes are back in a limited way. Lakeside is reporting that early last week their crops were subjected to freezing temperatures in their southern growing region of Holtville, CA. “We lost a block of radishes, tops were destroyed and romaine ended up blistered. This caused us to push our crews back to harvesting at 10am, bringing down production and we ended up having to pro-rate our vegetables.”

Photo Courtesy of Lakeside Organics- Frost on Lettuce in Holtville, California

Inventory is looking better this week on the following items, however weather will continue to be an issue through the winter. D’Anjou Pears, Gold Bunched Beets, Bunched Broccoli, Calo Bunched orange, rainbow and Red Carrots, 16ct Cauliflower, Red Butter, Bunched Spinach, Daikon, Iceberg Lettuce, Flat Parsley, Specialty Mushrooms, Sweet Onions and Red Radishes. Raspberries are back from Central West Produce(Santa Maria).

Another thing to remember is that many growers have made the transition down to the desert and it is a 2-day ride back up to the Bay Area. All of these challenges have tightened up inventory as we headed into the New Year.

Bacon Avocados

The Bacon Avocado season is just starting up and will go for a few more weeks. The Bacon avocado is a hybrid of two Mexican avocado varieties and was originally cultivated in 1954 by James Bacon in Buena Park, CA. Bacon’s are a cold resistant cultivar and can withstand temperatures as low as 20 degrees Fahrenheit, making it acceptable for planting in USDA zone 9. ( https://garden.lovetoknow.com/wiki/Gardening_Zone_9)  

Bacon’s have smooth bright green skin and creamy pale green flesh. Their mild flavor is delicious on avocado toast or in a winter citrus salad. Be careful when cutting this avocado into slices as the skin is very thin and delicate. We recommend peeling back the skin and then slicing the avocado.

Avocados should be stored at a moderate temperature of 45-55 degrees. Putting Avocados in the coldest part of your refrigerator will “burn them”. Black spots that appear in the flesh are caused by storage in cold temperatures so make sure to take the avocado out of the refrigerator to finish ripening at room temperature.  They are ready to eat when they have a slight give to gentle pressure. To speed up the ripening process place the avocados in a paper bag with fruit that naturally give off ethylene such as bananas or apples.


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