Fresh Talker



Top Fall Fashion Picks:
Apples, Pears, Pumpkins

With Labor Day behind us, we’ve begun the transition to the fall season in our Produce Markets. We received our first new crop of Washington apples – Honeycrisp and Gala – over the weekend and we expect Fuji and Granny Smith this week. We should see new varieties arrive each week as we move through September.The Washington apple crop is about three weeks behind last year. The fires haven’t helped either. What we need now are some cooler nights in order to see the 2017 apple season take off in earnest.…
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They’re Here! They’re Here!
Time to Roast Your Hatches

Hatch Chilies are here and we will be roasting at nearly all our markets this weekend and next. We have the variety that made the Hatch chile pepper famous!The “Big Jim” variety is a medium-hot chile (just about the perfect heat for me) and it is the one that started the craze. Many growers have stopped growing the Big Jim because the yield per acre is less than other varieties grown in Hatch, N.M. So we ask our partner to grow it specifically for us. It did cost a couple bucks more but we feel it was well worth it.We’ll also have “Crazy 88” from New Mexico. This…
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Road Trip Forecasts
We’ll Soon be Swimming
in Local Berries

A quick update from the road to sweeten the upcoming holiday.I visited Dan Gunkel of Gunkel Orchards near the Maryhill Winery along the Columbia River yesterday. Dan had harvested some of his Robada apricots Tuesday and I wanted to see them, as well as check on his Private Reserve cherries. These Robadas on the tree Wednesday might be in…
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Joe Talks Avocados
on Radio Podcast

Looking for the inside scoop on avocados? Check this out!Once again, I join Tastes of Bainbridge host Bob Ross in the new Media Arts & BCB Studio at the BARN on Bainbridge Island to discuss the current produce scene. This was recorded Tuesday, June 13, 2017.…
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Berries Slow to Start
But Worth the Wait

While summer is slow in arriving, I did love that warm Memorial Day weekend. Warm, sunny and dry was long overdue this year. Speaking of warm and sunny, what about local berries?I visited berry-growers in Skagit Valley about a week ago – Hayton Farms near Mount Vernon and Skagit Sun Farms near LaConner. I found we still had a ways to go. The blueberries look great as far as blossoms are concerned, but there were no actual berries when I was there. Our best guess for Western Washington blueberries at this…
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Berries and Cherries
on Summer Horizon

One of the first signs we see as we move through the month of May and steam toward summer is the approach of sweet cherries from California.Our first deliveries arrived this past week and what we’ve seen so far looks good. They’re a little lighter in color but they eat well for early California fruit. We see cherries getting even better as we approach Mother’s Day…
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Citrus and Row Crops
Disrupted by
California Floods

 California flooding during the second half of February interrupted the citrus and strawberry harvests so it has taken some hard work by our partner buyers to wade through those interruptions and find high-quality fruit for our markets.The past several days, we’ve moved on to organic strawberries out of Arizona to escape the flooded fields and poor quality fruit we’re finding in California. We are starting to see some drying and warmer temperatures in the area, so we are hoping to see both supply and quality of California berries improve over the coming…
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Rain, Rain Go Away
But Just for Harvest
(Not For a Decade)

When it comes to rain, it seems there’s either too much or too little and rarely just the right amount.Rain halts the harvesting of citrus fruit, and then it generally takes a couple days of dry weather for the fruit to dry before harvesting can resume due to many reasons. For one thing, it’s difficult to move equipment around a muddy orchard. Then you’ve got blemishes that can occur when wet fruit is handled during harvest, increasing what is called clear rot. This is a spot on the fruit that is very difficult to see because it’s virtually transparent at first. But once…
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Month and Markets
Chock-Full of Holidays

Let’s get cracking and enjoy what’s great in the markets now through the end of the year – since we were just talking about Thanksgiving. It’s nearly Christmas and Hanukkah already. As soon as we blink, it will be New Year’s.We have several excellent Northwest apple varieties from which to choose. My favorite is the Fuji and we have brought in an extra-large size just for this holiday. They make great stocking stuffers (and take up lots of room, which Santa appreciates)! Other varieties that top my list at this time of year are the Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Braeburn, Opal and…
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Stocked and Ready
for Thanksgiving Eats

What happened to October? We are on the threshold of Thanksgiving and it seems like time has been flying over the last few weeks. So before any more time slips by, here’s the scoop in fresh produce:Apples and pears are old news, but still excellent quality. The Honeycrisp, Opal, Kiku and Pink Lady apples are among my favorites at this time of year. But I do have to mention the Granny Smith because if apple pie is on your holiday menu, it’s a great choice. And we still have a wide selection of Northwest-grown pears to…
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