Another Thanksgiving is in the books and I am so thankful for everyone that worked so hard all year long. We are blessed to have the excellent quality, abundance and variety we enjoy in our Produce markets. It truly takes everyone working together to make it all happen. From our partner growers and farm workers that plan, plant, harvest and pack throughout the year to the truck drivers that transport our food safely and on time in all types of weather. The distribution centers here in Washington and all those buyers, warehouse workers and our staff that work diligently to display and serve our customers… lastly to all of you, our guests which we have the privilege of serving. I would like to express my deepest appreciation, gratitude and thanks for who you are and the commitment you make daily. People working together can truly move mountains.
Now on to what I’m most excited about in our Produce markets for the December holidays….
December Means Citrus in the Pac NW
Let’s start off with Satsuma mandarins. They just do not get any better than they are right now. This little gem is easy to peel, sweet, seedless and a great value. Makes for an easy healthy snack that’s bursting with flavor.
December is the official kickoff to the California citrus season. Flavor and eating quality improve weekly, with the peak of season for all citrus arriving January through March. We currently have blood oranges, Cara Cara, heirloom seedless navel oranges, lemons and limes. Most are available in organically grown or conventionally farmed.
Richer, Creamier Hawaiian Avocados are Here
Avocados are another holiday must-have. Quality is outstanding in the Hass variety this month and the Sharwil Hawaiian avocados are also starting early this year. Unfortunately, the Hawaiian economy and tourism industry have been hit hard by the pandemic so island growers are looking to the mainland to sell their fruit. The Sharwil originated in Australia and was transplanted to Hawaii. It’s the only avocado they ship to the states. The Sharwil has a smaller pit and a higher oil content, which gives it a delicious creamy texture and richer flavor! Remember: avocado oils have excellent health benefits. The Sharwil grows a little on the big size and we sell them by the pound, not by the each. Personally, I like the biggest ones!
California Grapes, Apples Favs and Holiday Sides
California grapes have had a great season, but it’s time to import from offshore for the best quality. The early grapes from Peru just seem to be better than those from Chile during December and January, which allows us to offer better-tasting, higher-quality varieties than normal.
Cosmic Crisp apples are here and we’ve got plenty of premium-grade fruit to share! There are two other apples I would like to call out, too. SugarBee apples are fast becoming one of our best-selling varieties, just behind Honeycrisp and the Rockit apples. Speaking of Rockit, this is now our second-highest selling apple in the markets, in part, because of its convenient 3-lb. tub. Super crisp and sweet, their snackable size makes them perfect for a small child or full-grown adult. No waste and you can always eat two!
When it comes to Christmas, you can’t go overlook fresh berries. Strawberries, blueberries, and red raspberries are all in abundance with some blackberries thrown in, too. All are eating great and value-priced.
You may have noticed we have different prices on berries that look the same. Don’t be confused, though. Driscoll’s has invited us to test out their “Sweetest Batch” limited edition berry program. These berries are very specific, proprietary varieties that Driscoll’s is excited to call out as their “best-of-the-best.” So far they’ve lived up to expectations! Supplies are limited but we’ll offer them as often as we can. Try them out!
Finally, our fresh red or green Brussels sprouts make fantastic holiday veggie sides, as do fresh imported asparagus and organically grown broccolini. All are great quality and in good supply.
And what would a holiday dinner be without a nice big baked potato? Stuffed with fresh bacon bits, butter, chopped chives and sour cream…you just can’t go wrong. We may not be able to have large gatherings this year, but we sure can treat ourselves to a nice family dinner.
May you and yours have a safe and happy holiday season. I look forward to connecting again in the new year.
Until next time,