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Citrus Reaches Peak –
Blueberries Beginning

Well, 2012 is behind us and we are all still here! I hope everyone had a great holiday season and wish you a great New Year – here are a few fresh items that arrive this month to help get 2013 off to a tasty start!

Virtually all the citrus fruits from California and Florida taste exceptionally great right now (didn’t I promise last month that the best was yet to come for citrus?). Much of the citrus harvested before January meets minimum sugar requirements as set by the US Department of Agriculture, but minimum doesn’t always mean it’s sweet and full of flavor. Now that we are in January, most of those citrus fruits now exceed minimum sugar requirements and have become the “peak season” varieties that eat the very best. Look for great values and flavor across all our citrus varieties now through March!

(Pictured above: Grapefruit)

Just a few stand-out items this month are the Heirloom Navels, Cara Cara Oranges, Clementine Mandarins and Florida pink grapefruit. Items on the horizon and coming soon are the Tahoe Mandarin Oranges, Minneolas, Page mandarins and, finally, the long-awaited Sumo mandarins, which will arrive mid-February!

New crop California strawberries have arrived! Both supply and flavor will continue to improve over the next few weeks. Some of the best-tasting strawberries from California will arrive during January, February and March.

Imported Chilean blueberries are finally coming in after a much later-than-normal start. Over the next several weeks, we should see the kind of quality and volume that will allow me to offer them at a great value. In the past, we’ve had to stretch the Chilean blueberry season through the month of March with fruit that had been in storage. But looking out further for this year, we can point to our relationship with Family Tree Farms in California to solve that problem.  They started producing blueberries in Mexico last year, so we’ll be able to make the move to Mexico-grown blueberries much sooner than in years past – and it will be a fresher berry.  We brought in these berries for the first time last year, and we heard from customers that this variety – proprietary to Family Tree Farms – was excellent tasting, large, firm and sweet. Some customers even commented that they may have been the best berries of the year! I will keep you updated on this crop as we move closer to March.

California grape season has finally come to an end. We are starting to offer the imported Chilean grapes this week. Look for special values on these grapes as soon as we get the kind of volume we need – probably late January and early February. The Chilean season will run through early May when the California season starts up again.

A new crop of Mexican asparagus arrives this week. Cool weather and labor restrictions over the holiday season are keeping supply to a minimum right now, but within the next few weeks we should see increased quality and volume – so watch for special values on that, too. On a related note, we  expect to see a new crop of California asparagus as we move into March – then, of course, Washington asparagus in late April.

And last but not least, we may see a few bumps in the road on row crops from the desert growing areas. Currently, light frost and cooler temperatures are creating interruptions in supply.  It’s not expected to be long-term at this point.

Have a great day!



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