Thanksgiving is upon us and the markets will be ready with all the traditional holiday favorites like fresh cranberries, Brussels sprouts, mushrooms, asparagus, fresh herbs, winter squashes, potatoes and onions. All of them are available in both organic and conventional.
Speaking of cranberries… Cape Blanco cranberries are back! These cranberries are 100 percent Northwest grown and this grower does fresh right. The fruit is allowed to fully ripen on the vines and are only harvested at their peak. The sugar brix of these cranberries are up to three times higher than other brands (a brix is a unit of measurement used to determine sugar content – that’s the unscientific explanation, mind you).
The crop looks excellent this year. Supply should be plentiful through the Christmas holiday. That’s good news since these days, cranberries are used for much more than the holidays. Many people add a few to their juicing kick throughout the month of January. Buy extra and freeze them for later use!
The fall/winter citrus category is off to a great start this year. Expect the entire citrus category to eat better with each passing delivery over the next few weeks. Peak eating quality is very reliable once we move into late December.
Our Markets are getting their first deliveries of the Family Tree Farms and Rising “C” Ranch seedless satsumas. The fruit this year is starting off with higher than usual sugar and eats very well. We also have organically grown satsumas in two-pound bags from Home Grown Organics in California. Again they are sweet! The California navel oranges also are arriving this week. Their sugar content is better than expected, but not yet at the level where I could talk too highly of them.
Lemons and limes are in great supply just in time for the party season. The new crop of Meyer lemons also have arrived. This lemon leans to the sweeter side as lemons go. Clementine mandarins are picking up and I expect to see greater volumes over the next few weeks. Last – but definitely not least – large Florida-grown grapefruit are off to a great start. This fruit is sweet and heavy with juice. If you are interested in smaller fruit, we do have an option from Texas in the Rio Star variety.
The new crop of imported blueberries has started. The cost remains a bit on the higher side as we chose to fly this fruit so it would be here in time for the Thanksgiving holiday. As this season matures and more fruit arrives via marine vessels instead of planes, we expect further promotional opportunities around the Christmas holiday period.
We have a real treat this year in Brussels sprouts with the availability of the Brussels sprouts trees. The sad news is we will likely run out before the Thanksgiving holiday as a result of the recent freezing temperatures in the Northwest. Plenty of Brussels sprouts just not the ones that come on that stock.
Also of excellent quality is our Peruvian asparagus and we also white asparagus and organically grown. Green beans and French beans are also great choices for holiday side dishes, but, as we all know, green beans are a roll of the dice over this holiday period. We will have plenty available unless we run into last-minute issue with quality. We would rather be out than ruin your holiday meal with lesser-quality vegetables.
We have booked a limited quantity of four-pack, bi-color sweet corn to arrive in the Markets on Monday, Nov. 24, just in time for Turkey Day. Sweet corn is difficult to find this time of year but we’ll have Gloria Sweet corn that is completely husked and ready to cook tender and sweet.
Mushrooms are always a must for the Thanksgiving meal. We have a wide selection ranging from shiitake to chanterelles and from miatake to bunashimeji available. As always, mushrooms are tight over the holiday week, but we are working closely with our vendors to secure our needs. We had hoped for a better supply of chanterelles but the recent freezing temperatures have really slowed growth in this mushroom. We should have supply through the holiday, but cannot be 100 percent sure at this point.
We have an excellent selection of variety sweet potatoes available in both conventional and organic. Did you know there are more than 400 varieties of sweet potatoes and that it is highly unlikely that you have ever eaten a real yam? What are commonly referred to as yams in America are really varieties of sweet potatoes that have an orange flesh interior. The Beauregard and Red Garnet are commonly called yams. My favorite is the Red Garnet because they seem to be sweeter and moister. I like them best baked, then slathered in butter with plenty of pepper! We also have a Japanese white-flesh sweet potato and a completely purple stokes variety in organic.
If you are in a hurry, which I think most of us are right now, we have several side-dish vegetables available in out “value-added” sections. That just means we’ve added a value of some kind, meant to save you time. For example, check out the shaved or halved Brussels sprouts, cubed butternut squash or the cut and ready to cook Garnet sweet potatoes. We have these available in both 11-ounce and 32-ounce quantities.
We have plenty of fresh herbs available. The top five for this holiday are the blends “Herb Bird,” Poultry, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme – but we also have all the usual suspects as we always do. Fresh herbs are difficult to manage during the winter months and we do keep records to refer to when securing them for the holiday. But things happen even with the best-laid plans so I would not wait until the last minute if you want to be certain to have the fresh herbs you need. They’ll stay fresh for several days so no need to wait.
Thank you for all your support over this past year. Have a great holiday! Enjoy friends and family, but don’t forget to take some time for just you!