Getting to the Heart of the Matter

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Westlake Weekly Update 2. 18. 21 


Featured Item: Artichokes

I still vividly remember the first time I ate a fresh artichoke.  Growing up, I was familiar with the easy eating can variety that we mixed with mayo, cream cheese, and spinach for a party. Never had I been faced with the cactus-like bulb that had me scratching my head as to ‘where to start?’  I recall asking my host quietly, to avoid embarrassment, “How do I eat this?”  Remember that scene in Pretty Woman when she didn’t know which fork to use?  Well, it wasn’t as glamorous as that, but I tend to remember things like a real-life rom-com.


After getting a subtle lesson on the fine art of dipping and scraping the petals, I never looked back!  Once I got to the heart of the matter of the artichoke, I thought this is what heaven tastes like!


Native to the Mediterranean, artichokes are considered by historians as one of the oldest known foods.  The artichoke is actually a flower bulb of a thistle plant, from the sunflower family.  If let to blossom, it will become a brilliant and unique purple flower. 


Nearly 100 percent of commercial artichokes available are grown exclusively in California’s Mediterranean-type climate.  First believed to have been brought here by Spanish and Italian immigrants, artichokes were first sold commercially in the early 20th century.  


Today Castroville, the self-proclaimed “Artichoke Center of the World” isn’t lying.  The area produces 80 percent of the artichokes grown in California, as well as hosting an artichoke festival each summer since 1959.  It is definitely worth a stop if you’re ever in the area, and you must try the fried artichokes!  


Artichokes are coming quickly into their peak season. If you’re like most home cooks, you are familiar with steaming them on your stovetop or using an instapot.  However, if you’re looking for something a little different, try roasting them!  


This recipe doesn’t necessarily need any dipping sauce, but I am not the type of girl who ever said no to melted butter… dip, or don’t dip, bon appetite!


Potatoes and Onions:

The onion and potato market remains stable as the produce industry awaits the USDA Farm to Family boxes awards.

Currently, the yellow and red onions are good in size and volume.  We do not anticipate any changes to this in the near future.  It’s the perfect time to make that french onion soup recipe you’ve been eyeing!  Or try pickling some red onions to use in salads or sandwiches.

Our jumbo white onion volume is good to go and readily available!  Mexican white onions are still showing a lot of greening.   We have limited supplies, but nice quality.

The healthy russet potato market is steady.  The quality and volume are good!  Westlake has premier quality of red potatoes available out of western Washington, as other areas are showing less than stellar product.  We currently have a limited supply, but a very nice quality of white potatoes.  Right now Mount Vernon in Washington is starting to wind down.  California has a limited volume, but Florida will begin in 2-3 short weeks!

 Westlake has some great yams and sweet potatoes from our growers in Livingston, California.  These tubers are an excellent choice to incorporate into your diet.  They have great nutritional value, aid in digestion, and make you feel fuller.  When you feel full and satisfied, you are less likely to go for the other unhealthy options.

The market will be steady next week, but we could see an uptick in cost with #1 Red yams over the next few weeks. The volume and quality are plentiful on all #1 Beauregard, #1 Reds, and #1 sweets. 



 Navel Oranges – The navels are in good demand! Overall all the sizes are moving well. We are seeing the size peak move up to a 72 and larger. As a result, the 113s and 138s are becoming limited. Overall the fruit continues to look and eat great!  Washington variety navels being the most prevalent. It is an exceptional time to continue to promote this item for up and coming holidays.

Cara Cara navel oranges also continue to get good demand. The fruit is looking and eating fantastic. The size on these is running smaller than a regular navel, making it a good alternative to sub. As the Cara Cara volume ramps up, it is a great item to promote during Valentine’s Day and Chinese New Year.

Blood oranges also continue to increase in production.  Another great item to keep in stock!  The fruit packed in 1/2 cartons and bags.

Minneola Tangelos have started harvest in Arizona and the California Desert. Supply will begin to ramp up as we go forward and Central California begins next week. It is a good time to start thinking about setting up some ADs on this item.

Please call us for pricing!

Mandarins – Clementine bags have been moving great with strong demand from all sectors. We will see the Clementine variety start to wind down.  As it is slowly replaced by other mandarin varieties. We do not expect to have any gaps on bags of W.Murcotts, Tangos, Tahoe Golds, and Yosemite golds.  These varieties are getting started now and supply will remain available for continued promotion on 2lb and 3lb bags.
Call us for availability and pricing!

Stem & Leaf Mandarins – The mandarins continue to look great in this pack and are enjoying good demand as we start the new year. Supply will remain available through March.   A perfect item to promote for Chinese New year on Feb. 12th.

Florida Orri Mandarins – We started these right before the holiday and we will continue to have product available on the west coast through the end of January. The Orris is packed in 1/2 cartons. The fruit is beautiful, and another great item to have on your shelves. Demand continues strong on these, so please call us for prices and availability.

Florida Juicy Crunch Tangerines – we will ramp up supply on these next week as the fruit is getting more interest because of the Chinese New Year. The fruit is very lovely and has excellent flavor. Packed in half carton gift packs. Call us for availability!!

Grapefruit – Texas and Mexican grapefruit continue to move very well as we start the new year! Overall demand on main sizes continues strong. Demand is exceeding supply currently. There is good availability of choice grapefruit for bags, and will begin to increase. A good item to promote in bags!

Texas and Mexican juice oranges are also another item that is getting much buzz and demand. The 72s, 88s, and larger are moving at the retail level.  The 113s and smaller on programs. Call ahead to get orders in and booked. Please allow a couple of days to time to ship orders. The demand will continue to exceed supply.




Looking for some cantaloupes?  Westlake is expecting new arrivals of the fruit from Guatemala early next week



 Large Fuji apples are available now from our growers!  A prominent produce staple when celebrating Chinese New Year.  They symbolize safety and peace.  The Chinese people believe that one can live a peaceful and harmonious life by eating apples. They also like to buy a box of apples as a Chinese New Year gift for their relatives and friends, for the best wishes of good luck and wealth for the next year.





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