Featured Produce: Cantaloupe
Did you know? Squash, pumpkin, cucumber, and gourds are all closely related to cantaloupe. Like its relatives, cantaloupes grow on the ground as a trailing vine. Several varieties of cantaloupes grown all over the planet; however, two common varieties that named after their place of origin have become popular in the western world. The European cantaloupe gets its name from the Italian village of "Cantalup" and features lightly-ribbed, pale green skin that looks quite different from the North American cantaloupe. North American cantaloupe is named reticulatus due to its net-like (or reticulated) skin covering. Not only are cantaloupes a sweet treat, they’re also good for you! They’re high in Vitamin A which is a powerful antioxidant and is essential for healthy vision. It is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin.
Our summer cantaloupe supplies come from the “Westside” region. The Westside as it is known, consists of the growing regions of Mendota, Los Banos, Firebaugh, Turlock etc. The Westside season goes from roughly May to October, and once we are done with this region, we make our way back down south and chase the warmer weather. However, as we make this transition, there are certain obstacles that we face. The two main issues we face are appearance and whitefly. Due to the growing region and the climate this time of year, we often see a drop in the outward appearance of cantaloupes. We see more dirt spots on the fruit, and netting on cantaloupes that isn't as clean as the fruit coming out of the Westside. The other major obstacle is whitefly-which comes on when the plants are stressed, specifically for water, making it easy to see how whitefly can be a problem in a growing region known as"the desert". While growers do everything they can to minimize these issues, the time of year and region can make that difficult. In order to help ourselves and our customers during periods like this, we rely on our Quality Controllers to help us pick out the best fruit! They are the ones who are walking the coolers and the fields on a daily basis. Our communication with our QCs is extremely important because growers change fields frequently and what may have been the best label for the customer yesterday, might not be the right label for the customer today. Being able to put eyes on the product before it even loads on the truck is the kind of service that we feel helps set us apart at Westlake and helps solidify our slogan of "service, above all".
Looking for a way to use our featured produce? Try this:
Cantaloupe Bread with Prailene Glaze
By: Chef John
1 cup vegetable oil
2 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups cantaloupe - peeled, seeded and pureed
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Lightly grease and flour two 9x5 inch loaf pans.
In a large bowl, beat together eggs, vegetable, sugar, vanilla and cantaloupe. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and ginger. Stir flour mixture into cantaloupe mixture; stir to combine. Pour batter into prepared pans.
Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, until a toothpick inserted into center of a loaf comes out clean. Meanwhile, combine margarine and brown sugar. Microwave for 3 minutes, stirring at 1 minute intervals; mix in pecans. Pour sauce over warm bread. Let cool for 1 hour before serving.
Apples & Pears
We will begin shipping Opal apples this week. The Opal apple season will run until late May! We have promotable volumes of Gala apples, especially smaller sizes and bags. Apple quality overall has been fantastic this season, due to optimal growing conditions over the summer.
The pear crop out of the Northwest is well underway!
Cantaloupe production will finish up this week on the Westside. Quality coming out of the region has still be solid, supplies have just been very short with only a couple growers still packing up north. Unfortunately there is still no clear picture of what kind of quality to expect from the desert fruit as field reports have been all over the board. However, it does appear that Mexico/Nogales will have some decent fruit available this season with availability starting to increase as the week goes along.
Honeydews are all but done up north, with only a few pallets still available to load at the coolers. Like cantaloupes, our honeydew volume for the foreseeable future will be coming out of Nogales, with volume increasing in the coming weeks. As a general note about the desert and Nogales seasons, fruit often has a less appealing appearance than the fruit that comes out of Central California. With that in mind, we will be leaning heavily on our QC on the ground to make sure we stay in the correct fields and bring in the correct fruit for our customers.
Seedless watermelon production out of Bakersfield and Central/Northern California is essentially finished, with only a few California growers remaining. Nogales has started shipping its watermelon. However, watermelon is still fairly short as there isn’t much fruit crossing the border at this point. With cooler weather and rain in the growing regions of Mexico, seedless production will not begin to ramp up until later this week or early next week. Initial field reports out of Mexico show fruit sizing up nicely, but due to the weather, quality can be hit-and-miss as the season starts.
Please don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions, especially as we are transitioning growing regions!
The lime market is down on small sizes, including 230s and smaller, but large sizes continue to be limited.
We have good availability of pineapples from Costa Rica. Their sizing continues to be on the larger side, peaking on 5’s and 6’s.
Tommy Atkins mangoes out of Brazil and Ecuador are available to ship! Please call us for the most up-to-date pricing. Ataulfo mangoes from Ecuador are also available. Size 24 is the most widely available, but the occasional 16/18ct is available as well.
California lemons are coming out of district two and three at the moment. Larger-sized lemons are extremely tight, and pricing is on the higher side. There are good deals to be had on 165 size lemons and smaller. Chilean lemons are available as well!
California Marsh Ruby variety grapefruit has started. Smaller sizes are tight while large fruit is in good supply.
Chilean and Peruvian Murcotts are being bagged, and prices are on the rise.
Peruvian Honey tangerines are tightening up, with the final arrivals landing over week 42 and 43. Please call for availability and pricing!
Chilean navel oranges are in full swing, with larger sizes being more widely available.
Chilean navel oranges will be wrapping up in the next couple of weeks.
Fun Fact: There are over 600 varieties of oranges worldwide
Potato & Onion
Rain has caused some problems with potato production in Western Washington, which could cause interruptions in potato supply. Western Washington is in full production on white, red, and yellow potatoes. These potatoes are of excellent quality!
There were some extreme cold temperatures in Eastern Washington & Idaho last week. These cold temperatures interrupted the potato and onion harvest. It is hard to tell what long-term impacts these cold temperatures will have, however they could be significant.
Fun Fact: It takes 1,000 pounds of potatoes to make 350 pounds of potato chips
As the nights get colder in California, we are seeing fewer peppers. We have just about one week left on California peppers. All hot pepper prices are active now! Pasilla and Anaheim peppers are short. This market will hold for about two weeks until new areas in Mexico get going.
Fun Fact: Peppers are a fruit, technically, but the most popular peppers we eat are also part of the nightshade family, along with tomatoes, potatoes, and eggplants.
Strawberries continue to be available out of Santa Maria. Their quality is fair-to-good. With steady temperatures throughout the week, all berries are on a 3-day cycle, so make sure to book your orders in advance!
There are some Washington blackberries available, but supplies are limited due to weather. Mexico is still limited, but there is some supply loading out of the Central Valley and McAllen, Texas.
Blueberries are coming from Mexico, Argentina, Peru, and Chile. Most of the blueberry supply is coming from Peru!
Raspberries are available out of Mexico! We can load FOB Central Valley or McAllen, Texas.
Call us for the most up-to-date pricing on all berries
Fun Fact: Unripe blackberries are actually red!
Vietnamese dragon fruit is available! The most widely available sizes are 7’s, 8’s, and 9’s with some limited supplies on smaller counts. Prices on Vietnamese dragon fruit remains steady! Strikes in Ecuador have impacts all major ports, airports, and shipping lanes. This is affecting our supply-chain and logistics. We will be monitoring this situation, but please call us for any information on Ecuadorian fruit!
California red dragon fruit is loading out of Los Angeles! The supply and quality are both fantastic.
We have a steady supply of young coconut available, out of Vietnam. This is a great item to consider for a promotion!
Fun Fact: Because dragon fruit blooms from evening to midnight, it’s sometimes called the “moonflower” or “Queen of the night.”
Natural and nutritious!
With the holidays coming up, we have a few highlight items we are still offering for the month of October!
California lemons and grapefruit are being packed weekly! California limes are also available this week! Mostly smaller sizes are available, but we can pack these organic limes into a volume fill full carton or 10LB carton.
There are plenty of hard squash varieties including: Sugar Pie Pumpkins, Acorn, Kabocha, Orange Spaghetti squash, Yellow Spaghetti squash and Butternut squash, available! These seasonal favorites are loading out of West Sacramento.
We have good supplies of organic green kale and red kale this week. There's a slight gap on romaine lettuce, but we will have better numbers towards the end of this week/early next week!
Call us for any additional information you might need on organics!
Looking for other organic items? Please call us!