• Appetite for New

    Cae­sar Salad is an ionic culi­nary favorite. There are plenty of riffs on this clas­sic fresh salad.

    Adding toma­toes, avo­ca­dos, hard-​boiled eggs and even grilled chicken or shrimp takes it to another whole-​meal prepa­ra­tion.

    Do you recall when you took your first bite of this reli­able and ele­gant salad? Per­haps it fixes a place in time rather than an age. Bet­ter yet, the per­son who may have made it for us. Think back.

    The few sim­ple, high qual­ity ingre­di­ents are com­bined into an exquis­itely per­fect salad. Romaine let­tuce, fresh gar­lic, fresh lemon juice, olive oil, parme­san cheese and rus­tic crou­tons seem too easy. They are a match made in heaven and prove to be sophis­ti­cated for any palette.

    Anchovy fil­lets are left up to debate. In or out, the salad stands on its own mer­its. No need to quib­ble. They can be served on the side for any­one who doesn’t like these tiny, briny fish. Sales were up eighty-​five per­cent on anchovies year over year.

    What’s life chang­ing is get­ting an impor­tant intro­duc­tion to any num­ber of ingre­di­ents, foods or prepa­ra­tions that stay with us for a life­time. Those new food expe­ri­ences serve us through­out our cook­ing reper­toire. We build on what we find to be the most tasty and enjoy­able foundation.
  • Cel­e­brate!

    Mother’s Day 2020 was a remark­able hol­i­day. Sons and daugh­ters had to pivot away from nor­mal ways to honor mom.

    Mod­i­fied behav­iors post COVID-​19 takes some get­ting used to. Not every­one is com­fort­able or eager to rub elbows with oth­ers.

    In many cases, elder or vul­ner­a­ble fam­ily mem­bers still require quar­an­tine pro­tec­tion. This makes it dif­fi­cult to gather around a table for cel­e­bra­tion.

    June is a mad month for birth­days, grad­u­a­tions, anniver­saries and wed­dings. Father’s Day is on Sun­day, the twenty first. Expect new ways to show our love and remem­brances.

    Large gath­er­ings have been vig­or­ously dis­cour­aged. Self-​distancing is the new norm for any type of social fes­tiv­ity. Smaller groups of eight or fewer will still have to mod­ify to com­ply with vigilance.
  • Fields of Dreams

    What was once taken for granted has for­ever fun­da­men­tally changed.

    Eat­ing out at a local restau­rant or café has dearly been missed. See­ing our favorite wait staff and hear­ing about menu spe­cials will be music to our col­lec­tive ears.

    Going to the gro­cery store for weekly pro­vi­sions used to be a chore at best. New restric­tions, pro­to­cols and short­ages com­pound the already stress­ful house­hold duty.

    Nor­mal rou­tines are mor­ph­ing in to excep­tional expe­ri­ences. Curb-​side food hand offs and don­ning masks and gloves just to push a shop­ping cart may be part of the next level nor­mal.

    The food sup­ply chain in Amer­ica has been extremely chal­lenged. For those who can and will con­tinue to afford fresh foods, it is a time for real grat­i­tude check.
  • The Last Bite

    Over the years, week fifty two of our mar­ket report has been reserved for an uplift­ing mes­sage to close out the cal­en­dar.

    Like all things in 2020, the COVID cloud con­tin­ues to rain on our industry.

    The lat­est round of “shel­ter in place” orders comes just as we’re ready to shop, eat out and cel­e­brate with oth­ers. No can do.

    This year has been one for the books. As a part­ner in the food sup­ply chain, we’ve had a front row seat to the con­stant dis­rup­tions the food indus­try con­tin­ues to encounter.
    Every food sec­tor; retail­ers, restau­rants, cafes, schools, pris­ons, casi­nos, and hotels has been on a swivel. Mod­ify, pivot and adapt has been a con­stant dance since March.

    Day-​to-​day busi­ness has been any­thing but nor­mal. We’ve felt the pain of our cus­tomers. Starts and stops, lim­ited capac­ity man­dates, front-​line worker safety, finan­cial invest­ments to com­bat COVID, inside, out­side, curb­side– the list goes on. It’s been a stag­ger­ing climb to meet the challenges.

    On the sup­ply side, farm­ers and ranch­ers are also caught up in the schiz­o­phrenic nature and fall­out from the pan­demic. Sound plan­ning for ample crops, is based on true demand. That demand con­tin­ues to shift along with many other uncertainties.

    Weather con­di­tions, wild­fires, smoke, power out­ages and COVID-​related labor short­ages were uncon­trol­lable for farm­ers to deal with. The lat­est round of food­ser­vice restric­tions leaves every­one head scratching.
    Grow­ing con­cern over via­bil­ity through the com­ing weeks is a real fac­tor for any­one in the hos­pi­tal­ity or restau­rant busi­ness. They are in sur­vival mode.

    All the while, all food sec­tor chan­nels con­tinue to feed hun­gry peo­ple. If you have food on the table and a full pantry, count that as a bless­ing. Now more than ever, food inse­cu­rity is at a fevered pitch. Finan­cial hard­ship is a by-​product for fam­i­lies impacted from COVID work shutdowns.

    Our local Sacra­mento Food Bank & Fam­ily Ser­vices orga­ni­za­tion part­ners with over 220 local agen­cies. Together they dis­trib­ute food to indi­vid­u­als and fam­i­lies in under-​served com­mu­ni­ties. That need has now grown to all rural and sub­ur­ban areas.