Fresh News



It’s hard to believe the sight of fire­works stands pop­ping up in park­ing lots across Amer­ica. The visual reminder that Inde­pen­dence Day is still on the cal­en­dar is a jolt to all of us in the food indus­try.

We’ve all been nav­i­gat­ing the tur­bu­lent COVID-​19 times. To rein­vent how July 4th will be cel­e­brated requires great imag­i­na­tion.

Arguably the most famous 4th of July food tra­di­tion is the all-​American bar­be­cue. In nor­mal times, this back­yard or park event brings Amer­i­can fam­i­lies and friends together.

While this year’s cel­e­bra­tions may limit who we gather with or how many are included, there is still every rea­son to put fresh food cen­ter stage.

Locally grown mel­ons, berries, sweet corn, stone fruits, toma­toes and sweet onions are abun­dant just as we approach the hol­i­day. Putting these farm fresh win­ners on the hol­i­day menu can con­nect us in ways big­ger than COVID.

All of the stay­ing at home and eat­ing at home has turned con­ven­tional meal shar­ing on its side. We are eager to ven­ture out to restau­rants and cafes and be served by some­one other than ourselves.

Read more: Star Spangled →

Lime juice, lime zest and lime wedges are a pre­mier cov­eted player in sum­mer bev­er­ages, dips, cock­tails, dress­ings, mari­nades and desserts. Oh yeah!

Never under­es­ti­mate the power of lime to uplift or trans­form the most mun­dane to be the absolute best.

Fra­grant and refresh­ing, there is some­thing dis­tinc­tively lime that can­not be repli­cated.

Limes are inte­gral to many Mex­i­can, Thai and Viet­namese dishes. They com­pli­ment part­ners like coconut milk, cilantro, mint and chili pep­pers.

Count on lime for tor­tilla soup, corn con crema, fresh salsa, and street tacos. Leche de tigre (tiger’s milk), is a Peru­vian cit­rus mari­nade that relies on fresh lime juice for its super base.

This cit­rus fruit’s high acid con­tent and bright tart­ness make it a pow­er­ful cook­ing and bak­ing ingre­di­ent. From seafood and poul­try to fresh fruits like mango, papaya and mel­ons, the smart addi­tion of lime kicks every­thing up a notch.

Read more: Crush­ing It! →

US demand for stone fruits has been con­sis­tent but not grow­ing much in the past five years.

The 2020 sea­son looks to improve demand with a longer sea­son and even some new vari­etals on the hori­zon.

Exclu­sive nec­tarine and plum vari­eties grown in California’s Cen­tral and San Joaquin Val­leys have farm­ers excited about this year’s pro­duc­tion.

The oppor­tu­nity is there to intro­duce stone fruits to new and next gen­er­a­tions. An empha­sis on fresh foods and ver­sa­til­ity in use can bring a new audi­ence to the table.

Stone fruits are a type of drupe, thin-​skinned, fleshy fruits con­tain­ing a sin­gle large seed (hence the name stone) encased within a tough outer shell. They can be cling­stone or free­stone, fuzzy or smooth, sour or sweet.

The dru­pes we call stone fruit come from about 15 species of the genus Prunus, a mem­ber of the rose fam­ily, and include peaches, nec­tarines, plums, apri­cots and cher­ries.

Stone fruits are highly sea­sonal. Most vari­eties won’t ripen after they’re har­vested and are picked at their peak of ripeness or readi­ness. This is often a small win­dow for har­vest crews.

Read more: Juicy Fruits →

The vast major­ity of Amer­i­can con­sumers agree that their lives have been dis­rupted by the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

Along with mas­sive dis­rup­tion has been a cer­tain degree of anx­i­ety, con­cern and fear.

Vir­tu­ally all pub­lic busi­ness sec­tors have a expe­ri­enced some sort of change, dis­rup­tion or mod­i­fi­ca­tion to work­place pro­to­cols.

Restric­tions have been most evi­dent for “essen­tial ser­vice” providers like retail gro­cery stores. For any­one with respon­si­bil­ity for doing house­hold shop­ping, notice­able efforts to calm wor­ried shop­pers are evi­dent.

Retail gro­cers were quick to adopt: Shop­ping cart san­i­tiz­ing, 6’ rule of self-​distancing, rec­om­mended wear­ing of face masks and gloves, plex­i­glass bar­rier pro­tec­tion at check­out and restric­tions of num­ber of shop­pers by size of store.

Active in-​store food demon­stra­tions, self-​serve salad and soup bars and bulk food bins were at once ban­ished. Fur­ther adap­ta­tions have seen direc­tional aisles, spec­i­fied hours for vul­ner­a­ble shop­pers and floor stamps and mark­ers for COVID-​19 mes­sag­ing.

Obvi­ously, new rules at retail are some­what com­fort­ing to shop­pers. Most shop­pers grade the store and if they elect to shop there again by what they see as health safety mea­sures being fol­lowed. A sim­ple thing like ban­ning re-​useable bags took awhile to take hold.

Read more: New Rules →

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.

Read more: Celebrate! →

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.

Read more: Fields of Dreams →

Just as we start to relax the stay-​at-​home orders, lin­ger­ing DIY projects reward those look­ing to stay in their own lane.

Shop­pers lucky enough to have found flour, grains and yeast dur­ing total lock­down were a step ahead.

Indus­tri­ous kitchen bees, with time on their hands, stayed busy mak­ing breads, piz­zas and pas­tas. Pantry sta­ples inspired new ways of putting food on the table.

Self-​sufficiency doesn’t have to retreat. As we find our­selves return­ing to new nor­mal. Why not carve out some space to keep the home made food thing going?

Ambi­tious new­com­ers and expe­ri­enced cooks are ready to tackle home­made jams, jel­lies and pre­serves.

Tim­ing is per­fect with the glo­ri­ous stone fruits and berries com­ing in to sea­son. Cal­i­for­nia cher­ries and apri­cots lead the parade and rep­re­sent the exquis­ite short sea­son of these delec­table fruits.

Small batch recipes dis­miss any fear of not hav­ing the right can­ning sup­plies or know how. Fewer ingre­di­ents are required and nei­ther are gear or gad­gets to com­pli­cate matters.

Read more: We’re Jammin’ →

Straw­ber­ries thrive along California’s coast­line. Between the west­ern ocean expo­sure and the Pacific winds, fields are insu­lated from any extreme tem­per­a­tures and weather.

In 2018, Cal­i­for­nia farm­ers grew more than 1.8 bil­lion pounds of straw­ber­ries. That’s nearly 90 per­cent of the nation’s crop.

It takes a vast, com­pli­cated infra­struc­ture of advanced plan­ning, pick­ing, pack­ing and trans­porta­tion to antic­i­pate and meet world wide demand for straw­ber­ries.

By this time of year, oper­a­tions are in full swing, with the peak of the sea­son start­ing in late April or early May, and run­ning for six to eight weeks.

It is par­tic­u­larly impor­tant for farms, as straw­berry sea­son is peak­ing in the next few weeks, to have a game plan. Because coro­n­avirus is peak­ing at the same time, a large por­tion of the mar­ket for the fresh berries has dis­ap­peared.

Restau­rants receive roughly 15 per­cent of California’s peak har­vest berry crop, accord­ing to the Cal­i­for­nia Straw­berry Com­mis­sion. Most all of them have stopped order­ing strawberries.

Read more: California’s Baby →

Amer­i­cans love to cel­e­brate with food. While it may be still be risky to come together in num­bers, we can use hol­i­day meals to lift our spir­its.

Cinco de mayo bashes dur­ing lock­down orders is unique. Restau­rant and bar fes­tiv­i­ties have always given the per­fect excuse to rally around the gua­camole, chips and mar­gar­i­tas.

Place hold­ers for social gath­er­ings have been shared pho­tos of spec­tac­u­lar food prepa­ra­tions. Warmer weather means a greater selec­tion of Cal­i­for­nia grown pro­duce to uti­lize in solo meals.

Spring tran­si­tion is com­plete for the grow­ing sea­son return­ing to the Sali­nas Val­ley. Salad ingre­di­ents, fresh veg­eta­bles and straw­ber­ries are back on home turf.

With­out the full return of the restau­rant dining-​in expe­ri­ence, retail, take out and meal deliv­ery options are keep­ing us fed.

Salad is stay­ing on the menu. Romaine, spinach, endive and other ten­der greens sup­port every iter­a­tion of spring salad com­bi­na­tions. The base can be sin­gu­lar or blended leafy com­po­nents. We are for­tu­nate to have so many locally grown options.

Read more: Cinco de “Stay at Home“ →

The cur­rent world cri­sis has revved up the power of Insta­gram, Face­book and Twit­ter plat­forms.

We’ve been humored by the cop­ing skills of par­ents, kids, teach­ers and stay-​at– home telecom­muters.

Uplift­ing sto­ries, videos and images lend bright­ness to oth­er­wise dark days.

We’ve seen health care work­ers being applauded in the streets. Fam­ily mem­bers in iso­la­tion have been shown on oppo­site sides of win­dow panes dis­play­ing devo­tion.

Total strangers are reach­ing out with meals, sup­plies and gro­ceries to neigh­bors in need. Good deeds are cap­tured on smart­phones and video cam­eras for the world to witness.

Read more: Stay­ing Connected →

Much has been writ­ten about these stay at home days. Inter­net jokes abound of free snack­ing and mind­less eat­ing our way through the cri­sis.

Also on the radar is the not so funny real­ity about true hair col­ors com­ing to light, post self-​distancing.

One truth is that self care comes in many forms. In the wake of stay­ing healthy, there are mul­ti­ple ways to nour­ish, soothe, com­fort and pam­per.

Tak­ing vit­a­mins and sup­ple­ments is an act of self-​care. Stay­ing on top of daily require­ments is a sim­ple, sin­gu­lar thing that may indeed pro­vide some immu­nity insur­ance.

Main­tain­ing a diet rich in fruits, veg­eta­bles, pro­teins and whole foods is a nec­es­sary prac­tice dur­ing stress­ful times. Stress eat­ing car­ries a num­ber of faults that derail healthy outcomes.

Read more: Self Care →

We mean the film, not the actual day when some crit­ter in Penn­syl­va­nia comes out to pre­dict the weather.

The iconic cult clas­sic is a movie in which the main char­ac­ter, bril­liantly played by Bill Mur­ray, is caught in a time warp.

His guy relives the worst day of his life, over and over. Part of the premise is around the self-​absorbed and arro­gant behav­ior of Phil Con­ners. With­out any con­se­quence, he indulges in reck­less activ­i­ties.

Cut to 2020 and the COVID-​19 cri­sis. Every day we wake up to more dis­mal news, climb­ing sta­tis­tics and what looks to be a repeat of the day before.

The cur­rent spell hangs over every per­son, every busi­ness and every agency. We are des­per­ate to break the cycle.

Stay­ing con­nected with oth­ers is a chal­lenge as mil­lions fol­low man­dates to shel­ter in place. The human spirit is tamped down with­out the pow­er­ful forces of touch, kind­ness and compassion.

Read more: Ground­hog Day →

Tech­nol­ogy has risen to the occa­sion when it comes to keep­ing us con­nected in these days of “social distancing”.

Online shop­ping and pick-​up ser­vices have enjoyed a surge in demand at retail.

Once we move past the COVID-​19 cri­sis, it will remain to be seen how this retail shop­ping seg­ment fares.

Restau­rants of all lev­els of ser­vice (fast casual to high end, white linen) have been hard hit in keep­ing the doors open. Ones that can offer curb­side pickup or take out, are being cre­ative in adapt­ing menus.

Feed­ing con­sumers is deemed an essen­tial ser­vice. Restau­rants have been there for our cel­e­bra­tions. Every mile­stone– birth­day, anniver­sary, retire­ment or pro­mo­tion feels spe­cial when enjoyed at a favorite din­ing place.

To those who are the reg­u­lar week­night home cooks, din­ing out is a big reward. The break from the norm gives an indi­vid­ual a chance to relax and be “waited on”.

Din­ing out typ­i­cally gives choices not usu­ally in the home meal plan rota­tion. Fewer choices is new norm. Picky eaters are with­out their favorite go to.

Read more: Curb Appeal →

The Spring Equinox, also called the Ver­nal Equinox, has long been cel­e­brated as a time of renewal and rebirth.

March 20th marked the first day of spring in the north­ern hemi­sphere. In nor­mal times, this gives peo­ple a chance to gather and focus on the sea­sonal events that lift us up.

Cul­tures cel­e­brate spring fes­ti­vals and hol­i­days – like Easter and Passover – around the equinox. Sport­ing events, con­certs and the like boost our social inter­ac­tions and spir­its.

We are not liv­ing in nor­mal times. How­ever, there are some things we can do to ease our psy­che dur­ing this chal­leng­ing period as we fol­low the edict to dis­tance our­selves from oth­ers.

As self-​quarantines and man­dated restric­tions are fol­lowed, there is cheer­ful work to be done. Take this time to pre­pare gar­dens, flower beds and planters.

The ground soft­ens and the dirt becomes warmer. If it’s too early to plant, take this chance to pre­pare. Groom, weed, hoe and turn the soil.

Read more: Cheer­ing Up →

If you are the pri­mary gro­cery shop­per for your house­hold, you’ve had a taste of what retail mad­ness feels like.

For all oth­ers, it’s only a wild tale of unprece­dented activ­ity. It may rein­force why you leave the shop­ping to oth­ers.

Long lines to get in to stores. Longer lines to check­out. Empty shelves for more than paper tow­els and toi­let paper. Eggs are at a pre­mium if you can find them.

Major chain stores have now imposed lim­its on cer­tain items to pre­vent hoard­ing. This comes later than nec­es­sary. We hear about indi­vid­u­als stock­pil­ing paper goods, hand san­i­tiz­ers and clean­ing sup­plies.

Costco, Kroger’s, Whole Foods and oth­ers have dis­con­tin­ued prod­uct sam­pling. No free nib­bles.

The spike in “social dis­tanc­ing” does not yet seem to apply to retail envi­ron­ments. Pan­icked shop­pers crowd aisles and fill carts with every­thing from ramen to Spam. Even if those things are not what is nor­mally eaten for din­ner, there is some illog­i­cal ratio­nale for pur­chas­ing them.

Read more: Retail Madness →

Under­stand­ably, there has been a recent surge in hand wash­ing mes­sag­ing and activ­ity.

Indi­vid­u­als are empow­ered to resist the spread of virus and infec­tion by this proper, fre­quent and soapy sim­ple act.

The advent of Spring lends itself nicely to revisit the power of a healthy lifestyle and other sim­ple acts to fight off sick­ness.

The media reminds us daily that peo­ple with com­pro­mised res­pi­ra­tory and pul­monary con­di­tions are most at risk from COVID-​19 and other viruses. Dia­betes also puts one in a “high risk” cat­e­gory.

Spring is the per­fect time to reboot healthy habits. Every part of the body, includ­ing the immune sys­tem, func­tions bet­ter when pro­tected from envi­ron­men­tal assaults. Healthy liv­ing strate­gies bol­sters not only the immune sys­tem, but the abil­ity to cope with ill­ness or injury.

Top­ping the list is the inclu­sion of plenty of fruits and veg­eta­bles in daily menus. This helps main­tain a healthy weight, con­tribut­ing to over­all good health.

Read more: Spring Thinking →

For the next few weeks, we will be post­ing the PRO*ACT Mar­ket Report in place of our usual Gen­eral Pro­duce version.

To read the full issue of The Source, includ­ing this week’s com­modi­ties update, click here.

For infor­ma­tion on recalls, mar­ket with­drawals and safety alerts, please visit the FDA website:


For the next few weeks, we will be post­ing the PRO*ACT Mar­ket Report in place of our usual Gen­eral Pro­duce version.

To read the full issue of The Source, includ­ing this week’s com­modi­ties update, click here.

For the next few weeks, we will be post­ing the PRO*ACT Mar­ket Report in place of our usual Gen­eral Pro­duce version.

To read the full issue of The Source, includ­ing this week’s com­modi­ties update, click here.

For the next few weeks, we will be post­ing the PRO*ACT Mar­ket Report in place of our usual Gen­eral Pro­duce version.

To read the full issue of The Source, includ­ing this week’s com­modi­ties update, click here.

For the next few weeks, we will be post­ing the PRO*ACT Mar­ket Report in place of our usual Gen­eral Pro­duce version.

To read the full issue of The Source, includ­ing this week’s com­modi­ties update, click here.

For the next few weeks, we will be post­ing the PRO*ACT Mar­ket Report in place of our usual Gen­eral Pro­duce version.

To read the full issue of The Source, includ­ing this week’s com­modi­ties update, click here.

For the next few weeks, we will be post­ing the PRO*ACT Mar­ket Report in place of our usual Gen­eral Pro­duce version.

To read the full issue of The Source, includ­ing this week’s com­modi­ties update, click here.

For the next few weeks, we will be post­ing the PRO*ACT Mar­ket Report in place of our usual Gen­eral Pro­duce version.

To read the full issue of The Source, includ­ing this week’s com­modi­ties update, click here.

The stone soup fable has many iter­a­tions. They all involve a trav­eler com­ing into a town beset by famine.

The inhab­i­tants of the town try to dis­cour­age the trav­eler from stay­ing, fear­ing he wants them to give him food.

They tell him in no uncer­tain terms that there’s no food any­where to be found. The trav­eler explains that he doesn’t need any food and that, in fact, he was plan­ning to make a soup to share with all of them.

The vil­lagers watch sus­pi­ciously as he builds a fire and fills a caul­dron with water. With great cer­e­mony, he pulls a stone from a silken bag, drop­ping the ordi­nary stone into the pot of boil­ing water. He sniffs the brew extrav­a­gantly and takes a small taste.

With great exu­ber­ance, he exclaims how deli­cious stone soup is. The vil­lagers gather around with great inter­est. The trav­eler says rather loudly, “I do like a tasty stone soup. Of course, stone soup with cab­bage — that’s hard to beat.”

Read more: Stone Soup →

As 2019 comes to a close, make time for some per­sonal reflec­tion and self-​care. Renewal is part of let­ting go and embrac­ing the future.

The well wishes and greet­ings for the New Year can already be heard around offices, sales floors, kitchens and pro­duce cool­ers.

Good genes can help you live a long, healthy life, but they are no guar­an­tee that you’ll be an active older adult.

The aver­age Amer­i­can life expectancy has risen to 78.6 years, accord­ing to the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Prevention’s National Cen­ter for Health Sta­tis­tics. Your life span is deter­mined by a com­plex mix of hered­ity, lifestyle and envi­ron­ment. The way you man­age your body, mind and spirit affects how you feel as you age.

It serves to rea­son, and is well doc­u­mented, that one’s atti­tude toward aging can influ­ence future health.

Read more: The Last Bite →

Fes­tiv­i­ties of the sea­son yield to indulging in hol­i­day cheer. Hot and cold bev­er­ages, alco­holic and non, have grown up by using bet­ter ingre­di­ents.

Craft cock­tails dis­tin­guish them­selves by their bold inclu­sions of fresh, well-​balanced ingre­di­ents.

Happy hour has got­ten more cheer­ful by elim­i­nat­ing pre­dictable canned juices and pow­dered mixes.

Try fresh blood oranges, tan­ger­ines, lemons, limes, grape­fruits, and even mel­ons for the body or base of a cock­tail or hol­i­day bev­er­age. With purer fla­vors and col­ors, there are no addi­tional addi­tives and preser­v­a­tives to weigh down or mask the drinks. Antiox­i­dants and polyphe­nols from most fresh fruits are just an added bonus.

Small batched drinks using house-​made syrups and infu­sions are keep­ing it real. Shaken or stirred, even the ice mat­ters more these days. Pre­ferred are the large, clean cubes that don’t rapidly melt and dilute the drink.
From mulled wines to sparkling drinks, unpack a lineup of good sips through fresh, sea­sonal and bold fla­vors. Fresh herbs add excite­ment and awaken the senses. Mint, rose­mary and thyme, whole or mud­dle, impart a unique taste pro­file. Pome­gran­ate juice and arils come to mind.

Read more: Hol­i­day Cheer →

‘Tis the sea­son for serv­ing up spe­cial treats for every hol­i­day fes­tiv­ity. Snacks, drinks and baked goods have per­mis­sion to go a lit­tle hol­i­day crazy.

Ordi­nary bev­er­ages and plain Jane snack foods get a waver on being one hun­dred per­cent healthy this time of year.

The addi­tion of alco­hol, sugar and but­ter adds up over the extended hol­i­day period. From din­ner par­ties and open houses to office potlucks and neigh­bor­hood gath­er­ings, con­sump­tion of those off limit ingre­di­ents is off the charts.

Good news then that pro­duce offer­ings give us a chance to include some fla­vor boost­ers that are rel­a­tively harm­less. If not for calo­ries alone, their wel­comed pos­i­tive affects seem to present “magic pow­ers”.

The peels of cit­rus fruits such as oranges, man­darins, tan­ger­ines, lemons and grape­fruit con­tain potently scented nat­ural oils that release into the air when the peel is bro­ken. Their scent has been proven to be a pow­er­ful mood booster.

Read more: Sugar & Spice →