Randy Hooper - September 28, 2012
Category: Produce Update

Honeycrisp is the next mid-season apple to run over the lines this week and arrive tomorrow. Other than Fuji, our import program is over, and local Fujis are still a month away. Local pears, plums, peaches and grapes are the shining light – with a few treats, including the very first D’Anjous of the season, in fact a great variety of the first picks from Brooks Grove, and Venus grapes – another Concord variety. A very short season for a few things – Bartlett will be finished soon, and Sunrise apples are disappearing quickly. So many of you are hoarding Bartletts we have had to shop in Washington already for later in the week. Blueberries from eastern Washington are also enjoying this late summer, with supply expected for at least another 10 days – even a few local left as well. The mango deal is about to enter it’s 2 month gap, with just enough California to get us through the week. We just looked at a massive Peruvian crop on the trees earlier this week, with earlier than normal ship dates. Loads of beautiful melons – personal watermelons, cantaloupe and more – let’s keep this category rocking while the weather holds, and promote local! Plums are flying, and with so many varieties we’ve dropped prices hoping for some big displays. Citrus is an ugly category, with high prices on limes, virtually no grapefruit in the market, and Valencia winding down. Crappy weather has delayed our Mexican grapefruit program. .

+Continue reading Honeycrisp apples just arrived!+
Randy Hooper - September 26, 2012
Category: Produce Update

Here’s your Wednesday update, starting in the far south (Peru) where we’ve just visited all our banana and mango coops. Banana supply is dismal – a combination of high demand for Peruvian fruit, production down as much as 60%, and buyers offering higher money. Our supply will be a little tight over the weekend, and then open up, and should be consistent after that as we add fruit from other coops The mango season out of Peru will start earlier than normal – up to 6 weeks earlier than last year, and should be an incredible season. We have some Fair Trade surprises coming your way in a couple of weeks, but we’ll keep it secret until the first of it arrives!. It was great to see how money we donated in April has now created so many new social projects, especially geared to education. On the fruit side, the selection of local apples will continue to expand as more varieties come off. This late burst of summer like weather has helped size up the crop. Unfortunately the local supply of some other fruit is either ending, or was decimated. The B.C. Bartlett crop is almost done already. If you know anyone out there who wants to start a company making canned pears, this is the time, and if you have customers who like canning – please ask – growers will get very little to the juice market. Brooks D’Anjou missed the hail up north of Kamloops, with good supply starting in 10 days.The selection of plums and peaches will change considerably, with the latest varieties of both now being harvested. ON the high side, there is an abundance of all three locally grown grapes, and being local, we think these are the best. Once our stone-fruit season ends, there isn’t anything out there for many months. Continued sun is bringing on lots of late production of tomatoes, eggplant and coloured peppers – just keeping our fingers crossed that frost comes late to the Interior! Cliffe Farm Celery is coming on strong - dark green, crisp, and full celery flavour.

+Continue reading Delicata? Don't mind if I do!+
Randy Hooper - September 13, 2012
Category: Produce Update

The first Galas are now in. Volume will be tight. Unlike most other apples, Gala don’t ripen evenly, so each tree needs to be spot-picked 2 or 3 times – so this is just the first shot. Growers are trying to recover their various losses, and with a shortage of fruit, expect prices to be very high for some time. The first Macs are also in – the story is similar, with limited volume and high demand. Lots of GROW bananas to be had for the next couple of days. Our next BOS container, which ‘missed the boat’ arrives today, so we should have good supply by the weekend. Our Fair Trade Kiwi program from San Roque in Chile is just about finished. Sales on these were excellent this year – thank you! A plethora of local melons are arriving simultaneously with great weather. It’s so nice when we nail that – it isn’t often the case. Holy peach, Batman! What an incredible crop this year – and strong movement, reasonable prices and fast turns are keeping your customers happy. Early plums are winding down, with not only a good selection of later varieties, but all the specialties that Sproule’s planted that should go for another 3 weeks or so. It’s pomegranate season, and sales in this category continue to climb every year, maybe thanks to POM and others promoting the health benefits! We’re even offering a 5# box for the first time. All this great late weather is keeping us in great shape on a wide variety of “stuff”. Biodynamic green and yellow beans are excellent! Finally, beet prices are coming off after months of tight supply, as local growers start to bulk up. Destin Lydiatt’s Destiny Lane carrots are on the list – so welcome back! Joe Siri’s beautiful cauliflower now available. Joe has always done a sensational job on his fall cauli program. Now, you know we’ve been working with Darrel and Audrey Cliffe up in Armstrong for a long time.

+Continue reading Marvelous Macs and Gorgeous Galas!+
Stefan Misse - September 10, 2012

Canada’s National Organic Week is the largest annual celebration of organic food, farming and products across the country. Hundreds of individual events showcase the benefits of organic agriculture and its positive impact on the environment. Organic represents a vibrant alternative food system and an alternative option for clothing, personal care and cleaning products.

We have so much to celebrate in Canada:

A growing sector. Organic farming is a rare success story for Canadian agriculture with lots of new farmers, fair prices and growing markets in Canada and abroad.
A transparent food source. Organic foods are the most regulated in Canada, offering Canadians a healthy source of food that isn’t just good for our health, but also good for the health of our environment.
A source of food that is sustainable in the future. Organic farmers work with nature, not against it to produce food that doesn’t degrade soil quality, ensuring future generations will have access to the rich farmland that exists in Canada.

Last year, events included anything from pickling workshops to recipes contests, farm tours, or organic food and drink tastings in retail locations across the country. If you want to get involved in organic week this year check out

+Continue reading Canada Organic Week Sept. 22 - 29+
Randy Hooper - September 5, 2012
Category: Produce Update

A few short notes: Local blues are all but done, so we’ll be buying from Eastern Washington for a couple of weeks, where they don’t have the normal problems here of heavy dew and warm days making the fruit soft – good thing there’s a good market for frozen fruit! The new great thing this week will be the first harvest of Neil Sproule’s Coronation grapes. With increasing production at several farms, and a long season, this is definitely something to make good shelf space for. These are the grapes that have traditionally been used for grape juice – because of the flavour and natural sugars. Coronations are a cousin of the original Concorde that has a great big seed in the middle.
A great weather forecast – even long range ones look like they’re just perfect for what we hope is a great melon season – both for growing, and for sales. Plum selection continues to increase – we’re into the thick of it now. And local pear volumes are increasing. Of course, we are discounting California fruit as we make this transition. Ralph’s Greenhouse bunched carrots have been our mainstay through the summer, and continue to sell well, based entirely on quality and presentation. With a warm spell coming up, supply of all B.C. vegetables will continue strong on most fronts – we’re having to buy very little south of the line right now. If you’ve been doing well with Walla Walla onions, there’s only one stack left – you snooze, you lose. The tomato flood is starting with every grower coming out of the woodwork with good volumes, great flavour and high quality. This is the time to promote local tomatoes – aren’t they better? These aren’t picked white, but higher colour which equals better eating. Fabulous selection of potatoes, don’t ya think? More standard B.C. varieties will roll in, with the balance now mostly Washington. The specialty fingerlings (which are all USA grown) have been a total hit this year.

+Continue reading September harvests begin+
Randy Hooper - August 24, 2012
Category: Produce Update

This is pretty weird, bringing you hail updates all the time, but your customers may want to know why apples are going to be so darn expensive this year. The latest storm outbreak on Tuesday missed some producers completely, and damaged apples extensively for others. With a diminished B.C. supply, and a very small crop in the east (Ontario and the U.S.) with a loss of 1.6 billion pounds, many are estimating Washington’s big crop will sell through very early in 2013. Buyers are already firming contracts in S. America, for the spring of 2013, two months before the trees have blossomed! The first Galas out of Washington are packed and on their way. Blueberry supply continues to be excellent, with later varieties now starting harvest. Lemon supply is tightening, with some fruit now coming from Mexico. Melon sales are excellent, with lots of B.C. in the works. We’ll see the first of Cliffe Farms Splendors early next week, with cantaloupe on its tail. We’ve been selling their melons for 11 years, and they never disappoint. There’s a wide plum selection coming on, but volumes will be down this year – wind blew off an average of 20% of the crop. Strawberry quality is excellent, with cool temperatures in Watsonville / Salinas producing great quality fruit. Mary Forstbauer’s rich coloured Green beans are in good supply. Nice to see B.C. Red Torpedo onions on our price list. A traditional Italian salad onion, these will attract some attention – maybe consider subbing these for regular Reds on your shelf for a couple of weeks. To go along with those, how about the best tasting onions of all – Yellow Cipollini – literally ‘little onions’. For roasting, sautéing or grilling, these are definitely WAY better than yellow storage varieties. We haven’t had these on our list for 4 years from B.C. Our local potato selection has ramped up with good supply of German Butter Yellow’s rolling in. Slower growing Yukon and Russets are just starting, with Yukon volume all in nuggets.

+Continue reading The BC grown list keeps on growing+
Randy Hooper - August 22, 2012
Category: Produce Update

As promised, Sunrise apples arrive momentarily. There are some earlier summer varieties still available. Washington starts packing Gala early next week, with B.C. 10 days after that. Still reasonable supply of Jazz, Fuji and Granny available as well. Watch for a waterfall of peaches, and our crop this year will not only be huge, but the fruit will be on the large size as well. As we run out of the last of the southern pears, Washington will also be packing Bartlett in a few days, with B.C. right on their heels. We have HUGE volumes of blues arriving tonight to cover an expected harvest gap before the later varieties colour up, and we have a risk of rain in the Fraser Valley for a couple of days as well. Every year we just shake our heads at how well California Keitt mangos sell. Expensive and flawless, these are actually worth every penny – so don’t be shy! The Baja mango season is already winding down quickly with prices and supply tightening, so the jump to California is on – and the crop size is quite small compared to last year. Melons continue to be a very exciting market, with some local available, and lots of watermelon bins from Jeff Metzler in California available. With local plum supply ramping up, we have the last shipment of California plums at excellent prices. Greens supply is stable. Watch this list grow with cherry tomatoes and other summer specialties out of the Interior over the next couple of weeks as the late summer heat turns everything on quickly. Hail hit the Similkameen again last night – this is the most brutal summer ever in these prime growing areas, and hail in August is even more unusual – but damage to ground crops is light and sporadic. This HAS to end soon. The first Washington onions of the year are arriving from Andersen – we will be back into a reasonable price range very quickly. Eastern Washington is the largest onion producing area in the West, and supply will now be strong for 10 months.

+Continue reading Sunrise!+
Randy Hooper - August 8, 2012
Category: Produce Update

The next apples in the local lineup will be Sunrise and Early Golds.  We expected some of the Early Gold this week but there was a rain delay in harvest, and with heavy rain in the forecast today and tomorrow, it’s unlikely we’ll see them until the weekend.  We’re seeing some better late season cots that were smaller and greener when hail hit.  Outrageous weather continues to keep everyone on their toes, with major storms north of Vernon ravaging some ground crops over the last couple of days.  Great supply of large, high quality Skeena and Lapin cherries from Sproule’sFile 1612 File 1611– they have still managed to miss most of the storms and are harvesting on schedule.  Blueberries in good supply, with thunderstorms over the Fraser Valley last night not producing much rain.  Mango sales are brisk as we transition to Baja Sud where we always find vibrant colour, high sugar, and no need for hot water treatment.  A continuing supply of JW strawberries at our regular seasonal contract pricing.

+Continue reading BC ground crop harvests steadily increasing+
Randy Hooper - August 1, 2012
Category: Produce Update

Despite all the gloom and doom predictions and reports that flowed in last week, many producers are reporting much less damage to late variety cherries which weren’t developed enough to have much splitting. We will continue to have a good supply of quality cherries for several weeks. Hail damage has reduced apricot volumes – but, like cherries, some orchards got hit, others didn’t. Good supply of summer apple varieties now starting, and the arrival of some very expensive California Galas is imminent. All other main varieties will continue to be south hemisphere fruit for another few weeks. Blueberry supply is excellent, with huge volumes in last night. Growers are just ending earlier varieties, with mid-season harvest starting in a few days. The grape deal continues to be better than normal, with excellent quality coming out of all regions. A beautiful thing awaits you – the first of the Baja California mangos! Baja mangos don’t need to be hot-water dipped being free of Med fruit flies – this is the last area to come on, and cooler nights on the peninsula mean the sweetest fruit you can imagine. A virtual flood of cantaloupes in the market at great pricing, and a new flush of mini watermelons and bins arriving as summer seems to be slowly arriving. California nectarines are tight, with early B.C. varieties just starting. Our California peach supply vanished in the last couple of days, with good B.C. volume in house. We have a bit of a roller coaster going on in broccoli land, with no stable pricing. Celery market has tightened very quickly, with Pureveg shutting down their organic ground crop division in the last couple of weeks.
Heavy rains and a lack of any real heat throughout the interior continue to slow ground-crop production. Don’t expect to see a major flip to local tomatoes, cherry toms or peppers for another week at least. Origino continues to pump out solid volumes on slicer and vine tomatoes, cukes and beautiful red peppers.

+Continue reading We have the BC blues!+
Randy Hooper - July 25, 2012
Category: Produce Update

The bizarre summer of 2012 continues, with a continuing onslaught of rain and thunderstorms damaging crops across the entire Interior.  Last weekends storms did substantial damage, especially in the Creston region, with growers reporting large losses to cherry crops.  Too much of the early cherry crop has gone to juice.  More storms are predicted for today and Thursday.  All other fruit – apricots, peaches, nectarines and apples have all been impacted by hail over what is now a 3 week period of periodic thunderstorm outbreaks.  With great luck, Sproule’s orchards much farther north in Oyama have been spared, and we have a fabulous supply of Rainier cherries that just arrived.The gloomy, rainy days in the Fraser Valley have also held back green crops, zucchini, cukes – even hothouse production, forcing us to go further south to try to stay in stock.  For us weather nerds, we find ourselves comparing current weather against “normal.”  We’re quickly realizing that there is no normal anymore, and we’re going to have to roll with the punches as the climate changes quickly.  Our Peruvian avo deal winds down slowly, and our first Mexican Fair Trade fruit won’t be here for 3 weeks, so we’re filling in with California.  Blueberries took a beating this week with 3 days of rain, but the sun is out, with good weather in the forecast for a few days. An expected pick of early Transparent apples has been hailed out.  Good news in potato land as we transition out of California, and northbound to Washington and Pemberton.  Bruce Miller’s White Cascades are out of the ground!  These are beautiful spuds – you’ll also like to know that a good chunk of these stay in Pemberton, where they’re converted to the next best thing – Schramm’s Organic B.C. Vodka.

+Continue reading BC Rainier Cherries from Sproule Farm are in!+