Produce Connection Blog

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By Doug Ohlemeier of The Packer:

MIAMI — Foodservice and retail sales of fresh produce in The Sunshine State remain brisk.

Demand from restaurants and institutional foodservice customers including schools and military as well as supermarkets and other customers keeps produce moving in Florida, wholesalers report.

In Orlando, the area’s many restaurants, hotels and theme parks make for consistent distribution.

Ernie Harvill, president of the Orlando-based Harvill’s Produce Co., said business is solid.

“Disney seems to be doing well and everyone here seems to be holding its own, which is good,” he said. “This area has quite a bit of foreign tourists and the snowbirds are doing well this season. With the Northeast catching a lot of bad weather, that’s sending more people down here.”

For the Tampa Bay region, sales remain steady, said James Killebrew, vice president of the Tampa-based Baird Produce Inc.

“Normally, this is the season for foodservice sales,” he said in mid-February. “However, they’re not quite as active as what they were hoping for the year. They were expecting to see even more of an increase, but I don’t think it’s been quite as much as they were expecting. Still, it’s better than it was and has only been increasing over the last few years.”

In the Miami area, the many restaurants and clubs on the famous South Beach, as well as resorts and casinos and other foodservice venues, keep produce orders moving, said Bruce Fishbein, a partner with The Produce Connection Inc., Miami.

“The restaurants in this area are doing very well,” he said. “The beach, especially on weekends, is very busy. Business is better than it’s been the last couple of years.”

The Produce Connection also services schools and military installations and the company was recently awarded a four-year contract renewal from the Department of Defense as a prime vendor to serve the region’s many military operations, Fishbein said.

Original post: http://www.thepacker.com/know-your-market/florida-know-your-market/florida-foodservice-retail-demand-steady

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Vegetables

Asparagus

Broccoli

Cabbage

Cauliflower

Carrots

Celery

Corn

Cucumber

Eggplant

Garlic

Ginger

Iceberg

Romaine

Onions

Peppers Green

Peppers Red & Yellow

Potatoes

Squash

Zucchini

Asparagus

Broccoli

Cabbage

Cauliflower

Carrots

Celery

Corn

Cucumber

Eggplant

Garlic

Ginger

Iceberg

Romaine

Onions

Peppers Green

Peppers Red & Yellow

Potatoes

Squash

Zucchini

Fruits

Avocado

Blueberries

Blackberries

Raspberries

Strawberries

Apples

Cantaloupe

Honeydew

Grapefruit

Grapes

Kiwi

Lemons

Limes

Oranges

Pears

Pineapple

Globe Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

Grape Tomatoes

Watermelon

Avocado

Blueberries

Blackberries

Raspberries

Strawberries

Apples

Cantaloupe

Honeydew

Grapefruit

Grapes

Kiwi

Lemons

Limes

Oranges

Pears

Pineapple

Globe Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

Grape Tomatoes

Watermelon

Microbial bath rinse

Microbial bath rinse

Here at The Produce Connection, Inc. our goal is simple, supply the customer with the best produce there is.  That’s why we worked with ACF certified chefs and combined our 35 years of produce knowledge and expertise to bring to you, A Cut Above.  A Cut Above is our brand new $250,000 in-house state of the art cleaning, cutting, and packaging room.  Separated from the 42,000 square foot warehouse, we have designed a superior work environment in which safety and cleanliness are of top priority.  The high-tech surfaces along our washable walls, floors, and ceiling coupled with the edge-less room construction allows for an incredibly sterile environment.  Armed with all new stainless steel sinks, refrigeration units, and cutting tools we are ready to fulfill all of your culinary needs.

We closely work with your chefs in order to bring you the exact cuts you’ll need. Some classic cuts our customers seem to really enjoy are; our coleslaw mix, red bliss 1/4 cuts, cut kale and lettuces, chunky cut potatoes, diced and macedoine cuts, and julienne cuts.  We take pride in assuring that our choice produce reaches your kitchen in five-star quality.  That’s why we hand rinse all of our produce in microbial baths and use laser perforated bags,which regulates ethylene gas, with industrial vacuum sealing.  Here at The Produce Connection, “We are big enough to get you the right prices, but small enough to care about your needs.”

No task is too great for our ACF certified chefs!

 

Get in contact with A Cut Above today:

2200 NW 23rd Street.   Miami.   FL   33142
Phone: (305) 633-0011
Fax:(305) 633-4440
International: 1(800) 293-2221
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Vegetables

Asparagus

Broccoli

Cabbage

Cauliflower

Carrots

Celery

Corn

Cucumber

Eggplant

Garlic

Ginger

Iceberg

Romaine

Onions

Peppers Green

Peppers Red & Yellow

Potatoes

Squash

Zucchini

Asparagus

Broccoli

Cabbage

Cauliflower

Carrots

Celery

Corn

Cucumber

Eggplant

Garlic

Ginger

Iceberg

Romaine

Onions

Peppers Green

Peppers Red & Yellow

Potatoes

Squash

Zucchini

Fruits

Avocado

Blueberries

Blackberries

Raspberries

Strawberries

Apples

Cantaloupe

Honeydew

Grapefruit

Grapes

Kiwi

Lemons

Limes

Oranges

Pears

Pineapple

Globe Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

Grape Tomatoes

Watermelon

Avocado

Blueberries

Blackberries

Raspberries

Strawberries

Apples

Cantaloupe

Honeydew

Grapefruit

Grapes

Kiwi

Lemons

Limes

Oranges

Pears

Pineapple

Globe Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

Grape Tomatoes

Watermelon

Once again the event of the year is fast coming upon us and this year is no exception.

The annual event is one of the longest running and most successful celebrity/amateur charity golf tournaments in the South Florida community. Hosted by former Miami Dolphin quarterback, Don Strock, participants begin their day with a lunch and a shotgun tee off at noon. After completing the course, golfers enjoy a cocktail party and awards dinner including live and silent auction. Sponsorships and donations welcome.

For more information please contact:
Nicole Otto
Diabetes Research Institute Foundation
954-964-4040, ext. 110
notto@drif.org

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Vegetables

Asparagus

Broccoli

Cabbage

Cauliflower

Carrots

Celery

Corn

Cucumber

Eggplant

Garlic

Ginger

Iceberg

Romaine

Onions

Peppers Green

Peppers Red & Yellow

Potatoes

Squash

Zucchini

Asparagus

Broccoli

Cabbage

Cauliflower

Carrots

Celery

Corn

Cucumber

Eggplant

Garlic

Ginger

Iceberg

Romaine

Onions

Peppers Green

Peppers Red & Yellow

Potatoes

Squash

Zucchini

Fruits

Avocado

Blueberries

Blackberries

Raspberries

Strawberries

Apples

Cantaloupe

Honeydew

Grapefruit

Grapes

Kiwi

Lemons

Limes

Oranges

Pears

Pineapple

Globe Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

Grape Tomatoes

Watermelon

Avocado

Blueberries

Blackberries

Raspberries

Strawberries

Apples

Cantaloupe

Honeydew

Grapefruit

Grapes

Kiwi

Lemons

Limes

Oranges

Pears

Pineapple

Globe Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

Grape Tomatoes

Watermelon

I love kitchen knives, and enjoy going into lengthy detail when discussing the joys and woes of knives. Most of us take great care of our knives, who wouldn’t they are as much an investment as our homes are when it comes down to it.

The chef’s knife, a blade of at least 10 inches long made from German steel and usually of  wood for the handle is THE staple for the chef. Honed to incredible sharpness it is a treasured item for every chef bag out there.

When I was a culinary arts educator the students took painfully long hours to sharpen this instrument to surgeon sharpness before making those julienne or the perfect dice for that Minestrone soup. It could be regarded at best an extension of the hand for chefs.

Using this introduction I would like to make the next couple of posts a pivotal point of discussion. Do you like the Oriental cleaver, a serrated knife, a ceramic, or perhaps these products of major importance you really just don’t put too much priority on.?

Let me know.

As this Blog develops we will bring into the stream more blades for discussion.

 

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Vegetables

Asparagus

Broccoli

Cabbage

Cauliflower

Carrots

Celery

Corn

Cucumber

Eggplant

Garlic

Ginger

Iceberg

Romaine

Onions

Peppers Green

Peppers Red & Yellow

Potatoes

Squash

Zucchini

Asparagus

Broccoli

Cabbage

Cauliflower

Carrots

Celery

Corn

Cucumber

Eggplant

Garlic

Ginger

Iceberg

Romaine

Onions

Peppers Green

Peppers Red & Yellow

Potatoes

Squash

Zucchini

Fruits

Avocado

Blueberries

Blackberries

Raspberries

Strawberries

Apples

Cantaloupe

Honeydew

Grapefruit

Grapes

Kiwi

Lemons

Limes

Oranges

Pears

Pineapple

Globe Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

Grape Tomatoes

Watermelon

Avocado

Blueberries

Blackberries

Raspberries

Strawberries

Apples

Cantaloupe

Honeydew

Grapefruit

Grapes

Kiwi

Lemons

Limes

Oranges

Pears

Pineapple

Globe Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

Grape Tomatoes

Watermelon

So out you go you Florida strawberries it was a great season. Here come those Californian berries from Oxnard area, the main growing area. A few growers have started in a light way out of the Watsonville and Salinas areas. Best quality though is from Oxnard region still at this time. Blueberries are still strong in Florida and Mexico while Chile is coming to a close.

Tomatoes ~ Good weather conditions in Mexico have bought increased production with prices beginning to see a decline. Prices will soon begin to reach a minimum established floor levels for all tomato sizes due to the newly formed tomato Suspension Agreement between the USA and mexico. Also cooler weather this month caused crops to yield smaller fruit but quality remains very good.

Potatoes ~ Idaho potatoes are mostly steady on both Norkotahs and Burbanks. Idaho continues to peak on 70 counts and larger in both varieties. The Washington market is steady and continue to peak on the larger kind. Colorado is steady on 70 count and larger. Russet quality has been good to excellent in all areas.

Lettuce ~ head lettuce market is coming off compared to the previous week. There continues to be complaints of mechanical damage, pink ribbing and epidermal peel. Shippers are beginning to move production to Huron and Salina. Romaine and Romaine hearts are more readily available with a softer market.

Onions ~ Yellow onions are steady in all areas along with that demand. Idaho, Oregon Wshington packers are still bullish. Reds are steady in all areas.

Grapes ~ late season flame and new crop crimson seedless from Chile are still available. Flames prices are at a substantial discount reflecting a significant difference in quality. New crop grapes from Mexico and Cochelle valley of California will be ready for harvest in May 2013.

Citrus ~ The desert crop volume is finished for the season. The Ventura and the Central region are now in full production. Volume is good on 140’s and 115’s. navel crop volume is good along with great quality and flavor. Fruit is peaking heavy to the fancy grade and on 88’s, 113’s and 56’s.

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Vegetables

Asparagus

Broccoli

Cabbage

Cauliflower

Carrots

Celery

Corn

Cucumber

Eggplant

Garlic

Ginger

Iceberg

Romaine

Onions

Peppers Green

Peppers Red & Yellow

Potatoes

Squash

Zucchini

Asparagus

Broccoli

Cabbage

Cauliflower

Carrots

Celery

Corn

Cucumber

Eggplant

Garlic

Ginger

Iceberg

Romaine

Onions

Peppers Green

Peppers Red & Yellow

Potatoes

Squash

Zucchini

Fruits

Avocado

Blueberries

Blackberries

Raspberries

Strawberries

Apples

Cantaloupe

Honeydew

Grapefruit

Grapes

Kiwi

Lemons

Limes

Oranges

Pears

Pineapple

Globe Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

Grape Tomatoes

Watermelon

Avocado

Blueberries

Blackberries

Raspberries

Strawberries

Apples

Cantaloupe

Honeydew

Grapefruit

Grapes

Kiwi

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Limes

Oranges

Pears

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Globe Tomatoes

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McDonals'sRestaurants are reeling from their worst three months since 2010, as American diners spooked by higher payroll taxes cut back on eating out. 

Sales at casual-dining establishments fell 5.4 percent last month, after declining 0.6 percent in January and 1.6 percent in December, according to the Knapp-Track Index of monthly restaurant sales. This was the first three months of consecutive declines in almost three years, with consumers caught in a “very emotional moment”. February was pretty ugly” for many chains — and probably will be the worst month of the year — after January delivered an “initial blow” while Americans grappled with increased payroll taxes and health care premiums, rising gasoline prices and budget debates in Washington.

It’s important to keep in mind that companies also are facing unusually tough comparable sales because of favorable weather in 2012, so the result is an industry that’s been a lot softer so far this year.

Even as consumers open their wallets for bigger-ticket purchases including cars and furniture, weakness has surfaced at full-service chains such as Darden RestaurantsOlive Garden and Red Lobster, as well as limited-service chains including McDonald’s.

U.S. paychecks have shrunk this year after Congress and President Barack Obama let the tax that funds Social Security benefits revert to 6.2 percent from 4.2 percent.

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Corn

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Peppers Green

Peppers Red & Yellow

Potatoes

Squash

Zucchini

Asparagus

Broccoli

Cabbage

Cauliflower

Carrots

Celery

Corn

Cucumber

Eggplant

Garlic

Ginger

Iceberg

Romaine

Onions

Peppers Green

Peppers Red & Yellow

Potatoes

Squash

Zucchini

Fruits

Avocado

Blueberries

Blackberries

Raspberries

Strawberries

Apples

Cantaloupe

Honeydew

Grapefruit

Grapes

Kiwi

Lemons

Limes

Oranges

Pears

Pineapple

Globe Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

Grape Tomatoes

Watermelon

Avocado

Blueberries

Blackberries

Raspberries

Strawberries

Apples

Cantaloupe

Honeydew

Grapefruit

Grapes

Kiwi

Lemons

Limes

Oranges

Pears

Pineapple

Globe Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

Grape Tomatoes

Watermelon

Farm to SchoolA cookie or an apple? French fries or sweet potato wedges? Healthy eating choices may get easier for children in New Jersey, Hawaii and California this summer.

Pending funding from AmeriCorps, FoodCorps hopes to add those three states to the 12 states where the group currently operates, giving it up to 130 service members in 15 states next school year. FoodCorps is a national nonprofit organization that is part of the AmeriCorps service network. It seeks to reduce the country’s childhood obesity epidemic by placing motivated leaders in limited-resource communities for a year of public service.

Once in place, service members connect kids to healthy food through education, by building and tending school gardens and by bringing nutritious food from local farms into school cafeterias. Service members are currently carrying out that mission in Arizona, Arkansas, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New Mexico, North Carolina and Oregon. “We’d like to be in all 50 states by 2020, but growth is very much contingent upon being able to find funding and the right partners in each state,” said Jerusha Klemperer, FoodCorps communications director.

“Think of FoodCorps as a Peace Corps for food,” said Debra Eschmeyer , a dairy farmer’s daughter who co-founded FoodCorps in the fall of 2010. She serves as its director of Partnerships and Policy, and she won a James Beard Foundation Leadership Award in October 2011 for her work in several areas of school food reform, including her work with FoodCorps.

The efforts of FoodCorps and other groups to reverse the country’s childhood obesity epidemic by changing the dietary landscape for thousands of schoolchildren is part of a broad national movement called Farm to School or F2S. Those efforts are coming at a critical time.

America has an alarming number of children who are either obese and overweight or hungry — and at the same time, Eschmeyer told a Georgia Organics statewide summit in Atlanta last month. “FoodCorps addresses the root cause of both,” she said, “which is access to healthy food.”

A 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that about 17 percent, or 12.5 million children and adolescents aged 2-19 in the United States are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since 1980, obesity among children and adolescents has almost tripled, according to the survey.

There are significant racial and ethnic disparities in obesity among U.S. children and adolescents, the survey found. In 2007-2008, Hispanic boys, aged 2 to 19, were significantly more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic white boys, and non-Hispanic black girls were significantly more likely to be obese than non-Hispanic white girls.

The Farm to School movement is not directed by any single nonprofit organization or top-down government agency. Rather, Farm to School is a grassroots movement led by groups such as FoodCorps, state and federal agencies and individuals such as parents, educators and members of local gardening groups in communities across the country. Active in all 50 states, Farm to School programs seek to bring regionally produced foods into K-12 school cafeterias, involve children in hands-on learning through participation in school gardens, farm visits and culinary classes, integrate food-related education into the regular, standards-based classroom curriculum and support local and regional farmers.

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