Become a Market Insider     
  • Produce Facts: Kohlrabi

    Apr 20, 2016

    Trivia to Impress Your Friends

    KohlrabiKohlrabi is a vegetable which is part of the mustard family. Also called cabbage turnip, kohlrabi is not a root vegetable, but rather a fleshy bulbous stem just above the ground.

    The two varieties of kohlrabi - green and purple - should both have medium-sized firm roots and greens which are crisp and firm.

    They can be eaten raw, included in salads, steamed, stir fried, braised or stuffed.

    Their taste and texture is similar to those of cabbage heart or broccoli stems, but they are milder and sweeter. The younger stems have crispy, pleasant taste, and rich flavor. The cooked leaves have a collard like flavor.

    Kohlrabi is high in fiber, is an excellent source of vitamin C, and a good source of potassium. It contains about 40 calories per cup.

    Kohlrabi is of European origin and is popular in Germany, Russia, Hungary and China.
     

    Important Facts

    Here's what you need to know:

    • Kohlrabi should be kept at 32-34° F.
    • Avoid product with blemishes on the roots, leaves that have dark patches of slime, or leaves that are wilted or yellowing.
    • The coloring should be light for the green variety and deep for the purple variety.
    • Leaves can be eaten raw in salads or steamed, and the bulbs can be cooked like turnips.
  • What's the Hottest Chili Pepper?

    Apr 13, 2016

    Trivia to Impress Your Friends

    chili pepperChili peppers originated in Mexico, where chili seeds dating back 9000 years were found. The first European to “discover” chili peppers was Christopher Columbus, and it was the Portuguese who introduced chilis through their trading activities to Africa, India, and much of Asia.

    It is said that when Columbus found the small hot pods, he named them pimientos, the Spanish word for pepper.

    Capsaicin, the hot substance in chili peppers, is not water soluble but is soluble in fat and alcohol. So if your mouth burns after eating a hot pepper, don’t drink water to cool it - instead drink milk because certain protein compounds in milk literally work like detergent to strip the capsaicin from its receptor binding sites. Beer, ice cream or guacamole will also help put out the fire.

    The seeds are not the hottest part of peppers. The highest concentration of capsaicin is found at the point where the seed is attached to the white membrane inside the pepper.

    The heat produced by spices or foods is measured in Scoville Heat Units (SHU). Jalapenos have an average range of 5,000 to 7,000 (SHU) while Habanero peppers generally average 200,000 to 300,000 (SHU). The world’s hottest pepper, the Carolina Reaper, averages 1,569,300 SHU. The hottest Carolina Reaper came it at 2.2 million SHU!
     

    Important Facts

    Here's what you need to know:
    • Chili peppers should be kept at 40-45° F.
    • Good-quality Jalapeno peppers should be firm, smooth-skinned and have solid green coloring. Dry, brownish lines are not a blemish. They are signs of a mature pepper and indicate hotness and flavor.
    • Chili peppers are good for you. They are high in vitamins, a good source of beta carotene, calcium, and potassium, and may help reduce cholesterol.
  • Amerifresh Names Richter President

    Apr 04, 2016

    SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (Apr. 4, 2016) -- Amerifresh, a leading national produce marketer for foodservice and retail grocery operations, has named Jim Richter as President and CEO. 

    Richter has more than 32 years of experience in the produce and grocery industries. He was most recently CEO of Wilcox Fresh in Idaho.

    “Jim has proven success in all of the areas we know are important to help drive Amerifresh’s business forward, we are excited to have him join the SGA Family of Companies” said Slade Stewart, Services Group of America Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer. “His ability to provide exceptional customer service, build teams and coach Associates is a great fit with our culture.”

    Stewart said the breadth of Richter’s experience in both broadline foodservice and retail grocery support Amerifresh’s model for consistently providing the highest quality produce to these demanding industries.

    Richter has previous experience with large grocery and retail chains as well as building business with some of the largest broadline foodservice companies in the nation.

    Amerifresh is known for marketing the famous Snoboy® brand and working with growers in the top producing regions of North America, Mexico, Chile and New Zealand to provide a reliable supply of produce regardless of the season. It is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Services Group of America.

  • Purple Potatoes Bring Blast of Antioxidant

    Apr 04, 2016
    purple potatoes Purple potato is the name given to dozens of heirloom and heritage varieties of purple potatoes. Common names of these varieties include Purple Peruvian (fingerling variety), All Blue, Congo, Lion's Paw, Vitilette, Purple Viking and Purple Majesty.

    Unlike white-fleshed potatoes, purple potatoes are rich in the antioxidant, anthocyanin. This flavonoid is most often found in blue, red, and purple produce such as berries and pomegranates.

    Purple potatoes can be roasted, mashed, braised, boiled, baked, fried for chips, and even confited. Their taste is similar to that of white-fleshed potatoes and they pair well with savory herbs, garlic and salad greens.

    Purple potatoes are a staple in a South American kitchen and many recipes reflect this; purple potatoes have been used in dishes for thousands of years.

     
    Important Facts 

    • Store between 40-50°F
    • Store potatoes in a cool, dry, well ventilated, and dark place to inhibit sprouting.
    • Avoid storing potatoes in the refrigerator as it will affect texture and taste.
    • Avoid potatoes that are soft, wrinkled, have cuts in the skin or are green-tinted.
    • Purple potatoes are cultivated in potato growing regions of South America, North America, and Europe.
       
  • Fiddleheads

    Mar 30, 2016
    fiddlehead fern Fiddlehead ferns appear at a stage in the growth of all ferns - they are the tightly coiled young shoot. If the shoot were left on the plant, it would unfurl into a fern frond.

    Fiddleheads are harvested and eaten as vegetables. Eat fiddleheads right away, freeze them or pickle them. The quicker they are eaten, the more delicate their flavor.

    Cook fiddleheads thoroughly before eating them to prevent food-borne illness. Illness outbreaks have occurred when the ferns were eaten raw or lightly cooked. Boil them for at least 10 minutes.

    Fiddleheads resemble the head of a violin, hence the name. There are several varieties of fiddleheads, but two common ones are the Eastern fiddelhead and the Western fiddlehead.

    The Eastern fiddlehead is the immature form of the Ostrich fern. They are tightly coiled, bright green and sweet flavored. The taste is similar to asparagus, artichokes, and green beans.

    The Western fiddlehead is the immature Wood fern and is more bitter with a dull green color and gelatinous texture.  

     
    Important Facts 

    • Store between 38-45°F and 90-98% humidity.
    • Wrapped tightly, fiddlehead ferns can last for two weeks in refrigerated storage.
    • Look for tightly coiled, bright green, and displaying no brown coloring or yellowing. They should have an elastic tone. 
  • Did New Zealanders Name the Kiwifruit?

    Mar 23, 2016
    New Zealanders are known as Kiwis, so you may think kiwifruit originated there, but it didn't; kiwifruit was originally grown in the Chang Kiang Valley of China, where it was considered a delicacy by the court of the great Khans.

    For many years, the kiwifruit was known as the Chinese Gooseberry. Kiwi was first noticed by western civilization in 1847. Then, in 1906, the vine was introduced to New Zealand, where it flourished in the fertile soil.

    Hayward kiwi (predominant variety) has brown fuzzy skin. Its flesh is emerald green with tiny black seeds and has a mild and sweet flavor. Gold kiwi is smooth skinned. It is golden yellow with black seeds and its flavor is more tropical, milder and sweeter than green kiwi.

    Hardy kiwi, also known as baby kiwi or kiwi berries, is much smaller than Gold kiwifruit. Its size is similar to that of a large grape, with smooth, edible skin.

    All varieties are eaten raw.

     
    Important Facts 

    • Store between 32-36°F and 90-98% humidity.
    • Good-quality kiwifruit will be fairly large, smooth skinned and slightly soft to the touch when ripe.
    • Very firm kiwifruit can be kept in the refrigerator for weeks. When kept at room temperature, it will ripen. Kiwifruit won't keep for nearly as long in the refrigerator after it begins to ripen.
    • Speed ripening by placing kiwi in a sealed plastic bag with a ripe banana at room temperature.
  • Green Peas

    Mar 17, 2016
    Snow peasPeas appear to have been cultivated for nearly 7,000 years. The earliest archaeological finds of peas come from Neolithic Syria, Turkey and Jordan. Peas have been used in the dry form since ancient times, and archaeologists found them in Egyptian tombs.It was not until the 16th century that more tender varieties of this vegetable were developed and eaten fresh. Today only about 5% of all peas grown are sold fresh while the rest are canned or frozen.

    • Pea plants require cool weather and can withstand freezing temperatures for short periods.
    • Snap peas, otherwise known as sugar snap peas are pod fruits and do not have a membrane and do not open when ripe. Sugar snap peas need to have the strings removed before eaten. The string runs around both sides of the pod. It is easiest to start from the bottom tip and pull the string up the front, and then snap the stem off and pull the string down.
    • Snow peas supply less protein and are lower in B vitamins than green shelled peas because they are eaten when their seeds are still immature. However, they provide almost twice the calcium.

     
    Important Facts 

    • Store between 32-36°F and 90-98% humidity.
    • Look for pods that are firm and have glossy pods with a slightly velvety feel.
    • Pods should not be dull, yellowed, or heavily speckled.
    • Smaller pods are the sweetest and the most tender.
    • Sugar snap peas should be bright green, plump, and firm.
  • Cherry Trees Blooming Early

    Mar 09, 2016
    cherries Cherry season is months away, but they're being talked about now because recent warm weather will cause the cherry trees to bloom earlier than normal this year.

    Cherries belong to the stone fruit family along with apricots, peaches, nectarines, plums and loquats.

    Cultivation for many centuries and the origin of our various varieties is often impossible to trace.

    The word cherry comes from the Turkish town of Cerasus.

    Cherry trees have beautiful small white or pink flowers that bloom in the spring. White flowers generally occur on commercial cherry trees while pink flowers bear no fruit and are used as ornamental trees in gardens.

    Cherry trees will begin producing marketable crops after 6 to 8 years and continue producing edible fruit for up to 100 years. Cherries don’t ripen after harvest.

    Cherries are antioxidant-rich and research shows they can reduce pain and inflammation.

    Bakers tip: To really bring out the flavor of cherry, use ¼ teaspoon of pure almond extract.

     
    Important Facts 

    • Store between 32°F and 90-95% humidity.
    • Avoid soft, dull or bruised fruit. Small hard cherries lack flavor and juice.
    • Refrigerate cherries unwashed and stems attached, in a paper bag, loosely-covered container, or a loosely closed plastic bag until you're ready to use them.
    • Select those with plump, glossy skins and green stems. Color depends on the variety. 
  • Kumquats

    Mar 02, 2016
    kumquat

    Kumquats grow in grape-like clusters on very small trees. These tiny golden yellow, round or oval fruits are the smallest of the citrus fruits - ranging in size from about  1-2 inches in diameter.

    The kumquat’s thin skin is sweet and edible, but the somewhat dry flesh is sour, with small edible seeds. The flavor is similar to an orange with a hint of tangerine. Their appeal stems from the contrast between the tart flesh and sweet rind, so they are normally eaten whole.

    There are also hybrids produced with limes, oranges and other citrus fruit, known by names such as limequat, orangequat, citrangequat, etc.

    The earliest historical reference to kumquats appears in Chinese literature from the 12th century. Today they are cultivated in China and Japan and throughout the subtropical citrus belt, including California, where kumquats arrived in the late 1800s. The nation's top production area is in Northern San Diego County.

    The local season for kumquats starts in October at the earliest and runs through June at the latest. Their flavor is best during spring.

     
    Important Facts 

    • Store between 45°-50°F and 85-95% humidity.
    • Kumquats are susceptible to chill injury if stored at low temperatures. To prevent chill injury, do not store below 41°F.
    • Kumquats should be firm and well-colored.
    • Avoid fruit that is soft or shriveled.
  • Microgreens Pack a Nutritional Punch

    Feb 26, 2016
    Microgreens

    Microgreens are a tiny form of young edible greens produced from vegetable, herb or other seedlings. They range in size from 1″ to 1 ½” long, including the stem and leaves and are ready to eat within two weeks of planting.

    Microgreens have been produced in the US since the mid 1990s beginning in Southern California. Initially, there were very few varieties offered. The basic varieties are Arugula, Basil, Beets, Kale, Cilantro and a mixture called Rainbow Mix.

    The seeds used to grow microgreens are the same seeds that are used for full sized herbs, vegetables and greens. They are simply seedlings that are harvested before they develop into larger plants.

    Microgreens are not the same as sprouts. Seeds for microgreens are planted and grown in soil or a soil substitute such as peat moss or other fibrous materials. Sprouts are germinated in water.

    Microgreens have higher concentrations of nutrients than the full-grown versions of the plants. 
     
    Important Facts 

    • Store between 40°-36°F and 90-98% humidity.
    • Keep microgreens away from drafts.
    • Store away from ethylene-producing fruits.
  • Produce Facts: Grapefruit

    Feb 18, 2016
    grapefruitThe grapefruit is a subtropical citrus fruit, believed to have originated in the West Indies, and it is a cross between the pomelo and the sweet orange.

    It's thought that grapefruit got their name because they grow in clusters and look like a big bunch of yellow grapes.

    Grapefruit are usually sold by color and variety. Pigmented varieties with a red blush are becoming increasingly popular because they are often sweeter than the yellow varieties (Marsh, Ruby and Thompson.)

    Grapefruit are high in Vitamin C and contain pectin, which can reduce levels of LDL or "bad" cholesterol.

    Pink grapefruit are one of the few good sources of lycopene (tomatoes and watermelon are the other major sources). Lycopene is part of the carotenoid family and it's being investigated for some health benefits in adults.

    Important Facts

    • Grapefruit should be stored at 50-55°F and 85-90% humidity.
    • Grapefruit can suffer chill damage if stored below 40°F.
    • Select fruit that is glossy and has golden skin.
    • Grapefruit should feel heavy for their size.
  • Produce Facts: Oranges

    Feb 11, 2016
    orangesOranges are probably the best known citrus fruits and are related to mandarins, lemons, grapefruit, limes and citrons. They are a hybrid between pomelo and mandarin.

    Oranges are classified into two general categories; sweet and bitter. Popular sweet varieties include Valencia, Navel, Persian, and blood orange.

    Valencias are best for juicing. Their skin is orange but may stay green in warmer climates. This does not affect taste.

    Navels have a navel-like structure at one end of the fruit. Their thin skin is easily peeled and the fruit segments are easy to break apart. Navels are seedless and very juicy.
     
    All oranges are an excellent source of vitamin C but also contain vitamin A and B-complex vitamins.

    Arizona, where Amerifresh headquarters is located, is one of only four citrus-producing states in the nation. Texas, Florida, and southern California are the others. 


    Important Facts

    • Store from 45-50° F.
    • Select oranges that are firm, well-colored and feel heavy for their size.
    • Avoid any overtly soft fruits with spots and mold as they tend to perish early.
    • Watch for russeting, the browning of the peel.
  • Produce Facts: Leeks

    Feb 05, 2016
    leeks fresh produceThe leek is a vegetable with a mild onion flavor, and the edible part of the plant is the stalk.

    Leeks grow deeper in the soil than onions, and their roots are more active and matted at the time of harvest than the onion. Leeks are harvested 5-6 months after planting by pulling them whole from the ground.

    Like their cousins the onions, leeks have some sulphur compounds that scientists believe reduce your risk of some health problems.

    When sliced or chopped, the antioxidants in leeks begin converting to allicin. Allicin provides anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal activities, and reduces cholesterol by impeding harmful enzymes in liver cells. Leeks are also high in vitamins A and K.

    Leeks are the national emblem of Wales, worn along with the daffodil. The Welsh love them so much that they wear them as a badge on St. David’s Day. (David is the patron saint of Wales.)

    The Roman Emperor Nero used to eat leeks to improve his singing voice.


    Important Facts

    • Store from 32-36° F.
    • Select leeks with clean, crisp, white bottoms and fresh-looking tops. Small to medium-size leeks are the most tender and have a mild, delicate flavor.
    • Keep moist and cold; using water and ice are okay. 
    • Keep away from ethylene-producing items.
    • To prepare, cut the white part of the leek at one end and the dark green ends at the other. 
  • Produce Facts: Spinach

    Jan 29, 2016
    Spinach is filled with nutrients such as iron, calcium and vitamin K. Spinach is best eaten fresh, because it loses nutritional properties with each passing day. Although refrigeration slows the deterioration, half of the major nutrients are lost about a week after harvest.

    Spinach contains a chemical called oxalic acid, which binds with iron and calcium and reduces the absorption of these minerals. To improve absorption, it should be eaten with vitamin C-rich foods.

    In the 1930’s, U.S. spinach growers credited Popeye with a 33% increase in domestic spinach consumption –  a welcome boost to an industry during the depression era. In 1937 growers erected a statue in honor of Popeye the comic strip sailor.

    Birds Eye was the first company to advertise frozen spinach. It did so in Life magazine in 1949. It was the first frozen vegetable to be sold.

    Spinach grows best in cool (not freezing) moist conditions, such as spring and autumn, and grows well in sandy soils.

    Important Facts

    • Fresh spinach should be loosely packed in sealed plastic and refrigerated.
    • Good-quality spinach will have broad, thick, and crisp dark green leaves. The stems will be unblemished and free of mud.
    • Avoid product with thin, limp leaves that are pale-green or yellow.    
  • Produce Facts: Turnips

    Jan 21, 2016
    TurnipsTurnips are root vegetables best grown in cool climates. They are a biennial plant, taking two years from germination to reproduction.

    Spring varieties do not keep, but winter varieties will keep for up to two months.

    It is believed that the turnip was domesticated before the 15th century BC when it was cultivated in India for its oil-bearing seeds.

    Turnip lanterns are an old tradition in Ireland and Scotland. They carve the large turnips and use them as candle lanterns and place them in windows to ward off harmful spirits.

    Turnip roots are high in Vitamin C.

    Important Facts

    • Store from 32-34° F.
    • Good-quality turnips will be very firm and smooth-skinned. The coloring will be light-purple on the top fading to bright-white at the bottom. The larger the turnip, the more woody tasting it will be.
    • Avoid product that is soft, spongy, blemished with brown spots, cut or lightweight for its size.
       
  • Produce Facts: Brussels Sprouts

    Jan 14, 2016
    Brussels sprouts are a member of the cabbage family. Their color ranges from light green to red or purple. The red-purple sprouts tend to be sweeter.

    They were first grown in quantity around Brussels, Belgium, hence the name. They may have been there as early as the 12th century! Today Brussels sprouts are grown throughout Europe and the United States. In the U.S., almost all Brussels sprouts are grown in California.

    Brussels sprouts are very popular in Great Britain, and for a few days around Christmas 2010, UK Burger King restaurants offered a Sprout Surprise Whopper.

    Among the health benefits of Brussels sprouts, are their use to detoxify the body, reduce inflammation and provide anti-oxidants that are cancer-fighting. Brussels sprouts are rich in many vitamins and minerals including manganese and vitamins C and K.

    It is important not to overcook Brussels sprouts. Not only do they lose their nutritional value and taste but they will begin to emit an unpleasant sulfur smell. Steam Brussels sprouts for optimum cholesterol-lowering benefits.

    Important Facts

    • Store from 32-34° F.
    • Quality Brussels sprouts will be dark green and firm. They should be free of yellowed or wilted leaves and should not be puffy or soft in texture.
    • Avoid those that have perforations in their leaves as this may indicate that they have aphids residing within.
  • Produce Facts: Cabbage

    Jan 08, 2016
    Cabbage is one of the oldest vegetables in existence, dating back to the 1600s. This leafy vegetable is available in many varieties including the popular red or purple, green and savoy.

    Cabbage is nutritious but very low in fat and calories. The vegetable contains powerful antioxidants, dietary fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, potassium, manganese, vitamin A, thiamin, vitamin B6, calcium, iron and magnesium.
    • Cabbage is best prepared as close to raw as possible to preserve its many nutrients. 
    • The largest cabbage dish ever made was on December 19, 2008 in the Macedonian city of Prilep, with 80,191 sarmas (cabbage rolls) weighing 544 kg (1,221 lbs). 
    • A thick-witted person may be called a cabbagehead. In Hebrew, the term "rosh kruv" (cabbagehead) implies stupidity.
    • Drinking juiced cabbage is known to assist in curing stomach and intestinal ulcers.

    Important Facts

    • Store from 32-34° F and above 89% humidity.
    • Cover cabbage tightly in plastic wrap to store.
    • Cabbage should be solid, and well-trimmed with good green color.
    • It should be free from disease, insect or mechanical damage.
  • Produce Facts: Parsley

    Dec 31, 2015
    parsleyParsley is a popular culinary and medicinal herb native to the Mediterranean and has bright green, fern-like leaves that grow from a centrally positioned green stem.

    When used in cuisine, it adds flavor to a wide range of dishes such as salads, soups, stews, tomato sauces, meat and fish.

    Italian parsley has strong flavor and flat leaves. Curly parsley is bitter and it has wrinkled or creased leaves. Hamburg parsley develops large roots six times bigger than the plant. Its root can be eaten but is less popular than its leaves.

    Gardeners like to companion plant parsley near roses to keep them healthier and to intensify their smell, and near tomatoes because parsley attracts bees, the main pollinators of tomatoes. 
     
    When used for medicinal purposes, its benefits are many:
    • Parsley is rich source of vitamins K, C, A and vitamins in the B group. It also contains dietary fibers and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium and iron.
    • Parsley was used in the ancient Rome as ingredient of salads, to eliminate effects of hangover and as ornament in the form of garlands for the head.
    • Chew parsley to eliminate bad breath, especially after eating garlic.
    • Parsley has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties too. Leaves can be used in treatment of superficial wounds, while juice squeezed from a root reduces swelling. (Caution: those pregnant should avoid parsley because it may induce contractions of the uterus and may result in miscarriage.)
    • Tea made of parsley improves blood circulation.
    • Parsley is included in soaps and body lotions because it’s good for dry skin.

    Important Facts

    • Store from 32-34° F and above 95% humidity.
       
    • Parsley should have good green color and be free from seed stems and yellow or discolored wilting leaves.
  • Produce Facts: Habeneros

    Dec 30, 2015

    Trivia to Impress Your Friends

    HabenerosThe Habanero pepper is considered to be the hottest edible chile in the world. There are at least 18 varieties of Habanero Peppers and new types are being grown.

    The heat of the Habanero usually ranges between 100,000-350,000 Scoville units but some have been rated as high as 600,000. Heat will vary from pepper to pepper.

    You can reduce the heat of the Habanero in cooking by removing the seeds and insides of the chile. Eating or drinking dairy products can help ease the heat pain caused by a hot Habanero. 

    Habeneros can be many colors depending on the variety, including orange, red, brown, white and pink. The hottest is the Red Savina pepper.

    The largest producer of the Habanero Chile is Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.
     

    Important Facts

    Here's what you need to know:
    • Store from 45-50° F and 85-95% humidity.
    • Keep chili peppers away from ethylene-producing fruits and strong drafts.
    • Peppers should be smooth, shiny, well colored, and firm. Avoid peppers that appear shriveled or decayed.  
    • Dry lines or striations across the skin indicate a hotter pepper. These lines are not an indication of poor quality.
  • Produce Facts: Bok Choy

    Dec 23, 2015

    Trivia to Impress Your Friends

    Bok choy is the most popular vegetable in China, where it's been cultivated for more than 5,000 years.

    Bok choy is sometimes called a "soup spoon" because of the shape of its leaves.

    This member of the cruciferous vegetable family is a type of cabbage that has a mild flavor, making it useful for stir fries, soups, side dishes, or even eating raw.

    Bok choy is also referred to as Chinese white cabbage. 

    Important Facts

    • Store bok choy between 32-36°F with 90-98% humidity.     
    • Good quality bok choy should exhibit crisp stalks, avoid wilted or yellowing discoloration.     
    • For optimal freshness, don't wash bok choy until you're ready to use it. Unused portions can stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 6 days.
Submitting your question!
Our team of fresh produce experts have produce buying down to a science, which is why we call them Buy-ologists. They are at the source, acting as your eyes and ears in the field at every major agricultural growing region, comparing price and quality to get you the best deal.
Whether you need reliable market information or a mixed load, we are here to help!
Fill out the form below and an Amerifresh Buy-ologist will get back to you within 24 hours.
select
Select a valid category
Enter a valid email
Enter a valid phone number