Retail interest in high-end wild mushrooms and fiddleheads has grown stronger in the past year, said Joe Salvo, president of Ponderosa Mushrooms in Port Coquitlam, British Columbia.
After a series of forest fires last summer, Salvo said he’s looking forward to a big crop of morels in British Columbia, where the season is just starting.
Oregon foragers have been picking morels for the past month, and they’re also available from Northern California. Fiddleheads, which Salvo packs in an 8-ounce plastic-wrapped tray for $4.99 retail, have been coming in from Oregon and should appear soon in British Columbia, he said.
Rainier Fruit Co. is focusing its blueberry efforts on one niche in particular.
Of the company’s 500 acres, about three-fourths are organic, said Suzanne Wolter, marketing director.
“We’ll ship about 4 million pounds this year and 3 million of that is organic,” she said. “Organic is where we’re finding our niche. Every customer we’ve taken out to our fields cannot believe the flavor of these blueberries.”
Wolter said the blueberry program is a nice complement to Rainier Fruit’s other offerings.
“Blueberries overlap with cherries and apples so we can load all three in one truck,” she said.
The Heritage Blend of salads from Salinas, Calif.-based River Ranch Fresh Foods LLC is now available in Canada after its U.S. debut over the winter.
Lynn Iwanow, director of sales for Canada, said the line competes with spring mix but offers better shelf life.
Heritage Blend comes in both retail and foodservice packs — 5-ounce and 1-pound clamshells and 1-pound clear foodservice bags. Heritage is a proprietary 50/50 blend of green and red lettuce varieties, Iwanow said, that offers a minimum of 17 days of shelf life, compared to a typical 14 days for spring mix.
Santa Sweets brand Rinse-N-Snack SweetRipe grape tomatoes from Ag-Mart Produce Inc., Plant City, Fla., are now in bilingual packs and available in Canada.
Ag-Mart, which does business as Santa Sweets Inc., introduced rinse-and-eat value-added grape tomatoes last year in the U.S. The Rinse-N-Snack Sweet Ripes come in dry pints and include built-in strainers. The lid is also resealable, said Ken White, director of sales for Procacci Bros., Philadelphia, parent company of Ag-Mart.