Inside this Food Report
The month of August will be a busy one with visits back and forth to Eastern Washington and Oregon as well as the Midwest corn growing regions. The Noon team has been on the road already with visits to Eastern Washington to view the damaged cherry crop (please see more in our crop section below) and a quick trip to Mexico to assess broccoli and cauliflower fields where we found the weather extremely hot, humid and rainy.
Each year before August arrives (we call August/September our “busy” time, which is kind of odd because we are always busy!) the Noon team enjoys a bit of time to relax and celebrate with our coworkers and this year we did so on Bainbridge Island, Washington. We enjoyed a great barbecue at our co worker Steve Dole’s house and inspired by a recent visit to Chile and Ecuador we decided to conduct a pisco sour making contest. That is, who ever could replicate the pisco sour we experienced while in South America would win the contest. The prize was simply bragging rights! Pisco is an alcohol made from grapes and this is blended with lime juice, simple sugar and egg white. If you click on the photo below you will see which Noon employee won the contest!
Now that all Noon staff is properly rested we are ready and looking forward to spending time in the fields and factories that produce our products. We look forward to seeing all our customers and suppliers soon!
All The Best
Betty and The Noon International Team.
United States: It has been an unusually warm and sunny summer in the Northwest (Washington/Oregon) and crops have been coming on quickly. Pea season is completed and it is being reported by processors that yields are down 15% - 20%. Spring plantings were delayed due to rain but a heat wave followed which brought the peas on early and fast causing manufacturers to have a difficult time keeping up with the crop. Sweet corn crop is coming on quickly. Weather remains hot and sunny which is the perfect weather for a good corn season.
Colombian Basin potato harvest is underway , a week earlier than anticipated. Quality of Pacific Northwest potatos are reported as excellent this season.
It has been the worst year in 40 years for the Washington State cherry crop. A wet spring and extreme heat with temperatures over 108 degrees F caused most of the cherries to split. It is being reported that most cherry growers in Washington State experienced an 80% loss of their cherry crop. It is also reported that Michigan who was optimistic concerning their cherry crop, experienced unusually hot weather in July which resulted in a lost to that states crop of about 60%.
Washington’s raspberry season is completed. It was a difficult beginning due to very warm weather which resulted in soft fruit, however the season continued on resulting in good quality with excellent I.Q.F. fruit being processed. The berry size is a bit smaller than usual due to the dry weather.
Corn season in the Midwest region is also beginning. Harvest has begun in Minnesota and Wisconsin with the first fields of conventional corn harvest now underway. Temperatures have been slightly warmer than usual helping to move the corn crop along. Unlike last season the Midwest region is getting scattered precipitation, which is also a help to the crop.
Mexico: Heavier rains than usual were received in the central growing areas of Mexico in the months of June and July, with many areas experiencing flood conditions. Although it is positive for building up water table levels for the dry season, it is causing damage and rot to the more limited volumes of rainy season broccoli and cauliflower. It is taking suppliers much longer to accumulate high quality product and most are experiencing shipment delays.
Guatemala: Peak season broccoli production is now underway with excellent quality and high volume.
Argentina: A harsh frost struck the Northern lemon growing regions, which will likely have a major impact on exported volumes. Growers and processors are now working to sort out as much damaged product as possible, to avoid exporting poor quality fruit.
Peru: Avocado export volumes are very high. Mexico is experiencing a lower season and Peru is more than happy to fill this void. Many avocado trees have been planted in Peru in the past few years and they are producing larger avocados thus increasing Peru’s yields.
Europe: Cold, wet weather delayed most of Northwest Europe’s potato plantings and a heat wave in July which captured some potato growing regions have resulted in lower yields and poor quality. This along with a record high grower price will result in higher priced fries coming out of Europe this season.
Higher grower prices on sweet corn in France and Hungry due to competing crops will raise sweet corn prices in Europe.
Early indication on European fruit is that it will be a normal season, which is an improved outlook from the estimation during the spring. There is some crop damage in Holland and Belgium from frost and Spain and Italy experienced some hail damage but overall volumes of fruit should be average. Spanish pear season is expected to begin middle August with apples following a week later.
Australia: Grape harvest for winemaking has increased more than 5% from 2011 making it the largest harvest in the last five years. Australia joins New Zealand and Chile in having large bumper crops this year for wine grapes. This years Australian harvest was able to successfully avoid any major incidences of disease, droughts or floods and had enough supply of irrigation water available.
New Zealand: Gold Kiwi fruit harvest is smaller than expected. Earlier in the year it was thought the gold variety volume would be around 13 – 15 million trays; however the latest reports are showing 12 to 13 million trays. This is less than half of the 2011 peak figures. In future, volumes are expected to reach these higher levels once the new Gold 3 variety vines reach full potential.
Zhejiang Province: August is the hottest month of the year. Soaring temperatures and little rainfall are hurting all of the crops.
Fujian Province: Too much rain in early July caused decreases in crop yields. Okra is currently being harvested through October. Processors are seeing decreases in yields due to rain. Lychee harvest is completed and prices are very high this season, however quality is good.
Shandong Province: Asparagus yields are down due to rain. Onion processing and harvesting is underway and will last through the end of the year. At this moment China is expecting a bumper crop of onions. Garlic sprout is currently being processed with good quality and stable prices being reported.
Is Your Apple Juice Safe?
A recent FDA ruling about permissible arsenic levels in apple juice has sparked new interest about the subject that has been in the news for awhile now.
Arsenic is an element that can be found in organic or inorganic forms. The organic form of arsenic is naturally present in many foods (including apples) as well as naturally occurring in soil. Organic arsenic moves through the body quickly and is less injurious to health than inorganic arsenic. Inorganic arsenic is a highly toxic substance that can cause cancer if consumed in high amounts and over a long period of time. Inorganic arsenic enters apples via pesticides used on the crop as well as ground water contamination.
In 2011, Dr. Mehmet Oz revealed on his TV show, “The Dr. Oz Show” that many brands of apple juice contain alarmingly high levels of arsenic, thus creating a furore. Later, many reports and investigations refuted the claim saying that the high levels included the organic arsenic which is relatively harmless. Due to various consumer groups providing high visibility to the issue, the FDA has stepped in.
Traditionally the FDA has maintained that arsenic levels in apple juice are not harmful to consumers and, in 2008, had mandated 23 ppb (parts per billion) or more of arsenic as a ‘level of concern’. Last week, the FDA proposed that levels of inorganic arsenic, which can cause cancer and disease related to skin and organ changes, be limited to less than 10 ppb in apple juice. This is the same as the permissible level of arsenic in tap water, as mandated by the EPA. The FDA has also proclaimed that brands in which higher levels than this are found would be pulled off the shelves and could also face penalties.
The FDA announcement has been met with overall approval from the public; however, there are some who feel that there are other concerns that the FDA need to tackle first (e.g. labelling of GMO foods) since only a small percentage of apple juice tested in the U.S.A was found to contain high levels of inorganic arsenic. Nevertheless, there are many who will applaud this move by the FDA, especially those with small children. To learn more information regarding this subject please see our link below:
Sweet Corn. How Sweet It Is!
America is the world’s foremost producer of corn, producing about 40 % of the total corn grown in the world. Corn is used to make corn meal, corn flour, popcorn, livestock feed, oil, syrup, alcohol, starch and much more. While the grains of corn used for the above purposes are from field corn, which is the mature form of corn, when corn is harvested earlier, the kernels are sweeter and softer; this form is called sweet corn, which can be consumed as a vegetable rather than as a grain.
Sweet corn can be eaten off the cob or on the cob, as a side dish, added to soups and salads and baked into delicacies. Corn is one of the most versatile vegetables there are and a staple of many diets around the world. In the summer time most people will eat this vegetable fresh but it can be enjoyed all year long in it’s frozen or canned state. It is a wonderful vegetable bursting with fiber, minerals and vitamins!
Sweet corn is low in calories but high in carbohydrates. It is also high in fiber content (soluble and insoluble). As a result, consumption of corn imparts a feeling of satiety and curbs hunger. The fiber in it also helps regulate the digestive system, control blood sugar, reduce cholesterol and even diminish chances of colon cancer.
Vitamins form a good part of the nutrient make-up of corn. Vitamins B1 and B5, also known as thiamin and pantothenic acid respectively, improve carbohydrate metabolism, red blood cell production and production of some hormones. Corn also contains vitamin C, which helps in increasing immunity and the health of skin and connective tissue. Vitamin A, so critical for eye health, is found in good amounts.
To all expecting or soon to be expecting Mom’s please take note - corn also contains folate, a very important component for neural tube development in fetuses; hence, corn is good for pregnant women (and those who are planning a pregnancy).
Micronutrients such as zinc, copper, manganese, iron and magnesium are present in moderate amounts in corn. Potassium, a vital electrolyte, is also found in corn.
We continually hear about all the wonderful benefits of “green vegetables” , however corn is a superstar as well and can be enjoyed all year long. Frozen corn or canned corn will give you all the healthy benefits mentioned above!
Current Top 10 Natural Food Trends
There is a shift toward demand for healthy, natural and organic foods worldwide. The coming months might bring the following trends to the forefront of nutrition:
Just for Fun
It has a dead squid on top that dances when Soy Sauce is poured on it, activating its neurons (Odori don - The new dish where a squid comes"back to life" and dances on your plate ...
Diners in Japan looking for a moving experience over dinner can now order a squid that dances off their plate. A restaurant has created a dish, named Odori don - literally meaning dancing squid rice bowl - by adding soy sauce to a fresh squid. The high salt content in the sauce reacts with ions in cells of the squids' tentacles creating voltage differences, and making the squid move.
To prepare the dish, chefs at Ikkatei Tabiji, in Hakodate, Japan, first remove the head of the squid before serving the body, with tentacles intact, over abowl of sushi rice. Seasoned soy sauce is then poured over it. As the squid is served so fresh, when the sauce is added signals across nerve cell membranes are re-activated temporarily, making it 'come back to life'. The body is then removed and prepared by the chef to be served as a side accompaniment.
The meal, which is proving popular with diners, costs around 2,000 yen or $15.30 per person. The dish is such a success that the restaurant have patented the name of the creation. Now other restaurants in the area have begun making their own versions of the Hakodate dish, under different names.
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