Intrigue taste buds and set your menu apart with these distinctive fresh produce offerings.
Each year an increasing number of hungry diners look to your menus for fresh and trendy seasonal ingredients. Keeping their interests peeked when it comes to menu design and product offerings is vital to your operation.
For this reason Chef Tim, and Carl (our seasoned produce manger) have developed an ever-changing lineup of chef-inspired fresh produce. Chef’s Produce Picks will offer a variety of both stocked and specialty produce selected for flavor, trend appeal and seasonality.
Stocked & Ready to Roll
Grape Tomato Medley
Introduced to the worldwide market in the 1990s, grape tomatoes have gained substantial popularity, due at least in part to their higher sugar content compared to regular tomatoes and their smaller, bite-sized shape. Grape tomatoes are oblong and shaped like grapes. They’re about half the size of cherry tomatoes, with thicker skins and flesh that is meatier and less watery. Use these multi-colored gems in gazpacho, on salads, in pasta dishes and as part of your signature bruschetta. Simply cut in half, season and present.
Asparagus is one healthy veggie. In fact ancient Greeks were interested in the biological and pharmaceutical qualities of asparagus. The word asparagus is actually derived from ancient Greek and translates to “shoot”. Asparagus has been cultivated for thousands of years and still makes a great addition to today’s menus. In addition to being a healthy side, you can add asparagus to a salads, soups, pasta dishes and almost any other recipe you can think of.
Leeks are typically chopped into slices around 1/4 inch thick. They have a mild, onion-like taste. In its raw state, the vegetable is crunchy and firm. The edible portions of the leek are the white base of the leaves (above the roots and stem base), the light green parts, and to a lesser extent the dark green parts of the leaves. Waste not, want not… Use the tougher dark green tops in stocks, puree sauces or slice thin and slow cook with equal parts oil to make leek confit or melted leeks.
8/ 1 LB
Driscoll’s works with independent growers, each strawberry is hand-picked at peak ripeness to meet their strict quality standards. The secret to their strawberries is our proprietary varieties. They start with thousands of varieties and choose the top 1% to sell under the Driscoll’s name. Rest assured–their naturally grown strawberries are never genetically modified.
1/ 10 LB
Poblano peppers are a large mild (about half the heat of a jalapeno) green chili the size of a medium green pepper. Poblano peppers that have matured to a vibrant red color are commonly dried and sold as Ancho chili peppers. This is an ideal pepper for raw application, such as salads or diced for a shrimp ceviche, tuna crudo or in a gazpacho. Roasted and pureed with corn for a soup or stuffed with seafood and topped with cotija cheese are just a couple yummy hot applications.
Baby arugula is widely popular as a salad green. Arugula also commonly goes by the name “garden rocket” or “rocket salad”. The Oxford Companion to Italian Food, states that arugula at one time had a reputation for being a sexual stimulant. Either way, for prowess or just for taste, be sure to feature Baby Arugula on your Valentine’s Day menu! Simply put baby arugula has it all, looks, size and flavor. With it’s mild pepper after tones baby arugula is great for most salads, adding extra green color to a puree, or as a garnish with its petite leaf. Make your own salad mix by combining baby arugula with baby kale.
Kale is a member of the cabbage family and originated in the eastern Mediterranean where it has been cultivated for food since 2000 B.C. For most of the twentieth century, kale was primarily used in the United States for decorative purposes (in salad bars for example) it became more popular as an edible vegetable in the 90s due to its nutritional value and super-food status. Baby kale is a hearty baby green that, in salads, holds up to medium viscosity dressings. It’s awesome when mixed with baby arugula, or quickly wilt into pasta dishes or make a super-food smoothie using baby kale, Greek yogurt & granny smith apples.
Specialty Produce, At Your Door Within Days
Shishitos peppers are an Asian heirloom variety of pepper. Fingerlike in appearance; they resemble a wrinkled jalapeno if jalapenos had wrinkles. These peppers are very mild and posses very little heat. When grilled they possess a mild sweetness (sassy sweetness) with slightly bitter after tones. Shishitos are great in raw applications for use in salads and slaws. They also make a great family style appetizer; just lightly grill, season and serve with a key lime aioli for dipping.
A close relative to carrots and parsley with a distinctive look of a cream-colored carrot with the top leaves resembling that of flat leaf parsley. This tuberous vegetable is sometimes left in the soil over winter and harvested the following spring (“spring dug parsnips”) which adds great sweetness due to frost. Parsnips are suitable in many of the same preparations as carrots, but are exceptional when pureed, battered and used as winter fries or grilled adding a Smokey char.
A fresh cherry packs a sweet punch within deep burgundy flesh. High in antioxidants this micro stone fruit is a must have addition to your seasonal menu selections. Whether used in a cherry peppercorn sauce for beef, for a cherry shortcake or as a chocolate covered cherry ice cream; cherries have the diversity and allure to deliciously span the full spectrum of your menu.
Also known as wild leeks or wild spring onions with a short growing season from April and sometimes stretches into early June, but this depends solely on when the snow melts and Winter has been shaken away. Ramps are prized for their beautiful appearance; flat green leaves and pale white stock much like that of a scallion. With a flavor profile of a mild onion with garlic after tones, Ramps are suitable for many savory preparations. Be sure to be proactive by pickling the bulbs and using the greens in pesto to Ramp up and prolong your seasonal offerings well into July.
Rhubarb is the tart spring perennial fruit (vegetable?), with an edible red skinned stock when young, transitioning into pink and green stock in maturity. While the stock is edible, the elephant ear shaped leaf is not and should be discarded. The rhubarb skin should be peeled off as part of pre-use production. Although most commonly known for its use in the classic strawberry rhubarb pie, rhubarb can be used in many applications; ice cream, pies, a play on fries, sauces or a unique twist in a pizza sauce. Be sure to make ample chutneys, jams and syrups to prolong the season well into summer.
The morel is the king of spring. Morels are a springtime delicacy that deserve to be the spotlight of any dish. Brown to blonde in color, honeycomb in appearance and hollow centered are some of the distinct characteristics of the morel. The best way to keep morels on the pedestal they deserve to be on, is to lightly sauté in some hot brown butter and finished with a sprinkle of truffle salt, or serve over a Manchego cheese tart sprinkled with roasted almonds
King Oyster Mushrooms
King oyster mushrooms are the largest of the oyster mushroom family, unlike other oyster mushrooms, their stalks are not tough and woody, thus making them entirely edible. King oysters pair well with most seafood, steak, pork and poultry. Try browning King oysters in a mixture of butter and truffle oil… finish with a sprinkle of truffle salt and a few arugula leaves.
12/2 lb or 6/2 lb
Rainbow carrots are enjoyed around the world, including the Mediterranean and Asia, but they are still a relative novelty in the United States. Featuring subtle flavor variations and rich color these vibrant root veggies are a distinct way to add fresh appeal to your menu. Rainbow carrots add a colorful pop to all dishes using traditional carrots. Makes a great addition to house made giardiniera, crudités or as simple seared multi colored carrot medallions
This root vegetable-like strand of celery is cultivated primarily for its creamy textured off-white bulb. The Subtle distinction of celery flavors shines through and pairs well with a wide range of center of the plate offerings. Celery root is great in soups, as a velvety sauce or simply roasted and seasoned with sea salt as a stand-out vegetable offering.
Rainbow Swiss Chard
Rainbow chard is Swiss chard that pops with color; red, yellow, pink and white among the more typical of the palette. Large, leafy greens with a some what thick and colorful stock making each leaf ideal for multiple applications. Add Chard to pasta dishes, use blanched leaves as a substitution for Nori (seaweed sheets), use chard stocks in place of celery in wing presentations or simply sauté with garlic as a side vegetable.
Broccolini is a hybrid of broccoli with tender broccoli like tops on an elongated tender broccoli stem which is 100% edible and 100% delicious. This “super food” is packed with vitamins C, A, E & calcium. It’s closely related to cabbage, Brussels sprouts, kale and cauliflower. The spinach like flavor profile, with after tones of sweet cabbage, make this super food extremely versatile. I’m particularly fond of grilled broccolini dressed with a hint of EVOO, sea salt, cracked pepper and a splash of lemon juice. Broccolini is a great option for a sautéed “chefs veg of the day” selection.
Tri-color Fingerling Potatoes
Stubby and finger-shaped, fingerlings are potato varieties that naturally grow small and narrow. They are fully mature when harvested and should not be confused with new potatoes. Our Tri-color fingerling potatoes feature three of the world’s most popular varieties: the yellow-skinned Russian Banana, the pink-skinned and yellow fleshed French Fingerling, and the Purple Peruvian.
Candy Stripe Beets
This variety of beet is named for the candy cane like stripped appearance, offering many colorful candy like layers when pealed and sliced. Candy Stripe Beets are great when shaved and used in raw preparations, pickled or used as a vegetable style carpaccio; visually stunning with flavor to match.
Peeled Black Garlic
Black garlic is the product achieved from a natural fermentation that happens within a 4 week process of controlled heat and humidity, rendering the garlic black, sticky and sweet. I like to refer to black garlic as Garlic Gummies; just like garlic candy. This high end product can be use in many preparations; both sweet & savory. Great for sauces, aioli, vinaigrettes, and even in ice cream. A little bit goes a long (awesome) way.
Microgreens are vegetable greens, smaller than “baby greens” that are harvested after sprouting as shoots. They are used as a visual and flavor component to enhance both the attractiveness and taste of dishes with their delicate textures and distinctive flavors. Micro greens are considered a specialty genre of greens that are good for garnishing salads, soups, plates, and sandwiches.
Micro Bull’s Blood greens are beetroot greens that are harvested after sproutnig and before they grow to the size of “baby greens”. Bull’s Blood has bright red stems topped with two elongated leaves. Their upper surface is a dusty green tinged in red while the underside is a light burgundy with deep magenta veining. Micro Bull’s Blood is tender and sweet with a distinct beet-like flavor.
Cilantro, also known as Coriander or Chinese Parsley, is an annual herb. All parts of the plant are edible, but the fresh leaves and the dried seeds are the parts most traditionally used in cooking. Most people perceive the taste of cilantro leaves as a tart, lemon/lime taste. Cilantro micro greens have a sweet aroma and bold flavor. In contrast to full-size cilantro, micro cilantro is slightly peppery with a bit of grassiness. Use this delicate micro variety as a last second touch for grape tomato gazpacho, on ceviche, with shrimp cocktail or as a finishing touch for sea scallop crudo kissed with Maine sea salt and blood orange zest.
Featuring a strong, pungent, often sweet smell; basil is a popular and versatile herb used in cuisines around the globe. Basil is most commonly used fresh in recipes. In general, it is added at the last moment, as cooking can quickly degrade the flavor. Micro Basil is quite similar to full sized basil, with a slightly stronger flavor profile and delicate crunch. The greens resemble a “micro” version of a mature basil plant. Bruschetta of micro basil and grape tomato medley = wow factor!
When to Place Specialty Produce Orders
Please order by 3:00 PM
Monday for Wednesday
Tuesday for Thursday
Wednesday for Friday
Thursday for Monday
Friday for Tuesday
A family-owned business producing some of the best sauces and dressings available to foodservice professionals today. Ken’s is the perfect, craveable compliment to your fresh salads and produce.
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From the Chef
Award-winning chef Tim Labonte has joined Dennis Paper & Food Service in the newly established position of Corporate Chef… See what’s new from the test kitchen; from original recipes to foodie insights and more!
Browse our recipe center with a “vegetable” search – highlighting recipes that will put some serious pop behind your produce. Follow the directions or deviate with your own signature touches!