The March 2019 Gourmet Market Report: Focus on Vanilla, Chickpeas, and Olive Oil

By March 1, 2019 Industry News
vanilla

The Impact of a Worldwide Vanilla Shortage

vanillaThe old line in Hollywood westerns was, “I don’t like it, it’s much too quiet out there.” Well, it has been quiet in the vanilla world and though we may not “like” the continued high cost, we love the vastly improved quality we’re seeing in the latest harvest.

The plague of immature and partially cured beans reaching market has finally been addressed by the Madagascan government and we are also starting to see a gradual softening in prices. The worldwide shortage had created chaos in the smaller vanilla growing countries as well.

Besides the rush to profit on high prices by selling immature beans, Indonesia has seen tahitensis beans smuggled in from New Guinea being sold as planifolia (Bourbon) beans. Happily, with a return to more stable market conditions, these instances will be occurring less frequently.

The Black Chickpea Is Back

Kabuli Organic Black Chickpeas are back after a three-year hiatus. These unique and flavorful black garbanzo beans were in such demand that the organic growers were forced to take them off the market to build an ample seed stock to ensure a sustainable crop. They are black skinned with a deep yellow center and a distinct earthy flavor.

Trauma In The Olive Groves

olive oilJust when it started looking like California was going to threaten the Mediterranean hegemony in olive oil production, 2018 turned out to be a dreadful year for most of the state’s growers. Fluctuating weather was the culprit. A warm, false spring followed by a late frost meant for a 25% to near 50% reduction in yield for affected growers. The good news is that there was not a freeze of tree-killing dimensions, so October’s 2019 harvest will tell if California is truly back in the game.

March 2019
John Cawley
Pacific Gourmet

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