Weekly Produce Update 2 – 13

Author: Marvale Jones

Date: February 16, 2017

OVERVIEW
The previous month’s adverse unstable weather conditions in the Yuma growing region is causing quality problems and lower overall weights and yields in fields. The unusual weather has created industry wide shortages in supply on multiple items including, Broccoli, Cilantro, Lettuces, and Salad mixes.

 

MARKET ALERT
Asparagus (EXTREME), Broccoli (EXTREME),Cucumbers (EURO)
Cilantro (EXTREME), Garlic (EXTREME), Lemons (SIZING), Lettuce (Green leaf, Iceberg, Red Leaf, Romaine, and All Blends) (EXTREME), Squash (YELLOW)

 

WEATHER
The ongoing wet-weather pattern continues for Central & Southern California growing areas. The significant rainfall is being followed by periods of clear skies. The next round of inclement weather is in the forecast for Thursday – Friday, with a cooling trend to follow. There is more than one inch of rain expected in Oxnard and the San Joaquin Valley. Desert districts will see relief this weekend from the recent above-average temperatures. The highs in Western Arizona will decline to the low 70’s, with lows in the 50’s. Clear skies and warm temperatures will continue in Central Mexico, with the highs reaching the low 90’s and night-time lows in the 50’s. A cooling trend will begin next week. Central & South Florida weather will be generally clear with an occasional shower. The daytime highs will be in the 70’s & low 80’s with overnight lows in the 50’s.

 

TRANSPORTATION
Trucks are in adequate supply in all districts including the Northwest, Southwest, Texas and Florida.

 

FRUIT AND VEGETABLES
Avocados: We continue to see the market more active, particularly on large fruit as the size mix shifts to heavier fruit. Production on #2 volume will also be increasing throughout the remainder of January. Quality remains good with good oil content.

Bananas: Demand and quality are good and supply is steady.

Blueberries: Availability is steady. Late-season harvesting is winding down in Chil

Blackberries: Favorable growing conditions have begun to develop in Central Mexico. The recent blackberry shortage is expected to ease by mid-February or possibly sooner.

Grapes: Supplies are improving and demand is lighter than expected. Sugraones and Flame pricing is down this week.

Mangoes: Supply and quality are expected to be in short supply. Peru has finished and Nicaragua is starting next week with very low volume. Mexico is being delayed as well.

Raspberries: Production volume is increasing. Central Mexico will be in peak volume later this month, supplemented by Baja California and Oxnard. Oxnard raspberries are grown by Driscoll under hoops, offering protection from weather.

Strawberries: Production remains well below average for California growers due to continuing rain events. Florida production is also below average with variable quality due to those recent weather conditions.

 

CALIFORNIA-ARIZONA CITRUS
Rain has continued to hinder citrus harvests in California. There is another couple inches of rain expected by the upcoming weekend. Smaller, choice grade fruit has been very hard to come by. Most supplies are of the larger, fancy grade fruit.

Navels: Supplies are expected to increase by the beginning of next week, depending on the weather. Quality, flavor and internal color are good. Larger, fancy grade due to recent weather.

Lemons: Volume is expected to be low for the next couple weeks. Very tight on 165s and 200’s. Mostly large, fancy grade fruit.

Limes: Limes are available in tight supplies, packing in Texas and California. Great quality and color.

Mandarins: Mandarins are available, sizes peaking on 24/21/28/18. Great eating and color. Pummelos are also available, sizes peaking 12/14/10.Mostly fancy grade.

Grapefruit: Texas grapefruit is packing, good supplies of 40’s and smaller. Florida Red and Dark Red grapefruit will be finishing up at the end of February. Grapefruit quality has been very good this year.

Specialties: Minneola Tangelos and Mandarins are available, great quality and color. Blood Oranges are in good supply, great color. Cara Caras are available, excellent color and quality. Pummelos are in the final week of harvesting.

Pineapples: Supply will be tight through next week. Expect prorates.

 

CALIFORNIA LETTUCE
Green and Red Leaf: Supplies on green leaf are extremely light. We are seeing a lot of dirt due to the heavy winds, seeders and tip burn. We are seeing ve
ry short supply on red leaf, however quality is good. Prices are high on both.

Iceberg Lettuce: Supplies of iceberg lettuce are well below average, quality is average, and we are seeing some mildew due to the rain. Expect
shortages and high prices.

Romaine: Very tight with light supplies. We anticipate supplies getting tighter and more expensive. Quality is hit or miss with epidermal peeling.

Romaine Hearts: Supplies are light. We are seeing twisting with average quality, and peeling. Prices are rising.

 

EASTERN AND WESTERN VEGETABLES
Green Bell Peppers: Availability has tightened significantly for large sized green bell peppers from Mexico, while medium sizes continue to be plentiful. Prices have risen on large sizes. The high winds and rain that occurred during late January in South Florida will continue to have a negative effect on quality and potentially yield through March. Prices are trending higher. Red bells from Mexico are continuing to have good supplies.

Cucumbers: Import volume into Florida from Central America has eased and prices have firmed up, with quality remaining variable. Demand has improved for Mexican cucumbers in Nogales, Arizona and McAllen, Texas with good quality.

English Cucumber: Supplies have increased in Nogales and prices have eased from the recent highs.

Green Beans: Quality is variable on beans in Florida and Mexico. Prices are higher for premium quality product.

Zucchini & Yellow Squash: Prices have eased for product from Florida and Mexico. Yellow straightneck is commanding a moderate premium compared to prices for zucchini. Quality is variable for Florida product while new fields are being harvested in Mexico with excellent quality.

 

MELONS
Cantaloupe: Overall production has decreased from last week. This trend is expected to continue over the next two weeks as the second cycle in Guatemala and first cycle in Honduras come to their conclusion. The spring cycle from the Zacapa region of Guatemala is projected to start arriving into Florida the week of 2/27. The Honduras second cycle production is scheduled to begin approximately 3/13. Weather has been ideal to date and no issues are projected as we move into the heavier volume of March and April.

Honeydew: Good movement continues with smaller fruit being shorter in supply. We anticipate pricing to remain steady over the next few weeks. Quality remains strong with good internal brix levels of 10-14%.

Watermelons: The seedless watermelon supply has shortened up which has caused the market to push higher.

 

MIXED VEGETABLES
Artichokes: We expect good supplies of artichokes this week, as supplies industry-wide have increased. Better volume is expected in the upcoming weeks. Prices are steady but trending lower on some sizes. 36 Ct. are not readily available.

Arugula: Supplies of both baby, wild arugula and organic are light, due to mildew.

Asparagus: Prices are still up as the end of the season approaches. There is currently a widespread problem in Caborca, Mexico that is resulting in delayed harvest productivity in fields ranging from 50 – 55% BELOW the levels forecast for this time of year. Current weather is excellent and growers are trying to figure out WHAT factors are causing the delayed initiation of “normal” productivity and harvest levels. Growers are unable to provide volume forecasts to cover pre-planned promotional (ad) commitments.

There is so little volume crossing outside of “prior commitments” that the USDA has almost no open market volume on which to report pricing. There is a lot of activity with importers SEARCHING for volume to cover commitments. Growers are mixed in their opinions of what will happen in the next 7 – 10 days. One major grower believes that the situation should improve by the week of February 13, while another large group of growers doesn’t share that optimism. They are pointing to 2015, when a similar “lack of normal volume” took place during early February, and volume levels never reached the anticipated levels for the balance of the season. There may very well be some “plant behavior” due to a combination of climatic factors, that results in the fields being “alternate bearing’ to a degree being strong producers one year and then producing at dramatically lower levels the following year.

Bok Choy: Quality is good and we are seeing some higher quotes on WGA cartons.

Broccoli: EXTREME MARKET- Due to warmer than usual weather patterns plus the amount of rain that has fallen, we are seeing a gap in harvest schedules and supply. We are seeing higher prices and with a shortage of supply.

Brussels Sprouts: The market and supplies are good this week. Quality is good. Georgia carrots have arrived. Rain in Kern County, CA, has made the carrot market a bit more active in that region of CA, so please order ahead to keep a good supply. We are seeing a shortage of supply continue due to the rain.

Cauliflower: Quality is average. We are seeing yellowing. Supplies are down.

Celery: We continue to experience rain events throughout California, with February historically being our “rain” month. In Oxnar n the acres we are currently harvesting and will harvest for several weeks to come. The outer petioles continue to get water logged (becoming translucent), and although we will try to strip these petioles from the stalks while harvesting, we will not be 100% effective. More recently we are experiencing a level of pith much higher than we were three to four weeks ago. Pith at high levels can be a major defect as the inside of the celery will tend to break down quicker and turn into decay. It becomes very apparent at the ends of the celery where the celery has been cut. Even the use of our waterjet cutting technology cannot minimize the effects of high amounts of pith we are experiencing.

Some of the other overall quality issues that celery is experiencing under these constant rain conditions are listed below.

– Outer petioles -Water logged (translucency)
– Light color/pale
– Mud inside petioles.
– Reduce shelf life (17 days max)
– Brown ends.

It is very important that our customers make every attempt to order the minimum amount of product necessary to fill orders and to avoid any type of inventory on their end. With reduced shelf life and the potential higher level of pith than usual this time of year.

This is not a good time to stock up for promotions or introduce this product for the first time. We will update this information as we see any substantial shifts in quality.

Corn: Florida sweet corn has seen a spike in pricing this week. There has been less availability as in previous weeks due to planting gaps and the cooler weather hindering maturity.

Cilantro: Supplies are very light. Quality is variable as there is still yellowing with some decay. Price is high and we are seeing shortages.

Fennel: Supplies for the week will be light.

Garlic: We are still in the same situation with garlic, nothing much better and not worse. The supply of domestic garlic remains tight. Pricing on domestic peeled 4×5’s is still high. In the past week or two, we have observed a slight relief in demand. This is fairly normal after the New Year.

Ginger: Chinese ginger is in good supply. It is being offered at a substantial discount compared to ginger from Brazil.

Green Cabbage: Green cabbage is in good supply and should be steady this week. Quality is good.

Green Onions: The green onion supply for the industry is getting better. We are seeing prices come down.

Kale (Green): Demand is steady and quality is average. We are seeing some mildew.

Mache: Availability is adequate.

Napa: Supplies are good and quality is excellent.

Parsley (Curly, Italian): Prices are normal and quality is excellent.

Radishes: Quality is good and supply is plentiful.

Red Cabbage: Quality and sizing have been great, with good color. Overall, the market is strong.

Snow and Sugar Snap Peas: Snow and sugar snap peas are in high demand with good quality.

Spinach (Bunched): Supply is average; quality is only fair. We are still seeing some mildew in this product.

Spinach (Baby): Baby and clipped spinach supplies are light. Quality is fair to good, with good prices. There are some reports of mildew.

 

Spring Mix: There is plenty of product, with quality being average, but it has improved.

 

ONIONS
The extreme situation in the Treasure Valley appears to be finished. Nearly all of the affected growers have resumed packing and shipping on all three colors. Barring any further weather interruptions, we do not expect to see prices increase in the near future. FOB’s on all three colors have decreased significantly in the past week due to the sluggish demand and a heavy presence of red, white, and yellow Mexican onions crossing through South Texas.

The size profile on the Mexican product is heavier, Mediums and Jumbos. Large size onions (Colossal and Super Colossal) will need to continue to be sourced in the Northwest. Quality remains strong in the Northwest.

 

POTATOES
Demand on 40/70 Ct. is moderate and almost everything else is just fair. We can expect the same for the next few weeks, and of course it’s Potato Lovers month. This is what we have found to be typical business for this time of year. Prices have not really seen any significant changes up or down in the industry.

Some road closures in the state, from Pocatello to Burley, are closed due to water on the interstate. They hope to re-open later today or tomorrow. There appears to be adequate supply of trucks.

 

TOMATOES
East
Rounds: Supplies in the east remain good despite the recent weather events. FOB prices are mostly unchanged this week with excellent quality being reported.

Roma: Harvest forecasts are mostly unchanged and quality is good. Pricing will be mostly unchanged this week.

Grapes: Supplies are good and quality is excellent. FOB prices remain unchanged this week. Quality remains very nice.

Cherries: Supplies are steady and quality remains good. FOB prices are remaining mostly unchanged.

West/Mexico
Rounds: Vine-ripe production is good through Nogales and McAllen, still light crossings through Otay. FOB prices are mostly unchanged this week. Overall quality is very nice on all sizes throughout Nogales, McAllen and Otay.

Romas: Supplies are good through Nogales and McAllen with great quality expected over the next 7 to 14 days.

Grapes: Good supplies are crossing through Nogales and quality remains excellent.

Cherries: Supplies are good, but the quality is off a bit this week. We expect to see a tick up in the prices as demand is driving more pull out of the East.

 

APPLE PEARS AND TREE FRUIT
Apples: Demand and movement is steady with supplies readily available in most sizes and grades with the exception of golds and grannys. Supply remains tight on 100’s and smaller on all grades except premium. 125’s and smaller sizes in all varieties will continue to be tight all season.

Pears: Demand and movement are steady. Prices remain high on D’Anjous, 100’s and SMaller sizes in all varieties will continue to be tight all season.

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