Thursday, September 27, 2007

Fresh From The Farm

September 26, 2007


Lettuce has had steady demand with lighter supplies. The market had leveled off and is now picking up steam from last weeks levels. Fewer shippers are offering deals since excess volume has gone away. The majority of lettuce has been good quality, with minor amounts of mildew, and some light weights reported.


The leaf market is steady from last week. Supplies for this week look to be adequate. This weekend’s rain had no affect on the long term outlook. Green Leaf is no longer commanding a higher price than romaine anymore. Butter lettuce continues to trade at higher levels than the other leaf packs, mainly due to quality issues from the previous hot temperatures. The demand for leaf seems to have matched supplies. Romaine is experiencing better demand and the market is reflecting it. The recent, past heat wave throughout California may have caused some tip burn and seeders. The quality out of Salinas continues to be nice on romaine with weights in the 35 to 38 pound range.


Market stronger, supplies tighter and lighter then anticipated. Overall quality and weights continue to be good, with some slight hollow core, slightly branchy. Some regional supplies are tightening up helping to strengthen the overall market. Warmer days have started to bring on product and acreage has been increased also, hopefully to bring the market down. Packers are asking for advance notice on iceless products.


Cauliflower supplies are on track, maybe even a little ahead of anticipated volumes, keeping the market in check. Demand has picked up slightly from previous levels. The quality of cauliflower is still good with white to off-white color. There have been a few reports of lighter weights in the range of 26 to 28 pounds.

CARROTS: The Carrot market is steady on the West Coast and is predicted to remain steady for the entire month of September. Shippers have adequate supplies and quality is good. School is now in session putting all snack pack sizes in high demand. Harvest will remain in Lancaster, CA until Mid November when harvest will start up in Bakersfield. Michigan has good supplies and will be going through the first part of October, weather permitting. Quality out of Michigan is good and the market is steady. Georgia will start up in mid November to early December. Canada is now in full swing and the supply is good.


The celery market has turned the corner and is still trending downward. Supplies are heaviest in 24 – 30 ct. celery. Shippers are lowering their prices on all sizes of celery in order to try and spur demand which has remained stagnant. The quality of celery is nice with color ranging from medium to dark green, while weights on celery continue to be in their normal range of 55 to 65 pounds out of California. We may see signs of pith and seeders. Michigan and Canada are winding down.



The strawberry growing areas got hit with anywhere from .25 to .75 inch of rain over the weekend. The forecast is for clear skies for the balance of the week. It will take 5 to 7 days before the fields will be cleaned up from this rain. Quality is just fair. Most arrivals will have some bruising, soft shoulders, DK and mold.


Good demand and light supplies are causing a firming Raspberry market. It will be November before supplies get better. Quality is good. California blackberry supplies are coming in short supplies. Again supplies will not get better till November when the harvest will transition to Mexico. Market is firming.


Good Demand and light supplies out of the Northwest is causing a firm market. The harvest will slowly transition to South America in November. Look for supplies to stay tight. Quality is fair to good.



Burbank Idaho potatoes are available through a few shippers and at just a bit more expensive then Norkotahs. As more of the Burbanks become available, 2’s will become more plentiful also. Washington has good supplies of new crop Norkotahs. Colorado and Texas are going with good supplies of new crop Norkotahs. Red potatoes are finished in California. North Dakota, Wisconsin and Minnesota have good supplies. New crop Mount Vernon product is now available out of Washington with very good quality and supplies. White and Gold potatoes are coming out of North Dakota, Washington and Wisconsin. Quality is good.


The market is steady to lower with very light demand and plenty of supplies in Idaho/ Oregon. Idaho / Oregon did receive about an inch of rain Saturday temporarily halting harvesting efforts. This week California will finish up with light supplies and good quality. Washington and Colorado both have good supplies now of all colors.



WA markets are generally softer this week. The harvest is about 40% complete on Red Delicious; sizes are running larger than the past couple of years and condition & quality are very good. Golden Delicious crop volume is expected to be slightly larger than last year with sizes also running a little larger; so far there is less russetting and cleaner exteriors compared to last year. Granny Smith volume is expected to be about the same. Galas are the primary volume item this season with sizes peaking on 88’s and 100’s. Harvests have at least begun on all varietals with the exception of Pink Ladies that should start up in about two weeks.


WA Bartlett and Anjou volumes are expected to be stronger than LY while Bosc will be slightly down. Quality on all is good to very good; beware that new crop Bartletts should be stored as close to 32 degrees as possible to prevent yellowing. Labor availability in the northwest can not keep pace with growers’ needs.


Although movement has picked up a bit, markets this week are steady. Retailers are seeking greater promotional activity. Open-market fruit out of Ecuador is being affected by Russian imports paying above-market rates for now weeks in a row. Quality remains good with no reported issues on either conventional or organic fruit.


The CA stone fruit season comes closer to ending, especially on Peaches; Nectarine markets are strengthening.

Pineapple volume remains tight and markets are strengthening with sizing skewing on 5’s; we do not expect to see any solid, excess promotional volume until November. Overall quality continues to be good.


Markets have softened due to lighter demand and the influx of Mexican and Chilean fruit. CA fruit availability lingers on but in very limited quantities and stronger FOB’s. Two additional Chilean vessel arrivals are expected by the end of the week; there is a slight disconnect on vessel arrivals early next month that may reverse and strengthen the market. Mexican FOB’s are slightly higher than Chilean. Quality on fruit sourced from both countries is good.


Markets have dropped due to stable demand and increased volume out of Peru. We expect even softer east coast markets by the weekend. Mexican volume remains limited; some limited new crop is beginning out of Baja but we expect significantly-increased volume beginning early next month as the new crop Mexican deal begins to lift off the ground. Current Mexican quality is only fair, Peruvian is good.



Some new crop Navels are being packed this week; fruit is just passing acceptable maturity levels and eating quality is not expected to be that great; fruit is peaking on 64’s, 80’s and 100’s. Fallglo Tangerine harvests will begin next week with marginal quality expected out of the gate and peak on 100’s and 120’s. Ambersweet Juice Orange production will begin by the end of next week and last only a limited amount of time. Hamlin Juice Orange and Grapefruit production will start up mid to late next month.


Valencia Orange markets are steady. Fancy graded fruit is far outpacing availability on Choice and re-greening continues. Teens and 138’s continue on the tight side due to school demand. Quality is fair with some re-greening and softness. The upcoming CA Navel crop is currently projected to be about 25% larger compared to last year; harvests should begin the third week of October. Some initial Navel harvests have already taken place in Texas.

Lemon availability is getting even tighter and markets have firmed once again. Standard fruit is especially tight, but may improve over the next week. Expect this tight scenario to last until late November/early December. Quality is fair to poor. Desert harvests have begun but production numbers so far are minimal. D1 should re-start around mid October, about a month early.

Grapefruit volume is tightening; quality continues to be good. The Texan season will begin around the middle of next month.

Lime markets remain active. Juice content is good and overall quality is ranging from fair to good.


Rain last weekend has hurt production volumes (and caused some minimal damage) and as a continuation of last week, markets remain active. Demand is generally very good, especially on Crimsons. Expect markets to remain fairly strong for the next couple of months due to the lighter Crimson crop. We continue to transition from 19 LB Thompson to 16 LB storage. Black Seedless and Red Globe volumes remain good. Quality is very good.


Current Cantaloupe supplies are good and some limited new crop desert fruit has become available with much improved supplies expected over the next two weeks. 15’s and 18’s are currently tight. Quality is very good.

Honeydew volume is also good with sizes skewing on 5’s and 6’s and very good quality. Desert production should start this weekend (a little later than usual). Markets are a bit softer but are expected to reverse.

Watermelon markets are firmer and strong. CA-sourced fruit is wrapping up (but may linger into the middle of next month) and volume out of NM remains light due to early-season rain damage. New crop Mexican production has begun with much improved supplies expected early next month. Current overall quality is very good.



Markets are softer and should decrease further by the weekend, mainly due to increased volume out of GA. GA quality is good but color continues to be affected by White Fly; there is a lot of off-grade GA supplies. NC FOB’s are less expensive than GA’s due to significant planted acreage and solid yields. MI quality has improved since the significant rainfall several weeks ago, but declining and limited supplies are staying mostly local. NY harvests continue with quality fair at best. NJ continues on as well with generally good quality.


Markets have weakened due to increased new crop volume out of Baja. With east coast markets already lower, west coast markets are tumbling faster than expected. Quality is good to excellent.



Beginning-week markets were slightly firmer than last week but have now stabilized. MI production has rebounded slightly with good quality and harvest/packing will continue until the first freeze. The Jersey deal also continues with decent volume and very good quality. NC volume is limited and GA is still just getting started; we expect significant volume increases within the next 7-10 days.


Beginning-week markets were softer. Volume is solid out of Santa Maria, stable out of Stockton/Lodi, and beginning to decline out of Gilroy/Hollister. Some shippers are selling older product; new-field product is a bit slow to kick off due to the rains this past weekend; more new fields will break and volume will improve next week. Quality is running good to excellent.



Markets are currently stable. CA volume should be stable for the next 2-3 weeks before declining seasonally. OR and WA should wrap up their deals within the next ten days.



Beginning-week markets have firmed, partially due to stronger demand, and we expect even firmer FOB’s by the weekend, especially on Zukes. GA volume is fair and quality is good; White Fly continues to cause some lighter coloring. The MI deal has finished; product is being sourced out of the Carolinas and GA.


Markets are expected to remain mostly steady next week. Some crossings have hit the Nogales scene with fair to good quality; both quality and quantity are expected to improve next week which will help pick up the slack for the declining supplies out of Santa Maria and Salinas caused by cooler temps.


Markets have strengthened partially due to rain in CA last weekend. West coast suppliers are expecting east coast business. Cherry and (especially) Roma supplies have tightened considerably, most notably in the east, and markets have firmed significantly. Expect limited Roma volume for the next two weeks due to a gap in Baja as the transition to new acreage continues and older field production dried up more quickly than anticipated. Overall quality is good. Some initial Mature Green harvests out of Quincy may begin next week.

Below is a regional update:

  • Alabama: Limited supplies with generally good quality.

  • Western NC & Eastern TN: NC is winding down with good quality and fairly large sizing. TN has three major grower/shippers that will last until the first frost; quality is good.

  • Eastern Shore VA & Maryland: VA has limited volume. Quality is fairly good.

  • Ohio & Michigan: Both deals are coming to a close even though they may linger into the middle of next month. Quality continues to be suspect.


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