Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fresh From The Farm Produce Market Update

March 25, 2009
Currently we have a stable lettuce market. Very light production is expected to continue in Yuma until mid-April due to some late plantings. Most shippers either have or will make the move to Huron this week. Many suppliers have enough volume to cover orders in full. Quality and volume should be average with most suppliers throughout the week.

This market is steady with plenty of supplies from most shippers. It would be a good decision to switch to naked leaf to avoid the dehydration of the liner product. Most shippers continue to be ahead of their projected harvesting times on the leaf fields, leaving plenty of product to go around and shippers hungry to deal. Some quality defects continue to include fringe burn, tip burn, and wind burn.

Pricing is extremely volatile on bunched broccoli crowns right now. Yuma is winding down, and both Salinas and Santa Maria have experienced very cold night time temperatures these past few weeks. And what product is growing is very branchy, and not suitable for crown usage. Pricing will be very active all week. The production on bunched broccoli has become much tighter compared to the previous week. Mexico and Florida continue to provide an option for broccoli crowns.

As with broccoli, the cauliflower market is also much tighter with all suppliers. Salinas has started some early production. Expect this commodity to be active throughout this week as most suppliers begin to finish up the season in Yuma. Demand is definitely stronger. Some defects showing up include black spotting and yellowing upon arrivals.

Harvesting has started in new fields in the Imperial Valley. Size is running small right now as cool weather has slowed growth. This has lightened supplies of jumbo sized carrots. Size is expected to improve in about 2 weeks. Quality remains good. Georgia has good availability and quality on the East Coast.

This market continues to be steady with most suppliers. Yuma has very light production with the lion’s share of the product being harvested in Oxnard. Sizing is heavy to the larger product, 36’s and smaller are the tightest sizes to purchase. The Salinas valley expects to begin production in the early part of June. Florida is expected to have celery until around mid April.


Strawberries Strawberry production this week has started with mixed reports out of California. A cold front accompanied with some minor rain showers did not affected production greatly but the cooler temps are keeping production a bit lower than expected. The market is expecting a mid week drop as shippers are expecting much better volume coming in. Florida is starting to wind down in various stages with production. McAllen is completely finished with strawberries.

Raspberry production continues tight this week due to diminished transfers from Chile and Mexico. There has been some local California production, but with the past and current light rain patterns, the numbers have fallen greatly, and quality has been affected. We can expect tight supplies until Northern and Southern California kick in.
Blackberry supplies are steady with greater consistency in transfers arriving from Mexico. We are now looking for local California production to come into play. Some shippers are offering aggressive pricing anticipating a big push over the next couple of months.

Quantities on blueberry transfers from Chile are dwindling down, mostly air freight from this point forward. Shippers are seeking higher fobs. There are small quantities of local Californian blues with great size and quality. We may see a gap as the eastern early varieties where affected by early frost damage.

As we have reported all along, this years Burbank variety is largely to the smaller profiles in size and more #1 product. As a result large potatoes ( 70 ct & up ) have recently become snug as well as 10 oz #2’s. Wisconsin and Colorado still have good supplies and quality. Colored potatoes are loading out of North Dakota and Wisconsin with Washington cleaning up for the season. California has good quality and supplies of colored potatoes. Florida is also now up and going with good quality.

There are still good supplies of all colors and sizes of onions in Idaho and Washington. Some shippers are starting to close down for the season but we expect Idaho will have product available through the end of April. Mexican product is now in Texas with good supplies of all colors, quality is good. Load volume deals are still available. Texas grown onions are starting to become available, at this time it looks like sizing is running jumbo and smaller.


There are deals available on smaller apples, and lower grades in most all varieties. Remember, lower grade is not necessarily lower quality, just less than full color. Washington remains the leading production area for apples and will be through the spring and summer months. Regional production areas including Michigan and New York continue shipping light supplies of storage apples; demand remains light for those. Washington and Oregon Pears continue production from storage including mainly the Anjou, Bosc and Golden Bosc varieties.

Pineapple demand has been very good—as supplies are below forecast due to adverse weather in Central America. Quality is good to very good.

Mexican fruit – Mexican shipments are steady, with steady markets, and good demand.
Chilean Fruit - Chilean season is coming to the end. Supplies are still trickling in, but this is the end of it.
California Fruit - Growers are harvesting limited volume, but look to ramp up production as we move through March and into April.

Valencia’s are going strong, and more to the large size. We are seeing very few 100s and 125s. Quality is excellent, and should be available through May. Spring Navels will continue through April. Grapefruit will begin to wrap up in about another week. Honey Tangerines are finishing this week.

There will be good supplies of Navels available into May. Peak sizes are 48’s through 88’s. There is limited harvest starting on Valencia’s. The overall quality is excellent and fruit is eating very well. We are harvesting all gibbed fruit that will have a tinge of green on the blossom and stem end. Expect the market to stay steady for the next few weeks and then it should start to strengthen up.

The Coachella and Yuma areas are 100% picked and the Central Valley is 70% picked. Most of the volume is coming out of Ventura County. Supplies are peaking on 140’s. There are good supplies of 165’s, with 200’s being a little on the tight side.

Market is steady on the larger sizes and stronger on the smaller sizes. The overall quality is very good with excellent color and very good juice content.

The market is steady with supplies of green seedless far outweighing supplies of the reds. We are currently finishing up on the flames and are now seeing some crimsons which will be the final red variety that will get us through until we start harvesting Mexican and California fruit around the first of May. The overall quality is excellent and fruit is eating very well. We expect the market on greens to hold steady and the red market to strengthen as we forward.

Cantaloupes and Honeydews are in the same market conditions. Honduras and Costa Rica supplies are dwindling and Guatemala is coming into the second cycle. The fruit is cutting well and fruit is eating fair to good. Expect the market to keep steady through the month and then we should see the market strengthen until we start our California fruit around the first week of May.

Watermelon supplies in both the seeded and seedless are extremely light again this week. Transition back to Northern Mexico is a difficult one and growers continue to struggle with weather and growth patterns. Demand is strong for limited supplies and the market will remain strong. Although there are light supplies, the quality is still very good.

Honduras is finishing up and South Florida is still a good 2-3 weeks away from any ample supplies, the cucumber market is at the highest it has been in quite some time. Quality issues are rampant in the final off shore shipments while the beginnings of the domestic supplies are undersized and scarred. Scarce supplies and a screaming market will be the go for the next two weeks.

Western Cucumber: Production has dropped this week from Mexico as southern growers come to the end of their fields, and what volume they are sending is heavier to off grades. Expect supplies and qualities to improve in the month of April.
The market on bell peppers continues a steady decline as more volume becomes available in Florida. Rain earlier this week did not impact the market. The market should continue a steady drop through the week and then begin an upward trend in another 7-10 days as growing areas change again.

Still very light supplies of green bells coming out of Mexico as volume continues to drop off, with size and quality being a problem. The California desert looks to start the 3rd week of April. Demand is very good. Red and yellow bell supplies remain light.

The squash market is starting making a dramatic downward turn after weeks at the higher levels. Plenty of warm, sunny weather has brought on good supplies, and improvements in quality. The market should continue to drop but in smaller increments, as Plant City begins to produce good volume in another 10-14days.

Nogales supplies of squash are still light this week, but looks to start coming back next week. Demand is improving, and looks to return to normal in about 2 weeks.

East – Tomato production in Florida is lower than Mexico but demand is keeping the playing field level. Cooler weather is slowing production and growth, and higher markets are being tested with daily pricing.

West – Mexican growers have pulled back a bit on production to get themselves out of the low market they have been in for a month. There is still plenty of vine ripe fruit to go around but we are seeing a bit higher fobs for gas green round tomatoes. Roma tomatoes are reacting a bit with quality being a big concern.

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