Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Fresh From The Farm Produce Market Update

August 12, 2009
Again the market is steady to begin the week. After a week of near normal temperatures in the growing areas, high heat has returned and may cause some issues with quality. Lighter weights and puffy heads may be a couple of the issues we should be on the look out for. Tip burn is also still being seen at harvesting time. Competing crop availability from regional areas and well as Canada are helping to fill demand.

Romaine supplies continue to improve this week, while the availability of romaine hearts continues to be very light. The high heat that was seen in the south county region the previous weeks seemed to take its toll on the romaine heart crop. Issues include browning inside the internal parts of the leaf. Internal burn is also an issue. Low yields have been reported from many suppliers. There is good availability on all other leaf items.

This market has gotten a little stronger to start the week. Demand is light overall, but supplies are also lighter with most suppliers. Sharper pricing can still be found in the Santa Maria region, but expect that to change later in the week. Expect the availability to get tighter over the next 2 weeks. The quality overall continues to be good.

This market has softened up some. Most suppliers are reporting increased supplies this week over last week. There have been some reports of yellow and brown spotting upon deliveries, be sure to work with our shippers to avoid this. Santa Maria and Salinas continue to be the main areas of production.
Harvesting has all shifted over to fields in Bakersfield. Sizing and quality have been very good. Michigan also has good availability, and there may be a freight advantage in checking this out.

This market has remained steady with very little demand being reported by most suppliers. The availability is stronger on larger sizes, mostly 24s are where volume deals are being made. Michigan has begun production on celery with good quality being reported.

Production continues with lower than projected numbers, resulting in the higher markets. Almost all shippers report to be very snug on supplies, with some rejecting any orders for new customers. You will want to be very careful with any fruit loaded in The Salinas / Watsonville growing area, as fruit quality is variable. We are starting to see a lot more overripe and bruised berries with many shippers quoting such defects at shipping point.
Recent warm weather has spurred on raspberry production. There is not an abundance of fruit but supplies are better than weeks previous. Quality has been good.
We are seeing irregular local California production in the Salinas and Watsonville areas but are expecting a bit of a decline, possibly until Mexico begins shipping again. Production is lightening up a bit as we are seeing current availability lessen and fobs slightly increase. The Northwest is producing decent volume with good quality.

We are starting to see more steady volumes coming out of the Northwest. Recent triple digit weather and play a role to thin out availability and quality.

Fresh crop Norkotahs are here!! Initial shipments of new crop potatoes will be field packed, meaning they will not have had a chance to go through the curing process most potatoes go through, this just means that you need to stay tighter on inventories and continuously turn your supplies. At this early point, quality looks to be good. The market will take some time to adjust itself. Large size Russet potatoes 40, 50, and 60 ct remain extremely limited in Idaho with old and new crop. Shippers have deals available on 100ct and smaller cartons. New crop California Russets are available but limited large sized product as well, with good quality. Wisconsin is becoming more limited with availability. Colorado has good supplies and quality is still good. Colored storage potatoes are still available but limited out of Wisconsin. California new crop colored potatoes available with very good quality. Large sized reds are limited.

Huron, CA and WA, are still good choices for onions right now. NM will begin to shut down in the next few weeks. Idaho / Oregon is expected to make their start around the first of September. California will run both red and yellow until the end of this month.


Fuji Apples in Washington are all but finished for the season. There are imported Fuji apples available loading in L.A. or the East Coast. CA Fuji Apples will not start until September. CA Gala Apples continue in a light way again this week. Red Delicious apples continue to come out of CA storage in high color and peaking on 100’s and smaller and supplies of all reds are very tight! Gold Delicious apples are also in
light supply, and finishing the storage crop very quickly with supplies peaking on 88’s. The Wenatchee district is finishing on what little they have left on Braeburn. Washington Pears will go through this week with the Anjou and Red Anjou varieties only. California Pears are going strong with the Bartlett variety and are looking to promote with volume on the smaller sizes. California Bosc Pears are going and there are a few Asian pears now available.

Pineapples are in high demand right now and the market is starting to rise. For the past couple of weeks Costa Rican growers had fruit that ripened early. As that fruit has been cleared out of the system, they now have had to begin harvesting fruit that is not optimal yet. It should have been left in the field for a few more weeks. You may begin to see fruit that is dark in color, and not as sweet as normal. This could last about another few weeks.

Chilean Fruit –
Volume is increasing at a rapid pace but not enough to impact the market yet. Quality is good.
California Fruit –
Volumes are light as California growers look to finish their season in the next couple of weeks.
Mexican Fruit –
Supplies are crossing over the border, but deliveries are running behind. Looks like the third week of August until supplies improve. Please note that early new crop oil content will be low and require additional time for ripening.

Valencia crop estimates now look lower than first projected. Shippers are pacing their harvest to ensure steady supplies though October. Demand is very good, and the market is expected to continue to strengthen. Quality remains very good. Valencia production is good. Quality is very good, with sizes peaking on 88’s, 113’s, and 138’s.

Supplies are projected to be good for August. Best availability looks to be on 140’s, 165’s, and 200’s. Summer demand is picking up with prices firming also. The market is still very strong and firm on all sizes. The fruit quality is good, juice content is excellent, and color is very good. The Chilean fruit is starting to show up in the east. As availability increases it will help to bring the market in line. Mexican lemons are starting to make their presence felt in the west.

Market steady with good supplies of all sizes, we are seeing some lighter color fruit which is just a characteristic of the summer fruit. Juice content is excellent and fruit is strong.

Supplies remain good on new crop Flame red seedless grapes, and Red Crimson is about to make it’s debut. Green seedless varieties (Princess and Thompson) supplies continue to improve dramatically. They are all available from the Fresno, Delano, Arvin and Bakersfield districts with excellent quality. Temperatures have been very high in the new crop growing areas, but the fruit is thriving.


Milder weather this week has prevailed in the Central Valley melon growing districts and this is helping the fruit gain size. With the better supplies of larger fruit, smaller sizes are light. Demand is also light across the board right now, so the market hasn’t been affected. Fruit quality is excellent with high sugar levels.

Honeydew supplies are very tight this week. Quality is excellent in honeydews right now with creamy white color, solid fruit and high sugar levels. End of week the market could gain a little strength.

Watermelons supplies are starting to lightened in California this week. There are supplies but only enough to satisfy demand. We expect the markets to stay strong.
Georgia, Missouri, North Carolina, Virginia and Indiana are harvesting in limited supplies. Delaware has started with fair supplies.

Supplies remain strong in the east, shippers will try to raise the market in the next few days to try and salvage something from this crop.

Baja’s production has started to decline week and wrap up by the end of the month. Fresno will have another batch ready by then. Washington is starting off with light supplies.

Ohio and Michigan are still picking crown size peppers, leaving large and mediums a little harder to get.

Supplies of green bells are starting to improve as we move into new growing areas that are beginning in Stockton, Huron and the coastal areas. Red and yellow bells from Bakersfield are falling off.

The primary volume on squash is out of the Northeast, Michigan and Ohio. The market on both green and yellow should start to soften as warm weather moves in.

Salinas, and Santa Maria are starting to break into new fields so quantities will be light for the next couple of weeks. Baha still has good steady production at this time.

East –
Recent rains in the east have affected availability. Large and medium tomatoes are little tight for this reason, as well as roma tomatoes.

West –
San Diego continues crossing good volume now and fob are reflecting it. Reports of Baja quality have been good. Central Valley is producing good supplies of cherry tomatoes. The round market remains aggressive as shippers compete for all business. Keep an eye on smaller sizes as they are said to be hard to come by and we should anticipate some type of market move based of that. Excessive heat and bloom drop.

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