Thursday, September 24, 2009

Fresh From The Farm Produce Market Update

September 23, 2009
This market has slipped even further today as growers attempt to stir up type of demand they can find. Many suppliers have started the week with good supplies, and are looking to move load volumes. Pricing continues to be competitive in both the Santa Maria and Salinas growing regions. Supplies look to be good throughout the week. Also buyers continue to have alternatives points of availability including, Washington, Canada and Mexico.

Availability of both romaine and romaine hearts has improved dramatically. Issues continue to exist with some lots having issues with fringe burn. Suppliers have indicated the fringe burn problem this week will be less an issue compared to previous weeks. Green and red leaf is stable as we head into the weekend shipping. Most suppliers are expecting good availability on leaf items throughout the week. The summer production season will conclude in about two weeks for areas in the Midwest that include Ohio, and Michigan.

Things here are mostly stable. Most suppliers have started the week with moderate to good supplies on both bunched product and crowns. Slightly better pricing can be seen out of the Santa Maria region but prices are firming up. This market looks to get stronger towards the end of the week. The quality of the product continues to be good. Alternative availability is out of Maine, Canada and Mexico.

This market has not changed from the previous week. Supplies are strong, mainly on twelve sizes and deals can be made on volume orders. Supplies may fall off towards the end of the week. Santa Maria and Salinas continue to be the main areas of production. Pricing is competitive in both areas.

Harvesting is out of Bakersfield for California carrots. 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 is getting stronger and the pricing is tightening up with all suppliers. The availability continues to vary. Some suppliers are stronger on 24 counts while others are heavy to 30s and 36 counts. Supplies are coming out of the Salinas and Santa Maria growing regions. The quality continues to be
strong with no major issues to report.

Production this week is starting low with multiple challenges. Quality is the factor of declined production as shippers are leaving a good portion of fruit in the fields. The weather forecast is calling for a warming trend to set in starting today with temps reaching into the mid to high 80’s. The increased temps right after the rain is a bad combination, further stressing the fruit. We can expect to see softer, over ripe and bruised fruit. Oxnard is right around the corner with new crop that should provide some relief for availability and certainly better quality.

Raspberry production has tightened up a little, but quality remains good. There is Californian production in Watsonville and some in the southern areas. We can expect some light production out of Oxnard by the end of September.
Irregular local California production in the Salinas and Watsonville areas are falling off, and Mexico and Guatemala are not shipping in enough fruit to ease demand. Pro rates on orders may continue. Blueberries:
Oregon and Washington are done, Northwest shippers will are using Controlled Atmosphere fruit. There are still good quality and supplies in Michigan. Things are becoming tight and we can expect this trend until we start to see the offshore fruit arrive around late September. We can expect to see higher fobs.

New crop Norkotahs are going strong with good quality. There are some Ranger, Western and very light supplies of Burbanks available. Depending on the shipper there are some that are into larger product and some are now into smaller Norkotahs which has leveled out the prices. Washington new crop Norkotahs are going strong with good quality and availability. Colorado is going strong with new crop supplies as well. Northern California has finished up for their season. Southern Washington is going with good availability on reds and yellows. Mount Vernon, Washington with good availability this week; product quality as usual is stellar.

Idaho/Oregon continues with very good availability this week on red, yellow and whites. Quality is good and it looks like there will be good supplies throughout the season. Fresh harvest for some supplies will finish earlier then anticipated and they will begin their pull out of their storage supplies a little earlier then usual. Huron is done for the season. Washington supplies are very good with good quality as well. There are supplies available out of Colorado and Utah.


CA Fuji Apples have started in a light way with some bagged fruit and limited tray pack cartons. There are imported Fuji apples also available loading in L.A. or the East Coast. CA Gala Apples are going now with good supplies. Washington new crop Gala apples have started in a light way. Red Delicious supplies are very tight. They continue to come out of storage in high color. Gold Delicious apples are now packing light supplies in the Ginger Gold and Early Gold varieties. Washington Anjou pears are finished for the season, but Bartlett Pears have started to alleviate any gaps on green pears. California Pears are going strong with the Bartlett variety and continue to promote with volume on the smaller sizes. California Bosc, Golden Russet Bosc, European Bosc, Asian and Stark Crimson Pears are also going with good supplies. Beginning this week some Eastern areas will start to harvest with their new crops.

Pineapples are in high demand right now. Some areas have experienced natural flornation or premature ripening of the fruit. Harvesting crews are in some cases picking immature fruit to try to fill demand.

Chilean Fruit –
Supplies are abundant but the sizing is on the small side. The maturity levels on Chilean fruit are good.
California Fruit –
Pretty much finished up for this year.
Mexican Fruit –
The fruit continues to struggle with maturity levels. The Mexican avocados are showing early season characteristics that will take longer to ripen.

The market is still very strong and active on 88’s and smaller. Expect fair quality at best as we are seeing more blemishes and some shriveling, the overall quality will continue to decline as we have about a month left until we start Fresh California Navels. Valencia’s are about 18 months old on the tree and have been through plenty of weather and are showing the signs of their age. The interior quality although is very nice and plenty of juice content as well and eating like candy.

The market is strong as well and overall quality is fair to good, but also this fruit is coming from storage and does not have the legs we would like to see. We are starting some fresh dist. 3 fruit that looks good but does have about 120 hours of gas on it which does take a little life out of the fruit. We expect to get going with better volume and less gas hours out of dist. 3 in about two weeks and you will see considerably better quality.

Sizing on pack outs are running to smaller sizes. Demand is good. Quality remains good, with lighter color which is a characteristic of the summer crop.

Grape market is extremely active with very good demand on all varieties. The overall quality is very good and eating quality is excellent. We are ahead of last year as an industry in overall shipments by about 4 million cartons which is helping to strengthen the market. We will have fruit through the month of November but expect prices to be abnormally higher than years past. We have good availability on snack packs for your school needs.


Market is strengthening on the Westside as we are getting into the less volume and we see the volumes begin to slow down as we should be finished with the Westside by the 3rd week of October and transition into the desert at that point. The overall quality is very good and excellent sugars on Cantaloupe.

Market is active as well and seeing less volume and very tight on the larger fruit as well. The overall quality is very good and sugars are very high as well. We have had some very good weather for melons which has kept them very clean and strong. Expect prices to continue to strengthen and we should start to transition to the desert around the 3rd week of October.

Regional Watermelons are still available, as well as light volume out of Northern California, but supplies continue to drop off. What is left for California volume will drop off again over the next week to 10 days. Mexico is slated to start in mid-October. Markets remain strong and demand strength continues as well.
Quality is very good for all available regular and personal sized watermelons.

The Michigan and New Jersey deal is finished on cucumbers but Georgia and Tennessee are into good volume with excellent quality. Minimal demand will keep the market down for another several days.

Baja’s production remains very light. Fresno now looks to start by weeks end. Washington will have steady supplies into next week. Market may rise due to a shortage in the east.

As the Northern most growing regions begin to wind down the southern regions will begin harvesting. Pepper will most likely remain at current levels for the remainder of the week as Michigan will go until the first frost and Georgia will begin picking at the end of the week

Western Green Bells and Colored Bells: Supplies of green bells remain steady. Stockton and Lodi areas are lighter for 2 weeks. Le Grand is gradually increasing. The Santa Maria, Gilroy and Hollister area remain steady in production. The red and yellow bell production remains steady with production out
of Gilroy / Hollister and the Oxnard areas.

This week will see the end of squash supplies out of the north. With Georgia into good volume now we will continue to see this market drop. Quality is good on the Georgia product right now but rains rolling
through that area may lead to issues later next week.

Baja has good supplies and will continue in supplies over the next few weeks. Santa Maria has started new fields, but fall production is lighter. Still some quality issues showing up. Fresno should remain
steady over the next couple of weeks.

East –
The market is reacting to current weather pattern setting in the east. The forecasted rain will slow harvests. There is cooler weather in the northern areas and this is bringing their season to an end soon. Supplies are going to diminish within two weeks for MI, OH and PA. Florida is expected to begin in
about two weeks.

West –
San Diego continues crossing decent volume now but demand is eating up most open fruit. Reports of Baja quality have been good. It has stabilized and we are seeing consistent pricing. We can expect reduced volume from Baja by mid to later October due to the recent Hurricane that past over Baja.
Roma tomatoes have tightened up a bit. The contributing factor to the tighter supplies was the recent rain the valley received keeping growers out of the fields for two days. We can expect higher fob’s on all tomatoes.

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