Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Fresh From The Farm Produce Market Update

September 30, 2009
Again this week, the market is softer. Many suppliers have started the week with good supplies, and most shippers are willing to deviate from the normal price for those that will buy volume. Pricing continues to be competitive in both the Santa Maria and Salinas growing regions. All reports show that supplies on lettuce should be strong throughout the week.

Availability of both romaine and romaine hearts has improved and are good this week. Issues continue to exist with some lots having issues with fringe burn, however it is becoming less and less. 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.

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. The quality of the product continues to be good. Alternative availability is out of Maine, Canada and Mexico.

This market continues to be stable. 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.

Lower fruit production this week is a result of the declining quality. A lot of fruit is being left in the fields because it isn’t good enough to pack. And what is being packed doesn’t seem to have much shelf life as reports of bruising, and over ripe berries are starting to become normal. 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 early October.
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 early October. 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. Idaho is expecting snow the end of this week so that may tighten things just as bit. 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 – Chilean fruit supplies are steady; sizes peaking on 50’s and 60’s. Larger sizes are improving. Fruit has early season characteristics, but will steadily improve in eating quality as we get further into the season.
California Fruit –
Pretty much finished up for this year.
Mexican Fruit –
Supplies are improving, but Mexican growers are still being cautious about fruit that does not have the maturity levels needed.

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.

Supplies are plentiful throughout the Southeast and demand remains light, despite high cucumber prices in the West. This market should stay soft for the remainder of the week and quality will continue to be

Baja’s production remains light, but should see light increases over the next couple of weeks. Washington is winding down. Mainland Mexico is getting ready to begin their early crop.

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.

With Georgia into good volume now this market should hold at the lower levels. Quality remains good and
supplies look to be plentiful for the remainder of the week. This week will see the end of squash supplies out of the north.

Baja has good supplies and will continue in supplies over the next few weeks. Santa Maria and Fresno will have light steady supplies into early October. Mainland Mexico has started with light production. Santa Maria and Fresno will have light steady supplies into early October. Mainland Mexico has started with light production. Fresno should remain steady over the next couple of weeks.

East –
There is cooler weather in the northern areas and this is bringing their season to an end soon. Quincy FL has started harvesting in a light way. There has been rain down there but not nearly as extensive and damaging as the northern areas. The best quality currently is from North Carolina, Michigan, Jersey and Virginia. Markets are strong.

West –
San Diego continues crossing decent volume and quality. 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 eased up a bit. Central California has fairly aggressive pricing and plenty of good fruit to go around.

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