GARLIC- The peeled garlic pipeline from China continues to be clean due to late container arrivals. When we do receive product, it is of questionable quality due to all the delays. As a result, pricing remains very high. We do not expect any relief soon. Much longer transit times and delayed vessel arrivals are adding as much as 70-90 days to a trip that takes 21 days. China: Demand is strong as supplies are light. Expect pricing remain active through November. California: New crop California garlic continues but supplies remain light but; growers are pro-rating and are once again supplementing supplies with imported garlic from China, Mexico and Argentina.
ICEBERG- Demand continues to exceed supplies. The triggers on value-added products continue this week. Common defects have been very lightweights, decay, misshapen heads, and discoloration and INSV that has plagued growers, industrywide. Salinas production is winding down and Yuma will begin this week with some suppliers. This is about 14 days earlier than expected and the product in Yuma is small, underdeveloped and very light frame. Huron will have light production as well this week and next. Supplies will be light for the next 3-4 weeks minimum. The shipping points on the West Coast are in Santa Maria, Salinas, Huron, the Imperial Valley and Yuma.
ROMAINE / LEAF- Romaine, green and red leaf as well as romaine hearts continue to be light in availability. Demand exceeds supplies. Growers continue to experience quality issues at the field level ultimately reducing yields. With the supply on iceberg lettuce being so short, overall demand on romaine and leaf is stronger, with slightly better movement on all romaine. Plants that are healthy are exhibiting good color, texture, and quality overall. The common defects being reported are fringe and tip burn, lightweights, and pink ribbing. Again, INSV has caused havoc for all suppliers, industry wide. Salinas production looks to continue for another two weeks but in a very light way. Huron and Oxnard have light production and Yuma will begin in the next few days. Santa Maria will have light production as well. Expect active markets for 3 to 4 weeks minimum.
WEST COAST: SPRING MIX/BABY SPINACH/BABY KALE- Watching baby spinach, arugula and cilantro closely as the recent rain has caused quality issues. Look for these markets to be strong going into next weekend. Most shippers will transition to Yuma by the second week of November.
EAST COAST: ARUGULA / WATERCRESS– Watercress and arugula supplies out of Florida are very good with good quality.
BROCCOLI- Although still limited, supplies are slowly improving out of the Salinas Valley and Santa Maria. Fields have been lost due to quality issues such as pin rot, brown bead and cat eye. While we have seen a slight increase in supply on broccoli with lighter demand, we could see the market strengthen as we head into the US Thanksgiving holiday and transition to Yuma. Quality is good.
ASPARAGUS– Mexican volume is keeping the market down. The west coast market is flooded with Mexican product. Peruvian production is at peak and volume continues to increase weekly. Supply will continue to exceed demand going into the US Thanksgiving pull. The demand for Thanksgiving should cause the market to react some but plenty of supply is expected to be available. This is a great time to feature asparagus!
CABBAGE- East Coast: Green, red and savoy cabbage are in good supply this week as there continues to be local deals offering promotable volume. Ontario and Quebec continue late fall harvest of winter storage red, green and savoy cabbage. All continue to be available in good supply. Georgia will be starting with light supplies in the next few weeks. West Coast: Some Texas growers have started with light supplies. Supplies in California have improved and the market is easing. Value-added cabbage products have had triggers removed.
CAULIFLOWER– Cauliflower supplies are starting to improve slightly. Quality is fair with minor discoloration. Expect supplies to be limited going into next week. Supplies are forecast to remain tight heading into the desert growing region transition. Most growers will begin cauliflower harvests in the desert growing regions the week of November 15th.
BEANS- Markets remain firm with lighter supplies this week out of Georgia and South Florida. In the west, we are seeing volume ramp up out of the desert and should see a few crossings out of Nogales late next week. Quality will be marginal in the east and good in the west. Snipped: Value-added trimmed green bean prices are triggered. Supplies are somewhat limited. Quality is very good.
CELERY- This market is stronger with most suppliers. As we get closer to the US Thanksgiving holiday, demand will get stronger daily. The best availability continues on large sizing with most shippers. The quality continues to be above average with the best quality and pricing continuing in Santa Maria/Oxnard. The weather forecast calls for cooler temperatures with cloud cover this week.
EGGPLANT- West Coast: Fresno is winding down on their eggplant crop with very light inventories. Nogales has started light crossings from Mexico, but may be until next week before any inventories are seen. Markets are strong. Quality out of Fresno is fair as the season winds down. East Coast: Supply out of South Georgia will be lighter this week due to cooler weather. Florida has started in a small way. We expect to see decent volume by mid-November. We expect to transition out of Georgia and into Florida’s crop during this week.
MUSHROOMS- United States: Supply issues are critical on all fresh mushrooms with most producers within the eastern part of the U.S. There will be shortages through the end of the year at minimum. We anticipate to see relief in January on supply, however, we cannot project when costs will level out. Costs are rising very fast. Some suppliers are pro-rating orders by 50% in order to spread available supply around. There are a lot of factors causing these issues. Labor shortages are creating production issues. There is a nationwide shortage of peat moss, the topping that is necessary to grow mushrooms. In order to get peat moss, growers have had to import peat moss on ships from outside the United States. Another factor is holiday demand, the largest months of the year on mushrooms is traditionally October-December. The other issues are rising costs and the impact on profitability of producers. The expected increase in price once you take into account the increases in growing medium costs/availability, labor costs and transportation costs, shippers are looking at around $0.20-$0.30 per lb. at a minimum increase average. This will be higher depending upon the distance from the growing areas, since mushrooms are sold on a “delivered” basis, freight costs are a large part of the cost of product. American eastern growers are actively looking to buy mushrooms to offset shortages from Canadian and west coast producers causing supply issues and increased pricing in Canada, where growers are also experiencing similar issues. We anticipate relief in January on supply, however, we cannot project when costs will level out.
CUCUMBERS– Field: Mexico continues to increase its production and we expect availability to only increase. Florida is also starting to increase its yields, so we don’t expect market conditions to change. English Cucumber: Cucumber markets remain elevated as growers continue rotating crops out for the winter replant. Pricing remains high while availability has improved. Quality remains strong. Into late November, we will see more Mexican product in the market. Volumes will really ramp up from here forward from Mexico. Quality will be fairly strong from Mexico by middle of November and prices will continue to ease. Mini Cucumbers: The mini cucumber market also remains elevated. Quality is very strong from Canada. We are expecting stronger market pricing to continue until Mexico ramps up in early November.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS- Supplies and quality remain steady. We are still looking for the market to continue to correct downward as more supplies come through the pipeline. Local delas are starting in the Midwest and East adding more volume.
ONIONS- The Pacific Northwest continues to ship a smaller size profile, with Colossal and Super Colossals being very limited. Harvest is finished. The market continues to stay strong on yellow jumbos and larger, and all sizes of reds and whites. Typically, we see reduced prices during harvest before prices firm up as growers ship out of storage. This season, it remains to be seen if the market can bear a further increase from where things are currently at. Movement has slowed these past two weeks, likely due to higher pricing and a decrease in demand; perhaps due to the recent recall. However, most growers are pleased with this, as they are needing their short supply to last them well into the spring to cover contract commitments. Labor shortages are continuing to present production challenges in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, particularly on heavy volumes of consumer packed onions. Once we get past the first of the year, supply is expected to further tighten, and if the heat has detrimental effects on the onions long term storage ability, we may see elevated levels of shrink. While there are rumblings that Mexico and other offshore onion growing regions have larger than normal crops that they will be importing in January, it may not have its usual affect this season. Freight continues to be challenging out of all onion growing regions.
HOTHOUSE PEPPERS- The hothouse pepper market is showing some good strength. Pick volumes continue to be lower than 4 weeks ago. Quality is good and sizing will also start to improve as crops come out of summer heat. Into late November, quality will stay fair overall. Sizing will continue to trend up, however we will still be seeing plenty of smaller sized product coming off plants; predominantly from Canadian farms. Picks will decrease slightly. Expecting to see market pricing slightly lower than seasonal averages.
FIELD PEPPERS- Green Pepper: East: Markets are still active, and we don’t see any change for the next two weeks when Florida is scheduled to start. Georgia has availability; weather permitting, Georgia will continue to harvest until their first freeze. Growers in Florida are cutting back due to the high cost of growing in Florida, while some growers are leaving the industry. Pricing could remain strong. West: Coachella is starting to get into some volume. Pepper will remain active for the next two weeks. Red Pepper: West: Tighter supply this week out of California and Mexico. Quality remains good. East: Canadian greenhouse growers are expecting steady yields over next two weeks with smaller sizes being the better value. Larger sizes are in very light supply. Prices are steady. Quality is good.
GREEN ONIONS– Green onion supplies continue to be steady. Look for this market to continue to stay steady as we move into next week.
ASSORTED CHILI PEPPERS- There is steady supply out of South Georgia this week on long hots, poblano, cubanelle and Jalapeno. Quality is outstanding from Georgia. In McAllen, supply will remain tight this week on all varieties, and serranos remain extremely tight as growers transition to newer fields. We do need to keep in mind that particularly this time of year quality issues can easily come about, and pricing can reflect quality particularly when dealing with older plantings and older growing regions. On the west coast, supply is lighter out of California and should wrap up this week. Baja supply will be lighter this week as well due to cooler weather and should transition to Nogales over the next 14 days.
KALE- Steady supplies are keeping this market steady on green, red and black kale. Look for this market to continue to stay steady. Product is still available from multiple shipping points; California, Georgia and New Jersey.
ZUCCHINI- Large inventories in Nogales has caused some growers in Sonora to reduce harvest to help move through the existing inventory at the border. Everyone is dealing on volume orders across all sizes and packs. Yellow zucchini seems to be a little stronger with lighter inventories to pull from, but no shortages by any means. Eastern production from Georgia is winding down, but Florida has already started. Florida will continue to increase production as more growers start getting into the game. Weather permitting, Georgia will continue to harvest for another two weeks. Overall, markets are soft out of the west but quality has been very good.
CARTON BAKING POTATO: Prince Edward Island: Growers are pleased with the yields and quality of this year’s potato crop. After last year’s devastating drought, the Island has experienced nearly ideal growing conditions this year. The remnants of hurricanes Ida and Larry brought 3-6 inches of much needed rain in early September. The moisture came just in time to boost yields on full-season varieties. Reports from several sources indicate that the yields on this year’s crop exceeded previous expectations. Though harvest is only 75% complete, we expect PEI growers to dig 83,500 acres of potatoes this year. With this year’s expected record yield, 20% above the five-year average, production is expected to be 35.2% higher than the 2020 crop. It is PEI’s largest potato crop since 2006. Growers have had more than three weeks of ideal harvest weather. As a result, they are about a week ahead of the usual schedule. Several growers will finish digging potatoes this week, while the bulk of the harvest should wrap up by the end of next week. USA: The potato market continues to move up on all sizes, rather than just smaller size potatoes as it previously had been. While we had previously believed this would be a short-term supply situation where the size profile would become more balanced, the Norkotah crop does appear to be remaining on the larger end of the size profile for the foreseeable future. This is causing 80ct and smaller potatoes, to get progressively tighter each week. The concern regarding as much as 30% or more of the crop remain alive and well, and we are feeling it already. This is rather unchartered territory as the market usually begins to get plentiful on cartons this time of year as shippers pack heavy retail packs to meet the US Thanksgiving and holiday demand. Additionally, processors continue to put pressure on the fresh crop as they are offering record prices for bulk product. Growers are then faced with a difficult decision about whether to sell their crop to processors or support the fresh market. The only way the fresh market will keep up, is if returns back to the farms are comparable to what they are being offered. The heat this past summer is still believed to have affected the Burbanks more than the Norkotahs, so we are not very optimistic of relief until likely next year’s crop. Unfortunately, we are not in a situation where we can make up the Idaho shortfall with supply from other growing regions, as Washington experienced similar growing conditions, and they are up against the same challenges related to low yields. The concern surrounding trucks continues to be elevated as rates these past few weeks have continued to increase. Shippers and receivers should be prepared to continue to see elevated freight rates at least through this calendar year. In normal circumstances, we see a drop in rates during the first quarter, but it remains to be seen if that will take place this coming year.
CORN- Georgia volume continues to be very limited, and pricing remains high and unfavorable for promotions. Expect to see this continue for the next couple of weeks.
TABLE POTATOES– Strong yields in the Maritime Provinces and an increase in the harvested area are expected to boost Canada’s 2021 potato crop 6.3% higher than 2020 production. If this indeed plays out, this would be Canada’s largest potato crop on record. Growers are expected to harvest 22,200 more acres than they harvested from the 2020 crop. The 2021-crop harvest is wrapping up in most provinces. P.E.I. growers expect to finish within the next 7-10 days. Storages are full in New Brunswick and Quebec. Though harvest is nearly complete in those provinces, it has slowed down while growers seek to find a home for the remaining potatoes. Ontario growers have struggled with extremely wet conditions during harvest. Canada’s 2021 average potato yield could be the largest ever produced. Canada’s table potato supplies should be plentiful. Record yields in the eastern provinces have increased combined potato production by 31.7% from last year’s drought reduced level. On the other hand, table potato supplies in the western provinces could be tight. Record-high temperatures during the growing season took a toll on this year’s potato crops in Manitoba and Alberta. Ontario: Warm weather and saturated ground have made harvest difficult for Ontario growers. Sources indicate that harvest is 60%-80% complete. Some areas are further along than others. Growers in the Hamilton area are still waiting for fields to dry out. Chip potato growers in the northern part of the province could finish digging this week. Reports indicate that yields are above average. Growers are concerned that damp conditions could cause storage issues. Storages are going to be full unless business picks up soon. Due to the heavy rainfall, we have reduced the estimate of harvested acreage by 300 acres, to 37,000 acres. Ontario’s 2021 potato crop is expected to exceed 2020 production by 15.3%. Quebec: The harvest got off to a quick start during the first half of September. Most growers have finished digging. Reports indicate that chip and table potato yields have been average to a little above average, with good quality. Yields on irrigated processing varieties are much better than anticipated, though hot weather in August reduced the size profile of this year’s crop in some areas. Other reports suggest that the Russet size profile ended up better than anticipated. We expect Quebec’s 2021 yield to average 6.5% higher than the 2020 crop. The biggest reason is the increase in Quebec’s harvested acreage. Stats Canada most likely understated the province’s planted acreage. Based on information from multiple sources, we expect Quebec growers to harvest 46,500 acres of potatoes this year. That is 2,530 more acres than they harvested in 2020, up 5.8%. British Columbia: Harvest is virtually complete. Excessive heat in late June and early July caused some quality issues and reduced yields; however, the 2021 crop turned out better than many expected. Reports indicate that yields were similar to those from the 2019 crop but 9.5% less than the 2020 crop.