MARKET UPDATE FOR SEPTEMBER 25, 2023
APPLES The Washington and Michigan new crops seasons are getting started. Expect stable to below-average markets (depending on variety). New crop Washington Fuji, Gala, and Granny Smith Apples are now being shipped. Quality is excellent. Storage crop Washington Golden and Red Delicious Apples remain available.
ASPARAGUS Volume is rising in Peru, increasing industry supplies and lowering prices. The Baja peninsula remains the primary growing region in Mexico. Quality is very good: spears are straight with uniform tips. Asparagus is available.
AVOCADO Mexican supplies are ample; markets are low. The California and Peruvian seasons will end this week. Expect prices to inch up in October. RSS Avocado Chunks, Halves, Pico de Gallo Guacamole, and Pure Pulp are available.
BELL PEPPERS Green bell prices are level on the West Coast; tighter red bell stocks are keeping markets slightly higher. Mexican green bells (into South Texas) are ample; prices are weak. Production continues on the East Coast; markets are average.
BLACKBERRIES Abundant supplies are keeping the market low. Expect comparable prices for several weeks. Quality is very good; berries are plump and sweet with minimal issues such as red cell or bruising.
BLUEBERRIES Elevated prices and low volume are forecast through September. The Mexican season is underway; stocks will increase in late September. Peruvian harvests are getting a late start. Quality is very good.
BROCCOLI Prices are up. Quality problems such as brown bead, yellowing, hollow core, and bracketing are tightening stocks.
CANTALOUPE The market is steady; volume is high in California’s San Joaquin Valley. Sugar levels range from 14 to 15 Brix. Growers will transition to the California desert region in about a month. Prices will climb as that move gets closer.
CAULIFLOWER Prices are falling fast; supplies are abundant. Temperate conditions have helped improve quality and increase yields, although large heads (nine-count packs) remain limited. Quality is very good: florets are exhibiting snowy white color and consistent size.
CELERY The market will inch up for the next few weeks. Demand is strong in California as East Coast seasons end. Salinas volume has fallen due to disease pressure, black heart, and pith.
CHILI PEPPERS Stocks are sufficient on both coasts. Growers will harvest in California and Washington through October, weather permitting. Quality is very good for most varieties. Anaheim, Habanero, Jalapeno, Pasilla, and Serrano Chiles are available.
CUCUMBERS West Coast markets are high; Baja yields remain low due to hurricane conditions earlier in the season. Expect volume to drop until harvesting begins in Central Mexico in mid- to late October. East Coast growers are moving to Georgia. Ohio and Eastern North Carolina production is winding down.
GRAPES Prices are high. California volume is forecast to be 20-25% below normal due to Tropical Storm Hilary. The market will rise through the end of the year. Offshore grapes will become available in mid-November.
GREEN LEAF Markets are slowly rising as the Salinas season begins to wind down. Price spikes experienced the last two seasons are not anticipated. Huron harvests are expected to start in mid- to late October. The Arizona and California desert season will start in early to mid- November.
HONEYDEW Prices are unchanged; stocks are sufficient. Growers will transition to the California desert region in about a month. Expect markets to inch up as that move gets closer. Sugar levels range from 9 to 14 Brix.
ICEBERG Market spikes experienced the last two seasons are not anticipated. Huron harvests are expected to start in mid- to late October. The Arizona and California desert season will start in early to mid-November.
LEMONS The market will remain at high levels through the rest of the month. Small- size lemons (165- through 235-count fruit) are the scarcest.
LIMES Markets will hold steady at high levels into October. Premium grades are tight as crop quality is down; oil spotting, stylar end breakdown, and yellowing (not to be confused with blanching) are industry problems. Size is dominated by 175- and 200-count fruit, while 110- and 250-count supplies are tight.
ONIONS Prices are stable. Fresh-run Onions are being shipped out of Idaho, Oregon, Utah, and Washington. Growers will ship onions out of storage in early October. New crop onions have a rounder, more globe-like shape than supplies shipped during the spring and summer months; early season stocks will still exhibit thin, light-colored skins until shipped out of storage.
ORANGES Small-size California Valencia supplies continue to tighten, particularly 113- to 138-count packs. New crop harvesting will start in California, Mexico, Florida, and Texas between late October and early November.
PEARS New crop Washington Bartletts pear harvesting is ramping up. Abundant California Bartlett supplies remain available. With more supplies hitting the market, prices have eased. Quality is very good.
PINEAPPLES Although markets remain elevated, they are beginning to ease. Seasonal volume is starting to increase. Sporadic coverage will persist until new crop supply meets demand. Quality is improving.
RED/YELLOW POTATOES Prices are unchanged. New crop potatoes are shipping from Idaho, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Washington. Quality is very good.
POTATOES The market is easing. New crop, fresh-run Norkotah Potatoes are shipping from Idaho and Washington. Fresh-run potatoes have not gone through the “sweat” yet; this process allows field heat to leave potatoes, putting them in dormancy, and preventing sprouting during the early months of storage. Potatoes may release moisture as they cool, causing a very light, white surface residue that can be easily brushed off and poses no quality problems. Norkotah supplies will be available from storage in mid-October. Fresh-run Burbanks will enter the market in early October.
RASPBERRIES Prices are stable; volume is climbing in Watsonville, California and Mexico. Quality is very good: expect deep red color and sweet flavor.
ROMAINE Markets are slowly rising as the Salinas season begins to wind down. Price spikes experienced the last two seasons are not anticipated. Huron harvests are expected to start in mid- to late October. The Arizona and California desert season will start in early to mid-November.
ZUCCHINI High prices persist; supplies are limited in all growing regions. High temperatures, humidity, and strong winds earlier in the season have shortened shelf-life in Santa Maria; scarring, dehydration, and soft/overripe texture are issues. East Coast demand has shifted to the West Coast as damage from Hurricane Idalia has reduced yields.
STRAWBERRIES The market is elevated. Production continues to wind down in Salinas/ Watsonville. New crop fall harvesting is in full swing in Santa Maria; fruit size is 16 to 20 berries per one-pound clamshell. Quality continues to improve with less bruising, misshapen berries, and white shoulders.
TOMATOES Prices are elevated, but stable. Yields are low on both coasts due to recent hurricane damage and planting gaps. Expect tight stocks through October.
TREE FRUIT The nectarine and peach seasons have ended. Plums will remain available, yet tight, through October. Quality is average.
WATERMELON The market is fairly level. California stocks are adequate, but East Coast supplies are tightening. Growers will transition to the California desert region in about a month. Quality is very good; sugar levels range from 10 to 12 Brix.