Eastern Canada's Market Update
August 3, 2018 – Higher–than–average daytime and nighttime temperatures in the Salinas Valley have caused industry–wide heat–related defects in commodity and value–added items. Romaine products have been hardest hit; warmer temperatures are causing internal burn, insect pressure, and seeder. Temperatures are expected to return to seasonal averages over the next several days, which will help improve quality.
MARKET UPDATE FOR February 24, 2020
MARKETS TO WATCH: AT A GLANCE
Chinese Peeled Garlic: Peeled garlic supplies are very short with pricing skyrocketing. Expect markets to remain strong well into April.
Avocados: With inventories depleted and supplies diminishing rapidly, the industry remains in a demand exceeds supply situation.
Florida/Mexican Tomatoes: Supply short. Market elevated. Supply critical. Adverse weather has greatly reduced harvest schedules and crossings from Mexico. Product is very limited. Elevated market expected through March. Demand exceeds supply. Contract triggers are in place on 5x6 and 6x6 sizes.
Blueberries: Look for higher pricing and lighter availability on this item.
Strawberries: Increased production in California should result in lower market pricing across the board in all areas.
Raspberries: The recent rains are reducing yields on raspberries.
Green Grapes: Good supplies for the next 2-3 weeks then arrivals will slow down.
Red Grapes: Spot buy opportunities and good volumes are expected for the next 2-3 weeks.
California Oranges: Small size Navels (113/138’s) continue to be limited. Larger sizes are plentiful.
Potatoes: Some lots may exhibit peepers and light mold. Demand very active in all regions. Markets are climbing. Larger size 40 count through 80ct are limited in supplies. Cool weather is slowing production. Markets are rising on red potatoes.
Onions: Some lots showing translucency. Recommended to store onions in a cool (36-45 degrees), dark, dry, and well-ventilated area to extend shelf life and preserve quality. White onions winding down in the Pacific northwest.
Zucchini: Extremely light supplies continue this week and the situation is not expected to get any better next week.
GARLIC: China- Peeled garlic supplies continue to be tight with pricing steadily increasing for several reasons. Chinese New Year celebrations at the start of January and work stoppages to try to control the spread of the COVID-19 virus. There has been nearly 4 weeks with no peeled garlic production in China. Production has just resumed however all shipping segments from oil tankers to container lines have been hit by the economic impact from factory shutdowns and travel restrictions put in place across China to control the spread of the virus. Since the shutdown struck, shipyards have been deserted. One of China’s biggest shipyards in Jingjiang near Shanghai has had two successive applications to reopen turned down by the local government. Until shipping fully resumes, product may have to be flown out at higher pricing. Mexico/Spain/Argentina: Demand has increased for other imported garlic (Mexico, Spain, and Argentina); overall import supplies are extremely tight. California- California’s 2019 storage crop yield is below normal levels; stocks are adequate to cover normal demand but not significant increases. Expect markets to remain very strong and short well into April.
ICEBERG- Supplies are good or bad depending on which shipper you talk to. The weather in Yuma, as well as southern California, will be nice as we start this week. No rain is in the forecast. Some growers are still having hangover issues with the rain and cool weather in past weeks so for some, production is limited. Santa Maria production and Oxnard has picked up compared to past weeks production numbers. The overall quality is fair with issues of mildew, misshapen heads, puffiness and mechanical. The weights on liner lettuce has been better averaging 40-44 pounds. There continue to ranges in terms of quality and availability throughout the industry.
ROMAINE / LEAF- Demand continues to be flat on romaine as well as all leaf items. In previous weeks rain and cool weather slowed production, yet demand was easily met. This week the weather will be very favorable in Yuma as well as southern California. Supplies will exceed demand and expect shippers to be dealing on all leaf items. Demand is moderate to light, industry-wide. Defects being reported upon arrivals include fringe burn, wind damage, blister and mechanical. These defects are showing up on romaine as well as the other leaf items. The weights are averaging on romaine 32-37 pounds while green and red leaf has been 19 -22 pounds.
WEST COAST: SPRING MIX/BABY SPINACH/BABY KALE- The baby leaf supplies continue to stay steady this week. Growers have experienced some cool weather recently and anticipate warmer weather for this week to help supplies, quality, and growth. Quality is good with occasional yellowing and bruising of the tender leaves.
EAST COAST: ARUGULA / WATERCRESS / BABY RED KALE– Arugula: Arugula supplies have returned to normal with outstanding quality. Baby Red Kale: Production of baby red kale has resumed and supplies are also increasing.
BROCCOLI- The broccoli market continues to stay steady with the help of better yields and more supply in the pipeline. Quality continues to have slight purpling caused by the recent cold, wet weather, some mechanical damage, and occasional yellow cast. Look for broccoli to stay steady going into next week with the warmer weather this week in Yuma.
ASPARAGUS– Retailers have made the full transition into Mexican product out of the Caborca growing region. The weather has improved in both regions in Mexico (San Luis/Caborca). Volume has started to come on heavy and will be the main source of production from now through April. Expect to finally see favorable pricing, and a lot more promotions at retail as we start March. Weather has been ideal, and the forward-looking forecast shows highs in the 80s which is great for production. Quality has been excellent and fresh as arrivals from Mexico hit daily.
CAULIFLOWER– The cauliflower market continues to be strong. Yields have decreased with the recent cold and wet weather in Yuma. The quality is fair with slight bruising and yellow cast with weights in the 25 to 28-pound level. We are hoping the warmer weather this week in Yuma will start to help supplies. Look for the market to adjust down going into next week with the warmer weather.
BEANS– The bean growing regions are all getting more favorable weather conditions. Prices have stabilized as production has stabilized in Mexico and Florida. Quality is very good on both green and yellow. Snipped: Snipped bean supplies are steady, but pricing is still slightly elevated. Overall, quality is good.
CELERY- There are excellent supplies of celery available with most growers looking to promote. Celery supplies are expected to remain plentiful over the next few weeks and overall quality is reported as excellent. The extended forecast calls for more ideal growing conditions with no major frost or rain expected over the next 10 days. Availability on all sizing is not an issue. Weights will average 54-58 pounds in all the growing regions. The primary shipping points for celery off the west coast are Brawley, Yuma, and Oxnard. As well, Mexico will continue to have production throughout the week.
GREEN ONIONS– The green onion market continues to stay steady with good supplies brought on by the warmer weather they’ve had in Mexico. Quality is good with occasional leaf minor caused by the recent cool weather. The market will continue to stay steady going into next week.
EGGPLANT- East: Eggplant supplies are light and pricing is slightly higher. Growers on both the east and west coast of Florida are shipping eggplant in light supplies which is traditional for this time of year. With the high winds and cooler temperatures during the winter months, it is risky for growers to take a chance on large acreage so they tend to plant a few small plantings throughout the winter. Quality has been fair in the region, with the high winds in south Florida there has been some scaring issues. Expect supplies to be light and pricing steady through the week into next week. New plantings of eggplant will not start for at least 2 weeks. West: Eggplant continues to be steady this week. Eggplant crossings through Nogales, Arizona continue to be harvested in Sinaloa. Supplies from Sinaloa continue to be packed in all pack styles and in all sizes. Quality varies from fair to good. The eggplant market has started to increase due to ranges on quality.
FIELD CUCUMBERS– East: Cucumber supplies are steady from Honduras. Most growers are packing heavy to select cucumbers creating a widespread in pricing between super selects and supers. Weather in Honduras has been hot, windy with some rain, which is the reason why growers are packing a higher percentage of selects. Quality has been relatively good for the last few weeks, but this week some issues with shelf life are starting to arise. With the hot weather and some rain plus the extra transit time from Honduras, it is not uncommon for product to have the occasional bad cucumber or a decay spot in the box. Expect pricing to stay steady throughout the week. With Mexico shipping light supplies, demand for Honduran product has been good. West: Light supplies of cucumber continue to cross through Nogales, Arizona. Supplies from both the Sinaloa and Sonora districts are expected to remain light for the next 14 days. The cucumber market is expected to remain steady throughout the week. Quality on cucumbers from both districts are mostly fair to good. Cucumber demand currently exceeds supplies.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS- The brussels sprouts market continues to be aggressive as more supply is in the pipeline. Currently, quality is good with occasional internal decay. Look for this market to continue to stay steady going into next week.
CORN- Limited volume of product is available as harvests are spaced. Quality is good, when available, but pricing will likely remain high. Corn is not a promotable item currently.
IMPORTED CABBAGE- Cabbage supply is abundant in Florida with no expected supply gaps in the next 2-3 weeks. Demand will start to pick up the first week of March for the St. Patrick’s Day pull. Florida and Texas supplies are expected to be steady for this timeframe.
IMPORTED CARROTS- Carrots from the Bakersfield, California area finished last week. The beginning of the new crop Coachella Valley product starts this week. Quality is looking good moving into these new fields and the market should remain steady through the front end of this transition. Mexican production is still plugging away and both areas are enjoying additional business with the ending of the north east storage crop supply.
KALE- The kale market continues to stay steady. Quality has started to improve with full bunches and some yellow leaves being reported. We’re hoping this week’s warmer weather going into the weekend will continue to help the quality, supplies, and spur growth.
CILANTRO- The cilantro market continues to be leveled off as there are plenty of supplies with the warmer weather in Yuma, Mexico, and Southern California. The cilantro quality is good with an occasional yellow leaf. Look for the cilantro market to remain steady going into next week with the warmer weather this week.
ZUCCHINI– Availability and quality of zucchini is improving each week but, unfortunately, yellow continues to struggle. Both growing regions are struggling with scuffing and scarring, and we don’t see conditions getting better for at least, two weeks. East Coast: Green zucchini supplies are good at the moment but expect supplies to tighten as the week goes on. Zucchini supplies and pricing have been like a roller coaster all winter. Over the last two weeks, growers experienced a “flush” on green while supplies of yellow have stayed fairly tight. Reports this week are showing lighter production from zucchini fields which indicates supplies of green will get much tighter and yellow will continue with light supplies. With high winds in south Florida there have been some scarring issues on yellow, but for the most part, quality has been good. We will keep a close eye on all zucchini as most shippers expect a big increase in price by the weekend and depending on Mexican supplies. This could be a situation that lasts for a couple of weeks. West Coast: Good supplies of green zucchini crossed through Nogales last week. The green zucchini market has decreased due to better supplies and is remaining somewhat steady. All pack styles are currently being packed with mostly fair to good quality. Zucchini is being harvested from both the Sinaloa and Sonoran growing district. Supplies of yellow will remain light this week, with steady to higher pricing, due to light supplies. Quality on yellow is fair at best.
EAST COAST PEPPERS- Green pepper supplies on the east coast are very good. There are no current weather issues in Florida, so volume remains steady. We are seeing great quality from both Florida and Mexico. Short term, we expect consistent supplies from Florida, but Mexico will continue to struggle with steady volume until the middle of March. Quality is very good on new plantings. There are split levels on quality due to growers harvesting older and newer plantings in order to get a range in sizing for various types of business. Demand is weak on bell pepper and shippers are making deals to keep inventory fresh. Expect these trends to continue through the weekend and early next week. Weather overall has been good in Florida. Average temperatures have been above average and spring pepper plantings are about a week earlier than normal. We do need to be aware that the great weather they have had in Florida has pushed some of the plantings ahead of schedule which could lead to a possible scenario for gap supply down the road.
WEST COAST PEPPERS– Serrano: Lighter supplies of Serrano peppers are available to load in Nogales, from Mexico. Serrano supplies are expected to continue light through the week. Jalapenos: Moderate supplies of Jalapeno peppers continue to cross through Nogales, Arizona this week. Moderate supplies are expected through the remainder of the week. Jalapeno quality from Mexico is mostly fair. The Jalapeno market has increased this week due to lower supplies. Green Pepper: Good supplies of green pepper are crossing through Nogales, Arizona this week from Sinaloa and Sonora. All pack styles of green peppers are being packed. Quality from both growing regions is currently good. The market is currently low this week due to increased supplies. Green pepper supplies will exceed demand this week. Red Pepper: Red pepper supplies crossing through Nogales, Arizona continue to be light on both hot house and field grown varieties. Red pepper supplies are projected to increase slightly as Mexican growers start transition into new crops. Quality on Mexican red pepper is currently fair on both hot house and field grown packs. The red market has stabilized with slowly increasing volume.
TABLE POTATOES– Canada’s February 1 table potato stocks are up 10% from year’s holdings. Most of the extra potatoes are located in PEI, Quebec, and New Brunswick. While some of the extra potatoes will be used domestically, we expect that most will be exported to the US. Through December, Canadian exports of 2019-crop table potato exports have been running 7.1% ahead of last year’s pace. Last year, exports to the US fell off after January 1, due to supply limitations. We believe that January-July exports could be up 25%-35% this year, based on the extra supplies available in the country. Ontario: Growers had 4.5% more potatoes in storage on February 1st this year compared to the year prior. January 2020 disappearance exceeded the 2019 pace 17.1%. Intended use data show that the province had enough chip potatoes left in storage on February 1, that at the January usage pace, these potatoes would be cleaned up by August 8. That suggests that chip manufacturers will have limited need to import chip potatoes, to bridge the gap between storage supplies and the start of the local 2020 harvest. The province also had 10% more table potatoes in storage on February 1st than the prior year. At the January usage rate, those potatoes would be cleaned up by May 15. Quebec: Quebec’s February 1 potato stocks exceeded the year earlier inventory by 11.1%. January disappearance fell 10.7% short of year earlier movement. Processing potato inventories exceeded year earlier holdings by 20%. Disappearance fell short of last year’s pace and we believe that most of the downturn was in the chip potato category. At the January 2020 usage rate, Quebec’s processing potato inventories would last the industry until October 19. Obviously, the usage pace will need to pick up, to clean up the remaining potatoes on schedule. Based on current inventory and historical usages, the province’s remaining table potatoes would be cleaned up by July 4. Imports: Table potato markets remain elevated; in particular on “B” size reds. Yellow and white markets are also rising slowly as supplies wind down in the Pacific Northwest and demand increases. North Dakota is producing a limited volume of reds and yellows and expected to finish for the season in the next 4-6 weeks. Mt Vernon, Washington continues to produce red and yellow along with supplying California to supplement mixer orders out of Bakersfield. Florida’s new crop is producing great quality but markets are high with increasing demand. Expect markets to continue to rise as we move into March.
ONIONS– Onion markets are lower as supplies are plentiful in the Northwest. Crossings from Mexico into South Texas are also adding pressure to the Northwest demand keeping markets low. Expect to see pricing stabilize at low levels on yellow and red. White onion markets will start to show increases in the coming weeks as some suppliers finish for the season in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Northwest storage supplies are expected to finish up in the next 6-8 weeks giving way to the California desert and domestic Texas crops. Utah and Colorado continue to produce all three colors as well.
CARTON BAKING POTATO: On February 1st, 2020 Canadian storage holdings exceeded year-earlier holdings by 6.5%. While stocks are up from the 2019 inventory, they remain 3.1% below February 2018 levels. Current holdings exceed year-earlier levels in all provinces except British Columbia. Three provinces, PEI, Quebec, and Alberta account for 81.9% of this year’s increase. Intended use data show that the biggest percentage gains are in potatoes intended for fresh consumption (+14.2%) and seed potatoes (+9.0%). Processing potato inventories increased by 3.9%. PEI: The Island had 12.5% more potatoes in storage on February 1 than the Island’s February 2019 inventory. Last year’s inventory was depressed due to the impact of leaving several thousand acres of potatoes in the ground at harvest. However, this year’s stocks are the largest, for February 1, since 2017. January disappearance fell 6.1%. Almost all of the decline came in the processing sector. An increase in table potato sales was offset by reduced movement of seed potatoes. PEI growers had 24.8% more table potatoes left in storage on February 1, 2020 than prior year. It is the largest holding for this time of the year since 2017. At the January disappearance rate, PEI’s table potatoes would last through July 15. Processing stocks also exceeded year-earlier holdings. At the January usage rate, PEI’s processing potatoes would last through October 2. USA: Russet potato markets remain elevated on larger size 40 count through 70 count. Smaller size 80 count through 120 count are readily available with lower markets. As suppliers wind down on Norkotah storage supplies, larger size potatoes will become more scarce due to the smaller size profile that remains on Burbanks. Expect markets to begin climbing on the larger sizes in the coming weeks and for the remainder of the storage season. Quality is good with some lots showing occasional peepers, light mold, and soft rot. Many Idaho suppliers are looking towards Washington for larger size potatoes to fill the void which is affecting those markets as well. Along with Washington, Colorado and Wisconsin continue to produce Norkotahs with increasing demand.
SEEDLESS WATERMELON- The watermelon market is currently higher in all sizes as supplies remain are tight. Seedless watermelon supplies continue crossing through Nogales, Arizona continue to be harvested in Nayarit, Mexico. Southern Mexico received rain about 2 weeks ago, and, as a result, we are seeing some bruising and a little hollow heart. Southern Mexico will continue with seedless volume through March. Moderate supplies on both bins and cartons are being packed due to demand. There are better supplies of offshore melons right now.
PAPAYA- The recent rains and cooler weather has delayed harvesting. The rain made it a challenge to get into the fields to harvest and in turn, lower volumes are still crossing. With the recent warmer weather pattern, crossings should increase this week. The fields are already showing the presence of clean fruit with most of the trees ready for harvest late-February. Supply remains limited with most shippers covering programs and contracts with little to nothing being offered daily in the open market. Overall volume will start to increase month over month until we hit the peak season closer to April.
GOLD PINEAPPLES– There was lower output at the farms in Costa Rica this past week with the sizing curve still more bent towards large count. Windy conditions continue over Costa Rica; trade winds will continue with strong intensity in the Caribbean Sea. A stable and dry atmospheric pattern will dominate for the week. Partially cloudy conditions will also be present with a low chance of rain, for the next few days. Quality with this weather is reported as good, with slightly lower yields on all sizes as UV radiation damage as a potential issue. Fruit is recovering from past weeks’ weather, and quality is slowly improving. There is tighter supply on 6ct and 7ct for this week, mainly due to age delay on fruit. Changes in weather are possible with significant rainfall considered the primary risk at this time. The USDA crossing report inbound from Costa Rica is showing a significant decrease with a very low number for last week at only 270 containers. The USDA is reporting moderate demand and a steady market. We are seeing tighter supply on 7s and 8s this week. Additional supplies on 5 count are pressing the market downward on larger sized fruit.
MANGO- In the Northeast we are seeing mangos arrive from Peru. There are good arrivals last week and this week before we start to see volume decrease next week. Overall appearance on a Peruvian Kent looks good and clean, with minor external defects and some reports of soft fruit which is causing several shippers to repack fruit prior to shipping. Peak sizing remains a 10-count, followed by 9 count and 8 count, with very few 12s. Mexico is getting close to starting with Honey mangos any week now. As of last week, the fruit on the tree was still on the immature side and was not ready to harvest. Peak sizing out of Oaxaca is usually on the larger side–12s, 14s and 16s–while Michoacán’s peak size is on the smaller side, mostly 20s and 22s, with some 18s.
BLUEBERRIES– Blueberries are in very short supply coming out of Mexico as they transition growing areas there. Offshore fruit is arriving sporadically from Chile and Peru, causing shortages due to overall numbers being down from all areas. The blueberry market will continue to remain firm and at higher price levels and be in a demand-exceeds-supply situation for the foreseeable future.
STRAWBERRIES- Santa Maria is getting into some limited spring crop harvests and Baja fruit will continue to increase in supply. California / Mexico: Strawberries are experiencing a slight increase in production in the Oxnard and Santa Maria California areas as we also see a decline in demand. With Valentine’s day past us, look for the market out west to ease off toward the end of this week. Quality has been excellent due to the optimum growing conditions in the coastal regions. There are still cooler than normal nighttime temperatures which are holding numbers down somewhat but these numbers will gradually increase into next week. Mexican production is fairly steady and we should see some increased numbers there as well. Santa Maria, California, fruit has occasional dark or discolored fruit and soft shoulders and spots due to frost damage, occasional bronzing, occasional seedy tips and misshapen. Average counts are 14 to 16, occasionally higher and lower. Oxnard, California, fruit has bruising, white shoulder, seedy tips, bronzing and misshapen, with average counts 16 to 18, occasionally higher and lower. Florida: Florida is also producing better volume this week than the last and we expect to see a two-tiered market evolve as shippers on the West coast attempt to hold pricing up higher and demand a premium for their California fruit.
RASPBERRIES / BLACKBERRIES– Raspberries: Central Mexico production has been low due to cooler nighttime temperatures and pruning after the late December production glut. Plants are now on the downward side of their current production cycles. Quality has been fair with some lots showing some defects related to rain. Central Mexico should start ramping up over the next week with the low temperatures being back up in the 50’s. However, it will take two more weeks to get to back up to commercial volumes again. Expect this market to remain firm with higher pricing moving into next week. Blackberries: Blackberries continue to rebound from recent heavy rains and freezing temperatures at higher elevations over the past weeks. While blackberries are rebounding quickly, expect the market to remain snug for the next couple of weeks as the pipeline refills. Quality has been just fair with some red cell and water-related issues still being reported. Look for this market to remain firm through the end of next week with slightly higher undertones.
STONE FRUIT- There seems to be better availability this week on all stone fruit varieties. Several containers arrived over the past week and supplies of all peaches, nectarines and plums have improved. Imported fruit is always heavy on larger sizes and this year is no different. As we look toward peak production cycles over the next 2-4 weeks, we expect to see a lot of tray pack (40-50 count) with limited volume fill (50-60 size) available. Quality is being reported as very strong and market prices have been steady.
ORANGES- California Oranges: Large size navels (88’s and larger) continue to be in really good shape on supplies. Sizes are peaking on 56s/72s and peaking fancy over choice. We have seen larger navel prices drop drastically. As a result, 56s and larger would be a good item to promote. Small sizes continue to be a challenge and remain very snug. Current markets are steady on the large sizes and the small size market is staying firm. Fruit quality is looking very good with natural color, high quality, and great tasting. Brix levels have been consistent between 12-14%. Cara Cara and blood orange supplies are in peak production with excellent quality. The fruit is running mainly fancy, there’s some choice, but it’s mainly going to retail bags.
LEMONS– California: Lemon supplies out of the Central Valley are looking really nice on supply and quality. Lemons sizes are peaking with 115s/140s. Supplies are looking steady across the board, while the small sizes (200/230’s) are starting to get snug. Large lemon prices are falling quite a bit as supplies continue to exceed demand. We are expecting 140 and smaller prices to increase soon and larger sizes to continue falling in price. Choice lemons are very abundant and have dropped significantly. The Coastal region is starting up with light supplies but should be gradually increasing weekly. Out of the California and Arizona desert region, supplies are almost done but there is fruit still lingering around with suppliers who are trying to clean it up with deals out there. This is storage crop and shelf life might not be as strong. Growers continue to have optimal growing weather and the fruit will continue to be exceptional as long as they continue to have this weather.
CLEMENTINES- California: Clementines and Mandarins are in full swing in California right now. Supplies have tightened since a lot of them are being tied up by contract business. Availability of open market fruit may get tight over the next few weeks. Larger sizes are still tighter than smaller. Offshore: The Nardorcott variety has started arriving in good volume. The volume will be similar to last year with better supplies from offshore, pricing will get looser, with plentiful supplies.
GRAPEFRUIT- California grapefruit continues and supplies are starting to become limited now. Texas and Florida grapefruit is in full swing and there are healthy supplies from both locations. Texas grapefruit is peaking towards 48/56 count and grade is favoring fancy over choice. Growers are telling us that large size grapefruit (32s and larger) will continue to be tight.
LIMES- Lime supplies are looking good this week with consistent crossings. Current markets continue to remain soft and overall the quality has been solid. Lime crossings are expected to be more limited as spring approaches. Past years have shown a limited spring market to start March into April. Current peak sizing is 150/175 count with 230/250 count being limited. Quality is good with limited skin breakdown or stylar.
HONEYDEW- Offshore: Not much change on the honeydew front this week as there is a good run on all sizes. Quality has been consistent from all growing regions. Mexico: Honeydews out of Nogales, Arizona are in good supply. Larger size fruit is still more abundant than smaller size fruit.
CANTALOUPE- Not much change on the cantaloupe front either. We continue to see solid arrivals of offshore fruit with a steady market. Smaller fruit (15s) are available but with light offerings. Larger fruit (9s and 12s) have better volume and pricing. Guatemala, Costa Rica, and Honduras have all been very consistent as far as quality. Year over year offshore arrivals are up by 36%.
GRAPES– Grape inventories are beginning to build on each coast as we finish February. Market pricing continues to fall from the elevated levels seen earlier this season. Although red seedless varieties (Crimson/Flame/Jack Salute/Sweet Celebration) remain much more limited than green seedless varieties (Thompson/Sugraones/Sweet Globe/Ivory), availability of both colors has improved with each week’s arrivals. Black seedless grapes are also available. Overall, market pricing is expected to ease into early March as Chilean grape volume nears its peak into early March. Green: Like red grapes, the green varieties have improved with the recent arrivals from Chile and Peru. There are good supplies of all sizes on both coasts. Market prices have remained fairly steady on the green grapes. Quality is excellent. We expect to see promotional volumes for the next 2-3 weeks, then gradually taper off mid-March. The situation may improve as we get closer, but for now, shippers are warning of a potential decrease supplies earlier than usual. We may experience some gaps between Chile and Mexico due to recent cold weather in Mexico. We will continue to monitor the weather and supply situation and update as we get closer to transition. Red: As expected, we are seeing better availability of red grapes this week from Chile. There have been several containers arrive with good quality red seedless varieties. Sizes mostly fall between a medium to a large. Peru continues to send fruit as well and is bridging the gap on larger size grapes. Markets have declined gradually over the last 10 days as more fruit arrives. Good availability on both coasts is expected to last another couple weeks then taper off as we get into mid-March. Again, this may change as we get closer and supplies may improve. However, we anticipate seeing supplies become lighter earlier than normal. Mexico’s crops experienced some freeze last week and this may push harvest to start dates off by a couple of weeks, but we will have to monitor that situation as we get closer to transition. For the next 2 weeks, we can focus on good supplies
AVOCADOS- Year-to-date avocado supply is less than 65% of the volume seen last year and pricing is up over 50% versus prior year. Each time the supply starts to increase, demand increases, and pricing has been increasing as well. Each time weather conditions and/or holidays have slowed supplies, shippers run low on inventory which drives pricing up further. At the current pricing levels and favorable weather conditions in Mexico and California, most growers will likely start harvesting heavier and the supplies are expected to increase soon. Industry arrivals for last week totaled 50.1 million pounds. Mexico shipped 45.3 million pounds and California harvested 4.8 million pounds. Mexico should continue to lead industry supplies. Volumes are expected to be in the 40-43 million+ pound range for the last week of February. Mexico- The avocado market continues to climb and supplies are expected to become limited as we look forward. Crossings from Mexico are extremely light and we will inevitably feel the supply chain tighten up. Extreme market conditions continue and will be a challenge moving forward. Unfortunately, there is not enough fruit in the pipeline to fill demand and we expect the current situation will only get worse before seeing any relief. The industry as a whole is in a “demand exceeds supply” situation. With inventories depleted, suppliers are not taking on any new business. Sizes 48’s (16’s) and larger are almost nonexistent. The reason being, the current size curve is leaning towards 60’s (20’s) and 70’s (24’s). Eventually, those sizes will tighten up as the industry adjusts to the size curve. Mexican growers are slowing production in an effort to stretch the existing crop and prevent a potential gap in Q3 (July-September). Michoacán harvested 53.7 million pounds last week, of which 45.3 million pounds shipped to the United States. Harvest this week will likely trend higher compared to last week, ranging between 52 and 56 million pounds; roughly 85-90% will ship to the US. Field prices remain under pressure for 48’s (16’s) and larger given the current size curve out of Michoacán. California- Although California is anticipating heavy yields this season, growers are trying to hold off on the harvest as much as they can. The reason being, they are trying to offset the size curve and also be in step with what the Mexican market is doing. Size curve is leaning to 60’s (20’s) and smaller as they are dominating the pack out. Expect 48’s (16’s) and larger to hold aa premium for the season. California crop is typically heavy on #1 grade fruit due to the fact that fruit sits on the trees for a window of 6-7 months. That being said, the fruit is less exposed to mother nature whereas Mexican fruit is exposed year-round and tends to be heavy on #2 grade fruit. California harvested 4.8 million pounds last week. Estimated harvest is 9 and 9 million pounds for the next two weeks respectively. California’s harvest estimate is currently 365 million pounds for the season. Market Outlook– Strong field prices will remain the norm as trees continue to yield too much small and grade #2 fruit. As a result, the industry pipeline is short on 60’s (20’s) and larger and tight on 70’s (22’s) and 84’s (28’s). We expect to see an increase in California's harvest, but not enough to fill the void; the market will remain tight. Once retail gets through the remaining ads already on the books, we should see demand slow in 10 to 14 days, which will help stabilize the market. However, we do not expect to see significant downward pressure on market conditions.
PEARS– Washington: Availability on 120-150ct D’Anjou remains limited; shippers are coming up with larger sizes and higher grades. Overall, prices have reacted, but remain steady. Bosc pears remain plentiful but command slightly higher prices. Red D’Anjous have maintained good availability on ½ carton and full case packs. Quality is excellent. Offshore: Import Bartletts from Argentina are just starting to arrive, and quality is superb.
TOMATOES– Contract triggers remain in place on 5x6, 6x6 and roma tomatoes as tomato markets strengthen. East Coast: Tomato supplies should be showing improvement into March, but the market remains short following recent weather events. Florida yields are down significantly from this time last year. Despite the recent warming trend and decent yields, demand far exceeds supply as Mexico struggles with their production. In addition, growers are mostly into crown picking across Florida, leading to strong markets on the smaller sized fruit. Additionally, growers have been doing 4th, 5th and even 6th pickings to supply the market. Florida growers are adjusting pricing to meet demand from western coast buyers once again looking east for relief contributing to strong markets. Roma tomatoes are good quality, but supply is extremely limited related to the amount of acres devoted to the crop this time of year and the pressure of the western demand. Grape tomatoes remain high with the expectation that this market will remain very active in the next couple of weeks. Cherry tomatoes are also short with heavy demand. Expect improved supplies as we move through March. Markets will adjust against the severity of Mexico’s shortage of product to export.
West Coast: About a week ago, Sinaloa experienced the coldest weather of the season thus far with temperatures dipping into the 30’s in the growing region of Culiacan. This was followed by another storm that brought days of rain and unseasonably low temperatures (in the 40’s). Although temperatures were not at the freezing point, they greatly reduced the maturation of fruit. As a result, color is lighter, and size is smaller. Rain has caused harvest gaps while farms wait for fields to dry out. Quality and yields have been adversely affected with crops exposed to further disease pressure. As a result, west coast supply is very light and field tomato quality has been greatly reduced. Demand for roma tomatoes is extremely strong, and shippers have sold out for several consecutive days out of Nogales, Arizona. Grape tomato prices remain active and cherry tomato availability is critical. Looking long term, there is uncertainty where the market will settle. Spring crops in Sonora faced multiple nights of freezing temperatures following the same storm patterns and may delay the start of new crops set to begin in March. Availability is not expected to improve until late March. Potential delays occurring from the newly appointed Suspension Agreement’s inspection provisions set to be enforced at 100% by April 1, in conjunction with the USDA’s phytosanitary controls to prevent the spread of the Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus, may affect markets for some time to come. Traditional market indicators must now consider these trade agreements and preventative measures against disease that may cause an influx in the market for months ahead or more.
APPLES- Washington: It seems that last week’s holiday brought a lull in the market where movement lessened and shippers are reacting with aggressive prices on some small-sized, red varietals (Red Delicious, Fuji, Jonagold, and Braeburn). 125ct-138ct Fuji and Red Delicious remain the bargain buys, even though some shippers are trying to firm up their floor prices on these items. Royal Gala prices remain steady while smaller Grannies have firmed up due to the lack of foodservice sizes and low grades. New York / Michigan / Ontario: As smaller, regional shippers finish production for the season, we are seeing a light shift in demand to the larger shippers and to the Northwest. The remaining shippers will have fruit into the summer months (June/July). Markets remain stable and availability, on most varieties, remains steady. Quality remains strong with strong shelf-life.
WILD FORAGED PRODUCTS
** NEW ** STINGING NETTLES- From Oregon. First crop of the season.
** NEW ** WILD SPRING ONIONS- From Oregon. First crop of the season.
** NEW ** WATERCRESS- From Oregon. First crop of the season.
** NEW ** MINERS LETTUCE- From Oregon. First crop of the season.
CAULIFLOWER MUSHROOM – From China
MORELS- From China. Just getting going.
BLUEFOOT- From France. Limited quantities available.
BLACK TRUMPET- From Oregon/Europe. Top Quality. Supply tight.
HEDGEHOG- From Oregon. Supplies increasing weekly.
YELLOWFOOT- From Oregon. Top quality.
WINTER TRUFFLES- From Spain. Peak of the season.
** NEW ** WINTER TRUFFLE PEELINGS- From Spain. Perfect for soups, sauces and pastas.
NEW ITEMS NOW IN SEASON
CASTLEFRANCO / FORLELLE PEARS / IMPORTED POMEGRANITE / FLORIDA JUICE ORANGE / PEACHES / CARA CARA ORANGE / BLOOD ORANGES / HONEY TANGERINES / PICKLING CUCUMBER / NECTARINES / PLUMS / SEVILLE ORANGES / CUBANELLE PEPPER / POMELLO / RUNNER BEANS / FAVA BEANS
ITEMS THAT ARE SHORT
BLACK GRAPES / GOLD KIWI / CHINESE PEELED GARLIC
ITEMS NO LONGER AVAILABLE
GALIA MELONS / RHUBARB / ENGLISH PEAS IN THE POD / YELLOW WATERMELON / CHAMPAGNE GRAPES / SHELLED PEAS / BLUE PRUNE PLUMS / CRANBERRIES / PRICKLY PEARS / CHERRIES / APRICOTS / PERSIMMONS / QUINCE / STEM STRAWBERRIES