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 January 20, 2020
MARKETS TO WATCH: AT A GLANCE
Mexican Avocado: Field prices in Mexico are increasing gradually as we lead into the biggest avocado day of the year. We expect to see huge retail promotions as we head into Super Bowl, and with that comes higher prices.
Baby Leaf: Arugula yields have drastically reduced with the freezing nights and cooler days. Shippers are finding it hard to keep up with demand. Arugula quality has been severely damaged by the recent and continuous cold and wet weather. This has caused extremely lower yields as crews are walking by the damaged field. Also effecting spring mix, baby kale and baby/teen spinach, but not as severely. Pricing is elevated.
Broccoli: The cold weather in all growing areas is stunting the growth of broccoli. This is causing low yields industry wide.
Cauliflower: The freezing mornings and cold days is causing slow growth.
Green Peppers: Extremely tight supplies with only fair quality.
Green Onions: Green onions continue to be in a supply shortage. The freezing nights and cold days are stunting the growth causing lower yields.
Florida/Mexican Tomatoes: Demand exceeds supply on 5x6 and 6x6 sizes. Availability on these sizes is limited. Contract triggers are in place on 5x6 and 6x6 sizes.
Blueberries: Blueberries will be highly promotable for all of the month January.
Blackberries: Higher yields may lead to higher pricing.
Honeydew: Honeydews continue to be a challenge. Demand has outpaced the harvest.
Green Grapes: Import supplies are good on the east coast and are expected to improve on the west this week. Markets remain firm.
Red Grapes: Supplies will remain limited until Chile ramps up harvest. Prices are higher and firm. Better availability expected by the end of the month.
California Oranges: Small size navels are expected to be limited the remainder of the month.
Potatoes: Demand very active in all regions. Markets are climbing. Larger size 40 count through 80ct are limited in supplies. Markets are rising on red potatoes.
Lettuce Iceberg: Freezing temperatures in the growing regions are causing quality issues, harvest delays and slow growth.
Lettuce Romaine / Leaf: Very cold temperatures in all the growing regions continues to affect the quality of romaine and all leaf items, industry wide.
Onions: Markets are rising on yellow and white onions. Some lots will show translucency.
Zucchini: Extremely tight supplies on both green and yellow.
ICEBERG- Cold weather in the growing regions continues to be the story with this commodity. Ice delays continue daily. The frigid temperatures are causing lightweights, bottom rot, misshapen heads, mildew and slight sclerotinia that is being reported by suppliers. Needless to say, the quality is average at best. Supplies of iceberg lettuce remain limited with markets elevated to start the week. Most growers are postponing harvest to allow the product to gain size and weight. The cold weather last week caused multiple mornings with lettuce ice in the fields; quality reports are reflecting the impact of the freeze damage showing some peel with occasional discoloration. The weather forecast shows slightly warmer temperatures for this week and early next week, hopefully allowing markets to ease as growth rates return to normal. Triggered pricing remains in effect on all value-added items that has this commodity in it. Weights are varying industry wide, ranging from 30-38 pounds.
ROMAINE / LEAF- The cool weather in the growing regions has slowed production on romaine as well as all leaf items. Although romaine is stronger in the marketplace, the availability is much better than the other leaf items. Demand is still off due to past issues with this commodity. Consecutive days with frost are taking a toll on leaf lettuce quality and availability. Common defects being reported on romaine include mildew, tip burn, blister, epidermal peel and slow growth. The blister and peel are more prevalent as well as ice damage on the top leaves of the plants. Harvesters are trimming down heads to remove these leaves and as a result, we are seeing lighter weights. These issues will follow with green and red leaf as well. Triggered pricing is now in effect on value-added green leaf singles. The weights on romaine are averaging 27-34 pounds, depending on the supplier. The green and red leaf items will be 16-22 pounds. Expect this market to stay strong throughout the week. Yuma, the Imperial Valley, and Oxnard are the primary shipping points for leaf lettuce on the west coast.
WEST COAST: SPRING MIX/BABY SPINACH/BABY KALE- The baby leaf market continues to increase due to lower yields caused by the wet and cold weather in Yuma. The wet weather and the continuous cold temperatures have certainly damaged the quality and lowered yields on Arugula, baby spinach and baby kale. Quality is fair with occasional yellowing and bruising of the tender leaves. Pricing is up on arugula, baby spinach and baby kale due to short supplies and pro-rates.
EAST COAST: ROCKET ARUGULA / WATERCRESS / BABY RED KALE– Arugula: Arugula supplies are extremely tight due to east coast weather and extra demand from west coast buyers as California is also very short. Quality is still good and orders are being pro-rated by as much as 60%. Baby Red Kale: Production of baby red kale has resumed and supplies are also tight.
BROCCOLI- The broccoli market continues to increase with the cold and wet weather causing lower yields from all growing regions. California supply is short due to colder temperatures over the past few weeks. This will even out in 2-3 weeks. Mexican supply is steady but demand exceeds supply. This will be the trend until California volume starts to pick up in 2-3 weeks. All shippers continue to struggle to cover regular business. Quality continues to have slight purpling caused by the cold weather, some mechanical damage, and occasional yellow cast. Look for Broccoli to stay steady going into next week with the recent cold weather in Yuma.
ASPARAGUS– Due to the cooler weather and limited availability on the west coast, it has sent much of the demand to the east coast for Peruvian product. This has caused the pricing to increase drastically, and availability to be more limited. The expectation is that the markets will remain this way for the next several weeks until the Caborca, Mexico, regional production begins later in the month. Markets on both coasts are expected to be very active, and should remain this way for the next 7-10 days due to production being down from all regions. Mexico: San Luis, Mexico production is still very slow due to cooler temperatures in the region. We should see more volume from this region in 7-10 days. Caborca, Mexico was expected to start, but cold weather has not allowed production to start. All sizes remain tight from Mexico. Peru: Volume continues to decrease from both regions in Peru (Ica/Trujillo). Their season should be wrapped up in 2-3 weeks. We’re still seeing good volume in the bigger sizes from Peru.
CAULIFLOWER– The cauliflower market continues to move upward due to lower yields caused by wet and cold weather in Yuma. The quality is fair with slight bruising and yellow cast with weights in the 25 to 28-pound level. Some suppliers may need to sub sizing to fill orders. Look for the market to continue to adjust upward going into next week with the cold weather last week.
BEANS– The bean growing regions are once again struggling with the effects of recent weather. Prices have increased as all growing regions are seeing the effects of unseasonable cold wet growing conditions. Both green and yellow are affected. Snipped: Snipped bean supplies are steady, but pricing is elevated. Overall, quality is good.
CELERY- Good supplies will be available all week with this commodity. Celery harvest in the Desert Region started this week and supplies are stable with good availability and quality. Santa Maria/Oxnard continues to have strong availability as well as good quality. Production in Yuma is moderate. Southern California continues to be the ideal location for loading this commodity. Mexico has average production as well. Demand, it should be noted, is down from the previous year. All sizing is available. Weights on average are 53-58 pounds. The current quality reports show very nice quality with good color and texture. Effects of the frost are evident in the product out of the Desert Region, with some blistering reported. Sizing is balanced with good availability of all sizes. The weather forecast calls for slightly warmer temperatures over the next ten days with a low chance of frost or rain. Oxnard, Yuma, and the Imperial Valley are currently the primary shipping points for celery on the west coast.
GREEN ONIONS– The green onion market continues to increase and supplies remain extremely tight as the continuous cold weather is slowing growth. Quality is fair with occasional leaf minor caused by the recent colder weather. The market will continue to stay strong going into next week.
EGGPLANT- East: Eggplant supplies are steady with increased demand because of lighter supplies from Mexico. Pricing has risen with demand this week and may continue to rise slightly as the week goes on. Eggplant is being harvested on both the east and west coast of Florida with steady supplies and good quality. Eggplant production has slowed slightly due to cooler temperatures but the plants are hardy and hold up to wind and adverse weather better than most vegetable plants. Quality of the fruit has remained pretty good. West: Eggplant supplies have started to decrease on volume crossing through Nogales. Eggplant crossing through Nogales, Arizona continues to be harvested in Sinaloa. Supplies from Sinaloa are being packed in all pack styles and in all sizes this week. Quality on eggplant crossing through Nogales varies from fair to good. The eggplant market has started to increase due to ranges on quality.
FIELD CUCUMBERS– East: Honduras is in peak supply of cucumbers. Demand for Honduras cucumbers has been good for the last few weeks with Mexico in light supply. Cucumber pricing has leveled out after a sharp rise two weeks ago and appear to be at the peak now. Supplies should remain steady through the week. Quality on import cucumbers is not as good as customers usually expect this time of year. Rain and slow transit times have decreased shelf-life significantly and some cucumbers are arriving with decay. The quality issues have been sporadic in most cases and the problem should decrease as weather clears in Central America. West: Light supplies of cucumbers continue to cross through Nogales from Mexico this week. Light supplies are expected to continue through the remainder of the month. The light supplies of cucumbers are the result of the three cycles of heavy rain that passed through the Sonora and Sinaloa growing districts on November 15th, 25th and January 1st. Quality on cucumber crossing through Nogales are fair at best. The current cucumber market is high/steady and should remain the same through the month of January. Light supplies of Mexican cucumbers are also crossing through McAllen.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS- The brussels sprouts market has started to turn upward as the cold weather in Mexico and Yuma is slowing growth. Quality is fair with occasional internal decay. Look for this market to continue to climb going into next week.
CORN- Limited volume of product is available as we move into the winter season. Quality is good, when available, but pricing will likely remain high. Corn would not be good to consider as a promotable item currently.
IMPORTED CARROTS- The carrot market remains a steady go as production keeps pace with demand. East coast storage carrots are expected to wind down completely by the end of January or February. Mexican jumbo production is still going steady out of the Texas border areas.
ZUCCHINI– East Coast: Zucchini supplies are extremely tight in South Florida. Most of the supply is coming from Homestead and Immokalee, with some light supplies in Belle Glade. Cooler temperatures two weeks ago started the decrease in production, and now as the temperatures are rising, the region has experienced sustained winds that are keeping the plants from pollinating adequately. Production has been extremely light for the last two weeks and supplies from Mexico have slowed tremendously over the same period of time, compounding the situation. The forecast for the rest of the week is clear, warmer and calmer after possible frost Tuesday night. Many shippers are crossing their fingers that production will increase by the weekend. Quality has remained fairly good despite the wind but a few scaring issues should be expected until supplies start to increase. West Coast: There are extremely light supplies of both green and yellow zucchini to start the week and supplies are expected to remain extremely light through the last week of January. Supplies are light due to the three cycles of heavy rain that passed through the Sonora and Sinaloa growing districts on November 15th, 25th and January 1st, followed by colder temperatures. Quality on all zucchini is fair at best. The market is currently high and expected to remain high through the month.
KALE- The kale market continues to pick up with the recent and continuous cold weather in Yuma. Baby Kale seems to be hit the hardest with the freezing mornings. Quality is fair at best with full bunches and some yellow leaves being reported. Depending on the severity of this cold weather, look for the market to continue to strengthen this week. The anticipated warmer weather next week in Yuma will hopefully spur on growth and help supplies.
EAST COAST PEPPERS- Green pepper supply is very tight in South Florida. Growers are gaping between early and mid-season crops and cooler temperatures have slowed growth and production. Weather in Florida is getting better with warmer temperatures, but wind has been persistent, keeping plants from pollinating at a normal level and lowering production. Quality has remained good in most locations, but there have been a few issues with bruising. Light supply crossing into the USA from Mexico has increased pressure on eastern growers to fill orders. With light Mexican supply for at least two more weeks, expect pricing in the east to stay elevated.
WEST COAST PEPPERS– Serrano: Good supplies of Serrano peppers are available to load in Nogales, from Mexico. Good supplies are expected through the week. Supplies currently meet demand. Jalapenos: Moderate supplies of Jalapenos are crossing through Nogales, Arizona this week. Good supplies are expected to resume next week. Jalapeno quality from Mexico is good. The Jalapeno market is steady.
Green Pepper: Light to moderate supplies of green peppers are currently crossing through Nogales, Arizona. Green pepper supplies are slowly increasing this week and are expected to continue as we go through the month of January. The green pepper market has been steady over the past couple of weeks and is expected to start decreasing. Quality on green peppers has also been mostly fair and starting to get better. Red Pepper: Red peppers continue to be harvested in the Coachella valley in California and in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. The red pepper quality from California is fair at best. Red hot house supplies from Sinaloa continue to be steady this week. Quality from the Sinaloa crop remains good. The red bell pepper market has started to increase lightly.
TABLE POTATOES–Ontario: December disappearance fell short of the 2018 pace. Despite a 3.1% production decline, Ontario now has 6.3% more potatoes left in storage than it held a year ago. That includes chip potatoes. The provinces chip potato disappearance fell short of the 2018 pace. That is the slowest usage pace since December 2012. The pace will need to pick up in the coming months. Otherwise, it would take until November 1 to clean up the crop already in storage. The province also had the equivalent of 2.22 million 50lb table potatoes in storage. At the December usage pace those potatoes would be cleaned up by May 14. Ontario also had 710,000 lbs of seed left in storage. Quebec: The province had the equivalent of 16 million 50lb cases of potatoes in storage on January 1. that exceeded year-earlier holdings by 1.5 million cartons, a 7.3% increase. December disappearance was more than a year-earlier, a 24.2% increase. Intended use data show that the increase was concentrated in the table potato sector. At that pace, Quebec’s table potatoes would be cleaned up by June 3. Processing potato use fell short of 2018 movement. At the December usage rate, the remaining processing potatoes would last through September 17. Quebec seed potatoes in storage on January 1, were 16% less than it held a year earlier. Imports: Table potato markets remain elevated in all regions. Wisconsin continues to ship out very limited supplies of red and yellow with expectations to finish mid-to-late February. North Dakota markets remain high with slow sales. Red and yellow potatoes are expected to last until March pending on demand. Idaho and Washington continue to see the most demand with active markets across the board, particularly on red potatoes. Mt Vernon, Washington has high color reds that are also getting transferred into Bakersfield, California to supplement those orders. Markets will continue to be active through the month of January. Florida is expected to start early-to-mid February and forecast to have good supplies and quality to start the season.
ONIONS– Yellow and white onion markets remain active due to increasing demand. Red onion markets are slightly higher but continue to show good supply. Storage supplies are available in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Utah, and Colorado. Issues of translucency have been appearing in some lots. This is a typical quality issue to arise in the middle of the storage season as translucency is a natural process of the onion converting internal sugars and starting the process of internal re-growth. During this conversion that same translucency on portions of the outer ring will be soft and make them susceptible to pressure bruising, in particular at the bottom of storage bins. These issues will begin to clear up as we hit the tail end of the storage season in March and April with the European seed varieties used for late plantings. The reason those seed varieties are not used for the entire crop is that they are limited in supply and are costly. A reminder that translucency is not a scoreable defect until it shows three full layers (rings) deep. Air circulation is highly recommended as we move past the halfway point of the Northwest storage onion season.
CARTON BAKING POTATO: Canada’s 2019 potato crop is not large enough to meet total industry needs. Significant production increases are limited to the Maritime Provinces and Quebec. Production in those growing areas rebounded from low levels in 2018, but the increase may not be sufficient to meet the needs of eastern Canada’s processors. In the Prairie Provinces, fryers added capacity to produce an additional 500 million lbs of frozen potato products from the 2019 crop. It would require more than 800 million pounds of potatoes to fill the additional capacity. Processors probably did not intend to run the new production lines at capacity during the 2019/20 processing season, but they would have needed over 500 million pounds of extra potatoes to run the lines at 65% of capacity. The Prairie Provinces produced 429 million pounds of potatoes this year, which is 6 million pounds less than they produced in 2018. Agriculture Canada reported that Canada had 4.2% more potatoes left in storage on December 1 than December 2018. Holdings are up from last year in all provinces except Ontario, Manitoba, and British Columba. PEI: Island growers storage supplies exceed year-prior holdings 10.2%. The Island is rebounding from extreme losses for the 2018 crop. December disappearance increased. Intended use data put table potato supplies 20.9% higher than year-earlier supplies. At the December usage rate, the remaining table potato supplies should last through July 15. January 1 processing inventories, based on the December usage rate, would last through September 18. However, we note that the current stocks are less than the January 1, 2018 processing inventory. That year, the Island’s major processor had to bring in potatoes from as far away as Alberta to keep its plant running through the season. PEI also had 9.6% more seed potatoes in storage on January 1 than it held a year ago. USA: Russet potato markets continue to rise on larger size 40 count through 80ct due to limited supplies. Demand remains active in Idaho along with other regions such as Washington, Colorado, and Wisconsin. This week had extra challenges with heavy snow and winds creating road closures and snow drifts making it difficult to transfer product from cellars to packing sheds as well as shipping product already on the floor. We expect markets to continue to rise on the larger counts as the size profile remains toward the smaller size 90 count through 120 count.
CILANTRO- The cilantro market continues to pick up due to wet and cold weather in Yuma, Mexico and Southern California. The cilantro quality is fair with an occasional yellow leaf. Look for the cilantro market to adjust higher going into next week with the cold weather growers are having.
SEEDLESS WATERMELON- Seedless watermelon supplies continue to be tight. There are light supplies in Edinburgh, Texas and Noglaes, Arizona from Colima, Mexico. Southern Mexico will continue through March. Good growing weather is expected to continue this week. Quality from this district is good. Offshore seedless watermelons have also started. The Yucatan, Mexico, seedless crop will begin mid-February.
PAPAYA- The weather in Colima, Mexico has improved but fruit is still limited. We are expecting fruit to be available starting around the 2nd week of February. The fields are already showing the presence of clean fruit with most of the trees ready for harvest late-January. Currently, volume is still limited, and most shippers are covering programs and contract with little to nothing being offered daily in an open market. Overall volume will start to increase month-over-month until peak season starts closer to April.
GOLD PINEAPPLES– A cold over the Caribbean Sea and the presence of a high-pressure system in the east Gulf of Mexico has kept the trade winds with moderate intensity in the pineapple regions of Costa Rica. Winds were clocked up to 60 miles per hour in the North Pacific area and up to 30 miles per hour in other growing areas. There was also the presence of an anti-cyclone in the center of the Caribbean Sea that favored the decrease of humidity in Central America. Although rainy conditions are still expected for the North and Caribbean regions with up to 1 to 2 inches of rainfall, better weather is expected for the next few days. The areas most affected by rainfall should be the ones near the coast. Fruit has been recovering during the past few days, with quality still at risk if rains increase. Water spotting will be present and internal condition and brix level will be lower than ideal. Overall, mixed weather isn’t good for pineapple production, with availability of 5 count packs close to zero. The USDA crossing report is showing very low inbound volume out of Costa Rica with 360 containers arriving last week. This number could be pending revision. The USDA is reporting good demand and higher market.
MANGO- Ecuador is still packing although volume has decreased; we expect Ecuador to go through the end of January with low volume. Ecuadorian mangos are still peaking on small fruit, but the volume is much lower than it was a few weeks ago, and the price for this small fruit has increased. Peru is nearing their peak harvest production for arrivals at ports between January 27th- January 31st. Overall quality is looking good and clean with minimal defects upon receiving. Peak sizing off the first few containers are a 9/10 count followed by 12s. We could start seeing more large fruit as the season continues into 2020.
BLUEBERRIES– Blueberries are hitting peak volumes out of Mexico and Peru. We expect big volume through this week and will continue through January. Chilean production has been disrupted somewhat by much needed rain in the growing regions there, but volume is still cumbersome. The market will remain flat as shippers are struggling to move the over-abundance of volume. Quality has been very good out of all regions.
STRAWBERRIES-California: Although it is only the middle of January, thus far this season we have not experienced any extensive back to back storm fronts in any of the California growing areas, seriously affecting yields or quality as we saw in the winter of 2019. We are however, seeing lighter supplies out of California due to cold weather. Demand seems to have tapered off. Demand will increase in the coming weeks for the Valentine’s Day pull and many shippers are taking pre-bookings at this time. The market remains steady with higher under tones. We have seen a big improvement on quality out of all areas. With the current projected weather forecasts this improvement should continue into the end of this month. Santa Maria, California, fruit has bruising, white shoulder, bronzing, misshapen and pin rot. Average counts are 22 to 24. Oxnard, California, fruit has bruising, white shoulder, bronzing, and seedy tips. Average counts are 20 to 22, occasionally higher and lower. Florida: Florida has been seeing moderate sporadic showers with some cooler than normal temperatures which have lightened yields. Temperatures are expected to be very cold Tuesday night, warming with an extended dry period lasting through the weekend. This market has tightened up and will remain so through the weekend. Mexico: Central Mexico forecasts call for dry weather with cooler than seasonal early morning lows. This is not expected to affect yields at this point. Baja Mexico is expecting dry weather through next week with only slight chances of rain in the higher elevations. The market has firmed up out of that area as well and is expected to remain that way into next week.
RASPBERRIES / BLACKBERRIES– Raspberries: Raspberries have tightened up significantly over the weekend. Retail ads, increased demand and downward supply have compounded the shortages. Expect this to be in a demand-exceeds situation for at least the next 10 days. Quality has been fairly good with some older lots showing problems. The market should remain firm through this week as we see better overall demand. Blackberries: Blackberries are very similar situation to raspberries at this point coming primarily out of Central Mexico. After a serious glut and lack of demand last week shippers have gotten a handle on production curves and are moving product more efficiently. We are still seeing some leakers and red cell in many lots. Expect the market to remain steady with higher trends into next week.
STONE FRUIT- There are more consistent arrivals of Chilean stone fruit landing on both the east and west coasts. White and yellow peaches and nectarines, apricots, cherries and red plums are all available. Sizes are limited, but both tray pack and volume fill are being offered. Quality is being reported as very strong. Market prices have remained steady. We expect better supplies as we look toward February.
ORANGES- California Oranges: California navels are in full swing and growers are reporting that larger sizes are now becoming much more prevalent than smaller sizes. Sizes are peaking on 56s/72s/88s and peaking fancy over choice. Small sizes have now become very scarce, especially 138s (113s and 88s will probably be not too far behind). Markets are steady on the large sizes. The small size market is staying firm and looking to climb. Current weather patterns show rain to start the week so suppliers are doing what they can to pack ahead. There also has been some morning fog that’s been delaying harvest. We’re seeing very good natural color and gas hours are falling off. We’ll continue to see very high quality, high color, great tasting Navels. Brix levels have been consistent between 12-13% with good quality. Cara Cara’s and blood orange supplies continue to get better weekly with excellent quality.
LEMONS– California: New crop District 1 fruit is looking really nice on supplies and quality. California lemons are peaking at 115s/140s. Large lemon prices have subsided a bit in California as supplies start to keep up with demand. There is District 3 fruit still lingering around and suppliers are trying to clean it up by making deals. Weather continues to be optimal for growing lemons and the fruit will continue to be exceptional as long as the good weather persists. Markets are steady across the board. The Mexican lemon season has almost come to an end and we are seeing only large fruit left in Texas (75s/95s/115s).
CLEMENTINES- California: Clementines are in full swing in California right now. Prices have been steady because there is a good supply at the moment. Starting to see more and more larger sized fruit is now starting to be available. We have not heard much regarding quality issues. Offshore: The Nardorcott variety will start arriving in late January with stronger volume than in December, but the volume will be similar to last year with California in good production and better supplies from offshore, pricing will get looser, with plentiful supplies.
GRAPEFRUIT- Grapefruit continues out of California, Teas and Florida. Supplies are very healthy at the moment. Texas grapefruit is in full swing and we are starting to see healthy supplies there as well. However, there were some rains last week so supplies may be tighter for the week, especially on large sizes. Grapefruit sizes are 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, but we can find larger sizes here and there in small quantities.
LIMES- With harvest crews back to normal packing schedules we can expect supplies to improve every week. Current markets have started to come off and the overall the quality has been solid.
HONEYDEW- Offshore: Offshore arrivals are down year over year by 6%. Supplies remain tight this week. With little to no fruit in the pipeline, inventories are very lean and suppliers are struggling to cover contracted business. Offshore arrivals take almost a week to hit the ports by ship but, there are other setbacks aggravating fruit making it to market quickly. We are experiencing long wait times at the port as transportation has been limited. We are also waiting for the USDA inspections to be completed. Taking all of this into consideration, open market fruit will continue to be a challenge. This will be the trend for the balance of the month of January. Mexico: Honeydews out of Nogales, Arizona, continue to be in short supply as rain and weather conditions have curtailed what has been available. Look for supply situation to remain short for the near term and demand to remain elevated for the next week or so until better supplies from southern Mexico begin next week.
CANTALOUPE- Unlike honeydews, arrivals of cantaloupe are up 60% year over year. There is some overlap with Guatemala, Honduras and now Costa Rica producing. The industry is seeing good demand and availability on the east and west coast. Quality has been consistent as we are in peak offshore melon season. There are plenty of opportunities available on all sizes.
GRAPES– Imported grape availability is slowly improving into mid-January, with additional Peruvian containers and Chilean vessels beginning to arrive more frequently to both coasts. While east coast inventories are still in better shape than the west, open market availability is still limited to mostly pallet volumes. Variety-wise, a wide range of both red seedless (Crimson/Flame/Allison/Jack Salute/Sweet Celebration) and green seedless (Thompson/Sugraones/Sweet Globe/Timpson) options are available on both coasts. All black seedless varieties and seeded red Globes continue to be limited as well, with market pricing on all grapes varying, depending upon the size and variety. Overall, market pricing is expected to remain firm until early February, when Chilean shipments begin to arrive in greater numbers to supplement Peruvian arrivals. Green: West Coast: Supplies have been extremely limited on the west coast. Last week was a struggle to cover contract demand. The next big arrival of fruit on the west expected on January 26, so, we will continue to see limited supplies of open market green grapes. Additionally, the industry is seeing stronger demand across the board, so we do not expect to see any major swings in market prices. Quality is being reported as excellent and sizes are ranging between extra large to jumbo. We anticipate to see better volume as we approach the end of the month. East Coast: Green grape supplies have been good on the east coast. With some delayed arrivals late last week, we may hear some talk about lighter supplies, but we do not anticipate any major issues. Quality has been solid with several varieties and sizes available. Market prices have very slowly been coming down. Demand has been strong with a lot of fruit being utilized for retail commitments. Better supplies are expected as we move forward and we should see prices trickle down as we approach the end of the month. Red: West Coast: Supplies have been consistent, but can fluctuate quickly depending on delayed arrivals. This past week, the west coast received several containers of fruit, but the next large arrival is not expected again until January 26. With the increased demand due to pre-committed contracts and retail ads, we expect a large portion of this fruit to already be spoken for. As a result, we will see a slight increase in open market availability this week, then taper off quickly as we wait for the next arrival. Additionally, the fruit that is arriving is primarily sizes large to extra large, leaving a very limited amount of value priced smaller grapes. Taking all this into consideration, we expect supplies and market prices of red grapes to remain fairly steady on the west coast. Quality is being reported as very strong with several varieties available. We expect to see better availability and promotional opportunities toward the end of the month. East Coast: The east coast has had stronger availability due to more frequent arrivals of containers. However, this week is looking a bit more snug due to an expected delayed arrival that was expected early this week. The updated arrival date is now Friday, so we are expecting to see a bit more activity in regard to market prices this week. The severity of the situation varies greatly between one shipper and the next. We do expect to have limited but consistent supplies this week with firm pricing. Quality has been strong and we have a little more range in size on the east. Several varieties are being offered from Chile and Peru. We expect to see better supplies by next week.
AVOCADOS- Industry arrivals for last week totaled 65.1 million pounds. Mexico delivered 64.7 million pounds and California harvested an early 462,900 pounds. Mexico should continue to lead industry supplies averaging 57+ million pounds throughout January in anticipation for demand for the Super Bowl. Mexico- With Mexican growers not harvesting during the holidays, it created a shortage due to the demand and limited availability. The industry came out of the holidays leaner than anticipated. Inventories have dwindled as there is limited opportunity for spot buys. Open market fruit is holding at a premium, especially 16’s and 20’s. There was an abundance of #2 fruit in the pipeline last month. All that extra #2 grade fruit seems to have cleaned up as we are seeing increases on the #2 fruit as well. It will take some time to get the inventories back to pre-holiday levels. Transportation has also been a challenge. Trucks have been extremely limited, but they seem to be getting back on track. Market pricing has increased, over the past week, and it looks like it will continue to increase with the upcoming Super Bowl pulls. Michoacán harvested 79.3 million pounds last week, of which 64.7 million pounds shipped to the United States. Harvest this week is expected to hit record volumes once again, ranging between 79 to 88 million pounds, of which roughly 85-90% will ship to the US. There is no rain in the forecast and that should help crews with good harvest volumes each day. Overall, the growers are harvesting, but it is not fast enough to feed the demand. There is plenty of volume on trees, and we will see an increase on production moving forward. There are no major quality concerns to report. California– This season, the California harvest estimate is currently 365 million pounds. Almost double from last years’ total harvest. Ideally, an avocado tree should produce a similar crop each year, but avocado trees have a tendency to adopt an alternate bearing cycle. An “on” crop / “off” crop cycle across two years that result in a large crop of fruit one year, and a small crop the following year. This year is an “on” year and growers are seeing a solid amount of fruit in the groves. With the Mexican market on the rise, suppliers are aggressively pushing growers to start production in California sooner than anticipated. There is no actual start date to the season, but expect to see good volumes of fruit in the pipeline by mid-February. Last week, California harvested 462,900 pounds. Estimated harvest is 850,000 and 1,600,000 pounds for the next couple of weeks. The crop will likely be heavy to smaller sizes as the season begins. This early season fruit takes a lot longer to ripen, and has a different flavor profile (not as creamy) due to low dry matter. As the season progresses, the dry matter/oil content will increase and get that flavor profile just right. Peru- Initial reports from the Association of Hass Avocados from Peru indicate that Peruvian avocado supply will exceed the 285,000 tons that Peru exported in 2019. There are new plantings that will begin production and younger trees in the Olmos region that were producing last year but are expected to increase production starting at the end of March or beginning of April. Chile- There has been limited volume arriving to North America. Chile is experiencing a drought and the harvest has been heavy to smaller sizes, reducing the overall volume available. Colombia- Shipments to North America are expecting to continue with limited volume. Market Outlook - Mexico is coming off a big harvest last week and is poised to be even bigger this week. The industry pipeline is starting to see more fruit in the network which is sorely needed as demand continues to increase leading up to the Super Bowl. We are still seeing strong cost to procure fruit in the field so despite big harvest numbers. Market conditions remain very strong. There is concern because right now cost in the field isn't aligned with pre-arranged retail lids as the spike in field cost was not expected.
PEARS– Washington: With Bartlett pears now done for the season, many shippers are only shipping Bosc and D’Anjou. Bosc will be available through February with D’Anjou available through the summer months. Quality and shelf-life are excellent. Red Anjou is the variety available on red pears and are packed in ½ (20#) and full cartons (40#). Markets are steady and quality is excellent. We should start to see some South American Bartletts by March.
TOMATOES– Demand exceeds supplies; especially on the 5x6 and 6x6 sizes. Markets seem to have found their upper limits and we expect to see some relief as we progress through January and start February. Prices on romas and 6x7’s have already adjusted down. Contract triggers are still in place on 5x6 and 6x6 with reduced triggers on romas. East Coast: Florida tomato supplies are showing signs of improvement this week. Favorable weather in the forecast will help supply pickup over the course of the next few days. The size profile is expected to improve as growers move into new fields and the overall increase in volume will be gradual going into February. Florida does not have much acreage devoted to romas. That market may continue to ease and then jump up again the first part of February as supplies gap slightly. Grape tomatoes are widely available and have recovered from adverse weather weeks ago. Cherry tomatoes remain tight with less acreage devoted to the crop and delayed crossings from Mexico in the west. West Coast: Mexican imports are very light and have been priced considerably higher than Florida, but starting to even out as volume slowly improves. Sinaloa has had a delayed start due to the floods in early December. Culiacan is not expected to get started for another 2 weeks which will give the market a much-needed boost in supply. Roma tomato volumes in Mexico are beginning to increase and the market has begun to turn downward for the short term with the potential to firm up again the first part of February as farms continue to feel the effects of the December floods. Grape tomatoes are widely available and affordable. Cherry tomatoes are crossing in very light numbers and expected to improve by February when Culiacan gets rolling. With the newly appointed Suspension Agreement’s inspection Provisions, and delays resulting from the USDA’s phytosanitary controls to prevent the spread of the Tomato Brown Rugose Fruit Virus, many shippers speculate tight supply until early February, when overall volume is expected to pick up at the farm level.
APPLES- Washington: The overall Washington apple crop is large with estimates coming in around 138 million bushels, an increase of over 16% versus last year’s crop. Last year, Washington had one of their smaller crops in the last 5 years, totaling only 117 million cases. This year’s crop has produced a smaller sized apple than last year and therefore will have much less of the tray fruit in the 64 to 72-count range this season. Shippers are reporting a definite uptick in demand this week. Fortunately, this year’s overall harvest is yielding greater amounts of smaller fruit versus last year, which explains the low prices on most varieties this year. Retail sizes (56ct-72ct) are commanding higher prices due to much lighter supplies. Quality remains excellent with more than sufficient shelf-life. New York / Michigan / Ontario: Markets remain steady with smaller, regional shippers are closing for the season. We are seeing demand slowly shift to bigger shippers who are packing control atmosphere fruit. With plenty of others varieties available, Gala apple prices have firmed up with less volume in circulation, but there are other reds such as Cortlands, Empires and Macs commanding aggressive prices. Quality remains excellent.
WILD FORAGED PRODUCTS
** NEW ** CROSNES- From France. First of the season.
BLUEFOOT- From France. Back in stock. Limited quantities available.
BLACK TRUMPET- From Oregon/Europe. Top Quality.
HEDGEHOG- From Oregon. First of the season.
YELLOWFOOT- From BC/Oregon. Top quality.
CHANTERELLE - From Oregon. Going Strong.
CHANTERELLE BUTTONS – From Oregon. Limited.
BURGUNDY TRUFFLES- From Italy. Season is fading fast.
WHITE TRUFFLES- From Italy. Better supply.
WINTER TRUFFLES- From Italy. Better supplies.
NEW ITEMS NOW IN SEASON
CASTLEFRANCO / FORLELLE PEARS / IMPORTED POMEGRANITE / FLORIDA JUICE ORANGE / CHERRIES / PEACHES / CARA CARA ORANGE / BLOOD ORANGES / APRICOTS / HONEY TANGERINES / PICKLING CUCUMBER / NECTARINES / PLUMS
ITEMS THAT ARE SHORT
PRICKLY PEARS / FLAT RUNNER BEANS (HOLLAND) / GOLD KIWI / PERSIMMONS (FUYU & HACHYIA) / BABY ARUGULA
ITEMS NO LONGER AVAILABLE
SEVILLE ORANGES / GALIA MELONS / RHUBARB / ENGLISH PEAS IN THE POD / YELLOW WATERMELON / CHAMPAGNE GRAPES / SHELLED PEAS / BLUE PRUNE PLUMS / CRANBERRIES / QUINCE / FAVA BEANS