Canada's Market Update
January 4, 2022
- Widespread lettuce ice developed this morning, resulting in significant production delays
- Recent ice events have caused blistering and epidermal peel to develop in some lettuce crops; some varieties have been affected more than others
- Varieties that are more exposed such as romaine and leaf lettuce are effected more than iceberg
- Value-added romaine and green leaf items will start to show evidence of peel and blister in the coming weeks
- Harvesting and loading delays can be expected throughout the week
MARKET UPDATE FOR JANUARY 17, 2022
MARKETS TO WATCH: AT A GLANCE
Washington Apples: Market slightly higher. Light holiday packing schedules followed by snow last week are keeping inventories low and many shippers are at least temporarily out on some items. This situation should correct over the next couple of weeks.
Peeled Garlic: Supplies of quality Chinese peeled garlic continue to be tight. The California market remains tight even as California continues packing new crop.
Avocados: Supplies out of Mexico continue to be light.
Asparagus: Market continues to be steady with lighter supplies and good quality coming out of Mexico and Peru.
Broccoli: Tighter supplies is keeping this market elevated. The cold weather has slowed down growth. Look for this market to continue to go higher with the recent cold weather.
Blackberries: Numbers have been lean coming out of Mexico This market is trending up from last week.
Blueberries: A Central American planting gap combined with delayed container unloads are causing shortages and higher pricing.
Raspberries: A downward harvest curve from Mexico will cause markets to firm up and availability to decrease.
Field Grown Peppers: Green pepper supply limited in both Florida and Mexico. Florida more limited due to transitioning from fall to winter fields, crown pick and less acreage planted for winter months. Mexico experienced rain and cooler weather which is lightening up the supply.
Strawberries: West coast production is still light while Texas and Florida begin to slowly ramp up by weeks end.
Brussels Sprouts: Extreme limited supplies continue this week. Quality is fair as suppliers are battling decay from the recent wet and cold weather. Look for this market to stay high and supplies limited for the next couple of weeks.
Cauliflower: Extremely limited supplies are the result of the cold weather in the forecast. Look for this market to stay high as the cold weather is slowing the growth process.
Celery: This market is stronger as supplies have tightened up due to rain and cool weather in southern California.
Limes: Demand exceeds; supplies extremely limited due to minimal lime crossings through South Texas.
Oranges: Supplies remain very limited on 113’s and 138’s this week and are expected to remain tight through the rest of the navel season.
Eggplant: Markets slightly higher due to cooler temperatures slowing production in Mexico and Florida.
Grapes Green & Red: Supplies remain the tightest anyone has ever seen. The vessels that are arriving on both coasts this week will be drops in a bucket of demand. Expect this market to remain extremely tight for the next three weeks.
Green Onions: Green onion supplies are very tight. Cold weather and lack of labor are contributing to the shorter supplies.
Romaine / Leaf: The market is firm on romaine as well as green and red leaf. Romaine hearts are getting stronger with multiple suppliers. Blister and peel continue to be reported on all romaine and leaf items.
Mushrooms: Supplies chain issues continue to cause a nationwide shortage of supply in the US, that will go into the spring or summer.
Honeydew: Honeydew supplies are lightening up as Guatemala changes growing districts. Market should stay tight for the next two weeks.
Onions: Market is elevated on all sizes and colors. Supers and colossal sized onions are extremely limited. Red onions are trending higher. Quality is not holding up to expected shelf life; keep red onion stocks limited.
Pineapples: Lower volume continues on the pineapple front. Volumes are expected to increase end of January.
Seedless Watermelon: Seedless watermelon supplies continue to be tight.
Stone Fruit: Small amounts of imported peaches, nectarines and apricots now landing on both coasts. More availability on the east coast as the west coast ports continue to be back logged.
Zucchini: Supplies are limited in Florida and Mexico. Cool weather in Mexico has limited supply and Florida demand increased with less acreage which has also lightened up supplies.
GARLIC- The peeled garlic pipeline from China continues to show signs of improvement, however, getting product from China to the end user is where all the cost is. Shipping costs have tripled and there are delays every stop along the way. Until the logistics situation returns to normal, we can expect to have volatile supplies, potential quality issues and higher pricing. California: California garlic continues to be light and growers are pro-rating. We expect this volatile market to continue through next summer.
ICEBERG- Good supplies are expected to continue with this commodity throughout the week from Yuma and the Imperial Valley. Blister and peel is still being reported due to the past cold temperatures. Warm weather and no rain is expected for the rest of the week. We anticipate better activity this week with slightly higher prices.
ROMAINE / LEAF- The market is firm on romaine as well as green and red leaf. Romaine and romaine heart production is lower. Romaine hearts are getting stronger with multiple suppliers. Growers are experiencing some quality issues at the field level ultimately reducing yields. Plants that are healthy are exhibiting good color, texture, and overall quality. Blister and peel continue to be reported on all romaine and leaf items. Although the weather will be good for the week, those defects will continue to be seen so please be aware. Some quality issues being reported are occasional fringe burn and lighter weights. Overall demand is steady. Markets are increasing with romaine heart pricing higher. A few shippers are reporting that supplies are expected to be lighter next week. The blister and peel is contributing to faster breakdown of romaine value added products. Overall, both romaine and leaf have a shorter shelf life so order for shorter turns. Expect fair quality throughout the week.
WEST COAST: SPRING MIX/BABY SPINACH/BABY KALE- Shippers are battling light mechanical damage from the rain and cooler weather but overall quality is reported as fair to good with texture and size within specification. Look for this market to stay steady.
EAST COAST: ARUGULA / WATERCRESS– Watercress and arugula supplies out of Florida are very good with good quality.
BROCCOLI- Broccoli prices continue to rise due to cooler weather in the Arizona and California desert growing regions. Arizona/California: Cool weather is forecast to slow plant maturity, resulting in fewer available supplies over the next 10-14 days. Overall quality is good: pin rot is affecting some lots. Demand is moderate, but expected to strengthen as stocks become tighter. Expect Arizona and California prices to increase over the next 10-14 days. Mexico: Supplies have rebounded following unseasonably low temperatures; prices are anticipated to increase over the next two weeks as additional demand shifts from the Arizona/California desert to South Texas. Overall quality is good: pin rot is affecting some lots. Demand is moderate, but expected to pick up as West Coast broccoli stocks become tighter.
ASPARAGUS– Market continues to be steady with lighter supplies and good quality coming out of Mexico and Peru. The cold weather in Mexico has slowed the growth process in recent weeks. Volume from Peru will continue to decrease while Mexican volumes are expected to start in a couple of weeks with strong volumes. Larger sizing continues to be limited.
CABBAGE- East Coast: Green, red and savoy cabbage are in good supply this week. Ontario and Quebec continue shipping winter storage red, green and savoy cabbage. Cabbage is available in good volume in Georgia. West Coast: Texas is going with some light supplies.
CAULIFLOWER– Extremely limited supplies are the result of the cold weather. Look for this market to stay high as the cold weather has slowed the growth process. Santa Maria and Yuma have both experienced cold and wet weather the last several weeks.
BEANS- There is lighter supply this week out of Florida and quality is not as “snappy” as pre-holiday. Mostly due to the rain but it is expected to improve as the weather improves. We are seeing the same issues crossing through Nogales but expect improvement over the next 7-10 days. Both green and yellow wax are available. There are also some flat/pole beans available as well. Snipped: Value-added trimmed green bean prices remain steady for this week; however, the east coast production facility will close this Friday driving demand to California. Added freight will increase the cost. Supplies are meeting demand. Quality is very good.
CELERY- This market is stronger as supplies have tightened up due to rain and cool weather in southern California. Slight pith and peeling has been reported. This is a direct cause by adverse weather conditions in the growing region. Expect supplies to be moderate at best throughout the week. As of now all orders are being filled to their entirety. Yuma and the Imperial Valley are expected to start late-January. Quality reports are showing good quality. The weather forecast calls for average temperatures with clear skies this week. The Florida celery season will begin in the next 7-14 days and run through April.
EGGPLANT- Supply is lighter this week out of Florida due to cooler weather and should turn that corner once we see consistency in the warmer days. Markets slightly higher due to cooler temperatures slowing production in Mexico. Demand has ticked up a bit following the holiday. Markets should ease going into next week.
MUSHROOMS- Quality is good, although supplies continue to be extremely short and the market is higher primarily due to a lack of labor and shortages in component of growing such as peat moss. We do expect this trend to continue well into 2022. Suppliers are pro-rating customer orders up to 50% just to ensure even availability to their customer base.
CUCUMBERS– Field: As expected, Nogales is starting to see more crossings out of Mexico. The east coast market is mainly being driven by offshore cucumbers, which remain high and we don’t expect any relief for a few weeks. Labor shortages are making it a challenge to unload containers at the port and contributing to the rising markets. Expect markets to remain active for the next two weeks. English Cucumber: We are still seeing heavy Mexican production and availability will continue to increase from here forward, while demand seems slower. Conventional Canadian production is low, while product grown under lights remains steady. Quality on Canadian production is very good and priced at a premium. There is a 2-tier steady market. By mid-March, Canadian production should start, while supply will remain consistent from Mexico. Quality expected to be good from both Canada and Mexico. Mexico will continue to be a cheaper option. Mini Cucumbers: Mexico is in strong supply, and quality is decent. Volumes out of Canada will be limited. Pricing is currently higher. Into February, we expect the markets to trend up as Canadian traditional crops are finished, and Mexico becomes more of the main source overall. We will continue to see product from Canadian growers that have lights. Expecting to see two-tiered pricing, with Mexico continuing to be a cheaper option.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS- Brussels sprouts remain extremely limited due to continued weather challenges in all growing regions. Salinas and Santa Maria, California have experienced considerable consistent rainfall during the month of December, ranging from 3 to 5” in total. Cold weather in the low to mid- 60s persists in Mexicali, Mexico, limiting stalk and sprout growth. The current size profile is dominated by small and medium; jumbo size stocks remain extremely tight. Overall quality is good: discoloration and early breakdown due to rain are occasional issues. Expect elevated markets through January and into February.
GREEN ONIONS– The green onion market remains elevated; supplies are extremely limited. Persistently low temperatures in Mexicali, Mexico are hindering growth; evening temperatures have dipped below freezing. Warmer weather with highs in the low to mid-70s and evening temperatures in the low 40s to low 50s are forecast over the next 10 days. This slight warming trend will help promote growth although supply recovery will be slow as lack of labor is also contributing to the shorter supplies. Elevated markets are anticipated through January at minimum.
FIELD PEPPERS- Green Pepper: Overall, new fields are not quite ready to be harvested in Florida, and Mexico is recovering from the holidays. Mexico is scheduled to get back to normal harvesting this week, while Florida will continue to struggle for the next 10 days. Florida is more limited due to transitioning from fall to winter fields, crown pick and less acreage planted for the winter months. As a result, Florida is mainly harvesting older fields and producing more off grades. Markets will remain active for the next two weeks. Red Pepper: There are good supplies of field red pepper now crossing through Texas and should continue to ramp up out of Nogales this week. We are seeing good supply of reds out of South Florida as well. Quality remains good.
HOTHOUSE PEPPERS- Overall quality is good on all three colors. Availability on red pepper has increased, and we’re not currently seeing any issues and pricing has come off overall. Yellow and orange both remain in good supply. Mexico continues to be the main pepper main producer right now. Long term, we do not see any reason for any change in this market. Ontario will resume production in early April.
POTATOES: Canadian storages are holding 24.5% more potatoes as of January 1st, compared to prior year. Stocks are up from last year in all growing areas except British Columbia. The largest increase, 54.3%, came in the Maritime Provinces. Quebec and Ontario stocks are up significantly from a year ago. The overall stocks increase obscures the tight raw product supply situation in the frozen processing sector. Prince Edward Island: Island growers held 51.1% more potatoes on January 1, 2022 than they did one year ago. It is PEI’s largest January 1 inventory on record, which follows last year’s smallest inventory since 2002. This year’s stocks include more than double the quantity of table potatoes than were held prior year. Despite record-large table potato stocks, December disappearance fell by 39.1% due to export restrictions after Potato Wart findings. The Island’s January processing stocks are up 41.8%, from last year. December processing use exceeded the 2020 pace by 69.8%. Island growers also had less seed potato than they held a year earlier. The seed reduction likely occurred because growers diverted part of their seed to the processing sector after they lost access to US sales. The Canadian government announced last week that it will pay $4.25 CDN per 100/lb for potatoes that are destroyed and removed from the supply chain. USA: The potato market continues to be stable on all sizes at the moment. It appears to be a bit of a mixed profile depending on the different growers around from Idaho. Some are in a larger size profile, whereas some are heavier to smaller potatoes. Overall, the market has remained relatively ‘flat’ in terms of pricing. We anticipate that will remain the case until at least next week and may largely depend on weather conditions in the Pacific Northwest. Cold temperatures may prohibit growers being able to dig without risking freeze damage, and road closures may continue to curtail movement. Much as they have these past two weeks. Assuming we can get back to a more regular shipping pattern, we anticipate the market will take another increase. Heightened processor demand continues to put pressure on the fresh crop as they are offering record prices for bulk product. Growers are then faced with a difficult decision about whether to sell their crop to processors or support the fresh market. The only way the fresh market will keep up, is if returns back to the farms are comparable to what they are being offered. The heat this past summer is still believed to have affected the Burbanks more than the Norkotahs, so we are not very optimistic of relief until likely next year’s crop. Unfortunately, we are not in a situation where we can make up the Idaho shortfall with supply from other growing regions, as Washington experienced similar growing conditions, and they are up against the same challenges related to low yields. The concern surrounding trucks continues to be elevated as rates these past few weeks have continued to increase. Shippers and receivers should be prepared to continue to see elevated freight rates.
ZUCCHINI- Production still has not caught up to demand, as Florida and Mexico continue to struggle. There are tighter supplies available this week out of Florida due to weather related production issues. Florida usually doesn't plant that much during this time, knowing that Mexico is in full production. We do expect improving conditions out of Immokalee over the next 10 days. Mexico is also seeing lighter numbers mostly due to cooler weather and labor issues. We should see this turn around as temperatures warm back up. Quality is outstanding on green zucchini and fair on yellow with moderate scarring and scuff.
CORN- Florida is producing decent volume however, the price is starting to climb as we would normally expect this time of year. Sizing is typical for winter corn as it is much smaller than summer corn. Expect to see this continue unless there is a weather event.
TABLE POTATOES– On January 1st, Canada had 45% more table potatoes in storage than it held a year earlier. Nearly all of the additional table potatoes are in the eastern provinces. December disappearance rose 5.1% above last year’s pace. Manitoba and Ontario posted massive increases in reported usage during December. New Brunswick and Quebec also reported strong disappearance. Alberta’s reduced usage is due to supply limitations. PEI’s December usage, though above 2020 levels, has been held back by phytosanitary constraints. Growers should see strong export demand from the US. Some table potatoes could be pulled into the processing sector, to supplement those supplies. Ontario: The December potato disappearance exceeded the 2020 pace. That left Ontario with 20.8% more potatoes in storage on January 1, than the year prior. The province’s chip potato disappearance nearly matched the 2020 pace. December table potato disappearance was the strongest since 2009, up from a year earlier. January 1 table potato stocks were up 13.3% from last year. Ontario’s chip potato inventory was also up 21.3%, and the largest on record for the province. The province’s January 1 seed inventory was more than double last year’s supply. Quebec: Quebec’s January 1 potato stocks were up 25.6% compared to prior year. The increase is distributed between the table, processing, and seed sectors. December disappearance exceeded the 2020 pace. Intended use data show a 13.1% increase in table potato use. Processing use increased 15.4%. The province also had more seed potato in storage on January 1, compared to last year. British Columbia: The province had 1.6% fewer potatoes in storage on January 1 compared to the year prior. The reduction is due to a smaller seed potato crop. Table potato stocks nearly match last year’s inventory. December movement exceeded the 2020 pace by 2.4%.
KALE- Steady supplies are keeping this market steady on green, red and black kale. Look for this market to be slightly higher due to increased freight rates. Product is still available from multiple shipping points; California, Texas and Georgia.
ONIONS- The Pacific Northwest continues to ship a smaller onion size profile, with limited Colossal and Super Colossals. The market continues to stay strong on yellow jumbos and larger, and all sizes of reds and whites. Generally speaking, we begin to see the market take another increase this time of year. All signs are pointing to that taking place again as demand has picked up, and as growers get further into their storages, they continue to realize just how short their supply situation is. Typically, Mexican onions begin crossing in January, and depending on what type of quality and volumes cross, can drastically change the supply situation, and pressure pricing down. However, most multi-unit foodservice chains will not allow any Mexican onions in their supply chain due to the Mexican onion recall that took place in the last few months. As a result of that, we do not anticipate the Mexican product will provide much downward pressure this season on the overall onion supply. Red onion supply is expected to be much shorter than yellows as we will not see an influx of new red supply until we get to California in May. Labor shortages are continuing to present production challenges in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington, particularly on heavy volumes of consumer packed onions. Freight continues to be challenging out of all onion growing regions. Unfortunately, there does not appear to be any relief in freight costs in the near-term future.
SEEDLESS WATERMELON- Lighter supply continue this week crossing through Nogales while demand is up. Quality is good and prices are up this week. Guatemalan seedless watermelon continue to arrive into ports in Florida with light supplies. Supplies will be light through January. Overall quality is good.
MANGO- The peak of the import mango season is to start next week, and we continue to see low availability on container spaces which will limit the total volume of product being shipped to North America. Currently, all ports on the East and West Coast are seeing delays due to high traffic and volume. Customs and drayage companies are working slower than usual due to COVID /COVID-related issues in the Northeast and Southeast. Long delays in West Coast ports have discouraged growers from shipping directly; most of the volume being offered in the West is being transferred from the East Coast to satisfy West Coast demands. Volume in Peru has started to increase, and we expect to see higher volume being shipped on Kent mangos. Sizing so far has been reported to be slightly larger than last season, but still peaking on 9/10 counts.
PAPAYA- The growing region of Colima, Mexico continues to experience cooler mornings with temperatures in the 70s with warm days in the high 80s/low 90s with mixed rains. The warmer weather has helped availability from the growing region. There will a little bit more volume available as we move through January. Historically, we see overall supply for papaya limited at the end of the year due to weather conditions in the growing region. The heavy rains that have been hitting Colima, Mexico for the past couple months have affected the quality/volume of the fruit. We expect better weather at the growing region for the weeks to come. This will help on getting a bit more volume. Supplies will continue to be somewhat limited this month.
BLUEBERRIES– A Central American harvesting gap combined with delayed container unloads are causing product shortages and higher pricing. Expect more delays in transit from Chile as many vessels have been delayed and are struggling due to shortages in vessel freight/ships; these shortages are just as bad as with general road transportation. Expect a continued tight market on blueberries through January, as production remains lower and is being heavily impacted by vessels.
STRAWBERRIES- As we move through January there continues to be moderate to limited supplies. Florida and Central Mexico regions are producing moderate volumes, however with mixed reports of quality at the border and logistic challenges the market has strengthened. Weather in California continues to impact strawberry supplies. California stocks are limited, pushing demand to the East Coast. Prices are rising in all regions. Oxnard, California: After 3”-5” of rain, growers have been stripping plants of damaged fruit. This past week’s cold weather is slowing re-growth. Production will not increase until the middle of this week. Growers will supplement Mexican-grown fruit for their California shipments through January; transfers are limited. Central Mexico (Loading in South Texas): Production continues to ramp up. Demand is extremely strong; markets are increasing. Quality is good. Florida: Volume continues to increase and will be in peak production through Valentine’s Day. Demand remains strong and prices are firm. Quality is good. Ontario: We continue to be limited in supply of hothouse strawberries. All production is being directed to retail. Quality continues to be strong. Into January, supplies are expected to increase as some large acreage will start production. Expect strong supply once production ramps up. Quality looks to be good.
RASPBERRIES / BLACKBERRIES– Raspberries: Same with raspberries as blackberries with lower production over the coming weeks and then more production heading into February. Blackberries: There is good quality but tightening supply as Mexico heads into the downward part of the current production cycle. Expect low production through January, with more production coming on in February and then peaking in March. This is normal production cycling. Typically, December is the low month, but with a delayed start to the season, the low production cycle was pushed.
GOLD PINEAPPLES– Costa Rica: Cold Front #11 is affecting north-central America, increasing both atmospheric pressure and winds over Costa Rica. Wind gusts have reached 60 miles per hour in the north region of the country with rains reported in the Caribbean. Conditions are expected to remain stable which will favor pineapple production and limit quality issues. Quality is reported as good with very dry conditions last week. This in turn does make fruit somewhat susceptible to water spotting if it receives heavy rains suddenly. No naturally differentiated flowering events to report currently. Fruit quality is good right now with no issues forecasted for the near future. The USDA pineapple crossing report for last week is trending still lower at just over 800 loads crossing. Volumes are expected to increase end of January. Demand is being reported as moderate and the market as steady.
GRAPEFRUIT- Overall, the market remains fairly stable as more supplies become available in Texas, Mexico, and California. Quality is excellent with no issues being reported at this time. In California, we are seeing Rio Reds, peaking on 36/40/48s. Small sizes are where the pricing is most aggressive. Mexican grapefruit is peaking on 40s/48s. Eating great and look great. Supplies have been on the lighter side to start the season but that is starting to change. Texas also started a few weeks ago and while supplies will be down sharply year over year, quality has been strong to start the season. Offshore: There is also now some grapefruit from Israel, Spain and Morocco now available, however, port delays are causing sporadic availability.
ORANGES- California: California navels are currently harvesting Fisher, TA, and Washington varieties. Peak sizing is on 72 and 88 count. Larger fruit will become more available in the coming weeks as the season progresses. Supplies remain very limited on 113’s and 138’s this week and are expected to remain tight through the rest of the navel season. Quality is excellent and in peak eating time. Brix and color are high. Both Cara Cara and Bloods are being harvested with peak sizing on 88 count as well. Offshore: Navels from Spain, Morocco, South Africa and Argentina are all available. South Africa is winding down while others are ramping up. Delays on arrival and finding shipping containers continue to pose supply issues. Overall quality is very good and priced much lower than California fruit.
LEMONS– California: The lemon market and supplies are currently steady. Peak sizing is on 115/140 count fancy, with limited 165 and smaller. California lemons are coming out of both Districts 1 and 3. Mexican lemons are still being shipped into South Texas and Nogales are winding down. Offshore: Spain has stared their lemon season and there is also some Moroccan, Argentinian and Turkish fruit available. Quality is excellent. Delays on arrival and finding shipping containers at source continue to pose supply issues. Overall quality is very good and priced much lower than California fruit.
LIMES- Lime prices continue to rise quickly as demand far exceeds supplies. Some orders are being pro-rated. Demand from the National market in Mexico is very strong, leaving less product for export. The Mexican "key lime" crop was completely wiped out from a spray program the growers did last year. Key limes are huge seller for the Mexican national market. With the "key lime" crop wiped out, the whole country of Mexico moved to the Persian lime variety that we use, that were not mature in size (275/300 count limes), leaving little to size up. Markets will be active through March. The weather forecast is showing lower temperatures and rain for the first part of the week. Sizing profile is peaking on sizes 175/200/230s; size distribution is 110-8%, 150-17%, 175-25%, 200-23%, 230-19%, and 250-8%. Quality is reporting lighter color and thinner peel on the larger limes as well as oil spots, blanching, scarring, and skin breakdown.
CANTALOUPE- Offshore cantaloupe supplies arrived from Honduras last week, adding to the Guatemalan supply. However, a significant shift in sizing has been realized over the past week as jumbo fruit has all but disappeared. There is good availability currently on 9/12/15s at ports in Florida. There are good supplies on cantaloupes causing this market to ease. Lighter arrivals are anticipated beginning next week and continuing for a few weeks. Quality continues to be very good although a slight decrease on the lower end of brix levels has been noted as some cooler weather hit the growing region prior to Christmas. Average brix levels are now ranging from 11-14%.
HONEYDEW- Unlike cantaloupe, offshore honeydew continues to be in light supply at all ports as Guatemala transitions growing districts. Production from the new growing region is heavier to the larger sizes (5/5Js) which will limit the 6/8 availability over the next week. Very little inventory has been able to be sold on the open market as contract business has been consuming the majority of arrivals. Some shippers are only selling honeydew with cantaloupe orders. Quality from the new growing region has been outstanding with clean external quality while brix levels remain consistently in the 12-14% range. Honeydew from South Mexico, shipping out of Nogales and South Texas, are tight as well. Quality and sugar have been good on all honeydew.
PEARS- Bartletts, D’anjou, Red pears, Forelle and bosc continue shipping out of Washington State and Oregon. The pear crop in the Pacific Northwest is looking a little smaller in volume this year and the fruit will run one to two sizes smaller than last season. The large high-quality fruit will bring a premium this year so expect prices on the best fruit to trend up over the next couple of months. The price on Bartlett pears is rising with strong demand in the last few weeks. Expect most shippers to finish up with their Bartlett pear crop somewhere in January. There are also cactus (prickly) pears, asian pears, and forelle per available as well.
STONE FRUIT- Small amounts of imported yellow peaches, white nectarines and apricots are now landing on both coasts. There is more availability on the east coast as the west coast ports continue to be backlogged. Prices are quite high. Overall fruit quality is very good; however, brix is low on the first arrivals. Cherries from Chile are essentially finished. Plums from Italy are finished and there are some plums from South Africa available now. We will see plums from Chile in February.
GRAPES- The beginning of the import table-grape season has challenged an already pressured situation from a short California crop during the transition. As an industry, we are struggling across the entire supply chain with container shortages, transloading/cross-docking, labor, and drayage equipment challenges. These challenges are beyond just grapes, but something that we expect to continue for the weeks to come. As a result, the combination of all these things is causing demand to rise on all grape varieties. Red seedless are the most impacted in terms of availability; black seedless and green seedless are all becoming just as high of demand items. There is some light at the end of the tunnel expected late-January, with some of the break bulk Chilean vessels expected to arrive. Port congestion on the East and West coasts are feeling varying levels of pressure with the West Coast seeing longer delays. The industry is having to operate in day-to-day situations, while leaning on all parts of the business to remain flexible with changes.
AVOCADO- Industry arrival totals for the first week of January were around 55.8 million pounds. Mexico shipped 54.6 million pounds, California harvested 126,405 pounds, Colombia shipped 340,000 pounds, Chile delivered 273,681 pounds and the Dominican Republic shipped 490,000 pounds. Current inventories at the border are estimated to be in the low-51-million-pound range and are expected to maintain through the end of the week. Mexico leads the industry with 99% of total inventory. Weekly averages for the next four weeks are expected to adjust to the 57-64+ million-pound range, in anticipation of the Super Bowl pull. Arrivals are expected to combine product from Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and other sources. Mexico- Michoacán reported a 59.5-million-pound harvest for the first week of January, with 54.6 million pounds shipping to the U.S. Rain and hail delayed harvest in some areas of Michoacan late last week. Harvest has resumed but prices in the field remain strong, setting the stage for higher prices for the Super Bowl pull this year. Sizing is peaking on 48s/16s and 60s/20s, with limited supply and higher pricing on the larger sizes. Unlike previous years, the industry has yet to see the ramp up in harvest for demand around the Super Bowl. Due to the overall decrease in the crop’s size, many growers are postponing their harvest until late February, in anticipation of a higher market. The size curve continues to peak on small fruit and grade 2 fruit. California- California has initiated activities in anticipation of the Super Bowl. Last week, 126,405 pounds were harvested, with increases expected in the coming weeks. The industry estimate for the current week is at 400,000+ pounds and for the next is at 1.3+ million pounds. The preliminary forecast for the entire season is listed at 300+ million pounds. Chile- Chile delivered 273,681 pounds for the first week of January. Expected arrivals for this week are around 500,000+ and for the following week are around 1+ million pounds. Estimated arrivals from Chile for the early part of 2022 are expected to total 2.5-3 million pounds. Colombia- Colombia delivered 340,000 pounds for the first week of January. Expected Colombian arrivals are around 300,000 for this week and 400,000+ for the next. Estimated arrivals from Colombia for the early part of 2022 are expected to total 1.7-2.3 million pounds. Dominican Republic- The Dominican Republic delivered 490,000 pounds for the first week of January. Expected arrivals are around 400,000+ for each of the next two weeks. Estimated arrivals from the Dominican Republic for the early part of 2022 are expected to total 1.5-2 million pounds. Organic- The organic market continues to be tight. The industry is seeing high field costs with a skewed size curve and high percentages of grade two fruit coming off the trees. The industry anticipates rising prices in the coming weeks as demand holds strong with continued limited availability on organics. Market Outlook- Field pricing in Mexico continues to stay strong, due to healthier eating trends impacting consumption and suppliers preparing for the Super Bowl. With one of the largest avocado-consumption holidays approaching, the industry anticipates stronger demand and pricing throughout the next four weeks. The decrease in overall crop size for the year is still causing pricing uncertainties following the Super Bowl, considering the large harvest the industry has seen come to the U.S. The crop is still peaking on 60s/20s, with the percentage of grade 2 fruit increasing week-over-week. Larger fruit remains less than 3% of the size curve and is very tight.
TANGERINES- Seeded tangerine varieties continue shipping out of Southern California. The Fairchild varieties just finished and are making way for the Daisy harvest. Mexico is also starting to ship up some Dancy tangerines available for loading in the Texas Valley.
CLEMENTINES- California: Clementine prices are steady as both import and California options are available. Imports can be found loading out of California and Texas. The California crop is expected to be down 40%, so supplies will be limited all season long. This is due to extreme heat and lack of water in the Central Valley. Brix on clementines is very high and they are eating extremely well for this time of year. Product is coming off very clean. Offshore: Offshore clementine’s from Spain and Morocco continue and there are abundant supplies after the holidays. Delays unloading at ports continues to be a challenge, but is not affecting supply currently. Quality continues to be very good.
HOTHOUSE TOMATO- Red Tomato On-The-Vine: There continues to be good supplies with product grown under lights in Canada and the USA. The market is strong and quality is very good. Mexico continues to ramp up with good quality and supply. We see no change into February. We continue to expect higher markets and stronger overall demand in the tomato market, as growers continue to face pressure with the Tomato Rugose Virus. Into March, we expect to see Mexican supply slow down a bit, while USA and Canadian crops grown under lights remains in good supply. We are still expecting to see very strong demand levels, with good quality. We should start to see some conventional hothouse start by mid-late April. Beefsteak: Canadian growers will continue to be in good supply with product grown under lights. Mexican supply has ramped up and quality is good. Into February, Mexican supply is expected to be strong as they will be in peak production. We continue to expect higher markets and strong demand overall in the tomato market, as growers continue to face pressure with the Tomato Rugose Virus. We should start to see some conventional hothouse start by mid-late April. Bite Size (Cherry, Grape, Cocktail, Medley): Flavor and quality continues to be strong from both Canada and Mexico. Canadian crops grown under lights continue to have limited availability, with a tighter supply overall on snacking tomatoes. We expect to see a higher demand on snacking tomatoes, due to healthy eating season. Supply is currently tight on cocktail tomatoes, which demand continues to increase. Into February, production levels will continue to be limited, as specialty crops battle rugose virus. This will continue to be a challenge for growers. However, quality and flavor overall is expected to be good.
MATURE GREEN TOMATOES– Florida and Mexico are now the main growing regions for tomatoes. Prices have gained some strength as Mexico is slow to get into volume. East Coast: There is not much change to report. Moderate demand along with adequate supplies is keeping prices fairly steady. Florida production is tapering off, as planned due to Mexico becoming the primary player on tomatoes over the next few months. With the optimal growing conditions in Florida continuing, and the Mexican crop out of Culiacán ramping up production, prices are expected to remain steady for the near term. Demand continues to be good, especially on larger fruit. Quality on rounds, romas, cherry and grape tomatoes are all very good. West Coast: As with Florida, there is not much change to report. Central Mexico continues to ramp up production and should be at 100% for next week. Fruit is running on the larger side. Mexico is the primary growing region for romas. There are good supplies of grape and cherry tomatoes from Mexico. Overall quality is very good. Truck availability and very high freight rates continue to be where the cost issues are, with no relief on the horizon.
APPLES- Washington: Winter storms dumped significant snowfall into the growing region last week causing shutdowns and major delays for several days. This will be a tough week with a shortage of product due to warehouse shutdowns and the continued shortage of trucks. Truck rates are hitting record highs, and this won’t resolve itself for another week or so. Mediocre demand is keeping the market from really taking off. All varieties are now being packed out of short-term or long-term controlled atmosphere storage. The overall crop is down this year with total crop estimated to be around 119 million cases this season. This will make the second crop in a row that is smaller than normal and looks to be at least 2 million cases shorter than the crop last season. The crop was smaller due to the extreme heat and weather conditions that were experienced during the summer months with high temperatures and lower rainfalls. The hot weather brought down gala production in Washington state by about 12% compared with a year ago. The tightest items this week are the premium Honeycrisp trays and Honeycrisp bags, as well as all sizes and packs of Royal Gala apples. The overall quality has been good so far, but we will need to see how the fruit holds up in storage as growers begin to open the storage rooms through 2022. Pricing overall is running higher due to the shorter crop and overall inflation in the growing chain including labor, picking, packing, and transporting costs. Expect this market to perk up after the first of the year. Ontario/Quebec/Michigan/New York: Grower/packers are packing out of controlled atmosphere storage rooms. Royal Gala, Ambrosia, MacIntosh, Empires, Cortland, Gold Delicious, Red Delicious and others continue. Quality is outstanding with steady pricing.
ITEMS NOW IN SEASON
OFFSHORE POMEGRANATE / CLEMENTINES / MEYER LEMONS / FLORIDA JUICE ORANGE / CARA CARA ORANGES / BLOOD ORANGES / PINEBERRIES / FLAT(POLE) BEANS / PEACH / NECTARINE / APRICOT / SEVILLE ORANGES
ITEMS VERY SHORT
DRAGON FRUIT / STARFRUIT / FINGERLIMES / GOJI BERRIES / QUINCE / BLACK PLUMS / CHILEAN CHERRIES
ITEMS NO LONGER AVAILABLE
PUNTARELLE / HONEY TANGERINE / RHUBARB / ENGLISH PEA / GARLIC SCAPE / PICKLING DILL / ONTARIO STRAWBERRIES / FAVA BEANS / PRUNE PLUMS / FUYU and HACHIYA PERSIMMONS / BLACK GRAPES