Eastern Canada's Market Update
January 11, 2021
The latest Markon Live From the Fields video covers light lettuce ice in the Arizona/California desert growing region. Light lettuce ice developed over the weekend and again this morning causing minor production delays. Sporadic ice may continue over the next couple of days, but forecasts call for warmer temperatures overall this week. Weather throughout the Yuma season has been much more mild compared to previous years. December/January are historically the most challenging months of the season. This season, frost events have been few and far between, and we’ve received no rainfall. Although some frost-related defects are present, we are currently seeing some of the best lettuce quality in recent memory for this time of year.
MARKET UPDATE FOR May 17, 2021
MARKETS TO WATCH: AT A GLANCE
Peeled Garlic: Supplies from China continue to be very tight with quality issues. The California market is tightening up as California supplies are finished.
Apples: Quality is good on all varietals. Smaller sized fruit is less available and has higher pricing. The season in eastern regions is coming to an end.
Avocados: Pricing is steady at higher levels due to strong retail / foodservice demand.
Red Peppers: Red peppers out of Mexico are in light supply and priced higher as the Mexican season winds down.
Raspberries: Supplies remain tight and that is expected to continue through May, until California’s harvest fully ramps up.
Blueberries: Florida, Georgia and Mexico’s harvests are returning to normal levels, and California is increasing as well.
Limes: Supplies remain very limited, particularly on 175 CT and larger sizes. 230 CT and smaller are the best value.
Green Grapes: Quality is poor and pricing is high as the import season finishes. Avoid use where possible, until Mexico starts in May.
Red Grapes: Quality is only fair and remain a more reliable option than greens. Pricing is steady.
Cantaloupe: The import season is finished. Mexico is harvesting, and the California/Arizona desert season will begin in the next few weeks.
Honeydew: The import season is finished. Mexico is harvesting, and the California/Arizona desert season will begin in the next few weeks.
Stone Fruit: California stone fruit has started with apricots, peaches and cherries. Nectarines start around in a week. Plums start in June.
GARLIC- Supplies of peeled garlic from China continue to be very tight and priced much higher than normal. Much longer transit times and delayed vessel arrivals are adding as much as 30-45 days to a trip that takes 21 days. As a result, quality continues to be a major concern. New crop harvest is ongoing and will be finished by the end of May. We will see new crop in July. Increases in demand are expected as Covid-19 restrictions continue to be lifted across the US. With California gapping, expect pricing to continue to be very strong. China: Demand is picking up as the US market is going to gap for about 10 weeks. Expect pricing to be active. Quality remains good. California: California’s garlic crop will experience a supply gap until new crop starts in late June, early July. Increased foodservice demand in the U.S. will keep prices much higher. Imported garlic will be supplemented until the new crop California harvest begins. The increased demand on Mexican, Argentinian and Chinese garlic will certainly send markets higher.
ICEBERG- Production continues to yield very good supplies. The primary shipping points in the northern region are Santa Maria, Salinas, and Oxnard. There will be plenty of supply for the next few weeks. Demand has been good and overall sales have been higher due to the increase in foodservice demand in the US. Quality is good, with some field-level reports of misshapen heads, pinking and discoloration, most of which is being cleaned up during packing. The weather outlook calls for average temperatures into the weekend with patchy fog and no rain in the forecast. The market has been steady, and we expect it to remain so this week. Quebec iceberg will start around June 22nd.
ROMAINE / LEAF- Whole head romaine and romaine heart production remains strong and steady. The primary shipping points in the northern region are Santa Maria, Salinas, and Oxnard. Occasional fringe and tip burn is the only reported quality issue. Green and red leaf production volumes also continue to be good. Carton weights are improving, and overall quality is great. Demand is relatively steady while pricing is still at promotable levels. The market has been steady, and we expect it to remain so this week. The weather outlook calls for average temperatures into the weekend with patchy fog and no rain in the forecast. Quebec leaf will start around June 10th, with romaine starting around the 15th.
WEST COAST: SPRING MIX/BABY SPINACH/BABY KALE- There are very good supplies coming out of the Salinas Valley. Pricing will remain steady, with good quality reported.
EAST COAST: ARUGULA / WATERCRESS– Watercress and arugula supplies out of Florida are very good with very good quality.
US CABBAGE- East: Florida and Texas have both good supplies and good pricing on green cabbage. Red cabbage is a little bit light on volume and is priced slightly higher. West: Steady supplies with good quality.
BROCCOLI- Broccoli markets remain steady due to good supplies and moderate demand. Expect low prices and plentiful stocks for the next couple of weeks. Mexican grown broccoli has transitioned into the Northern Guanajuato region. Overall quality is very good: hollow core is a minor issue that is common at this time of year due to warm weather accelerating growth. Demand is moderate; prices are expected to remain low.
IMPORTED ASPARAGUS– Most “local” deals have started and are shipping product. Asparagus is available from many regions, although the availability is strongly influenced by the weather in any particular growing region. Peru has been shipping high volume as well and we will see weekly arrivals into Miami for the remainder of the year. As expected, prices have started to decline and should follow the yearly trend of bottoming out going into June.
CAULIFLOWER– Supplies have recovered from the past few weeks with size 9’s being the most available. Pricing is lower and quality is excellent. Warm weather continues to promote growth in the Salinas Valley and Santa Maria growing regions.
BEANS- The green bean market is mixed as we are seeing good numbers being harvested out of South Georgia and Central Florida. In the west, limited supply is crossing from Mexico as the season winds down and Coachella supplies are still very light. Demand is steady. Yellow, wax beans and pole beans are available once again in light supplies. There are still some fava beans with fair quality. Snipped: Snipped bean supplies are snug with just fair quality.
CELERY- Celery production in Oxnard continues to be steady and supplies are ample, easily meeting demand. Most growers are looking to promote with volume deals available. Current quality reports are showing good overall condition with some seeder reported. The weather forecast calls for average temperatures with patchy fog and no rain the forecast.
GREEN ONIONS– Supplies continue to be good of Mexico as demand remains steady. This market should continue to remain steady as we head into next week.
EGGPLANT- West: Good quality, availability and steady pricing on all sizes and grades for at least one more week, as the Sinaloa crop finishes and Coachella, California begins. East: Florida supply remains steady, and quality has improved now that we have transitioned to newer fields.
MUSHROOMS- Overall, we are seeing stable pricing, however there is going to be shortages of button sized mushrooms as labor costs and a shortage of labor continue to impact the mushroom industry North America wide. The shortages are forcing growers to make economic decisions that produce the best yield per man hour; button mushrooms produce the lowest yields per man-hour. Additionally, covid outbreaks at farms will reduce the overall volume available.
CUCUMBERS– Field: Florida continues to see steady volume, while Mexico is quickly approaching the end of their season. We should see steady supplies from Florida for the next two weeks. Georgia has started in a small way without any significant volume, yet. English Cucumber: The hothouse cucumber market remains very strong. Growers report extremely strong year over year sales amongst retailers; predominately exports to the USA. Some are showing sales increases of 30+% year over. With such tremendous volumes flowing through the supply chain, we are going to continue to see strong pricing and potentially a new normal until supply levels increase to help curb the demand. Markets have been very strong since the beginning of the year. Usually, pricing dips to the basement for the months of March-May, which has not happened. Looking into June, we are expecting to see production levels stronger for this period than what it was in March. Also anticipating seeing Mexico to be finishing their season. Quality expected to be in good shape all around. The cucumber market will be difficult to predict as nothing this year has made sense from a pricing and demand standpoint.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS- Brussels sprout supplies continue to be abundant. Quality also continues to be strong with a very reasonable market.
CORN- Prices are down and quality is good as supplies are very strong as we see normal spring volume from both Florida and Coachella, California. We expect to see prices firm back up as retail ads will soon begin for Memorial Day and the Victoria Day summer BBQ season. There is load volume and good quality available.
KALE- Steady supplies are keeping this market level. Look for this market to continue to stay steady. Product is available from multiple points. California, Georgia and New Jersey. Quality is excellent. Ontario should start in the next couple of weeks. Look for this market to stay steady.
CILANTRO- Supplies are good out of California, Mexico and New Jersey with steady pricing due to light demand.
ONIONS- California’s harvest is in full swing, Texas production will wrap up in the next few weeks. We will see this volume be replaced by New Mexico, which should be ready to go the week of May 24th. The Pacific Northwest/Idaho season is almost finished. As we need to start relying on California for supply, California continues to have some pretty serious labor challenges in getting their crop harvested and packed. This is largely a result of competing against government subsidized stimulus money, and some changes in labor laws that are preventing crews from being able to physically get to the sheds to go to work. We anticipate that we may see some production challenges, which could cause delays or product to be tight at times. There is also a concern that the challenge of available truck capacity will continue into the summer, and potentially worsen as onion shipments will be forced to compete with higher paying fruit and vegetable shipments also originating out of California. Unfortunately, we do not see the situation improving until demand levels off, and truck supply increases back to a normal level.
HOTHOUSE PEPPERS- Production levels are stable. Supply is still above demand levels right now and markets reflect that. Quality out of Canada and Mexican operations are good. Mexican supply will be tapering down over the next 2-3 weeks before that region is fully completed for the year. Into June, we will see Canadian production start to increase as Mexico will be finished for the year. We expect to see markets trend slightly higher. Quality will be strong all around.
FIELD PEPPERS- Green Pepper- East: Supply out of Florida is beginning to wind down for the season and overall quality is mixed due to heat and rain related pressure. We expect tighter markets over the next 2 weeks as transition to South Georgia begins. West: The spring deal is about done out of Mexico while transition to Coachella is now in full swing. Quality will be mixed out of Mexico and new crop out of Coachella is looking great. Red Pepper: Field grown red pepper supplies are extremely limited due to the Mexican season winding down, strong demand and cooler evening weather hindering growth. California’s Coachella Valley season is expected to start in a very light way this week. The southeast produces fewer red peppers than California; growers will be transitioning Florida to Georgia in late May. Expect high prices over the next two to three weeks. Canadian greenhouse growers are expecting lighter yields over next two weeks further increasing demand. Prices are high. Quality is good.
ASSPORTED CHILI PEPPERS- Supply remains firm on all mixed chili peppers except for cubanelles out of Florida. In Mexico while quality remains strong, the volume remains light crossing through McAllen and Nogales on jalapeno, tomatillo, Anaheim, serrano and poblano. Red Fresno supply remains very limited.
CARTON BAKING POTATO: Prince Edward Island: On May 1st, P.E.I. held 12.6% fewer potatoes in storage than prior-year. This year’s stocks are the lowest since 2002. April usage fell short of the 2020 pace. This year’s stocks decline is skewed toward table potato supplies. At this pace, the Island’s table potatoes would be cleaned up by June 7. PEI’s processing potato stocks declined by 1.8% compared to year-prior, nearly the same as the 2020 pace. It is the second smallest inventory on record for this time of year. At the April usage rate, the remaining processing inventory would last through early September. Processing plants have been taking extended downtime during the last few months as they try to stretch out the remaining supplies. PEI also had fewer seed potatoes in storage on May 1. It is the Island’s smallest May 1 seed potato inventory on record. USA: The potato market continues to inch upward due to increasing demand as foodservice gets back to normal in the U.S. Burbanks and white russets continue to all be packed. Norkotahs are beginning to wind down for the season. Norkotahs are shipping in greater volumes at this point in the season than they typically do, mostly due to abbreviated demand resulting from COVID, as well as the shortage of trucks limiting movement. Quality remains strong on all varieties. Larger size cartons continue to tighten up with all varieties. Demand for small potatoes remains strong due to the USDA Farmers to Families Box Program. However, since growers remain in smaller lots, the strong demand on small potatoes has not been enough to keep sheds cleaned up. Additionally, as more growers transition from Burbanks to Norkotahs, we are seeing heavier inventories of smaller sizes as Burbanks do not generate the same level of large size cartons as Norkotahs. We expect this trend to continue as more Norkotah shippers migrate over to Burbanks. Demand continues to increase, and we anticipate this to continue in the coming week. Warmer temperatures will also help demand increase as we move toward spring and summer. Other russet growing regions will finish shipping in the coming weeks, so there will be less overall supply in the market, and this will help increase pricing.
ZUCCHINI– West: Florida continues to harvest strong numbers with volume ramping up on new crop out of South Georgia and good volume crossing from Mexico. Overall, the market is down and quality is outstanding on green while we are seeing scarring on the yellow. The Central Valley and Central Coast shippers are going to start production over the next 7 to 10 days.
TABLE POTATOES– Canada held significantly fewer potatoes in storage on May 1 than it held a year ago and less than the average inventory for the previous five years. The situation varies widely between provinces. Usage rates need to pick up in Manitoba. On the other hand, supplies could run short in PEI, Alberta, and Ontario. Quebec and New Brunswick shippers appear to be metering their supplies to finish the storage season on schedule. Imported US table potatoes may help full summer supply gaps. Canada’s April potato movement exceeded the 2020 pace by 19.7%. This year’s April movement was 1.6% ahead of the average pace of the previous three years. Usage increased in the processing and table potato sectors, while seed potato movement declined slightly. A year ago, the industry was adjusting to market disruptions caused by the onset of the pandemic. This year’s April movement is more in line with historical norms. April table potato movement exceeded 2020 movement by 6.6%. Processing potato movement, a whopping 36.5% above year-earlier usage. Ontario: Growers had 29.2% more potatoes left in storage on May 1 than the same time last year. That is Ontario’s largest May 1 inventory since 2004. The increase is mostly in chip potatoes. April movement exceeded 2020 movement. Table potato disappearance exceeded the 2020 pace leaving Ontario with more table potatoes in storage on May 1, up from last year’s inventory. At the current usage rate, the province’s table potato stocks would be depleted by June 16. Ontario’s chip potato movement was strong. May 1 chip potato stocks were more than growers held on May 1, 2020. If the April usage rate continues, Ontario’s storage chip potatoes would be cleaned up by July 14. Quebec: April movement exceeded the 2020 pace. That left Quebec with 2.6% fewer potatoes in storage on May 1. Intended use data show that reduced fresh potato and seed potato supplies were partially offset by an increase in chip potato stocks. The province had more chip potatoes in storage on May 1, up from last year. At the April usage pace, it would take until August 16 to deplete those supplies. Quebec’s April table potato movement climbed above 2020 movement. May 1 table potato stocks were down from last year. At the April usage rate, Quebec’s table potato stocks would be cleaned up by June 26. The province had fewer processing potatoes left in storage on May 1, down from a year earlier. At the April usage pace, those potatoes would be depleted by August 5. British Columbia: April movement exceeded year-earlier movement. That left British Columbia with 50.7% more potatoes in storage on May 1 compared to year-earlier supplies. At the April usage rate, the province’s remaining table potato stocks would be cleaned up by June 12. This year’s seed inventory, is down from last year.
SEEDLESS WATERMELON- Supplies are very good on seedless watermelons while mini personal sized watermelons are a little tight. Freight cost and logistics continue to be a challenge. Florida is going with good supplies and good quality. Mexico also has good supplies of 36ct, 45ct, and 60ct seedless bins in Nogales from Hermosillo, Mexico as well. Supplies will start dropping off around May 23rd.
MANGO- Demand remains weak as we finish move in to the second week of May. Most sizes are available, and prices are stable. Large sized fruit (7ct) out of Mexico have better availability this week compared to previous weeks; we expect a good distribution of sizes going forward. We are currently receiving product from Oaxaca and Michoacán, peaking on 10/12s, followed by 9s. The season in Oaxaca, Mexico is winding down quickly. Jalisco has started harvesting Atalufo/Honeys with Tommy’s next week. Tommy sizing is expected to peak on small fruit such as 20s and 22s. Atalufo/Honey are currently peaking on the middle sizes (like 18s and 16s) and exhibiting mostly good quality, with less small sizes (such as 20s and 22s) than we normally see for this timeframe. There will be peak availability on 9/10 and 12 counts as we finish May.
PAPAYA- The growing region of Colima, Mexico continues to experience cooler mornings in the 60s and warm days in the high 80s. This mix of cool and warm weather is not letting the papaya mature on the tree which has been delaying harvesting. This is causing lack of supplies in the region, which means product will continue to be really limited for the next couple weeks until the weather gets warmer. Quality has been looking good with good shell color and brix.
BLUEBERRIES– The Mexican season will continue to wind down with gradually decreasing volumes. Baja volumes will continue with increasing production. Florida is picking strong volumes this week and next. Georgia production will continue to ramp up as we are seeing very good volume. North Carolina production has started with light volumes. The San Joaquin Valley of California has begun production and has reported good size and firmness. Market prices are declining with strong volume hitting.
STRAWBERRIES- Last week's warm weather in California resulted in an increase in fruit production. After several weeks of cool temperatures, the plants reacted favorably to the recent warm weather. Growers estimate a 20% increase in volume as the rate fruit matured increased. Fruit size is also contributing to the overall case volume. Moving forward, we expect volume to continue to increase with the favorable weather that is
being forecasted. Oxnard also has good quality with peak volumes, as well as really good flavor. As the Salinas/Watsonville season gets closer, growers are discussing labor shifting to the northern district. Salinas/Watsonville has seen an increase in fruit size causing a reduction in average package counts. Santa Maria quality continues to produce firm fruit and good flavor across all varieties. Santa Maria, California fruit has occasional white shoulders and under color, misshapen, seedy tips, and dry or discolored calyx. Average counts are 14 to 16, occasionally higher and lower. Oxnard, California fruit has occasional white shoulders, occasional over-ripe and bruising, misshapen, seedy tips or catface. Average counts are 20 to 22, occasionally higher and lower.
RASPBERRIES / BLACKBERRIES– Raspberries: We expect peak volumes this week and next as central Mexico slows production while California compensates for Mexico's downtrend. Volume will continue to decrease over the next couple of weeks but is expected to remain steady as California volume picks up. Central Mexico has reported sporadic defects as a result of recent warm temperatures and over mature fruit. Oxnard has seen good quality overall and Santa Maria has seen large fruit with good flavor. The Salinas/Watsonville district has reported an increase in volume with minimal defects. Once California gets going, we can expect strong June/July volume. Blackberries: Supply is slowing from last week's peak volumes. We expect the central Mexico regions to slow in production due to the normal growing curve and that the majority of the regions will be harvesting post peak production volume. The weather forecast is calling for rain starting this week. Although rain amounts are low, a long stretch of overcast and rain can negatively impact the fruit which is contributing to the expectation that the
volume from central Mexico will be very light. Volume from Oxnard is expected to increase week over week and make the transition between producing areas smoother. Santa Maria and the Salinas/Watsonville areas have seen good overall quality with low volumes. Oxnard has experienced good flavor. Overall demand was a on the lighter side last week and we expect this will continue into for week.
GOLD PINEAPPLES– Costa Rica: Afternoon rainfall is expected in the Pacific region and the Central Valley of Costa Rica due to the proximity to the Intertropical Convergence Zone. Light to moderate rain showers over the Caribbean and Northern regions are expected for the week. Quality is reported as good with a second week of lower rainfall compared to past weeks, which means fruit will start to show better internal condition and water spotting will continue to gradually decrease. The USDA crossing report for last week is showing a slight increase in volume at almost 1,100 inbound containers. Demand remains good with a slightly lower market. Demand continues to keep up with supply, allowing inventories to rotate fast with little surplus fruit being offered at this time.
ORANGES- California Navels: The market remains very firm across the board as shippers no longer have excess inventory. Sizes are peaking on 56s/72s/48s on Washington and Powell varieties. However, right now Washington and Powell varieties are starting to come to an end earlier than normal, and quality on them is expected to go downhill as there was some rain and temperatures climbing into the 90s. The Late Lane navels will be the best bet for quality at this point, but pricing is very strong. Late Lane navels will be smaller in size (88/72s). Expecting large (40s/48s) and small sizes (113/138s) to be limited depending on the grower. Valencia: The new crop Valencia orange season is expected to start over the next two weeks. Valencia sugar levels are expected to start from 9 to 12 brix. Valencia’s range from light to full color and suffer from re-greening in the summer months. Imports: Mexican Valencias are expected to be on the market through June. Mexican Valencia sugar levels are currently 12 to 14 brix. Stocks are dominated by 88- to 113-count sizes. Offshore navel oranges are available on the east coast at very reasonable prices from Spain and Egypt. 80/88-count fruit also dominates this crop. California Blood/Cara Cara Oranges: Supplies are quickly winding down. Size is peaking on 88/113 count with very limited amounts of 72 count and larger. Internal color is great and external color is good with some outer blush. Availability will continue through early May as demand has been very light. Florida: The Florida oranges crop is also winding down. Prices are remaining steady. We will see light supplies into May. Quality is good.
LEMONS– There has been good volume coming out of District 1, but we are starting to hear of some quality issues as temperatures begin to rise. District 2 is also currently harvesting with fruit grading at 20% fancy and 80% choice. District 2 lemons have more cosmetic scaring than District 1, as well as can be soft to touch from time to time, which is normal for this growing region. Overall peak sizes from District 2 are 165s/200s/140s, while medium to large size will remain tight. Anticipate 140s to become tight, as this size will be the preferred size for retailers to sub down to and increased food service demand. Offshore: There are good supplies of offshore lemons arriving in ports on the east coast, from Spain, Argentina, Zambia and Brazil. South African fruit is also expected soon. Quality is very good.
CLEMENTINES/MANDARINS- The Morocco crop is winding down very quickly and harvest is essentially finished. We now have clementine’s from Israel, again in 15x2lb packs.
GRAPEFRUIT- Grapefruit supply struggles to keep up with demand. The market has remained strong since Texas ended early. Quality has been excellent. California grapefruit is available from Riverside and the Central Valley. Fruit is peaking on the smaller sizes; 40/48/56s (mostly fancy grade). Retail will typically substitute down to 40ct, putting a lot of pressure on that size. Anticipate 40ct and large pricing to remain firm and continue to inch up each week. Quality has been excellent. Offshore: There are light supplies of various sizes of grapefruit from Israel arriving into ports on the east coast. Quality is good.
LIMES- The crop continues peaking on the smaller sizes; 250ct/230ct/200ct making them priced the most attractively. The mid-size limes (175/200) are holding steady. There was rain all last week in the lime growing regions of Mexico. Demand for limes has been moderate. There is very limited supply of large limes, especially on 110s. Size distribution is as follows: 110-4%, 150-9%, 175-19%, 200-21%, 230-23%, and 250- 24%. Quality issues being reported are blanching, scarring, and oil spots on the 200-250s.
CANTALOUPE- Cantaloupe supplies continue to slow out of both Guatemala and Honduras. Quality and sugar are good. Most availability is found in Florida and the Northeast. Very little is being shipped to the West Coast and Texas. Availability is peaking on 9/12 count. Supply is expected to wrap up over the next week. Mexican cantaloupe have started and will go to the end of May. California/Arizona cantaloupe will start in a very light way this week with a couple of shippers; volume is not expected until the end of May.
HONEYDEW- Offshore honeydew supplies have finished. Mexican honeydew volume has picked up in Northern Mexico with multiple shippers having product to sell. Mexican honeydews have decent quality while sugars are inconstant. Sizing is off, with most shipments being 6 count and 8 count with few 5 count available. California/Arizona honeydew will start in a very light way this week with one grower. Volume is not expected until June.
PEARS– Washington: There are very limited supplies of Anjou and Red pears out of Washington and Oregon. The Northwest Anjou will continue into early July and the red pears will be finished in around 3 weeks. Offshore Imports: Imported Bartlett and Bosc pears from Argentina and Chile continue to arrive to ports on both east and west coast. Demand for this product will be strong. Similar to the Pacific Northwest, the size profile seems to be on the larger side.
STONE FRUIT- Supplies continue to increase as the California season gets going. Cherries, apricots, peaches are in good supply. Nectarines should start arriving sometime this week. Supplies are expected to increase over the next week as more growers begin shipping. We should see some plums in about 2-3 weeks. Quality is very good. Pomegranate supplies are very light from Peru and South Africa.
AVOCADO- Avocado inventory dropped slightly; smaller sizes are becoming more available, while inventory of larger sizes has reduced. Harvest in Mexico was lighter last week due to Mother’s Day in Mexico last Monday. There was also rain most of last week. California will have clear weather all week and harvest is expected to be good. Memorial Day and Victoria Day celebrations are very close and avocado demand is expected to increase over the next couple weeks. Industry arrivals for last week totaled 54.7 million pounds. Mexico shipped 43.3 million pounds, California harvested 11.6 million pounds, Colombia shipped 50,000 pounds and Peru delivered 525,973 pounds. Current inventories at the border reflect a total of 64.8 million pounds, of which 3.6 million pounds are organics. Mexico continues its dominance with 77% of total inventories reported. Weekly averages for the next 4 weeks are expected to come down to the 48-56 million+ pound range, when combining arrivals from Mexico, California, and Peru. Mexico- Michoacán reported a 55.3-million-pound harvest for last week with 43.3 million pounds shipping to the U.S. The industry harvest for this week is expected to slightly drop from last week’s volume, but remain steady. California- Harvest for last week was 11.6 million pounds. The expected harvest for this week is around 11.8 million pounds, and for next week is also around 11.8 million pounds. The season forecast remains around 260+ million pounds. Peru- Peru delivered 525,973 pounds last week. Expected arrivals for the current and next week are 900,000 and 2.1 million pounds, respectively. Peruvian arrivals are listed at 240+ million pounds for the 2021 season, thus far. Market Outlook- Demand remains flat, harvest is slow, and field price is rising. We expect to see a revision down of the California total estimate this week, and are waiting on the updated number. Peru is expected to enter the market with peak arrivals starting at the end of May, or early June. The industry expects market pricing to get stronger as the month progresses.
GRAPES– We are into the last couple weeks of this year’s Chilean import grape season. We saw industry highs and lows, as early-season fruit was strong and plentiful to start, with a historic rain event in Chile this past February that had lasting impacts. Over the next 2-3 weeks, we will see limited supplies, challenging the transition from offshore imports to Mexico with what is now a delayed start to the Mexican grape season. While we will see some availability on red seedless grapes during this transition, quality and condition of this fruit has been the obstacle. Retailers are pressed to get good quality fruit, while terminal and secondary markets are backed up on the over-supply of marginal-quality grapes. With green seedless, we expect to see a gap in supply through May with rising markets with quality remaining a challenge as well. We are targeting a transition to Mexico the week of May 17th with volume to start increasing the week after. Expect promotable volumes throughout the month of June.
HOTHOUSE TOMATO- Red Tomato On-The-Vine: Ontario harvest volumes remain super strong. We are expecting the market to remain in a supply exceeds demand situation for at least the next 3 weeks. By mid-late May, we are hearing of a lot of Mexican crops will be finishing for the season and preparing for the fall/winter crops. This will most likely cause markets to rise as supply dries up. We expect to see weak markets over the coming 3 weeks or so before we see pricing turn around. Into June, production is expected to remain strong in Canada and USA. Mexico will be nearing the end for their crops as they get pulled out for the year. We will continue to monitor the Tomato Rugose concerns/challenges we are hearing of as it may cause supply disruptions. Beefsteak: Markets remain under tremendous downward pressure due to light demand, although we are starting to see some additional demand. Field grown mature green, vine ripe and roma tomatoes have started to increase in price. This is a result of west coast Mexican production coming to an end. We will see lighter supply from Mexico over the coming 2-3 weeks before they finish up for the year. We will start to see more production coming in from Florida however as they scale up their supply over the coming 2-3 weeks. In June, Mexican crops will be finishing their production at which point we are expecting to see a slight lift in the market pricing. Canadian greenhouses will be the core driver of the production along with some USA crops and field supply from Florida. We are also monitoring the Rugose virus as we are hearing a lot of pressure for growers in North America already. Bite Size (Cherry, Grape, Cocktail, Tomberry, Medley): Demand continues to be strong on snacking tomatoes. We are hearing of a lot of Rugose pressure in the snacking segment which is keeping demand levels strong. Volumes from Ontario farms remains strong and quality is great. As we move into June, we are not expecting to experience any major changes in respect to demand levels. People are buying more snacking tomatoes right now. We are also expecting to see ongoing challenges for growers in respect to the Rugose Virus. This should only get worse during this time as Mexican crops will begin to fade out for the summer. As less production is in play, expect to see stronger markets overall.
FIELD TOMATOES– East Coast: Florida continues the transition to the Palmetto Ruskin region. This will be followed by more northward transition in June to the Quincy region. Florida’s improved weather has helped increase production while Mexico winds down. Overall volume is down. All sizes are available with 6x7’s having best availability and priced lower. Overall quality continues to be very good. Pricing is higher, but steady. Demand remains strong. These conditions are expected to continue for the next month. Florida roma volume has returned to normal levels for this time of year with the improved weather. Quality is very good. Florida production of grape tomatoes is steady with good supplies; quality is good. Cherry tomato supplies in Florida are meeting demand; quality is good. Continued increases in demand are expected as Covid-19 restrictions continue to be relaxed or lifted across the US, while in Canada lockdowns continue, slowing demand. West Coast: Production from mainland Mexico is on a fast decline as attention now moves to Baja and eventually California in June. Vine ripe production is slowing down in the western parts of Mexico; the season will end in early to mid-June. Expect volume to increase in the eastern areas of Mexico as late spring harvesting gets underway. California’s Imperial Valley season is expected to start around May 17th with light supplies. Growers will transition to the summer crop from the Central Valley mid-June. Overall quality is good with no major issues being reported. Prices are higher. Growers are in transition on roma production from Culiacan to Jalisco and we expect volume to ramp back up over the next 7 to 10 days. Markets are higher on all sizes with larger fruit drawing premiums. Supply should also start crossing through Otay Mesa, California this week from Baja and California to follow in early July. Quality ranges from average to good with some green shoulders and color issues being observed while grading. Pricing is steady. Mexican grape tomato volume will shift throughout May from the mainland over to the Baja region. Prices are expected to remain stable. Mexican cherry tomato volume is low and quality is just fair. Prices are steady. Continued increases in demand are expected as Covid-19 restrictions continue to be relaxed or lifted across the US. In Canada, however, lockdowns continue slowing demand.
APPLES- Washington: The apple market remains tight again this week as demand remains strong. We expect this tight and higher priced market to remain this way until the new season starts in August 2021. Inventories are less than last year at this same time. The USDA Food Box program, as well as other government backed programs, have reduced the overall availability on fruit from Washington. Between the production shortages, which are weather related, unprecedented demand, and COVID-19 restrictions and closures, there will be a continued upward pressure on price. We are expecting pricing to remain higher until new crop begins sometime in August 2021. The tightest items are Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, premium Honeycrisp, Royal Gala and Granny Smith. The varieties that are the best value right now are the Fuji, Cosmic Crisps, and Ambrosia apples. Ontario/Quebec/Michigan/New York: Supplies are quickly cleaning up. There are still Empire, McIntosh, Cortland, Spy, Mutsu and a few other newer varieties. The controlled atmosphere storage rooms are emptying very quickly. Quality is good with steady pricing. Recent cold nights has effected the spring bloom. Some of the early bloom has frozen. This bloom would have produced the largest apples. The second bloom was not effected, meaning, at this point, the crop will trend smaller this season. This week’s warm weather will allow the bees to properly pollenate the blooms. Offshore: Italian imports have finished and we are now waiting for import apples from Chile and New Zealand to start to arrive anytime soon. Early reports are that Chile has an average crop with good quality and smaller sizing which is favorable to foodservice business.
NEW ITEMS NOW IN SEASON
CASTLEFRANCO / CUBANELLE PEPPER / FLORIDA JUICE ORANGE / CLEMENTINES / CARA CARA ORANGE / MEYER LEMONS / TOMBERRY / FAVA BEAN / CHERRIES / WAX BEANS / POLE FLAT BEAN / APRICOTS / NECTARINE / PEACH
ITEMS THAT ARE SHORT
DRAGON FRUIT / POMEGRANATE / RHUBARB / BLOOD ORANGES / CARA CARA ORANGE / ENGLISH PEA / HONEY TANGERINE / PLUMS
ITEMS NO LONGER AVAILABLE
SHELLED PEAS / STARFRUIT / PUNTARELLE / PERSIMONS / SEVILLE ORANGES / QUINCE / GOLD KIWI