Canada's Market Update
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LIVE FROM THE FIELDS: WIDESPREAD FLOODING IN THE SALINAS VALLEY
March 14, 2023
- On Friday, March 10, the floor of the Salinas Valley received nearly three inches of rain, while as much as six inches fell in the mountains on both sides of the valley
- Additional rains are forecast in the Salinas Valley on March 13 and 14; an additional one to three inches are expected
- The Pajaro River levee, located in the Watsonville/Pajaro Valley, failed last Saturday, March 11, substantially flooding the northern side of the valley; the three main crops affected are iceberg, romaine, and strawberries
- The Salinas River breached its levee in several areas of the Salinas Valley on Sunday, March 12
- Previously planted crops projected for harvest from mid-April to mid-May, could experience significant yield losses
- Plantings that were scheduled from late last week through this week must be postponed due to the oversaturated conditions
- Monterey County records show the Salinas Valley has roughly 450,000 acres for planting vegetables
- Salinas Valley accounts for roughly 80% of the nation’s vegetable production from April to early July
- Delayed plantings and crops lost to flooding will ultimately lead to product shortages and high prices in the spring and into the summer months
- We will continue to monitor the situation and provide regular updates as new information becomes available
MARKET UPDATE FOR MARCH 27, 2023
MARKETS TO WATCH: AT A GLANCE
Peeled Garlic: Supplies of new crop garlic from China remain light and pricing remains stronger than normal. There continues to be quality issues in certain lots. The California market continues to be tight even as harvest has wrapped up.
Washington Apples: The market is steady for most varieties. It is slightly higher on Galas; 88s and larger. The quality overall is good.
Avocados: The market is on the rise due to good demand and light supplies of big fruit. The quality is good overall.
Field Peppers: Western supply is light as crops transition to northern regions. Expect moderate supplies until California starts at Coachella. Florida supplies are steady. Red pepper production is slowly increasing out of Central Mexico.
Blackberries: Limited numbers are coming out of Central Mexico and the market is tight. The quality overall is good.
Blueberries: The sole production areas are Central Mexico and Baja until Georgia and Florida begin in 2 weeks. Overall, the quality is good and the market is higher.
Strawberries: We are in a demand exceeds supply market situation due to continuous rains in the California growing regions.
Carrots USA: Whole carrot supplies continue to be tight due to recent inclement weather. Markets are up as well.
Broccoli: Overall, industry supplies will not meet demand through the month of April. Expect elevated prices through this time.
Cauliflower: Cauliflower supplies are improving in Santa Maria and Yuma. The warmer weather in Yuma is starting to spur growth.
Broccolini: Sweet baby broccoli (Broccolini) supplies continue to be extremely scarce. Supplies will remain limited into April. Stocks are expected to increase late-April.
Celery: Demand is low and the market has decreased. This coupled with a better production in Yuma has created a surplus of product.
Limes: Prices firmed up a bit last week due to less fruit crossing through Texas. Overall quality is good with sizes continuing to peak on smaller fruit 230s/250s.
Mushrooms: Supply chain issues continue to cause a shortage of supply that will continue into the summer.
Honeydew: Supplies are improving but mostly on big fruit. Overall, the market is steady and the quality is good.
Watermelon: Watermelon supplies are slowly improving. Overall, the quality is good and the pricing is steady.
Onions: Excellent supplies from South Texas of new crop. Northwest supplies are coming to an end as Texas-grown onion supplies ramp up.
Zucchini: The green zucchini market is steady while the yellow market is very limited.
GARLIC- Supplies of garlic in North America are plentiful; coming from Spain, China, California, Argentina and Peru. Argentina and Peru seem to be selling any unsold garlic to markets in North America. China: China’s production impacts the world market, so the fact that the world market is oversupplied impacts other areas coming into production. Though California is near the end of the season and there is a strong demand for California product in the USA. It will be less impacted by oversupply issues from China as other exporting countries will be. Right now, China has more than 2. 4 million tons of garlic in storage. The new garlic crop is only a few months away. That is equal to about 100,000 containers so they need to move over 6,000 containers in 16 weeks, which is going to be next to impossible. As a result, it looks like China will be marketing 2022 and 2023 crop years simultaneously come this June. Demand remains soft. With the market in oversupply, poor quality is putting downward pressure on prices and will most likely create a two-tiered market in the summer as China struggles to move lower quality product left over from the 2022 crop. California: New crop, California garlic harvest has concluded. Demand remains high and supplies are not meeting demand. Chinese, Argentinian and Mexican garlic has helped the supply chain with extra supplies entering the US market.
ICEBERG- This market is decreasing. Production is high in the Yuma region due to ideal growing temperatures. Good supplies will continue through next week but available supplies will become lighter as we see shippers start to transition to Salinas in a few weeks for the summer season. The weights have averaged 41-43 pounds. Common defects being reported include pinking and discoloration as well as misshapen heads. Expect steady supplies throughout the week. The desert region weather forecast calls for cooler temperatures with no rain forecast into the weekend. The damage from the recent heavy rains and floods will have an impact on the northern region (Salinas, Santa Maria) that is set to start production in early April. The primary loading locations are currently in Yuma and the Imperial Valley.
ROMAINE / LEAF- Good supplies of romaine, green and red leaf items will continue throughout this week. Expect strong supplies of romaine hearts as well. Warmer temperatures will bring these crops on quicker. This will bring on heavier than normal supply short term, creating a potential shortage of supply long term. This market will begin to turn around in the next week or two. Common defects that are being reported include slight blistering and peeling, along with a bit of fringe burn. Green and red leaf are also showing slight signs of wind and fringe burn as well as insect and dirt presence. The damage from the recent heavy rains and floods will have an impact on the northern region (Salinas, Santa Maria) that is set to start production in early April. The primary loading locations are currently in Yuma and the Imperial Valley.
EAST COAST: ARUGULA / WATERCRESS– Arugula supplies have returned to normal. Size and quality is hit and miss due to the weather extremes, but expected to be more consistent into late-March. Green and red watercress supplies have returned to normal.
BROCCOLI- Overall industry supplies will not meet demand through the month of April. Expect elevated prices through this time. From Yuma, Arizona and the Imperial and Santa Maria Valleys of California supplies are sufficient to meet current demand, quality has decreased due to several factors. Recent high humidity and light rains will increase mildew and pin rot, tightening supplies further and the recent warming trend may lead to bracketed structure and hollow core defects. Milder temperatures have increased volume. Expect lower markets through next week, before rising again as the transition back to Salinas and Santa Maria Valley regions begins. Production in Santa Maria is expected to be delayed by two to three weeks due to recent storms over the Central Coast; the season normally begins the first week of April, but is now estimated to start as late as the third week. Salinas production is forecast to be less delayed, though some growers are preparing for a five-to-seven day harvesting gap in mid-April. Mexican broccoli prices are volatile and higher this week. Demand is strong in the South Texas loading locations. Quality is very good; some mechanical damage has been noted along with occasional mildew. We expect Georgia to start sometime in the next 10 days.
BROCCOLINI- Sweet baby broccoli (Broccolini) supplies continue to be extremely scarce. The majority of sweet baby broccoli (Broccolini) is grown year-round in the Salinas Valley; a small amount is grown in the Arizona/California desert during the winter months. Salinas Valley yields continue to be far below normal due to sustained cooler-than-normal temperatures. Quality is good despite growing condition challenges; some lots are exhibiting purple shade caused by cold temperatures. A series of upcoming rainstorms followed by warmer weather in the Salinas Valley will help promote growth. Supplies will remain limited into April. Stocks are expected to increase late-April.
ASPARAGUS- There is very good volume in preparation for the Easter pull. Quality is very good with a good variety of sizes. The industry is turning to 28-pound packaging as well as the 11-pound packaging as production reaches the peak of the season this week. Product is expected to be available with good volume out of Mexico through April. The Peruvian season is slowly starting as shippers begin packing. Peruvian asparagus will start to arrive in the east in about 2 weeks, but no volume until May. Overall, the market is lower and the quality is outstanding. There will be plenty of availability and aggressive prices for the Easter holiday.
WEST COAST SPRING MIX/BABY SPINACH/BABY KALE- Supplies of heritage blend, spring mix, baby and flat spinach and baby kale from Yuma are easily meeting demand with steady demand strong growing conditions. However, due to the rains, light supplies are anticipated in Southern California, so availability there will be moderate at best. Overall, the quality is expected to be fair.
CAULIFLOWER– Warmer weather has helped spur growth and vastly increased available supplies. Markets have plummeted over the last 7-10 days and will continue to do so through this week. Quality is average; mold/mildew, off-color, and inconsistent size are being observed in some lots. With the seasonal harvesting transition around the corner, production is winding down in Imperial Valley, California; harvesting will finish in this region before moving to Salinas and Santa Maria, California in early to mid-April. We are anticipating a supply gap between the end of the desert season and when the Salinas and Santa Maria growing areas begin production; fields are behind schedule due to higher-than-average precipitation and lower-than-average temperatures impacting immature plantings.
US CABBAGE- Cabbage supplies are good post St. Patrick’s Day. The primary loading locations off the West Coast are currently in Yuma, the Imperial Valley, and Oxnard. The weather forecast calls for average temperatures with no rain in the desert, while Oxnard had significant rain over the weekend. Triggers have fallen off value-added cabbage items. Watch for Georgia to start with cabbage in the next 7 to 10 days.
BEANS- Supplies continue to improve with pricing continuing to fall. Supplies are now exceeding demand, driving pricing down. Quality is very good. Flat /pole beans are gapping for a couple of weeks. Fava beans are light in availability. There are also good supplies of yellow, wax beans available now. Snipped: Value-added snipped/trimmed green bean supplies are steady with good quality.
CELERY- Demand is low and the market has decreased. This coupled with a better production in Yuma has created a surplus of product in the marketplace. The Arizona and California desert seasons are winding down; supplies will be depleted by mid-April. Production in Oxnard/Santa Maria is steady on all sizes; supplies will transition to Salinas, California in early June. Harvesting in Santa Maria, California will continue year-round. Florida production is limited as the season comes to an end. Markets are slightly lower but are poised to rise as demand shifts from the Arizona/California desert region to Oxnard, California. Overall quality continues to be above average with only slight seeder being reported.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS- There is good availability and pricing continues to be very competitive. Expect steady production with this commodity throughout the week. Good quality is being reported. Expect weak markets in the coming weeks as supplies continue to increase in Mexico.
GREEN ONIONS- Mexican-grown supplies are improving this week. Mexico’s warmer weather is helping spur growth. Overall, the quality is good.
MUSHROOMS- Quality is good, although supplies of white buttons and cremini continue to be short. The market is steady at higher prices primarily due to a lack of labor, packaging increases and shortages in components of growing such as peat moss. We do expect this trend to continue into the spring.
CARTON BAKING POTATOES- Prince Edward Island: Island growers had 3.3% more potatoes in storage on March 1 than they held a year ago. This year’s March 1 inventory is the Island’s largest since 2007. February disappearance fell 51.1% short of the 2022 pace. It is important to note that a year ago PEI growers destroyed approximately 300 million pounds of potatoes during February. That was part of the Canadian government’s effort to reduce supplies after exports to the US were suspended due to phytosanitary concerns. Excluding February 2022, this year’s usage was the strongest since 2014. Intended use data show that growers had 3.3% more table potatoes left in storage on March 1 than they held a year earlier, a 3.3% increase. At the February disappearance rate, PEI’s remaining table potatoes would be cleaned up by July 6. The Island had a record 2.9% more processing potatoes in storage on March 1 than the year-earlier inventory. At the February usage pace, those potatoes would last through September 17. Local plants continue to run at capacity. Extra processing potatoes are being shipped to plants in western Canada, while some have been diverted to the table potato market. PEI also had more seed potatoes left in storage on March 1 than the March 1, 2022 seed inventory. USA: Demand for cartons has been normal since January. While we have not seen carton pricing take any sharp increase, we are seeing product significantly tighten up. We are beginning to approach the point where growers start to wind down on their Norkotah supplies. Once we get to the middle/end of April, we should see growers shipping Burbanks just about exclusively. Growers continue to receive record offers from processors (even higher than last season), and reports of further record breaking offers for the spring continue to roll in. Because of this, the fresh market has a ‘safety net’ of where pricing will likely not fall beneath. We anticipate we will continue to see this trend as a means to get growers to release product on the fresh side as we head into the spring/summer. Other growing regions are echoing the same sentiments as well. We have already seen Nebraska finish up, and we are seeing much less supply out of Colorado and Wisconsin as well. Both of these regions will finish up over the next 3-4 months, and it could potentially mean a volatile summer ahead. National supply reports are showing that there are approximately 3% less potato stocks on hand than there were during this time last year. Depending on how product stores, as well as what happens with demand, will really determine where the market will climb to.
FIELD PEPPERS- Green Pepper: Green pepper markets are higher due to tight supplies. Mexican stocks are tightening as older fields struggle to produce adequate yields. Larger sizes are extremely snug. Some new crop harvesting will start this week; however, Mexico’s spring volume is typically lower. The East Coast is harvesting new spring crops in South Florida however recent winds will affect quality. The California season will be delayed up to two weeks due to recent strong winds and rainstorms. Expect elevated prices to persist until spring crops are well established. Red Pepper: Mexican supplies are starting to increase due to new crop production in the Culiacan region. Overall quality is mixed, with the best quality coming from high-tech growers. Volume from hothouses in Canada is expected to continue to increase as more growers begin production. Prices should remain fairly steady.
HOTHOUSE PEPPERS- Canadian pepper production has started in a very light way. Sizing is XXL (16-20 CT) as growers perform crown picks. Volume will come into April. Shade house production from Mexico continues and is very good. Demand for hothouse red peppers is good, with good supplies. There continues to be lighter availability on yellow & orange. Mexican production will wind down into April as Canada ramps up. We will see colors more balanced out as Canada takes over.
ASSORTED CHILI PEPPERS- In the east, chilies are still tighter than normal; however, we expect to see some improvement over the next two weeks on (Cubanelle, Long Hots, Poblano, Hungarian Wax, red and green Thai’s, Jalapeno and Shishito). In McAllen, volume is gradually improving on all varieties but Serrano. Pricing remains firm but there is downward pressure on most varieties. Tomatillos are stable.
TABLE POTATOES- Florida: Red potato volume is picking up in Florida, but yellows and whites remain limited. There is a gap in pricing from the storage crop in the North versus the new crop in Florida. For price, go north. For quality, go to Florida. Canadian: Canada had 4.1% fewer table potatoes left in storage on March 1 than it held a year earlier. However, it is the second-largest March 1 inventory on record (behind 2022). It is 22.0% more than the five-year average inventory. The eastern provinces had 8% fewer potatoes in storage on March 1 than the 2022 inventory. On the other hand, the Prairie Provinces and British Columbia held a combined 20.5% more table potatoes on March 1 than year-earlier stocks. The supply and usage situation varies between provinces. Usage rates need to pick up, relative to the February pace, in New Brunswick. In contrast, supplies could run short in Alberta and British Columbia. At last month’s usage pace, table potato supplies in Quebec and Ontario could be cleaned up by mid-June, while supplies in PEI and Manitoba could last through the first week of July. Overall, Canada’s February usage rate would clean up this year’s supplies by June 27. Though February table potato disappearance is down from last year’s record (due to PEI’s supply control program in 2022), it is the third-strongest movement on record. Table potato movement is likely to slow down for the remainder of the season. Ontario: The province’s February potato disappearance fell 7.6% short of year-earlier movement. That left Ontario with 13.9% fewer potatoes in storage on March 1 verses year-earlier holdings. The stocks include a fewer percentage of table potatoes than the year-earlier inventory. February table potato disappearance fell 33.2% short of the 2022 pace. At last month’s disappearance rate, Ontario’s remaining table potato stocks would last through July 29. Ontario has 12.8% fewer chip potatoes in storage on March 1 than March 2022 stocks. At the February disappearance rate, those potatoes would last through July 29. Alberta: February potato disappearance climbed 7.5%. That exceeded year-earlier movement. That left Alberta’s March 1 potato stocks at a record amount, more than the province had in storage on March 1, 2022. Intended use data show that increases in processing and table potato disappearance were partially offset by a reduction in seed potato movement. Alberta’s February processing potato disappearance reached a record volume that exceeded the year-earlier usage. The previous record, was set in February 2020. The processing sector had 32.8% more potatoes left in storage on March 1 than the year-earlier inventory. At the February usage rate, Alberta’s remaining processing potatoes would last through August 19. The province had more table potatoes left in storage on March 1 than the year-earlier inventory. February table potato disappearance exceeded last year’s pace. Having said that, the remaining table potatoes would be cleaned up by April 19. Seed growers still had more seed potatoes in storage on March 1 than the 2022 inventory. Nevertheless, observers believe that the province may not be able to cover all the seed demand for some of the major processing varieties. Manitoba: The province had 1.2% more potatoes left in storage on March 1. February disappearance was 3.9% exceeding year-earlier movement. This year’s March 1 stocks include 8.1% fewer processing potatoes than the March 1, 2022 inventory. February disappearance was the strongest on record. At the February disappearance rate, those potatoes would be cleaned up by June 26. Processors have been importing potatoes from other areas to supplement local supplies. Manitoba had a record 40.9% more table potatoes left in storage on March 1 than the year-earlier inventory. At the February disappearance rate, Manitoba’s table potato stocks would last through July 5. The province also held a record 35.3% more seed potatoes in storage on March 1 than the year-earlier inventory. Quebec: February disappearance exceeded the 2022 pace. That left Quebec with 13.8% fewer potatoes in storage on March 1 than it held a year earlier. Intended use data show inventory reductions in all categories. The province’s February table potato disappearance fell short of 2022 movement. March 1 table potato stocks were also 16.1% less than the year-earlier inventory. At the February usage rate, Quebec’s table potato stocks would be cleaned up by June 17. The province’s February processing potato disappearance exceeded last year’s pace. At the February usage pace, the remaining processing inventory would last through July 11. The province’s March 1 seed potato inventory was less than in 2022 holdings. British Columbia: The province had 11.8% fewer potatoes left in storage on March 1 than March 1, 2022 holdings. It is British Columbia’s smallest March 1 inventory since 2011. February disappearance fell short of the 2022 pace, due to this year’s limited inventory. At the February usage rate, the province’s remaining table potatoes would be cleaned up by the end of April. This year’s seed inventory is up from the March 1, 2022 supply.
ZUCCHINI- Yellow zucchini continues to see quality/condition issues as a result of poor weather in Mexico. Florida's crop has not gotten any better, mainly due to scarring and scuffing. We expect the market to remain active for one more week, with improvement in availability starting March 27th. Green zucchini supplies are very good from both Mexico and Florida and not seeing the quality issues seen with yellow.
CUCUMBERS– Field: There are very strong volumes with good quality from Mexico and Florida. There has been a light start in Baja and Sinaloa is still going. We expect to see strong condition and volume for the next few weeks. English Cucumber: Demand for seedless English cucumbers continues to be very strong with vastly improved supplies. Supplies from Mexico are decreasing while Canadian production increases. We should see ample supplies as more growers come on line. Mini Cucumbers: Production has ramped up as Canadian growers get into new spring crops. Quality is outstanding as pricing falls. Expect a lower market through the summer.
COLLARDS/CHARD/KALE- Production is normal and volume continues to be strong. Collard, kale, and turnip are available with some minor tip burn. The kale market is steady. Moderate to good availability is expected throughout the week. Overall, the quality is good and the pricing is steady. Great supply and price for Easter promotions.
EGGPLANT- Supplies are adequate with good demand. Florida spring crops continue with good supply. Mexico will go through April and then transition to the California Desert. Overall, the market is steady and the quality is good.
CORN- Volume is slowly picking up in Florida. There should be plenty of volume to promote for Easter. The Florida Sweet Corn Exchange has released pricing for starting April 10th. Supplies will continue to increase into April.
ONIONS- Onion demand continues to remain flat. The market does not appear to be moving anywhere fast any time soon at the moment. Northwest supplies are beginning to dwindle in Idaho/Oregon. Washington will be able to ship longer than Idaho/Oregon based on their remaining supply. We are beginning to see Colossal and Super Colossal onions get very tight. This is pretty typical for this time of year as the longer-term storage varieties generally do not size as big as the earlier varieties. The Northwest continues to battle internal onion quality, which is not abnormal for this type of year. We are seeing the occasional rotted brown ring, and some random translucent scales. Mexican new-crop onions continue to cross as they are in to the bulk of their product. Texas product will begin to ramp up in the coming weeks to finish off the month of March. April will be a mixed bag of remaining supplies in the Northwest, coupled with both new crop Mexican grown onions and Texas onions shipping out of McAllen, and then finally – Imperial Valley, California toward the end of the month. The biggest headwind expected is how the cool temperatures and rain will affect the California and New Mexico onions. There is expected to be some size challenges, and potentially some gaps in supply in July and August as the later fields were delayed in planting due to fields being too wet. New Mexico does appear to be in better shape from this regard.
SEEDLESS WATERMELON- Watermelon supplies are steady, meeting demand, but continue to be tight. Personal size minis also continue to be tight. There continues to be consistent supplies shipping from Southern Mexico out of Edinburg, Texas, and Nogales, Arizona. The quality has been good out of Mexico. Southern Florida will start harvesting seedless melons and supplies should pick into April.
PAPAYA- Yields for papaya are improving with some surplus fruit on larger counts. Size profile is is still 6s, 7s, and 8s, but 9s, 12s, 14s, and 16s are very tight with little to no extra fruit. Conditions will improve by early April on smaller counts as weather cooperates with the crop. Papaya availability is still low but we expect better conditions as we get closer to April. Majority of sizes are between 6s, 7s, 8s, with some 12s, but not abundant. Quality is reported as good with fruit showing less speckling and very little scarring. Forecast is for tight supply until the end of March. There's still not enough supply to service demand.
PEARS- Currently there are Anjou, Bartlett, Bosc, and red pears still available out of the Pacific Northwest. Anjou are the best value and prices have stabilized with good supplies on all sizes. We expect this to hold steady for the next month. Bosc pears are much pricier this year due to a smaller crop. Prices are remaining firm and will probably rise slightly as we progress through the season. Bartlett pears out of the Northwest are done. There are now very good quantities of import Bartlett pears from South America arriving at East Coast ports. Expect these imports to stay strong as we move into April. Pricing on the imports is far better than the Washington fruit. The quality reports are good.
MANGO- As we finish March, the Peruvian mango season also winds up for the year. The majority of Mexican mangos are coming from Oaxaca while Michoacan will be staring in the next week. Supplies out of Oaxaca have been increasing week over week and we're expecting large volume in April. Peak sizing from this region is between 6-8s, followed by 9s, with very few 10/12s. Michoacan has been delayed from the start of the 2023 Mexico season, with weather delaying the crop for harvest. Michoacan has started packing Honey(Ataulfo) mangos, peaking on 16/18s, with few 20/22s. We expect reds to be available closer to April, with minimal supply before then.
BLUEBERRIES– Chile and Peru are done for the season with any remaining fruit of questionable quality. Mexico continues to produce with limited capacity and is the only source for quality berries. Demand exceeds supply. Florida started with light harvest over the weekend but will not start to see any volume until production increases in early April. Georgia will look at starting in the next 10 days or so. Overall blueberry supplies will remain tight until Florida and Georgia ramp up early April.
RASPBERRIES / BLACKBERRIES– Raspberries: Raspberries are tightening this week as more retail promotions are in place creating a demand-exceeds-supply situation. Mexican volume will continue to increase steadily until early May. Overall fruit quality and size is very good. Mexico will continue to be the main supplier for the next few months. Blackberries: Tightening supplies again this week. With the way Mexico's production cycle is looking this year and not following its normal path, there may not be a high/heavy peak in production end of March into April like normal. More than likely, we will see a rounded curve production cycle that ends in June. The quality overall remains good.
STRAWBERRIES- Rain and cool weather in all California growing districts continue to reduce yields. Demand exceeds supplies. Production is winding down in Mexico (into South Texas) and Florida, as both regions are entering the end of their seasons. Expect strong demand and tight supplies. Santa Maria/Oxnard, California: This region received upwards of 3.00” of rain this past week. Quality concerns include soft skin, decay, white shoulders, and pin rot. Volume will increase as the weather dries up. Expect strong demand and elevated markets. Central Mexico: Supplies are tightening; the season will wrap up in one to two weeks. Quality is fair; green shoulders and soft fruit have been reported. Size is small (approximately 26 to 28 berries per one-pound clamshell). Markets will slowly increase as production declines and quality becomes an issue. Florida: Production continues to decrease; the season will wind down over the next one to two weeks. Quality is good; white shoulders and bronzing are problems. Size is small (approximately 30 to 36 berries per one-pound clamshell). Markets will slowly increase as production declines. Ontario Hothouse: Hothouse production has been stronger allowing volume available for foodservice. Retail is still taking the majority of the production. Quality is good and sizing continues on the smaller side.
GOLD PINEAPPLES– Quality of the fruit from Costa Rica is reported as good with clean internal and high brix levels. Stable weather over all growing regions of Costa Rica continues to help the crop and increase overall yields. The USDA’s total pineapple crossing report for last week is showing a low number of inbounds at just above 1,000 loads crossing. Volume is slightly below last week and is significantly lower to that seen at this same time last year at almost 1,200 loads for that same week in 2022. The market is steady with good demand, but less volume could impact the market as we get closer to the Easter pull. Demand is reported as moderate and the market is about steady. Mexico: Similar growing conditions as last week in Mexico with no rain in the forecast which is helping the crop and keeping the fruit clean with higher brix. Some slightly elongated fruit has been reported but all within the standard. Yields are slightly better for Mexican fruit with 6s and 7s being the most abundant, including some 5s in the forecast. Quality of the fruit is reported as good with good brix and good internal condition. Mexico's inbound volume for last week as reported by the USDA is a similar number at 35 loads crossing.
GRAPEFRUIT- Texas will be finished this week. California’s Star Ruby variety has started, and quality has been excellent. Star Ruby grapefruit will go through June. California is expected to be a little on the snug side as we get into the May/June time period.
CLEMENTINES- California: Loading in the Central Valley. Peaking on sizes 32/28/36, in that order. Quality has been excellent and are some of the best we have seen this year thus far. This is definitely time to push California fruit from a quality standpoint. The rain has not impacted the end date of California mandarins which we are projecting to be at the end of May. Morocco: Loading in the Northeast, fruit quality has been perfect, and we are comfortably into the Nordacott and W. Murcott varieties. Sizing is a good distribution across the board. Fruit is starting to become tighter on availability as we start to wind down on the season. We are projecting last arrivals to be April 17th.
ORANGES: California Navel Oranges: March is looking to be a fruitful month for navels. The continued rain should strengthen the market as supplies are cleaned up. With this much rain, we can foresee some puff and clear rot issues to come. Growers are keeping a very close eye on the grades to ensure stellar fruit is shipped. We see a turn in the bigger fruit coming; Volume is giving 35% on 72s and then sizing will trend smaller. Growers are packing Washingtons which is the predominate variety. Fruit will be peaking 88/113/138/72/56 in that order. Look for pricing to start increase as we run into a shortage of supplies. Minneola: Growers are harvesting and packing in the Central Valley. Fruit sizing continues to be a struggle with peaks on 125/150/100 count. 80 count and larger will be very limited/non-existent. Quality has been excellent with a very flavorful eating profile. Movement on exports is starting to slow down considerably which should leave more volume available domestically. Cara Cara Oranges: Similar story to navels. Peak sizing is on 113/88 counts, in that order. Seventy-two count and larger are becoming more available later in the week as rains will hinder the harvest of specialty varieties. Quality is excellent, with good flavor and color. The same process will be done with the blue light to avoid clear rot. Blood Oranges: Good volume for this week. Available in the Central Valley, peaking on small sizes 88/113/138. Expect another 2-3 weeks before the volume starts to decline. Offshore: Navel oranges from Spain and Morocco continue to be available on the east coast while there are some very inexpensive Valencia’s from Egypt also available on the East Coast as well. Quality is very good, with good sugars. Sizing is mostly smaller sizes 88-138 count.
CANTALOUPE- Lower demand continues to pressure the cantaloupe market off of the highs experienced over the past two months. Peak sizing will be 9s & 12s with limited availability on jumbo fruit, while other shippers are peaking on jumbo fruit. Quality on recent arrivals have had excellent characteristics with good springtime color and solid internal quality. Brix levels have been ranging from 13-15% with strong flavor profiles. Retail ads starting mid-week and Easter demand may reduce availability into April.
HONEYDEW- Availability remains consistent and the market is fairly steady. There is with enough availability to cover some open market business once contractual commitments have been fulfilled. Sizing has been mostly 5s & 6s with some 8s and few jumbos coming through. Honeydews have been clean externally with good internal quality as well. Light supply is expected through the remainder of the season.
LEMONS– California: Fruit is 100% District 1; rain continues to hit the lemons pretty good. You will see pricing of bigger lemons start to trend downwards, as volumes and sizing are on the rise. Rain has it’s plus and minuses for lemons. The lemons blow up with rain and can be susceptible to brown rot. And when lemons are ready to pick, they must be picked. With more rain coming, it will both help and hurt growers. One thing for sure, it will strengthen the market. Sizes are peaking 75/95/115/140 in that order. Meyer lemons are still available. Quality remains excellent. Offshore: Argentinean, Moroccan, Egyptian and Spanish all lemons have good volume. Sizing is small with 140 count and smaller.
LIMES- Lime pricing remains elevated; demand is strong with limited supplies out of the main growing region of Veracruz, Mexico. The forecast is showing lower than normal temperatures; the temperature will influence the growth of limes on the trees. Production is tight in other growing regions as well. Crops are currently dominated by 200- to 250-count sizes; due to increased quality, No. 2-grade limes remain snug. Size distribution is 110-7%, 150-9%, 175-19%, 200-21%, 230-22%, and 250-22%. The quality of the limes is good, especially the smaller limes. The shelf life for the larger limes is much shorter, currently. Expect elevated markets to persist into April; Holy Week will reduce labor and harvesting.
HOTHOUSE TOMATO- Red Tomato On-The-Vine & Beefsteak: Canadian growers are getting the greenhouses ready for reproduction in April. Currently, crops grown under lights continue to have good volume and quality. We can continue to expect higher markets and strong demand overall in the tomato market, as growers continue to face pressure with the Tomato Rugose Virus. Bite Size (Cherry, Grape, Cocktail, Medley): Flavor and quality continues to be strong from Canada and Mexico. Supply from Canadian crops, grown under lights is good, with consistent availability. Production levels are expected to remain stable, with overall quality and flavor expected to continue to be good. We expect to continue seeing good volume and quality.
AVOCADO- Total industry arrivals last week are reported at 71.2 million pounds. Mexico: An 80.9-million-pound harvest was reported last week, with 69 million pounds shipped to the U.S. Mexico had a holiday last Monday, and it may be a good thing. The retail velocity seems to be slowing and importers are taking note. Retailers pushed back on the price increases and slowed their pulls on large fruit. We have seen price pull-back on most price sheets, with plenty of availability. We need to keep our inventories moving until we get used to the new equilibrium between supply and demand. We will see the pricing of smaller-program fruit approach the high end of the market over the next couple of weeks if planograms at the retail level forecast larger displays of 60s/20s and 70s/24s. 48s/16s will be the kings of the size curve at 24% of the entire harvest. Smaller fruit will be available from a smaller group of growers as we enter the higher elevations, and a premium will have to be paid for access. Michoacán: A 75.7-million-pound harvest was reported last week with 66.8 million pounds being shipped to the U.S. Demand has increased, driving a more competitive market in the field; however, plenty of fruit remains available. A lighter harvest is expected for week 12, due to the observance of the Benito Juarez federal holiday last Monday, March 20. Week 13 is expected to be the last full harvest week before Holy Week closes harvest for 2-3 days during week 14. Dry matter has steadily increased throughout the season, currently reaching about 34.7%. Jalisco: Jalisco reported a 5.2-million-pound harvest last week, with 2.3 million pounds shipped to the U.S. Dry matter of the Hass Crop in Jalisco has also been increasing, with a current average of 32%. Jalisco anticipates releasing the Mendez Crop once the fruit reaches a minimum dry matter of 22-23%, expected by late April or early May. Colombia: The Principal crop is winding down with less volume being shipped to Europe and the U.S. weekly. The Traviesa crop is anticipated to begin in late March with sizes leaning toward medium and small. Peru: Heavy rain has caused operational delays in the harvest, transportation, and logistics industries over the past 2 weeks. However, harvest is slowly picking up and volume is again resuming predominantly to the Europe and China markets. We may not see any Peruvian fruit in North America until early July. 23,000 new acres are in production for the 2023 season. Expected exports into the U.S. will be increased by 85 million pounds, for a grand total of 275 million pounds (2022 total was 189 million pounds), a 45% increase. Market Outlook – Industry inventory is up slightly to 57 million pounds. Demand is up across all sizes and grades, contributing to price increases in the field. The current size curve out of Mexico is well balanced. California harvest is still delayed due to the continued rain.
GRAPES- Arrivals are already starting to slow down to North America for both Chilean and Peruvian fruit. This will begin to drive up the spot markets possibly by the end of this week. In the next 5 days or so, shippers will begin to analyze what they will hold onto for contract and program business needed to get through April and the beginning of May. With Mexico still looking pushed back to at least mid-May, we could be looking at a possible gap, especially on greens.
BANANAS- Banana supplies continue to remain very tight. There are currently no quality issues, but we are seeing smaller fruit, discolor and very light supplies arriving at ports. Production in Central America remain at seasonal lows; vessel delays are compounding supply challenges on the West Coast. Firm markets and limited stocks are expected well into March. Current supplies are coming from Guatemala, Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras and Ecuador. Banana production dips each winter as temperatures cool in the growing regions. Vessels are limited with sporadic arrivals, creating periodic gaps in supply. Expect a demand-exceeds-supply and higher markets as we start April.
MATURE GREEN TOMATOES– East Coast: Round supply out of Florida is steady with great quality. Volume from Mexico is contributing to keep the overall market steady to slightly lower. With crown picks in Florida, fruit is peaking with the 5x6 / extra - large sizes. Over the the next few weeks, roma’s out of Florida will be light as they begin the transition to the Ruskin Palmetto area. We expect the roma market to remain tight over the next ten days. Cherry and grape tomatoes continue to be in excellent supply with good pricing and excellent quality again this week. West Coast: Mexico’s round supply is steady with ample supply on all sizes. Excellent quality continues to be available this week crossing through Texas and Arizona. Mexican roma’s, similar to Florida are also transitioning to the spring growing region, making overall availability lighter at higher pricing. We expect the roma market to remain tight over the next ten days. Grape cherry tomato supplies continue to be strong with excellent quality continue out of Mexico. Looking ahead, the California tomato season is expected to start later than normal, which is approximately July 1, as many plantings were stunted by winter weather events.
STONE FRUIT- Offshore: Peaches, nectarines and red and black plums continue to arrive in light volume on both coasts from South America. Overall quality is good with steady pricing. Expect peach and nectarine arrivals to come to an end by early April. Plums will be available into May.
APPLES- Washington: The apple market continues to show some weakness as movement continues to be slow. We continue to see lower prices on several varieties and there continues to be some deals around on certain varieties. Expect this softer market to remain this way for at least the next two weeks as the growers try to stimulate greater movement before import fruit begins to arrive in volume from Chile and Argentina in April. On the East Coast we continue to see Granny Smith and Royal Gala arrive from Italy. Offshore: There are some light arrivals of Italian and French apples; But no real volume of new-crop fruit will be entering the market until product begins to arrive from Chile and Argentina in early April. Ontario/Quebec/Michigan/New York: The crop is looking good as growers continue packing all sizes and pack styles out of controlled atmosphere rooms with Macintosh, Empire, Gold Delicious, Royal Gala, Spartan, Cortland, Red Delicious, Honeycrisp, Ambrosia and Fuji are all available. Quality on all is very good. Now is the time to feature local apples. Gold Delicious, Fuji and Cortland are expected to be done sometime this month. Ambrosia and Honeycrisp are expected to be done in May.
ITEMS NOW IN SEASON
BLACK GRAPES / FLORIDA JUICE ORANGE / CARA CARA ORANGES / MEYER LEMONS / BLOOD ORANGES / BARTLETT PEARS / RED BELGIUM ENDIVE / CHOCOLATE ORANGES / NECTARINE / PEACH / HOTHOUSE STRAWBERRIES / HOTHOUSE RHUBARB / QUINCE / FAVA BEANS
ITEMS VERY SHORT
DRAGON FRUIT / STARFRUIT / FINGERLIMES / RED PLUMS / BLACK PLUMS /POMEGRANATE / QUINCE / CACTUS PEARS
ITEMS NO LONGER AVAILABLE
YELLOW PLUM / CURRANTS / ENGLISH PEA / FUYU PERSIMMONS / HAYCHIA PERSIMMONS / PUNTARELLA / CARDONE / PINK PINEAPPLES / CHERRIES / SEVILLE ORANGES / APRICOT / PINEBERRIES (WHITE STRAWBERRIES) / TANGERINE / FLAT (POLE) BEANS