Canada's Market Update
LIVE FROM THE FIELDS: DESERT REGION LETTUCE ICE
November 18, 2022
- Lettuce ice has developed over the last few days in the desert region
- Morning temperatures have dipped into the mid-30°s to low 40°s
- Production and loading delays are expected over the next several days
- Plant growth will likely slow down and defects such as epidermal blistering and peeling may develop on lettuce items
- If cold weather persists, we will continue to see light carton and bin weights for commodity and value-added lettuces for several more weeks
MARKET UPDATE FOR NOVEMBER 28, 2022
MARKETS TO WATCH: AT A GLANCE
Peeled Garlic: Supplies of new crop garlic from China remain light and pricing remains strong. The California market continues to be tight even as harvest has wrapped up.
Washington Apples: Overall, the market is slightly higher as shippers try to extend the season on a small crop. This will continue until next season.
Asparagus: Supplies continue to stay tight on the West Coast due to the weather in Mexico. East coast has good supplies and better pricing.
Peppers: Red pepper supplies remains short prices are high; do not expect any relief till late December.
Blackberries: Good numbers of blackberries are available in McAllen Texas and Oxnard California.
Strawberries: We expect production from Baja, and Florida to begin in the coming weeks. This and an increase in Central Mexican numbers should provide some market relief in mid to late December.
Broccoli: Supplies continue to be very limited as we transition to Yuma. Quality issues such as pin rot have been causing lower yields.
Brussels Sprouts: Supplies are starting to get a little tight. Expect good quality and the market to be steadily increasing as we move into next week.
Cauliflower: Cauliflower supplies continue to be extremely limited in Salinas and Santa Maria. The cold weather has stunted the growing process. Look for supplies to remain tight going into next week.
Celery: Overall, the market is firm. Oxnard/Santa Maria continues to be the main growing area for this commodity. Salinas is finished and Yuma will begin production in late December.
California Navel Oranges: The cooler weather last week and again this week will decrease the gas time to less than 24 hours. Quality is excellent with an average brix of 12. Peak sizing will be 113/88/138, in that order.
Red Grapes: The California red grape market continues to advance as the season starts to wind down. There will be California reds available into December. Imported reds are already being quoted on the East Coast at much higher pricing.
Green Grapes: California green grapes are slightly higher as a split market develops between stronger larger grapes and weaker fruit that needs to be moved. Imports are already being quoted on the East coast at much higher pricing.
Idaho Potatoes: Potato demand was flat last week, in large part due to it being the US Thanksgiving holiday week. The potato market continues to remain tight, but pricing does appear to have leveled off for the time being.
Green Onions: Green onion supplies continue to be somewhat limited. The weather in Mexico does look good in the short term. Demand is expected to remain strong for the holidays.
Mushrooms: Supply chain issues continue to cause a shortage of supply that will continue into the winter.
Eggplant: Markets are steady. Beginning to see product in Nogales as they continue to build volume. Prices are holding firm on both coasts.
Spring Mix/Heritage/Baby Kale/Baby Arugula: All spring mix, arugula, heritage and baby kale are extremely limited due to the cold overnight lows. Expect shortages going through the weekend. Overall, quality is fair and pricing is higher.
Cantaloupe: The offshore season has begun. Mexico’s supplies have lighted up in Nogales. Strong demand keeps prices high.
Stone Fruit: Black plums from Italy will be available into December. Chilean cherries and peaches are arriving by air at very high prices.
Watermelon: Seedless watermelons and minis continue to be tight. Overall quality is very nice, strong demand and light volume are keeping markets firm this week.
Onions: Onion demand was flat last week, in large part due to it being the US Thanksgiving week. The market does not appear to be moving anywhere fast any time soon.
Zucchini: Markets are steady and supplies bit tighter out of Nogales and Florida with yellow zucchini. Availability of green zucchini continues to be an issue.
ITEMS ON FIRE / VERY HOT
Tomatoes: Tomato market is in a demand exceeds supply situation. Tomato volume is critically low due to a combination of transitioning growing areas and severe weather in multiple growing regions over the past month. Shortages and average quality are inevitable between November and January.
California Iceberg: The situation with the availability of iceberg lettuce has gotten slightly better since transition to Yuma. Cold weather has slowed growth. Pricing however, has not settled. Pricing on value added product continues to be triggered. Seven triggers are currently in place. Value-added quality is reported as weak and is not holding up to shelf-life expectations. Shippers are pro-rating value-added orders by as much as 70%. Expect supply issues and strong markets to continue for another two-three weeks minimum.
California Romaine: Romaine, romaine hearts, green and red leaf as well as boston and gem lettuces all continue to be extremely active in the marketplace. Pricing on value added product remains at record high territory, as seven triggers are currently in place. Value-added quality is reported as weak and is not holding up to shelf-life expectations. Shippers are pro-rating value-added orders by as much as 70%. Expect supply issues and strong markets to continue for another two-three weeks minimum.
GARLIC- China: Supplies of peeled garlic from China remain fairly stable with pricing easing one again. Quality on the remains very good. Shipping costs are starting to ease slightly, but there are still shipping delays; mostly unloading delays upon arrival. Until the logistics situation returns to normal, we can expect to have variable supply, potential for quality issues and variable pricing. The return of Covid lockdowns in China could cause lighter supplies and an increase in pricing. 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- Into December, demand will continue to exceed supply. Pricing is remaining fairly steady, to slightly lower. All processors continue to trigger all value-added items. Production out of Huron is finished. Yuma has moderate availability. There will be light harvesting throughout the week in Santa Maria. Quality reports from the Yuma area are still showing some seeder pressure and small sizing. Light weights, ranging from 24-34 pounds, are the story with this commodity. The desert weather has been colder than average and has caused some start dates to be delayed due to slowed growth rates. The weather forecast calls for slightly warmer temperatures into this week. Expect supply issues and strong markets to continue for another two-three weeks minimum.
ROMAINE / LEAF- Some suppliers have eased up on prices for romaine and leaf, but demand continues to exceed supplies across the industry. Romaine hearts continue to be scarce. All processors continue to trigger all value-added items. Production out of Huron is finished. The primary loading locations are currently in Santa Maria, Salinas, and Yuma, Arizona. Yuma has moderate availability. Quality reports from the Yuma area are still showing some seeder pressure and small sizing. Inventories are expected to be light into December. We are seeing lighter weights due to early harvesting. The desert weather has been colder than average and has caused some start dates to be delayed due to slowed growth rates. The weather forecast calls for slightly warmer temperatures into the weekend. Expect supply issues and strong markets to continue for another two-three weeks minimum.
EAST COAST: ARUGULA / WATERCRESS– Over the next 2-3 weeks growers will be pro-rating 50-70% arugula and watercress due to recent severe weather.
BROCCOLI- West Coast: Markets are extremely volatile with California being the driver due to lack of supplies as we transition to Yuma. Quality issues such as pin rot have been causing extremely low yields. Mexican volume is crossing steadily but with the holiday demand and West Coast production issues the markets are unsteady. Georgia is producing excellent quality but heavy rains from the tropical storm followed by cool temperatures negatively impacted volume when it was needed most. East Coast: Supplies from Quebec and Ontario are done.
ASPARAGUS- The market is adjusting. Right now, there is not a lot of product around especially standard/medium but there is a little more availability on the larger sizes xl/jumbo. Mexico missed the US Thanksgiving pull which put pressure on price and volume since a lot of Peruvian product was trucked to compliment the West demand. Peru is having good volume and steady production through the next couple of weeks as the transition of the fields starts to happen for the Christmas/New Year’s pull.
WEST COAST: SPRING MIX/BABY SPINACH/BABY KALE- Heritage, spring mix, baby and flat spinach and baby kale supplies have been very tight. The cooler weather in Yuma and Mexico is causing slow growth and causing fields to get behind. Suppliers have been pro-rating 40- 50%. Added strong demand and poor levels of production have triggered pricing up. Expect unstable supplies through the end of the month due to the cooler weather in the desert.
CAULIFLOWER– West Coast: Cauliflower supply continues to be limited due to slower growing conditions from the cool weather and the extreme heat conditions earlier in the season. Overall quality is generally good but expect continued uniformity issues. Outlook is for cauliflower availability to remain extremely light through the week. Value-added cauliflower still has triggers. Arizona and California desert growing region production is scheduled to begin this week. East Coast: Ontario and Quebec cauliflower production is done.
US CABBAGE- Wisconsin has finished for the season. Georgia is going with good volume on red and green. Market continues active out of California and value-added cabbage items continue to be triggered.
BEANS- There are limited supplies available out of Florida as South Georgia is finishing up. Florida was negatively impacted by Tropical Storm Nicole causing shortages for the holidays. There are a beans on the West Coast, but markets remain very high and expected to be snug through the holiday season. There is also availability of flat beans as well as some wax yellow beans. Snipped: Value-added snipped/trimmed green bean supplies are back to normal, with good quality.
FRENCH GREEN BEAN / BABY SQUASH- Demand exceeds supply out of Mexico and Guatemala while quality continues to be just fair to good. Shippers are hesitant to ship fearing quality rejections on arrival. Pricing is elevated. Guatemala supply will continue to be light as past weather has hampered harvesting and quality. This is for beans, sunburst squash, green patty pan and baby green and yellow zucchini.
CELERY- Overall, the market is firm. Oxnard and Santa Maria continue to be the main growing area for this commodity. Salinas is finished and Yuma will begin production in late December. All sizing continues to have availability. Triggered pricing on value-added celery products remains at the second tier. Quality reports are showing overall very nice quality with some reports of fusarium impacting yields in the Oxnard area.
FIELD PEPPERS- Green Pepper: Markets are steady and the quality is good. More Nogales shippers have started on green pepper and are slowly building volume; no huge volume yet. Eastern supply has been slowed due to cold temperatures. South Georgia is done for the season, and we are transitioning to South Florida. The outlook for Florida looks promising as we are starting to see several new fields being harvested. Red Pepper: Red peppers remain very short; demand exceeds supply. No relief is expected on reds until Nogales gets going in late December. Greenhouse production is very tight due to growers ending northern production; sizing is dominated by large and mediums size peppers. Expect prices to stay very strong until Central Mexico gets going mid-late-December.
HOTHOUSE PEPPERS- Canadian production is slowly winding down. Most premium sizing is going into contracts, with any extra availability being on the medium/large/extra-large. Overall quality is good. Red remains very tight. There is extra availability on yellow & orange. Mexican production is expected to pickup within next couple of weeks, where we will see colors more balanced out. Into December, Mexican production is expected to have increased, with good quality and supply.
ASSORTED CHILI PEPPERS- In the east, supply is light out of South Florida. In McAllen, volume is lighter on all varieties and there are some quality issues on the tomatillos. Habanero, jalapeno and poblano are all holding at higher-than-normal pricing while the shortest availability is on serrano and anahiem. We are seeing quality issues and low production from Coahuila, Chihuahua, and California is about done for the season. Markets will remain firm until we start seeing crossings in Nogales over the next several weeks that will hopefully bring off some pressure on McAllen.
CARTON BAKING POTATOES- Prince Edward Island: Hurricane Fiona hit the Island just as growers were getting ready to begin the general harvest. It brought strong winds and 4-6 inches of rain. Growers have had to spend extra time cleaning up trees along roadways so they could get to their fields. In addition, downed trees along field margins have had to be removed. Some storage facilities and packing sheds sustained damage. Nevertheless, growers in some areas were able to begin harvesting potatoes a few days after the storm. The west end of the Island has received timely rains throughout the summer, while the east end of the Island has been dry. Growers indicate that yields are lighter in the east and above average in the west. The dry ground on the eastern part of the Island was able to soak up the heavy rain, while the western part of the Island was saturated. Some low-lying areas may have to be abandoned. Growers are concerned that the extra moisture could cause storability issues. Overall, they have been pleased with the yields and quality of this year’s potato crop. A few growers are reporting yields as good or better than last year, though that is not widespread. We do not expect a repeat of last year’s record-breaking production. We have reduced the Island’s harvested acreage by 500 acres, to 79,250 acres. Production for the 2022 potato crop is forecast to be less than the 2021 crop. Over half of the 2022 potato crop has been harvested. PEI growers usually harvest until the end of October. Except for the hurricane, weather on the Island has been nearly ideal during the growing season and during the first few weeks of harvest. Warm temperatures and wind have helped dry things out; however, rain is in the forecast for next week. USA: Potato demand was flat last week, in large part due to it being the US Thanksgiving holiday week. The potato market continues to remain tight, but pricing does appear to have leveled off for the time being. Pricing continues to hold at record levels on just about all sizes/grades for this time of year. 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. Other growing regions are echoing the same sentiments as well. National supply reports are showing that there are less potatoes this year than this last year and this is not taking into account the six million pounds plus that have already been sold to processors. The market is as much about what processors are willing to pay, as it is about demand on the fresh side. In a way, the fresh demand is almost a non-factor this season. Trucks have tightened up some, and rates have increased.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS- Expect active markets through late December; prices will ease as holiday demand subsides and Mexican volume ramps up. California’s Salinas Valley and Santa Maria are the primary growing regions at this time and harvesting will continue through late December. Growers in Mexico will ramp up production in early December. The size profile is dominated by jumbo supplies; small and medium sizes are readily available. Value-added brussels sprouts are triggered. Overall quality is strong; some lots are exhibiting insect pressure and off color.
YAMS- There is plenty of availability across all sizes out of North Carolina. Pricing is very reasonable right now, especially on jumbos. There seem to be more potatoes available out of North Carolina compared to Mississippi who anticipate finishing the current crop just in time for new crop to be cured. We are also currently seeing a small gap with some specialty sweets like Red Garnets out of Livingston, California.
GREEN ONIONS– Supplies and quality are slowly decreasing in the Mexicali growing region; recent heavy storms have significantly reduced yields and slowed further maturation. Prices are rising amid holiday demand and cooler weather in the growing region. Expect markets to remain elevated into December. Value-added green onions have two triggers.
EGGPLANT- Nogales supply is good; demand is light. Georgia is about finished due to cold weather. Florida has started in a light way. Overall, the quality is fair and pricing is steady.
MUSHROOMS- Quality is good, although supplies of white buttons and cremini continue to be short but supplies are improving. 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 winter.
ZUCCHINI- Markets are steady and supplies bit tighter out of Nogales and Florida with yellow zucchini. Availability of green zucchini continues to be an issue. Last week’s frost in Georgia pulled the plug on their season. In Florida, we are still not seeing the normal volume and demand seems to exceed supply. Nogales continues to struggle with volume, but we anticipate conditions to improve as new fields are starting to open.
CORN- Northern programs are all but done and Georgia continues to struggle to keep up with demand. Cooler temperatures in the forecast and demand for the holidays could push prices higher. Mexico is crossing volume but look for markets to be unstable for now.
KALE- Steady supplies continue to keep the market on green, red and black kale steady. Look for this market to remain status quo as product is available from multiple shipping points; California, New Jersey, Georgia and Texas.
ONIONS- Onion demand was flat last week, in large part due to it being the US Thanksgiving week. Buyers have finished their purchasing in advance of the holiday logistics challenges, and interruption in shipping schedules. The market does not appear to be moving anywhere fast any time soon. The long-term optimism on the current crop is beginning to wane a bit; at least for the rest of 2022. If there is going to be a spike in the market, we are looking at 2023. Idaho/Oregon maintains that their current pace of shipping, they will be done by the middle of March. This is similar to last season’s crop end date. The underlying factors remain in place for a very strong finish – but it will all depend on demand levels. The low yields, and short storage supplies on hand are good indicators of this. Washington remains in better shape than Idaho from a supply standpoint. Size profiles have been on the smaller end in both regions, with the majority of product sizing in the medium and jumbo range. We have seen some improved availability on colossal and super colossal sized onions in recent weeks, however, this is not believed to be a sustained supply the whole way through. Growers are expressing further concern regarding continually rising overhead costs (fuel, seed, packaging, etc). Their suppliers are all asking for hefty increases for next season above the already inflated overhead in this years’ crop. It is not impossible that we see further consolidation among growers and shippers, or just less onion acreage being grown altogether out of the Northwest. Trucks have tightened up some, and rates have increased.
CUCUMBERS– Field: Markets are steady to slightly lower. Volume is light out of Baja as Nogales supplies from Mexico are improving. Florida is producing steady volume. We do expect Florida's volume to start winding down as we head into December. Offshore cucumbers are scheduled to start arriving in South Florida by the middle of December. The cucumber market has the potential to start climbing. English Cucumber: Canadian production is currently increasing as new ranges start to kick in some volume. Sizing is still on the smaller side. Picks are expected to increase over the next couple of weeks, with better sizing and a return to more normal pricing. Mini Cucumbers: Canadian production has increased with good supplies. Mexican crop quality is good.
TABLE POTATOES– Estimates indicate Canada to produce a smaller crop this year. 1.2% less this year than 2021. If the forecast is accurate this would be Canada’s second-largest potato crop on record. Growers in several areas report that they have been pleasantly surprised by the yield on this year’s crop. Harvest conditions across the country have been mostly favorable. P.E.I. is the only province with a significant volume of potatoes left to dig. P.E.I. growers are confident that they will be able to harvest their remaining potatoes before winter closes in, but Hurricane Fiona has created some challenges. The overall increase in the crop forecast can be attributed to larger than expected yields in P.E.I., New Brunswick, and Ontario and increases in the harvested acreage in Manitoba and Alberta. Changes in the production outlook for several growing areas will impact the overall market outlook. Ontario: Harvest is 85% to 95% complete. Harvest conditions have been mostly favorable. Growers will need another week of good weather to wrap up this year’s harvest. Yields for the 2022 potato crop have been mixed. The province received very little rain-fall during the summer. Yields on irrigated fields have been better than anticipated; however, yields on non-irrigated crops have been disappointing. Overall, yield estimates are up, compared to previous estimates for the 2022 crop. We now expect Ontario’s average yield to be down slightly from the 2021 crop. Ontario’s 2022 potato crop is expected to fall about 9.5% short of 2021 production. Alberta: Harvest wrapped up early this year. Growers experienced nearly ideal weather during the harvest season, with very few delays. Slow crop development this spring held back yields on processing potatoes. Reports indicate that the quality of this year’s processing potato crop is good. Seed potato growers are pleased with this year’s crop. Yields have been above average, and the quality has been excellent. Large sets and a smaller size profile should help extend the seed potato crop. The province should have plenty of table potato seed, though supplies could be tight for processing varieties. The yield estimate for Alberta is more than the 2021 average yield. Growers planted 3,850 more acres to potatoes this year than they did in 2021. Due to the favorable harvest conditions, the estimated harvested area estimate has increased to 71,300 acres. Growers harvested approximately 3,500 more acres this year. The net result is more than growers produced in 2021. Manitoba: Most growers have finished harvesting. Only about 5% of the crop is still in the ground. Harvest conditions have been favorable until last Wednesday, when the weather turned wet and cold. Growers need 4-5 more days of good digging weather to wrap up. Reports indicate that yields on processing potatoes have been all over the board. Yields on table potatoes have been better than they were for the 2021 crop. The yield estimate for the province is up compared to what was produced in 2021, but it falls short of the five-year average. Abandonment on this year’s crop will be minimal. The harvested acreage estimate has increased to 79,000 acres. We believe that Manitoba this year’s crop will exceed the 2021 crop. The 6.3% increase falls short of Manitoba’s processing industry’s needs. Production should put processors close to 90% of budget. Fry plants will need to bring in potatoes from other growing areas, if they are available, to run plants close to capacity throughout the storage season. Quebec: Growers started harvesting about a week later than usual, to give potatoes more time to grow. Harvest has been progressing quickly, but growers need another week to wrap up. Cold nighttime temperatures have slowed the harvest. Growers have been starting later in the day, once it warms up. Then they shut down when it gets cold. In addition, rain could slow progress later this week. Growers are concerned about quality issues with the last part of the crop. Reports indicate that yields are good, though the size profile is smaller than usual. Yield estimates for the province remain unchanged; down from the 2021 crop. We expect Quebec growers to harvest 49,750 acres of potatoes. British Columbia: Harvest is over 90% complete. Harvest conditions have been favorable. Growers should be able to wrap up harvest in the next week. Approximately 25% of this year’s crop was planted late, due to heavy rain and muddy fields. Growers are relieved that they have been able to harvest fields that were planted much later than usual. The province has received very little rain since spring. Reports indicate that yields have been above average for the crop that was planted on time. The yields and size profile have been below average for the later-planted crop. The yield estimate remains 8.7% less than the 2021 crop.
SEEDLESS WATERMELON- Seedless watermelons and minis continue to be tight as supplies are light and demand remains strong. We expect the market to be very tight into December and January. South Florida is also going with a little bit of supply. In the west, Northern Mexico will be winding down over the next two weeks. Southern Mexico will start after the first of the year shipping out of Edinburg, Texas, and Nogales, Arizona. Offshore will start in December.
PAPAYA- The papaya growing regions are currently under mostly clear conditions with very low chances of rain. Highs are forecast near 89F and lows of 64F. Good volume is expected for November, into December with quality reported as good and no mayor issues at this time. The majority of sizes are between 8s, 9s, and 12s. Overall quality is reported as good with the fruit showing some speckling. This is a natural characteristic of the fruit; it does not affect internal quality. Some skin water spots are present but are minor and considered purely appearance related. The forecast remains for good supply for November but as with all prior seasons, end-of-year weather conditions at the growing regions might impact overall yields due to quality issues; for the moment, all looks good. There is enough supply to service demand with some delays generated by a tight truck market in Mexico.
PEARS- There continues to be new-crop Bartlett, D’Anjou and Bosc pears out of Washington and Oregon. Red pears and forelle pears are also now available. The crop is shorter than last year, and prices are expected to be higher as a result. Growers continue harvesting and will have better numbers by December. The pears did not grow as large as last year, so we are expecting a tight market on the large premium fruit with much more of the smaller or bagging fruit this year. Overall, we expect pricing on all sizes and packs to be higher than last year due to the smaller crop and inflationary costs. Ontario: Ontario Bosc and Bartlett pears continue and are in good supply. We expect supplies to continue until December.
MANGO- Brazilian fruit prices have started to come down a bit compared to the beginning of the season. We expect this pricing to maintain itself for the next couple of weeks. We are starting to see the first Ecuadorian containers to both the West and East coasts. Volume that we have been seeing has been mainly to cover retail commitments; although, there is some transactional volume, especially on small sizes 10/12 counts. Volumes will be low to start and will pick up rapidly with November arrivals. The next 2-3 weeks will be the peak weeks for Ecuador on packing/shipping. Expect more volume and availability into December. Arrivals have been really good quality with good color and pressure. A bit of sunken shoulder has been reported on arrival, but not percentages to be concerned about. The crop outlook on Ecuadorian fruit is about 30% large sizes (6-9 counts), followed by 70% on small sizes (10/12 counts). We're going to see a little of the Kent variety starting to get shipped next week out of Ecuador, mainly on the 8/9/10 counts. Product will be arriving to ports of entries on the West Coast, Miami, and Philadelphia. Ecuadorian large fruit will be limited from the crop reports that we have received from our growers. Expect pricing on large Ecuadorian fruit to maintain itself for the weeks to come. For small fruit, we expect the market to be more flexible as there will be much more availability on 10/12 count mangos. Right now, the market is strong, but will go down as volume starts increasing.
STRAWBERRIES- Expect strawberry supplies to remain tight and markets elevated. The forecast calls for rain this week in the Santa Maria and Oxnard, California growing regions. California fruit is generally fair quality, firm with inconsistent sized berries, occasional bruising, misshapen, and white shoulders. Santa Maria: The industry is in a demand-exceeds-supply situation with the forecast calling for rain Monday, November 28 into Thursday, December 1. Oxnard: The industry is in a demand-exceeds-supply situation with the forecast calling for rain Monday, November 28 into Thursday, December 1. South Texas: Mexican production is increasing with Mexican fruit being used to supplement the California shortage at this time. Quality is good; white shoulders and minor bruising has been reported. Florida: Production has started in a limited manner. Production will increase over time and is expected to reach its peak mid-December. Early quality is good; expect fruit sizes to be small to medium. Ontario: Hothouse production continues to slowly ramp up. Quality is good and sizing is on the smaller side. Expect sizing to improve and be more consistent in a couple of weeks. Expect to see increased acreage around end of December/ beginning of January.
BLUEBERRIES– Product is arriving from Central Mexico in McAllen Texas with transfers available on the West coast as well. The Peruvian season is coming to an end while Chile is just beginning to fill that void. Chile is already talking about cooler temperatures and delayed inbounds which could make December a tight supply situation. Mexico will continue to ramp up through December. Overall, good quality and pricing is lower.
RASPBERRIES / BLACKBERRIES– Raspberries: There should be a steady supply of raspberries for the next couple of weeks. Typically, December is a tighter supply month on Mexican raspberries. However, with the delayed start in October, we should see steady supply over the next two weeks. But remain cautious heading into mid-late December if we follow historical trends. Blackberries: Similar to raspberries, quality and supplies are improving. Good numbers of blackberries are available in McAllen Texas and Oxnard California. Overall, good quality and pricing is lower. Again, caution heading into mid-late December if following historical trends.
GOLD PINEAPPLES– Costa Rica: An increase in the trade winds over the Caribbean Sea is generating higher humidity in Central America. Cloudy conditions and some precipitation in the Caribbean and Northern regions of Costa Rica are expected. Quality is reported as good with no heavy rainfall forecast for the next few days. Quality has improved due to the latest dry weather and its future development will depend how this week’s weather behaves. The USDA total pineapple crossing report for last week is again showing a slightly higher number of inbounds at just below 1,200 loads crossings. Demand is reported as fairly light with and about steady market. Mexico: Weather in Veracruz, Mexico, is reported as partly cloudy with chances of some rainfall, highs of 77F and lows of 72F. Crop conditions are good, and yields remain stable. Quality of the fruit is reported as very good with solid brix and very clean internal condition. Volume will continue to be mostly on 6s and 7s with tight supply on 8 count. Mexico's inbound volume for last week as reported by the USDA is very low at just above 20 loads crossing. There is limited availability of Mexican fruit in Texas with tighter supply of 8s continuing.
GRAPEFRUIT- Fruit continues from Texas/Florida/California with South African fruit winding down. Texas has started, but the crop still has not rebounded 100% from the 2021 freeze. Volume is operating at roughly 70% of the normal volume in Texas. Florida is hit or miss, depending on where the groves are located. Hurricane Nicole hit a few regions last week which will end the season in Florida entirely for some growers. The season for California is roughly a month away from volume but look for an earlier switch.
ORANGES- California Navel: Navel oranges continue from the District 1 region (Fresno/Delano/Terra Bella/Bakersfield) of California for the primary shipping locations. We are currently seeing anywhere between 24 and 48 hours of gassing times, depending on the block and region. The variety is primarily Fukumoto’s. The cooler weather last week and again this week will decrease the gas time to less than 24 hours. Quality is excellent with an average brix of 12. Peak sizing will be 113/88/138, in that order. This year should provide very strong pricing relief as small fruit is in abundance. California experienced rain last week, which was substantial. This will not impact the fruit quality as long as proper practices are followed on the harvest and packing side. The rain will allow the fruit to size up which will help the overall crop from a sizing standpoint. Offshore: Offshore South African oranges on the east coast are winding down. We are now seeing some Valencia oranges from Argentina as well as some navels from Spain arriving on the east coast with some regularity. Quality is very good.
CANTALOUPE- The offshore season is in full swing at the Florida ports of arrival with good demand. We do expect to start getting on track with consistent weekly supplies of both cantaloupe and honeydew. Cantaloupe sizing should be peaking with mostly larger fruit (9s and larger) with limited 12s being available. Quality has been very good as we are seeing decent shell color with internal quality being excellent with brix levels ranging from 12-16%. Arrivals into Texas and California ports will start this week. Nogales/Mexico’s supplies and quality are fair with little availability.
HONEYDEW- Mexico is going strong with plenty of fruit into Nogales. A good mix of sizing is available. Demand is light so shippers are looking to make deals on all sizes. Quality and condition are good, and sugar is good as well. Offshore imports have started at better quality and higher pricing than Mexico. Availability remains limited but will also begin to pick up next week with primarily 5s and larger fruit.
CLEMENTINES- We continue to see fruit from Morocco this week. Pricing is starting to ease. As the season progresses and arrivals are more frequent, we expect pricing to continue to ease. Quality is very good with flavor and brix.
LEMONS– California: Lemons right now are from California and Mexico. Mexico is winding down, with limited supplies for the next 2 weeks. California is just kicking off with peak volume on the horizon. Quality out of Mexico is starting to decline but look for California to be the go-to region in the coming weeks with good distribution on all sizes. Quality out of California is very nice. Offshore: Offshore fruit from South Africa is winding down quickly. Argentina lemons are just getting going, arriving with Valencia oranges. Sizing is small with 140 count and smaller.
LIMES- The market is expected to remain steady with very good quality through November, into December. Currently, the crop is peaking on 175/200/150s. With the Mexican holiday last Monday, expect lighter supplies. Consistent rain events over the past few months are expected to impact the bloom in January in terms of yields and quality. We will likely see a substantial spike in pricing in January 2023, as we did this past January 2022. Demand for limes has been moderate.
GRAPES- With a lot of California growers either done picking or wrapping up this week, we will have a good idea of how far the California grape season can stretch. The outlook on green has been optimistic with good inventories of Autumn King still in sheds; however, the reds are a different story. The heat wave and rains earlier in the season affected the Allisons and late-season reds this year and are already causing quality issues. Reds are expected to start drying up in early- to mid-December so early-import reds will be in high demand. With the cold weather in Peru and rains in Brazil, we could see a delay up to two weeks, putting a strain on the late-December California deal, especially on reds. Imports are arriving now but might not be enough if we see an abrupt end to California fruit.
BANANAS- Multiple tropical weather systems have battered Central America (El Salvador, Honduras and Nicaruga), slowing banana and plantain harvesting, packing and shipping. Heavy rains, upwards of up to 20 inches flooded fields, caused mudslides and caused infrastructure damage to roads and packing sheds. Arrivals are expected to slow in the coming weeks. Prices are expected to continue to rise as demand remains strong. Quality remains good.
HOTHOUSE TOMATO- Red Tomato On-The-Vine & Beefsteak: Traditionally grown Canadian production is slow as growers have pulled summer crops. More and more crops grown under lights are expected to have excellent picks and quality, with better production in December. We can continue to expect higher markets and strong demand overall in the tomato market, as growers continue to face pressure with the Rugose Virus and conventional field grown crops have suffered serious losses. Bite Size (Cherry, Grape, Cocktail, Medley): Flavor and quality continues to be strong from Canada and Mexico. Supply from Canadian crops 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 while field grown crops are suffering serious losses.
AVOCADO- Mexican supply continues dominating the supplies in the market. They are harvesting and shipping high volumes. Monday, November 21st, they had a holiday and several packing houses slowed down a little bit. Last week was also a short week in the U.S. because of Thanksgiving. Demand has stayed strong, mainly on 48s/16s; however, with higher levels of shipments coming in, the market has been correcting itself. There is plenty of availability on most sizes; the curve size profile is sizing up and we are starting to see less of the smaller fruit. High demand on 70s/22s seems to be occurring. Current prices make this a good time to be promoting all sizes of avocados. #2 fruit has become more available. Peruvian avocado season is done. There is little volume, mainly for retail programs. California supplies are at very low levels. Continuous rain is being reported in Colombian areas where avocados grow. This has pushed dry matter levels down. We are currently harvesting from new "regular" crop. The size profile continues to have a large percentage concentrated on 60s/20s and smaller. We are seeing Dominican shipments coming into the U.S. Chilean shipments to the U.S. are mainly for retail programs.
MATURE GREEN TOMATOES– Tomato volume is critically low due to a combination of transitioning growing areas and severe weather in multiple growing regions. Shortages, high prices and average quality are inevitable through December into early January. East Coast: Demand exceeds supply on all tomatoes. We will see the shortest supplies over the next few weeks with quality being just fair at best. Salvage harvesting continues in the Ruskin/Palmetto region which was hit hardest by Hurricane Ian. They will have very little supply and quality will be well below normal. With force majeure declarations still in place, we will likely see this type of market environment through the end of the year. We are seeing a shift in demand from rounds to the roma category which is now driving those prices higher. We are seeing demand exceeds supply conditions on all the snacking varieties (grape and cherry) due to the impacts of Hurricane Ian. Growers are declaring Force Majeure. We expect this type of market environment through the end of the year. Prices are expected to remain high until January once Mexico ramps up. West Coast: Demand exceeds supply on all tomatoes. Mainland Mexico and Baja have been impacted by several weather events over the past two months that have either damaged crops or have delayed them. Growers are also dealing with increased virus pressure on plantings that are older, which are more susceptible to disease. Growers are seeing large yield losses in several key growing regions. Between these conditions, a normal downturn in regional production and the strong market pressure from the east coast, we expect to volatile markets continue through the end of the year as we transition to Sinaloa in mainland Mexico mid to late December and from Central Baja to Southern Baja over the next 2-3 weeks. While supply is better on roma than the rounds; we are still facing much higher markets. We are seeing a shift in demand from rounds to the roma category which is now driving those prices higher. This is expected through December when we will see new crop volume out of Sonora and Sinaloa. With grape and cherry tomato, Baja should be the main supplier for the fall. Unfortunately, that crop was decimated by Hurricane Kay. We are seeing significant pro-rates and shorts. Growers are declaring Force Majeure. Expect volatile conditions through December.
STONE FRUIT- California: Nectarines, peaches and plums are done for the season. New crop California kiwi is in full swing. Pomegranates and persimmons continue to be available from the Central Valley of California. Italy: Black Angelino plums from Italy continue arriving on the east coast; expect them to continue into December. Chile Chilean cherries have started, arriving via air. Volume, by sea will start to arrive in December. There are also some light supplies of peaches with nectarines and apricots starting in December. Pricing is high, with good quality.
APPLES- Washington: The apple market remains tight this week as new crop volume is slow to build to a normal crop size. The projection has been adjusted down to around 100 million cases this year (from 106 million cases). This is compared to an average crop of around 125 to 130 million cases. This will make the third crop in a row that is considered below average. Expect product to remain tight through the Christmas holidays this year with higher prices than normal throughout. The harvest is now finished for all intents and purposes. There were freezing temperatures in the Pacific Northwest for much of last week, so most growers have called it quits at this point. Ontario/Quebec/Michigan/New York: The new crop is looking good as growers continue harvesting and packing all sizes and pack styles with Macintosh, Empire, Gold Delicious, Royal Gala, Spartan, Cortland, Red Delicious, Ambrosia and Fuji. Quality on all is very good. Now is the time to feature local apples! We have Ambrosia and Fuji now in stock, which are priced very sharp compared to Washington.
ITEMS NOW IN SEASON
POMEGRANATE / BLACK GRAPES / SWEET POTATO SQUASH / ONTARIO BARTLETT & BOSC PEARS / QUINCE / HOTHOUSE STRAWBERRIES / HAYCHIA & FUYU PERSIMMONS / FLORIDA JUICE ORANGE / FLAT BEANS / CHERRIES
ITEMS VERY SHORT
DRAGON FRUIT / STARFRUIT / FINGERLIMES / PEACH
ITEMS NO LONGER AVAILABLE
PUNTARELLE / TANGERINE / BLOOD ORANGES / RHUBARB / APRICOT / YELLOW PLUM / CURRANTS / ENGLISH PEA / NECTARINE / FAVA BEANS / PAULA RED APPLES / JERSEY MAC APPLE / CORONATION GRAPES / CARA CARA ORANGES / SHELLED PEAS / RED PLUMS