Canada's Market Update
April 5, 2022
- Source-based suppliers of value-added salad items follow the seasonal lettuce transition in the fall and spring
- Relocating their processing capabilities allows them to pack the freshest product possible and achieve optimum quality and shelf-life
- The process of disassembling, transporting, and reassembling equipment for full-scale production in less than three days is a huge undertaking
- By the week of April 18, all value-added suppliers will be shipping from Salinas, California
MARKET UPDATE FOR JUNE 27, 2022
MARKETS TO WATCH: AT A GLANCE
Peeled Garlic: Supplies from China continue to be tight. China is now shipping new crop. California market is tight as California new crop is about 3 weeks late.
Washington Apples: Some shippers are nearing the end of their gala storage supplies. Expect this market to rise only slightly as demand is moderate at best.
Avocados: Markets are increasing as the Mexico’s Negra crop winds down, as well as California. Flora Loca is right around the corner.
Red Peppers: There continues to be very limited supply this week, particularly, number one fruit as quality is quickly declining in the desert. California will have very limited supply of number one fruit through June.
Blueberries: A gap exists in the California season and the beginning of the Pacific Northwest growing season. Markets are short and demand exceeds supply particularly in the West where there are no buying options at this time.
Blackberries: Good quality and quantities are coming from California and Georgia. We expect the markets to remain flat.
Raspberries: There are steady supplies of West Coast product.
Brussels Sprouts: Brussels sprout supplies are starting to tighten again with the current heat wave. Shippers are seeing seeders, puffy heads and reporting insect damage due to the recent heat waves.
Peeled Baby Carrots: Production on baby carrot packs is still lagging behind demand.
Limes: Markets are steady. 110ct and larger are still very short. More rain hitting the Veracruz growing region through this week. Expect slightly higher prices into next week.
Oranges: Supplies on 113ct/138ct are slightly better. Valencia’s are now the primary variety. Gas times are around 24-48hrs; quality is strong.
Eggplant: Volume is still light on both coasts. Markets are steady. Good supply in the east with more local regions coming online soon. Western supply remains adequate but volume should improve by first week of July.
Mushrooms: Supplies chain issues continue to cause a shortage of supply that will go into the summer.
Iceberg Lettuce: Iceberg markets are rising. Foodservice demand started to increase last week and will continue to get stronger this week. High heat earlier this month, followed by another heatwave last week, are increasing insect pressure, INSV, and sun scalding, reducing yields throughout the industry.
Romaine Lettuce: Romaine and leaf markets are rising. Foodservice demand started to increase last week and will continue to get stronger this week. High heat earlier this month, followed by another heatwave this week, are increasing insect pressure, INSV, and sun scalding, reducing yields throughout the industry.
Cantaloupe: Cantaloupe supplies are limited as the spring desert season winds down. Cantaloupe prices are inching up as the Arizona / California desert season winds down over the next two weeks.
Honeydew: Honeydew supplies are limited as the spring desert season winds down. All shippers have a few but no big volume available.
Stone Fruit: California continues with apricots, peaches, nectarines and red and black plums. Cherries are now just starting from Washington.
Onions: The market has had a generally ‘tight’ feeling out of all areas this week. Between gaps between the early and late plantings in California, as well as heavy rain in New Mexico, supply experienced a big enough interruption that we should begin to see the market move up on yellow and white onions.
Pears: Washington pear supplies are starting to thin out. Prices are generally higher. New crop California Bartletts will start about July 11th.
Idaho Potatoes: Extremely limited production and available supplies of storage crop potatoes. Expect prices to increase until new crop Norkotahs become available in early August.
Tomatoes – New tomato regions across the country are experiencing early summer heat. Moderate demand is keeping markets steady.
GARLIC- The peeled garlic pipeline from China continues to remain unstable and pricing remains very high, although it is easing. The transition from old crop to new cop has happened. At least, the quality issues should be a thing of the past. Supplies continue to be very tight. Shipping costs remain very high and there are still delays every stop along the way. Until the logistics situation returns to normal, we can expect to have volatile supplies, potential quality issues and higher than normal pricing. California: California garlic continues to be light and growers are pro-rating and supplementing supplies with product from Argentina and Mexico. We expect this volatile market to continue until at least mid-late July.
ICEBERG- Iceberg markets are rising. Foodservice demand started to increase last week and will continue to get stronger this week. High heat earlier this month, followed by another heatwave last week, are increasing insect pressure, INSV, and sun scalding, reducing yields throughout the industry. The weather forecast calls for a return to average temperatures into this weekend. The warm temperatures has been the cause for defects like discoloration, misshapen heads and internal burn. Weights are averaging 39-43 pounds. Salinas Valley suppliers typically scale back overall plantings at this time of year when demand shifts to regional harvesting areas during the summer months (Canada, the Midwest, and the East Coast). Expect prices to continue inching up over the next 7-14 days. Quebec iceberg production has started allowing for an alternative to California.
ROMAINE / LEAF- Romaine and leaf markets are rising. Foodservice demand started to increase last week and will continue to get stronger this week. High heat earlier this month, followed by another heatwave this week, are increasing insect pressure, INSV, and sun scalding, reducing yields throughout the industry. Tip and fringe burn is being reported as common defects that are seen. Romaine hearts have lighter supplies as well. Expect lighter supplies to exist for all leaf items into July. Salinas Valley suppliers typically scale back overall plantings at this time of year when demand shifts to regional harvesting areas during the summer months (Canada, the Midwest, and the East Coast). Expect prices to continue inching up over the next 7-14 days. Quebec romaine production continues to increase with consistent quality, typical for Quebec. There is also some Ontario romaine and field grown boston lettuce this week.
WEST COAST: SPRING MIX/BABY SPINACH/BABY KALE- Good supplies continue with fair to good quality overall with texture and size within specification. Look for this market to stay steady.
EAST COAST: ARUGULA / WATERCRESS– Watercress and arugula is now being harvested out of Tennessee. Quality remains very good.
BROCCOLI- Broccoli supplies continue to be very good in Salinas and Santa Maria. Hot humid weather conditions and pest pressure in Mexico are negatively impacting yields in Mexico. As well, local deals are starting in Michigan, Ontario, Quebec, New Jersey and New York taking demand off the west coast. Quality is very good on both bunched and crowns.
ASPARAGUS– Demand is meeting supply and the market is recovering. Local product is still available. Michigan, Ontario and Quebec still have supply available. For the West Coast, both California and Mexican product have availability, mostly supplying only the demand for the West Coast. Mexican asparagus continues to transition from Southern Baja to Central Mexico supply. Central Mexico is off to a slow start due to rain. Peru is still facing cold weather, especially in the South (Ica) where production is very limited at the moment. Standard and large sizes have good availability with jumbo and extra-large very limited. No issues reported with quality in either market/region.
US CABBAGE- Cabbage will be in Georgia is just about finished. North Carolina will start this week and will go until sometime in August depending on the weather. New York starts mid-July and will go through October depending on the weather. Then we head back to Florida. Ontario and Quebec will start mid-July, depending on the weather.
CAULIFLOWER– Cauliflower supplies continue to be very good with the recent warm weather in Salinas and Santa Maria. Mexico is experiencing pest pressures due to the heat and humidity causing lower yields. Look for the cauliflower market to stay steady going into the weekend.
BEANS/PEAS- In California, we continue seeing light volume out of Fresno and the coast this week. South Georgia is about done, and we are transitioning to North Carolina this week. Supplies will improve as New Jersey will be starting in about a week, followed by Michigan and Ontario. In the east, overall quality has been good. We continue to see good supplies of flat pole beans and Ontario fava beans have started with light supplies of yellow wax beans as well. Ontario English peas also continue. Snipped: Value-added trimmed green bean supplies are light with steady pricing. Snipped quality is very good.
CELERY- This market is steady overall. The quality, although seeder is present is much better compared to past weeks. Production in Salinas continues to be moderate to light, but will be ramping up to full production this week. The best availability continues from Oxnard or Santa Maria. Large sizing, twenty-four counts in particular has the best availability. All sizing will be available to meet demand.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS- Brussels sprout supplies are starting to tighten again with the recent heat wave. Shippers are seeing seeders, puffy heads and reporting insect damage due to the recent heat waves. Look for this market to stay volatile for the next 4 weeks. Size is dominated by small and medium sprouts. Jumbo-size stocks are increasing. The Salinas season will start in mid-July, increasing overall supplies.
FIELD PEPPERS- Green Pepper: As predicted, the heat in Georgia is starting to have an impact on peppers. We are noticing a higher amount of suntans and off-grades as well as heat related quality issues along with reduced shelf life. Georgia probably has another week to harvest and will then likely call it quits. Growers have started crown picks out of North Carolina; sizing mainly Jumbo. New Jersey is scheduled to start mid- July. A number of local deals will also begin over the next several weeks. Out west volume has improved out of Bakersfield, but weather will keep prices firm. Red Pepper: There continues to be very limited supply this week, particularly, number one fruit as quality is quickly declining in the desert. California will have very limited supply of number one fruit through June. Canada greenhouse volume is not able to cover the volume and prices there are very high too. Expect limited supplies and elevated prices into July until the California crop transitions north to Bakersfield late June/early July.
HOTHOUSE PEPPERS- Canadian production is expected to get better after being tight these last couple of weeks, especially on red. Quality is good overall. Into late July, Canadian production is expected to continue being strong with good quality. Pepper production is expected to be mostly Canadian.
ASSORTED CHILI PEPPERS- Volume has transitioned to South Georgia on all varieties and volume will ramp up this week. Cubanelles and jalapenos are the best value while long hots, poblano and Hungarian wax continue to ramp up. In McAllen and Nogales, prices remain firm this week but much improved availability on Anaheim, jalapeno, serrano, and poblano. Jalapenos and tomatillos are firm but should improve as volume ramps up out of Baja. Fresno peppers are very, very tight and priced very high.
MUSHROOMS- Quality is good, although supplies of white buttons continue to be extremely 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 well into the summer.
CARTON BAKING POTATOES- Canada had 34% more potatoes from the 2021 crop in storage on June 1 than year earlier stocks. This year’s June 1 inventory is the second largest (behind 2018) since 2007. Most of the increase is in PEI, New Brunswick, and Quebec. The largest percentage increase came in table potatoes, which rose by 94.5%. Potatoes intended for processing and seed inventories in-creased by 20.9% and 87.7%, respectively. Prince Edward Island: Island growers held 79% more potatoes in storage on June 1 than the same time last year. This year’s stocks are the largest on record for the month. Intended use data show that this year’s stocks increase is split between processing and table potato supplies. May disappearance exceeded the 2021 pace by 13.0%. It is the strongest May disappearance that PEI has reported since 2017. The Island had a record amount of processing potatoes left in storage on June 1. That is a 58.3% increase over last year’s volume. May processing disappearance was more than May 2021 usage. At the current usage rate, the remaining processing inventory would last through October 3. An Alberta processor had been importing potatoes from PEI, but the last shipments went out in April. PEI growers are looking for markets for the remaining processing potatoes. Reports indicate that some potatoes have been shipped to Maine for dehydration processing. Table potato usage was up from 2021 movement. It is the strongest May table potato movement since at least 2011. That left significantly more table potatoes in storage on June 1 than year-earlier stocks. Even if the strong May usage rate continues, those potatoes would not be cleaned up until August 11. Though US markets have reopened, shippers still have a record volume of table potatoes to move. USA: The potato market continues to further tighten on all sizes and grades. Old crop storage supplies are running very low. The tightest range of size appears to be on 60/70/80 count potatoes; however, everything is becoming limited. We are approaching a point where price is becoming secondary to simply having supply at all. There is no question we will continue to see the market move up on all potatoes out of all regions until harvest is in full effect in Fall. Production has been severely cut back due to the heat that affected this past summer’s Burbank crop. This was always anticipated; however, it is a lot worse than anybody imagined. While Idaho has not had a true shipping gap between old crop and new crop in about ten years, many believe there may be one this season. If that does take place, the industry may have no choice but to supplement their needs during July/August with other growing regions. The big news at the moment is the challenges that the Pacific Northwest is experiencing with next season’s Fall crop. Not only was acreage already believed to be significantly down, but water concerns, fuel, and a significant increase in overhead have growers pretty cautious. We generally begin to see contract RFPs come out around this time for next season’s crop. This particular year, growers are very apprehensive to put anything out that does not come with an increase and/or some type of escalation clause or language. There also continues to be strong new crop availability with the bulk of the crop coming from Florida or California. The earlier skinning issues in some of the red crops are virtually all gone now so quality is looking excellent across the board.
EGGPLANT- Markets steady. Volume is still light on both coasts. There is good supply in the east with more local regions getting ready to come online soon. Georgia and North Carolina continue to ship. Western supply out off the Central Valley remains adequate but volume should improve by first week of July. Fresno and Baja are the next region will get going by middle/end of July.
CORN- Georgia, California, and Texas all have good supplies as we move into the Canada Day and US Independence Day summer holiday pulls. The market may move up in price as the heat brings on the corn. Quality is excellent!
GREEN ONIONS– No change. Moderate supplies with a steady market is expected over the coming week as supplies are good and meeting demand. Quality and condition of the onions is very nice. Look for this market to remain steady.
ZUCCHINI- East coast volume has dipped a bit due to hot weather causing prices to firm up, more so on yellow zucchini. North Carolina growers are starting with peppers, so harvesting for zucchini is a second thought because of the depressed markets. Demand has shifted out west to Santa Maria and Baja also causing prices to rise. This is expected to be short lived as several local deals are starting into some volume in the east.
ONIONS- The market has had a generally ‘tight’ feeling out of all areas this week. Between gaps between the early and late plantings in California, as well as heavy rain in New Mexico, supply experienced a big enough interruption that we should begin to see the market move up on yellow and white onions. There remains straight load deals on red onions out of California and New Mexico. This is likely a situation we will see continue up until the end of this week. Growers are having to push back ship dates on loads and will need to get caught up before they can take new orders. The shipping delays caused by the 4th of July closures are not likely to help that take place. Even after the holiday is past, we are not likely to see growers become long on product. Between a decrease in acreage, decrease in production, and the majority of volume being committed to contract business, there is not a lot of open market product available. While size profiles have been healthy out of both regions thus far, the later fields are expected to be much smaller. If this is the case, we may see medium pricing pressured down, and jumbos and larger increase faster. The less than optimal growing conditions on this next Fall crop in the Northwest will push the crop back by several weeks. This is giving New Mexico and California growers confidence to hold pricing as there is no immediate influx of new supply expected to enter the market. The concerns for yield and size in the Northwest crop continue to loom as purchasers begin to seek out new contracts. While there is plenty of time until the crop will be harvested, growers are apprehensive to commit their crop any further at this time.
KALE- Steady supplies continue to keep this market steady on green, red and black kale. Look for this market to remain steady. Product is still available from multiple shipping points; California, New Jersey, Georgia, Ontario, Quebec and Michigan. This is driving the overall market lower.
CUCUMBERS– Field: Market is active as both Georgia and North Carolina are dropping their volume. The next growing regions, which include New Jersey, Ontario and Quebec will not have any volume until later this week. English Cucumber: Canadian production remains strong with good availability and excellent quality. Into July, demand levels are expected to remain high with ample supplies. Expect good quality to continue as the Canadian crop will be in full swing. Mini Cucumbers: Canadian production continues to be strong with excellent quality overall. Expect market to be at its peak, with good quality. Into July, expect Canadian mini cucumber market to come down a bit as we see extra availability. Quality expected to be excellent. Great time to promote.
TABLE POTATOES– Canada had 94% more table potatoes in storage on June 1 than the year-earlier inventory. May table potato disappearance climbed 18.1% above the 2021 movement. PEI’s shipments have picked up since exports to the US have resumed. Supplies in the other provinces should clean up on schedule. Ontario: Growers had 33% more potatoes left in storage on June 1 than they held a year earlier. Most of the increase came in the processing potato category. The province had a record amount of chip potatoes left in storage on June 1, much more than year earlier inventories. Chip potato disappearance exceeded the 2021 pace by a record amount. At the May usage rate, the province’s chip potato stocks would last through July 19. May table potato disappearance increased and was the strongest May usage on record for the province. It left Ontario with more table potatoes in storage on June 1 than it held on June 1, 2021. At the May usage rate, Ontario’s table potatoes will be cleaned up by June 21. Alberta: Alberta’s June 1 potato stocks fell 1.1% short of June 1, 2021 stocks. May potato disappearance was a 7.4% decline relative to last year. Alberta’s May processing potato disappearance fell short of year-earlier movement. Intended use data show that the processing sector had less in storage than the year-earlier inventory. At the May usage rate, Alberta’s remaining processing potatoes would be cleaned up by July 9. In May the province had fewer seed potatoes left in storage; short of year-earlier movement. Alberta growers finished planting processing potatoes nearly a month ago. They are expected to finish planting seed potatoes this week. Cool weather has set back crop development by about two weeks. Processors may schedule plant maintenance earlier than usual, due to slow crop development. Manitoba: June 1 potato stocks fell short of the year-earlier inventory, a 26.4% decline. Manitoba’s May processing potato disappearance climbed and is ahead of the 2021 pace. That left 29% fewer processing potatoes in storage on June 1, which is less than the province held a year earlier. If the May usage pace continues for the remainder of the season, those stocks would last through July 24. The province’s May table potato disappearance fell short of year-earlier movement. June 1 table potato stocks were down from the June 2021 inventory. At the May usage pace, Manitoba’s table potatoes remaining in storage would last until July 28. In June, the province exceeded the year-earlier seed potato usage by 17.4%. Heavy rainfall has delayed planting throughout Manitoba. Some areas received 2.5-3.0 inches of additional rain last week. Panting and development of the province’s processing potato crop has been set back by three weeks in some areas. Though it is still early in the growing season, that could reduce yields for processing potatoes. Quebec: June 1 Quebec potato stocks were nearly double the year-earlier inventory. June stocks are by far the largest on record for the month. Intended use data show that the extra potatoes are split between processing supplies and table potatoes. Despite a 26.2% drop in processing disappearance, Quebec’s total May disappearance increased by 13.7%. The province’s May processing potato disappearance fell short of last year’s pace. That left a record amount of processing potatoes in storage on June 1, compared to year earlier. At the slower May usage rate, the remaining processing inventory would last through September. Processors are planning to use potatoes from the 2021 crop much longer than usual this year. As a result, they have cut back on 2022 contract volumes. We do not have the necessary data yet to make the split between french fry and chip potato inventories. The province’s June 1 table potato stocks exceeded the year-earlier inventory by 81.1% and movement exceeded the May 2021 pace. At the May usage rate, Quebec’s table potato stocks would be cleaned up by August 2. Packing rates have been below normal, due to warm weather during the 2021-crop harvest. Quebec also had a record amount of seed potatoes left in storage on June 1. That exceeded year-earlier holdings. Growers in the northern part of the province were able to plant on schedule; however, heavy rainfall has delayed planting in areas south of Montreal. Reports indicate that parts of some fields have been flooded and may need to be replanted. Overall, crop development is about a week behind schedule. British Columbia: With very few potatoes left in storage on June 1, British Columbia’s storage potato season is nearly finished. Stocks are down 77.5% from last year even though May disappearance was down 1.2%. June 1 stocks include table potatoes and seed in storage. May disappearance was down from a year earlier. Growers in British Columbia usually finish planting by May 20. Early potatoes, which are planted in sandy soil are on schedule. However, heavy rainfall has delayed planting in clay soils. Only about half of those potatoes are in the ground. Reports indicate that the early potato crop is in excellent condition, though growers are worried about yields for the later potato crop.
SEEDLESS WATERMELON- Supplies are good on seedless, while minis are a bit tight. North Florida and Georgia are going with great volume. Their quality has been very good. North Carolina and Missouri will start in mid-July. In the West, Northern Mexico is finishing while Yuma and Phoenix, Arizona are going with good supplies. Supplies are just getting started in Southern California as well. Patterson, California will start around July 5th. Quality has been very good out West as well. It is a great time to promote watermelons.
MANGO- Unfortunately, we will continue to see record low volume of mangos over the next few weeks with growers beginning to harvest prematurely. This is to attempt to satisfy high demand that will increase the gap in larger-size fruit. Nayarit and Sinaloa would normally be shipping strong, but they are just barely getting started with red mangos due to the fruit not being mature enough to pick. Flowering started late, but the weather has been cooler with temperatures causing the maturing of the fruit on the tree to simply stall and delay. The Nayarit red mango crop volume which is mostly Tommy variety is lower than last year and so delayed that it will basically not be ahead of Sinaloa’s Kents. The market is at an all-time high with retailers paying, just to have mangos available for consumers.
PAPAYA- The growing region of Colima continues to experience warmer mornings in the high 70s and warm days in the mid-high 80s with some rain. The warmer weather that we expect this week will help the crop to have better volume, so harvesting is expected to also increase at the growing region. That means that there will more volume available into July. We will see more large sizes (7/8/9s) on upcoming fruit. There will be some rain this week and next but reports from the field are saying that the rain should not have a big effect on volume or quality of the fruit. Historically, we see overall supply for papaya limited at the beginning of the year due to weather conditions at the growing region. This year, supplies are expected to increase with load availability in the market both in Texas and Tijuana. There will be plenty of papaya volume during the summer months.
STRAWBERRIES- Strawberry supplies are ample; demand is steady. Expect volume to decline in early July as the Salinas/Watsonville season will be past peak production. California fruit is generally fair quality, and size and may be subject to occasional bruising, overripe, misshapen, white tips and shoulders, and occasional wind damage. Salinas/Watsonville: Volume is anticipated to climb as favorable weather is forecast, however, extended high temperatures could affect overall fruit quality. Demand remains steady; no changes are expected over the next two weeks. The season is at its peak; volume will decline through July, causing markets to rise. Santa Maria: Fields are entering the back half of the season. Some Santa Maria growers are starting to transition acreage to freezers. Recent warm weather has increased stocks. Fruit size is medium (18-20 per 1-pound clamshell). Quality is good. Some green shoulders have been reported. Oxnard: Supplies are extremely limited; most growers are finished harvesting for the season. Remaining quality is fair at best. Ontario: Hothouse supplies continue to be strong as overall demand has eased due to field grown berries starting. Quality is very good, with full color and decent sizing. Field grown strawberries are in their PEAK! Now is the time to be using Ontario strawberries. Pricing on hothouse is still higher than field grown berries. Field supplies are expected to improve into June and peak in early July.
BLUEBERRIES– California blueberry crops have come to an abrupt end to the season. With multiple days of 100-degree temperatures, reduced picking schedules due to OSHA’s temperature restrictions on labor, and subsequent quality issues such as soft, wrinkled, split, and bursting berries, growers are ending their fresh operations much earlier than anticipated. We are at the end of the North Carolina season on the east coast. Michigan is also running slightly behind schedule due to weather but should get started around the first or second week of July. New Jersey is off to a slow start to their season this week. The Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Washington) and British Columbia are delayed due to cold, wet weather earlier in the season. Additionally, bees were not flying due to cold, wet weather, so pollination was delayed as well. We do not expect this to have a lasting impact on the crop once it gets started, but we expect all regions to be 2-3 weeks behind schedule getting started this season. With California finishing up this week and the Pacific Northwest not starting for at least 2-3 weeks, we will be experiencing a short but significant gap in fresh blueberry supply.
RASPBERRIES / BLACKBERRIES– Raspberries: Puebla, Mexico will start harvests in about two weeks. Baja will continue its seasonal downtrend until mid-July and should begin another uptrend. California's growing regions will continue their uptrends for the next few weeks. We should see the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia begin their season in July with minimal volumes. Blackberries: There is still good availability in Mexico on blackberries. Georgia and California blackberries are coming into good supply as well and some Guatemalan blackberries are hitting the Florida ports. So we can expect ample supplies for the coming weeks. We should see the Pacific Northwest and British Columbia begin their season in July with minimal volumes.
GOLD PINEAPPLES– Costa Rica: Weather in Costa Rica is reported as mostly cloudy due to the low-pressure system which continues to gain cyclonic potential over Central America. This week, there will be typical conditions of the rainy season. Quality of the fruit is reported as good with water spotting present on large-count fruit. Yields remain high with natural fruit still present, but this extra volume will start coming down resulting in very tight supply into July. The USDA pineapple crossing report for last week is showing inbound volume at its highest level year to date at just above 1,500 loads crossing. This is the highest volume reported so far in 2022. The USDA is reporting demand as moderate and market about steady. Mexico: Scattered thunderstorms are forecast for the mornings, becoming more widespread overnight. Highs are expected near 85 degrees Fahrenheit and lows of 76 degrees Fahrenheit. Last week, harvesting was made extremely difficult due to the heavy rains affecting the growing regions. Quality is reported as good with good internal condition and high brix. The regular Mexican season is over.
GRAPES- We are exactly in the middle of the Mexican table grape season and overall quality and pricing is all over the board. Marketers have been desperately trying to find the floor for small fruit, creating a true split market between premium quality and weaker lots of all colors that just need to be moved quickly. The industry has already crossed over 13 million boxes, and the estimates for what remains continues to be downsized each week. With the entire month of July left to move the remaining crop, marketers are hopeful that they hold onto higher pricing for their best fruit through the balance of the season. With heavy volumes crossing from Mexico, and California volumes right around the corner, the table grape industry is wondering when things will start to improve. Now it the time to use grapes.
GRAPEFRUIT- Grapefruit will be shipping out of the district 1 region (Bakersfield/Exeter, California). Grapefruit is expected to be tight all season (April through June) in California in the district 1 region with demand exceeding supplies. Quality on district 1 fruit is excellent with a 90% fancy and a 10% choice spilt. The brix range is 12 to 14. Interiors are seeing a vibrant bright pink/red with the exteriors seeing that touch of blush. Grapefruit out of Michoacán, Mexico has started in a small way which should provide some relief to the California market. Peak supplies are expected to begin in July. Offshore: There continues to be some grapefruit from Israel and South Africa. The first arrivals of volume South African grapefruit will be tentatively July 1st. South African fruit comes in a 15-kilogram box (roughly 33 pounds). However, port delays continue to cause sporadic availability.
ORANGES- California Valencia: Fruit will be from the district 1 region (Fresno/Delano/Terra Bella/Bakersfield) of California. There are no callouts on variety for Valencia oranges as Valencia is the variety. Valencia oranges will be an option as Moroccan and Spanish navels will be done in about a month. Import navels from Chile and South Africa won't begin until mid-July. California Valencia oranges will be around until the end of September. Typically, the Valencia season carries until new crop navels begin, but this will be a challenge this year. This challenge was created due to Valencia oranges shipping earlier to counteract the early end of the navel season. Quality of the Valencia’s is excellent with brix at an average of 12. The outer appearance is good and clean, but we will see a rougher, more pebbled skin on a Valencia compared to the smooth skin on a navel. Peak sizing is 113/88/138, in that order. One callout is that the crop is down slightly from last year from the early crop estimates. Market will stay firm due to the high navel market. Offshore: Imported Navels will continue through the California Valencia season. Arrivals from Argentina continue to arrive. We will then see imports from Chile and South Africa start to arrive anytime. They will last until California Navels start late October. Delays on arrival and finding shipping containers continue to pose supply issues. Overall quality is very good and priced much lower than California fruit.
CANTALOUPE- Cantaloupe supplies are limited as the spring desert season winds down. Cantaloupe prices are inching up as the Arizona / California desert season winds down over the next two weeks. We are keeping our eye on the gap between the desert and Central California as the desert may finish early and Central California is looking to be slightly late. Size is peaking on 9ct with 15-count sizes extremely limited. 12-count are also beginning to tighten up. California’s San Joaquin Valley cantaloupe season will kick off the week of July 11; expect a better range of sizing and markets to ease at that time.
HONEYDEW- Honeydew supplies are limited as the spring desert season winds down. All shippers have a few but no big volume available. Quality and sugar have been good. Some typical wind scarring is present but very minimal. Sizing remains a good mix between 5/6 counts, with the newest region, Blythe, heavy to 5/Jumbo 5 counts. Honeydew markets are fairly steady on all sizes at this time. Markets are poised to rise over the next two weeks. The San Joaquin Valley season will start the week of July 11.
LEMONS– California: Fruit will be from the district 2 region (Filmore/Oxnard/Santa Paula). District 2 fruit began harvest in early May and will go through July. Peak sizing is 140/115/165 counts, in that order, with 60% fancy and 40% choice. Due to growing conditions in this region, choice grade fruit will dominate the marketplace; Fancy grade prices will increase. Seedless lemon season will run through early-June. Gap is expected between growing seasons. Harvesting will end early-June and new crop production will start in early-November. District 1 fruit tends to be a lot cleaner in outer appearance when compared to the district 2 fruit. The reason for this is that the district 2 fruit is grown in the coastal region which can be impacted by winds. These winds ultimately scar the fruit, which will end up yielding more choice fruit. District 1 fruit is still around out of California, but quality is extremely suspect. Offshore: Imported lemons out of Argentina arrived into California last week. Arrivals of South African lemons also continue. Larger sizes will dominate the crop to start the season. The market opened on the firmer side to start as a lot of the early fruit was sent to Europe because they currently have a stronger market than North America. This is due to the increased volume of lemons out of California this year. We expect the market to come down over the next two weeks as more arrivals are expected, and the European market will slowly decline as more of their domestic lemons will become available. Delays on arrival and finding shipping containers at source continue to pose supply issues. Overall quality is very good and priced much lower than California fruit.
CLEMENTINES- There are mandarins out of Peru, Israel and Uruguay but, now South Africa and Chilean fruit has begun to arrive. Peru, Uruguay, Israel, South Africa, and Chile fruit will all be going at the same time in June and July. The only callout difference will be what varietal we will see at different times. Currently, the best available is the product out of Israel, South Africa then Peru/Uruguay. There are Peruvian Primisoles around, but the overall quality is poor. Primisoles overall are good in terms of firmness and shelf life; however, the fruit generally eats very poorly and is a yellowish orange color. The Primisoles do not peel very well and are undesirable by consumers. One callout is arrivals out of Chile have been even slower than expected with transit times and lack of supply both affecting the amount of fruit we expect to receive over the next couple of weeks. Chile shipments as of last week were down 62% year-over-year, with close to 60% of what's been shipped being sizes 36s and 40s. Expect the market to stay firm/high in the month of June, with July supplies expected to alleviate this issue once peak season begins.
LIMES- There will be more rain hitting the Veracruz growing region through the week. Although prices have been holding fairly steady so far, prices are expected to firm up a bit the end of this week. Currently, the crop continues peaking on 230/200/175s. Demand for limes has been moderate. Quality issues being reported include oil spots, blanching, scarring, and skin breakdown. Looking ahead, there is low availability on large limes, and this will continue.
PEARS- There are Bartlett, Bosc, Packham, Anjou, Forelle, Asian and Cactus pears available. Washington/Oregon: There are still green D’Anjou shipping out of Washington State and Oregon currently. Anjou pricing is reasonable for this time of year but expect pricing to start to rise again soon as supplies come down and smaller growers start to finish for the season. Offshore: Import Bartlett and Bosc pears are arriving and we are now starting to see import Packham start arrive in small quantities. The ocean container freight costs are much higher this year, so we are expecting higher prices on this imported fruit. With that said, availability and pricing are fairly normal for this time of year and the fruit quality looks good. California: Expect to see new crop Bartlett pears start up out of California this year around the middle of July.
STONE FRUIT- Peaches, black and red plums, nectarines and apricots are all going now. A dip in the supply of east coast peaches caused California peaches to go up in price this week. Increasing volumes from in the Central Valley over the next two weeks should keep a lid on this market. Nectarines are steady with nice quality. Plums will remain light all season due to a light crop set. Increasing volumes from in the Central Valley over the next two weeks should keep a lid on this market. Nectarines are steady with nice quality. Plums will remain light all season due to a light crop set. Cherries: Cherries out of California’s Central Valley are finished. Washington cherries have started in light supply and are priced quite high for the first of the season. Washington fruit will ship through August. British Columbia will have cherries available in July through September.
BANANAS- We are seeing upward pressure on pricing due to inflationary pressures. Components such as corrugate, resin, fungicide, labor and shipping costs continue to rise to record levels. In addition to this, we expect to see lighter volume out of Central America as a result of some growing issues related to Hurricane Agatha as well as a spike in demand from Europe and Russia. In addition, we are also seeing impacts by a tropical storm that has brought heavy rain to Guatemala. We are seeing some supply disruptions in getting fruit to the ports for shipment. At this time, we do not anticipate any shortages. We continue to assess the situation daily with our suppliers to ensure consistency in the supply chain.
HOTHOUSE TOMATO- Red Tomato On-The-Vine: Volume continues to wind down on crops grown under lights in preparation for replanting for September. Traditional Canadian production will continue to see an increase in supply. Quality is expected to be strong and will fill any potential gap. We continue to expect higher markets and strong demand overall in the tomato market, as growers continue to face pressure with the Rugose Virus. Beefsteak: Volume is expected to be steady with the traditional Canadian crops, with strong quality. Into July, the crops grown under lights will finish as growers prepare for replanting for harvest in September. Canadian production in expected to remain strong. Quality will also continue to be good. We continue to expect higher markets and strong demand overall in the tomato market, as growers continue to face pressure with the Rugose Virus. Bite Size (Cherry, Grape, Cocktail, Medley): Flavor and quality continues to be strong from Canada and Mexico. Supply from Canadian crops is expected to be good, with consistent availability. There is ample supply of Grape, Cherry and Medley Tomatoes, seeing increased availability. Into July, production levels expected to be stable, with overall quality and flavor expected to be good. We expect to see good picks on grape tomatoes throughout the summer.
AVOCADO- Mexico and California avocado volumes have dropped to very low levels and available inventory is in the hands of very few. Total industry arrivals to the U.S. were reported at 40.2 million pounds for last week. Pricing has also increased significantly during the past week on most sizes. Mexico's Flora Loca crop is expected to start soon, but volumes are expected to be limited at the start of the season and supplies are expected to be very limited on #2 product. Peruvian avocados are in good supply and are a great option to fill in the void during this time. Mexico- Michoacán reported a 15.4-million-pound harvest last week, with 14.1 million pounds shipped to the U.S. As the Negra crop dwindles, the Loca crop has had a limited release for this week, and the industry is expecting a slight increase in harvest. Initial industry projections for the Loca crop report a volume increase of 20-38% compared to the prior year’s Loca crop. California- California picking remained steady last week with 11.4 million pounds harvested. The industry expects similar fruit availability for the next couple of weeks. Fruit quality remains excellent with very little grade #2 fruit. Many California growers are expected to finish up their harvest in early July with a significant decline in availability throughout August. Colombia- Volume remains strong and is expected to be available for the next 6-8 weeks. Due to vessel complications during week 24’s departure, a two week supply is expected to arrive at the same time. The size curve is leaning on the smaller side, peaking on 60s/20s and 70s/22s, followed by 84s/28s. Peru- Volumes are being packed in large quantities for all markets, as last week’s departure is expected to be the biggest of the season. This packing week coincides with U.S. arrivals during the week of the 4th of July. The size curve is leaning toward larger fruit, trending on 32s/10s and 36s/12s, and dry matter continues to increase as the season progresses. Along with Colombia, vessel delays continue to be a problem for the industry. Market Outlook- The industry continues to see a two-tier market with Peruvian and Colombian fruit sold into programs. In contrast, California and Mexico continue to receive a premium due to lower industry inventories. With the start of the Loca crop in Mexico, an increase in volume is expected; however, inventory is expected to remain tight in the coming weeks until more of the crop is released for harvest.
MATURE GREEN TOMATOES– New tomato regions across the country are experiencing early summer heat. Moderate demand is keeping markets steady. East Coast: East-coast production out of Georgia (Quincy) and South Carolina are in full swing. Markets have eased with moderate demand and the good production. Rounds are in good supply, while, romas and grape tomato supplies are lighter. Quality has been good even with the recent hot temperatures. Their season there will last for about 3-4 weeks. More regions will start to open up by the first week of July, Tennessee, North Carolina and Virginia. Arkansas has also started with some light supplies of vine ripe rounds. West Coast: Mexico: There are round, roma, cherry and grape tomato coming out Baja and Eastern Mexico crossing thru South Texas and Otay Mesa, California with good volume and steady supplies. Round and roma sizing is skewed to the larger end of the spectrum. Quality has improved considerably as we continue the transition to spring crops begin out of Baja, Sonora, and Jalisco. We should see volume and quality continue to improve. Fruit from Eastern Mexico (crossing in McAllen, Texas) is filling any order gaps. Prices are expected to remain steady over the next two weeks. California: California’s San Joaquin Valley growers are experiencing high temperatures (103F+) as new crop round and roma tomato production starts up. Less overall acreage was planted due to water restrictions; however, supply should meet overall summer demand. Large sizes are abundant. Expect to see higher prices than normal later this season due to the reduction in acreage.
APPLES- Washington: Sufficient storage supplies of Washington Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Fuji, and Red Delicious Apples remain available while supplies of Royal Gala’s is low as the season winds down. California Royal Gala apples will come available in mid-July, which will help bridge the gap between the Washington seasons. There are also offshore supplies available. The apple market will remain steady this week with prices fairly stable on most items. Expect the prices to start to tick up now as inventory levels drop for these storage items. The overall crop was down this year with the total crop estimated to be around 118 million cases. This will make the second crop in a row that is smaller than normal and looks to be at least 3 million cases shorter than the crop last season. Most growers feel that the crop was hurt by the extreme heat and weather conditions that we experienced during the summer months. The quality of the fruit has been good so far, but we will need to see how the fruit holds up in storage. Pricing overall is running higher due to the shorter crop and overall inflation in the growing chain including labor, picking, packing, and transporting of apples. This is shaping up to be a challenging year. Ontario/Quebec/Michigan/New York: Grower/packers who have been packing out of controlled atmosphere storage rooms are essentially done. Most grower/shippers will be done over the next 7-10 days. Most varieties are finished for the season. Quality on what is left is outstanding with steady pricing. Quebec will run a little longer.
ITEMS NOW IN SEASON
OFFSHORE POMEGRANATE / BLACK GRAPES / ONTARIO STRAWBERRIES / RHUBARB / ENGLISH PEA / APRICOT / CHERRY / BC FIDDLEHEADS / PEACH / NECTARINE / FLAT(POLE) BEANS / PLUM / FAVA BEANS / GARLIC SCAPE
ITEMS VERY SHORT
DRAGON FRUIT / STARFRUIT / FINGERLIMES / BLOOD ORANGES / CLEMENTINES / BUSHEL BASIL
ITEMS NO LONGER AVAILABLE
PUNTARELLE / PICKLING DILL / PRUNE PLUMS / FUYU and HACHIYA PERSIMMONS / TANGERINE / CARA CARA ORANGES / RAMPS (WILD LEEKS) / FLORIDA JUICE ORANGE