Conventional Items
The rollercoaster ride continues with supplies fluctuating as a result of recent and continuing heat events along the coast. Tip burn, insect pressure and yield reducing disease (see image) are widespread throughout the valley leading to variations in Quality and uncertainty of supplies. Transition to production areas in California’s Central Valley will begin next week before settling in the Southern deserts of California and Arizona should help with anticipated improved quality . Although demand remains moderate , markets started strong this week with processors purchasing acreage to shore up their supplies. Volatility is expected to continue through transition into early November. Las Cruces, New Mexico has begun harvest this week with very nice quality. Ask your Produce West rep for updates on transportation as well.
Leaf Lettuce
Romaine  Similar issues to iceberg are impacting Romaine although Demand for Carton and Heart Romaine continues to exceed existing supplies. Additionally Romaine does not transition to the Central Valley but instead jumps directly to the Desert which is not supposed to start until mid November . This will keep supplies limited as most growers battle quality issues as a result of hot temperatures. Fringe and tip burn, increased high core, twist and insect pressure are causing discoloration, disease and rib decay.  Most of the defects have been able to be trimmed in the field but many are showing up on arrival although the biggest impact has been reduced yields. Expect quality issues and escalated prices to continue well into November.
Red leaf, Green leaf and Boston  plantings were negatively impacted by the heat and have shown signs of tip burn and wilt. Prices have escalated , especially Green leaf as Eastern production areas come to a close in coming weeks.
Currently there is good availability out of both Santa Maria and Salinas. Prices are slightly lower out of Santa Maria.  Everything looks pretty good with nice green color and good weights coming out of both growing regions. We expect markets to remain at current trading levels for next week.
Production of the thornless varieties has been hampered by successive high temperature events resulting in reduced quality. . We should see improved sizing and availability as the weather starts to cool including a limited amount of the Heirloom and Original varieties .
Prices have subsided and there is good availability out of both California as well as Mexico product crossing in the Texas Valley. A few shippers are still having minor issues with pin rot but overall most products have cleaned up and look good. We estimate to start our Shui Ling broccoli crown program shipping out of Central Mexico loading in Pharr, TX around October 26.
The market has seemed to have topped out. The warm weather we are currently experiencing in the Santa Maria and Salinas Valley is pushing growth along at a little faster pace than normal for this time of year. There will be decent availability as we finish out the week. There is word on the street that we will see lighter volume next week. As typical for this time of year as we come to a close in Salinas we will most likely experience a roller coaster type of model with pricing until mid November when the Desert regions start packing.
Brussels Sprouts
Coastal California supplies continue to improve with a mix of quality and sizing as pricing remains competitive. Supplies are expected to improve as well as demand as we enter the Fall season. An Increase in insect pressure may lead to quality issues but currently quality is mostly good.
Green Onions
Mexico growers will begin their Fall crop with quality and yields expected to improve by the end of the month. Pricing remains mostly steady at slightly elevated rates.
Strawberries are limited, especially on organics. As Northern California winds down, Oxnard and Central Mexico are beginning light volumes. Santa Maria, California is forecast for sunny skies for most of the week, becoming mostly sunny on Sunday. Highs are forecast in the 90s Wednesday through Friday, decreasing to the 80s on Saturday and 70s on Sunday, and lows in the 50s. Salinas/Watsonville, California is forecast for sunny skies, becoming mostly sunny on Sunday. Highs are forecast in the 80s, decreasing to the 70s on Sunday, and lows in the 50s. Santa Maria, California fruit has some greener fruit with occasional bruising, white shoulders, soft shoulders, heat damage, decay under the calyx, pin rot and misshapen. Average counts are 24 to 26, occasionally higher and lower.
Production is coming on in Central Mexico! Steady volumes in Baja.
Imports continue to arrive with good volume on the East Coast. Mexico is starting to pick up in volumes as well; expect good supply across all regions by late October through November.
Mexican production on both organic and conventional is ramping up with very good quality!
Stone Fruit
Late season plums are still in good supply and will continue into December. Black plum production is steady but demand is increasing daily. Sizes are peaking on 40 and 50 ct fruit. We expect slightly stronger markets next week. Good production on red plums should continue through late November. Overall quality is nice on red and black plums. Get orders in early as demand picks up.
The central valley of California volumes continue to be plentiful on red green and black varieties. We expect a few more weeks of good supply; followed by production gaps starting in mid November. Storage fruit will carry supplies from that point on. Red grape quality is very solid with good sugars. The main red varieties include Scarlet royal and Magenta. Green varieties are also very nice. Green varieties are mainly Ivory and Stella Bella. There are still some black varieties available, although volumes are becoming limited as the season comes to a close.
Oranges – Strong demand continues on valencia oranges out of California. Small sizes remain a challenge, with more large sizes available. Import 88ct oranges are available on the east coast at competitive pricing. Quality on valencias is starting to show some issues, as late season harvest numbers decline in California. Navels are expected to start towards the end of the month, which should help alleviate supplies and settle markets.
Lemons – Heavy supplies continue this week. Product is coming out of California, Mexico and Chile. As stated in previous weeks, the lack of foodservice demand is substantially impacting the lemon market, with little relief until overall dining and school regulations are lifted nationwide. Quality is very nice with very few problems to report.
Limes – Plenty of small sized fruit available this week. Quality is very nice on small fruit. Larger sizing is showing more quality issues, as there are fewer to pick from. Overall we are still seeing good volumes crossing into Texas, though tighter supplies are expected in the coming weeks as holidays approach.
Dry Onions
Demand on onions is just steady…with small onions still in good demand and jumbo yellows rolling along with, what is now the new normal low interest demand. Everyday, however, at least in California, there are more and more restaurants being allowed to receive more diners, let’s hope this virus will be
brought under control soon. Wear your Mask!
Help is on the way. Growers in Mexico, that would normally cut their fern in
November, are cutting it this week with the hopes of product ready to ship in a
few weeks. Obregon will start Monday with fern removal. With that knowledge,
we should see supply increase from Mexico with lower pricing to follow.
Organic Items
OG Broccoli & Cauliflower
Cauliflower and Broccoli   . More seasonal weather has allowed quality to improve although another round of high temperatures this week could reduce quality and negatively impact supplies . Markets remain mostly steady with demand expected to improve weekly. Cauliflower production remains mostly steady with improving demand. Prices have been gradually escalating as demand increases weekly. Next week’s forecast calls for much cooler temperatures which will likely again slow production and push prices higher.
OG Herbs & Bunch Greens
Availability and pricing appear to be mostly steady with Local Homegrown production expected to continue for another week or two.
OG Root Vegetables
Carrot Production has been steady and demand continues to spike as carrots offer a great grab and go option as well as being a staple commodity in the USDA Farm to Family Food Program. Continue to plan even further ahead to get partial coverage.
Potato and Onions  Markets continue to be strong as well as demand for retail packs. Northwest production continues to be limited.  We expect shortages and elevated prices through the Fall.
OG Leaf and Iceberg Lettuce
Leaf, Iceberg & Romaine   Demand for romaine remains strong especially hearts with continued light supplies due to reduced acres, increased insect pressure and diminished quality . Green and Red quality has suffered more so than Romaine with production lighter and demand improving weekly.
OG Citrus
Lemons, Oranges, Limes and Grapefruit Demand continues to be strong throughout the Citrus category due to retail sales. Mexico’s lemon crop is peaking with mostly Fancy supplies and the California Fall/Winter crop has started with limited production. Pricing remains elevated but mostly steady. Many shippers have shifted production exclusively to bags on All Citrus. Lime quality remains inconsistent but has shown signs of improvement. Valencia crop is winding down with sizing profile leaning toward the smaller sizes which has benefitted increased demand for bags at retail. We anticipate Navels to begin towards the end of the month.
OG Grapes
California:   Central Valley production has another week or two left before quality and size declines. Reds continue to offer the best value while Green grape production has been slightly more limited.
OG Melons
California:   Cantaloupes, Honeydew, Watermelon production has been hampered by heat and smokey skies restricting plant growth much of the past month. With only a few weeks left in the California season we should see one last wave in production before the season comes to an early close

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