Things are about to get interesting . After a month of intermittent hot temperatures , cooler fall like weather has taken hold. These hot spells have stressed plants, increased insect pressure leading to reduced quality and yields. Markets have reacted even with moderate demand . We expect markets to continue to escalate as demand improves. Most growers have been nearly 2 weeks ahead of schedule . With the expected transition south in a little over a month supplies are expected to be stretched thin.
Romaine Demand for Carton and Heart Romaine continues to excel combined with the stress from the recent heatwave supplies have tightened even further and pushed prices higher. Reduced quality will continue to impact supplies through September. Fringe and tip burn, increased high core and now significant levels of insect pressure ( Lygus & Thrip ) causing discoloration, disease and rib decay. Most of the initial defects have been able to be trimmed in the field but more insect damage is being found in the inside layers. Expect quality issues and Higher prices to continue through September.
Red leaf, Green leaf and Boston plantings were negatively impacted by the heat and have shown signs of tip burn and wilt. Prices have ranged but expect them to follow Romaine as Eastern production areas come to a close.
Steady harvest volumes are predicted for the remainder of the week. We expect to see a gradual increase in price starting next week. Shorter days and cooler nights will slow down growth. Quality reports show overall good quality with very occasional signs of heat damage in the form of some yellow leaves and light color stalks. Salinas and Santa Maria are currently the primary shipping points for celery on the West Coast.
Production of the thornless varieties has been hampered by successive high temperature events resulting in reduced quality and sizing. We don’t expect any significant volume on larger sizes until the Fall .
Cauliflower is still available in the sub $10.00 range although I am being told that we will see an increase in price beginning next week. We are still finding some brown spotting and yellow cast product due to the heat a couple of weeks ago. Keep an eye on this market!
Light supplies will continue into next week which will equate to continued high prices. We are still seeing some brown beads and pin rot in the product due to the heat a couple of weeks ago. The cooler nights and foggy and overcast mornings will impede production as well. We estimate to start our Shui Ling broccoli crown program shipping out of Central Mexico and loading in Pharr,TX around October 15.
Coastal California supplies continue to improve with a mix of quality and sizing as pricing remains competitive. Current Supplies were unaffected by the high temperatures over the weekend but expect younger plants to show signs towards the end of the month.
Mexico growers continue their reduced Summer acres which offset increasingly Hot temperatures in Mexico and local Eastern production this time of year. Pricing has advanced as supplies have temporarily slowed due to high temperatures affecting yields
The weather we received over the past 10 days continues to affect the market. The heat has stressed the plants and some growers had to remove some acres from production due to quality issues brought on by high temperatures. Santa Maria, California, is forecast for hazy sun, becoming mostly sunny for the weekend. Highs are forecast in the 70s with lows in the 50s. Salinas/Watsonville, California, is forecast for hazy skies, becoming mostly sunny for the weekend. Highs are forecast in the upper-70s with lows in the 50s. Santa Maria, California, fruit has occasional bruising, white shoulders, soft shoulders, heat damage, misshapen, scarring caused from wind, seedy tips, and catface. Average counts are 20 to 22, occasionally higher and lower.
Reduce volumes continued due to last week’s heat. We are expecting volumes to be steady next week and begin to ramp up the last week in September. We are still shipping the late season fruit and will be transitioning to new crop varieties at the end of the month.
The Argentinian and Peruvian seasons will reach peak volumes, late October through November. Good quality and availability will start ramping. Mexico is a bit delayed but will start ramping up over the next few weeks. Mexico will start to increase their volume next week. We expect good volume and supplies starting in late October.
We are entering a transition period between US and central mexico producing regions. Mexican imports have started and Oregon is still going. Expect Mexico to ramp up heading into late fall, with a steady increase now until late October. Santa Maria fall crop started with light numbers.
Yellow peaches and nectarines are finishing up this week for the season. There are some larger tray pack still available, but those will likely clean up by the weekend. Offshore product is not expected to arrive for a few more weeks so expect a supply gap until then. Late season plums will continue into December. Production is good on large red and black plums, particularly on 40 count and larger. Small sized plums are limited so get orders in early.
Steady markets this week out of the California central valley on red a green grapes. Red grapes are plentiful with a wide array of varieties and sizing options to choose from. Quality is holding up nicely despite recent heatwaves. We are currently in peak season on reds and promotable volumes are currently available. Green grape inventories have been slightly more affected by the heat and volumes have declined from previous weeks. Supplies are still strong and multiple varieties are available, so markets are not expected to jump significantly. Please continue to run offer by us on red and green grapes.
Oranges – Demand is very strong on valencia oranges, particularly on 113 and 138 sizes. We expect shortages to last throughout the remainder of the season as many growers finish up production. Offshore product is limited due to increasing demand in South American countries, thus there is less product to export on their end. Quality is starting to suffer as a result of high temps and tired fruit. Expect pricing to continue rising through next week as volumes decline.
Lemons – Plenty of fruit available at competitive pricing. Foodservice business remains slow and more product is hitting the open market. Multiple growing areas are adding to the abundance of supply across the country . Quality is very nice. Listening to offers.
Limes- Fewer crossings this week as rain in growing areas affects production. Markets have held stead from last week though we could see stronger pricing later next week depending on the amount of rain received in Mexico. Quality is beginning to suffer, be sure to know what you are getting before you ship.
The market plot thickens along with the smoke in the air of the fire afflicted San Joaquin Valley; Record heat, followed by lower than average temps, as well as foul air has wrecked havoc on the fields that are left to harvest over the next month. Supplies have plunged and many growers have been experiencing gaps between fields. This trend looks to extend for the rest of the Westside deal as the fields that are left looks as if they have sustained damage. Pricing went up accordingly and all sizes became tight, especially 9s. For growers restarting harvest after the gap, sizes are peaking on job 9s and 6s. Others n 12s. Prices shot upward on sizes this week. Next week it appears we are in for more of the same with high prices, light supplies and unpredictable sizing and quality. The desert deal is expected to start the last week of September, or first week in October.
Much the same as cantaloupes but more available as they are not in as much demand. Volume has been light due to the same environmental factors affecting cantaloupes. Market rose due to light supplies. Sizes continued to peak on 5s and 6s then jbo 5s. We could see improved demand if cantaloupes continue to be as limited as they are now. Otherwise we look for a steady to a bit higher market.
All the action is in the Northwest and some in Nevada and a few California. The business is steady in the $6-$7.00 range on Jumbo Yellows. Sizes are consistent and some Colossal and Super Colossal. Reds are steady in the $7 range. There are some Italian reds in the Gilroy and Salinas areas.
Mexico is shipping a lot of Asparagus with pricing in the mid- teens. There doesn’t seem to be any let up until at least to the late part of the month. Promotional prices are available from every shipper.
OG Broccoli & Cauliflower
Cauliflower and Broccoli Broccoli production continues to be minimal due to poor quality. We expect this trend to continue through early next month. Prices are expected to be pushed higher with little relief in sight. Cauliflower production was impacted as well although quality and supplies had been stronger up til now as we anticipate supplies to tighten and prices to escalate as the weather has begun to cool.
OG Herbs & Bunch Greens
Availability and pricing appear to be mostly steady with Local Homegrown production adding to overall supplies.
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. Carrots mostly come from Central Valley of California which fires should not affect although Hot weather will likely impact the tops of the bunched carrots
Potato and Onions Markets continue to be strong as well as demand for retail packs. The USDA Food Box Program continues to be the driving force. Northwest production has been delayed but should start soon with an expected very short window. We expect shortages and advancing prices through the Fall.
OG Leaf and Iceberg Lettuce
Leaf, Iceberg & Romaine Demand for romaine remains strong especially hearts with lighter supplies due to last week’s heatwave, reduced acres, increased insect pressure and diminished quality . Green and Red quality has suffered more so than Romaine with production lighter although demand remains mild for now. Expect to see some visible ash from local wildfires.
Lemons, Oranges, Limes and Grapefruit Demand continues to be strong throughout the Citrus category due to retail sales and Food Box programs . California lemon crop has finished up as supplies from Mexico have begun to level off along with prices. Many shippers have shifted production exclusively to bags on All Citrus. Lime quality remains inconsistent but has shown signs of improvement. Valencias sizing profile has been leaning toward the smaller sizes which has benefitted increased demand for bags at retail
California: Central Valley production remains strong with moderate demand. We expect excellent flavor, quality and size to last through the Summer with promotional volume available. Off sizes and reduced quality grapes continue to be available at discounted prices.
California: Cantaloupes and Honeydew production surged last week but growers are assessing damage on the younger plantings that will likely lead to reduced production for the next couple weeks especially mini Watermelon varieties.