Even though Winter doesn’t officially start until Dec. 21st, it is DEFINITELY here. Currently, rain and cold temperatures are covering the state of California, and in to Arizona. With these situations come their potentially massive share of problems. Slow growth, slow harvesting, trouble getting in and out of the fields with trucks, quality issues, with wet product, muddy product and cartons, mechanical damage in the form of broken midribs and discolored product resulting from the broken product. As you can see, LOTS of problems occur when the weather is not favorable. And probably most importantly, the shippers take advantage of this by raising their markets at will, with their “prices subject to change” policy.
Long range weather shows off and on chances of rain throughout California and Arizona for the next 10 days, and COLD temperatures at night. We will be watching for freezing conditions and will report any, if and when it happens.
As we head in to the last week for Christmas business, there are plenty of trucks available. Next week will be interesting, with truckers trying to get home for the holidays.
LETTUCE–rainin the the lettuce country causing slow growth, slow production, and unsettled market conditions. We expect shippers to try to bump the market, although after Wednesday there won’t be much business, especially to East coast receivers, so we aren’t sure how the market will play out this week.
BROCCOLI–a bit stronger here, with wet conditions making harvesting a difficult task. With slower production, supplies are lighter, and shippers are pushing the market on bunch 14s, 18s, and crowns. Again, we aren’t sure how much prices will rise, but we don’t expect much of a run. There IS still quite a bit of broccoli from Salinas to Yuma.
CAULIFLOWER–as we reported last week, the market has spiked up considerably over last week’s prices. In fact, they are nearly double from this time last week. Cold weather slowing growth and production is the main reason for the bump in prices. Retail prices will be changed tomorrow with most retailers, so the market “should” stall out after that.
LEAF ITEMS–slightly stronger with green leaf and romaine, steady on red and boston. But, again, just how much higher the market goes up depends heavily upon how cold it gets in the desert, and how much rain they get. Still up in the air at this time.
CELERY–Good action for Christmas, and heavy rains in the Oxnard area, where most of the supplies are coming from now, have allowed the shippers to raise their prices $4-5.00/box over this time last week. Wet fields can REALLY hamper harvest and production in celery fields. Sometimes they have to send BIG bulldozers out into the fields to get the trailers loaded with celery out. This can be a REAL time consuming and cumbersome process.
STRAWBERRIES–VERY few berries around! Everyone is waiting for Florida to pick up their volume. The weather looks favorable there for the next 10 days, so that should really help. As for now, though, with the rain in California and Mexico, there are hardly ANY berries available.