It’s time for schools to close for the Summer, and lots of planning for Summer vacations. Of course, the past year or so, “vacations” have been termed “staycations”, meaning because of the economy, folks are staying home, enjoying their “local” attractions, instead of spending money for the farther trips. It also means that families will be eating out more, have cookouts, and picnics. These lend themselves to different variety of fruit and vegetable interests, instead of the more routine meals at home. Items such as peaches, plums, nectarines, grapes, melons, and cherries replace “cooking” items such as broccoli, cauliflower, and even the “lettuce salads” are being substituted with “fruit” salads. Less time spent in the hot kitchen.
Long range weather forecasts show no rain in either Salinas or the San Joaquin Valley, but slightly below normal temperatures for the next 10 days.
Truck rates continue to climb for the Summer. $7000 to the far East coast is not uncommon. With this, fob prices for fruits and vegetables can remain steady, but “delivered” prices are climbing because of the climbing freight rates. Higher retails may put pressure on shippers to drop their prices for items out here.
LETTUCE–steady to strong market. We are about where we were last week, but with the higher freight costs, we are seeing prices of $20.00 and higher for a box of lettuce on the East coast. Quality is pretty good in Salinas. Cooler weather is helping to keep the lettuce green and fresh.
BROCCOLI–no change here from last week. As mentioned above, Summer fruits are replacing the “cooking” vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower. This is keeping this market steady to slow.
CAULIFLOWER–after the shippers pushed the market last week, retail prices have been changed, and demand is falling off. Supplies are fairly light, so shippers are currently trying to hold their markets. We don’t see them able to do that this week, so we expect the market to drift down starting the middle of this week.
LEAF ITEMS–fairly wide range in price and volume. Some shippers are heavy on romaine, light on red and green. Others say they are heavier on green, light on romaine and red, etc. So, it might be better to shop these around. Supplies continue out of Salinas and/or Santa Maria areas.
CELERY–not too much change from an fob standpoint, however, FREIGHT is what dictates this market. With rates upwards of $3000 MORE than where we were a month ago, that alone adds up to over $4.00/BOX more for a delivered cost. So, even though the fob prices for celery are fairly low and remain steady, delivered prices are steadily climbing.
STRAWBERRIES–Oxnard is on its last week, and then we will just have supplies in the Salinas/Watsonville and Santa Maria areas. This may tighten up the berry market a bit. However, going in to grocery stores you have a tougher time finding berry displays, with all of the Summer fruit on the shelves. Also, there are plenty of raspberries. Blackberries are also available, but a bit tighter.