Vacation Time

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.

Truck Rates Driving Up Prices

It’s that time of year. With tree fruit, melons, and grapes picking up more volume, demand for trucks is also picking up. And with that, freight rates start to climb. For instance, truck rates to the East coast are already hitting $6000 and higher. This is $1500-2000 higher than where we were 2 weeks ago. As an easy calculation, if you get 1000 packages of product on a truck, that means you will pay $1.50-2.00 a box OVER where you were 2 weeks ago. So, no matter what the FOB prices of produce is doing, the “delivered” prices of just about any item will be $1.50-2.00 higher.
Long range weather in the Salinas/Watsonville area shows at, or below normal temperatures for the next 10 days, and the fruit areas in the San Joaquin Valley also show about the same, or slightly cooler weather for this time of year. No rain in sight.
As mentioned above, truck rates are doing their yearly thing, and rates are climbing. That is simple supply and demand. Another factor is the quietly climbing fuel costs. Oil futures have gone up over $30.00/barrel the past month, or so, and gas and diesel prices have also gone up. This will also have an effect on the truck rates. We aren’t sure how high truck rates will go this Summer, but $8000 to the far East coast was reached last year, and could certainly do that again.

LETTUCE–lighter supplies in Salinas have allowed shippers to push the market upward. In fact, prices could be double what they were at this time last week. Demand isn’t necessarily strong, so the only reason prices are higher is due to the lighter supplies. Also, with higher freight rates mentioned above, that pushes delivered prices even higher. $20+ for lettuce on the East coast seems inevitable.

BROCCOLI–no change here, although crowns are a bit stronger in price. Good supplies in Salinas and Santa Maria for bunch 14s and 18s.

CAULIFLOWER–cooler weather slowing down supplies, and markets are stronger. Again, demand is only so-so, which has us skeptical about whether the shippers can maintain their bullish markets. We don’t suggest you buy overly heavy early this week, as we could see the market fall off. On the other hand, cooler weather may hold back supplies.

LEAF ITEMS–stronger market on green leaf, steady on red, boston,  and romaine. Local markets throughout the East coast have started, so we don’t anticipate the markets out here staying up for very long. Quality on ALL leaf is good.

CELERY–weak FOB markets, but with higher freight rates, delivered prices to all areas of the country are higher. Keep in mind that a full load of celery is only about 700 boxes, as opposed to say, strawberries, where there are over 2500 boxes on a load. Spread that out, and paying rates $2000 MORE than 2 weeks ago equate to $3.00/box more for celery than 2 weeks ago. So, even if the fob price stay the same, delivered prices are  considerably higher.

STRAWBERRIES–with  tree fruit, melons, and grapes taking up more and more space on the produce shelves,  there will be less and less space for strawberries, which have been POUNDED for ads the past 3 months. Its time for something new. This means that demand for berries is much weaker than in the past, so we don’t see the market doing much. The only thing that may keep prices steady to firm, would be the forecast for slightly cooler temperatures in the Salinas/Watsonville areas the next 10 days. That will slow the strawberry growth.

Plenty of Product

With the exception of a few items, it appears there will be lots of product available for the next few weeks. Head lettuce, romaine, green, red leaf, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, and strawberries all look to be in abundant supply. This is good and bad news. Good news, in that prices should be fairly low, so retails should be very attractive for the consumer. Bad news, in that we expect some shippers, because they will have a tough time “selling” their product, will instead be sending various items to the terminal markets just to get rid of it. That means that no matter what price you buy it for out here, someone will be cheaper at the other end.
Long rang weather in Salinas shows at, or below normal temperatures for this time of year. No rain, but, cooler weather may slow items such are strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, along with various vegetable items such as cauliflower. The tree fruit country around Fresno shows temperatures in the 90s, which is normal for this time of year.
Trucks will start tightening up a bit, as more and more tree fruit, melons, and grapes start coming on. Rates are a bit lower than this time last year, so we see truckers trying to bump them up.

LETTUCE–plenty of lettuce out there, and prices are about bottoming out. Quality is mostly good, so this is a good combination. Still, with freight rates climbing, delivered prices won’t necessarily reflect the lower fob prices.

BROCCOLI–no problem with supplies for bunch 14s, 18s, and crowns. Prices are down to near the bottom, and quality is nice either in Salinas or Santa Maria.

CAULIFLOWER–better supplies are available now, and prices are falling. But, with the below normal temperatures we are getting, we could see a possible gap coming on by the end of this week. This means the shippers could be looking to bump up their prices by the end of this week.

LEAF ITEMS–good supplies of green leaf, red leaf, romaine, and boston, and prices are at, or getting near the bottom. Local leaf is coming on, as well, so we don’t see these markets doing much for some time.

CELERY–plenty of supplies, and prices are low. With freight rates climbing, delivered prices of celery won’t really reflect the low fob prices. Still, if you consider where celery prices have been in the past, these are good times.

STRAWBERRIES–the Memorial Day business wasn’t much to write home about. Lousy weather in the East didn’t help, so sales weren’t too brisk. We see a sluggish market for berries for a while. The only thing that may effect things is the cooler weather we are having. This may effect supplies and there may be some shortages by the end of this week.

Memorial Day Business

One thing we can say about this Memorial Day weekend, as far as business is concerned, is, WE’VE SEEN BETTER! A combination of the poor East Coast weather, our overall slow economy, and folks staying home, all have added up to a sluggish forecast for this coming weekend. Of course, it could turn out to be better than anticipated, and fruits and vegetables could be flying off the shelves by this weekend. Right now, though, most retailers are bracing for slow sales.
Long range weather in the growing districts of Salinas for vegetables and berries, and into the San Joaquin Valley for tree fruits and grapes, show seasonal normal forecasts for the next 10 days, so product should continue unabated.
Truckers are looking at their calendars and thinking, “hey, its time to push up truck rates!” They actually started thinking that last week, and made all efforts to do that. Their push didn’t happen because of the slow business. In fact, this week appears to be looking sluggish for business, as well, and rates may not take their big Summer jump this week either.

LETTUCE–plenty of product, and prices are getting close to the floor. As mentioned before, May is “lettuce month”, and there couldn’t be a better time to promote. Quality is nice, prices are low, and sales are waiting!

BROCCOLI–stronger market on both bunch and crowns. Crowns, in particular, are a bit tighter, and shippers have pushed their prices up $2-3.00/box over last week. We aren’t sure how long this will last because sales are not that brisk. So, this could be a short lived price hike, and we could see prices drift back down by this weekend.

CAULIFLOWER–another roller coaster ride. Shippers are light and forcing the market up. In fact, they are almost double the market from last week at this time. But, as they push up their prices, retails are going up, and sales will start to drop off. We suggest not ordering too heavily.

LEAF ITEMS–romaine, green, and red are all drifting downward, and, like head lettuce, heading for the floor. More local leaf is showing up, and it won’t be long before the East coast is covered with local leaf. Still, with prices low, and nice quality out here, we are pushing  product from Salinas.

CELERY–not much change. Fob price are down a bit, except for the “preferred” labels, but delivered prices are holding firm because of freight rates. Once truck rates start to spike up, delivered prices will too.

–Memorial Day, which is just about the last big berry holiday(4th of July should be decent), wasn’t a real barn burner. Plenty of fruit around, and prices were low. Even Driscoll didn’t do much pro rating! We should have ample supplies for a while, unless the weather turns hot or cold, or both!

Ideal Weather Adds up to More Produce

Weather in May in California can either be too hot, too cold, or just right. The weather forecast for the state for the next 10 days show JUST RIGHT. Salinas, where most of the vegetables are currently coming from, forecasts low to mid 70s for highs, lows in the 50s. The San Joaquin Valley, where the tree fruit and grapes are coming from, has 80s and 90s expected for highs, and lows in the 60s. For both of these areas, that is IDEAL for growing. Because of this, we see A LOT of product coming on in these areas. With that, especially for the vegetable scene, we see markets coming down.  The fruit deal is trying to get volume going, and this is just what the doctor ordered.
Plenty of trucks available, and rates are still hanging in there. Once Memorial Day business hits, and that will be as early as this weekend for East coast loading, we should see rates begin their Summer climb upward.

LETTUCE–May is “lettuce month”, and the heaviest producing month of the year. LOTS of ads are rolling this month, and quality is much better than where it has been, and prices are coming down. So, this is a good time to cash in.

BROCCOLI–continued wide range in price here. Last week, we saw as much as a $5.00/box spread in the market on crowns. We are starting out this week the same, but we expect ALL shippers looking for business by the end of this week, so that price gap will shrink. There should be plenty of broccoli for the next few weeks.

CAULIFLOWER–this past week was another example of the “roller coaster” ride we often see with cauliflower. The shippers pushed their prices higher than they should have because of their light supplies, and are now anticipating heavier supplies this week. They pushed prices up and retails stopped, so now its going to be tough to get customers interested in cauliflower. Because of this, we expect to see prices drop quickly this week, so don’t order too heavily.

LEAF ITEMS–we are anticipating heavier supplies of all leaf–romaine, green, red, and boston. The markets on green, red, and boston have been active the past few weeks, and shippers are fighting to hold their prices. We don’t see them able to do that. Expect a steady price drop on just about all leaf items this week.

CELERY–a real wide price range here. The “preferred” labels are commanding a premium price, which is as much as a $5-6.00/box over a “mostly” market type label. If you have GOT to have Dole or T&A, expect to pay the piper. Otherwise, there are deals out there.

STRAWBERRIES–we expect to see A LOT of berries coming on this week and next. This will be just in time for Memorial Day business, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Berries will be competing with cherries, peaches, nectarines, and grapes for the picnic business, so there could be some deals out there on “volume” business.

Product Shortage

All of a sudden in Salinas, where most of the vegetable items are coming from, there are shortages of broccoli, cauliflower, romaine, green leaf, strawberries, and other mixed items. The reasons for these shortages vary from, rain and humidity over the weekend causing quality problems, record heat for 4 days two weeks ago, to cold and strong winds in mid April causing problems. Add all of these issues up, and that is where we are. Needless to say, the shippers are pushing their markets up as high and as fast as they can. With lousy weather in the East, demand is only fair for most items, so these market increases may hit a wall.
Long range weather in the growing areas of central California show a chance of rain through tomorrow, then clearing and warmer as the week progresses. The central valley of California, where the tree fruit and grapes are coming from, is slowly warming up, which will help bring on the Summer fruit season.
Trucks are available for all areas of the country, and truckers are looking to push their prices up just as fast as they can. It will still be a few weeks before the tree fruit supply and demand pick up, so rates should be slow to climb until then.

LETTUCE–light supplies and firm market. Prices were higher last week, and look about the same going into this week. Shippers don’t indicate that their volume will pick up anytime soon, so we expect steady to strong markets for lettuce. The heat 2 weeks ago really nailed the young lettuce, and we will see effects from that heat for many weeks to come.

BROCCOLI–after 3-4 weeks of heavy supplies of bunch and crowns, fields have dried up, and now there isn’t much broccoli around. So, as you can expect, the shippers are pushing prices up as fast as they can. We expect prices to get stronger as the week goes.

CAULIFLOWER–very light supplies, and very active market. Fields got hurt by the heat spell, and much volume was lost.  We anticipate a strong to stronger market this week.

LEAF ITEMS–continued light supplies of green leaf, red leaf, boston, and now, romaine. Again, a combination of the heat, wind, cold, and now rain is making the leaf business a real struggle. This small shot of rain we got, combined with some humidity, is causing some decay and mildew problems, which is hurting production, as well. ALL leaf item markets are active, and looking so all week.

CELERY–stronger market here, too. Supplies are coming out of Oxnard, and prices are going up on all sizes. Shippers are also transferring celery to Salinas to load with the mixer loads, and are adding an additional $2.00//box to get that done.

STRAWBERRIES–a real mess out here. Fortunately, the East coast got most of their Mother’s Day needs out last week, while this week it is a few Midwest orders and West coast business to finish up with. With the bad weather in the East, Mother’s Day may not be all that is anticipated for, but there are FEW berries on the road now due to the rain over the weekend.

Mother’s Day Push

This week’s shipments start the Mother’s Day push. Deliveries to the East coast will start loading today, through the weekend, and will continue until this time next week, when the West coast will start their shipments. The one BIG item for Mother’s Day, of course, is strawberries. This is the biggest pull week for berries, second only to Easter week. The key to the success of strawberries is the weather. How nice or how bad the East coast is will determine the DEMAND, and how nice or how bad the weather is in the strawberry shipping areas will determine the SUPPLY. As it stands now, the weather from shipping point shows cool, below normal temperatures forecasted for the next 10 days, but no rain. That means supplies will be DOWN, with likely pro rates. The East coast shows rain forecasted starting later this week for 4-5 days, so demand could be DOWN. How will this play out? Stay tuned.
Trucks are available, but rates are continuing their slow climb upwards, in typical fashion towards the Summer high demand.

LETTUCE–cool weather in Salinas slowing production, and supplies continue light. This is keeping the market very strong. In fact, some shippers are talking about raising their prices this week. Demand isn’t necessarily strong, so we aren’t sure if the shippers can sustain it if they go up in price. We are pretty much in Salinas and Santa Maria for all head lettuce now, and quality is starting out just so-so. Small, light weights, some internal problems, but the lettuce is green and fresh, and should hold up at store level.

BROCCOLI–slightly stronger market undertone. There was A LOT of broccoli shipped out the past 2-3 weeks, and the market has been on the floor. It stands to reason that the market HAS to get better.

CAULIFLOWER–with cooler temperatures, the roller coaster ride that accompanies the cauliflower market, is on the way up. Supplies are much lighter than they have been for 2 weeks, and the shippers are raising their prices. We expect them to continue to push the market this week.

LEAF ITEMS–lighter supplies of boston, red, and green leaf, and prices are higher on those items. You could see $20+ for green and red on the East coast. Romaine is fairly active, but not as high priced as the other leaf items. However, we do expect the romaine market to get stronger. The heat wave we had last week hurt the young leaf fields, and romaine, in particular.

CELERY–stronger market on ALL sizes. Mexico is done, and Oxnard and Santa Maria are the only areas going. Supplies are lighter than expected, so, while demand isn’t necessarily strong, shippers are nevertheless able to push their prices. Keep in mind that freight rates are going up, which adds even more to the delivered prices of all items, but celery the most.

STRAWBERRIES–in the above preamble, we noted that cooler weather is starting to hurt the volume of berries. With the strong demand for Mother’s Day, there will certainly be pro rates, especially from Driscoll. But, some rain is forecasted for the entire East coast starting later this week, which could effect demand. The jury is still out.

Transition Nearly Complete

The move from Huron to Salinas is just about complete, and it couldn’t come soon enough! Transition time is ALWAYS an adventure, with some items starting, other items finishing, trucks arriving to pick up certain items, only to find out that the item they were scheduled to load is loading at the NEW location. We go through this TWICE a year, EVERY year, and we ALWAYS look forward to settling down for the long stretches. We are now in Salinas for just about all items, and will be until late Fall. We’re happy to be here.
The tree fruit deal is right around the corner. Cherries(Brooks) are starting this week in a light way, followed in a few more weeks with Tulares, then Bings. Early peaches start the end of this week, nectarines next week, then by the middle of May, we will be in full gear.
Long range weather shows that we are currently in a “mini-heat wave” that started yesterday, continuing today, and cooling to normal by Wednesday. This will be followed by a chance of showers in Central California by this weekend. Could be interesting with items such as strawberries and cherries.
Trucks are available, after the past 2 weeks of demand exceeds supply. One problem truckers are battling is the lack of WESTBOUND freight. This is due to the overall economic situation, and that makes it more difficult to get trucks to go back East at a decent freight rate.

LETTUCE–Huron is going to finish this week, and Salinas has already started. Where is the best quality? Well, the lettuce in Huron that is winding down is small, hard, and only so-so. The new lettuce in Salinas is greener and fresher, but has its share of problems, with internal burn and some decay, and light weights. The market is fairly active with the fob price for wrap 24s hitting close to $20 fob  last week. This week, we expect a weaker market now that retails are set high.

BROCCOLI–there is PLENTY of bunch 14s, 18s, and crowns available at rock bottom prices.

CAULIFLOWER–overall weaker market undertone, although there is still a fairly wide range in price on 9s and 12s. In fact, we are seeing as much as a $4.00/box spread in price between some shippers and the “preferred” labels.

LEAF ITEMS–we are starting to see better supplies of boston, green and red leaf, so we recommend you don’t load too heavily on those 3 items. Romaine market is down, so no problem there. Salinas will be the major area going now until the Fall.

CELERY–the desert is done, so Oxnard and Santa Maria are the 2 areas of choice for now. Some shippers are transferring supplies to Salinas for mixer loading, and are charging an extra $1.50-2.00/box to have that done. The market on just about all sizes is fairly weak, but now higher freight rates for trucks make the delivered prices of celery fairly high.

STRAWBERRIES-there are PLENTY of berries right now, and with this little heat wave we are having, more and more fruit should be coming on. But, we DO have a chance of rain forecasted for this weekend, which could cause some headaches if we get measurable amounts. This would be just in time for Mother’s Day. Ugh.

ASPARAGUS–continued light supplies and strong market, in spite of the fact that the major ads are done. Overall, the Stockton/Lodi Spring deal was fairly light in supply this year, and continue to be light. So, expect the market to remain steady.

Volatile Markets

With the strange weather patterns we have had(warm, then cold) and  water shortages in the San Joaquin Valley causing many fields to go un-farmed, we are really seeing volatile markets. When the weather warms, supplies come on, and the markets fall. When the weather turns cold, supplies fall off, and the markets jump. The past 2 weeks, with Easter business going, we reported demand exceeds supply and strong markets on just about all of the major vegetable items. This week, we expect to see continued active markets on lettuce and leaf, while broccoli, cauliflower, romaine, and celery are anticipated to be down. Of course, much depends upon retail prices. When prices are raised, demand certainly takes a hit, and prices fall.
Truck rates are certainly on their way  up. Easter is usually a “spring board” for truck rates as we get ready for heavier strawberry movement, which increases demand for trucks. Following this right around the corner, is the tree fruit, grape, and melon season, and rates climb to their yearly highs by mid-Summer.
Long range weather for the next 10 days, show cool temperatures for the next few days, but much warmer weather is forecasted for the weekend. No rain. In fact, we are just about OVER our rain season, until late Fall.

LETTUCE–still a very active market. The Huron deal has been a real chaotic one. First, there has been a water shortage, due to lower than average snow pack in the Sierras for the past 2 years(now THREE years!), so water districts have been rationing water in the San Joaquin Valley. As a result, growers didn’t plant much lettuce for the Spring. Along with that, cold temperatures in February made the lettuce VERY small. To the point that shippers say they are packing more than 50% 30 size. This is keeping demand and prices VERY strong for 24 size. We hear that this will be the case for the entire Huron deal, which will finish up within the next 2 weeks. Salinas is just barely getting going, so there could be a slight gap between the 2 areas with some shippers. Overall, though, we expect a BUMPY transition between Huron and Salinas.
BROCCOLI–supplies have really picked up, after the past 3 weeks of VERY light supplies, and virtually NO crowns. Now, we are seeing better supplies of bunch AND crowns. Along with that, the market has dropped to less than 1/2 of what it was 2 weeks ago. We will probably see this market bottom out this week, and perhaps rebound next week.

CAULIFLOWER–a real roller coaster ride. 3 weeks ago, supplies were abundant, and the market strong. These past 2 weeks, supplies have been light, and the market active. This week, retails are high, demand has fallen off, and prices are down. By this time next week, we could see prices double what they are today.

LEAF ITEMS–still light supplies of red and green leaf, especially green, and prices are still VERY strong and high. Romaine is fairly abundant, although we are seeing a pretty good range in the market there. This is one to shop around. Like head lettuce, supplies are light in Huron, and the transition to Salinas is going to be sporatic.

STRAWBERRIES–we got through Easter in fairly good shape, with supplies enough to go around, for the most part. A BIG factor was the East coast weather, which was lousy, and kept demand down. Supplies look to REALLY increase this next week, and there should be plenty of fruit to go around. The next big push will be for Mother’s Day, which is May 10th. Shipments for that to the East coast will start in 2 weeks.

ASPARAGUS– there were VERY light supplies for the Easter demand. The Easter push wasn’t much, fortunately. As we have stated in previous reports, with the economy the way it is, big ticket items such as asparagus take a back seat to consumer demand. So, shippers that think they have been thinking they will get $50 for a box of asparagus because they have light supplies, are dreaming.

CELERY–continued wide range in price, depending upon the shipper. The “preferred” shippers are still demanding $4-5.00/box more than the mostly market shippers. So, there are deals on celery, especially the larger sizes. We don’t see much change in the FOB prices for a while. To go with that, as freight rates start to climb, celery gets hit the hardest because of the heavy boxes, and higher “per packaged” costs. That, we feel, will keep the celery market down.

A Mess Out West

Between the transition from the desert to the northern growing districts, Easter pull, and cold weather, this past week and into this week is a virtual MESS. Just about ALL vegetables are tight in supply. Lettuce, green leaf, red leaf, romaine, broccoli, cauliflower, and strawberries are “demand exceeds supply” situation, and prices are going through the roof. As a side note, we see supplies being light with most of the vegetable items THROUGH the month of April. Although the East coast is done with their Easter pulls, there is still strong business going out this week for the Midwest and West coast receivers. Along with this, trucks are VERY tight and rates $500-1000 higher than where they have been. The reason for this isn’t just demand, but also the fact that there is little freight for West coast receivers. This is a sign of our economy.
Long range weather shows rain forecasted in Central and Northern California starting Tuesday and into Thursday.

LETTUCE–STRONG demand and VERY active market due to light supplies of 24 size lettuce in Huron and Salinas. We are hearing quotes of $20 FOB for lettuce today. Shippers are reporting more 30 size than 24 size. So, if you can use a smaller head, there are some deals out there. Some shippers, to avoid packing 30s are leaving a few more wrapper leaves on the head and making a 24. This makes for an UGLY 24.

BROCCOLI–continued light supplies and strong market, especially on crowns, of which there is little to NO crown material out there. We see light supplies of crowns for another 2 weeks.

CAULIFLOWER–this market has peak out. Although we saw some $20+ fob prices this past week, we expect retails to be pushed high, and business should slow. Keep in mind that supplies are light, so we may not see prices come down too far.

LEAF ITEMS–there are CRAZY prices out there on green and red leaf. Some shippers think they could get $20 fob this week. Romaine is strong, but not AS strong. This is another situation where we could see light supplies all month, and strong markets.

CELERY–a very WIDE range in prices here. The “preferred” labels, Dole and T&A are topping the markets with as much as $4-5.00/box HIGHER than some other shippers. They really don’t care. They are light, have a “captive” audience, and aren’t concerned too much what other shippers are doing.

ASPARAGUS–Easter business is done for East coast receivers, but Midwest and West coast customers are pulling through Thursday. That is keeping the market active. Still, when that business is done, we don’t see prices hanging on very long.

STRAWBERRIES–like asparagus, the honeymoon will be over for Easter action by Thursday, and then demand will fall off. We DO have rain forecasted for tomorrow through Thursday, which could upset things, depending how much rain we get.  Normally in April, our rain storms are less potent than early Winter months, so we don’t expect too much trouble. Still, Driscoll is pro rating 50% and HIGHER today, and probably for most of this week. Other shippers sit back and reap the last minute phone calls for fruit.