Transition is in full swing, most of the shippers have made the change from Yuma to Huron, but not without difficulties. This year we are seeing gaps in harvest, mostly in leaf and broccoli, shippers are frantically trying to get product out of the fields and into the coolers, but trucks are being held up for hours upon hours. The only comforting thing to note is, as the days go on we will see better numbers out of Salinas and Huron. Trucks are forced to make more pickups than usual, resulting in elevated tempers and overall confusion. The weather has been very nice in Salinas area the past few days, and we should see volume pick up significantly on certain items. Temperatures are expected to remain pleasant and no chance of rain until early next week. Oxnard weather has been very accommodating the past few days, but a cooling trend is on the horizon for that region later this week. Trucks are still available, but many trucks are now hauling strawberry loads, tightening supply and causing truck rates to rise $300 – $400 from this time last week.
LETTUCE — Lettuce is almost exclusively in Huron now. Right from the get go we are seeing some okay quality as Huron gets started. There have been a few quality issues such as internal decay, normal for transition time, and will hopefully be short lived. The last of the Yuma product is being loaded up, which ends up being mostly tired lettuce as the shippers clean out their coolers and close up shop for the year.
BROCCOLI — Very tight market, most shippers are sold out as we begin the week. Broccoli seems to have been hit the hardest in the transition production gaps and product is very difficult to get. Yuma is finished up, putting all the strain on northern areas. Because of overly cool days in Salinas, product has not come on as quickly as growers had hoped. The true test will be the remainder of this week, luckily the past few days have been warmer, but with forecasted temperatures in the low 60s for the end of this week, product may continue to be tight. We will just have to keep our fingers crossed.
CAULIFLOWER — We are seeing slightly better availability as Salinas kicks into gear, but much like broccoli, things are still tight. Demand has come off slightly, taking the strain off the transition harvest, but there is still a long way to go to catch up with normal numbers and take the market back down to where it should be.
LEAF ITEMS — supplies are still very scattered. Some shippers have red and green in the desert, and romaine in Huron. Others have green and romaine in Salinas, and red in the desert. Prices have inched up a few dollars from what they were this time last week, product should be more readily available later this week, it would bee foolish for shippers to kill the market this early in the game, and with so much product in the field nearing maturity, but stranger things have happened. Quality is looking okay, product is beginning to arrive east with little or no problems.
CELERY — Product is readily available, naked prices are staying at or below the 10 dollar range and not too much demand. We don’t expect things to change much this week. Celery is normally used to fill trucks if strawberries orders are not met, but this week has begun with plenty of fruit, so buyers are filling their trucks with berries instead of celery for Easter sales.
STRAWBERRIES — supplies picking up out of Oxnard, this weekend was nice and warm and plenty of fruit was colored up and harvested to meet demand this week. There is still a wide range in price, of course Driscoll is at the high end. Easter business has begun and so far we are coming out ahead, however, Oxnard growing regions are expected to cool down over the course of the week, so even though we started off this week in a bang, supplies could begin to drop again as early as next week. Fortunately, there is no rain forecasted this week.
ASPARAGUS — The desert is finishing up this week, product is still strong overall, but mostly on the larger sizes. There are always some defects this late in the game, but we have been happy with quality up to this point. The Stockton/Lodi areas are seeing better numbers now and are taking larger orders and we are hoping they will be able to keep up with demand.