Everyone is now in the process of loading their Thanksgiving needs, but NO one is sure just how business will be. Feelings range from “uneasy optimism” to “downright depression”. One thing is for sure, and that is ALL other sectors of our economy, from cars to computers, from department stores to toys are not feeling too good about their upcoming holiday business. For now, though, Thanksgiving is on every produce person’s mind, and most are going ahead with “guarded pessimism”.
Trucks, as expected, are as tight as they have been since the Summer peak, and truckers are pushing for higher rates. $300-500 more than the latest market rates to the East coast. Expect trucks to be snug for most of this week, then the faucet shuts off.
Long range weather shows NO rain in Central and Southern California, which is fine for loading for the holiday business. After that, we NEED the precipitation.
LETTUCE–Huron has about another week or so, then we move to the desert. Actually, some shippers have already started there, but for loading purposes, we are trying to stay in Huron until more items are available. Quality in the desert is a bit rough anyway, right now. Just starting out, it usually is.
BROCCOLI–demand is just so-so right now. This is unusual for the Thanksgiving push. Shippers are normally sold out going in to this busiest time of the season, and demand is only fair. This is definitely a negative sign. Supplies still coming out of Salinas, Santa Maria, Oxnard, and the San Joaquin Valley.
CAULIFLOWER–lighter supplies throughout the industry, but demand is only fair. This will keep the market from going too crazy during this week. Again, we should be seeing more business with cauliflower right now, and we aren’t.
LEAF ITEMS–romaine and green leaf are a bit tight, red and boston steady. Supplies of romaine and green leaf are tight because of the pressure from the salad companies. Also, Salinas is starting to wind down their season, and the desert isn’t doing much right now. But, after Thanksgiving, the desert should be get going.
CELERY–we are smack in the middle of the Thanksgiving push. After Wednesday, though, the East coast will be done shipping and just the Midwest and West coast will be pulling supplies. This hasn’t been much of a Thanksgiving for celery, and this trend has continued for several years now. Anyone ever heard of Stove Top dressing?
STRAWBERRIES–Watsonville and Salinas are just about done, although with the market and with the unusually warm November we are having, supplies continue to trickle in. Oxnard and Santa Maria, as well as McAllen, Texas are where Driscoll is currently loading, and they are pro rating orders every day, as much as 50-75%. They are also raising their price daily, hoping to discourage buyers.