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.