Many of the fruit and vegetable markets in California are very active and shippers are pushing prices, in spite of continued high freight costs. Cauliflower, broccoli, romaine, strawberries, and several assorted mixed items are all going up in price. At the same time, business is nothing to write home about. The relentless rains in Maine and other Eastern growing areas are certainly hurting their production, and that has a lot to do with the pressure being put on California product. Normally this time of year, growers in California plant light because of local gardens and growing deals.
Trucks are plentiful to all areas of the country, and we are seeing an “ever so slight” drop in rates. Still, rates continue to be about $1000-2000 MORE than normal for this time of year.
Long range weather forecast for Salinas growing regions for the next 10 days show dry, mild, normal temperatures for this time of year and no rain. The San Joaquin Valley fruit country also show hot, normal weather for the next 10 day.
LETTUCE–with rain in Canada and other Eastern growing areas, demand is stronger for head lettuce, and markets picking up. Not much, with only up a dollar or so, but we could see shippers try to bump for higher prices as this week goes. Overall quality is pretty decent.
BROCCOLI–even this item is picking up. Maine growing areas have been getting hammered with rain the past few weeks, and look for more all of this week. Shippers in Salinas and Santa Maria see this, and are bumping their prices today, and will probably look for more as this week goes.
CAULIFLOWER–like broccoli, stronger demand and higher prices today because of local deals getting hurt. Still, LOTS of local cauliflower and jacket flower being advertised on the East coast, so we aren’t sure if the higher prices out West will be able to sustain their momentum.
LEAF ITEMS–romaine still a demand exceeds supply situation. Supplies really got hurt the past few weeks with the heat spell. A LOT of romaine got left behind, so we are in a gap right now. Red and green leaf are in a better situation, although those markets are up, too. Not like romaine, where prices are nearly double the red and green market.
CELERY–no change. The “deals” are on the larger size 18s and 24s, with continued light supplies and stronger market on 36s and 48s. Michigan still going strong.
STRAWBERRIES–even a WORSE situation than last week! For instance, today, Driscoll is pro rating orders 75-90%! They, along with other shippers, anticipate this supply gap for another 2 weeks, or so. Demand is, of course, not like the Spring, but steady for this time of year. There is PLENTY of other fruit items to place on the shelves, but the food service and steady chain demand for berries is keeping the pressure on. Basically, we are just trying to get our orders covered!