It is becoming increasingly more difficult to find fruit and vegetable items to run for ads. This problem can be attributed to one reason: FREIGHT. While many of the fob prices are reasonable, and often downright cheap, the freight cost per package continues to put them at a less-than-bargain price. For instance, you may have a lettuce price at $10.00/box fob, which isn’t bad, but then, for East Coast shipments, you have to put a freight cost of $8.00-9.00 per box, plus store markups, and your retail is anything but a bargain price. So, what are consumers doing? We assume they are buying bag salads, canned beans, and frozen broccoli. The GOOD news is that freight rates have peaked for the year. In fact, we are paying several hundred dollars less than we were 2 weeks ago. The BAD news is that diesel costs are still sky high, and even looking to go higher, so we probably won’t see rates come down a whole lot as we approach the Fall. We feel we will still be paying $1500-2000 a load more than “normal” as we get into the Fall.
Our 10 day weather forecast in Salinas shows more of a cooling trend, putting things back to normal after last weeks warming trend. San Joaquin Valley districts, where the fruits are coming from, continue normal, which put them at 100 degrees for highs.
Trucks available to all areas of the country at lower rates than 2 weeks ago, which were the peak for the year. Still, $7000-7500 to the East coast is the range.
LETTUCE–fairly light supplies in Salinas area, and shippers would like to see their markets go up for that reason. We don’t see business very brisk for lettuce, and that is keeping demand down and prices steady.
BROCCOLI–plenty of supplies on 14s, 18s, and crowns, and no change in the market, which is down. Quality is nice on all broccoli.
CAULIFLOWER–prices have been too high for the demand. Shippers are desperately trying to hold on to their markets, but we just don’t see it. Expect prices to slip on 12s and 9s as the week goes.
LEAF ITEMS–after the heat spell that knocked a lot of the supplies of red, green, romaine, and boston, things are getting back to normal. Local farms across the country are going strong, and demand out West is slowing down. As a result, the markets are starting to back off on all leaf items.
CELERY–this item continues to baffle us. With the high freight costs for a box of celery, we thought the fob prices would hit the floor. Not so. Prices are still up there, keeping the prices upwards of $30 for a box of celery on the East Coast. We probably won’t see lower prices until Michigan starts.
STRAWBERRIES–demand has really backed off for strawberries. Even Driscoll is looking for business! We don’t know if their salespeople even know HOW to sell! They have just been taking orders and prorating for the past year, it seems. Our weather looks to be cooler for the next 10 days, so the mention of Driscoll LOOKING for business could be short lived.