Newsletter 11/13/19

Transition week is upon us and supplies continue to be limited due to production gaps, quality, labor and logistics. Overall high prices are being met with resistance from wholesale and retail while shippers scramble to fill Foodservice contracts. We expect supplies to continue to fluctuate through Thanksgiving and into December . Quality is fair in all Northern California districts while the desert has started with light weights and puffy lettuce although showing much improved color. Blister and peel are evident in all areas. Check with Produce West for additional production areas including Las Cruces , NM to help get you through transition.

Mix Leaf
Romaine demand remains strong especially on Hearts. Transition is well underway although some shippers won’t transition til after Thanksgiving which creates further disparity in quality and availability among shippers and adds volatility to markets. Growers are still preparing for a transitional gap. There will be pockets of supplies throughout transition but growers will likely be trading acres with other growers to help offset imbalances of supplies. Green leaf, Red leaf and Boston markets have started to close the gap with limited supplies and quality to travel . Blister and Peel are evident in all areas. Romaine  Production from Las Cruces, NM continues for those interested in high quality product with added freight savings.

Brussels Sprouts
Production from Central California continues to produce heavy volume. The market has strengthened on Holiday Ad commitments.  Quality has been mostly very nice. Expect demand to continue to improve and prices to firm as we get closer to heavy usage Holiday’s.

Prices have plateaued and will remain at current levels through this week. It has been relatively quiet on the demand side this week but we expect heavy demand next week as we get closer to the Holiday. If you are thinking of purchasing, this would be the week to buy as prices have settled and there is availability.

Production continues steady while demand has started to improve as well as pricing on selected sizes. Seeded or thornless are the predominant varieties available. The superior edible Heirloom variety will return in the Spring.

Similar to the situation with broccoli demand is off and there is more available product than there was the last week. There should be good availability on all sizes going into next week. Again do not expect prices to fall too much as supplies are still limited. Quality is fair coming out of all California growing regions, there is some light yellow cast and rough curd showing up.

We are starting to see a slight decline in price as shippers come into a little more volume than expected. As soon as some shippers get their inventory adjusted correctly price will firm. Major processors are short on broccoli by as much as 50% so this will help maintain the current pricing from falling drastically. Some shippers in the desert regions of the Imperial Valley and the Yuma Valley will gradually start harvesting next week. Steady Mexico production continues to come across, although quality over the last 10 days has been hit and miss.

The market on Mexican asparagus crossing from Baja has not changed and seems to have found a trading level from $14-$16 on standard with a slight premium for large. Lids are coming up a bit for the 1st week in December, as high as $22.90. Peruvian shippers are having a tough time trying to keep up with the Fast Boat deliveries. According to my sources, because of Fumigation, the shelf life on the Peru asparagus is very slim compared to Mexico.

Green Onions
Production from Mexico has battled mostly hot conditions which has kept supplies plentiful although quality fair. Seasonally increased acres have offset reduced quality and lighter yields. Recent cooler weather has improved quality and demand has begun to improve as well as pricing.


Where’s the demand? So far, the spot market for onions is lack luster with a few shippers being sold out due to contractual obligations. Most Washington state shippers and Idaho shippers are sold out on medium yellow onions for 16/3’s. Jumbos seem very reasonable with some Colossal and Super Colossal very available. But there is no surge on onions at the moment.

Volume is on the decline out of Santa Maria and Oxnard. Mexico has started with light volume.  Markets are firm with prices moving higher for the weekend. We are seeing more volume beginning to cross through Texas out of Mexico and Florida. Growers are just starting to see very light production this week. Those numbers will slowly begin to increase as we approach December. Quality has been improving in Mexico as growers rebound from inclement weather two weeks ago.

Decent supplies coming primarily out of Mexico and the market is steady. Quality is fair with some lots experiencing moisture in the clamshells that usually leads to early breakdown. Volume is expected to increase as numbers out of Mexico provide good logistical options for transfer.

Peru, Argentina, and Uruguay are the main areas of import and are arriving by boat on the West and East coasts. Mexico is also producing good numbers arriving through the points of entry in Texas and Arizona in good numbers. These are being transferred to both the West and East coasts for distribution. Markets will remain steady with lower undertones moving into the weekend.

The market should remain firm moving into the weekend with supplies moderately improved late next week.Blackberries continue to be in light supplies into the weekend coming out of Mexico. Quality is fair with red cell being reported in most lots.

Stone Fruit
Plums are all that is left in California and quality is beginning to show signs of age, particularly on storage fruit. Light supplies will continue through the rest of this month, and markets will strengthen as a result. Peaches and Nectarines are completely finished and offshore product will not be arriving until after the first week of December.

Red Grapes– markets have slightly firmed up this week. Supplies and quality are still holding up for the time being. The fruit is storing nicely and at the current time there is plenty of supplies to last through the rest of this month. Imports will arrive the first week of December. Markets will continue strengthening towards the end of this month as storage fruit supplies tighten up.

Green Grapes – Supplies are diminishing quickly. There is a limited amount of storage fruit available, although the quality on the greens is starting to show signs of age. Soft fruit and dark amber color are becoming more prevalent. Markets are beginning to react to lighter supplies and we expect this to continue into the next two weeks until the import season. Expect lighter supplies and elevated markets through the remainder of this month.

Oranges — Navel volume is improving, mostly on large sized fruit. Small sizes are lighter in volume. Fancy grade are more prevalent than choice at this point. We expect volumes to remain steady on large fruit , and improved volumes on smaller sizes. Quality is very nice industry wide.

Lemons – Similar conditions as last week. Supplies continue to improve, especially on small sizes. Markets are beginning to soften as we expect an overlap in supply between districts. Quality has been very nice. Run offers by us on all sizes.

Limes– weather continues to plague this years lime production. Delays in harvests have resulted in more larger sized fruit than normal. Markets have softened over the past two weeks, but should quickly rebound as a result of recent erratic weather patterns in Mexico and higher demand over the holidays.

Cantaloupe demand overall slowed as weather across the Midwest and East coast took a wintry turn and slowing demand. At the same time supplies began to rise. Off shore cantaloupes have started with a few honeydews as well.  Arizona continues but is winding down and could be mostly finishing up this week. Mexico is still producing and shipping but will also wind down soon and has not been a preferred source since the Salmonella outbreak years ago. Sizing in the desert areas ran smaller peaking on 9s and 12s with hardly any Jbo 9s and some 15s.

Mexico ran mostly 9s and 12s as well. Offshore as mentioned above started loading exclusively in Southern Florida POEs, and ran mostly 9s count with some jbo 9s and a some 12s.  Quality was best on the early off shore which had some greenish cast but excellent condition and brix. Desert and Mexico prices declined somewhat on the peak sizes, but still ran on the higher side on the offshore fruit. Next week the desert will continue to wind down with but a straggler or two still shipping. Mexico should have lighter supplies as well. Off shore will continue to increase with some gaps in early production.  We look for a dull and steady to somewhat lower pricing on domestic and Mexican pricing especially on 12s and smaller. Off shore should be steady with some dealing on non peak sizes on slower days.

Dews were steady this week. Domestic production was steady and light as it has been all season. Sizes peaked on 5s and 6s with few other sizes available. Mexico was about the same. Offshore had one supplier bringing in fruit and they peaked on 5s and 6s as well. Quality was variable in all areas. Next week domestic will wind down as will Mexico. The one importer of Caribbean product will continue with others arriving in a week or two. We look for a dull and steady market on dews next week.


Organic Items

OG Broccoli and Cauliflower
Cauliflower   Production has leveled off and prices continue to be strong. Quality has held steady and should improve as we get into cooler Fall season. Broccoli    Production has been plagued by poor quality while demand continues to push the market. We expect quality to improve through the transition into new production areas which should help availability  Quality remains variable with brown bead , pin rot and aphid pressure all contributing factors.

OG Herbs & Bunch Greens
Most Herbs and Bunching Green production remain steady. Expect supplies and pricing to increase heading into Holiday demand.

OG Root Vegetables
Carrot Production has been steady with improving supplies . Demand has been very strong. Continue to plan ahead to get full coverage. Bunch Carrot Quality has improved which should enable better production with Tops.

Potato Production has been affected by sudden change in seasons as growers scrambled to get their final acres harvested and stored . Expect some effects to long term pricing and availability.

Onion demand remains steady but is expected to increase heading into the Holidays. Growers got most of their crop harvested prior to the early Freeze. While Quality is currently very nice keep an eye as we transition earlier than anticipated to storage shipments.

OG Leaf and Iceberg Lettuce
Leaf, Iceberg & Romaine   Production has been steady and quality remains good. Demand has shifted back to the West Coast and we expect pricing to increase.  Quality has been good with decreased Aphid and Mildew pressure but some blister from last weeks below freezing temperature is to be expected.

OG Citrus
Lemons: The market remains steady with good demand for domestic product as production increases while imports wind down . Quality from Arizona deserts remain smaller profile but higher fancy grade.

Oranges Navels have begun on limited production waiting for sizing and sugar levels to improve. . The crop is expected to be slightly less than the previous year but flavor and sizing profiles are expected to be excellent with promotional opportunities available. We expect strong supplies of clementines and Caras in coming weeks as well.

Limes:  Much needed rains along Eastern Mexico have improved quality and sizing and volume is expected to improve as well  The market has stabilized

Grapefruit:  Transition is underway and supplies are expected to start from Texas

OG Grapes
California: Supplies from Central Valley of California will begin to wind down over the next couple weeks . The Red Varietals should continue until weather interrupts harvest. Quality currently is still good for fresh harvest but sizing has declined and expect quality to fall off as shippers increase storage supplies.

OG Avocados 
Mexico:  Steady supplies continue with shifting trend towards smaller fruit due in part to some rain affecting quality. Improved supplies are expected towards the end of the month.

California: Production Has finished up for the season.

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