Newsletter 3/13/19

The warming trend forecast for the desert has been interrupted by a few days of cool , windy and rainy weather temporarily impacting production. Forecast for above normal temperatures should materialize this week into next before temperatures moderate again by the end of next week. Overall demand has been light to moderate and the market has slowly adjusted downward. Further easing is expected as soon as improved production resumes  Quality remains varied with issues ranging from Epidermal peel, mildew, Rib blight. and solidity. Expect markets to remain volatile through the remainder of the Winter season and even more so during the Spring transition as many fields recover from weather interruptions and delayed cultural practices.
Mix Leaf
Romaine market has been mostly steady with moderate demand. Warmer weather in the desert has slowly improved quality although significant Epidermal blister and mildew remain and yesterday’s isolated rain showers could worsen the effects..Temperatures are expected to warm once again and expedite an improvement in quality as the outer leaves will be able to be trimmed in the fields.  Shippers continue to quote all product with Epidermal peel and related discoloration. Many shippers continue to push romaine supplies towards Romaine Heart production to reduce quality issues which has kept pricing moderated on Hearts. Keep orders light and inventories low Green leaf and Red leaf prices have leveled off and are expected to ease along with Romaine with continued uneven supplies distributed among shippers. Quality is variable but showing fewer issues than Romaine.
Brussels Sprouts
Production mainly from Mexico continues steady with improving quality leading to improved demand. The market has been stable with occasional deals available but demand will continue to build through Easter Holiday season.
Finally, some favorable weather in the forecast, but it will take some time as we begin to dry out. We expect the  California quality to clean up and we take advantage of an extended dry spell. The better weather should have some affect on yields later this week however we do not expect to see overly significant increases until the last week of March. Temperatures are still cool forth next few days, but highs of 65 to 70 degrees are expected for the weekend. The market remains steady.
Florida Strawberries are in a slowly, but surely mode with limited numbers looking to trickle on through the end of March, Weather permitting. Quality is just fair as we move towards the end of the season there Market remains steady.
Mexico is all but finished with only a few crossings entering the USA.
There are decent supplies of Blackberries and we expect this to continue into next week. The primary growing region continues to be Mexico. The quality reports at the field level have been showing very occasional red cell.  Approximately 1 to 2 per clamshell. This defect may turn into a leaky berry during transit.
Volume is steady and the forecast for next week is for consistent numbers. Peak volumes are expected the first few weeks of May.
Consider the Chilean deal finished for the season. We may experience some price volatility as less supplies are available to the market place.  Mexico is still producing steady supplies of good quality fruit. Florida has started shipping locally grown blueberries. This should help bridge the gap in supplies we will be seeing the next few weeks. Market pricing is varied depending on the quality and shipping location. We expect prices to move to higher levels in approximately 7 to 10 days.
Expect a roller coaster type of market over the next two weeks as the Desert regions begin to finish harvest. There is definitely a two tier pricing market for product coming out of Salinas or Santa Maria compared to that of the Desert. Product coming out of Salinas and Santa Maria will have quality condition effects from the heavy winter rains. We are seeing some yellow cast, richness and soft shoulder. Because of these condition effects they are discounting prices compared to that coming out of the Desert. If your purchase is based on quality then you will want to be loading in the Desert and if it is based solely on price then you will want to load out of the Central Coast of California.
Light supplies across all growing regions is keeping prices at double digit figures. It looks as though we will be in this supply gap for at least another 10 days. Salinas and Santa Maria are harvesting as well as the Central Valley of Mendota,CA. Quality out of these districts has been affected by the winter rains and shippers are discounting slightly. The Arizona growing regions are still producing but at a minimal rate and prices will be higher as they finish out their season. Demand for Mexican broccoli exceeds supplies as Mexico begins to finish up their winter season harvest. We will have limited supplies of our #1 label “Shui Ling” short cut crowns available for the next couple of weeks.
Production continues steady with improving demand especially on the Heirloom variety.  Most varieties currently are seeded or Thornless. at reduced prices. Production has shifted towards larger size profile as the weather improves in the desert. Frost and Freeze damage can be found on most Artichokes for the duration of the month although mostly cosmetic it can slow demand.
Stone Fruit
Not much change expected on stone fruit over the next 10 days. Looking for good supplies to continue on peaches, nectarines, and plums.  Market prices are expected to be steady on moderate demand. Quality has been solid with the fruit sizing on the large sizes. Expect the season to begin to wind down starting in early April.
Mostly steady, consistent supplies on red seedless grapes expected for the coming week.  For reds, the market is generally steady to lower on pricing. This should continue into next week with some good opportunity buys if the demand allows. On green seedless, availability will peak this week. Next week, we will start see lighter supplies on green seedless as the import season winds down. We are forecasting a gap in late April before the new crop starts from Mexico. Please contact us now to lock up supplies to cover your needs.
Green Onions
Mexico has been finally started to hit full production and the market has responded accordingly. We anticipate additional easing before the market is likely to firm in a couple weeks. Quality continues to vary although showing signs of improvement.
Oranges- We are currently in the middle of a 7 day stretch with no rain so harvesting is no issue. Supplies and the market are steady. Navels peaking on 88/72’s. The export demand is currently pulling strong numbers firming up the pricing on the Fancy grade. This looks to be the week to cut deals on Choice grade fruit.  Overall the quality and condition remains good with a few reports of puff and crease starting to show.
Lemons- The lemon crop is peaking on large sizes (115’s & larger). Flex pricing available on these large size. On the small sizes (165’s & smaller), the markets are firm and look to continue to creep higher as fewer small ones come in from the field. Quality is good to excellent in this District 1 crop.
Limes- From Mexico, supplies have been sporadic and unpredictable. With these limited supplies, the markets have been strong and actively headed higher.  Also, there is a large spread in pricing ($8-$10) based on quality.  Most shippers believe this current situation won’t improve until April when supplies are expected to increase.
Good supplies of Italian and yellow squash available in Nogales AZ this week. Quality has substantially improved over the past two weeks and supplies are expected to be steady for the 10 days. Markets have eased up and shippers are looking to move product.
Extremely active market this week. Supplies continue to be light and most of the pressure is being put on desert markets. Colder than normal weather over the past month slowed production and recent rains have delay harvests, extending the demand exceeds supply scenario into the next 10 days. Yuma and Oxnard temperatures are slowing warming, although ground temperatures are still colder than normal. Quality is fair, with some bowing and pith being reported out of multiple regions.
Here come the higher prices we spoke of the last newsletter…Jumbo yellows out of Northwest could reach the $ 12.00 range fob…Red onions will be in the 8-9 range and white onions are in the $50’s. Once Texas starts next week there will be some relief but not enough until California gets started in later April. Hold on! It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
Markets are waxing and waning at this point…there are very low-price deals on odd sizes i.e. Small and Extra Large. The promotion prices are hovering around the $30-$34 range with some deals being made with some deals being made in the high $20’s
With the Culican deal starting to wind down and Oberon not quite started we are going to see much higher prices on Asparagus for the end of the month and the Easter pull…Prices are starting to surface in the low $50’s anon California grass and high $40’s for Mexican.
Supplies were a bit lighter this week from the three main Caribbean Basin shipping points. Potential demand improved with some early spring promotional retail activity, but the promotions proved a bit disappointing as bouts of winter storms continued to move through the country from the Arctic down the West Coast and eastward. Next week supplies are expected to continue to be lower than normal. Caribbean temps are expected to be in the mid 80s with lows in the 60s. Okay but not hot enough to bring forward any waves of product. Quality remained good and sized continued to skew to jbo 9s and 9s. Wintry weather is moderating across the country but temperatures will still be below normal in the Midwest and East, and mild but not hot enough to spur melon consumption in the South and South east, keeping demand tepid. We look for a steady to slightly higher market next week with discounting on the slower trading days.
Honeydew supplies were a bit more robust this week and better weather in Mexico increased supplies from that area. The Caribbean production was steady, which is to say adequate. Quality was good increasing less waste throughout the pipeline which made for an effective supply increase. Demand remained lackluster as we stayed in a wintry weather pattern in the Midwest and East. Next week overall supplies look to be steady with offshore weather warm, but not hot and Mexico warming up, and entering their increased spring crops. Demand will continue to be tepid. We look for a steady to slightly lower market next week with some heavy discounting especially on fruit that is not top notch.
Organic Items
OG Broccoli and Cauliflower
Cauliflower   Weather slowing supplies and pushed prices higher . A return to normal weather should start to push supplies by the weekend although pricing remains elevated, expect better pricing to follow.
Broccoli    Production on broccoli is expected to improve in the desert although a significant portion of production comes from coastal production areas which continue to see weather related issues.  Supplies in Central Valley and the coast have seen extensive amount of rain diminishing quality to the point of not harvesting. Improved weather in the desert will help improve supplies  but quality issues from Northern California growing areas will continue limiting overall volume.  The market is expected to remain volatile through the month and beyond.
OG Herbs & Bunch Greens
Most Herbs and Bunching Green production has been steady but has seen some delays and quality issues with the recent weather. Quality is likely to remain varied as will supplies until a normal weather pattern can be established.
OG Leaf and Iceberg Lettuce
Leaf, Iceberg demand continues to be strong as well as  Romaine.   Wet weather has increased mildew pressure past the point of production , leaving supplies very limited. Improved weather has helped improve supplies but expect volatility for the duration of the Winter season.
OG Citrus
Lemons:   Steady production and improving quality has led to better demand and stable pricing.  Rain has temporarily delayed harvest but hasn’t impacted supplies . other than improving size profile. Expect a higher percentage of fancy, larger fruit available with lighter supplies of the smaller fruit .
Oranges  Navel production has been strong as well as sizing profiles. Rain temporarily slowed harvest but most growers picked ahead in anticipation. with overall supplies expected to be plentiful. The rain will help improve sizing profile and prices to remain competitive.
Limes:  Production has slowed and the market has firmed . Quality remains variable with lower sizing profile .
Grapefruit:  Production continues to be good from the desert and Mexico
Mandarins:  Production  has been strong as well as demand . Prices have been steady  Specialty Citrus including Pummelos, Caras , Bloods and Pixies continue to be available with weather expected to be warmer moving into the weekend.
OG Avocados
Mexico: Production from Mexico continues to be steady with strong demand . Supplies should continue to be good barring any manipulation from growers
California: Season has begun with limited production. Expect supplies to be much lower than previous years.
OG Root Vegetables
Carrot Production has been steady with average supplies . Demand has been very strong. Supplies will remain moderate until temperatures moderate. Continue to plan ahead to get full coverage.
Potato production has finished for the season and remaining supplies will move into storage on Gold, Red and Russets.
Onion demand continues to be good as storage supplies are winding down . Expect supplies to tighten as the Spring crop has been delayed by the cool , wet weather in the West.
OG Asparagus
Mexico: Production from Mexico has begun to improve with temperatures returning to above normal.
California: Season has been delayed by inclement weather but expect supplies to be much lower than previous years.

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