Newsletter 4/17/19

Conventional Items

Transition continues with the Desert in the rear view mirror and production areas concentrating in the Interior Central Valley and Coastal California. Demand continues to be moderate as prices remain elevated. Quality remains varied in all production areas with irregular sizing, solidity and color prevalent otherwise no major quality defects. Some shippers are offering incentives to load one district or another but best quality pricing remains firm. Expect volatile ( both directions) markets during the Spring transition as many fields are pushed behind or pulled ahead from weather interruptions and varied cultural practices.

Mix Leaf
Romaine production is transitioning from the desert to Central Coastal California. The market has been active with good demand especially Romaine Hearts where shippers are still establishing crews and machinery which along with mostly cool Spring weather is limiting production. Quality remains varied in the newer production areas as most have gone through stressful Winter weather.  Green leaf and Red leaf prices have rebounded along with Romaine as overlapping production areas diminish . Expect volatility to remain with continued uneven supplies distributed among shippers.

Brussels Sprouts
Production mainly from Mexico continues steady The market is strong with growing demand for Easter. Expect  demand to continue to build through Easter Holiday season and likely beyond.

The Easter pull has ended and demand has subsided. Growers are now shipping from multiple locations including Oxnard, Santa Maria, Salinas and Watsonville. Limited labor resources will be the norm the rest of the week. Long waits and difficulties getting loaded at the coolers are to be expected. Look for the market to ease off as we move closer to Easter weekend and the inevitable lull in buying occurs just prior to it. The quality is good out of all districts with an occasional overripe and bruising being reported out of Oxnard. Good promotable numbers should be available for the next three weeks and beyond.

Mexico continues to be the main production area. Quality has been good and the market remains firm. The blackberries have also been subject to the same logistical issues that exist for all mixed berries at this point. Look for the market to remain steady through the end of the week with lower undertones as we approach the final days of Easter.

Raspberries are still active as we wait for production to start locally on the West Coast. All production is currently coming out of Mexico and transportation has been an issue not only in Mexico internally but with transfers after crossing into the States as well. The fact that many workers are currently celebrating Holy Week leading up to Easter is not helping the situation as we typically see a significant reduction in labor availability both in the fields and at the borders through the week in Mexico. Quality has been good with the occasional older fruit showing some issues upon arrival. Look for markets to remain firm through the end of the week.

Blueberry supplies are beginning to increase with good quality fruit coming from Central Mexico, Florida, and Georgia at the same. The market is easing off and trending lower as we see these areas compete for market share. The quality has been good and there are promotional opportunities in the next few weeks leading up to Mothers Day.

Harvest volume has lightened as we head into plantings that were disrupted due to winter rains. Prices and demand have increased over the last couple of days. 9 and 12 size seem to be somewhat limited, there is good availability and cheaper deals to be had on 16’s.  Quality is good, mostly white color with the occasional soft shoulder.

 Good availability out of Santa Maria and Salinas. Mendota, CA shippers will finish up for the season early next week. There has not been much in the way of price fluctuations over the last two weeks and that does not look to change anytime soon . Expect markets to remain at current levels through next week. Quality out of these growing areas has improved but you will still find some purple domes and spreading of the domes. Central Mexico continues to limp along as they wind down their season. The quality out of there has been fair, purple domes, heavy bracketing and uneven domes are the norm.

Production continues steady with improving demand especially on the Heirloom variety.  Most varieties currently are seeded or Thornless. at reduced prices but still strong demand. Production continues towards larger size profile as the weather improves. Expect medium sizes to increase by the end of the month. Quality has been excellent especially on the Heirloom variety.

Stone Fruit
On the Import season, nectarines and peaches are done while plums are still available on limited supplies with the sizing continuing on the large sizes. California’s earliest stonefruit fields are now forecasted to start harvesting between April 25 and 29.  White and yellow peaches will be first to harvest followed by apricots and then yellow nectarines a few days later.  Going into May, we should see better volume and quality as well as more varieties and size options. Domestic plums are expected to start in late May.

Chilean imported grapes continue to tighten up as we come to the end of the season. Market prices continue to creep higher. On the quality side, red seedless continue to be good with green seedless exhibiting soft, wet berries with early signs of decay.  We expect Mexico and Coachella to start by mid-May with shipping promotable volumes later. Most Mexican growers say that we won’t see any meaningful, promotable volume until the third week of May.

Green Onions
Mexico is in full production and the market has bottomed out. Most shippers have significant inventories and looking to move while some have been packing to order and keeping product fresh. Overall quality has improved but be wary of aging related issues. We anticipate market to start to firm based on supplies and Labor shutdown during Holy week. Expect supplies to surge back by the end of the month.

Navel Oranges- Steady as we go going into next week on supplies and pricing.  Peaking on 72/88’s with ample supplies available on all sizes other than 138’s.  Lots of promotional opportunities through the rest of April. Navels are brixing 13.5 and higher.  The amount of choice vs fancy is picking up. As mentioned previously, many lots are exhibiting and increase in puff and scarring.  As the weather warms up, look to transition to the summer varieties to avoid issues with puffy navels.

Lemons- No changes expected in the coming week.  Good supplies on good quality coming out of the San Joaquin Valley (District 1). Peaking on 115’s and larger. There has been and will continue to be aggressive deals on the large sizes making for a good time to go on ad. On the smaller sizes, the market will continue to be holding at these higher for the next week on 165’s and smaller. The market on on 165’s and smaller will continue to trend higher.

Limes- With a limited harvest due to the Easter Holiday and border delays, limes will be tight for the near term.  The crop is currently peaking on size 230s and 250s. Please book ahead 3 days or more to insure getting covered. Looking further out, the growers are expecting a strong market through the Cinco de Mayo pull.

Good supplies crossing into Nogales, Az. Markets are strengthening slightly, but supplies are expected to remain consistent through the remainder of this month. Quality is nice on most varieties.

This red hot market is showing no signs of slowing down. Pricing is even stronger than last week. A demand exceeds supply scenario remains through the week and next. With desert production finishing there is even more pressure on central coast production. Quality is only minimal, and defects include pith, bowing and high seeder. We expect strong markets through this month and into May.


According to my sources the really good shippers will start to wind down toward the end of the week of the April 29th. With the springtime temperatures becoming prevalent in most of the country, Onions will start to sprout in transit and on arrival. We will see greening on the interior of the onions as a sprout heads to the top. With the NW fading and the Texas deal struggling to keep up with demand, we might see a decent market for the California fresh deal to finally be in double digits to start.

The Cal deal will start at the end of next week and building to volume the week of the 29th. According to most shippers I’ve talked to there will be less Onions than last year and volume depleted more by seeders from the cold weather this winter. Th e over all volume will be down 20-30%…but that remains to be seen. New Mexico will be right on the heels of Cal so it should be interesting.

Sweet Onions from Georgia are shipping and are in the low 20’s with the Texas sweet in good demand. Vidalia’s will be starting in the next week or so and Texas will be in the rearview mirror.

Markets are waxing and waning at this point…there are very low-price deals from certain shippers that, apparently didn’t take enough ad business. The promotion prices are hovering around the $30-$34 .

The above is what I wrote two weeks ago. What a blood bath this has been. The Mexican gush of product, has overshadowed the California product, but that’s about to change. That smell that exists in most warehouse cooler now is the receivers stuck with asparagus. No doubt there will be some dump certificates issued. California will be in charge for a couple of weeks until the Washington deal takes off…then there’s Indiana, Michigan and New Jersey that will take center stage for about 5 weeks.Espect California pricing to be in the $50.00’s for 28/1’s and low $20’s on 11/1’s. Oregon will be about $5.00 cheaper on 11/1’s.

As expected the last two weeks cantaloupes have risen in price. That looks to continue again next week. Demand picked up the last couple of weeks due to the holiday and seasonal warm up across the country. The Holidays will be ending, but the weather will continue its march through spring. At the same time supplies from the Caribbean Basin are diminishing as areas move into their last fields. Quality has been good, sizes are still peaking on jbo 9 and 9s then 12s. 15s are few and far between. Mexico should start in a small way toward the end of next week and quality there is also looking good. Domestics will start in a very small way the first 10 days of May. However plantings are light in the domestic desert regions. Growers are planting less due to white fly threats for other crops and after going through a few years of anemic markets. We look for a strong and active market most of next week with possible faltering the week after next depending on newer areas volume when they kick in.

It was another unchanged week for honeydews. Offshore supplies were ample, if variable in quality with #2 fruit selling an hefty discounts. Sizes peaked on 5 and 6s count with some jbo 5s and virtually nothing smaller off shore. Mexican supplies were also ample with good quality and peaking on 5 and 6s as well. Demand was steady and lackluster as most melon buying was focused on cantaloupes. Next week Offshore supplies should be ample again at least until the following week. Mexico should prick up supplies as they get further into spring production. Domestic is about three weeks off. We look for a steady market on honeydews next week.

Organic Items

OG Broccoli and Cauliflower
Cauliflower   Markets have been pushed higher A return to warmer weather pattern should start to push supplies although pricing remains elevated due to limited production and weather related interruptions during the growing season in Northern California.

Broccoli  Production on broccoli has fully transitioned North with adequate supplies are available and steady market.

OG Herbs & Bunch Greens
Most Herbs and Bunching Green production remain varied with some quality issues affecting supplies but improved weather should help improve quality. Expect supplies to remain unstable as they grow through quality issues related to late Winter and Spring weather.

OG Leaf and Iceberg Lettuce
Leaf, Iceberg & Romaine demand continues to be strong  Production is transitioning North which will keep supplies limited as weather has been mild in Northern California. Expect volatility for the duration of the Spring season.

OG Citrus
 Lemons:   Steady production and improving quality from the Central Valley District has led to better demand and mostly stable pricing.  Expect a higher percentage of fancy, larger fruit available with lighter supplies and firmer prices of the smaller fruit .

Oranges  Navel production has been strong as well as sizing profiles. Rain has sporadically interrupted harvest but overall supplies are strong. The rain has helped improve sizing profile and prices to remain competitive although smaller sizes will remain limited.

Limes:  Supplies remain limited and pricing continues to be strong  from Mexico. Issues at the Border along with Holy Week closures will further impact supplies and prices .

Grapefruit:  Production continues steady from the desert and Mexico has begun to slow. Expect the market to firm

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 vary throughout California production areas

OG Avocados 
Mexico: Strong demand with lighter than expected supplies has pushed prices higher and with the approaching Holidays and the threat of a border closure has added to the volatility.

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 improving supplies . Demand has been very strong. Continue to plan ahead to get full coverage.

Potato production has been slow to start but should start to ramp up on Gold, Red and Russets as the weather improves.

Onion demand exceeds as supplies remain tight as the Spring crop has been delayed by the cool, wet weather in the West but should improve in coming weeks.

OG Asparagus
Mexico: Production from Mexico has been extended further than anticipated leading to additional supplies for the Easter Holiday and keeping prices competitive.

California: Limited supplies have started with elevated pricing keeping demand limited but expect demand to improve as quality and supplies diminish from Mexico.

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