Newsletter 5/1/19

Lettuce
Production continues to run mostly heavy with moderate demand. Wide range in quality continues to exist with growers settling into their regular production pattern. Irregular sizing, solidity and color are the most prevalent issues with some insect, growth crack, seeder and/or tipburn visible. We expect supplies to tighten and the market to firm as we enter May with many fields still impacted by Winter weather. Expect volatile markets to continue through May. Production from Southwest New Mexico is a Great source of Iceberg and Romaine as they enter their prime production window with excellent quality.
Mix Leaf
Production continues to concentrate from the Central Coast of California. Demand has been active especially Romaine Hearts. Labor has been an issue to start the season but seems to be settling down allowing for improved production. The market has eased slightly for some shippers while others remain firm. Quality remains varied as most have gone through inclement weather since planting. Fringe burn  and Seeders are the most common issues.  Green leaf and Red leaf prices have firmed with improved demand. Expect volatility to remain with continued uneven supplies distributed among shippers.
Brussels Sprouts
Production from Mexico has begun to prematurely wind down and domestic production will be limited through May. The market has been strong with heavy demand and now severely reduced supplies. Quality has been marginal as well adding to the shortage of product.
Strawberries
The perfect storm of fruit from Oxnard, Santa Maria, Salinas, and Watsonville flooded the market place this week. Too make matters worse we are expecting large volumes of fruit in May and June. Central Mexico has ended their shipments to the US and will fulfill their national market. We should see a short term tightening of supply as we enter the mothers day pull.
Blackberries
Better supplies are expected towards the end of May out of California. Mexico will have steady supplies for the next several weeks. Quality has been good and market pricing should remain consistent.
Raspberries
Conventional Raspberries are tracking slightly lower this week due to lower volumes out of Mexico. California volumes are expected to rise next week and throughout the month of May. Warmer temperature will be needed to see volumes increase.
Blueberries
San Joaquin Production is expected to begin next week and supplies out of Watsonville will be on the rise as well. Supplies out of Georgia will downtrend for the remainder of their short season. North Carolina will begin small numbers next week.
Cauliflower
In the same manner as broccoli we are in a planting gap due to winter rains. Cauliflower was affected more by the rains than broccoli as there is not much available at all and there is heavy demand. Most shippers are telling us that they will not have anything available for the remainder of this week but should start to get some supplies early next week. If you are looking for a pallet or two we should be able to find you something but orders any larger than that are non existent unless under contract. We will keep you posted as more product becomes available.
Broccoli
We are seeing the effect of the winter rains in the Salinas and Santa Maria growing areas as we are currently in a planting gap. It sounds like we will continue in this manner through at least the middle of next week. Demand is fair, much of the business that is taking place is shippers selling to shippers in order to cover contacts. Central Mexico continues to provide some product at the Texas border but it is definitely on the decline and except for a few year around shippers most will be finished within the next 2 weeks. Quality out of California has been good and surprisingly for this time of year the Mexican product is nice as well although it is starting to get a little branchy. We will have limited availability of our Shui Ling crowns for two more weeks.
Artichokes
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 as we get deeper into May. Quality has been excellent especially on the Heirloom variety.
Stone Fruit
This week, California Stone Fruit product is slowly getting starting. By next Monday expect to see increasing volume of peaches (yellow & white) and nectarines (yellow). The growers are also estimating to start Apricots next week. Markets should slowly decline as production increases. By mid-May, production will begin it’s full stride and overall volumes, quality, varieties, and sizes will improve. Chilean plums are still available. Market is steady.
Grapes
The Imported Grape season is winding down. Green Seedless are nearly wrapped up with remaining lots showing high amber and the occasional soft and wet berries. Red Seedless inventories should carry into the new crop making for a smooth transition. Quality remains good with the pricing steady.  The new crop from Mexico and Coachella will get started next week. The growers are forecasting good availability and great quality.   Better volume from Mexico and Coachella is expected the week of 5/20 on both colors.  Ad volume on grapes should be available beginning the week of 5/27 and through nearly all of June out of both regions.
Green Onions
Production continues exclusively from Mexico with ample supplies although we expect to lighten as growers start their reduced Summer plantings. Overall quality remains varied with heavy insect pressure and mechanical damage the main issues seen.
Citrus
Navel Oranges- Markets are slowly moving higher as get into the late variety navels. Supply is peaking on 72/88’s.  113’s and 138’s are limited and will stay that way for the balance of the season. Quality remains good even with the amount of choice graded fruit increasing due to puff.
Lemons- Ample supplies on good quality coming out of the San Joaquin Valley (District 1) peaking on 115’s and larger with aggressive promotional pricing available. Small fruit (165’s & smaller) is tight and markets are continuing to trend upward.
Limes- Supplies on limes are slowly picking up. The crop continues peaking on 200’s and 235’s with the supply limited on 110’s – 175’s.  This size structure is forecasted to continue over the next few weeks.  Markets should slowly decline as production increases.
Asparagus
Production from Mexico has transitioned slightly South for many growers and domestic production remains limited as most shippers are transitioning into the 11 pound cartons. Supplies of the 28 pound cartons  are currently available but will transition to 11 pound cartons next week . The market for Mexican and especially domestic product has firmed as regional production areas around the country are being delayed by weather.
Cantaloupes
The beat goes on for cantaloupes. Demand cooled a bit following the holiday and with the start of fruit and cherries, but the market stayed firm with snug supplies as demand dropped with the Caribbean Basin winding down. Nogales is starting to pickup up production, but there remains legacy resistance to robust demand on Mexican product reaching way back to the first ever foods borne illness scare.  Domestic lopes should be starting next month, but with no volume to speak of until mid May at the earliest. Only one grower I know of will start next week. Sizes continued to run mostly 9s and jbo 9s from Off shore areas, and smaller from Mexico. Caribbean quality remained good, Mexico quality has been variable. Prices have held firm and look to remain so for the next couple of weeks.
Honeydews
Demand slowed after the holiday, but with cantaloupes remaining in somewhat short supply, prices held fairly firm. Caribbean product has begun to wind down with quality there running good and size peaking on 5s and 6s, but with smaller sizes increasing in production. Mexico had variable quality and decent volume with sizes also peaking on 5 and 6s. Next week off shore supplies should continue to diminish. Mexico should increase. Domestic production is still at least a week away. Demand should remain tepid. We look for steady prices with some dealing 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 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 transitioned 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 and Oxnard District has led to better demand and competitive 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 with heavy Cinco de Mayo demand . We expect supplies to improve next week with prices expected to settle as well.  .
Grapefruit:  Production continues steady from the desert and Mexico has begun to slow. Expect the market to firm
Mandarins:  Production  has been steady with good demand . Prices have been steady on  Specialty Citrus including Pummelos , Caras , Bloods and Pixies although supplies are expected to diminish heading into May.
OG Avocados
Mexico: Strong demand with varied supplies and with the approaching Holidays and continued issues at the border added volatility is expected.
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 remains strong although new crop supplies have begun from the desert region and prices should start to settle.

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