Newsletter 6/6/18

The market continues steady with most shippers shipping fresh product. Overall quality is good with some variations in color, weight and appearance due to fringe burn and mildew pressure. Demand has been mild as fruits have taken center stage and transportation has been at a premium.
Mix Leaf
​Romaine and Heart production continues to be managed with many shippers harvesting 50% of their product while others continue full harvest. Demand has started to slowly improve. Labor shortages will avert any potential oversupply. Expect continued variations in quality , availability and price until consumer confidence fully returns.  The Green leaf and Red leaf markets have also retreated, with Eastern regional production getting started.
Brussels Sprouts
Production mostly from Mexico and Southern California​ has slowed allowing for the market to improve. Production from Central Coast is limited, Quality continues to be mostly good with increasing amount of insect damage reported from all districts.
Oxnard is still producing plenty of volume at competitive pricing. High freight costs this week have hampered any hope for better markets this week. Large sizes continue to make up the majority of the volume out of Oxnard. Volume is increasing and keeping up with higher demand for now.  Salinas growing regions should be in full production by the end of this month, and large sizes are expected to be the majority of the volume.
Bell Peppers
Overlapping supplies of Green Bells in the California desert and the Central Valley has allowed for better availability but the market remains strong. The Red Bell production should be heavy for the next couple weeks before lightening during transition North. Quality has been exceptional.
 The California Valencia market is starting to gain momentum and markets are showing signs of getting stronger. There is more demand on small sizes, mostly due to export demand. Quality is good and firm with good color and brix. We should see strong markets continue through this month as weather heats up in the central valley.
It sounds like there will be better availability going into next week. Harvest production out of the Salinas and Santa Maria Valleys are estimated to increase as we head into the middle of June. With that being said prices are expected to decline slightly as we finish up this week. Quality has been fair. Product is still on the branchy side. The domes are nice green color with a medium to large size bead. We are no longer finding any purple or seeing any cateye on the domes which is a positive.
Supplies continue to be plentiful with no end in sight. Salinas and Watsonville production continues with heavy volume and good quality. The weather has been sunny and warm over the last week, promoting growth and pushing crops ahead. We will see a flush of berries become available later this week and push through next week. I expect markets to react accordingly and we will see some aggressive spot buy opportunities for volume orders. Santa Maria production is lighter as the season is slowly winding down. Just a hand full of shippers continue with regular harvest this late in the season. Market prices in Santa Maria have remained steady, and quality is being reported as good.
Supplies are improving in all areas this week. California production has increased in the central valley with good availability on all pack sizes. Quality is excellent, and market prices have adjusted down. On the east coast, North Carolina had an unexpected wave of product come on this week. Mostly Pints being packed in this area, with occasional 6oz availability. Quality is being reported as strong and prices are slightly higher than the west coast. The Pacific Northwest will get started within the next two weeks.
Supplies remain very limited. Mexico continues to trend down on production while California harvest is very slow to start. Although there is some light harvest in Georgia, that product is being sold out of GA and is not enough to supplement the west coast. As an industry, demand is much greater than supply, and we expect to remain in this shortage for another 2-4 weeks as we wait for Salinas and Watsonville production to increase.
Raspberry supplies remain limited this week. Mexico production continues to trend down, and California is slowly ramping up. Although this week’s availability is slightly better than last week, demand is still greater than supply. Shippers expect better supplies as we move forward and the Salinas / Watsonville crops become available. The transition will be slow, but we expect improvements week over week for the next 2-3 weeks.
Shippers are looking to make deals as we finish out the week. There are good supplies coming out of both Santa Maria and Salinas. Quality is good, there is still some cream color domes around but not as prevalent as in weeks past. The occasional soft shoulder can be found as well. Get with your Produce West sales representative to find the correct quality and price.
Production from Mexico continues to be light to moderate although additional supplies from  Northwest and Eastern regional production areas including New Jersey and Michigan are filling demand.  Organic supplies are expected to be tight on limited domestic production..Quality has been excellent.
Production of the heirloom artichoke has peaked on large sizes with still good values on medium sizes. Markets on larger sizes have firmed while deals continue to be available on medium sizes. Take advantage of the superior Heirloom variety. while supplies last.  Moderate supplies of the “thornless” variety continue to be available at reduced pricing.
All producers finally got going as of this week. At the same time, Mexico stopped exporting into US. Sizes continue to peak on jbo and regular 9s but there were a few more 12s available. The extreme heat in the deserts began to take its toll on quality with some growers, but overall quality, condition and brix have remained good. Demand picked up as prices and sizes seemed to loosen up a bit, however distribution was still hampered by tight and expensive transportation. Prices remained steady and even firmed at the lower quoting range, with less deep discounting occurring but the upper end of the quoting range dropped a bit, flattening the price spectrum. Next week we don’t see much change. All growers will be producing. Sizes could abate somewhat as heat causes faster maturity producing smaller sizes. Thus peak sizing could skew more to regular than jbo 9s and there could be more 12s available. Potential demand looks as if it could improve as we enter summer across the country. Other summer fruits are also coming on which could compete for promotional activity, but prices on those commodities should be much higher relative to melons. We look for a steady market next week.
Production finally increased domestically this week, as more growers joined the market. Quality has been good but less consistent than cantaloupes. Mexico production dipped and their pricing rose to come close to domestic quotes. Demand was fairly good. Sizes peaked on 5s and 6s.  Market adjusted a bit on the top end but stayed pretty firm. Next week supplies should increase somewhat as more growers get into the heart of their acreage. Demand could be challenged by increased production; tight and high prices transportation and competition from cantaloupes, soft fruit and grapes. We expect a lower market next week.
Decreased volume has tightened markets industry wide, specifically on Mexican and Coachella product. Production has decreased significantly compared tot this time last year. Perlettes are finishing up and Sugarones are struggling to keep up. Hot weather in Coachella Valley is keeping reds from reaching adequate color. Product is available but limited volume and high pricing. We expect this trend to continue through the rest of the month.
Organic Items
OG Broccoli & Cauliflower
Cauliflower Production has improved as weather returns to near normal. Expect steady supplies through June. Quality has been excellent.  Broccoli  production has been impacted by cooler than normal temperatures but has begun to improve with improved temperatures. Quality is improving with the mild weather.    ​
OG Herbs & Bunch Greens
Most Herbs and Bunching Greens have maintained good production although expect some volatility in supplies throughout the month. The market is expected to stay steady although recent demand diverted from rain soaked Southeast has increased.
OG Leaf and Iceberg Lettuce
​Leaf, Iceberg  as well as Romaine  supplies  continue steady with improved availability and quality.
OG Citrus
Lemons:  The crop has been very good quality with mostly large sizing profile. The market has adjusted on larger sizes but the smaller sizes are expected to remain strong through the month as we see production improve from Southern California district.
Oranges: Valencia’s supplies have improved with increased sizing and sugar profile.  Demand continues strong.Limes: Quality is showing signs of improvement from Mexico and the market continues strong​.​ California production is limited.
Grapefruit:  Supplies have been steady with good quality and demand keeping prices elevated. Sizing profiles have increased.
OG Root Vegetables
Carrot ​Production has been steady but warmer weather in the Central Valley will help improve supplies although advanced notice is still required with current heavy demand .
Potato supplies from California continue steady supplies on Gold and Red with Russets expected to begin by the end of next week.
Onion demand has been good and production is strong as new crop production has begun from Southern California deserts supplementing supplies from Mexico. The market has been strong.
OG Avocados
Mexico: Production from Mexico continues with increased sizing strong demand . Expected steady volume in supplies through the month.
California: California Hass continue with strong demand and elevated pricing compared to imports and other varieties.
OG Melons
​​OG Watermelons  Supplies on seedless are steady.  Quality has been good from Mexico with slightly smaller sizing profile. Availability has improved and the market remains strong with reduced east coast supplies keeping pressure on West Coast production. Coachella has started with excellent quality and brix levels .Mini seedless ​supplies have been limited but look to improve moving forward.
OG Cantaloupes and Honeydews production from California , Arizona desert region is increasing with excellent sizing and flavor profiles.  Honeydews will increase availability by next week.
OG Grapes
Green & Red : Mexico production has begun increasing volume this week with excellent quality.The market has been strong with volume and sizing down ytd from last year. Coachella Valley, which is a little behind schedule, has also begun their domestic crop with limited production but is expected to ramp up in coming weeks as well.

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