Now that the holidays are over, demand is sluggish. The days are cold, causing slow growth for most items. Desert temperatures remain cool, some nights are below freezing, and as stated before, can result in epidermal peel, blister and discoloration. Demand has not picked up and markets are settling to where they normally are this time of year. We are encouraging our customers to begin thinking about ads, especially with broccoli, cauliflower, head lettuce and romaine.
Plenty of trucks looking for loads. Trucks rates are decreasing slightly, but mostly leveling out due to record high fuel costs. Rates are much higher than last year because of this.
Forecasts show less rain in the coming days, giving us a chance to dry out. Warmer temperatures are expected as well.
LETTUCE — Cold nights are definitely taking their toll on head lettuce, supplies are improving from last week, but we are still seeing quite a bit of epidermal peel, blister peel and discoloration. Most of the problem is on the external leaves, shaving the heads at production and receiving levels has helped, but continue to be aware of these problems that are typical for this time of year.
BROCCOLI — Sharp drops in the market, we saw the broccoli crown price drop by a few dollars overnight late last week and adjustments had to be made. Some discoloration has been found, a result of as little as one or two nights of freeze. As we said before, expect discoloration and make it clear that it is an industry wide problem we are facing at the moment.
CAULIFLOWER — Very similar to the broccoli market, prices leveled out as cost exceeded demand. Cauliflower is very affected by extreme elements, so there have been a few quality problems mostly with discoloration. Shippers are NOT standing behind these problems, as they are also industry wide problems. Some 9s are now available, however supplies are still light, as we are seeing more smaller sized cauliflower, once again, due to cold temperatures in the desert.
LEAF ITEMS– Still showing epidermal peel and other defects. The leaf market has been gradually slowing, warmer temperatures will significantly help growth of romaine, red and green leaf, hopefully the recent cold will be short lived.
CELERY — Still fairly steady, most sizes are ready and available. Production has mostly recovered after last week’s rains in Oxnard and the desert. Expect prices to hold steady for now, production should increase as the temperature warms this week and next. Smaller sizes are more prevalent and shippers are looking to move.
STRAWBERRIES –Berries are trying to make a move but the cold temperatures are holding back production. Santa Maria and Oxnard areas are staying dry, but the cold is still hindering color on the berries. Shippers are not ready to promote just yet, but will have a better idea in the next coming weeks. For now, we just have to wait and see.