No sooner did we get adjusted to switching from the desert region to Huron, Bakersfield, and Salinas, and we are soon going to switch from Huron to Salinas and Watsonville for our lettuce and leaf needs. This is just about right on schedule for the Spring, and actually we are looking forward to it. Not just from a quality standpoint, but the way the trucks are charging for extra pickups and miles, it will help to have product more “consolidated”.
As we enter into the middle of April, the days are getting longer, nights shorter, and rain and threats of rain diminishing. The next 10 days look wide open, although a bit cooler than normal for this time of year.
Plenty of trucks available, but each company is saying they need more and more money to offset the every rising diesel prices. As we mentioned, these costs are passed on from the truckers to the buyers, to the stores, and ultimately to MRS. CONSUMER.
LETTUCE–Huron is winding down and Salinas is starting up this week. Next week will show even less in Huron and hopefully more supplies in Salinas. Quality is “hit and miss”, with most arrivals showing up okay(knock on wood!). Weights are picking up and overall size is, as well.
The market has been very strong the past week, although we are starting to see some resistance at the retail end, and demand starting to back off.
BROCCOLI–as we mentioned a few weeks ago, the month of April looks like it would be experiencing some product “gaps” with broccoli and cauliflower due to rains in January and February. That is what is happening here. With this, shippers have pushed their prices up the past 2 weeks and are holding strong. Even though demand is not necessarily strong, supplies are remaining light enough to allow the shippers to keep things firm
CAULIFLOWER–strong market, as mentioned above. We see this continuing through this month. We are loading most of our supplies in the Salinas area, although Santa Maria is producing, as well. The desert is all but finished.
LEAF ITEMS–supplies are coming out of the desert, Oxnard, Santa Maria, Huron, and Salinas. That is keeping the markets on red, green, romaine, and boston in an “uncertain” mode. Some areas that are less desirable either for truck or quality sake have had to discount their prices to get some business. The best quality appears to be coming out of Salinas and Huron districts.
CELERY–wide range in price here. The “preferred” labels such as Dole and T&A are commanding more money than the general markets on just about all sizes. The desert is just about finished, which will put us in Oxnard and Santa Maria areas for all of our needs.
STRAWBERRIES–there are LOTS of ads out there. We had a bit of a hot spell in central and Southern California over the weekend, but has since cooled off. Unfortunately, the quality will show up in arrivals starting THIS WEEKEND! We are keeping our fingers crossed that the berries arrive okay, but it is important to know that you must get them in and out as quickly as possible. From a market standpoint, Driscoll is quoting $3-5.00/box MORE than the general quotes. Why? Because they CAN!!
ASPARAGUS–tight supplies and STRONG market. Prices are upwards of $40/box FOB and shippers are getting those prices. Supplies are coming out of Stockton, Lodi,, and Salinas areas.