The next 5 days or so will be the FIRST extended warm spell we have had this year in California. What does this mean? For starters, it should bring on more strawberries, where up to this point, have been slowed for weeks by below normal temperatures. Also, this should help with tree fruit, melons, and grapes that need a shot in the arm for Memorial Day and beyond. This warming trend is certainly welcome overall, since we have had a record cold Spring.
No change in the truck picture. Even thought there are plenty of trucks, the continual rising fuel costs has got a death grip on the trucking industry, as well as our economy. As we have said in previous bulletins, we are currently paying as high as $2000 MORE for trucks to the East coast , than this time last year, and we haven’t even started the Summer fruit season. While we could see record rates, we ALSO see more trucks and truckers getting into the business for the Summer. Hey, if there is money to be made, more people will get in the business!
Long range weather shows record HIGH temperatures coming into California the next 5 days, then cooling off to more normal.
LETTUCE–shippers are trying to get this market up, but aren’t having much luck. Not much interest in lettuce right now. Most stores have been advertising lettuce non stop, and are looking forward to “fruit” salads, which are just getting started.
BROCCOLI–this market has picked up a bit after hitting the bottom the past 2 weeks. Still, there are shippers looking for business this week, and we don’t think prices will go up too much more than where they are now. Quality is nice on 14s, 18s, and crowns.
CAULIFLOWER–the cooler weather we had last week slowed down growth and production and allowed the shippers to push their prices upward. We are now getting strange calls from some shippers who are looking for business, so we could see a WIDE range in price by this weekend, depending upon the label. We could see as much as a $5.00/box SPREAD in price on 12 size.
LEAF ITEMS–there is PLENTY of red, green, and romaine in either Santa Maria or Salinas. Prices continue to be flat and we don’t see any change this week.
CELERY–BIG problems out here with celery. Oxnard and Santa Maria, which are basically the only 2 areas going, are battling seed stem. We are hearing as much as 50% crop loss. Even the celery that IS being packed is showing seeders. The shippers are QUOTING their product with seed stem, so EXPECT IT. It doesn’t deter from the quality, just makes it unattractive. Celery is going to be a battle for the next 4-6 weeks, or at least until Salinas gets started in early July. With the high freight rates, $35-40 on the East coast is going to be the norm.
STRAWBERRIES–supplies have been a problem for the past month or so because of the cold weather we have had. But, the warming trend expected the next 5 days or so has GOT to help bring on supplies. Driscoll continues to pro rate 50% and higher on their supplies, but this welcomed warming trend should help even them.