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January 11, 2019

Market News

Weather Update: A series of storm systems are set to roll into California with rain winds and cooler temperatures forecast into next week. These systems will bring a slight chance of rain to the southwestern desert regions along with warming morning temperatures and an end to the lettuce ice in the region. Cool mornings and mild afternoons look to continue across Central Mexico with isolated showers possible in the higher elevations. Scattered showers and mild temperatures are expected across Northern Mexico as the storm track remains to the north.

Apples: Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, and Honeycrisp are in demand exceeds supply situation. This will continue through to next season crop. Markets are active on these varieties with small low-grade Granny Smith being the most limited. All other varieties are steady. Water core is showing up in the Red Delicious and Fuji’s which is typical for this time of the season. Heavy snow in the area has slowed transportation down to crawl. The forecast is calling for clearing as this week moves on.
Asparagus: The cold weather pattern continues in Caborca Mexico which is pushing back production. We should see better weather and production in about 10-14 days. Ciudad Constitucion has wrapped up production due to weather, and seasonality. Both regions in Peru (Trujillo/Ica) are wrapping up due warm temperatures, and seasonality. The market and demand are very strong with slow production out of Mexico, and Peru wrapping up their season.
Avocado (Mexican) Weather in Michoacán Mexico this week calls for temps in the 80s with some rain in the forecast. We are seeing good/great quality fruit. Cutting great and eating well. The market is a lot stronger this week with prices rising daily. We are a few weeks away from Super Bowl and we can see a higher market with fairly good demand. Reports of good volume on #2 fruit this month. Suppliers recommend locking up volume by this week as sizing and preconditioned fruit will be limited as we approach Super Bowl weekend. California will be harvesting at the end of the month, beginning of February.
Berries (Blueberries) Imported blueberries continue to be readily available from several countries. Distribution points include Miami, Philadelphia, Yuma, Santa Maria, and the LA area. Pricing still fluctuates on all pack styles with the 12/ 6oz clams. The market should continue to be soft due to so many growing areas filtering product into several shippers.
Berries (Raspberries) Raspberries continue to be a hit and miss proposition for many shippers. The product is all Mexican at this point and crossings into from Mexico are getting steadier. The quality is good but there is still the occasional delay at the border causing fill rates to be enacted and a demand exceeds supply situation. This should remain this way through the end of this week.
Berries (Strawberries) The strawberry market continues to be in light supplies in the Oxnard and Santa Maria Ca. Areas as adverse, weather continued to take its toll on both yields and quality. Rains over the weekend totaling 2 inches in some areas caused severe shortages of product on Monday. More weather is expected Wednesday according to the forecasts. The market is steady with very little open market fruit available for sale. The plants in Oxnard are mostly new crop and are handling the rain much better than previous weeks harvest.
Broccoli: The broccoli market has reacted to the recent cold weather and supply has really tightened up with all suppliers. Quality is fair with slight purpling, some mechanical damage, and occasional yellow cast. Look for supplies to continue to be tight going into next week.
Brussels Sprouts The brussels sprouts market has picked up this week with supply being affected by the recent weather. The quality has been affected by the rain and cold weather and sizing tend to run smaller due to this colder weather. Look for the Brussels Sprout market to remain tight going into next week.
Cauliflower: Cauliflower market has really picked up in recent days with the recent freeze in Yuma. Overall, the quality is fair with minor bruising and some yellow cast with weights in the 25 to 28-pound level. Look for this market to continue to stay strong going into next week.
Celery This market is active. Production has begun in Yuma but in a light way. Production numbers are expected to be stronger in this region in about two weeks. The best deals continue to be out of the Oxnard /Santa Maria growing regions. The best sizing available has been in small sizes and this will continue for the week. Common defects to this commodity include bowing, leafy tops, mechanical and insect damage. It is important to note that freezing temperatures were occurring in southern California in past weeks just like in Yuma and Mexico. Yields are down and the markets are expected to be active throughout this week.
Cherries Unlike other import fruit, cherries seem to be steady in supplies. Not a lot of change week over week. Fruit is readily available on both coasts. We have several sizes available. Market prices have come down slightly. Quality is being reported as very good. Demand seems to be very light and shippers are looking for help.
Citrus (Lemons) Lemon supplies have continued to increase each week with markets coming off and suppliers able to offer promotional opportunities. Currently harvesting out of all three districts with the majority coming out of District 3 (Desert crop). The Southern California growing regions are expecting rain this week, but most supplies are packing ahead with good inventory and not expecting any shortages. All regions have a good run on sizes and expected to continue to improve as weather permits.
Citrus (Limes) Lime volumes spiked just before the Christmas break, but packing has been light due to the holidays the last week resulting in tight supplies at the moment at the border. Markets are tight in Mexico as well and the FOB Texas prices are rising due to very limited availability for this weekend. Rains are in the forecast for Veracruz next week. Honestly, no one knows when or if there will be another flush of product hit the market because growers are holding back trying to raise the market. The market could be up or down a week from now. It is a very short cycle supply vs. demand market unless you are on contract. We’ll continue to monitor the market closely.
Citrus (Oranges) California Navels is moving along markets are down with good supplies across the board, plenty of promotable volume and great quality. The pack has been mostly fancy grade and limited choice.
Grapes (Green) With the domestic supplies of green grapes finished, the industry is relying on import fruit to fill demand. Unfortunately, there has been a major set back at the ports of entry on both the east and west coats. Labor shortages, increased demand, and late vessel arrivals are all contributing to the extremely light green grape supply. This week, we have seen 3-4 day delays at the port and we do not expect things to improve for another 5-7 days. Green grapes are especially short due to the fact there is no domestic fruit left. The industry is in a demand exceeds supply situation and market prices are climbing. Shippers are expected fruit to be released gradually over the weekend, but challenges and delayed load times are expected. Flexibility on load dates will be necessary.
Grapes (Red) Domestic availability is just about done. Most shippers are relying on import fruit to fill orders. However, with the strong demand and the complications of delayed arrivals at the port, supplies of red grapes has been very limited this week. Labor shortages at the port of entry have created some major setbacks this week on both the east and west coasts. These delays are stretching out 3-4 days. As a result, supplies have become very limited and market prices are higher. The industry is now facing a demand exceeds supply situation. Some flexibility on loading days will be necessary.
Lettuce Iceberg Demand has picked up in the marketplace for Iceberg. Although temperatures in the growing regions have been better this week, yields are down. Crews have been able to harvest earlier compared to past weeks, but the quality is an issue. Common defects with this crop include blister and peel, puffiness, misshapen heads, lightweights, fringe burn and mechanical. The quality, needless to say, is fair at best. Growers are concerned what kind of damage has been caused to the crop by the past freezing temperatures. Further defects will likely surface 3-4 weeks later. Rains have also been an issue in the growing regions of Yuma. Shippers have also had difficulties having steady crews daily after the holidays. Weights are ranging between 36-42 pounds on palletized. Expect this market to be active throughout this week.
Stone Fruit Import fruit from Peru and Chile has been a challenge in regard to timely arrivals and release from the port. Vessels are being delayed at the port due to labor shortages. As a result, fruit is not being inspected and released in a timely manner. These delays in addition to already limited volumes have caused some supply issues on all stone fruit. This holds true on both the east and west coasts. Shippers are expecting more arrivals of fresh fruit next week and the labor situation to improve. For the next 5-7 days, I expect to continue to see limited availability and higher prices.
Tomatoes (Western) Mexico operations have finished in Baja and Eastern Mexico shifting all western demand to farms growing in mainland Mexico where farmers battle the effects of cool weather which has slowed the start of their season. A week-long cold snap has caused damage to some commodities in Sinaloa Mexico, however, no damages have been reported for tomato crops at this time. Warmer weather in the coming weeks should produce a flush of fruit helping to reduce pricing, however, markets remain steady at this time showing little change from last week.

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