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March 14, 2018

Market News

Weather Update: The cool, wet pattern will continue out west through next week as a series of storms systems sweep into California. A cut-off low-pressure system is forecast to form off the Southern California coast early next week. There is a strong flooding concern in the Ventura/Santa Barbra region due to the massive wildfires in the area this year. The Southwestern Deserts along with Northern Mexico will see a cool down, strong winds and a slight chance of rain as these systems pass to the north. Persistent high pressure continues over Central Mexico with above-average temperatures into next week.

Avocado (California) California is harvest is picking up, and weekly volumes are anticipated to increase through the month. Expected rains this week and next could limit some harvest in some areas. We still see a good portion of fruit being sold to overseas export.
Avocado (Mexican) Mexico’s harvest and shipment volumes are steady. This is expected to be the same in the up week’s. Size remains skewed heavily toward smaller fruit and grade 2 fruit. We are expecting this trend to continue through March. 48s and larger sizes remain on the tighter side of supply. Eating quality is very good, and fruit is ripening evenly.
Blueberries: Chile is expected to finish in the next two weeks, Mexico is over their peak and is gradually declining, while Baja, California and Florida ramp up. Availability may become limited for the next couple of weeks as we transition production areas, then we will recover quickly the first part of April. Pint availability will be minimal during this time. Georgia production is expected to start in the next 4-5 weeks. Quality has been good, with some instances of small and soft fruit from Chile. Market prices have been increasing on the Mexican harvest as the quality is stronger, but has remained steady on Chilean fruit. We expect to see a jump in prices as we transition into domestic harvest over the next couple weeks, then gradually taper off.
Raspberries: Raspberry production is expected to remain light but steady into April. Then we should see an increase as the California growing regions ramp up. Quality has been good, and the fruit is eating really well. We did see a slight increase this week in pricing, but we anticipated markets to stay steady for the next 3-5 weeks until production picks up domestically.
Strawberries: The rain that hit the California growing regions over the weekend was not as severe as anticipated. Yields were better than expected and fruit was readily available in the front part of the week. However, the forecast is calling for more rain as the week moves forward. We do expect supplies to possibly get snug by the weekend. Florida also did not get affected by weather this weekend, and growing conditions have improved this week. Most shippers are expecting harvest to come to an end over the next week, but we may see some try to push through the end of the month. Mexico harvest is done for all but Driscoll’s, as they are in higher elevation land. We expect supplies to be available through April. Overall, quality has been fair in all regions. We are seeing some occasional bruising and soft berries. With more rain in the near future for California, we may see a decrease in quality over the next couple weeks. Market prices have remained fairly steady in all locations. We may see some slight increases in Oxnard and Santa Maria over the next week.
Broccoli: The broccoli market is finally showing some relief. The severe weather in the northeast and increased supplies from the Salinas growing region has created a downward trend in the market. Quality has also improved in all growing regions with minimal yellowing or dehydration.
Cauliflower: The cauliflower market is finally declining after weeks of extremely higher than normal prices. Supplies are increasing out of Salinas, while Yuma finishes their season. This has been coupled with extreme weather in the northeast curtailing demand as well. Quality has improved in the Salinas growing region with good weights, minimal bruising / brown spotting, and vibrant white color.
Cilantro: Cilantro supplies continue to be limited from all growing regions. Yuma is finishing up their season. Mexico is still dealing with the after effects of the freeze. Oxnard and Santa Maria are trying to fill the void with little success. Quality is fair at best with freeze damage from Mexico, yellow to brown leaves in other growing regions. The market is active and looks to trend that way into next week.
Limes: Limes continue to be a moving target this week. More rain is expected in Mexico by the weekend, so growers are jumping in and harvesting whatever sizes are available between storms. This is leading to an overabundance of some sizes while other sizes remain very tight. These situations also cause unstable markets as we may see a push on a particular size for a few days, then prices shoot back up. Unfortunately, this will continue to be the case until Mexico experiences some consistent weather. We expect things to improve by the end of March.
Grapes (Green) The green grape market is stable with moderate supply. Volume is stable with product available in storage. There are a wide variety of sizes and varieties available. Quality will be constantly good for the remainder of the Chilean season.
Grapes (Red) The red grape market is stable with available product. Volume is stable with product available in storage. There are a wide variety of sizes and varieties available. Quality is slowly getting better and more consistent, as low-quality red grapes have finally moved out of the marketplace. Quality should remain good for the remainder of the Chilean season.
Tomatoes: An unexpected turn in the tomato market has occurred this week as Mexico suffers a bit of a supply gap boosting prices up off the floor from where they have sat most of the year. Mexico has boasted such tremendous supply over the past several months that many farmers are now abandoning older fields to cut losses choosing to wait for new areas to begin. It may be 2 to 3 weeks before we see prices ease off to the mandated minimums again. Until then, the buying market will look to imports as the cheaper alternative at a time when overall supply is declining. Rounds will continue to strengthen in price if the Florida market is strong. Roma tomatoes have tightened up quickly over the past couple of days resulting in a jump of $5 already. Lighter yields of Cherry and grape tomatoes are being realized as well, which in turn, has led to a stronger market as well. It is reasonable to expect this trend to continue into April when Spring transition provides for a new bounty of fruit.

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