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November 14, 2018

Market News

Weather Update: High Pressure continues out west with cool mornings and warm afternoons across the region. In Southern California strong winds continue to push devastating wildfires thorough the region as winds begin to taper off the latter part of the week. The dry air brigs cold mornings from Central Mexico into the southwestern desert regions. Morning lows begin to warm through the rest of the week. A frontal system moves through Florida today with periods of rain mainly in the northern half of the state. Cold air behind this system will bring the coolest temperatures of the season with low to mid 30s expected in the coldest inland areas in the northern part of the state.

Asparagus: The weather in Southern Baja (Constitucion) is starting to cool down, and we should see production decrease in the next couple of weeks. Demand has increased this week with the holiday pull. Weather, and production are excellent in both growing regions in Peru (Trujillo/Ica). Boat volume from Peru has increased with airfreight increasing due to lack of airspace in the region. Markets on both coasts are up with the Thanksgiving demand this week, we should see prices level off next week with the holiday rush wrapped up.
Avocado (Mexican) Weather in Michoacán Mexico calls for some rain this week with temps in the 80s. We are in week three of no harvest as suppliers have cleaned up and depleted inventories. The USDA has not quoted pricing as of last week. Reports of harvest starting up tomorrow Wednesday the 14th. It is still unknown if the strike is officially over. If the harvest starts up tomorrow, not sure if the rain will be another setback to the harvest. The avocado pipeline is officially dried up as there is no fruit to be had.
Berries (Blackberries) Blackberry supplies have improved greatly week over week. Mexico is the primary source of production and that fruit is working its way through every distribution channel. McAllen has the most available fruit and so we are seeing some aggressive prices being offered to move volume. California and the east coast is a little more expensive as the fruit is being transferred to cover demand. We will have promotional opportunities for the next 2-3 weeks.
Berries (Blueberries) Blueberries made big improvements last week. Supplies have certainly improved and prices are lower. On the east coast, in particular, shippers have seen a flush of fruit arrive via boat and plane. These import blues are coming from Peru, Argentina and now light volume from Chile. Most of the inventory is in Miami and prices have dropped this week with plenty of aggressive prices available for spot buy opportunities. On the west coast, we are seeing better supplies of Mexican fruit as well as some South American fruit in Los Angeles. Market prices on the west coast continue to be higher than the east coast but have also come down from weeks past. Quality is being reported as strong in all areas. We expect to see continued improvements in all areas moving forward.
Berries (Raspberries) Raspberry supplies are good. As we phase out of domestic production and focus primarily on Mexican fruit, we can expect to see improved supplies and quality. Mexico is gradually building up momentum and that fruit is making its way to McAllen, Oxnard, Yuma, and the east coast. Quality is being reported as strong and market prices have been steady. Promotional opportunities will be available over the next 2-3 weeks.
Berries (Strawberries) Strawberry supplies have come to a sudden and unexpected halt this week. The industry was hit with a major drop in strawberry production that started over the weekend and has now lasted through the front part of the week. This was a direct result of the wildfires that have invaded southern California. Unfortunately, the situation is more severe than anticipated and supplies will be affected for the remainder of the week. The winds have not subsided and the fire continues to spread. As a result, the air quality continues to diminish and the county officials have ranked it “unhealthy”. Shippers are canceling harvest and workers are not showing up. This is having a major impact on the volume of fruit being harvested and production is down 20-30%. Because of the delays in harvest and decreased production, we can expect to see limited supplies of strawberries in all California loading locations. Shippers are warning of possible fill rates on market fruit and are advising of long wait times at the coolers as a result of limited production, same day harvest, and increased demand. Market prices have jumped up in all areas and will remain firm until we get past this rough patch.
Cauliflower: Cauliflower market has become extremely tight. Growers in Salinas are trying to stretch the acreage they have to finish off the Salinas season. Sizing in Yuma has been slow with the colder weather. Shippers anticipate Cauliflower yields to be low next week as they start Yuma with sizing leaning towards the 16 count. Overall, the quality has been good 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.
Citrus (Oranges) California Navels season is moving along good supplies across the board, plenty of volume to promote. Larger size fruit is slightly improving, small fruit is still currently the focus. We continue to see an 88/113/138 size. Exterior fruit color is okay for early fruit, cooler weather is helping bring natural color in the field and bringing gassing levels down. Brix averages are 10-11. The 56s and larger fruit will remain limited for a few months. Valencia’s are done harvesting for the season. Satsuma Mandarins are coloring up nicely, and sizing up. Delite Mandarins have started this week peaking on 36/40. Plenty of Pummelos available sizing and quality look great.
Tomatoes (Western) Crops are transitioning in the west from California to Baja and Eastern Mexico where crossing are limited this week. Round and roma tomato markets are increasing as farms struggle to work through damaged crops and reduced yields. Grape tomatoes remain at elevated pricing as supply and quality have worsened in recent weeks from rain and cool temperatures brought from hurricane systems. There is a wide range in quality across all varieties at this time correlating with pricing, where premiums may be required for consistent quality and condition in pack outs. If eastern Mexico experiences a bloom drop this week from forecasted freezing temperatures at night, it is reasonable to expect escalated pricing through the rest of 2018 when Mainland Mexico begins harvesting Winter programs.

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