Weekly Market Highlights:
The After last weeks extensive weather report, this week I will contain only to the Mid-West – It is cold!
AVOCADO — Alert The weekly limited harvest volumes by many of Mexico’s producing municipalities continues. The reduced volume coming into the US is keeping supplies short and markets firm. The industry still expects this limited harvest to continue through the month, with hopes that come January, these municipalities will resume a normal and steady rate of harvest. Markets look to have stabilized for right now, however they are still high.
ASPARAGUS – The prices are very high, but in spite of that the quality has been very good.
BRUSSELL SPROUTS — Very high prices and tighter supplies remain but are leveling out. Quality is improving. We expect improvement in about 2 to 3 weeks.
BROCOLLI — Supplies are tighter and will remain that way at least for the next couple of weeks due to a planting gap. Quality is generally great. Bunch sizing averages 2-4 per on 14s depending on location and shipper. Stalk sizes are ranging from 25 cents to 50 cent diameters. As far as defects are concerned some spread, cat eye, and purple cast continue being reported.
CARROTS — Due to the heat and rain, we are seeing some quality issues and a shortage on jumbo supplies as well as tables and cellos. This market is improving, but prices are still higher.
CAULIFLOWER – Extreme: Supplies are improving due to less demand and sky-high pricing. Defects include rough curd, irregular sizing, and some yellow cast. Color this past week ranges from off white to white. Weights are ranging from 26 to 30 lbs. on 12’s depending on shipper and field location.
CELERY — Supplies and demand are both steady. Some common defects include bow, flagging, and insect damage.
GREEN ONIONS — Alert We are being told due to a lack of labor, (not out of the holiday mode) there is a tremendous product shortage. We anticipate approximately two weeks. That said, the quality that I have seen has been good.
LETTUCE — Supplies are improved and demand is fair. Any cold snap could cause this market to react. Much of the desert lettuce is showing up with a ribby appearance. Common defects include insect damage, growth crack, fringe burn, and misshapen heads. Weights are ranging in the low 30’s to low 40’s depending on shipper, field location and pack configuration.
LEAF & ROMAINE — Supplies are steady as is demand. As the weather cools though expect a production gap. Occasional seeders and insect damage continue to show up in the southern districts. Fringe burn is somewhat common. Weights are generally 18 to 22 lbs. on red leaf and green leaf with romaine ranging from 34 to 36 lbs. depending on shipper and field location
GREEN BEANS: Good supplies. Prices are unchanged, I think but I did not get new quotes
BELL PEPPERS: Alert We will have limited amount of Green bell in Coachella this week. We are increasing in volume out of Nogales this week with good volume on XL and large. We will have all pack styles available including RPC’s. Red and gold d bells will be limited this week out of Coachella with few supplies coming in through Nogales. Red supply is very tight.
CUCUMBERS: Weak demand is keeping prices stable. Quality ranges from good to very good.
RADISH: Finally, we are past all of the weather issues in Belgrade (South Florida), and we are into new crop radishes. Both the quality and supply side look good.
SQUASH: Weak demand is keeping prices level. Expect markets to decline slowly as the new year begins. Quality is average: scarring is an issue in yellow squash from Florida.
ONIONS: All indications are showing that supplies are significantly shorter than previous seasons. It is likely that we will see pricing remain elevated as demand exceeds supplies. Miss Linda would be quick to let me know – “be careful what you wish for”. Medium and Jumbo seem to have good inventory levels, however larger onions are short in supply. Trucks remain a challenge.
POTATOES: Alert The market is stable. If temperatures dip below 18 degrees, growers will not be able to haul potatoes from cellars to packing sheds, limiting the industry to on-site storage supplies. The 10 day forcast, would suggest, growers may get a little latter start to their day, however temps should be in mid to upper 20’s.
ROUNDS: Alert The round market has remained about the same for the past week. It seems as though more product is becoming available from Florida, which is relieving the pressure on the Mexican crop. Production has started in a very light way in the post hurricane fields in Florida. When production ramps up in the coming weeks, we should see some relief in the market. At this time, quality continues to be excellent from the Florida crop and good from the Mexican crop. Demand has remained pretty consistent over the past few weeks, even with the higher prices. The focus now will be to refill the pipeline.
GRAPE: Alert Grape tomatoes are in very short supply. Cold weather in Florida has put shippers behind on harvest schedules and filling orders. Baja is way down in volume as they are finishing for the year. There is not enough crossing from the mainland part of Mexico to relieve the pressure. There is heavy holiday demand as well. Markets are very strong this week and should remain so into next week as well.
ROMA: Alert Baja, Mexico is finishing for the season. There is a wide range of quality in what is left or what is crossing. Cheaper prices generally represent lessor quality fruit. McAllen crossings are yielding mostly poor-quality Roma’s. Eastern Mexico was hit with cold weather and snow last week, so fruit is showing cold damage and defects. Those types of Roma’s are discounted off of the market for quality Roma’s. The new crop Roma’s from Culiacan, Mexico are starting to trickle into Nogales, Arizona. Most shippers don’t have load volume. Quality looks pretty good. Florida has a few but is generally higher priced than everywhere else.
CHERRY: Alert Supplies are short, but the market is stable. They are shorter out West than in the East. Demand is not great, but since the supply is so short, the market is staying at higher levels.
APPLES / PEARS: Alert Red Delicious, Goldens, Granny Smith and my favorite Honey Crisp continue to have good availability. The other varietals have also been steady. Demand has been light, which may have something to do with schools being out.
STRAWBERRIES: Alert Supplies remain tight but are steady. Quality has improved compared to last week with heavy winds causing havoc. Currently common defects include bruising (some heavy), over ripe insect damage, burnt calyx, and occasional white shoulder.
Lemons: Alert The lemon market is very active. Harvesting both district 1 & 3. Fruit is peak- ing 140 & larger, very few 165 & 200. This market is firming up, desert crop volume is lighter than normal. I am thinking we could see the current high pricing well into the end of January and into February.
ORANGES: Market is starting to firm up as fair supplies are available. Sizes peaking on 56-72- 88. Quality is getting better as the temps are cooling off. The market remains active on 113s/138 both grades. Small fruit will be in short supply all season long.
Limes: supplies are steady. Demand has been consistent, and market prices have in- creased slightly this week. Quality overall has been good with consistent sizing and color. If you run a produce department or a bar, my voice of experience – do NOT run out, it gets ugly.
GRAPES: Alert (Green) There is good supplies of green seedless. (Red) Red seedless are very active as limited quantities of good quality fruit are commanding a premium. he do- mestic red grape season is winding down. Quality on the late season reds has been suspect with many lots of off color and marginal condition. This has reinforced the split in pricing be- tween the imported red grapes and the domestics. It appears now that despite adequate sup- plies on the domestic side of things we will continue to see much higher prices on the imported fruit. It appears to us that this market will maintain its’ strength well into the month of January.
Cantaloupe: Honey Dew — Even though the market’s on both cantaloupes & honeydew have gotten thru stronger, there are still good supplies with a decant run of sizes. Mexico should be done on cantaloupes by end of this week with honeydews still going into the New Year. Guatemala melons on both cantaloupes & honeydews will increase on the West Coast each week Quality is mixed on cantaloupe, whereas honeydews are mostly very good.
WATERMELONS: Alert We continue to see challenges in both supply and quality as markets have advanced to FOB’s we have not seen in many years. As we continue to cross from Mexico, we are seeing few supplies however shippers are advising we should have improved production next week.
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