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MARKETS AND TRENDS

Peruvian sweet onion volume to show uptick this season
Exports of Peruvian sweet onions may grow by as 10 percent during the 2014-15 season. In late July, Miguel Ognio, chief executive officer for KeyPerú S.A., attributed the increase to increased land in production. According to Ognio, approximately 7,400 acres (3,000 hectares) of sweet onions were planted this season. The expansion is primarily occurring in Arequipa,... Read more
New York apple growers geared up for a second fabulous crop
"We convened on a conference call with our members across the state on July 25," Julia Stewart, spokesperson for the New York Apple Association headquartered in Fishers, NY, told The Produce News. They forecasted then that crop would be 30 million bushels, just slightly above our average of 29.5 million but not as high as our 2013 crop which was estimated at... Read more
Tomato market strong, enters typical August scenario
It happens every year. August is the month that every homeowner with a garden becomes a tomato farmer, and many small farmers come out of the woodwork to supply their local farmers’ markets with an abundance of round red tomatoes or even heirloom varieties. “We call it the dog days of August and this year we are starting to experience it a little early,” said... Read more
Garlic prices expected to stay generally strong
With a similar acreage planted to last year and normal yields expected, the 2014 California garlic crop should be up a little from last year, when yields were off somewhat, according to Bill Christopher, president of Christopher Ranch LLC in Gilroy, CA. At the same time, the amount of Chinese garlic in the market this year should be down, as China has a lighter... Read more
New York state’s apple harvest is anticipated to get under way Aug. 15, right on schedule, and growers are expecting this year’s crop to be a strong encore to last year’s vintage yield. Meanwhile, an all-new consumer website dedicated to New York state apples offers variety information, recipes and locator maps to help find local apples. Apple growers from across... Read more
Peach harvest in southwest Michigan is under way. “A few are in now,” said Barry Winkel, the partner and general manager of Benton Harbor, MI-based Greg Orchards & Produce Inc. The volume will grow in the last days of July. Red Haven peach harvest will begin from this area in the first week of August, Winkel said. Southwest Michigan’s peach trees were... Read more
Weather takes toll on 2014 Rocky Ford cantaloupe volume
Despite some recent hail storms and difficult spring weather in southwestern Colorado, Rocky Ford cantaloupe producers are expecting to harvest an overall volume of the signature fruit that is comparable to last season. "Our business is 100 percent dependent on weather," said Michael Hirakata, chairman of the Rocky Ford Growers Association and general manager... Read more
California growers expect large crop of quality grapes, despite challenges
It is not easy being a farmer anywhere, and it has certainly not been easy in recent years to be a grape grower in California in the face of a plethora of challenges, ranging from drought exacerbated by government-imposed limitations on agricultural water use to rising labor costs and a maze of ever-intensifying regulatory pressures. Yet thus far, California... Read more
San Luis Valley 2014 spud acreage increased, fingerlings on the rise
ALAMOSA, CO — With potato acreage up 8.5 percent over 2013’s numbers, Colorado Potato Administrative Committee Executive Director Jim Ehrlich responded optimistically when asked recently about the 2014 San Luis Valley crop. The annual flyover took place during the week of June 16, and Ehrlich said the official acreage number was set at 54,200, compared to 49,700... Read more
In Ventura County, north of Los Angeles, lemons and avocados often compete for the same ground, and many growers produce both crops. For a good portion of the spring and early summer, those two crops also competed as to which had the higher f.o.b. prices. But as the summer wears on, both markets are expected to come off their highs, though they should remain... Read more
2014 Jersey Fresh peach season shares in long, historic tradition
Since the 1600s generations of New Jersey family farmers have been growing peaches, making Jersey Fresh peaches the original locally grown fruit long before “carbon footprints” or “food miles.” For hundreds of years the New Jersey tradition for peach growing excellence has continued and the best peaches then are still the best peaches now. New Jersey can make... Read more
Water is Colorado's wildcard
There's nothing black and white about conditions in Colorado where water is concerned. But Colorado State Engineer Dick Wolfe said it isn't hard to characterize the situation. "It's a tale of two extremes," he told The Produce News. "We are way above average in the northwestern part of the state. In the Southwest, it's clearly a different story." Wolfe said... Read more
Michigan crops looking good, despite being late due to cold weather
Like so much of the United States, the winter and spring in Michigan was long, cold and wet. These factors have delayed production in the state, but fruit and vegetable growers alike indicated that their fresh products will be in good condition. Some vegetables, such as radishes, were shipped as early as May and early June. As the calendar turns to July, Michigan... Read more
New Mexico kicks off  an early onion season
Onion production is ramping up for New Mexico’s 17 shippers. “Many of those are also growers, while other growers broker their onions,” said Katie Goetz, public information officer for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture. Onion movement began early this year. “The shipping season started in mid-May this year and will run through late August for the most... Read more
“Overall, Chilean citrus exports are set to fall in 2014 due to the effects of last September’s freeze and a drought in the IV region,” Karen Brux, manager of marketing and promotions for the United States and Canada for the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association in San Carlos, CA, told The Produce News. “However, not all varieties are expected to decrease.” Brux,... Read more
California garlic crop normal with good quality, Chinese crop down
With the harvest of both California and Chinese garlic under way, industry sources say that the California crop appears to be good quality with similar acreage to last year, while Chinese production is expected to be down about 7 percent due to slightly reduced acreage and slightly lighter yields following a huge 2013 crop. “I just got a report that the first... Read more
Retailers will be pleased to learn that fresh blueberry supplies from the Pacific Northwest are expected to be of strong volume and high quality. Comments from two of the region’s growers summarize these expectations for a successful season. “Blueberries continue to be highly sought after,” said Suzanne Wolter, director of marketing for Rainier Fruit Co. in... Read more
New York looking at outstanding back-to-back apple seasons
As old and new apple crop seasons dovetail each other, insights from the orchard show a bright future for New York's industry. "Last year, we had an excellent crop, a full crop, one of the largest crops in history," said Jim Allen, president of the New York Apple Association in Fishers, NY. "Pricing was OK. Quality and packouts were good. We're still selling... Read more
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's forecast of the 2013-14 Florida orange crop decreased 6 million boxes to 104.3 million boxes. While early-mid varieties accounted for 53.3 million boxes, Valencias dropped 6 million boxes to 51 million boxes. "This decrease is about what we expected with the continuing effects of HLB, or citrus greening so we are not surprised,"... Read more
Early start, smooth transition seen for San Joaquin Valley grapes
The spring grape deals out of Sonora, Mexico, and California’s Coachella Valley both got off to an early start this year and are expected to finish earlier than usual for most varieties, but grape shippers anticipate a smooth transition from those districts into the San Joaquin Valley as the early vineyards in the San Joaquin are also ahead of schedule. “At... Read more