MARKETS AND TRENDS

The total California strawberry acreage reported for 2015 is 37,438, which represents about a 3 percent decrease from last year, but that may not result in less volume. Newer varieties tend to yield better than older varieties, and weather factors can easily affect volume by much more than 5 percent. Because of the mild winter and relatively dry spring, California... Read more
Shorter sweet onion supplies out of Mexico and Texas and consistency issues in both deals have the Vidalia onion deal set up for a promising season that could begin for some growers as early as the second week of April. “We’re having a really crazy time with these Mexican onions, it’s been hard to keep supply and the quality has been spotty. Texas is going to... Read more
In mid-March, strawberry growers in California’s Watsonville district were just beginning to pick fruit and join their brethren from Southern and Central California in the business of providing strawberries to all corners of the United States. Mexico and Florida have increased their respective production in the winter months and are very important producers... Read more
California avocados 2015 — more fruit, earlier and bigger
For the 2015 season, the California avocado industry has hit the trifecta in terms of positive attributes. The crop is about a month earlier, there will be about 10 percent more volume in terms of pounds and the fruit itself is larger. “We are expecting better size distribution than last year,” said Jan DeLyser, vice president of marketing for the Irvine, CA-based... Read more
The weather throughout the country has had a profound impact on the vegetable market over the last month, and it’s not done yet. Experts say that as the East thaws out and demand picks up, the market is firming up and over the next month or so supply gaps could materialize. Douglas Schaefer, president of EJ’s Produce Sales Inc. in Phoenix, said he knows the... Read more
Mango supplies on the rise
Several factors have combined to create less-than-usual mango supplies over the last couple of months, but that’s all about to change. Mexico has been in production since late January and heavy supplies are expected no later than the beginning of April. In addition, both Nicaragua and Guatemala will be shipping to the United States in the March-April time frame. It... Read more
The U.S. Department of Agriculture proposed a new rule last week that would amend regulations “to allow the importation of fresh Hass avocado fruit into the continental United States, Hawaii and Puerto Rico from all of Mexico, provided individual Mexican states meet the requirements set out in the regulations and the operational workplan. Posted Feb. 18 in the... Read more
Supplies of asparagus from Mexico have been lighter than usual this winter, causing a strong market that will likely remain well into March. Cory Stahl, sales manager of Progressive Produce Corp. in Los Angeles, told The Produce News on Tuesday, Feb. 17, that Mexico typically hits a supply peak in asparagus in the mid-February to mid-March period. “Basically... Read more
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said its estimate of the 2014-15 Florida orange crop remained the same at 103 million boxes, including early-mid and Valencia orange varieties holding at 48 million and 55 million boxes respectively. During the 2013-14 season, Florida produced 104 million boxes of oranges. "We still have a few months left in the season but... Read more
Nogales shippers squeezed by radically different weather patterns
NOGALES, AZ — As the Midwest and Northeast endured one blizzard after the next in late January and early February, it was 90 degrees on Feb. 3 in the vegetable fields of Culiacan, noted Bobby Astengo, a partner in Healthy Trends Produce Co. LLC, located here in Nogales, which also experienced a stretch of warm weather. Astengo and other Nogales shippers agreed... Read more
Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission reporting larger crop, excellent quality
Louisiana's stored sweet potato crop is in very good condition this season, and there should be an excellent selection through June. “The crop is larger this year due to an increase in acreage and higher yields," said Rene Simon, executive director of the Baton Rouge, LA-based Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission. "The higher yields are attributable to a good growing... Read more
Though some reports indicated that there could be a supply gap for strawberries in early February that would affect Valentine’s Day, industry representatives in both Florida and California do not expect that to be the case. “Supplies should be adequate,” said Shawn Pollard, who sits on the sales desk for Astin Strawberry Exchange LLC in Plant City, FL. “We are... Read more
A couple of weeks of above-normal temperatures since the middle of January have helped bring on vegetables supplies in the western desert areas causing f.o.b. prices to come off their highs. In early- to mid-January, light supplies had Iceberg lettuce prices approaching $30 per carton and most other vegetables items in the high teens or in the $20 arena. But... Read more
Good quality, shortfall in other areas could bode well for Colorado spuds
Jim Ehrlich, executive director of the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee, said a marketplace shortage of cartons has reflected in the price of potatoes this shipping season, and given that “our quality is probably the best in the industry year-in and year-out,” Colorado could have an advantage with volume. “The way it's working out, it could be a better... Read more
The U.S. Department of Agriculture decreased its forecast of the 2014-15 Florida orange crop by almost 5 percent, or 5 million boxes. The USDA now says Florida will produce 103 million boxes of oranges this season, down from the 108 million predicted in December. The early-mid orange varieties dropped by 4 million boxes to 48 million, while the Valencia forecast... Read more
Significant changes in pricing and supply are spicing up dynamics in the domestic ginger market. Jim Provost, owner of I Love Produce in Kelton, PA, summarized things this way in late December: “When China hits full capacity, within about the next 30 days [by the middle of January 2015], prices will drop to 2012-2013 levels.” Provost said the current high ginger... Read more
During the last week of December, six nights of cold weather swept through the San Joaquin Valley, but temperatures did not fall low enough to produce any significant damage to the California citrus crop. However, that same cold front did pass through the desert vegetable production regions, delaying harvest each morning and limiting supplies as a result. Citrus... Read more
Overnight low temperatures in California's citrus production areas were forecasted to moderate Jan. 5 and gradually rise for the remainder of the week. Six nights of critically cold weather kept growers busy protecting California's $2.4 billion citrus crop over the extended New Year's weekend. Citrus growers had run water and wind machines in their... Read more
The much-feared devastating freezing temperatures didn’t quite materialize in California’s San Joaquin Valley over the last few nights, and consequently the California citrus crop experienced little damage. Below-freezing temperatures did prevail for several nights, necessitating the use of frost-protection tools, but the needle didn’t drop low enough or the... Read more
Potato movement good, but transportation a concern for Red River Valley shippers
Ted Kreis, marketing director of the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, said “movement is going well.” USDA figures show “for the week ending Dec. 6 that 124,000 hundredweight of Red River Valley potatoes had been shipped. “This is up 18 percent this year over the previous year. And it’s more than 2012 and 2011 too,” Kreis added. For 2014 as a whole... Read more