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MARKETS AND TRENDS

April watermelon movement higher than last season
On April 8, the Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported on daily shipments and crossings in the United States for watermelons for the first week of April. The report broke down movement for seeded and seedless watermelon and also provided some data on imports. Units are comprised of a total of 40,000 pounds each. This season,... Read more
Virtually every year retailers can count on having Sonora spring grapes available in good supplies for the Fourth of July pull. Memorial Day, however, is generally another story. While some grapes from Mexico are usually in the market by Memorial Day, there is rarely sufficient volume for promotions in the period approaching that holiday. This year, the earliness... Read more
Early start to California cherry season gives retailers more holidays for promotion
The early cherry deal in the southern and central San Joaquin Valley of California will have an earlier start than usual this year, by as much as two weeks, not only giving producers more time to market the crop but also giving retailers at least one extra holiday for promotions. "It is an unprecedented early year for us," Maurice Cameron, managing partner at... Read more
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's monthly forecast of the 2013-14 Florida orange crop decreased to 110 million boxes, a drop from the previous projection of 114 million. The drop can be attributed to a reduction in Valencias — from 61 million boxes to 57 million. "We continue to feel the effects of HLB, or citrus greening disease, in groves across Florida,"... Read more
It’s been a tough winter for Western vegetable shippers but several cold fronts going through California as producers shift from the desert to both Central and Coastal California just might make for a strong spring marketing period. Joe Ange, assistant purchasing director for Markon Cooperative Inc., Salinas, CA, told The Produce News on Tuesday, April 1, “We... Read more
Northern California received significant amounts of much-needed rainfall during the last week of March and first day of April, with Central California receiving smaller amounts. The central and northern Sierra Mountains received significant snowfall as well. With California in its third year of what has been called the worst drought in a century, and with many... Read more
Lighter California Hass avocado crop will mean more compressed shipping season
Hass avocado trees tend to be alternate bearing, so after a 505 million-pound crop in 2013, one of the larger harvests on record, it is no surprise that the 2014 California avocado crop is expected to be significantly smaller. What is, perhaps, surprising is that last year's California crop was not lighter, inasmuch as the prior year's crop was also extremely... Read more
Early-season Vidalia crop tending toward jumbo size, pack and ship date appeal coming
A judge's mid-March ruling overturning Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black's mandate that no Vidalia onions can be packed or shipped prior to April 21 will have no bearing on this year's crop, which has been delayed by cool weather. But as Black prepares a promised appeal, Vidalia production will ramp up in late April with about two-thirds of the... Read more
CAC promotions, like 2014 crop, will concentrate May through August
With a 2014 California Hass avocado crop estimated at around 300 million pounds, down from 505 million the prior year, the California Avocado Commission anticipates that the bulk of the crop will be shipped during a more condensed marketing window this year. "We project that we will have volume availability in the mid- to late April timeframe leading into Cinco... Read more
Nogales watermelon shippers say timing good for Easter promotions
RIO RICO, AZ — As the Nogales vegetable deal winds down for the season, shippers who handle watermelons from south of the border are gearing up for good volume to meet Easter promotions. Mike Smith, president of Sigma Sales Inc., based here, said the Mexican watermelon deal is "very early" for all shippers. Smith said March 26 that Sigma had just begun shipping... Read more
Problematic Northern weather hampered Florida product movement
Right now, the talk in Florida is about weather. The state's fresh producers experienced a relatively mild winter, and crops in the Sunshine State are progressing with good growing conditions reported. But the cloud's silver lining did not come without some cost elsewhere in the nation. "One of the biggest challenges the industry has had is the bad weather in... Read more
Strawberry shipments ahead of last year, but acreage down
California strawberry shipments as of mid-March were running significantly ahead of the same date a year ago, the difference being primarily due to good growing weather this year in contrast to cold and wet weather a year ago. Whether that trend would hold for the season remains to be seen, but some growers told The Produce News that it did appear that strawberry... Read more
California shipped a record volume of fresh grapes during the 2013 season, surpassing 100 million boxes for the second time in history, the California Table Grape Commission announced in a March 20 press release. The final tally for the 2013 harvest showed a total of 117.4 million boxes of fresh California grapes (116.2 19-pound equivalents) shipped, with a... Read more
According to some sources, the lime market hit $80 for a 40-pound carton during mid-March, and the demand-exceeds-supply situation should remain in force for at least several weeks and could last as long as several months. “We had an $80 market this week,” Ronnie Cohen, vice president of sales for Vision Import Group LLC in River Edge, NJ, told The Produce News... Read more
Promotable volumes and good quality expected for Vidalia deal
Cooler weather will mean a later start to the Vidalia deal, following a pattern already established by other onion production areas this season, with volume not ramping up to full until a week or more after the mandatory April 21 pack and ship date recently established by Georgia Commissioner of Agriculture Gary Black. Frost earlier in the season took a bite... Read more
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's monthly forecast of the 2013-14 Florida orange crop decreased slightly to 114 million boxes. The USDA estimated early-mid orange varieties down 1 million to 53 million boxes, while Valencias remained at 61 million boxes. "Everybody in the industry understands fruit drop has been an issue this season with our earlier varieties,"... Read more
Cool weather delays start of Texas deal, new Vidalia ship date could extend season
The Texas onion deal will be a little late out of the gate this season but growers will get some help extending that season with a new later start date for Vidalia onion growers. A cold winter by Texas standards — averaging about 10 degrees cooler than normal — will mean the Texas deal will not begin until about mid-March after harvest a week earlier. Mexico... Read more
Twenty years ago, there was virtually no commercial production of blueberries in the state of Florida, except for U-pick farms and berries grown for local markets. This year, some experts said Florida’s blueberry production may reach 25 million pounds, putting the state in the ranks of other leading producers like North Carolina, Georgia, California and Oregon. Michigan... Read more
Mango supplies could top 1 billion pounds this year
The mango industry continues to marvel at how supplies continue to increase yet the market remains strong. The numbers tell the story. According to the National Mango Board, mango consumption per capita in the United States increased by about one-third from 2005 to 2012, which is the last year that per capita consumption numbers were available. In 2012, more... Read more
California avocado crop down with later start, earlier finish expected
“We are looking forward to a great California avocado marketing season" with a crop that is expected to be more in the average range, following last year’s very large crop, Jan DeLyser, vice president of marketing for the California Avocado Commission in Irvine, CA, told The Produce News March 4. The 2013 crop came in at around 500 million pounds, which “was... Read more