MARKETS AND TRENDS

Abnormal weather causes surge in Iceberg lettuce market
California is seemingly bereft of a normal weather pattern with this summer’s oddities leading to reduced yields of Iceberg and other lettuce varieties resulting in high prices, which may well stretch far into fall. “I don’t know if there is a normal anymore,” Mark McBride, a sales representative of Salinas, CA-based Coastline, said in mid-August. “I’m about... Read more
Pear movement resumes following Hwy. 20 closure
The California Fresh Fruit Association commended the California Department of Food and Agriculture for its efforts to reopen State Route 20, impacted by the devastating Rocky Fire. President Barry Bedwell spoke with The Produce News on Aug. 6 about the diversion of traffic to U.S. Hwy. 101, which had a decided effect on the movement of fresh pears from Lake County. “It’s... Read more
Chilean avocados on up cycle; more volume expected to U.S.
One of the challenges and wonders of most avocado trees is that they produce on somewhat of an alternate-year bases. A light crop one year is often followed by a much heavier one. “Fortunately for avocados from Chile, since last year was a light year, we expect much more fruit in the pipeline for 2015-16,” said Karen Brux, managing director North America of... Read more
Bill Brewer, executive director of the Oregon Potato Commission, said the industry is expecting fresh production this season to be comparable to 2014-15. “Oregon fresh production is 17 percent of total state production,” he told The Produce News. Fresh acreage, he added, is approximately 7,000 acres this season. As is true for other commodities, this season’s... Read more
Peruvian avocado demand increasing
By all accounts, the Peruvian avocado industry has had a very good season exporting avocados to the United States and elsewhere, and the group’s top U.S. representatives believe it is a harbinger of things to come. “The question for the future is how are we going to keep with demand,” said Xavier Equihua, president and chief executive officer of the Peruvian... Read more
Pacific Northwest to harvest fourth-largest pear crop
The Pacific Northwest is expecting to harvest its fourth-largest pear crop during the 2015-16 season. “The first estimates for the fresh pear crop show it coming in at just over 20 million standard box equivalents,” said Kevin Moffitt, president and chief executive officer of the Pear Bureau Northwest. “While this is 2 percent below last year, it is 2 percent... Read more
Newer, bigger and better varieties that have extended the California grape season are key to its success, according to many different members of the industry recently interviewed by The Produce News. “Autumn King, which is a good green seedless; Scarlet Royal, which is a good red seedless; and Autumn Royal, which is a black grape, are later in the deal and really... Read more
Producers poised to move onions from Pacific Northwest
Northwest Farm Credit Services has released its Onions Market Snapshot, which provides some insights about the coming 2015 onion crop from the Pacific Northwest. The association said that Northwest onion producers may face a more positive new crop marketplace, with key drivers including the following: Flat to lower acreage. Northwest onion acres are estimated... Read more
The 2015 Michigan apple crop “will be very similar in size to last year with a change in varietal mix,” said Don Armock, who is a partner and the president of Riveridge Produce Marketing Inc., based in Sparta, MI. The Michigan apple crop of 2012 was eliminated by a springtime freeze. Michigan’s apple trees made a huge rebound with a very large 2013 crop. Then,... Read more
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced its final tally for the 2014-15 Florida orange crop at 96.7 million boxes. The figure represents a slight increase from the June estimate. "It's nice to have a bit of stability on this final number from the USDA," Michael W. Sparks, executive vice president and chief executive officer of Florida Citrus Mutual, said... Read more
Brutally cold winter perfectly wonderful for New Jersey peaches
Few will forget the nearly unrelenting past winter that delivered storm after storm across the Northeast. For some, however, those frigid temperatures were a blessing, notably the New Jersey peach crop. Pegi Adam, director of communications for the New Jersey Peach Promotion Council, told The Produce News that the cold put the trees into a sound dormant stage,... Read more
California pear crop for 2015 anticipated at 170,197 tons
Volume estimates released by the California Pear Advisory Board on June 12 show that the state’s fresh pear volume is expected to be down when compared to the last crop year. According to the report, California fresh pear producers are expected to move approximately 2.894 million 36-pound boxes this season, a decrease of 6 percent compared to 2014. The total... Read more
2015 Jersey peach season  continues a 400-year tradition
For 400 years, New Jersey family farmers have been growing peaches, making Jersey Fresh peaches the original locally grown fruit. The best peaches are grown next door to our markets and have a definitive advantage in that Jersey Fresh peaches can be picked closer to full tree ripeness, providing a high sugar-acid ratio making for a better quality and taste. New... Read more
SLV potato acreage down slightly but crop looks good
Like nearly every other crop region in Colorado, the San Luis Valley had more precipitation in May than it had in months, and Jim Ehrlich, executive director of the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee in Monte Vista, said this year’s crop is looking good. “In fact, we got more rain in May than we ever have,” Ehrlich said. “The river is very high, and it’s... Read more
Good growing conditions launch Michigan produce deal
The springtime brought good growing conditions for Michigan’s produce industry. The Michigan deal started four days earlier than a year ago, and the outlook going into July is great, said Loren Buurma, a partner in the Willard, OH-based Buurma Farms Inc. Talbert Nething, the sales manager of Van Solkema Produce Inc., based in Byron Center, MI, said his firm... Read more
Summer citrus variety demand follows North American consumer trends
The demand for sweet and easy-peel citrus with no or few seeds is apparent when one considers the varieties currently being imported for the summer months. While there are exceptions, such as the continued demand for traditional oranges and lemons, U.S. distributors report that the demand for clementines, Mandarins and Minneolas and other sweet and easy-peel... Read more
Blues gaining rock star status in Pacific Northwest
Signs point to a bright future for blueberry production in the Pacific Northwest. Looking forward, Alan Schreiber, administrator of the Washington Blueberry Commission, said, “Production will continue to climb, both conventional and organic, both processing and fresh. I see the West Coast of North America dominating the blueberry market in the next five to 10... Read more
Mexican grape deal coming to an early end
Except for Red Globes, the Mexican grape deal will finish by the end of June, according to Jerry Havel, director of sales and marketing for Fresh Farms, based in Rio Rico, AZ. “The California grape deal is a little early and we are finishing a little early, so the timing is about perfect,” Havel said June 16. “The deal was good for us, the market was good and... Read more
LIMA, Peru — Since gaining access to the U.S. market four years ago, Peruvian avocados have made great strides in becoming an important source of the popular fruit. “That first year it was a very humble beginning, with 32 million pounds,” said Xavier Equihua, president and chief executive officer of the Peruvian Avocado Commission, which is part of the federal... Read more
San Joaquin Valley onion growers infusing national onion pipeline
On June 5, information in the National Potato and Onion Report was updated with data from the Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The following data were provided regarding the 2015 onion season in California’s San Joaquin Valley. According to the report, demand for yellow mediums was moderate, and demand for other varieties... Read more