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MARKETS AND TRENDS

Mother Nature was kind to Michigan’s produce industry this spring. Approaching the first days of summer, vegetable growers reported a bright outlook for all crops. The fruit industry, of course, also benefited from great weather. Riveridge Produce Marketing Inc., a fruit grower-packer-shipper in Sparta, MI, reported, “Pollination, with the help of... Read more
This may be the one time having the blues is healthy for you. Sweet, succulent and juicy. Blueberries from the Pacific Northwest are nature’s answer to what may ail you. The region’s blueberry harvest is already under way, and Oregon and Washington are fully prepared to meet ever-growing consumer demand for this perfect superfruit. Bryan Ostlund,... Read more
With temperatures expected to reach as high as 126 degrees today, Peter Rabbit Farms in Coachella, CA, is keeping its workers out of the fields. “It’s just too hot. It’s dangerous,” said John Burton, the firm’s general manager. He said it is expected to be 10 degrees cooler on Tuesday. “We’ll send the crews out at daybreak... Read more
California grape production continues to set the bar high
Fresh grape production in California continues to supply global consumers with a premium standard that has set the bar high. Looking at production during 2015, Barry Bedwell, president of the California Fresh Fruit Association told The Produce News, “We had 110.5 million boxes of grapes.” This bodes well for an industry, which set a record for 2014... Read more
LIMA — Shipments of Peruvian Hass avocados to the United States are projected at 100 million pounds in 2016, roughly the equivalent of the volume shipped last year. The United States will receive about 25 percent of the Hass avocados grown for export in Peru, with the remaining 300 million pounds destined for Europe and other markets, according to Xavier... Read more
Chile’s first Navels of 2016 headed to U.S. market
Chile’s first 2016 shipment of Navels to the United States departed from the port of San Antonio during Week 22, one week earlier than last year. A total of 7,960 boxes were shipped to the U.S. market. Ninety-five percent of Week 22 Navel exports were of the Fukumoto variety, with 5 percent Navel Late. This is just the beginning of what the Chilean citrus... Read more
Changing weather conditions do seem to have altered normal cropping patterns for many different commodities. But one thing hasn’t changed: Summer is marked by generally warmer weather, which means promotable supplies. At least that is the story being told by strawberry growers in Watsonville, New Jersey blueberry producers, lettuce growers in Salinas and... Read more
Despite a federal water allocation of only 5 percent of contracted deliveries, California’s San Joaquin Valley melon deal is expected to have typical volume this year and to be on time, with a start date near the end of June. Over the last several years, California’s drought has threatened the size of the crop but farmers always seemed to find the... Read more
Strong mango volume opens door for retail opportunities
The National Mango Board is encouraging retailers and suppliers to act quickly to move more mangos due to the high import volumes. This year the summer mango season had a later start than in recent years, but volumes are extremely strong now. "Retailers should not miss this amazing opportunity to move great mango volumes and delight their customers with this... Read more
Mango shipments from Mexico lagged behind normal volume in the February, March and April time period leading to a demand exceeds supply situation and high prices during the first part of the 2016 Mexican mango season. That is no longer the case.  “Hopefully, we have hit the bottom,” said Chief Operating Officer Gary Clevenger of Freska Produce... Read more
The 2016 New Jersey produce season is under way and should be highlighted by good quantities of high-quality produce. According to New Jersey State Climatologist David Robinson of Rutgers University, “Mild and dry conditions prevailed throughout the Garden State during most of March.” This included record-breaking early-season warmth, with the statewide... Read more
California new potato crop finding good demand
The two big stories out of California’s Kern County potato deal this year are that there is a fairly good market and there are no russet potatoes. The russet deal, which was the core of the California fresh potato industry for decades, has been in decline for 20 years and finally it is no more. A survey of the acreage revealed no russet acreage this year.... Read more
Cherry marketing insights for retailers
With the approaching Northwest cherry season, two tree fruit producers are urging retailers to flesh out the details of their programs to ensure maximum rings at the register. Steve Lutz, Columbia Marketing International’s vice president of marketing, is looking for a shorter peak window during the 2016 cherry season. He provided a chart that shows retail... Read more
On May 17, Jason Hanselman, industry affairs associate with the National Watermelon Promotion Board, provided an update on watermelon movement. "We're now seeing a trickle out of Arizona and a bit more than that from Texas," he stated. "Additionally, Florida continues to pick up steam, though things are still a bit behind schedule." According to Hanselman, "Florida... Read more
New Zealand pipfruit exports see increase
Alan Pollard, chief executive officer of Pipfruit New Zealand, provided The Produce News with a snapshot of the 2016 pipfruit season. “We estimated 351,000 tons of pipfruit exports for the 2016 season,” he stated. “This is an increase of 5 percent over last year's actual exports of 334,000 tons.”Alan Pollard According to Pollard, the... Read more
Uncharacteristic weather appears to be the norm in California, which is leading to a vegetable supply situation that is very difficult to predict. The last four months of 2015 saw some very strong markets for most vegetables items because of weather-induced supply gaps. The first four months of this year saw a reversal of fortunes as warmer-than-normal weather... Read more
North Carolina sweet potato exports on pace for record year
From 2009 to 2014, per capita sweet potato consumption grew 60 percent in the United States to 7.5 pounds, led by North Carolina, where about half of all domestic sweet potatoes are grown, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. North Carolina has also been investing to develop export markets, particularly in Europe, where sweet potatoes are not a traditional... Read more
California fresh fig crop on target for strong summer volume
Fresh figs from California began being shipped in early May with the Breva crop (fruit from the previous year’s budwood) from desert production taking center stge. But by the end of May, the southern San Joaquin Valley will also start producing and strong production should continue throughout the summer as all districts transition to the main crop. Karla... Read more
Unprecedented drought conditions in Brazil causing papaya shortages
North America’s largest Golden papaya importer is seeing continuous shortages in the Brazilian papaya supply caused by extraordinary heat and El Niño-related drought in the previous months. The shortages are expected to last throughout July. HLB Specialties, based in Pompano Beach, FL, sources from four different Brazilian papaya growers, including... Read more
For the third consecutive month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture raised its estimate of the 2015-16 Florida orange crop, now predicting growers will produce 81.1 million boxes, a 7 percent increase over last month's estimate. While the crop is still projected to be down 16 percent from the 96.8 million boxes of oranges Florida produced during the 2014-15... Read more