MARKETS AND TRENDS

After several years of bad markets, California stone fruit growers began pulling out trees in the mid-2000s, which has created a new normal of lighter supplies and better markets. A very significant amount of trees were pulled with the acreage shifted to other crops. Bill Purewal, owner of PureFresh Sales in Selma, CA, said most estimates conclude that about... Read more
Peach blooms abundant throughout N.J.
Peach blossoms are now at their peak throughout New Jersey. Blossoms are quite heavy this year, as weather has been cool but not cold. “We had a little thinning of some buds on our very tender varieties,” Santo John Maccherone, chair of the New Jersey Peach Promotion Council and owner of Circle M Farms in Salem, NJ, said in a press release. "We still have a... Read more
Mexican mango crop expected to be a big one
The 2015 mango crop projections from Empacadoras de Mango de Exportación, the organization that represents Mexico’s mango export packing facilities, indicate this will be a significant year for Mexican mango production and for mango exports to the United States. Due to the projected increase in import volumes, the National Mango Board is working with retailers... Read more
The Washington fresh apricot crop should hit the market by about the middle of June and be fairly close to the 642,000 24-pound cartons that were produced last year, according to James Michael, vice president of marketing for North America for the Washington State Fruit Commission. James said that represents about 30 percent of the total crop from the West,... Read more
Like clockwork, it’s April, so the Salinas and Santa Maria valleys on California’s coast are the main suppliers of many of the nation’s vegetable row crops, including Iceberg lettuce, all the mixed and specialty lettuces, cauliflower, broccoli and celery. “Huron has finished up, the desert is done — everybody is happy to get back to Santa Maria and Salinas,”... Read more
California apricots should hit the market by end of April
Warm winter and spring weather has produced a California apricot crop that is a bit earlier than usual, with the industry expecting some shipments before the end of the month. But that same weather situation, with fewer than ideal chilling hours, has also led to a lighter crop on the trees. At least that is the view of Jim Lucich, sales manager of Blossom Hill... Read more
California cherry crop expects significant increase
Promotable volume is one phrase used by several shippers when describing this year’s California cherry crop. Coming on the heels of last year’s weather-plagued crop of around 3 million cartons, this year shippers are expecting a crop of at least twice that size. “We think it’s going to reach 6 million to 6.5 million cartons,” said Mike Jameson, director of Marketing... Read more
Season preview of Georgia peaches
Weather was on the side of Georgia peach growers this year, and the Georgia Peach Council said it expects quality of the crop to be outstanding. Growers anticipate seeing the first arrival of fruit the week of May 18. Varieties include the Flavorich, which will start around Memorial Day, all the way to the August Prince in late August.Weather has been on the... Read more
California will start shipping some onions in early April from Mexico and begin with its own shipments from the Imperial Valley toward the latter part of the month. The early-season onions are expected to be in good supply, but when the harvest moves to the San Joaquin Valley, lack of rain and good water could play a major role in decreased supplies. Gerry Valois,... Read more
On the first day of spring, temperatures hovered in the low 30s in New York and were even lower in surrounding states, as the entire region was hammered once again by a snow storm. It fell on the heels of numerous other snowfalls that, since January, dumped dozens of inches of snow in the Northeast. Despite the March 20 storm, those in the produce industry greeted... Read more
Texas spring onion season looks promising
As March was coming to an end, the Mexican onion deal was winding down, which is very good news for South Texas onion growers and shippers. “The Mexican deal is ending up a lot better than we thought it was going to,” Don Ed Holmes, owner of The Onion House LLC in Weslaco, TX, said March 26. “Right now we are getting $12 for jumbos and $10 for medium. It looks... Read more
High lime market falls short of record-setting 2014 level
In 2014, a combination of factors caused an unprecedented spike in the lime market, sending prices well above the $100 mark for a 40-pound carton and causing a shortage of the fruit at both retail and foodservice. This year, the situation is not so sour. While still much higher than normal, prices for a 40-pound carton were in the $48-58 range on March 27, or... Read more
Setting a new record for crop value at $1.76 billion, California’s table grape growers harvested their second-largest crop ever, sending 110 million 19-pound boxes of grapes to consumers worldwide. Export volume and value were also the second highest in history, with 44.5 million 19-pound boxes shipped at a value of $857 million. The top volume export markets... Read more
California will start shipping some onions in early April from Mexico and begin with its own shipments from the Imperial Valley toward the latter part of the month. The early-season onions are expected to be in good supply, but when the harvest moves to the San Joaquin Valley, lack of rain and good water could play a major role in decreased supplies. Gerry Valois,... Read more
It's prime time for Florida produce
The report from the field couldn't be better for Florida fresh produce. “This is prime time for spring produce from Florida,” said Lisa Lochridge, director of public affairs for the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association in Maitland, FL. “Right now, vegetable crops being harvested in the Sunshine State include tomatoes, snap beans, sweet corn, cabbage, cucumbers,... Read more
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