MARKETS AND TRENDS

Large mango volume an opportunity for retailer promotions
The National Mango Board is encouraging retailers and suppliers to act quickly to move more mangos due to the higher-than-normal import volume. This year’s mango volume has already seen weekly shipments of more than 4 million boxes, an 18 percent increase compared to the largest week in 2014.  Volumes are expected to remain steady through Q2 of 2015. Mexican... Read more
Pipfruit acreage down, but quality high for New Zealand
New Zealand pipfruit producers are anticipating slight decreases in apple and pear volumes exported this season. “Export apple volumes for the 2015 season were estimated to be around 300,000 tons,” said Alan Pollard, chief executive officer of Pipfruit New Zealand. Reductions in pear volumes are expected to follow a similar tend. “Export pear volumes for the... Read more
California's new potato deal off to early start
It was the earliest start of new potatoes from Kern County, CA, in memory, according to longtime sales representative and observer Tom Franconi of Mazzei-Franconi Co. LLC in Edison, CA. “Typically, we would start around May 1,” he said, “but this year there were Kern County potatoes on the market on April 21.” This is the same story that growers and shippers... Read more
Berries buck trend showing slight declines in fruit consumption
Although the consumption of fresh fruit has shown a 2 percent decline in the past five years, berry consumption has bucked the trend and shown increases among demographic groups studied by the fresh fruit industry. “We are definitely seeing increased demand and consumption of berries with consumers,” said Kayla Oberman, director of marketing for Naturipe Berry... Read more
California figs season under way, good volume by June
The California fig crop did not begin its season this year quite as early as last year’s record setter, but it is early nonetheless. Kurt Cappelluti, sales manager for Stellar Distributing Inc. in Madera, CA, which is owned by M.L. Catania Co. Ltd. in Mississauga, ON, said “the fig crop is definitely earlier than it used to be. We picked our first fruit on April... Read more
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said its estimate of the 2014-15 Florida orange crop decreased 5.6 million boxes to 96.4 million. During the 2013-14 season, Florida produced 104 million boxes of oranges. Early-mid varieties increased slightly to 47.4 million boxes while Valencia oranges dipped 6 million boxes to 49 million. "There is no doubt about it we... Read more
It is a simple case of demand exceeds supply, according to members of the California grower-shipper community. “We have a very, very, very active market across the board,” said Matt Seeley, vice president of marketing for The Nunes Co., based in Salinas, CA. “We were ahead of schedule on just about everything, which has finally created gaps. As such, prices... Read more
With the first melons being picked from the California desert on April 28, Barry Zwillinger told The Produce News that it is the "earliest and best melon crop in 30 years of doing this.” Zwillinger, who is the owner of Legend Produce, which has operations in both California and Arizona, said what appears to be a great season for his firm is the result of perfect... Read more
Drought conditions persist in Colorado
Colorado State Engineer Dick Wolfe said officials continue to monitor Colorado snowpack and water levels. “In general, the reservoirs are in good shape,” he told The Produce News in mid-April. “But drought conditions still persist. We started into the winter with good snowpack. Then things dropped off in February.”Dick Wolfe Alpine areas are still showing good... Read more
Favorable weather, strong promotions set stage for good season in Georgia
Georgia has seen lots of rain and sunshine recently and the expert eyes of grower-shippers say the weather has been favorable for crops. “The signs that crops are looking good are something you know after 35 years of doing what I do,” said Calvert Cullen, co-owner of Northampton Growers. Jimmy Myrick, vice president of Edward L. Myrick Produce in Pompano Beach,... Read more
South Carolina Peach Council hears good crop report
MYRTLE BEACH, SC — South Carolina Commissioner of Agriculture Hugh Weathers told about 100 members and guests of the South Carolina Peach Council gathered here April 18 that “this year’s South Carolina peach crop looks great in mid-April” and the group then proceeded to raise $130,600 in a live auction for the council’s work in research and promotion... Read more
San Luis Valley preps for 2015-16 potato season
Monte Vista, CO — With an ongoing drought a major factor in the San Luis Valley's potato industry, planting this coming season could be down between 8 and 10 percent from last year's 55,000 acres. Jim Ehrlich, executive director of the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee based on Monte Vista, told The Produce News in mid-April he had “no way of knowing”... Read more
Early Northwest production to fuel retail sales
Retailers and consumers can expect to see some of their favorite commodities from the Pacific Northwest hitting the produce department earlier than normal in 2015. The reason can be summed up in two words: wonderful weather. Alan Schreiber, executive director of the Washington Asparagus Commission, said crop movement began on March 23, a start date that he said... Read more
Domestic watermelon production is set to kick in high gear for the summer months according to data gathered by the National Watermelon Promotion Board. “Most folks realize that watermelon is the king of Independence Day,” Jason Hanselman, industry affairs associate, told The Produce News. “But our second most important time of the year is the lead up to Memorial... Read more
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