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MARKETS AND TRENDS

Mango supplies on the rise
Several factors have combined to create less-than-usual mango supplies over the last couple of months, but that’s all about to change. Mexico has been in production since late January and heavy supplies are expected no later than the beginning of April. In addition, both Nicaragua and Guatemala will be shipping to the United States in the March-April time frame. It... Read more
The U.S. Department of Agriculture proposed a new rule last week that would amend regulations “to allow the importation of fresh Hass avocado fruit into the continental United States, Hawaii and Puerto Rico from all of Mexico, provided individual Mexican states meet the requirements set out in the regulations and the operational workplan. Posted Feb. 18 in the... Read more
Supplies of asparagus from Mexico have been lighter than usual this winter, causing a strong market that will likely remain well into March. Cory Stahl, sales manager of Progressive Produce Corp. in Los Angeles, told The Produce News on Tuesday, Feb. 17, that Mexico typically hits a supply peak in asparagus in the mid-February to mid-March period. “Basically... Read more
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said its estimate of the 2014-15 Florida orange crop remained the same at 103 million boxes, including early-mid and Valencia orange varieties holding at 48 million and 55 million boxes respectively. During the 2013-14 season, Florida produced 104 million boxes of oranges. "We still have a few months left in the season but... Read more
Nogales shippers squeezed by radically different weather patterns
NOGALES, AZ — As the Midwest and Northeast endured one blizzard after the next in late January and early February, it was 90 degrees on Feb. 3 in the vegetable fields of Culiacan, noted Bobby Astengo, a partner in Healthy Trends Produce Co. LLC, located here in Nogales, which also experienced a stretch of warm weather. Astengo and other Nogales shippers agreed... Read more
Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission reporting larger crop, excellent quality
Louisiana's stored sweet potato crop is in very good condition this season, and there should be an excellent selection through June. “The crop is larger this year due to an increase in acreage and higher yields," said Rene Simon, executive director of the Baton Rouge, LA-based Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission. "The higher yields are attributable to a good growing... Read more
Though some reports indicated that there could be a supply gap for strawberries in early February that would affect Valentine’s Day, industry representatives in both Florida and California do not expect that to be the case. “Supplies should be adequate,” said Shawn Pollard, who sits on the sales desk for Astin Strawberry Exchange LLC in Plant City, FL. “We are... Read more
A couple of weeks of above-normal temperatures since the middle of January have helped bring on vegetables supplies in the western desert areas causing f.o.b. prices to come off their highs. In early- to mid-January, light supplies had Iceberg lettuce prices approaching $30 per carton and most other vegetables items in the high teens or in the $20 arena. But... Read more
Good quality, shortfall in other areas could bode well for Colorado spuds
Jim Ehrlich, executive director of the Colorado Potato Administrative Committee, said a marketplace shortage of cartons has reflected in the price of potatoes this shipping season, and given that “our quality is probably the best in the industry year-in and year-out,” Colorado could have an advantage with volume. “The way it's working out, it could be a better... Read more
The U.S. Department of Agriculture decreased its forecast of the 2014-15 Florida orange crop by almost 5 percent, or 5 million boxes. The USDA now says Florida will produce 103 million boxes of oranges this season, down from the 108 million predicted in December. The early-mid orange varieties dropped by 4 million boxes to 48 million, while the Valencia forecast... Read more
Significant changes in pricing and supply are spicing up dynamics in the domestic ginger market. Jim Provost, owner of I Love Produce in Kelton, PA, summarized things this way in late December: “When China hits full capacity, within about the next 30 days [by the middle of January 2015], prices will drop to 2012-2013 levels.” Provost said the current high ginger... Read more
During the last week of December, six nights of cold weather swept through the San Joaquin Valley, but temperatures did not fall low enough to produce any significant damage to the California citrus crop. However, that same cold front did pass through the desert vegetable production regions, delaying harvest each morning and limiting supplies as a result. Citrus... Read more
Overnight low temperatures in California's citrus production areas were forecasted to moderate Jan. 5 and gradually rise for the remainder of the week. Six nights of critically cold weather kept growers busy protecting California's $2.4 billion citrus crop over the extended New Year's weekend. Citrus growers had run water and wind machines in their... Read more
The much-feared devastating freezing temperatures didn’t quite materialize in California’s San Joaquin Valley over the last few nights, and consequently the California citrus crop experienced little damage. Below-freezing temperatures did prevail for several nights, necessitating the use of frost-protection tools, but the needle didn’t drop low enough or the... Read more
Potato movement good, but transportation a concern for Red River Valley shippers
Ted Kreis, marketing director of the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, said “movement is going well.” USDA figures show “for the week ending Dec. 6 that 124,000 hundredweight of Red River Valley potatoes had been shipped. “This is up 18 percent this year over the previous year. And it’s more than 2012 and 2011 too,” Kreis added. For 2014 as a whole... Read more
S.C. peach crop finishes strong, close to 2013 production totals
COLUMBIA, SC — Despite an early freeze that killed an estimated 20 percent of the 2014 peach crop, production finished strong and managed to pull within shouting distance of last year’s harvest. Matt Cornwell, marketing specialist for peaches at the South Carolina Department of Agriculture here, said final totals, as reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture... Read more
USApple reporting 2014 apple crop is one of the largest on record
On Dec. 1, this year’s fresh apple holdings totaled 122.2 million bushels, a 16 percent increase from the same time last year, according to the December 2014 edition of the U.S. Apple Association’s Market News. “Processing holdings totaled 44.6 million bushels, 3 percent above last year on Dec. 1,” said Mark W. Seetin, director, regulatory and industry affairs... Read more
Weather conditions in Chile have been favorable for this season’s crops
Apart from some recent rains that affected cherry volumes, weather conditions have been favorable for this season. “We expect to see volume increases across all commodities, even cherries,” said Karen Brux, managing director of the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association, North America, based in San Carlos, CA. The news is especially good because Chile saw large volume... Read more
N.C. sweet potato production rises to meet demand
Consumer demand in the United States for sweet potatoes has risen by 40 percent since 2008. With exports rising exponentially during the same period, North Carolina, a leading state in sweet potato production, has increased its volume to meet the demand. “North Carolina’s growers and shippers have invested heavily in producing and marketing a quality product... Read more
Harvesting in Chile's Copiapó Valley has begun, and the first grapes of the Chilean season are on their way to the North American market. With favorable climatic conditions throughout the past year, the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association anticipates that export volumes from Copiapó will grow from 10 million boxes to more than 11 million boxes. North America is the... Read more