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MARKETS AND TRENDS

N.C. sweet potato harvest is complete and back to normal, reports indicate
BENSON, NC — The 2014 North Carolina sweet potato harvest was wrapping up in early November — 86 percent complete, according to the North Carolina Agribusiness Council — and back to normal proportions and of high quality, according to the head of the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission and several growers. Sue Johnson-Langdon, executive director of the... Read more
Florida fresh production keeps consumers well-stocked into winter
The Sunshine State has a lot to brag about when it comes to production of fresh produce. “Florida’s unique advantage is that we are the predominant U.S. source for fresh-market vegetables in the fall, winter and early spring months,” said Thomas Perny, marketing specialist with the Division of Marketing & Development, Florida Department of Agriculture &... Read more
Western winter vegetable supplies — late, light and expensive
It appears as if the winter vegetable deal from the California and Arizona desert may be one for the ages. Decreased production in the shoulder deal from Huron in California’s San Joaquin Valley promises to get the winter deal off to a fast start in terms of pricing. Throw in weather issues that have generally decreased winter vegetable volume across the board... Read more
China reopens market access to Washington apple growers
On Oct. 29, the Washington Apple Commission announced the reinstatement of market access to China for Red and Golden Delicious apples. “Shipments of Washington apples to China stopped in August of 2012, when the Chinese government refused to issue import permits to Chinese importers, citing concerns with a recently discovered fungus they claimed was not in China,”... Read more
With good demand and decreasing supplies, the rising lettuce market appears to have found its place above $30. "We've had very good prices for the last 10 days to two weeks," said Denny Donovan, sales manager at Fresh Kist Produce LLC in Salinas, CA. "Salinas, Huron and Santa Maria are all winding down, so it looks like this will hold until volume picks up in... Read more
Double-digit increases expected for U.S. imports of Chilean cherries
  The Chilean Cherry Committee, an entity associated with the Chilean Fruit Exporters Association, expects total exports of fresh cherries from Chile to reach 100,000 tons this year. As the second-largest export market for Chile, North America anticipates a 45 percent increase in volume over the 2013/14 season. To support this dramatic growth, the Chilean... Read more
With California’s coastal and San Joaquin Valley vegetable deals winding down prior to the volume coming on in the desert deals, many items are in a demand-exceeds-supply situation that could remain in effect through Thanksgiving. On Monday, Oct. 27, the Iceberg lettuce market hit $20 f.o.b. and there is every indication it could go much higher over the next... Read more
After more than two years without access to China for Washington Red and Golden Delicious apples, USDA's Animal & Plant Health Inspection Service officially announced reinstatement of market access for apples from Washington state to China, effective immediately. Shipments of Washington apples to China stopped in August of 2012, when the Chinese government... Read more
Avocados from Mexico expects volume increase, 70 percent market share
During the 2013-14 crop year, which ran through June 30, the Mexican Avocado industry enjoyed a 66 percent market share in the United States. "With the good start we have seen this year, I think we are going to be around 70 percent of the market," Alvaro Luque, president of Avocados from Mexico, said in an interview with The Produce News. Avocados from Mexico... Read more
Navel crop expected to be shorter than in 2013, but Mandarins will be up
There will be no shortage of California Navel oranges during the early part of the 2014-15 season, although fruit size may be smaller than normal, according to Joel Nelsen, president of California Citrus Mutual in Porterville, CA, a trade industry group representing the interests of citrus growers primarily in the Central Valley. But he expects total citrus volume... Read more
Opportunities abound for garlic industry
ANAHEIM, CA — It’s been an interesting couple of months for garlic. U.S. restrictions on the importation of Chinese garlic have affected the domestic market and created an opportunity to shift the dynamics on a global level. Members of the garlic industry convened at Disney’s Grand Californian Hotel, here, to talk shop and catch up with friends at the annual... Read more
On Sept. 7, Trent Bishop, sales manager of Lone Star Citrus Growers in Mission, TX, told The Produce News that there was some rain in the south Texas forecast, and the trees needed it. Three weeks later, he could be forgiven if he said “Enough already!” “Over the last 20 days of September, we got 15 inches of rain,” he said in mid-October. “It is a very good... Read more
Kurt Cappelluti, sales manager at Stellar Distributing Inc. in Madera, CA, said marketplace dynamics will be changing by the end of October as kiwifruit imports from Italy continue to arrive in the United States. "The glut is two weeks away," he told The Produce News Oct. 13. Stellar Distributing was established in the 1990s by parent company Catania Worldwide,... Read more
The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its initial forecast for 2014-15, pegging the orange crop at 108 million boxes, up from last season's total of 104.4 million. Early-mid varieties accounted for 52 million boxes, while Valencias came in at 56 million boxes. "This is a positive number as the Florida citrus grower continues to battle citrus greening... Read more
Beneficial rains over the Red River Valley in late August and early September were setting the stage for good harvest conditions of the region’s red potato crop. Ted Kreis, marketing and communications director of the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association in East Grand Forks, MN, added that good harvest conditions, including a softening of the northern... Read more
Tarheel 2014 sweet potato harvest will be back to normal
BENSON, NC — North Carolina's sweet potato harvest, still in full swing at mid-September, is back to normal, and none too soon. After two years in a row of below-average acreage planted due to weather, the 2014 crop is growing on 66,000 acres. That's the USDA estimate cited by Sue Johnson-Langdon, executive director of the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission,... Read more
“The weather in Louisiana has been great for this year’s sweet potato crop,” Rene Simon, executive director of the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission, headquartered in Baton Rouge, LA, told The Produce News in mid-August. “Overall it’s been a really good growing season for our producers.” He said that the crop was planted a little late due to cool and wet weather,... Read more
Normal California kiwifruit crop expected as light Chilean season wraps up
The board of directors of the California Kiwifruit Administrative Committee, in a meeting July 23, approved an estimate for the total volume of California kiwifruit expected to be marketed from the 2014 harvest in the range of 6.8 million to 7 million seven-pound tray equivalents. In context, that would be considered “a normal production year,” according to... Read more
With Mexico ending a bit early, Brazil and then Ecuador will be the main sources for mango supplies for the last third of the 2014 calendar year. Typically, Mexico lasts well into September overlapping the Brazilian deal, which usually gets underway in August and has an eight- to 10-week shipping window before greater volume from Ecuador hits the market in late... Read more
California date harvest running one to two weeks early with good quality
“The crop is starting early this year,” said Lori Cooper,  manager of the California Date Administrative Committee in Indio, CA, in an interview with The Produce News Sept. 3. It is running anywhere from seven days to 14 days ahead of normal, “depending on where you are in the valley.” The California Date Administrative Committee is a federal marketing... Read more