The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued its initial 2015-16 Florida orange forecast, pegging the crop at 80 million boxes, down 17 percent from last season's total of 96.7 million boxes. The USDA estimated early to mid varieties at 40 million, down from 47.4 million at the end of last season, while the Valencia orange total is 40 million boxes compared to... Read more
Wisconsin seeing one of its best potato crops ever
“This is one of the best crops ever,” Tamas Houlihan was recently told by a potato grower-member of the Wisconsin Potato & Vegetable Growers Association.  “He told me it was the best crop he’d ever seen. It is a beautiful crop. There are no problems in any aspect.” Houlihan, executive director of the Antigo-based association, said Wisconsin “yields... Read more
Markets expected to pick up as Red River Valley moves into potato harvesting season
“A very nice crop” is the simple description the Red River Valley’s 2015 red potato crop. Ted Kreis, marketing director of Northern Plains Potato Growers Association, said the potatoes coming from the red soil of the valley are “really good quality. We had plenty of rain this summer, which is a good thing.” Ninety percent of this crop will be harvested in October.... Read more
Imports may affect California kiwifruit prices
Kurt Cappelluti, sales manager at Stellar Distributing Inc. in Madera, CA, is concerned that kiwifruit imported from Chile and Italy may affect pricing for domestically produced fruit. Stellar is a year-round marketer of kiwifruit, and its California season runs from October through April 1. “We have a large oversupply in North America,” he stated.According... Read more
Torrential rains could push back start of Sonora deal
RIO RICO, AZ — A torrential rain storm struck vegetable fields in Sonora, Mexico, Sept. 20-22, with the largest volume of rain falling on fields near the Gulf of California, west of Hermosillo. Mexican produce distributors here indicate that the significance of the damage would not reveal itself until a week or 10 days after the storm in early October. Jerry... Read more
The California date industry is booming and production is expected to continue to increase for the foreseeable future as many new date palms have been planted in recent years. “We are increasing our volume significantly,” said D.J. Ryan, sales and operations manager of SunDate LLC, headquartered in Coachella, CA. SunDate is a partnership between the date growing... Read more
Wisconsin potato outlook is strong
“The crop is currently fantastic,” Mike Carter, the chief executive officer of Bushman’s Inc., said of Wisconsin’s potato crop on Aug. 19. “The size profile is excellent. We’ve had near-perfect growing conditions in the fields. It was a temperate summer. There was no long period of heat. The rains have been timely. It’s all positive.” Carter said that Wisconsin’s... Read more
Washington apple producers set to harvest third-largest crop
This season Washington's apple producers are slated to harvest their third-largest crop. According to the Washington State Tree Fruit Association, 125.2 million standard 40-pound boxes of fresh apples are expected to be harvested. While this would be down approximately 10.5 percent from the 2014 record crop of 140 million boxes, it is just behind the state's... Read more
Abnormal weather causes surge in Iceberg lettuce market
California is seemingly bereft of a normal weather pattern with this summer’s oddities leading to reduced yields of Iceberg and other lettuce varieties resulting in high prices, which may well stretch far into fall. “I don’t know if there is a normal anymore,” Mark McBride, a sales representative of Salinas, CA-based Coastline, said in mid-August. “I’m about... Read more
Pear movement resumes following Hwy. 20 closure
The California Fresh Fruit Association commended the California Department of Food and Agriculture for its efforts to reopen State Route 20, impacted by the devastating Rocky Fire. President Barry Bedwell spoke with The Produce News on Aug. 6 about the diversion of traffic to U.S. Hwy. 101, which had a decided effect on the movement of fresh pears from Lake County. “It’s... Read more
Chilean avocados on up cycle; more volume expected to U.S.
One of the challenges and wonders of most avocado trees is that they produce on somewhat of an alternate-year bases. A light crop one year is often followed by a much heavier one. “Fortunately for avocados from Chile, since last year was a light year, we expect much more fruit in the pipeline for 2015-16,” said Karen Brux, managing director North America of... Read more
Bill Brewer, executive director of the Oregon Potato Commission, said the industry is expecting fresh production this season to be comparable to 2014-15. “Oregon fresh production is 17 percent of total state production,” he told The Produce News. Fresh acreage, he added, is approximately 7,000 acres this season. As is true for other commodities, this season’s... Read more
Peruvian avocado demand increasing
By all accounts, the Peruvian avocado industry has had a very good season exporting avocados to the United States and elsewhere, and the group’s top U.S. representatives believe it is a harbinger of things to come. “The question for the future is how are we going to keep with demand,” said Xavier Equihua, president and chief executive officer of the Peruvian... Read more
Pacific Northwest to harvest fourth-largest pear crop
The Pacific Northwest is expecting to harvest its fourth-largest pear crop during the 2015-16 season. “The first estimates for the fresh pear crop show it coming in at just over 20 million standard box equivalents,” said Kevin Moffitt, president and chief executive officer of the Pear Bureau Northwest. “While this is 2 percent below last year, it is 2 percent... Read more
Newer, bigger and better varieties that have extended the California grape season are key to its success, according to many different members of the industry recently interviewed by The Produce News. “Autumn King, which is a good green seedless; Scarlet Royal, which is a good red seedless; and Autumn Royal, which is a black grape, are later in the deal and really... Read more
Producers poised to move onions from Pacific Northwest
Northwest Farm Credit Services has released its Onions Market Snapshot, which provides some insights about the coming 2015 onion crop from the Pacific Northwest. The association said that Northwest onion producers may face a more positive new crop marketplace, with key drivers including the following: Flat to lower acreage. Northwest onion acres are estimated... Read more
The 2015 Michigan apple crop “will be very similar in size to last year with a change in varietal mix,” said Don Armock, who is a partner and the president of Riveridge Produce Marketing Inc., based in Sparta, MI. The Michigan apple crop of 2012 was eliminated by a springtime freeze. Michigan’s apple trees made a huge rebound with a very large 2013 crop. Then,... Read more
The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced its final tally for the 2014-15 Florida orange crop at 96.7 million boxes. The figure represents a slight increase from the June estimate. "It's nice to have a bit of stability on this final number from the USDA," Michael W. Sparks, executive vice president and chief executive officer of Florida Citrus Mutual, said... Read more
Brutally cold winter perfectly wonderful for New Jersey peaches
Few will forget the nearly unrelenting past winter that delivered storm after storm across the Northeast. For some, however, those frigid temperatures were a blessing, notably the New Jersey peach crop. Pegi Adam, director of communications for the New Jersey Peach Promotion Council, told The Produce News that the cold put the trees into a sound dormant stage,... Read more
California pear crop for 2015 anticipated at 170,197 tons
Volume estimates released by the California Pear Advisory Board on June 12 show that the state’s fresh pear volume is expected to be down when compared to the last crop year. According to the report, California fresh pear producers are expected to move approximately 2.894 million 36-pound boxes this season, a decrease of 6 percent compared to 2014. The total... Read more