SEASONAL PRODUCE-WEEKLY MARKET REPORT

OVERVIEW

MARKET REVIEW

March 1st 2021

The West Coast veg market has fared well over the past few weeks with no major changes. California continues to stay between the 45-65-degree mark with berry production picking up as the days get warmer. CA has also begun taking over the citrus market again as they are now the main supplier of navels and lemons nationwide. Arizona commodities continue to have a strong showing due to a combination of good weather and no major diseases. All leafy greens have been high in quantity as well as quality with commodities such as romaine and iceberg being great buys. While the commodities market is doing well, the freight market has thrown a wrench in the mix. Due to the intense weather advisories across the country, demand has fallen as freight costs have increased greatly for West Coast
to East Coast loads. Most growers have plenty of supply to fulfill any order needs so if you can find cheap freight, now is a great time to buy.

 

 

PRODUCT AVAILABILITY

 

AVOCADOS

 

WATCHLIST Volume will tighten up pushing fob prices higher as we see lighter numbers crossing from Mexico. We will continue to observe the spring crop which may have some loss due to freezing temps in the region last month. Volume continues to increase out of California. Quality is outstanding.

 

BANANAS

 

ACT OF GOD Hurricane Eta and Iota has left behind major effects on several growing regions in South America. Our growers have assessed damages that have impacted both crops and infrastructure. The aftermath of this situation will continue to hinder the entire banana industry and cause a Force Majeure to remain in place. Based on forecasts received from our growers, we anticipate active markets and tight supply through Q1 2021. We will anticipate maintaining the supply chain at escalated prices until we are clear of this unfortunate event.

 

PINEAPPLES

 

Volumes are picking back up, quality is excellent.

 

BERRIES

 

Blueberries: Mexican production will continue to quickly increase this month. The Florida season is starting with low volumes. Good overall quality. Peru is wrapping up for the season and product from chile is increasing in volume although delays at the port in Long Beach are still affecting arrivals.

Blackberries: Light volume will continue through next week with volume expected to increase in mid-March. Quality is good.

Raspberries: Light volume will continue through next week with volume expected to increase in mid-March. Quality is good.

Strawberries: WATCHLIST There are varying reports on Berries. Current week, there is increased volume out of Florida with deals being made at lower prices. California has a moderate increase in volume with slightly lower pricing, quality is good.

Navels: The taste and quality are great. Small sizes remain moderately tight.

Grapefruit: Texas grapefruit has ended abruptly due to the freezing temperatures. California grapefruit will be available mid-week, small volume this week, as Central Valley ramps up harvesting. This is a very early start for some California growers. Some blocks are not ready, however, the heat this week will help things along. The fruit is peaking on the smaller sizes: 40/48/56s.

Lemons: Minimal issues with quality. Peak sizes are 140/115/165ct.

Limes: EXTREME The lime market remains firm as the availability of small fruit has become limited, pushing our growers to secure additional fruit at the market. Quality and rain-related issues have impacted the older crops, which is where the current fruit is being harvested. Political issues are also impacting the supply routes through Mexico; we may see this impact for the next several weeks. Should there be any unexpected shorts, a temporary substitute is lemons.

 
CALIFORNIA LETTUCE


Butter: Good volume and quality.

Green and Red Leaf: Good volume and quality.

Iceberg Lettuce: Good volume and quality.

Romaine & Romaine Hearts: Good volume and quality.

 

EASTERN AND WESTERN VEGETABLES


Green Bell Pepper: Normal volume and good quality out of Florida. Good volume continues in the West crossing through Nogales and McAllen. Quality is outstanding.

Red Bell Peppers: Promotable volume available out of Central Mexico. Quality is outstanding.

Cucumbers: WATCHLIST Lighter volume will continue over the next week from Honduras and loading in Miami. Mexican crossings are tighter due to cooler temps slowing down production. This should improve over the next 7-10 days. Quality is outstanding on both crops.

English Cucumber: Markets remain flat; however, the volume has tightened with cooler weather. Quality is great.

Green Beans: WATCHLIST Volume domestically has improved thanks to Mother Nature. Nogales supply has improved leading to a stable market. Quality is mostly good.

Zucchini & Yellow Squash: Markets in Florida have firmed up a tad as supply has tightened. Good volume crossing from Mexico. Quality is outstanding on Zucchini however seeing more scarring on the yellow.

 

GRAPES


The red volume will increase at the beginning of next week. The green grape market is elevated slightly. Availability will be lower from this point till the MX season starts.


MELONS


Cantaloupe: ESCALATED Cantaloupe volume from Guatemala’s second cycle will start to be received as early as the end of this week and increase weekly throughout March. Actual numbers initially are lower than what was originally projected. Strong retail promotions were put in place based on original projections which should assist in keeping the open market pricing at, or slightly below, current levels through mid-March. Sizing on this new fruit is anticipated to trend heavier to the larger fruit which could put more pressure on the availability of smaller fruit. Although we have yet to receive any of these fruit reports/pictures from our farm are showing outstanding quality with a nice shell color with very good Brix levels.

Honeydew: Overall honeydew volume hitting the market has been lower since last week which is assisting in restabilizing the pricing levels. The fruit had been peaking on larger fruit, but Classic Fruit will experience a quick shot of smaller fruit (6/8s) at the end of this week, but this should be temporary. Honeydew quality has been very good over the past few weeks with few if any, external scarring/blemishes while the melons have been cutting consistently with some of the best brix and flavor, we have seen this season.

Watermelon: Improving supply this week crossing through Nogales and Texas while offshore arrivals were steady. Quality is good.

 

MIXED VEGETABLE

 

Artichokes: Quality is excellent although the chokes are showing a little purple color near the base but are free of any frost damage. We expect fair volume to continue through the month of February. Prices are steady.

Arugula: Supply is good with good quality.

Asparagus: Good supply continues with very good quality.

Bok Choy: Supply is expected to be plentiful for the next three weeks. Quality is good.

Broccoli: The supply is very good. Quality is good.

Brussel Sprouts: Good supply and very good quality

Carrots: Good availability on all packs with very good quality.

Cauliflower: Supply is expected to be plentiful this week, quality is good.

Celery: Supply and quality are good. Market is lower this week.

Cilantro: Volume will be plentiful this week. Quality is good.

Corn: EXTREME (Florida) Corn prices have eased back a tad due to lighter demand but remain unstable in Florida as volume has not improved yet out of Homestead. In Nogales, better numbers are crossing on bi, yellow, and white corn. We recommend subbing in broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, or French beans, where possible until we see more consistency in the market.

Fennel: We will continue to have good supply on fennel for the next couple weeks. Quality remains strong overall.

Garlic: EXTREME The market for domestic garlic remains high with good quality.

Ginger: EXTREME Ginger is very volatile due to very inconsistent supply and market is higher. Supply remains tight for the foreseeable future.

Green Cabbage: Supply and quality are good.

Green Onions: Supply and quality are good this week. The market is steady.

Kale (Green): Bunched kale supply is expected to be plentiful for the next few weeks.

Mushrooms: We are seeing a stable market and good supply.

Napa: Good quality and supply.

Parsley (Curly, Italian): Great quality with a good supply.

Rapini: Strong quality with a good supply.

Red Cabbage: Supply is improving. Quality remains consistent.

Snow and Sugar Snap Peas: Steady volume, good quality. Sugar

Snap peas: Steady volume, good quality.

Spinach (baby): Supply and quality is good.

Spinach (bunched): Supply and quality are good.

Spring Mix: Supply and quality are good.

Sweet Potatoes and Yams: New crop harvest starts as soon as
next week for some sweet potato growers. We are looking at new crop shipments starting in about 6 weeks after they cure. Last year’s crop is starting to dwindle, and inventory is getting tight, but supply should hold to avoid a gap.

 

ONIONS


FOB pricing on all colors and sizes remains stable in the Northwest. Size profiles on all colors continue leaning toward heavier to larger sizes, which is expected to continue as the USDA Farmers to Families program continues for the next two months. White onion supply continues to tighten up in the Northwest, however Mexican white and yellow onions crossing through South Texas continue to ramp up. However, with the bouts of freezing temperatures and heavy snow throughout the country, demand significantly dropped. The big focus in the onion world right now is the freezing temperatures in both McAllen, TX and Uvalde, TX, and how those onion crops will both react. Texas growers are very concerned as onions can withstand low temperatures for a short period of time, however, any prolonged freeze will absolutely have a negative impact on both the bulb and plant. Northwest growers are facing the same challenges with demand; however, they are very optimistic that once demand picks up, FOBs could climb quickly. Their crop is beginning to wind down some, and we will likely start seeing shippers finish up in the coming weeks. There was already optimism that warmer weather and reduced Covid restriction would create enough foodservice demand to help FOBs in the Northwest finish strong. With recent events this past week, the market could move fast when demand does pick up. The biggest challenge is truck capacity. At one point this past week, there was a Driver Advisory in 40 states due to weather. A lot of carriers are simply sitting put and waiting until things clear up, which is allowing the carriers that will run to charge some pretty hefty rates. The weather appears to be improving around the country, and we anticipate next week things should start to loosen.

 

 POTATOES


The market remains stagnant on all sizes and grades of potatoes. Burbanks, Norkotahs, and White Russets are shipping full steam ahead. Quality currently remains strong on all varieties. Larger-size cartons have been more plentiful than in recent weeks, as the heightened demand on small potatoes for the Box Program is causing large counts to pile up. There are predictions that the program will continue to help keep small sized potatoes cleaned up over the next three months, which should help the overall market. While foodservice demand had picked up, inclement weather throughout the country plummeted foodservice demand these past two weeks. We are starting to see this demand come back due to the weather, and we anticipate this will continue to ramp up in the coming weeks. Additionally, other russet growing regions will finish shipping in the coming months, so there will be less overall supply in the market. This will help increase FOB pricing as well. Truck capacity remains the biggest challenge. While we all feel the situation is short-term, we are seeing such a small supply of available equipment that simply cannot keep up with demand from FEMA, as well as government demand for help with the vaccine roll-out. As more carriers get back to work, we anticipate things will continue to loosen up.

 

TOMATOES


Rounds: Florida supply is steady this week. Quality is outstanding.

Romas: Florida supply is steady this week. Quality is outstanding.

Grapes: Florida supply is steady this week. Quality is outstanding.

Cherries: Florida supply is steady this week. Quality is outstanding.

Organic Tomatoes: Supply and quality improving.

 

APPLES AND PEARS

 

EXTREME The Washington Apple community is reporting that the 2020-2021 crop is down this year by nearly 30 million cases for several reasons. At this time, we are also seeing deficits in other regions on a national level. This is due to weather-related pressure, late summer and early fall in the Pacific Northwest, and unprecedented demand at retail. Please keep in mind, the USDA Food Box program, as well as other government-backed programs, have reduced the overall availability of the fruit. This shortage is impacting the Granny Smith and Gala varieties, which are major food service items. Between the production shortages, which are weather-related, unprecedented demand, and COVID-19 restrictions and closures, there will be continued upward pressure on price. Please note that we are expecting pricing to remain higher until the crop begins sometime in August 2021 Asian pear supply is available. Chilean & Argentine Bartlett Pears in LA.