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Fresh from the Field

This week’s fresh update

December 3, 2019 | Volume 6, Issue 47

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Conventional Vegetables

Markets in Florida are starting to react as volume decreases, and new fields are not ready to be harvest. Cooler weather will also delay harvesting, as growers will not harvest pepper due to the colder weather; handling of pepper during cooler temps causes bruising. We are starting to see better availability along with better quality from Mexico.
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East coast supply in Georgia will be light for the next 1-2 weeks and then will ramp up leading into the holidays. California and Mexico production has picked up this week and will remain steady for the next 2-3 weeks.
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Georgia has started with light volume. We will see an increase in production over the next 1-2 weeks. There will be steady volume until the end of December/early January.
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Colder temperature and heavy rains have caused production delays in Oxnard. Supplies of celery remain steady with most sizes available; although, the rain forecast could bring more production delays and limit availability. Celery quality is good with occasional light blister & peel on the outer petioles. With the recent rains, some bottom rot and mud is likely to be seen on the lower portion of the stalks. The weather forecast calls for cooler temperatures and more rain likely today and on Wednesday and Friday. Currently, Oxnard, Salinas, and Santa Maria are the primary shipping locations for celery off the west coast.
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Demand far exceeds supply in both Florida and Nogales. The result of the rains in Mexico has created a severe shortage of product. Expect conditions to remain short for the next two weeks. Florida did not allocate the same number of acres as previous years. We are a couple of weeks away from starting with offshore season – Honduran in Miami.
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Kale is in full production in GA. We will have abundant, promotable supply for the next 4-6 weeks. Mustard and Turnip are in a demand-exceeds-supply scenario and will be short until the first week of December. Collard is in production but limited quantities for the next 3-4 weeks.
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Iceberg Lettuce
Iceberg lettuce supplies are becoming more limited this week as production delays from rain in the southern growing region are expected again this week. Quality reports from this region show overall good quality and condition with no major industry-wide issues reported. The weather forecast calls for a chance of rain on Wednesday and average temperatures into the weekend. Currently, Yuma and the Imperial Valley are the primary loading locations for Iceberg off the west coast.
Romaine & Leaf Lettuces
Romaine supplies are steady to start this week with good availability in the desert region. Quality reports are showing good overall quality with occasional blister on the outermost leaves. Occasional lightweights and very occasional seeder have been reported. Red, green, and butter supplies are expected to remain fairly limited with the cooler weather and wet conditions. Currently, Yuma and the Imperial Valley are the primary loading locations for leaf lettuces off the west coast.^ Back to Conventional Vegetables

We are locked and ready to go out of Washington, Colorado, and Alberta on the Rooster and Blonde Bella programs. Our Peruvian Sun and Anya varieties are available out of Colorado and Alberta. Looking forward, we will have Rooster and Blonde Bella available November 1st out of Prince Edward Island.
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The sudden rains in the growing regions of Sinaloa and Sonora, Mexico, prevented many of the growers from harvesting. As a result, markets have reacted as demand exceeds supply. The rains have stopped, but normal harvest won’t resume until the end of the week. Florida volume remains steady, but not enough to cover the demand.
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Cold weather in the growing area in Florida has created gaps in supply. Very limited volume will be available for the next 10 days.
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Conventional Fruits

The Washington apple crop is now completely harvested and in storage. The overall 2019 Washington apple crop is a large crop with estimates coming in around 138 million bushels, which is an increase of over 16% versus last year’s crop. Last year, Washington had one of their smaller crops in the last 5 years that totaled only 117 million cases, which negatively affected our case movements and sales. This year’s crop is looking like a high-quality crop, but it produced a smaller sized apple than last year and will have much less of the tray fruit in the 64 to 72 count range this season. But, with that said, there will still be plenty of this larger tray fruit at attractive prices all season long. The biggest value and opportunity this season will be on the smaller fruit where there will be great opportunities with very attractive promotional prices throughout this year and through the spring of 2020. Currently, there are also great promotional opportunities on Honeycrisp apples and Gala apples which both had record harvests this season.
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Total weekly avocado volume into the USA has decreased by 25% compared to 4 weeks prior. As a result, prices and availability have firmed considerably on large fruit and the smaller sizes are showing signs of moving to higher price levels as well.
Mexico
Hass Avocado Board reported just under 1,000 loads that crossed the border from Mexico last week. Hass Avocado Board is projecting approximately 1,000 loads of avocados from Mexico to cross into the US this week. The Aventajada crop is trending heavy to 48s and smaller. Weather: The weather is expected to be in the low 70s by day and the low 50s at night, with thunderstorms most of the week. Quality: The Aventajada crop is prone to external black spotting that does not impact the internal quality of the fruit. *Transit/Storing temperatures are 40-42 degrees Fahrenheit continuously.
California
The 2019 California crop is done for the season. The 2020 season is expected to start in late winter/early spring.
Peru
The 2019 Peruvian crop is done for the season. The 2020 season is expected to start in late winter/early spring.
Chile
Chile did not have any arrivals to the United States last week. Chile is experiencing a drought and the harvest has been heavy to smaller sizes, reducing the overall volume available.
Colombia
The World Avocado Congress took place in Colombia last month which is expected to trigger more excitement around the future of the Colombian avocado supply in the years to come.
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Blackberries
Volumes are starting to ramp up (slowly) this week on both conventional and organic.
Blueberries
Imports are increasing overall, with more volume coming from Peru and Argentina to the East Coast. The West Coast is getting good volume this week. Chilean boats are on the water!!
Raspberries
Mexican production is ramping up but demand and pre-planned ads are slow. So, movement has slowed down and raspberries (both conventional and organic) are available in volume this week!
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Supplies are light. FOBs have eased with demand easing as well. Central Arizona production has completed for the season. The first offshore cantaloupe containers continue to arrive in Florida, and more are expected this week, but still generally seeing just moderate supplies. Demand is expected to remain mostly steady.
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Oranges
California Navels are in full swing and growers are reporting that 56s and larger are scarce. Sizes are peaking on 72/88/113 and peaking fancy over choice. With heavy rains last week and rain expected this week, supplies should start to tighten up. There have been reports of quality issues regarding the taste of the first supplies of Navels. As a result, we have heard of growers cutting back the amount they pick or even delaying when they start picking entirely.
Lemons
Desert lemons in District 3 are in full swing. California lemons are peaking at 115s/140s. However, lemon prices are very high on large lemons as demand has continued to be very strong and supplies short in both Texas and California. We are continuing to see good supplies of Mexican lemons show up in Texas as the season starts winding down. Prices have slowly been falling as California lemons continue to become more prevalent. There are no issues in finding supplies of Mexican lemons at this point as buyers have shifted to California lemons.
Grapefruit
New crops of California grapefruit have started and supplies are healthy. Texas grapefruit growers started packing and we are starting to see healthy supplies there as well. Texas grapefruit is peaking towards 48/56 count and grade is favoring fancy over choice. Growers are telling us that large-size grapefruit (32s) will continue to be tight.
Mandarins
Satsumas have come to an end and Clementines started in California. Prices have been steady because there is a good supply at the moment; however, we have heard supplies might tighten up due to east coast being short of supplies and due to the rains in California. Large fruit is limited at the moment. We have not heard much regarding quality issues.
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The California grape market is changing rapidly as the industry heads into December, with harvest now officially complete on the 2019 season. While many growers are still holding decent inventories of red seedless grapes, virtually all green seedless grapes still in storage are committed and set aside for program business. Market pricing will remain very firm on the few remaining green seedless (Autumn King) grapes, while the red seedless (Allison) market should remain steady through most of the month as growers attempt to finish shipping prior to 2020. Looking forward toward the import season, the first containers of Peruvian fruit have arrived at both coasts, with pallet volumes ready to ship this week. While overall imported volume will pick up through the month of December, demand is expected to exceed supply, particularly on green seedless grapes. Expect market pricing to remain very firm, and availability on all varieties to become extremely tight through December and well into January of 2020.
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Honeydews out of Nogales, Arizona, continue to be in very short supply as rain and weather have curtailed what has been available. Look for supply situation to remain short for the near term and demand to remain elevated for the short term.
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Overall demand for limes seems to have dropped significantly the past few weeks. Markets are depressed slightly, but volume also is down week over week. Demand is expected to pick up for the holidays. Peak sizing is on 175/200 count with a lot of 110 and 150 count available as well. Quality is better than it has been in previous weeks with less stylar and skin breakdown.
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We have received the last two containers from Brazil and we will only be receiving Ecuadorian mangos in the Northeast; you can still find Brazilian Mangos in the market, but these should not last long. The Ecuadorian season is in full swing and we’ve seen shipments increase week over week into the United States. Ecuadorian supply is peaking on 10s and 12s, followed by a few 9s. We expect the market to remain strong on large fruit while small fruit will be competitively priced.
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We are seeing mostly overcast this week, temps in the 60s in the morning and high 80s in the evening. We expect an increase in supply this week compared to last week. Sizing profile has not changed much but we are closely monitoring this. Premium sizes such as 8, 9, 12s have been scarce due to previous weather conditions and caused the market to get stronger week after week. The market has remained strong for #1 product.
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The domestic pear season is in full swing. All varieties are readily available in promotional volume. The crop is off the trees and quality is excellent!
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Pineapple

Pineapple (Offshore)
Gustavo.Lora@robinsonfresh.com
Windy conditions with partially cloudy weather dominated the early part of last week over Costa Rica. The dominating atmospheric pressure on the Caribbean Sea generated a somewhat stable dry pattern for the end of the week in some of the growing regions. Costa Rica is expecting an increase in trade winds causing heavy rain showers the first week of December. Night temperatures will also decrease considerably. One very important factor to monitor now is the temperature. If early morning temperatures lower considerably, we might be facing NDF events. We can’t be sure how intense this next few days’ weather will be; but, conditions might vary abruptly. We may still have some water spotting issues and lower internal condition for the next couple of weeks. USDA crossing report is showing week 47 with a low inbound volume out of Costa Rica at only 575 containers for the entire continental USA. Europe is still pulling heavy which will continue to affect the volume that will be allocated to the USA market, at least until week 50 packing.

Pineapple (Mexican)
Jiovani.Guevara@robinsonfresh.com

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California strawberries are still very limited and, with moderate to heavy rains forecast for this week, many shippers are not able to harvest and may not be able to pack for several days after the rains. With California tapped, it will move demand to the Mexican and Florida areas that have recently begun their production. Rain will definitely impact the quality of the California berries and this storm should finish the Salinas/Watsonville area for the season. Santa Maria, California, is forecast for Wednesday afternoon showers, Thursday and Friday mostly cloudy skies, Saturday clouds with rain possible, and Sunday chance of morning showers turning partly cloudy. Highs are forecast in the 60s and lows in 50s, decreasing to the 40s for the weekend. Oxnard, California, is forecast for rain on Wednesday, Thursday to Saturday mostly cloudy, and Sunday mostly sunny. Highs are forecast in the 60s and lows in the 50s, decreasing to the 40s for the weekend. Santa Maria, California, fruit is showing occasional bruising, water damage, white shoulder and under color, misshapen and occasional overripe, and pin rot. Average count is 26 to 30, occasionally higher and lower. Oxnard, California, fruit has occasional white shoulder, misshapen, windburn, soft shoulder and bruising. Average counts are 22 to 24, occasionally higher and lower. Florida fruit is misshapen and small.
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Seedless and mini supplies are a little tight. We have supplies in Florida, Texas, and Nogales on seedless. Northern Mexico is winding down and Southern Mexico will start the last week in December. Southern Mexico had over 20 inches of rain and we will see lower yields. We are crossing melons from Mexico in Nogales and Edinburg, Texas. Offshore melons will start in mid-December.
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Organic Fruits & Vegetables

We are now finished with the harvest of the new crop organic apples in Washington. Many of the apples are being put into controlled-atmosphere storage so that there will be a good supply available through spring of next year or longer. This year’s crop is shaping up to be a larger crop then the previous year as well as another high-quality crop. Overall, the crop is projected to have an increase of around 20% this season over the previous crop. The fruit size is running a couple sizes smaller than last year, so expect an abundance of smaller fruit this year which will result in many promotional opportunities on bagged fruit. We currently have good availability on all varieties including organic Galas, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith apples along with many others. We will have plenty of fruit of all sizes for you this season. Expect the overall pricing to be lower this season with fantastic opportunities throughout the rest of this year.
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Organic Consolidation

Bob.Stone@chrobinson.com

Here we are in Southern California where autumn has finally arrived with its rains. This has caused muddy fields in just about all growing regions of California, Arizona, and Mexico. Yet, some type of product is coming from just about every point along the West Coast of the Americas. Salinas Valley is still harvesting, the Northwest is flush with the biggest organic harvest ever, the citrus groves of Central California are producing, the Southwest Desert has started, Mexico is getting into full swing, and lastly South American grapes and mangos have landed on our shores. However, the muddy fields caused by the rains have drastically slowed harvest on just about all items. It is evident the product is out there for harvesting, but the growers just cannot get to it. This is evidenced by the fact that prices have not skyrocketed. The issues with the weather instead have caused delays in loading. And this brings to point the value of the services we offer at the Los Angles Service Center (LASC) in San Bernardino, which is smack dab in the middle of all this commerce! We can be your one-stop shopping/consolidation point. And with new unloading hours beginning at 04:00, trucks can unload here and still be ahead of the traffic into Los Angeles. A bonus of our location, trucks have a multitude of avenues into Los Angeles. And, as if this was not enough of a reason to utilize our services, we now have in-house the first of the South American grapes. Give us a call and let us know what we can do for you. And don’t forget to make delivery/pick-up appointments at 909-683-1695.
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Organic Dry Vegetables

Bob.Stone@chrobinson.com

Organic dry vegetables continue at a steady pace except for mini sweet peppers; we hope to see an uptick in supply of the mini sweet peppers by mid-December. Concerning the other dry vegetables, there seems to be a new item to promote daily. And on top of this, the Culiacan region of Mexico is just about ready to start, which will bring more quality product into the market. Let us know what you are looking for and we will get you the deal you need.
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Organic minis are done for the year.
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Organic Onions

Bob.Stone@chrobinson.com

Onions keep moving steadily along with all varieties, including Sweets, available. We have deals available on just about every type and the HOT deal for the rest of the year is on 50-pound bags of jumbo red and jumbo yellow onions. Call for details. Of course, we are a steady rolling machine with our own Hummingbird top label brand of red onions and shallots. You would not want your customers’ kitchens to be without shallots to enhance their turkeys and prime ribs, and we have the world’s finest shallots.
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Domestic organic pear volume is up this year. The crop has finished being harvested and quality is excellent with promotional volumes readily available.
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We made it through the Thanksgiving pull and now we look forward to the Christmas pull. Supply out of Colorado and Washington is good and quality has been outstanding. We still have plenty of Rooster potatoes, Russets, and Fingerling potatoes to promote. Give us a call!
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Florida has some availability but no major volume. Nogales is slowly getting started.
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Organic Sweet Potatoes

Chris.Lemmon@robinsonfresh.com

Organic sweet potato season is upon us. Now is the time to set your shelf space and display all the great varieties that are available. The quality of the sweet potatoes coming from Livingston, California, has been and is outstanding. All varieties–Orange, Red, White, and Japanese–are promotable but lock up your ads as soon as possible. Pack times at the shed will get tight and could hinder loading your trucks on time. We are packing in 40 pound boxes and 12/3 pound bags.
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Transportation

We are accepting freight opportunities from all geographic areas. Twenty-four hour lead time is preferred but all transactional last-minute opportunities are accepted.

 

Michael.Moyski@chrobinson.com
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Fresh from the kitchen

HEARTY PEAR SALAD WITH THICK-CUT BACON

Ingredients

  • 2 Tomorrow’s® Organics Red Anjou pears, cut into large chunks, core discarded
  • 1/2 pound thick-cut bacon
  • 1 small head frisee, cleaned, tender leaves only
  • 2 cups curly green kale, cleaned, stalks removed and shredded
  • 1 tablespoon rough chopped dill

… More at Hearty Pear Salad With Thick-Cut Bacon

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