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Fresh from the Field

This week’s fresh update

December 7, 2021 | Volume 8, Issue 49

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Conventional Vegetables

Bell Peppers

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Florida is producing good volume and we don’t see things changing as the weather forecast looks ideal for growing conditions. Nogales will finally see steady supplies this week and we don’t see this trend changing. Believe it or not, there are some folks still harvesting pepper in Georgia.
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Georgia has limited volume on broccoli and pricing remains high because of the cooler weather. Mexican volumes also remain limited.
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Cabbage has started in a very limited way in Georgia. Texas is going with some domestic supplies.
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Celery supplies in Santa Maria and Oxnard are steady with good volume available. Quality reports are showing very good quality with no major issues reported. The weather forecast calls for cool temperatures with foggy conditions this week. Please reach out to your Robinson Fresh representative for updates and information regarding availability and promotions.
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Cucumbers

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First containers from Honduras will start arriving next week in Miami. Florida is starting to get into new fields so we can expect better volume toward the end of the week. Nogales will continue to see their steady share of volume this week. Weather permitting, good promotable volume for the next two weeks.
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Greens in Georgia continue to be in good supply and quality for the December holiday!
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Leaf Lettuce

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Iceberg and leaf lettuces are in good supply and available for loading in Yuma and the Imperial Valley. The weather forecast calls for below-average temperatures with the potential to slow down growth rates a bit. Overall quality is excellent with no major issues reported. Please reach out to your Robinson Fresh representative for any additional information and promotional opportunities.
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We have good pack time availability right now after the Thanksgiving holiday so please reach out to your Robinson Fresh representative for the latest pricing. Both FOB and delivered pricing are available. If the recent ban on imports from Prince Edward Island has affected your supply, please reach out for assistance as we have good supply from other Canadian provinces and U.S. states in the East.
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No major change on squash, as availability continues to remain steady from both Nogales and Florida. All growing regions in Florida (Immokalee, Homestead, and Plant City) are producing good volume, and the weather looks favorable for this trend to continue. Nogales continues to produce good volume, but depressed markets are forcing several growers to leave fields behind in order have an impact on the market. Weather permitting, we should continue to see steady supplies for the next 10 days.
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Sweet Corn

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Market is very high on Florida corn as the volume is exceptionally limited. Expect to see this continue for the next couple of weeks as Florida ramps up harvesting.
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Conventional Fruits

The apple market remains firm this week as demand remains strong. All varieties have now finished harvesting and are now in short-term or long-term California storage. The overall crop is down this year with total crop estimated to be around 118 million cases this season. This will make the second crop in a row that is smaller than normal and looks to be at least 3 million cases shorter than the crop last season. The crop was smaller because of extreme heat and weather conditions that we experienced during the summer months with high temps and lower rainfalls. The quality has been good so far, but we will need to see how the fruit holds up in storage as we begin to open the California room in 2022. Pricing overall is running higher due to the shorter crop and overall inflation in the growing chain, including labor, picking, packing, and transporting of apples. Even though I expect higher prices from beginning to end, we will still have plenty of fruit to provide all the needs of our customers this season.
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XL size avocados are what shippers are pushing this week. Pricing has firmed up on 60s and smaller, with limited availability on size 84s. Avocado harvest is expected to be strong over the next two weeks before growers start to take time off for the Christmas break.
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Bush Berries

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Blueberries
The market is starting to rebound on blueberries as Peru quickly slows down and Chile is expecting light production for 2021-2022. Production is lightening up quickly and prices are starting to reflect this as well for this week.
Blackberries
Quality is improving and there are more supplies available in both conventional and organic this week. Promotable on both items for the next 4 weeks.
Raspberries
Still a loose market this week as production ramped up post-Thanksgiving. Typically, December is a lighter production month, so we should see the market level back up through the next few weeks.
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Cantaloupe

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Mexican-grown cantaloupe are going out West with limited supplies for another couple weeks. Offshore has started out East and volume is picking up with good supplies. Quality has been good.
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Oranges
California navels are currently harvesting mostly Fukomotos and Washingtons. Peak sizing is on 72 count and smaller, but with larger volume in certain fields coming on with larger fruit. Larger fruit will become more available in the coming weeks as the season progresses. Quality is excellent and in peak eating time! Brix and color are high!
Lemons
Market is in a supply-exceeds-demand situation. Availability is good on all sizes. California lemons are coming out of both Districts 1 and 3. Current harvest is peaking on 165s. Mexican lemons are still being shipped into South Texas and Nogales, but are slowly winding down as we come into the holiday season.
Grapefruit
Overall market has started to soften as more supplies become available in Texas, Mexico, and California. Quality is excellent with no issues being reported at this time. In California, we are shipping Rio Reds, peaking on 36/40/48s. Small sizes are where the pricing is most aggressive. Mexican grapefruit is peaking on 40s/48s, eating great and look great! Supplies have been on lighter side to start the season but that is starting to change. Texas also started a few weeks ago and while supplies will be down sharply year-over-year, quality has been strong to start the season.
Mandarins
Mandarins are settling down as there are now both imports and domestic mandarins. Imports can be found loading out of California and Texas. The California mandarin crop is expected to be down 40%, so supplies will be limited all season long. Satsumas are finishing up and Clementines are just starting. Other seeded varieties shipping now out of California are Fairchilds and Daisies. Mexico is also starting to ship up some Dancy seeded varieties as well.
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California prices continue to rise. The red market continues to tighten, and larger sizes are drying up at a faster rate. The late-season Allisons are ranging in size more, bringing the average closer to a 12/16th of an inch compared to a 14/16th of an inch that was seen earlier in the season. Size has remained larger on the greens through the end of the season (averaging 14/16th of an inch). There is still availability on black seedless and globes, but available volume ranges depending on the grower. Most growers are not taking in new business due to needing what is left in inventory for committed business through the end of the season. Pricing is expected to rise, potentially higher on the reds depending on how demand is this week.
Imports – Brazil/Peru
The transition between California and import greens is looking to be smooth. Normally, greens are tighter at the end of the season, and importers race to get greens into the East. This year, reds are going to be the challenge. There are some reds available in the East, with large quantities on the water. With California averaging smaller sizing and volume quickly decreasing, some retailers are starting to pay a premium for import reds that are available in the East. It will largely depend on how long California is able to continue, but many East Coast retailers are looking to transition both reds and greens before the holidays. Import volume arriving to the West Coast is expected to pick up mid-December.
Red Seedless
The majority of the fruit being packed for the end of the season are Allisons, with some Scarlottas and Timcos. Allisons and Crimsons have started to arrive out of Peru. Sizing has continued to average 12-14/16th of an inch on most varieties.
Green Seedless
Autumn Kings are the primary variety being harvested. Quality has not been an issue so far, but growers are keeping a close eye now that the end of the season is approaching. Sizing is averaging 13-15/16th of an inch. Sweet Globes, Sugar Crisps, and Sugraones have started to arrive for import greens. Sizing is averaging 13-15/16th of an inch.
Black Grapes
Autumn Royals are almost finished out of California. Import black grapes will start to arrive out of Peru to the U.S. in mid-December.
Red Globes
The season is coming to an end on the red globes in California. There is expected to be enough volume to bridge the gap until arrivals of the first imports. Average sizing is 14/16th-1 inch.
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There are plenty of Mexican dew in Nogales. Sugar has been decent, and exteriors are clean. Northern Mexico is expected to have supplies for another week or two. Offshore honeydew have started with light volume.
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Region: Veracruz, Mexico
Currently, the crop is peaking on 175/200/150/230s. The weather forecast is showing favorable weather conditions all week. The demand for limes has been moderate to low. According to the USDA, the crossings through Texas from last week were at 674; as of Monday, the report is showing 127 crossings from the weekend. Sizing profile is peaking on sizes 175/200/150/230; size distribution is 110-10%, 150-18%, 175-23%, 200-20%, 230-18%, and 250-11%. Quality concerns are being expressed due to climate conditions from the past few weeks. The fruit from the new crop has lost color so the utilization has dropped as well. Quality issues being reported include oil spots, blanching, scarring, and skin breakdown. Looking ahead, the transition into a mid-size shift has begun and we are now into the mid-range and will continue for the remainder of the year. Now is the time to start planning for your holiday pulls. Remember, harvesting will be affected by the upcoming holidays.
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Ecuador is starting to see a decline in supply but our program business for round mangos is secured until week 52. Sizes are peaking on 8/9 counts as we start to see a higher percentage of Kents and Keitts on the next arrivals. Peruvian mangos have started for Europe and a few containers of honey mangos have arrived to the U.S., mostly small sizes (20 count and smaller). This week, most shippers have started shipping Kents to the U.S., mostly to the East Coast due to ocean space limitations to the West Coast. Similar weather in both regions with limited sunshine and overcast skies for much of the week.
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Historically, we see overall supply for papaya limited at the end of the year due to weather conditions at the growing region. The heavy rains that have been hitting Colima, Mexico for the past few weeks have affected the quality of the fruit. We expect these rains to continue at the growing region for weeks to come so supplies will remain limited with decent quality. With supply being limited this week, several shippers are not quoting papayas until they have something in hand to quote.
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We have new-crop Bartletts, Anjou, red pears, and Bosc shipping out of Washington State and Oregon now. The crop in the Northwest is looking a little smaller in volume this year and the fruit will run one to two sizes smaller than last season. Overall, there will be plenty of fruit to promote and advertise.
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Pineapple

Pineapple (Offshore)

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Rainy conditions are expected over the Caribbean and the Northern regions of Costa Rica this week. Cloudy conditions will generate cool temperatures and isolated drizzles, especially in the eastern part of the country. Most of the rainfall is generated by the location of the Tropical Convergence Zone and the crossing of Cold Front #6. This heavy weather pattern is expected to last throughout the week. Quality is reported as good but harsh weather conditions can strongly affect the fruit with the excess rainfall and lack of sunlight causing severe water spotting to the fruit along with lower internal condition and possibly some lower brix levels. Temperature has been cooling down in the growing regions but still nothing reported below 68 Fahrenheit. Temperature tracking is now very relevant since we are entering the period for Naturally Differentiated Flowering (NDF) events, where weather changes and low temperatures could trigger natural floration. USDA crossing report for week 47 is showing similar volume as week 46 at just over 1,000 loads of pineapples crossing for the entire continental USA. The USDA is reporting demand as moderate and market slightly higher.

Pineapple (Mexican)

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Weather in Veracruz, Mexico is reported as partly cloudy, with some rainfall expected during the week. Temperatures are expected in the mid-70s with no significant drop expected this week. Mexico’s inbound volume is improving but there has been no significant increase for the last two weeks with 26 containers reported crossing from Mexico into the U.S. last week. Inbound volume out of Mexico is expected to increase if U.S. market conditions improve. USDA crossing report for week 47 is showing similar volume as week 46 at just over 1,000 loads of pineapples crossing for the entire continental USA. The USDA is reporting demand as moderate and market as slightly higher.
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Strawberries

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Strawberry estimates should increase as Oxnard, Florida and Mexican growing areas bring on production, which should help to lower prices. The Salinas/Watsonville area may finish for the season, depending on the weather. Santa Maria, California is forecast to be mostly cloudy on Wednesday, showers on Thursday, and then mostly sunny for the balance of the week. Highs are expected in the 60s on Wednesday, decreasing to the 50s Thursday and Friday, and then increasing to the 60s for the weekend and lows in the 40s on Wednesday, decreasing to the 30s Thursday through Saturday, and then increasing to the 40s for Sunday. Oxnard, California is forecast to be mostly cloudy on Wednesday, windy with a few showers on Thursday, mostly sunny on Friday and Saturday, with increasing clouds on Sunday. Highs are expected in the upper 50s to low 60s and lows in the 50s on Wednesday, decreasing to the 40s for the balance of the week. California fruit may be subject to occasional bruising, misshapen, white shoulder, scarring, and tip burn on calyx.
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Watermelon

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Supplies are a little tight on seedless, and minis are starting to get a little tight out of Nogales, Arizona from Northern Mexico. Southern Mexico will start in December, around the 21st. We started our Guatemalan seedless crop out of Florida with limited supplies. There is also a small crop in Southern Florida with limited supplies right now. Supplies will be light in December.
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Organic Fruits & Vegetables

Organic Apples

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We are now shipping new-crop organic Honeycrisp, Galas, Granny Smith, Pink Lady, and Fuji apples along with other less popular varieties. So far, the quality is good on all the new crop varieties. The pricing so far is higher than last season on all varieties as demand for organics continues to rise. This season, the organic Gala crop is down significantly, and the price is expected to be around 15% to 20% higher than last season. So far, the Granny crop looks more normal than last season’s small crop, and we will see some relief on pricing with more normal pricing this season. The organic Pinks, Honeycrisp, and Fujis are seeing normal pricing to slightly higher pricing so far this season. Overall, prices are seeing an increase because all costs associated with growing, picking, and transporting apples is higher this year due to inflation. Overall, expect a good season on the organic apples with marginally higher prices throughout the season.
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Organic Dry Vegetables

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Nogales, Arizona
Volume deals on 12-count Euro cucumbers, green beans, eggplant, and hot pepper. TIME TO PROMOTE! Colored bells are limited and heavy to yellow. Acorn, butternut, spaghetti, and Kabocha hard shell squashes are steady. Zucchini and yellow squash supplies are also getting better.
San Diego, California
Colored bell peppers (red/yellow/orange) 11 and 25 pounds, 12/1-pound mini-sweet peppers, slicer cucumbers, and yellow and zucchini squash are limited in supply.
Coachella, California
Green bells are available in all sizes in good volumes!
Hollister, California
Butternut and spaghetti hard shell squashes have steady availability.
Northern Florida
Zucchini and yellow squash, slicer cucumbers, grape tomatoes, round tomatoes, green bell peppers, and eggplant are all available in limited quantities.
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Organic Melons

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Organic minis are done until next summer.
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Organic Onions

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Organic red onions out of Hollister, California are going strong. We have both jumbos and mediums available right now and the quality is outstanding! The market remains steady this week as supply and demand seem to have leveled.
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Organic Pears

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Organic Anjou, Bartletts, and Bosc are available out of Washington and Oregon. The crop of organic pears is running smaller in fruit size than last year’s crop, which should provide more bagging fruit and a little less of the large fruit. Most growers feel that this is a result of the extended heat wave that hit the Northwest region during the summer months. Overall, the crop still looks like a good one and there should be plenty of fruit for our customers this season. The organic Bartletts will finish up in early December, but we will have organic Anjous available into February 2022.
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Organic Potatoes

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Organic russets are in very good supply now and sizing is good. We are still seeing more potatoes that are perfect for bags, but there are some cartons available in 80 and 90 counts right now. We are currently using a Canela variety that is perfect for this time of year. Organic red potatoes continue to be on the tighter side this season. Quality is good and we have not seen any arrival issues with the reds. Color is on the lighter side but still a very nice-looking potato. Organic yellow potatoes are looking great, and supply is outstanding! We have been doing 3#, 5#, and cartons so far this season with great success. If you are looking to promote a great potato, yellows would be a great choice right now. Fingerling potatoes are now available from us in either Center, Colorado or you can load in San Bernardino, California. We have a tricolor (Gourmet Blend), golden fingerling, Radiant red, and we have buttercream yellow potatoes available. Quality is looking very nice, and we are looking to promote them over the next couple of months.
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Organic Squash

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Going into December, we still have good supply on butternut and spaghetti squashes. Markets have flattened a little as supply out of Mexico has increased. Our quality is outstanding and available to load in Hollister, California.
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Organic Sweet Potatoes

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We made it through the Thanksgiving madness and now we look forward to the Christmas pull. We still have plenty of supply and the quality is outstanding! Markets seem to be holding steady going into December, but there are opportunities for Christmas ads so give us a call.
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Transportation

The temperature-controlled marketplace is still experiencing a dramatic demand/supply imbalance that is throwing supply chains for a loop! Continue to keep your supply chain flexible and communicate with your dedicated C.H. Robinson and Robinson Fresh representatives to make this year-end a success! The Salinas Valley transition to Yuma, Arizona began mid-November and runs through April. Expect seasonal tightness in Arizona with a subsequent loosening in Salinas Valley because of this shift.
Holiday and Peak Retail Season
Fall Harvest Season has ended in most regions, and we move on to Christmas trees in the Midwest, Great Lakes and Pacific Northwest. Holiday season along with peak retail activities historically result in increased demand through the end of4th Quarter, and this year is proving no different! Increased demand with a limited carrier pool leads to an imbalance and requires creativity and a flexible supply chain to find success.
Imbalance of Refrigerated Trucks
Throughout the year, 2021 has brought a unique imbalance for refrigerated trucks. With the exceptional demand and pricing for van freight, there is enthusiasm in the reefer community to run some reefers dry, save on the fuel and use of the reefer unit and make similar money, thus effectively decreasing the reefer capacity. As the seasonal demand for temperature-controlled equipment shifts from one season to the next, accessing the capacity you need for your sensitive freight doesn’t have to be a challenge. Connect with a temperature-controlled expert to learn more about how seasonal imbalances affect your business and how our unique transportation procurement and capacity solutions can help your shipping strategy in the long run.

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Fresh from the kitchen

Mott’s® Mashed Potato Cakes

A use for those mashed potatoes left over from Thanksgiving.

Ingredients

  • 1 pouch Mott’s® Applesauce, Apple
  • 2 cups mashed potatoes
  • ¼-cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 7 tablespoons all-purpose flour, divided
  • Butter or oil for pan-searing

Instructions

  1. Place mashed potatoes, cheese, egg, Mott’s® applesauce, and 3 tablespoons of flour in a bowl and stir to combine.
  2. Take a scoop of the potato mixture and form into patties.
  3. Place the remaining 4 tablespoons of flour on a plate. Lightly coat the potato patties in the flour.
  4. Heat a thin layer of the oil or butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Cook the potato cakes for 3 minutes on each side for a total of 6 minutes.
  5. Serve as-is or with accompaniments.

Read more here.

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