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Fresh from the Field

This week’s fresh update

November 24, 2020 | Volume 7, Issue 46

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Conventional Vegetables

The major holiday is here and there is good volume and great quality for Thanksgiving this year. Markets are expected to ease up again next week as they typically do after a heavy Thanksgiving pull and retailers get caught up.
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Georgia is officially done, and the demand will shift to Florida and Nogales. As Georgia is done, we expect markets to react as Florida struggles with quality and availability. Weaker demand in the upcoming weeks will keep markets in check, but expect higher markets for Christmas. Nogales will start by December 1st.
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Supply on the West Coast remains limited as we come out of the Thanksgiving pull, decreasing demand. Good crops out of the Southeast and Mexico have helped relieve the pressure to the market. Expect the market to tighten back up heading into Christmas as demand increases.
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Texas and Southeast crops have started with good crop and availability. Expect good supplies through December.
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Celery supplies remain abundant this week with demand steady. Quality is excellent with good color and minimal frost damage on the outer petioles. Most shippers are peaking on 30s and 36s. Oxnard is the primary shipping location for celery out of California. Please contact your sales representative with any questions.
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As stated last week, better availability from Mexico has led to some lower markets. Good opportunity to promote in the upcoming weeks. Florida will continue to struggle with volume, and the upcoming Honduran season had been impacted by both hurricanes Eta and Iota. Early forecast shows losses of up to 40%. Honduran season usually starts in mid-January through mid-March.
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All varieties of greens are in good supply and availability! Quality is excellent!
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Supplies of iceberg and leaf lettuce have improved over the last week as warmer weather has pushed growth rates. Quality reports from Yuma are showing occasional small frame heads and seeder but overall good quality. The weather forecast calls for average temperatures in Yuma toward the end of this week. Please reach out to your Robinson Fresh representative for current availability and updates.
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Currently loading out of Idaho, Colorado, and Washington. The market was very active for the past two weeks with Thanksgiving ads in place. This week, demand is stable and there is an increase in availability on red, yellow and russet cartons in both Idaho and Colorado. Now is the time to start working on promotions for the rest of the year. Please contact your sales representative with any questions.
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No major volume yet, but we are hoping for better quality of yellow squash as new fields from Mexico start to cross. Florida continues to be in trouble, and don’t expect major volume from the region. Markets will remain active, and we still recommend to stay away from any promotions on yellow squash.
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Georgia is cleaned up and Florida is now producing ample supplies with decent quality to cover all needs. California is ending this weekend and Mexico has started crossing. Again, quality is okay and supplies do exceed current demand in all regions.
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Conventional Fruits

The new crop has now finished harvesting and is been put into storage. The overall crop came in shorter than projected due to weather issues and is now estimated to be around 117-million cases. This is much smaller than the 135-million case crop that we had last season. The quality of the fruit is very good but the sizing on the fruit is running smaller than last year and will mean that the large sizes will be tight and more expensive this season. Demand is strong and pricing is higher this year; we expect it to remain this way through the end of this year.
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The market has remained mostly steady on avocados with good availability on all sizes. Mexico is now 99% of total supply into the USA and Chilean supply has been mostly directed to other markets. The weather in Michoacán is forecast to be in the high 80s to low 90s this week, and harvesting is expected to be steady this week. Avocado shipments in the USA are expected to be lighter this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
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Blueberries
Imports continue to come in with very good volume on the East Coast. Mexico is ramping up as well. Expect good supply across all regions now through December.
Blackberries
Mexican production on both organic and conventional is falling off as we are past the fall peak. Production will stay lower until late January when the large ramp-up will last into early March before trickling down until the end of the season in June.
Raspberries
Production is coming on in Central Mexico! Steady volumes in Baja.
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Domestic production will be finished by the end of this week and we will not see domestic fruit again until mid-May. Mexican production will go through December. The first offshore boat arrived this week from Guatemala and more shippers will have arrivals next week. The first boat that arrived was harvested pre-hurricane Eta and Iota. Going forward, all boats will have fruit affected by the hurricanes and the continued heavy rainfall. Damage is still being assessed but all growers have lost a percentage of their crop. The offshore melon deal is shaping up to be very tight throughout the entire season.
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Oranges
We are starting to see more and more growers harvesting navels as the temperatures are finally dropping and color is beginning to break in the fields. Temperatures are going to drop off significantly toward the end of the week, almost reaching freezing point at night. Fruit is peaking on 88s/113s. Right now, we are gassing for about 40 to 60 hours. We are seeing pricing drop significantly across the board.
Lemons
Chilean lemons are winding down and most shippers are done; however, there are still some left to be found, especially on smaller sizes (165s/200s). There are deals out there on Chilean lemons due to shippers looking to close out inventories as California lemons have been going strong in District 3 and are also starting up in District 1. Supply out of District 1 will continue to increase as more and more shippers start harvesting over the next few weeks. District 3 has been peaking on 140/165s, while District 1 will be peaking a bit larger with 95s/115s. As long as the coronavirus continues to impact restaurants, there should continue to be more supply than demand. We will be starting our Grower Direct lemons in about two weeks.
Mandarins
There are some Chilean mandarins out there but they are winding down. They have been peaking on 5s and larger as the season comes to an end. Starting to see some Satsumas and Clementines being harvested this week. Hearing that the fruit is eating well, considering it is early fruit. Clementines will start out the season slightly larger than last year, but will still remain pretty small to start the season.
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The 2020 domestic grape season continues to wind down quickly in California with nearly all growers now finished with harvest for the year. While good volumes of red seedless grapes are put up in storage to stretch the season through December, green seedless options are tightening rapidly, with most of the industry anticipating to be sold out in the next 3-4 weeks. Variety-wise, the Allison has become the primary late-season red seedless option, along with virtually only Autumn Kings for green seedless. All black seedless varieties and also red globes are also winding down quickly for the season. Market pricing should remain steady on red seedless into early December, with the green seedless market already firming up into late November. Imported Peruvian grapes have already begun to arrive to both coasts, with volume continuing to build with each week through December to help ensure the industry doesn’t gap heading into 2021.
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Domestic production will be finishing this week. Mexico will continue to go strong and the first arrivals from Guatemala landed this week. Mexican fruit is well supplied and clean, with sugar in the 10-12 range. Size profile is a good mix of all sizes. Guatemalan fruit is limited due to being the first harvest/shipment and effects of hurricane Eta remain to be seen. Supply will be down throughout the offshore season due to the wet weather they have received and little fruit is expected to be available on the open market. Sizing on the first boat is heavy to jumbo 5/5 count.
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Currently, the crop is peaking at 175/250/200/230. The weather conditions for this week are favorable for harvesting daily. The demand for limes will be slow this week; however, we still need a push as demand has ramped up some. Expect to see good availability on 175/200/230s. Per the USDA crossings report, 294 loads have crossed through Texas since Friday. The crossings for last week were at 694 into Texas. Sizing profile shows peak sizes at 175/250/200/230 with size distribution as follows: 110-8%, 150-10%, 175-23%, 200-21%, 230-21%, and 250-23%. We are on the final days of this lime cycle with fruit still looking good. Looking ahead at the new crop which we should see early next week, it looks clean; however, some oil spots have been reported. Looking ahead, we need a big push this holiday week on limes as more are coming. Continue to look for outlets on all sizes.
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The Ecuadorian mango season is in full production. The crop sizing is peaking on 12 count followed by 10 count. The quality of Ecuadorian mangos has been very good with minimal defects being reported. The Brazilian mango season is now winding down; the sizing is predominately larger fruit like 7 count, 8 count, and 9 count. Quality is fair but there are some defects being reported in the crop. The last of the Brazilian fruit will be shipped this week for arrival next week before we close this season. There is a great opportunity for mango promotions during the remainder of November and going into December on 12 count and 10 count. Reach out to your Robinson Fresh account manager for information on pricing and volume.
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Weather in the growing region of Tecoman, Colima is mostly sunny with minimal overcast skies throughout the week. Overall supply from Mexico has increased in the last 2 weeks but the total demand has dropped and the market has seen some lower priced deals for load-volume orders. Many shippers have resorted to moving loads open/price-after-sale to rotate inventory, making the market even more depressed. Over the weekend, many shippers decided to keep the bulk of supply in Mexico’s national markets to help clear the supply in the United States. Product is still available, so please keep pushing for orders. Peak sizing is mainly on 8s, followed by 9s, then few 12s.
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New-crop Bartlett, Anjou, Bosc, red pears, Comice and Seckel are now available out of Oregon and Washington. The overall crop is picking out shorter than projected this season. The prices have remained higher this year versus last year, and we are projecting that the prices will stay firm on all the pears over the next month as demand is strong. Quality is very good.
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Pineapple

Pineapple (Offshore)
Gustavo.Lora@robinsonfresh.com
Hurricane Iota made landfall in Nicaragua as a Category 4 while generating heavy rains and downpours in the North Pacific and South Pacific regions. Hurricane Iota still maintains an indirect influence over Costa Rica with scattered rainfall of variable intensity expected in all regions of the Pacific. Quality is reported as good with the main production areas not affected by the hurricane influence; therefore, we are not expecting to see major issues with the fruit. USDA crossing report is showing 260 inbound containers for the entire continental USA from Costa Rica for week 46. USDA is also reporting demand as fairly light and a lower market. Demand for pines remains light with an unstable market. Somewhat better prices this week versus last week but still well below where they should be, considering we are currently within the Thanksgiving promotion period. European holiday pull has been much lighter than previous years as countries continue to deal with COVID lockdowns. Mexican supply is strong with high volumes expected all through the month of November.

Pineapple (Mexican)
Jiovani.Guevara@robinsonfresh.com
Main growing regions in Mexico are Veracruz, Tabasco, and Colima, and most fruit crosses through border entries in Texas and Arizona. Supplies from both Costa Rica and Mexico are back to normal and demand is slow on all sizes, with good supplies from Costa Rica arriving this week. Markets are stable and volume is reported similar than last week. Market is expected to see slower demand after Thanksgiving promotions, but supplies will be available for any post-Thanksgiving specials. Quality of our fruit from Mexico is very good, with brix over 13%. Most shippers have availability on all sizes, with lower supplies of large fruit in the market. Please contact your Robinson Fresh sales representative with any questions.
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As Northern California winds down, Oxnard and Central Mexico are increasing volumes. For Thanksgiving week, markets are weaker in all growing areas. Santa Maria, California is forecast on Wednesday to be partly sunny with sunny skies for the balance of the week. Highs are forecast in the 60s, increasing to the 70s for the weekend; lows are forecast in the 40s on Wednesday, decreasing to the 30s for the balance of the week. Central Mexico is forecast for sunny skies on Wednesday and Thursday, mostly sunny on Friday, Saturday mainly cloudy, and Sunday sunny skies. Highs are forecast in the 80s and lows in the 50s. Santa Maria, California fruit has some occasional bruising, white shoulders, soft shoulders, water damage, overripe, and misshapen. Average counts are 26 to 28, occasionally higher and lower.
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Supplies on seedless and minis are getting very tight. Nogales is finishing up the Guaymas, Mexico area and Southern Mexico will not start until after Christmas. The East Coast is still tight as well. South Florida is starting with light supplies. Supplies will remain tight as there are less supplies in Southern Mexico this year. We are hearing the offshore deal will be done in volume as well due to the recent hurricanes.
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Organic Fruits & Vegetables

The new-crop organic apples are now in full swing with all varieties harvested including organic Galas, Granny, Fuji , Pink Lady and Honeycrisp. The crop is up a little over last season but only due to more orchards being converted over from conventional to organic this season. The crop was projected to be up much more before the weather issues that resulted in some crop loss. Demand is strong this year and this is keeping prices higher as we roll into the end of the year. Expect demand to continue and prices to remain higher for the remainder of this year.
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Organic Dry Vegetables

Paul.Cordero@robinsonfresh.com

Western markets are still active with most available product going to Thanksgiving ad and contract commitments. There should still be a decent supply of organic dry veg available in Nogales and Southern California, but not many promotional opportunities or hot buys. There are few promotional opportunities on items like winter squash (butternut, spaghetti, acorn), eggplant 24 count, and cucumbers.
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Organic minis will continue to gap as the California deal has finished and Nogales will be very short.
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Plenty of organic onions are available at this point in the season. Pricing has settled into a good price zone for promoting onions. Quality is very good and we have not seen any issues at this point. Our Hollister program is strong and we have lots of onions to promote.
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We have good availability on organic Bartletts, Anjou and red pears. The crop is up around 5% this year versus last season, but the demand is up as well. Currently, we are seeing pricing that is higher than the same time last year. We expect this trend to hold throughout the rest of this year.
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Organic potatoes out of Central Colorado have started and we are ready for a great season. The potatoes have gone through their sweat and skins have set perfectly. This season, we have plenty of russets, reds, and yellows. We will be doing them in the 3-pound bags and 5-pound bags, as well as cartons. Our Albert Bartlett fingerlings are looking great and are available out of Central Colorado or San Bernardino, California. This season, we have Chef Blend, Russian Banana, French, and Buttercream. They are packed in a 1.5-pound bag.
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Winter squash is still looking good out of our Hollister, California program, and we are down to butternut and spaghetti squash for the season. Market is good and seems to have settled pricing.
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Organic Sweet Potatoes

Chris.Lemmon@robinsonfresh.com

Organic sweet potatoes are in full swing now and quality has been outstanding. We have supply on all sizes and varieties at this point in the season. We are through the Thanksgiving pull and now it is time to start thinking about Christmas. We have 3-pound bags, mediums, jumbos, and US#1s available in all varieties to promote. Give us a call and we can take care of you.
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Transportation

TEMPERATURE CONTROLLED
The “transition,” known by most in the West agribusiness, is occurring this week, whereby lettuce and vegetable operations transition from the Salinas, California Valley to Yuma, Arizona. This means a decrease in Salinas Valley demand and an increase in Yuma, Arizona outbound, along with a shift in capacity. Be prepared to see a slight increase in transactional rates out of Yuma, Arizona as we typically experience during this transitionary period. C.H. Robinson’s temperature control services are available to develop and execute a capacity strategy around these market factors.
• Broadly, Q4 protein (beef, pork, poultry) historical volumes in the Midsouth and Midwest appear slightly down as COVID-19 is impacting family gathering plans.
• California outbound capacity continues to be strained, whereas its intrastate is trending to a more balanced environment.
• The Pacific Northwest’s historical Q4 tension is settling in as apples, pears, and Christmas tree volumes begin.

Michael.Moyski@chrobinson.com
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Fresh from the kitchen

SWEET BABY BROCCOLI RICE SALAD

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon peanut oil
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 4 cups organic wild rice
  • 2 tablespoons salted butter
  • 3 3/4 cups room temperature water
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/2 tsp salt, divided
  • 1 large bunch Green Giant™ Fresh Sweet Baby Broccoli
  • 2 tablespoons dried apricot, chopped
  • 1 cup dried pomegranate
  • 1 cup almonds, sliced
  • 1/2 tsp pepper

Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

Preparation

  1. In a medium pot over medium heat, heat oil; sauté shallot, garlic and rice (slightly browning the rice). Add butter and water. Turn up the heat and bring to a boil. After boiling, turn heat down to medium and cover pot with a lid. Cook until tender (10-15 minutes). Once rice is tender, remove from heat and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  2. When rice is cooling, boil 6 cups of water and 2 tablespoons salt. Once water is boiling, add Sweet Baby Broccoli. Let cook for 1 minute. In a separate bowl,add equal parts water and ice (about 6 cups of water and equal parts ice). After blanching the broccoli in the boiling water, remove broccoli and drop into ice bath. Leave in the ice bath until broccoli is cooled. Once broccoli is cooled, remove from ice bath and chop tops of broccoli into 1-inch pieces. Julienne the stems into 1-inch pieces.
  3. Toss the broccoli, apricots, pomegranates, and almonds with the rice and incorporate well. Next, add the lemon juice and white wine vinegar and mix well again. Add salt and pepper to taste. Chill rice salad for one hour, then serve and enjoy!

… More at Sweet Baby Broccoli Rice Salad

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