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Fresh from the Field

This week’s fresh update

May 4, 2021 | Volume 7, Issue 68

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Conventional Vegetables

Mexico is winding down and Washington is expecting volume as the weather starts to turn. Michigan will be delayed as they have experienced colder temps. We will keep you updated on these other regions as the picture becomes clearer. We had our first Peruvian container arrivals of the season into Medley. We will continue to have volume every week through December. Current market conditions are unstable as we await the last of the Mexican product to be shipped. The market is expected to rise as we approach Mother’s Day.
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Florida continues to struggle with quality while California is starting to increase its production. Stay away from any promotions in the upcoming weeks. Georgia is still two weeks away from having any significant volume.
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Georgia crop has good volume and quality is excellent! There are both crowns and bunches available. Mexico and California are also producing.
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Florida and Texas both have good supplies and pricing right now on green cabbage. Red cabbage is a little bit light on volume.
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Celery production in Oxnard continues to be strong and there is currently more supply than demand. Most growers are looking to promote, and volume deals are available. Current quality reports are showing good overall condition with some seeder reported. The weather forecast calls for average temperatures with patchy fog and no rain the forecast. Please reach out to your Robinson Fresh representative for updates and information regarding promotable volume availability.
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As previously stated, the cucumber market continues to drop. New regions in Mexico are starting to come into play, while Florida is finally starting to see more growers come into play. Weather permitting, we do expect decent volume for the next two weeks.
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Plenty of volume on all varieties! Great supply! Push promotions and volume!
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Iceberg and leaf lettuces are in good supply in the northern growing region. Quality reports show good overall condition with good sizing and weights. The primary shipping points in the northern region are Santa Maria, Salinas, and Oxnard. The weather outlook calls for average temperatures into the weekend with patchy fog and no rain in the forecast. Please reach out to your Robinson Fresh representative for any additional information and promotional opportunities.
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Currently loading potatoes out of Idaho, Colorado, and Washington. Limited production out of Washington and Colorado, relying heavily on Idaho crop. Availability on Burbs out of Idaho. Organic product will be very limited until May 20th. Now is the time to start working on promotions for late May. Please contact your sales representative with any questions.
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Georgia, Florida, and Nogales are all producing squash. We do need to remember that Mexico is at the tail end, but Georgia and Florida seem to have enough product in the forecast. Georgia did lose some fields to the storm, but there is enough product that can be harvested. Weather conditions in Georgia are ideal for overall crops.
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FOBs are at the Exchange price. Supplies are at normal spring volume. There is load volume and good quality available.
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Conventional Fruits

The apple market remains tight again this week as demand remains strong. We expect this tight and higher priced market to remain this way for the next couple of months as inventories are much less than last year at this same time. The tightest items are the Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, premium Honeycrisp and Granny Smith. The varieties that are the best value right now are the Fuji, Cosmic Crisps, and the Ambrosia apples. We are expecting import apples from Chile and New Zealand to start to arrive in the United States. Early reports are that Chile has a good crop with good quality, but the sizing looks to be smaller this season.
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Pricing on smaller sizes continues to hold while shippers right-size their inventories on 48s and larger. Category 2 avocados are in good supply for the increased business the restaurant industry is experiencing. California experienced a short heat wave a few days ago, with a cooling trend this week. The weather in Mexico is warm this week and there’s rain in the forecast toward the end of the week. Quality out of both Mexico and California is excellent. Mexico’s avocados are high maturity with dark color and great taste. California fruit is showing higher color early in the season and maturity is favorable with good shelf life on the avocados.
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Blackberries
Supplies/production continue to decline as we near the end of the general Mexican season in early June. Demand was a bit lighter last week and will continue into this week.
Raspberries
Continued supply/production issues out of Mexico and will continue to be a demand-exceeds situation through May.
Blueberries
Georgia fruit is coming in strong with market pricing declining! Volume is hitting!
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Cantaloupe supplies have started to slow out of both Guatemala and Honduras. Quality and sugar are good. Most availability is found in Florida and the Northeast. Very little is being shipped to the West Coast and Texas. Availability is peaking on 9/12 count. Supply is expected to wrap up mid-May. Mexican cantaloupe have started and will continue to ramp up and will go to the end of May. Domestic cantaloupe is delayed, with start dates expected mid-May and volume expected at the end of May.
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Oranges
The navel market firmed up across the board last week as shippers no longer have excess inventory. Sizes are peaking on 56s/72s/48s on Washington and Powell varieties but are starting to come to an end earlier than normal. Quality on them is expected to go downhill as we saw rain, and now temps are going to start climbing into the 90s. Sounds like late navels will be your best bet for quality at this point but will have to pay up for them. Late navels will be smaller in size—88s/72s. Expecting large (40s/48s) and small sizes (113/138s) to be limited, depending on the grower.
Lemons
The market has shot up over the last week. We have seen a good bit of lemons coming out of District 1, but we are starting to hear of some quality issues as temperatures begin to rise. We are also seeing lemons out of District 2, but the crop is more choice fruit than fancy fruit. Expect the market on lemons to rise in the coming weeks as Yuma crop finishes, especially on large sizes.
Mandarins
Mandarins have also gone up a bit in price, but still where the deal is right now. There is a lot of mandarin supply out there right now. Pricing is not as aggressive as it was, but you can still get good deals on small sizes. Quality and brix have been strong and will only improve as the season goes on.
Grapefruit
Grapefruit supply has kept up with demand. Market has been strong. Pricing has remained high since Texas ended early and the initial wave of demand has subsided. Expect the market to stay strong all season long though. Quality has been excellent. Also expect a large gap between California and Texas seasons this year.
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We are into the last couple weeks of this year’s import grape season. We saw industry highs and lows, as early-season fruit was strong and plentiful to start, with a historic rain in Chile this past February that had lasting impacts. Over the next 2-3 weeks, we will see LIMITED supplies, challenging transition from imports to Mexico with what will be a delayed start to the Mexican grape season. While we will see some availability on red seedless grapes during this transition, quality and condition of this fruit has been the obstacle. Retailers are pressed to get good quality fruit, while terminal and secondary markets are backed up on the over-supply of marginal quality grapes. We expect to see a gap in green grape supply here in early May, with rising markets and quality remaining challenges as well. We are targeting a transition to Mexico the week of May 17th for harvests to start increasing; expect promotable volumes throughout the month of June!
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Offshore honeydew supplies have tightened. Most shipments are still going to Florida and the Northeast with very little available in Texas or the West Coast. Sizing is split between 5/6 count with a few 8 count. Mexican honeydew volume has picked up in Northern Mexico with multiple shoppers having product to sell. The Mexican honeydew have decent quality and sugar is rangy. Sizing is off with most shipments being 6 count and 8 count with few 5 count available.
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Currently, the crop is peaking on 200/230/250. The weather forecast is showing rain in the middle of the week. The demand for limes has been moderate. VERY limited supply on large limes, especially on 110s. The mid-size limes (175/200) are holding market. The crossings through Texas from last week were at 494; the report sent Monday reported 61 crossings from over the weekend.
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Overall demand has weakened as we enter week 19; most sizes are available, and prices continue to decrease. Large fruit such as 7/’s out of Mexico have better availability this week compared to previous weeks; we expect a good distribution of sizes going forward. We are currently shipping from Oaxaca and Michoacán, peaking on 10/12s, followed by 9s. Oaxaca is expected to continue packing until the 2nd week of May before the season ends. Jalisco has started harvesting and will start with Honey’s next week. Sizing is expected to peak on small fruit such as 20s and 22s. Honeys are currently peaking on the middle sizes (like 18s and 16s) and exhibiting mostly good quality, with less small sizes (such as 20s and 22s) than we normally see for this timeframe. Peak availability on small fruit for May promos!
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The growing region of Colima continues to experience cooler mornings in the 60s and warm days in the high 80s. This mix of cool and warm weather is not letting the papaya mature on the tree which has been delaying harvesting at the growing region. This is causing lack of supplies in the region, which means product will continue to be really limited for the next couple weeks until the weather gets warmer.
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We have limited supplies of Anjou, Bosc, and red pears out of Washington and Oregon. The Bosc pears will finish up in the next 2 weeks and will then be available via imports. The Bartlett pears have now finished out of the Northwest and are now being imported from South America and are now available on both coasts.
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Pineapple

Pineapple (Offshore)
Gustavo.Lora@robinsonfresh.com
Good weather will prevail in most areas of Costa Rica. Atmospheric conditions remain stable, decreasing humidity in the atmosphere making it difficult for precipitation to occur. The North and Caribbean regions may see a few morning showers with partially to mostly cloudy conditions. NO heavy rain showers for the moment are expected in the growing regions. Quality is reported as GOOD; but morning rain showers followed by sunny conditions could create a magnifying glass effect on the wet shell of the fruit, generating damage in the internal condition. USDA crossing report for week 16 is showing a drop in volume at almost 1,000 inbound containers for the entire continental USA. USDA is reporting demand as good and market as steady. Continuing issues with delayed vessels, compounded by strong demand, are keeping the market higher and inventories low. Little surplus fruit is being offered at this time, with transactional inventory moving very fast. Caution is still needed on transactional sales due to the unstable conditions within the market which could turn quickly.

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. Demand for Mexican pineapples has not slowed down since Easter promotions, and supplies continue to be limited from both Mexico and Costa Rica. Markets are expected to remain stable with limited supplies on all sizes available in the marketplace until May. Quality of our fruit from Mexico is very good, with brix over 13%. Most shippers are peaking on 7/8 count, with limited supplies of large fruit. Please contact your Robinson Fresh sales representative with any questions.
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California growing areas are still seeing limited supplies for the next couple of weeks. Salinas/Watsonville growing area continues to increase its numbers. Santa Maria, California is forecast for mostly sunny skies and breezy in the afternoon. Highs are expected in the 60s and lows in the 40s. Oxnard, California is forecast for partly sunny skies with highs in the 60s and lows in the 50s. Salinas/Watsonville, California is forecast to be mostly sunny, with full sun for the weekend. Highs are expected in the 70s with lows in the 40s. Santa Maria, California fruit has occasional white shoulders and under-color, misshapen, seedy tips, and dry or discolored calyx. Average counts are 14 to 16, occasionally higher or lower. Oxnard, California fruit has occasional white shoulders, occasional over ripe and bruising, misshapen, seedy tips, or catface. Average counts are 20 to 22, occasionally higher or lower.
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Supplies are very good on seedless watermelons; mini watermelons are a little tight. Trucks are very tight. Florida is going with good supplies on seedless and mini 6 count. We will have good supplies the next two week in Myakka, Florida. We have good supplies on 36-count, 45-count, and 60-count seedless in Nogales from Hermosillo, Mexico as well. Supplies will start dropping off around May 23rd.
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Organic Fruits & Vegetables

We have good availability on all varieties of organic apples including organic Galas, Granny, Fuji, Pink Lady and Honeycrisp. The tightest items are the organic Granny Smiths and the organic Honeycrisp. Demand is strong this year and will keep prices higher until the new crop is harvested this fall.
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Organic Dry Vegetables

Paul.Cordero@robinsonfresh.com

Mexico (through Nogales, Arizona and McAllen, Texas), Southern California, and Florida are the main shipping points for organic dry vegetables currently. Production is steady out of Mexico and Southern U.S. growing regions of California and Florida. Availability continues to be steady this week on winter hard squash (spaghetti, butternut, acorn, kabocha), 10-pound hot peppers, and cucumbers. Volume deals for slicer cucumbers out of Nogales! Lots of hot house cucumbers as well. Green beans are available in limited supply. Most all Mexican bell peppers are transitioning but there is some limited availability in Nogales this week. Hot house growers in Texas and the Northeast have availability on colored bells if needed. Pricing will be high for those. There are limited volumes of organic green bells in Texas and Florida. Yellow squash will be tight in all regions as well, but there is volume on zucchini in Nogales.
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We will start organic minis in Salome, Arizona around June 14th. Organic supplies will be limited until then.
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Red and yellow onions are available out of Mission, Texas right now. Quality and demand have been good. California new-crop onions will be starting in El Centro early May with white and yellow; reds will follow.
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We have limited availability of domestically grown organic Anjou pears available out of Washington this week. The import season has started, and we have availability of imported organic Bartlett and organic Anjou pears on both coasts from Argentina and Chile.
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Organic potatoes have come to a quick finish out of our Colorado warehouse. We may have organic Russets this week. We finished our red potatoes for the season last week and yellow potatoes are down to B-size potatoes only. Call for the most up-to-date supply.
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Hard squash is still available out of Nogales and the supply is good. Butternut and spaghetti are the most available currently.
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Organic Sweet Potatoes

Chris.Lemmon@robinsonfresh.com

Sweet potato market took a turn up last week. We are starting to see supply tighten on certain sizes and varieties. Market has gone up some and we should continue to see the market rise as some shippers finish their crops. We continue to have supply on Beauregard, red, white, and Japanese sweet potatoes, so give us a call.
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Transportation

This month marks the beginning of two key market segments for refrigerated truckload and LTL– produce harvesting and summer picnicking and grilling.
• Produce season is slightly delayed from the southern winter storms, but volumes planned are consistent with previous years.
• Forecast for most impacted truckload regions include Florida, Georgia, Texas, and California.
• Leafy greens and vegetables have fully transitioned from Yuma, Arizona, having fully shifted to the Salinas, California region.
• Mother’s Day seasonal flower surge is primarily exiting Florida, Texas, and Kentucky, and will begin April 30th through May 9th. Note that the Department of Transportation road check overlaps with this event for the first time and C.H. Robinson is ready to help all clients navigate this unique market.
• Refrigerated transport continues to grow in demand as consumer preferences are increasing for fresh foods. C.H. Robinson anticipates the balance and pricing pressures in the temperature-control space will be heightened more than the dry van segment. Capacity follows the growing season and is attracted to the high pricing produce loads pay. We recommend that, due to the exceptional tight truck market this year, that all shippers be mindful that capacity and pricing will likely be affected broadly for dry and reefer TL, so plan for flexibility. Your C.H. Robinson representative can assist with ideas that are aligned with your business.

Michael.Moyski@chrobinson.com
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Fresh from the kitchen

WELCH’S® Fruit Salad with Grape and Ginger Lime Syrup

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Welch’s 100% Grape Juice
  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
  • 2 tsp fresh lime zest (about 2 limes)
  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, fine grated
  • 1 ½ cups fresh green grapes, seedless, washed and stems removed
  • 1 ½ cups fresh pineapple, peeled, cored, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 ½ cups cantaloupe, peeled, seeded, chopped into bite-size pieces
  • 1 ½ blackberries, washed
  • 3-5 fresh green grapes, seedless, on stem

Preparation

  1. Place grape juice in a heavy saucepan over medium high heat. Bring it to a boil and immediately reduce heat to medium low. Allow juice to simmer on low until reduced by half about 12-15 minutes. Remove from heat and cool.
  2. Add the lime juice, zest and ginger into the warm grape juice. Pour juice into a container, cover and refrigerate. Prepare in advance to allow flavors to combine and for juice to cool.
  3. In a trifle bowl or clear container, layer the fruit starting with the grapes, pineapple, strawberries and cantaloupe, ending with the blackberries.
  4. Pour the chilled grape, ginger and lime syrup over fruit, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Syrup will color the fruit purple and create a bolder flavor the longer the fruit sits in the syrup. Serve chilled.

For more on this recipe, CLICK HERE.

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