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Fresh from the Field

This week’s fresh update

April 6, 2021 | Volume 7, Issue 64

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Conventional Vegetables

Prices are on the rise. Mexico will be finishing production in Caborca and transitioning to Central Mexico and to domestic. Washington is expected to start the end of the month. Peruvian imports into Miami will begin this week with small volume and then slowly start to increase.
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Quality is starting to be a major focus as we head into the tail end of deals. Both Florida and Mexico are starting to show the signs of the long season. Coachella, California is scheduled to start on April 19. Please stay away from any promotions at this point.
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Georgia crop has been delayed by 10 days due to all the February rains. Look for a start the 2nd week of April. West Coast and Mexico supplies are filling demand needs with excellent quality and average FOBs.
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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 out of Southwest California/Arizona is expected to finish up this week while Oxnard production ramps up. Current quality reports are showing very good overall condition with no major defects. The weather forecast calls for cool temperatures with no rain forecast in either region. Please reach out to your Robinson Fresh representative for updates and information regarding product availability.
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Florida market continues to remain strong as demand exceeds supply. We do expect Mexico to get back to better production by the end of the week, so expect markets to drop next week. Volume will be there to promote in the upcoming weeks.
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Greens are in volume and are very promotable right now. Quality is excellent.
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Iceberg and leaf lettuces in Yuma and the Imperial Valley are starting to wrap up this week with good supplies available through the weekend and into early next week. Production in the northern region has started and early reports show good overall quality with medium sizing and occasional lightweights. The primary shipping points in the northern region are Santa Maria and Salinas. The weather outlook calls for cool temperatures into the weekend with 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 out of Idaho, Colorado, and Washington. Limited production out of Washington; relying heavily on Colorado and Idaho crop. Good availability on Burbs and Norks out of Idaho. April is the time for promotions. Please contact your sales representative with any questions.
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Florida continues to produce steady supply, while Nogales will struggle this week. Florida started strong with quality and volume last week, but good demand has led to some pull-back and markets have reacted. Nogales will get back to normal production by the end of the week, so we should see opportunities on both colors.
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We are seeing the impact of February’s hard freeze where 700 acres were lost. We are in better supplies this week than last but still not in normal spring volume. Look for FOBs to vary quite a bit until the Exchange pricing in Florida kicks in on April 15th.
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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 less than last year at this same time. The tightest items are the Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, premium Honeycrisp and Granny Smiths. The varieties that are the best value right now are the Fuji, Cosmic Crisps and the Ambrosia apples. We expect the import apples from Chile and New Zealand to start to arrive into the United States in early April. 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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Easter weekend sales were strong on avocados as the U.S. enjoyed great weather across the country and COVID-19 restrictions have been eased some. Harvest in Mexico slowed last week due to Holy Week, while California volume increased. Some shippers are starting off the week with low inventories in Texas and higher volumes available in California. Mexico has resumed harvesting and new inbounds will increase by the end of the week. The weather in Mexico and California is expected to be warm all week.
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Blueberries
Florida should be increasing in volume this week. We should be able to take on ad promotions by mid-late April. Blueberries are coming!!
Blackberries
Demand exceeding supply continues this week as the impacts from the last few months continue.
Raspberries
Demand exceeding supply continues this week as the impacts from the last few months continue on raspberries as well.
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Cantaloupe supplies have picked up over the last couple of weeks in both Guatemala and Honduras. Quality and sugar are good. Most availability is in Florida and the Northeast. Very little is being shipped to the West Coast and Texas. Availability is peaking on 12 count. Supply is expected to be steady through April.
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Oranges
Navel demand has been steady the past few weeks. Pricing has slightly increased as supplies have been at healthy levels. Supplies on small sizes have started to become less limited but are expected to get increasingly tight as time goes on. Sizes are peaking on 56s/72s/88s. Exporting has been going strong and fruit is leaning strongly to fancy over choice. USDA programs have been going strong as well. Quality has been excellent, with great color. Brix has been consistently over 11+, with many shippers over 12+.
Lemons
The market seems to be picking up a bit on lemons over the last week. District 3 will most likely be finishing in the next few weeks or so which is earlier than normal. We currently also have plenty of lemons coming out of District 1. Exporting has been strong, and quality has been excellent out of both districts. Market on large lemons is expected to tighten in the coming weeks; but right now, that is where the deals are.
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 steady. Pricing has remained high since Texas ended early and that 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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As an industry over the last 2 weeks, we have seen a lot of fruit starting to be repacked, and fruit showing issues and age moved out into secondary markets. Overall, the current grape situation is starting to level with demand, while there has been a lack of ads due to post-Chilean rain concerns the middle of the season; we have started to see some promotional ads into April. Robinson Fresh will continue to have import grape availability on both East and West Coasts, while the majority of the end-of- season arrivals will hit in the next 7-10 days (April 10th marketing order). We anticipate a climbing market with green seedless. We know Mexico is going to have a later-than-normal start with volume this year (May 24th start) from what most fields are showing for now. This is related to some early freezes and weather that swept through in February. We will closely monitor quality in these next 4-6 weeks as transitional fruit with a tiered market will present itself in April on import grapes.
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Offshore honeydew supplies remain steady and quality has improved. 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 counts, with a few 8 count. Mexican honeydew is still in transition from South Mexico to North Mexico. Supplies are limited in Nogales with very few shippers with product. The little amount of Mexican honeydew available has good quality and sugar. Sizing is a split between 5/6 counts with few 8 count.
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Currently, the crop is peaking on 250/230/200. The weather forecast is favorable for harvesting for the entire week. Please remember that with Holy Week occurring last week, we will not start receiving limes until the back half of this week. The demand for limes has been moderate. The crossings through Texas from last week were at 525; on the report sent Monday, 70 crossings were reported from over the weekend. This is a great time to promote bagged limes as the manifest is mostly small. Also, start speaking with customers about the sizing profile and the cost difference between a mid-size lime versus a small lime; with the price swing, they may be willing to entertain the idea.
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As we enter week 15, pack houses have opened after the Easter holiday weekend. Red mangos in the growing regions of Oaxaca and Michoacán will be harvested between today and tomorrow for arrivals mid- to late-week this week. The sizing profile on red mangos is peaking on 10/12s, followed by 9s; this is a typical size distribution from Michoacán. Oaxaca has seen more small fruit recently instead of the 9s and larger we see year after year. The Honeys are peaking on the middle sizes like 18s and 16s and exhibiting mostly good quality with less small sizes such as 20s and 22s like we normally see for this time frame. We expect supply to increase as we get into mid-April to start promotions and ads for the upcoming Cinco de Mayo holiday.
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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 of weeks until the weather gets warmer.
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We have good supplies of Anjou, Bosc, and red pears out of Washington and Oregon. The Bartlett pears have now finished out of the Northwest and are now being imported from South America. The overall crop was smaller this season which has put pressure on supply and pricing this year. The small pears are the tightest as the fruit grew big this season. The prices have remained higher this year versus last year and we are projecting that the pricing will stay firm on all the pears for the rest of the season. The imported pears from Argentina and Chile are now arriving into the East and West Coast ports this week and demand for this product will be strong.
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Pineapple

Pineapple (Offshore)
Gustavo.Lora@robinsonfresh.com
Accelerated trade winds will continue over the central and northern regions of Costa Rica. Incoming ocean moisture will promote variable cloudy conditions with intermittent rains of variable intensity over the Caribbean and the Northern regions. According to recent reports, high-pressure systems will generate cloudy conditions and rain showers over the growing areas for the next few days. Quality is reported as good but with some water spotting primarily on large-count fruit. The USDA crossing report for week 12 is again showing a similar inbound volume at just above 1,000 inbound containers for the entire continental USA. The USDA is reporting demand as good and the market as higher. Supply is reported as light. Promotional activity has kept demand strong, leaving the market short of much needed fruit with NO surplus fruit being offered at this time. There is some concern with arrival of delayed fruit that missed the Easter window and could affect the market once promotions have come to an end.

Pineapple (Mexican)
Jiovani.Guevara@robinsonfresh.com
The main growing regions in Mexico are Veracruz, Tabasco, and Colima and most fruit crosses through border entries in Texas and Arizona. We saw a great demand for Easter promotions, and supplies continue to be limited from both Mexico and Costa Rica. Markets are expected to remain stable with a few 6/7 counts available in the marketplace. Quality of our fruit from Mexico is very good, with brix over 13%. Most shippers are peaking on 6 and 7counts, with limited supplies of large fruit. Please contact your Robinson Fresh sales representative with any questions.
^ Back to Conventional Fruits

California and Baja California are going to have limited volume for the next couple of weeks. Santa Maria, California is forecast for partly sunny skies, and breezy in the afternoons. Highs are expected in the 60s and lows in the 40s. Oxnard, California is forecast for partly sunny skies, and breezy in the afternoons. Highs are expected in the 60s and lows in the upper 40s. Santa Maria and Oxnard, California fruit has good color, occasional white shoulders, soft shoulders, pack bruising, seedy tips and scarring from the wind. Average counts are 18 to 20, occasionally higher and lower.
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Supplies are still tight on seedless and mini watermelons and will remain tight for the next couple of weeks. We are shipping limited supplies from Yucatan, Mexico the next couple of weeks. Florida has started in Immakolee, and we will start Myakka, Florida around April 20th. Hermosillo will also start around April 20th going into Nogales, Arizona.
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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. The crop is up 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. The conventional market is so high this year that I expect that many organics will be sold as conventional as well. Expect demand to continue to be strong and prices to remain higher for the foreseeable future.
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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 (butternut/spaghetti/acorn), mini-sweet peppers, 10-pound hot peppers, and soft squash (yellow and zucchini). Volume deals are available on mini-peppers, soft squash, and eggplant out of Nogales! Colored bells and cucumbers will be more limited this week.
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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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We have come to the end of our Hollister, California red onion season. There is new crop starting to pop up out of Texas and soon out of California. Pricing is strong right now as supply is light.
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We still have availability on domestically grown organic Anjou pears. Imported organic Bartlett pears are available on the East and West Coasts at this time and will be available through the early summer. There will continue to be availability on organic Anjou out of Washington for the next 2 weeks and then they will be replaced by imports that will give us supply into the spring and early summer.
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We had a very good March with our Colorado potatoes and we are now coming to the finish of our season. We will have organic russet, red, and yellow potatoes for about 2 more weeks and then we will have to transition to California on red and yellow potatoes. Russets will continue to out of Colorado for the month of April. New crop out of California will start in early June.
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Winter squash is still going strong out of Mexico and supply coming across into Nogales is good.
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Organic Sweet Potatoes

Chris.Lemmon@robinsonfresh.com

The sweet potato market took a turn up this past week. We are starting to see supply tighten on certain sizes and varieties. The market has gone up some this week 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

• Overlapping disruptions in an already volatile temperature-controlled market is projected to create an increase in demand while supply increases will lag. Expect costs to climb in Florida and Georgia as a result
• As foodservice, restaurants, and cafés open, additional temperature-controlled truckload demand will result in the rebuilding of inventories. Temperature-controlled capacity has remained stagnant while demand has steadily climbed. Seasonal demand spikes will create a ripple effect to an already volatile market.
• C.H. Robinson can help our clients develop a plan and allow for flexibility in your supply chain.

Michael.Moyski@chrobinson.com
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Fresh from the kitchen

TROPICANA® Tropical Shrimp Lettuce Wraps with Pineapple Salsa

Wrap Ingredients

  • 1 pound (21-25 count) shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 7-8 pieces Bibb lettuce

Pineapple Salsa Ingredients

  • 1 cup Tropicana® Fresh pineapple, diced
  • 1 cup sweet peppers, diced
  • 1 cup Roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cup cilantro, chopped
  • 1/4 cup red onion, minced
  • lime juice from 1 fresh Tropicana® Fresh lime
  • salt and pepper

Preparation

  1. Toss shrimp in paprika, garlic powder, salt, pepper, and olive oil. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together diced pineapple, diced tomatoes, diced peppers, minced onions, chopped cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper.
  3. Add marinated shrimp to a heated skillet sprayed with cooking spray. Cook over medium high heat for about 2 minutes on each side. Shrimp should turn pink.
  4. Add cooked shrimp and salsa to the lettuce to create the lettuce wraps.

For more on this recipe, CLICK HERE.

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