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Fresh from the Field

This week’s fresh update

August 3, 2021 | Volume 7, Issue 81

Client Advisory: We’re monitoring the impact of the corona virus around the world.
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Conventional Vegetables

Asparagus

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Central Mexico continues to ship good volume. Market on standard and medium is depressed while other sizes are seeing higher FOBs. Volume from Peru continues to climb as we near peak season. Market should get better in the next few weeks as Central Mexico volume diminishes and moves to the Baja region.
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Bell Peppers

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Local deals are starting to kick in with volume; good supply across all regions from east to west–California, Washington, Nebraska, Michigan, Ohio, Virginia, Pennsylvania, New York, North Carolina, and Texas, just to mention a few. Canada is scheduled to start this week as well. Expect promotional volume throughout the month of August.
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All three regions are in production. Buy with caution this time of year from Mexico as heat pressure tends to impact quality. Maine and California are producing quality product with FOBs in the teens.
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Green and red cabbage are in good supply this week and there are local deals offering promotable volume. New Jersey, Wisconsin, and Michigan have started for the season with red and green cabbage available. Texas also has good quality product with red and green available. California is light on red supplies but there is ample green out there and growers are looking to promote. Please reach out to your Robinson Fresh Sales representative for more details.
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Celery production in the Salinas Valley is meeting demand and quality reports are showing very good quality and condition with no major issues reported. The weather forecast calls for cooler temperatures with cloud cover this week. Please reach out to your Robinson Fresh representative for updates and information regarding promotable volume availability.
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Cucumbers

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Cucumber supplies are becoming more available as local deals in the Midwest start with low volume. Same as the bell peppers, Washington, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Texas, and New York, just to mention a few, are all with active production. Can’t discard Mexico, who is pumping volume through the Texas Valley and Baja. The next two weeks at least seem pretty favorable for promotional volume.
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Supply and quality are good on all flavors. Promotable volumes on collard and kale!
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Leaf Lettuce

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Supplies of iceberg and leaf lettuces are more limited this week with some promotable volume available. The weather forecast calls for cooler temperatures with cloud cover this week. Overall quality is good with more reports of mildew pressure in both areas. As a result, we are seeing more close trim and lighter color on opening. The primary shipping points on the West Coast are in Santa Maria and Salinas. 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 California. Limited production out of Idaho, relying heavily on Colorado and California crops. Availability on Burbs out of Idaho and Washington. Now is the time to start working on promotions for August. Please contact your sales representative with any questions.
^ Back to Conventional Vegetables

Availability is all over the place! Production is limited across all regions. Yields are way down from original forecasts and rain and cooler evenings are having a big impact on all crops. Please stay away from any promotions as we expect the month of August to be challenged with volume and quality.
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Sweet Corn

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Local corn is now in full swing with promotable prices and volumes. Come and get it!
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Conventional Fruits

The apple market remains firm this week as demand remains good. We expect this tight and higher priced market to remain this way for the next several weeks as inventories are less than last year at this time. The tightest items are the Golden Delicious, premium Honeycrisp, Gala, Red Delicious, and Granny Smith. The varieties that are the best value right now are the Fuji and the Ambrosia apples. The import apples from Chile have been arriving in the United States for several months now with mostly Gala, Cripps Pink and Granny Smith apples. Chile had a good crop with good quality, but the sizing was smaller this season. Even with the Gala and Grannies arriving from Chile, the prices have remained on the high side as we move through the summer. New-crop Gala apples will start in a very small way out of Washington State this week. The sizing on these early strains will be small and there will be very light volumes of this early fruit. Expect the pricing on this fruit to be high and not have a large impact on the market yet. The Honeycrisp apple will be the next to start up next week with light volumes of the early strains of this variety. The main harvest is still a couple of weeks away. It is too early to predict the size of the new crop but the impact of the heat wave in Washington will certainly be a negative on the crop. We will keep you updated as more accurate information is provided. Expectations at his point are for a crop similar to last season or less, but it is still very early.
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Supplies of size 48s and larger out of Mexico have become less available as the Negra crop finishes. Mexico’s Flora Loca crop is heavy to 60s and smaller with very few #2-grade fruit available at the start of the season. Availability of California, Peru and Colombian avocados has increased during the past week and that is helping to fill the demand during the crop transition out of Mexico.
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Bush Berries

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Blackberries
California production is low again this week, with Oregon still about a week off from starting. Supplies are expected to remain low until Mexico starts again in September.
Raspberries
Good supplies on organic but conventional supplies are still light this week. Very good quality out of both California and Mexico.
Blueberries
Good supply out of Oregon, British Columbia, and Michigan. Promotional availability and production this week! The next few weeks will be a great opportunity to move blueberries.
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Cantaloupe

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Cantaloupe business is mostly steady, but demand is seemingly better. Overall quality is very good, and sugar is good as well…Sizing continues to peak on larger size fruit. Growers continue to open new blocks with large 9- and Jumbo 9-sized fruit.
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Oranges
California navel market has come off a bit with very little 88s and smaller. Some shippers are starting to end California navels as quality has gone downhill due to extreme temperatures in California over the past week or two. Larger shippers are expecting to have California navels another week or so two. Sizes are peaking on 56s/48s. Right now, we are seeing late Barnfield and Powell varieties. Small sizes (113/138s) will be extremely limited for the rest of the season. Chilean navels have arrived at the West Coast and are reporting strong quality to start the season. Will peak on 56/64/72s. In the coming weeks, expect prices to settle in as more and more containers arrive on the West Coast. There have been reports of a lot of vessels being stuck at port for up to a few weeks. This is forcing shippers to repack after they receive product to make sure it is clean. Mexican Valencias are ending in the next week or so as quality has gone south pretty quickly. Not producing near as much juice as they were during peak of the season. California Valencias in full swing and pricing is dropping rather quickly on 72s and larger. 88s and smaller are where most of the demand is so pricing is elevated compared to larger sizes. Peaking on 72s/88s. Fruit is firm and eating well. Expect crop yield to be smaller this year.
Lemons
The market is starting to calm as the last month or two supplies have been very limited. Starting to see availability on all sizes. California lemons are coming out of District 2, but the crop is mainly choice fruit, with very little fancy fruit. California lemon quality is getting rough as temperatures in California have been well into the 100s over past few weeks. Starting to see steady supplies of Chilean lemons and expect the market to drop pretty significantly in the coming weeks, especially as Mexico slowly starts their season. Mexico has been delayed due to damage to fruit from a massive storm that hit Mexico/Texas back in February. Seeing small amounts of choice fruit in Texas. Chilean lemons are peaking on 140s/165s. Expect large lemons to be on the tighter side for another week or so. Argentinian and Chilean quality has been strong to start the season. Have seen some blowers here and there as there have been some delays at ports, but most shippers are saying they are focusing on repacking those containers that experienced delays.
Grapefruit
Overall market has remained pretty steady. Supplies are keeping up with demand at this point. Quality is excellent with no issues being reported at this time. Will switch to Marsh Ruby in a few weeks or so. Peaking on 36/40/48s. Large-size pricing has remained steady for the last month with very little movement. Small sizes are where the deals can be found! Seeing aggressive pricing on 48s/56s. This is where focus on promos should be.
Mandarins
Mandarins have been steady over the last month. The deals are still on small mandarins. This is the item that should be promoted. Quality and brix have been very good. California is done now. Import mandarins are taking over California mandarins on the West Coast. There are deals on size 5 and this is where you can find great value. Some shippers are reporting excess inventory on mandarins so there are deals to be had!
^ Back to Conventional Fruits

Right now, we are in a small moment of time where California grape volume is slow from the field level. In particular, we are seeing this more on red seedless varieties, with heat and color being the main impacts. Over the next 7-10 days, we expect things to get back on track and will be heavy with volumes across multiple varieties, all colors, pack styles, and supply to promote. The opportunity right now is green seedless grapes. The volume and pricing are there to support ads. We have options on black seedless, red Globes (limited – a week out) and multiple CANDY VARIETIES and pack styles.
^ Back to Conventional Fruits

Honeydew are shipping out of the Central Valley of California. Sizing is mostly 5 count, followed by 6 count. Very few Jumbo 5 count or 8 count. Quality and sugar have been very nice. Demand is good and, while the market is stronger than normal, it is expected to show some relief by next week. Supplies are expected to remain light and steady.
^ Back to Conventional Fruits

Region: Veracruz, Mexico
Currently, the crop is peaking on 175/200/150s. The weather forecast is showing rain all week. The demand for limes has been moderate. According to the USDA, the crossings through Texas from last week were at 564; as of Monday, the report is showing 57 crossings from the weekend. Sizing profile is peaking on sizes 175/200/150. Size distribution is as follows: 110-8%, 150-20%, 175-23%, 200-21%, 230-17%, and 250-11%. Due to the high amounts of rain from last week, stylar has become an issue. The lime team will not be able to accommodate day-of orders. Oil spots, scarring, and blanching have also been reported. Looking ahead, please continue to look for opportunities with larger limes as we are starting to get more volume for 110/150s. Also, we are seeing more volume for 175/200s, so please sell with confidence!
^ Back to Conventional Fruits

Southern Sinaloa continues to experience rainfall for the remainder of this week and part of next week. Northern Sinaloa is the exception with minimal rain throughout the week. The dominant variety in the growing region is a Kent mango; we will see another week of Kents in Southern Sinaloa before we see some Keitts. Northern Sinaloa has the ability to harvest Kents for another 2 weeks. Peak sizing on Kents: 75% on 8/9/10s (mostly 8/9s), 15% on 6/7s (mostly 7s), and 10% on 12s. The Keitt crop is not ready for harvest, but we expect these sizes to be closer to 4/5/6s out of Northern Sinaloa. Quality on the Kent mangos has not changed much in the last few weeks, while low PSIs have been reported. We’ve seen this issue spread industry-wide for the Kent variety this season. This is due to the lack of rain in Sinaloa, followed by the current rain we are seeing. This advanced the ripeness on the trees, advancing the maturity of the fruit. No new information on COVID-19 in Southern Sinaloa.
^ Back to Conventional Fruits

Historically, we have seen volume increases from May to July; but, this year, we noticed high volume got pushed back to the last couple weeks of May. Now, we have plenty of supply and this will continue all the way through mid-August. Warmer weather has been helping the growers to harvest more fruit at farm level so we’re noticing more availability in the market. Supplies have been good and will continue to be for the next two months. Shippers are now offering extra papaya, mostly pallet quantity for now, but close for that availability to become load volume.
^ Back to Conventional Fruits

We have new-crop California Bartlett pears shipping out of the Lodi area now with good volumes available. We also have new-crop Bosc and red pears available as well. The overall crop looks to be a good one with what appears to be a larger crop then last season. The crop profile seems to be a good mix of all sizes. The hot temperatures in California will continue for the next several weeks; but, at this point, we are not seeing damage as a result of this extended heat wave as quality has looked good. Oregon and Washington will start up with some organic Bartletts by the end of next week with some very light volumes. The heat in Washington over the last month is projected to produce more small fruit this year as a result; but, at this point, we expect plenty of fruit in all sizes this year.
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Pineapple

Pineapple (Offshore)

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Humid and unstable atmospheric conditions will prevail over Costa Rica, favoring cloudiness and rainfall, heavier during the afternoon and nighttime. The northern region is reporting heavy rainfall, still remaining under an alert due to significant water saturation of the land due to past weeks’ severe rains. Quality is reported as good to fair, but we can expect moderate to severe water spotting and translucency issues due to weather conditions. USDA crossing report for week 29 is similar as the previous week at just over 1,000 loads crossing for the entire continental USA. USDA is reporting demand as very good and market as steady. There are expected delays and a reduced volume crossing this weekend due to the complications affecting vessel departures last week. Market could be affected in the upcoming weeks, so caution is needed when forward pricing has been requested. Please reach out to the pineapple team before engaging on any pineapple sales.

Pineapple (Mexican)

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Main growing regions in Mexico are Veracruz, Tabasco, and Colima, and most fruit crosses through border entries in Texas and Arizona. Demand is up on all sizes with limited supplies from both Mexico and Costa Rica expected for the next 2 weeks. Markets are expected to remain high as Mexico goes through their summer gap. We currently have limited supplies of our fruit from Mexico and quality is reported as very good with brix over 13%. Most shippers are peaking on 7 and 8 counts, with limited supplies of large fruit in the market. Please contact your Robinson Fresh sales representative with any questions.
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Strawberries

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With the growing areas in Salinas/Watsonville past the peak of production, the yields are significantly lower and there is limited availability. Receivers may see more quality issues on arrival, especially with older-crop fruit due to the warmer summer weather patterns. Markets are slightly higher, but will continue to climb later in the week. Santa Maria fall-crop fruit is just getting started with many shippers starting their harvest mid-August. Santa Maria, California is forecast for low clouds, then sun on Wednesday, becoming mostly sunny Thursday through the balance of the week. Highs are expected in the 70s and lows in the 50s. Salinas/Watsonville, California is forecast for low clouds, then sun Wednesday and Thursday, becoming mostly sunny Friday through the weekend. Highs are expected in the 70s and lows in the 50s. Santa Maria, California fruit has bruising, soft shoulders, overripe, and dry or discolored calyx. Average counts are 26 to 28, occasionally higher and lower.
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Watermelon

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Supplies are very good on minis and seedless. We are shipping seedless from Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Missouri, Indiana, Texas, and Delaware are also going with good supplies. California is going with good volume and Wapato, Washington just started up as well. Trucks are still a bit tight. August will be a great time to promote.
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Organic Fruits & Vegetables

Organic Apples

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We have availability on all varieties of organic apples including organic Galas, Granny, Fuji, Pink Lady, and Honeycrisp. All organic items are tight at this point of the season and are experiencing rising prices as we progress through the summer. The organic Granny Smiths are severely short and will probably see record pricing as we get into August. Early strains of new-crop organic Galas will be available out of Washington State in very small quantities in around a week or so. The fruit size will be small, and the volumes will be very light with high prices expected for this early fruit.
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Organic Dry Vegetables

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Nogales
Good supplies on XL/Jumbo bin butternut for processing. Promotional opportunities and steady volume on English cucumbers and slicer cucumbers as well (36 count and plain). Green bells, XL and choice, are available with limited volumes. Colored bell peppers (red/yellow/orange), 11 and 25 pounds, are available with good volumes and promotional opportunities. Ten-pound heirloom tomatoes are available in limited volumes with no quality issues to speak of.
Texas Valley
Colored bell peppers (red/yellow/orange) 11 and 25 pounds, and 12/1 mini-sweet peppers are all available with good volumes and promotional opportunities.
San Diego, California
San Diego, California colored bell peppers (red/yellow/orange) 11 and 25 pounds, and 12/1 mini-sweet peppers are available with good volumes and promotional opportunities. Slicer cucumbers are available in good volumes and promotional opportunities this week.
Bakersfield, California
Red bells, jalapenos and Anaheim peppers, and butternut squash are all available in good volumes with promo opportunities.
Salinas, California
Green bells, jalapenos, eggplant, and large zucchini are available with steady supply. Yellow squash is tight out of Salinas.
Virginia
Yellow squash, zucchini, and green bells are available in limited supplies.
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Organic Melons

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Organic mini melons will be starting again for MelonUp this week in Huron, California. Until then, organic mini melons can be purchased in California through preferred growers.
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Organic Onions

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Onion market has started to tighten up some as the growing regions are moving. There will be a new supply coming out of Nevada in September as well as our onion program in Hollister, California starting up next week. We will have 40-pound red onions starting. Mostly Jumbos, but there will be a few mediums and smalls available.
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Organic Pears

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We currently have small volumes of organic Bartletts available out of California this week and expect to have small volumes of organic Bartletts by the end of next week out of Washington. The crop is projected to be smaller in size due to the extreme heat we experienced over the last month. We expect to have plenty of fruit early, but it is possible that they finish a little early this year due to the growing conditions.
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Organic Potatoes

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The California potato season is still going and there seems to still be good supply on russets and reds. Pricing is very aggressive for California potatoes. Yellow potatoes did finish out of California. Out of Washington, you are now able to get russets, reds, and yellows, but the market out of there is pricey. There are still russet potatoes coming out of Colorado that are holding up nicely. If you are looking for load volume, the Colorado potatoes are a good opportunity.
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Organic Squash

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Our organic hard squash program is getting closer. Right now, it looks like we should start to harvest around the 3rd week of August. This season, we will continue to have butternut, spaghetti, acorn, Delicata, and Kabocha varieties. As we get closer, we will know which varieties will be coming in first.
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Organic Sweet Potatoes

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Sweet potato season is still going strong with old crop and there is still good supply of Beauregards, reds, and whites. The new-crop Japanese have started up this season, but skin set is still in progress. Market on the Japanese is very high, and shippers are working on keeping sales close to home.
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Transportation

2021 produce season experience is more similar to what might be considered traditional produce season, and the “follow the sun” pattern is unfolding. The Carolinas, Texas, and the Midwest/Upper Midwest are most impacted as the shift to these markets is occurring. Rain impacted picking in the Carolinas’ fields, resulting in a delay of demand, but a material surge with the opposite situation of droughts in the West and parts of the Midwest slowing produce demand. The summer typically also brings “grilling season,” as defined by a growth in refrigerated protein volumes out of states such as Missouri, Arkansas, Iowa, and Nebraska, that continues into the fall. The heightened tension and overall demand of the 2021 market, plus apparent growing demand of refrigerated transport, aligned with the “buy fresh” trends, is such that we recommend our clients work with your C.H. Robinson account manager on ideas to help get the best experience this market can offer.

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Fresh from the kitchen

HALIBUT WITH BALSAMIC ROASTED GRAPES

Balsamic roasted grapes add an elegant and family-friendly twist to this simple pan-seared halibut!

Ingredients

  • Four – 6 oz. halibut fillets
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 cups mixed or purple grapes
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup Welch’s® 100% Grape Juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • Freshly chopped parsley, for garnish
  • 4 lemon wedges, for garnish

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350° F. In a bowl, whisk together garlic, honey, Dijon, Welch’s® 100% Grape Juice and salt and pepper. Toss together marinade with grapes on a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. Roast grapes, stirring occasionally, until they begin to burst, about 20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, heat remaining olive oil in a large non-stick skillet. Season halibut fillets with salt and pepper. To cook, sear the fillets until golden on both sides and just cooked through, about 8 minutes total for medium.
  • Serve halibut with a spoonful of balsamic roasted grapes and garnish with parsley and a lemon wedge.

Read more here.

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