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Fresh from the Field

This week’s fresh update

January 12, 2021 | Volume 7, Issue 52

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Conventional Vegetables

The asparagus market has continued to be high priced. January is typically a supply-gap month as Peruvian supply finishes and Caborca, Mexico gets started. We should start to see some relief as soon as volume from Mexico starts arriving in the next couple of weeks.
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Florida continues to produce steady volume with no major surplus. Mexico has come to a brief halt due to the cool temperatures, but we still see volume coming in the upcoming weeks. Promotional volume available for weeks 4 and 5 from Nogales.
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Supply out west has improved as demand across the industry has dropped. Florida crop will remain hit and miss, with planting gaps throughout.
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Florida/Georgia cabbage market remains high with very little availability. Watch for smaller sizing in the 18/20-count range after several weeks of cool weather.
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Celery supplies remain limited to start this week. Cold weather and occasional soil-borne issues have caused reduced yields in the Oxnard growing region. Supply in the southeastern regions of Yuma and the Imperial Valley are expected to start next week and should bring some relief. Current quality reports are showing good color with occasional frost damage on the outer petioles. The weather forecast calls for cooler temperatures with very low chance of frost over the next ten days. Please reach out to your Robinson Fresh representative for updates and availability.
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No major change with markets as availability seems to be in good shape. We are seeing some availability of Honduran product via Miami. We still expect a shortage of the Honduran supply in the upcoming weeks.
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Continuous cooler temperatures have pushed back kale harvests to the beginning of February. Burn is present in all kale. We continue to look for alternative supply in other growing regions. Collard supply and quality are good – push volume! Mustard (curly/flat) supply is limited, and quality is fair. Turnip supply is also limited with fair quality.
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Iceberg and leaf lettuces are abundant with moderate demand to start this week. The weather forecast calls for near average temperatures with no major frost expected over the next ten days. Overall quality reports show some blister and epidermal peel on the outermost leaves but this is expected to improve barring any new frost event. The primary shipping location for leaf items is Yuma, Arizona, and the Imperial Valley. Please reach out to your Robinson Fresh representative for any additional information and promotional opportunities.
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Potatoes are currently loading out of Idaho, Colorado, and Washington. The market is stable with an increased production of smaller sizes 90 count to 120 count. There is good availability of reds and Norks in both Idaho and Colorado. Now is the time to start working on promotions for the fall. Please contact your sales representative with any questions.
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Markets reacted in Nogales as cooler temperatures have not given the plants the opportunity to produce. Mexico still has a lot of fields yet to be harvested, so volume will still come. Florida will remain in the mix as well. In Mexico, we expect promotional volume for weeks 4 and 5.
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Florida is producing supplies but has very limited volume right now. Watch for volume to remain tight in the coming weeks.
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Conventional Fruits

The apple market remains tight this week as growers recover from the large pulls around the holidays. Markets are expected to remain tight as consumers start their New Year’s resolutions and begin to consume more fruits and vegetables during the month of January. The overall crop came in shorter than projected due to weather issues and is now estimated to be around 120-million cases. This is much smaller than the 140-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.
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Avocado availability has been steady on most sizes and is matching up well with demand. Inventory on hand with most shippers remains at low levels with pricing holding at higher levels compared to previous months. With the big game just weeks away, growers are expected to increase harvesting as demand increases. Quality is favorable and daytime temperatures in Mexico are mostly in the 70s with occasional showers.
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Blueberries
Demand is increasing as Chile and Mexico production slows down due to cold weather. A lot of delays and lighter inbounds to the port on Chilean fruit. Cold weather in Mexico is limiting production this week as well.
Blackberries
While production remains lower due to cold weather, so is demand creating opportunities on blackberries. The low demand and low costing on 6 ouncers is keeping some farmers from packing a lot of 6 ouncers and pushing more toward 12 and 18 ouncers in order to keep the market somewhat stable. If the cold weather impacts blackberries this week, we will see that market go up as well.
Raspberries
Production is dropping as cold weather hits Mexico. Mexican high-altitude (1,500-2,000 meters above sea level) raspberries had extremely cold weather resulting in a high percentage of reduced crop; in some places up to 60%, but for the most part between 30-40%. This does not look like it’s going to get any better any time soon.
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Cantaloupe arrivals on both Guatemalan and Honduran fruit continue mainly into Florida ports. Volume is light due to hurricanes at the beginning of the offshore season. Due to low yields and poor quality, growers are sending most product to Florida due to shorter transit time. Many shippers are repacking in Florida and therefore making arrivals, for the most part. There is very little volume available after contracts are filled so pricing is extremely high.
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Oranges
Quality on navels is excellent right now. Cool temperatures have been very good for citrus over the past few weeks. Color is great and the fruit tastes amazing right now. Brix has been averaging over 11 and we are not hearing of any quality issues. Exporting is going very strong right now with a lot more fancy fruit than choice. Sizing is now increasing, with sizes peaking on 56s/72s. Smaller sizes are starting to get a little tight and that will continue to increase over time.
Lemons
Quality has been strong all season. Market continues to be strong on lemons this season. District 3 crop will be ending sooner than normal (likely sometime next month). District 1 lemons have been going strong. Exporting has been very solid for lemons as well this season. There are deals on large fancy lemons and choice lemons as that is where the excess supply is at the moment. Expect the lemon market to remain tight in the coming weeks.
Mandarins
Clementines are in full swing at the moment and are eating great. We have seen some excellent deals on Clementines, especially smaller sizes. This is THE item to promote at the moment as supply exceeds demand. Sizes will remain small for the next few weeks; then, expecting sizes to become larger. Color is great as the weather has been nice and cool.
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The focus of the grape category is now firmly on imports, with both Peruvian and Chilean fruit beginning to arrive steadily to both coasts. Heading into mid-January, East Coast inventories on imports remain far more robust than the West Coast, with container delays continuing to limit the volume of fruit available out of Los Angeles. Variety-wise, a wide range of red seedless options (Allison/Sweet Celebration/Flame/Crimsons) have arrived so far this season, with multiple green seedless varieties (Sugraones/Thompson/Sweet Globe/Arra 15) also available. Market pricing is expected to remain steady through much of January until early-February, once greater Chilean shipments to the U.S. begin to increase to pair with Peruvian arrivals.
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Guatemalan and Honduran honeydew continue to arrive in limited volume due to hurricanes at the beginning of the season and continued wet weather in the weeks after the hurricanes. Sugar has been decent and quality has been just okay. Occasional black spots have been found, with minimal wind scarring. Southern Mexico will be starting this week.
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Currently, the crop is peaking on 175/230/200s. The weather forecast is showing some possibilities of rain at the beginning of the week. The demand for limes has been stable. Peak sizes are 175/200/230 with the following size distribution: 110-14%, 150-15%, 175-21%, 200-21%, 230-19%, and 250-10%. Quality of the fruit is in good condition; however, there are reports of fruit with blanching.
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The Ecuadorian mango season is quickly coming to a close as the transition to Peruvian mangos takes place. The Peruvian season was delayed this year due to weather conditions, including a drought that took place during the blooming period and then, more recently, cooler temperatures in the growing regions. This delay from Peru has created a gap between the two crops. Currently, supply is very limited and pricing is higher as a result. The volume from Peru is expected to increase in the next 3 weeks and supply will improve later this month.
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Cooler weather in the growing region continues to delay the harvest, making overall general supply limited this week. We will receive a few more inbounds closer to the end of the week before we start working on next week’s supply. The market is currently strengthening and has increased.
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We have good supplies of Bartlett, Anjou, Bosc, and red pears out of Washington and Oregon. The overall crop is smaller this season which has put pressure on supplies. The Bartlett pears will start to wind down and finish up around the end of January. Prices have remained higher this year versus last year and we are projecting that the pricing 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
The presence of a high-pressure system in the Atlantic is generating high atmospheric pressure over the Caribbean Sea with windy conditions occurring in the North Pacific and west of the Central Valley. The maximum recorded gusts are in the range of 30-40 miles per hour. Expect conditions to be mostly cloudy with isolated rainfall, between weak and moderate, in the Caribbean and north regions. Quality should not be affected internally with just some light water spotting issues reported so far. There’s potential low temperatures in the early mornings that may trigger naturally differentiated fruit (NDF) development. USDA crossing report is again showing a very low number for week 01 at only 150 inbound containers for the entire continental USA from Costa Rica (this number is likely to be revised). USDA reporting demand as good and a slightly higher market. Demand for pines continues to improve with the market getting stronger due to another light supply week from both Costa Rica and Mexico. Cold weather in Mexico has reduced yields significantly, pushing the Gulf states and West Coast markets higher. If demand remains and lighter supply from Costa Rica continues, January will no doubt bring better markets. Mexican supply is expected to increase after next week.

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 have seen good demand for the last couple of weeks, and we expect a slowdown early this week until inventory levels get back to normal. The good news is that we will have good supplies from both Mexico and Costa Rica in January. Markets are expected to remain stable at least during the first weeks of January. Quality of our fruit from Mexico is very good, with brix over 13%. Most shippers are peaking on 6 and 7 counts, with very limited supplies of 5 count available in the market. Please contact your Robinson Fresh sales representative with any questions.
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Oxnard, California; Central Mexico; and Florida growing areas are all seeing limited supplies due to cold weather. Markets are very strong. This situation could last for several weeks. Oxnard, California is forecast for mostly sunny skies with highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s. Central Mexico is forecast for mostly cloudy skies with a morning shower on Sunday. Highs are forecast in the 70s and lows in the 40s, increasing to the 50s on Sunday. Plant City, Florida is forecast Wednesday for afternoon showers and then partly cloudy for the balance of the week. Highs are forecast in the 60s and lows in 40s to low-50s. Oxnard, California fruit has good color, occasional pick-and-pack bruising, white shoulders, wind scarring, occasional dry calyx, and misshapen. Average counts are 18 to 20, occasionally higher and lower.
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Supplies on both seedless and minis melons continue to be a little tight. Crossings in from Nogales have slowed down with the cooler weather in Nayarit. Our minis have started with light volume and we currently are receiving seedless daily. Supplies on the East Coast are very limited. Texas continues to bring in fruit from Jalisco and Nayarit with decent quality, but volume remains pretty light.
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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 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 as we roll into the new calendar year. 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 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 currently the main shipping points for organic dry vegetables. Production is steady out of Mexico and southern U.S. growing regions of California and Florida. Highest yields will be on medium-sized fruit. Demand should start to dip this week as volumes build in each location. Zucchini, hot peppers, winter squash (butternut/spaghetti/kabocha/acorn), and green beans should be available in good volumes through the end of the month with promotional opportunities. Eggplant and cucumbers have tightened up this week but there should be limited volumes available until Mexico transitions to new fields. Yellow squash and green bells will be available in limited volumes. Colored bells and mini-sweet peppers will be extremely limited but available.
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Organic minis continue to gap until early spring. The growing areas of northern Mexico will be where they will start harvesting.
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January is here and so are our onions! Quality is holding nicely and we are packing the day of shipping to keep everything as fresh as possible. We will have red onions out of Hollister, California through March. So if you are looking to promote red onions, we are here for you! The market is steady and we are not expecting much change for the next month.
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We have good availability on organic Bartletts and Anjous this week. The organic Bartletts will start to wind down in the next couple of weeks, with most growers finishing up by the end of January. Expect to see imported organic Bartlett pears begin to arrive toward the middle to end of February.
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Center, Colorado is the place to get your deals on organic potatoes. We are looking to promote russets, reds, and yellows through the month of January. Pricing is lower than it has been for a few years so it’s a good time to promote. Quality is really nice and holding well. We also have a very good supply of fingerling potatoes available out of Center, but we also have inventory at our warehouse in San Bernardino, California.
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We made it through December and are looking forward to your squash business in January. We have plenty of butternut squash left and should continue to have it available through March. Spaghetti squash has started to tighten a little. We should have spaghetti at least through mid-February.
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Organic Sweet Potatoes

Chris.Lemmon@robinsonfresh.com

Organic sweet potatoes are still going strong and quality has been outstanding! We have supply on all sizes and varieties at this point in the season. We have 3-pound bags, mediums, jumbos, and US#1s available in all varieties. Give us a call and we can take care of you!
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Transportation

Happy New Year!
• With the New Year came a slow stabilization in most markets and a slight decrease in demand out of California. We anticipate this to continue through the first quarter of the year. Please see your C.H. Robinson representative with California outbound opportunities!
• The Midwest and Northeast continue to see elevated demand and a general decrease in supply, resulting in a tumultuous marketplace. Be sure to communicate opportunities early and often so we can prepare appropriately with capacity.
• Valentine’s Day is upon us and that means floral season is returning for most retailers in late January through February 14th. Be prepared for an influx in primarily Florida outbound demand during these times and, as always, have a plan for this season. Your C.H. Robinson temperature controlled experts will be able to guide you through this time!

Michael.Moyski@chrobinson.com
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Fresh from the kitchen

WELCH’S® ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES

Ingredients

  • 3 cups (total) root vegetables of potato, parsnip, carrot, sweet potato, and/or squash, washed, peeled, and rough chopped into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Welch’s® 100% White Grape Juice
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Spread olive oil on bottom of roasting pan.
  3. Toss vegetables with Welch’s® 100% White Grape Juice, salt and pepper and transfer to the baking sheet.  Roast vegetables for 20-25 minutes, turning once until they are fork tender.  Serve warm in desired dish.

… More at Welch’s® Roasted Root Vegetables

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