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Fresh from the Field

This week’s fresh update

June 15, 2021 | Volume 7, Issue 74

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Conventional Vegetables

Asparagus

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Market is getting very active and prices are on the rise. Michigan is coming to an end and most of the industry will be relying on Peruvian imports to fill the supply chain. Central Mexico has yet to see much volume cross, causing more pressure on Peruvian product. Market is expected to continue to rise through the July 4th holiday pull.
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Bell Peppers

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We continue to see good availability coming out of Georgia. South Carolina and North Carolina are scheduled to start harvesting the end of the week. New Jersey is scheduled to start by the middle of July.
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Georgia is finished for the season as East Coast production rolls north to Virginia with lighter volumes. California is producing an abundant supply with attractive FOB’s for promotion.
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New Jersey has started for the season with red and green cabbage. Local deals are also offering promotable volumes.
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Celery production in Oxnard is nearly finished and Salinas has started with good volume. Overall quality reports are showing good condition with occasional seeder reported. The weather forecast calls for warmer temperatures 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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No major change in supply as North Carolina is increasing its volume. Georgia continues to be the major player, but the season will quickly change as the heat is starting to take a toll on some of the crop. New Jersey is still scheduled to start around June 20th.
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Georgia greens continue in good supply and quality. This is expected to continue through June 30th. We have begun our transition north as well with good supply and quality of all flavors in Michigan and Illinois.
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Leaf Lettuce

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The weather outlook calls for higher temperatures throughout this week which may impact quality. Supplies of iceberg and romaine are starting to tighten due to an increase in food service demand and reduced yields. Overall quality is fairly good with occasional heat damage reported. The primary shipping points on the West Coast are 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, now, California crop. Availability on Burbs out of Idaho. Organic product will be very limited until the second week of June. Now is the time to start working on promotions for late June. Please contact your sales representative with any questions.
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Georgia growers are starting to call it quits due to depressed markets. Good news is that there is plenty of product on the East Coast so, weather permitting, we should be fine. Good time to promote for the next two weeks.
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Sweet Corn

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Georgia is producing promotable volumes and attractive FOB’s. California is cleaned up in the south with Brentwood and Mendota areas starting to pick this week; expect lighter volumes this week as those deals are just starting.
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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 and the Ambrosia apples. The import apples from Chile have been arriving into the United States for the last couple weeks with mostly some Gala and Granny Smith Apples. Early reports are that Chile has a good crop with good quality, but the sizing looks to be smaller this season. Even with the Gala and Grannies arriving from Chile, the markets, and prices on these two items will continue to rise every couple of weeks as there won’t be enough to supply all the demand. Expect prices to rise right up until the new crop in the fall.
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Avocado inventory levels have increased during the past week on size 60s and larger, with size 84s being in short supply. Mexico increased volume and sizing is peaking on 48s and larger. California experienced a slowdown and volume is peaking on sizes 48s and 60s. Peru’s volume is increasing, and sizing is peaking on 48s. Rain is forecast all week in Mexico, but harvest is expected to be strong. California is experiencing a heat wave this week which will likely accelerate the season.
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Bush Berries

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Blackberries
Supplies/production continue to decline as we near the end of the general Mexican season. Good supplies in Georgia and now California. Demand has been light so good promotional volumes available!
Raspberries
Good supplies on organic but conventional supplies are still light this week. Very good quality!
Blueberries
California is winding down, but North Carolina and New Jersey are going and market price is declining! Volume hitting! PEAK VOLUMES- PROMOTIONAL OPPORTUNITIES!
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Cantaloupe

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Cantaloupe yields continue to be down. Supply is limited and expected to stay that way throughout the desert crop. Quality and sugar have been good. Sizing is peaking on 9/12 counts with few jumbo melons available. Extreme heat this week will affect production and could have ramifications on the rest of the crop in the desert. Time will tell exactly how bad the crop is affected.
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Oranges
Market firmed up across the board as shippers no longer have excess inventory. Sizes are peaking on 56s/72s/48s. Late navels are what most shippers are shipping at this point. Pricing seems to have settled in over the last week or so. Small sizes (113/138s) will be extremely limited for the rest of the season. Some shippers have already ended for the season, but some are still expected to go another few weeks. Valencias are in full swing in California. Sizing is peaking on 72s/88/113s; however, small sizes remain tight as that is where the demand is. Expect 113s/138s to remain tight for the near future. Pricing has started off pretty strong this year but has started dropping on 72s and larger.
Lemons
Market has shot up over the last few weeks. This week, all fancy and choice sizes are going to be very hard to come by. May be able to come across some 200s and 235s. Overall, lemons are going to be extremely tight for near future. The California market has so few lemons that shippers are trucking Argentinian lemons from the East Coast to West Coast just to have supply. Lemons are coming out of District 2; the crop is mainly choice fruit, with very little fancy fruit, making it that much harder to get fancy lemons. Expect the market on lemons to continue to rise in the coming weeks as labor shortages are only exacerbating this shortage. Prices will be high until Chilean lemons hit the West Coast in late June.
Mandarins
Mandarins have been steady over the last month. The deals are on small mandarins. This is the item that should be promoted. Hearing that quality from some shippers is starting to go downhill as we are on the back end of the season.
Grapefruit
Overall market has remained pretty solid. Demand has picked up a bit over the past week or so, but pricing remains steady at this point. Quality is excellent with no issues being reported at this time.
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Across the industry, the Mexican grape season is starting to take an uncertain turn. Early-season projections were miscalculated on harvest volumes; we are now seeing the lingering effects from the freeze this past February. With the late start to the season as it was, we now are anticipating tight availability at the end, with volatile markets. The most affected piece of this Mexican grape season is the late-season green seedless crop, which is down approximately 40% in expected volume to get us through the next 3-4 weeks. We expect to see smaller grape sizes, and higher bunch counts with red seedless as red seedless will be most available. Black seedless and Red Globes are expected to be limited availability as well, with day-to-day availability. Coachella, California grape crop has LIMITED availability…there is a lack of fruit coming from vines, with planted acreage itself down more than double from where it had been the last 2 years. USDA programs are also pulling away supplies from this region, further impacting availability and transactional markets. We expect to see Central California (Arvin, Delano) start up harvest the week of June 27. Early fruit will warrant firm markets, as we will be transitioning from short Mexico and Coachella crops.
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Domestic honeydew continue to be extremely tight. Sizing is heavy to 5 count with very few 6 count and almost no 8 count available. Sugar has been very good as has quality. Some occasional wind scarring is present. Extreme temperatures expected this week which will affect the crop. Volume expected to be down throughout the desert crop.
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Region: Veracruz, Mexico
Currently, the crop is peaking on 200/230/175. The weather forecast is showing rain as we start the week which could affect harvesting. The demand for limes has been moderate. The market for large limes (110/150) has VERY limited supply, especially on 110s. The crossings through Texas from last week were at 562; as of Monday, 200 loads had crossed from the weekend. Peak sizes are 200/230/175, with size distribution as follows: 110-3%, 150-7%, 175-22%, 200-25%, 230-23%, and 250-20%. The following quality issues are being reported: blanching, scarring, and oil spots on the 200-250s. Looking ahead, the transition into the new crop will start to occur over the next 7-10 days. As we get closer, more information will become available.^ Back to Conventional Fruits

We are currently shipping from the growing regions of Michoacán, Nayarit, Jalisco, and Southern Sinaloa. Michoacán has now gotten into their Kent variety and we’ve started to receive some larger fruit this week. Michoacán is expected to ship through June and possibly the first two weeks of July. Nayarit has received some rain this week and growers are closely monitoring the fields in hopes that the fruit will size up going into next week. Southern Sinaloa’s water shortage has not changed, with peak sizing from this region remaining on small fruit such as 12s and 14s. This region is expected to harvest Kents this week for earliest arrival sometime next week.
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Historically, we have seen volume increases from May to July; 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 quantities for now, but close to becoming load volume.
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We have limited supplies of Anjou out of Washington and Oregon. The Northwest Anjous will continue into early July. We now have good availability on imported Anjou, Bartlett, and Bosc pears available on both coasts.
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Pineapple

Pineapple (Offshore)

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Atmospheric conditions over Costa Rica are humid and unstable due to the influence of the Intertropical Convergence Zone and Tropical Wave # 2 is causing cloudiness and strong rainfall in different parts of the country. Downpours and electrical storms will affect the Pacific, Central Valley, Caribbean, and the Northern regions. The most significant rainfall has occurred in the Central and South Pacific, with maximum accumulated rainfall in the last 6 hours between 2 to 3 inches. Weather monitoring will continue to determine how much it could affect the growing areas. Quality is reported as good, but the unstable weather is affecting internal and external coloration of the fruit. USDA crossing report for week 22 is showing a significant drop in volume at slightly over 1,000 loads crossing for the entire continental USA. USDA is reporting demand as moderate and market as about steady.

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 for pineapples is stable with GOOD supplies arriving from both Mexico and Costa Rica. Markets are expected to remain stable on all sizes, but we also expect to see aggressive pricing on small fruit (7/8 counts). Quality of our fruit from Mexico is 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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Markets are slightly lower for the first part of the week due to increased harvest volumes, but with several large retailers going on ad, supplies will firm up and the market will rebound. As temperatures rise this week be conscious of heat related quality issues. Santa Maria, CA is forecast for mostly sunny skies and very warm temperatures on Wednesday and Thursday with temperatures cooling down going into the weekend. Highs in the 80s decreasing to the 70s Friday thru the weekend and lows in the 50s. Salinas/Watsonville, CA is forecast for mostly sunny skies and very warm temperatures but cooling down for the weekend. Highs in the low 90s on Wednesday, decreasing to the 80s on Thursday and Friday and decreasing to the 70s for the weekend and lows in the 50s. Santa Maria, CA fruit has occasional bruising, soft shoulders, overripe and dry or discolored calyx and discoloration caused by wind damage. Average counts are 18 to 20, occasionally higher and lower.
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Watermelon

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Supplies are very good on seedless and a bit tight out East on minis. South Florida is winding down out of the Arcadia area. North Florida is going near Chiefland and Newberry, Florida. Tifton Georgia is expected to start this week. Trucks are still a little tight as well. We will continue to harvest out of Newberry, Florida for the next few weeks. We are picking lots of 60-count seedless in Hermosillo, Mexico, as well as out West. Yuma and Salome, Arizona started last week. We will have good supplies in June out of Arizona. Domestic quality is fantastic with 13 brix out of Arizona.
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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 except for maybe the organic Fuji apples. The organic Granny Smiths are severely short and will probably see record pricing this summer as supplies dwindle. Expect to see record prices in the late summer this season.
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Organic Dry Vegetables

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Mexico (through Nogales, Arizona and McAllen, Texas), Southern California, and Florida/Georgia are the main shipping points for organic dry vegetables currently. Production is steady out of Mexico and Southern U.S. growing regions (California and Florida). Good volume on eggplant and hard squashes (acorn, butternut, spaghetti, Kabocha, Delicata) with promotional opportunities available. Green and colored bells are available out of Nogales and Southern California but limited and expensive. Texas should have availability on hot house colored bells in about 10 days or so. Plenty of soft squash (zucchini and yellow squash) in Nogales and Georgia this week. Mexican programs through the Texas Valley will be starting in about 10 days for soft squash. Slicer cucumbers are tight this week and hot house cukes will be limited.
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Organic Melons

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Organic mini melons are gapping right now.
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Organic Onions

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Organic red and yellow onions are looking good and available out of El Centro, California. We should see supply available out of here for a while.
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Organic Pears

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The import season has started, and we have availability of imported organic Bartlett, Bosc, and Anjou on both coasts from Argentina and Chile. The quality is good and there are supplies arriving weekly.
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Organic Potatoes

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California potatoes are going strong. Russets have finally become available, but pricing is high. Cartons are still very tight. Red and yellow potatoes out of California are available in both bags and cartons and pricing has come down. We are still doing russet bags and totes out of Center, Colorado and quality is holding up on them. Pricing is much cheaper out of here versus California.
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Organic Squash

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Hard squash and summer squash are going strong out of Nogales. Markets are good and demand is as well. Quality has been nice.
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Organic Sweet Potatoes

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Organic sweet potatoes are still going out of Livingston, California but supply is starting to dry up some. Beauregards and reds are still plentiful, but we are seeing whites and Japanese coming to an end. New crop will start in mid to late August on these so we will have a gap for a while.
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Transportation

The most impacted truckload regions in current state are Georgia, Carolinas, California, and Arizona.
• Per usual, produce season regional transition is led by the sun and that is no different in a pandemic year. In fact, we have experienced more of a true produce season in 2021 than we have in recent years.
• Melons and sweet corn have moved out of Florida and into Georgia and the Carolinas, Berries and greens are high-demand commodities shipping out of California and melons out of the Nogales, Arizona markets. Capacity constraints and historical Load-to-truck ratios in these produce regions are prevalent and driving an increase in costs, which we anticipate remaining elevated beyond July 4th.
• 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 that produce loads pay. We recommend that, due to the exceptional tight truck market this year, 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.

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Fresh from the kitchen

CILANTRO LIME RICE

Mixed in a burrito or served as a side, this easy to make rice is full of flavor and pairs perfectly with chicken, beef, or pork.

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoon lime juice (freshly squeezed), and zest of one lime
  • 1 cup cilantro leaves (finely chopped)
  • 1 cup long grain basmati rice
  • 2 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Pinch of salt to taste

Instructions

    1. Cook rice to package specifications using stock for the liquid.
    2. Once cooked, open lid and add butter, lime juice, cilantro, and lime zest.
    3. Fluff all with a fork.

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