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Fresh from the Field

This week’s fresh update

November 19, 2019 | Volume 6, Issue 45

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Conventional Vegetables

November is off to a great start with asparagus imports out of Peru. There is a high level of volume hitting each week and quality has been excellent. There are many promotions nationwide, as there is every year for Thanksgiving, and supply will match with the demand needed. Strong volume is expected to continue until early December out of Peru.
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Georgia didn’t freeze but quality is suffering greatly. A lot of grade-outs and suntan pepper being harvested. Florida is slowly getting started but the cold front is setting us back a couple of days. We are noticing more Mexican product crossing via Nogales. Markets are reacting and will remain active for the next two weeks.
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Supplies of celery are steady and meeting demand starting this week. Sizing is strong on most sizes with some growers reporting heavier supplies of the larger sizes. Celery quality has improved with field reports from the Salinas area showing overall clean product with some light blister & peel. Quality in the Santa Maria and Oxnard areas are reported as clean with no major defects listed. The weather forecast calls for cooler temperatures near averages into the weekend. Currently Salinas, Santa Maria, and Oxnard are the primary shipping locations for celery off the west coast.
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Mexico continues to be short on supply and Florida is still not producing any significant volume. For the next two weeks, markets will remain active but volume from Mexico is just around the corner.
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Collard and Kale are in full production in Georgia. We will have abundant, promotable supply for the next 4-6 weeks. Mustard and Turnip demand exceeds supply and will be short until the first week of December.
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Iceberg Lettuce
Supplies of Iceberg are meeting demand this week with availability in both the northern and southern growing regions. The northern crop is winding down and should finish up toward the end of this week. Huron is also still producing but will also likely finish up later this week or early next. Supplies out of the southern desert region are increasing and, although yield in some of the first blocks has been below estimate, demand has been lower due to the cold weather across the Midwest and eastern states. Quality reports from the southern region show overall good quality with no major industry-wide issues reported. The weather forecast calls for a chance of precipitation tomorrow evening in the southern region with estimates for up to a half inch of rainfall. Currently, Yuma and the Imperial Valley are the primary loading locations for Iceberg off the west coast.
Romaine & Leaf Lettuces
Romaine supplies are steady to start this week with availability in both the northern and southern regions. In the northern region, there will be limited supplies available through this week but, by early next week, there will not be much available as most shippers will have completed the transition to the southern growing region in Yuma and the Imperial Valley. Quality reports out of the north are showing some signs of frost damage and close trim as a result of the ice from two weeks ago. Quality reports from the southern desert region have been mixed with occasional small sizing, light weights and very occasional seeder. Red, green and butter lettuces are limited to start the week but supplies from the southern region are expected to improve toward the end of this week. Currently, Yuma and the Imperial Valley are the primary loading locations for leaf lettuces off the west coast.
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We are locked and ready to go out of Washington, Colorado, and Alberta on the Rooster and Blonde Bella programs. Our Peruvian Sun and Anya varieties are available out of Colorado and Alberta. Looking forward, we will have Rooster and Blonde Bella available November 1st out of Prince Edward Island.
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It seems like both yellow and green are in short supply out of both Florida and Mexico. Both regions are experiencing some cool weather, which is causing a sudden shortage of product. We expect volume to bounce back in two weeks.
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Georgia is done for the season and Florida has started with small volume. Harvesting is sporadic at this point, but quality is very nice.
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Conventional Fruits

Total avocado volume into the USA decreased by 17% last week. Demand is moderate and there is a wide range of pricing on all sizes. Looking ahead, volumes are anticipated to remain mostly steady over the next several weeks. Mexico is coming into the prime of their season and pricing generally remains aggressive during this time of year with a wide range of sizes available.
Mexico
Hass Avocado Board reported just over 1,000 loads that crossed the border from Mexico last week. Hass Avocado Board is projecting approximately 1,000 loads of avocados from Mexico to cross into the U.S. this week. The Aventajada crop is trending heavy to 48s and smaller. Weather: The weather is expected to be in the low 70s by day and the low 50s at night with thunderstorms most of the week. Quality: The Aventajada crop is prone to external black spotting that does not impact the internal quality of the fruit. *Transit/Storing temperatures are 40-42 degrees Fahrenheit, continuously.
California
The 2019 California crop is done for the season. The 2020 season is expected to start in late winter/early spring.
Peru
The 2019 Peruvian crop is done for the season. The 2020 season is expected to start in late winter/early spring.
Chile
Last week, 3 loads arrived in the United States . Chile is experiencing a drought and the harvest has been heavy to smaller sizes, reducing the overall volume available.
Colombia
The World Avocado Congress took place in Colombia last month which is expected to trigger more excitement around the future of the Colombian avocado supply in the years to come.
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Blackberries
Volumes will ramp up in 10-12 days and pricing will start to fall around Thanksgiving. The weather has caused a slew of quality issues and supply issues for weeks in both conventional and organic blackberries, and resulted in much higher than normal demand. As the weather improves and the quality rebounds, supplies will start picking up again and we will see the price drop. More than likely, it will come quickly with little supply to a lot of supply. The major factor that we all are watching is WEATHER.
Blueberries
Imports are increasing overall, with more volume coming from Peru and Argentina to the east coast. The west coast continues to struggle to get imports into the ports. Freight synergies on the west coast are also keeping demand higher for blueberries loading there versus the east coast.
Raspberries
Cold weather and fall transition in California weather caused a large dip in production. Mexico doesn’t have enough production to cover the production drop in California. This has affected both organics and conventional. Mexico is not expected to have a flush of fruit this year but more stable production is expected in 2-3 weeks. Part of what’s impacting raspberries is the lack of supply/quality on other berry commodities, causing more demand for raspberries.
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Supplies are light. FOBs remain elevated as light production occurs in central Arizona. The first offshore cantaloupe containers arrived in Florida last week and more are expected this week but still generally light supplies. Demand is expected to remain mostly steady.
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Oranges
Valencias have ended their season in California. Chilean navels have ended as well. California navels started and growers are reporting that 56s and larger are scarce. Sizes are peaking on 72/88/113 and fancy over choice. We are already seeing growers offering discounts on 113s/138s as supplies are building up on small navels. There have been reports of quality issues regarding the taste of the first supplies of navels. As a result, we have heard of growers cutting back the amount they pick or even delaying when they start picking entirely.
Lemons
Desert lemons in District 3 have been available for a while now. California lemons are peaking at 115s/140s. However, lemon prices are very high on large lemons as demand has continued to be very strong and supplies short in both Texas and California. We are continuing to see good supplies of Mexican lemons show up in Texas as the season starts winding down. Prices have slowly been falling as California lemons continue to become more prevalent. There are no issues in finding supplies of Mexican lemons at this point as buyers have shifted to California lemons.
Grapefruit
New crops of California grapefruit have started, and supplies are healthy at the moment. Texas grapefruit growers have started packing and we are starting to see healthy supplies there as well. Texas grapefruit is peaking towards 48/56 count and grade is favoring fancy over choice. There was some cold winter weather that went through Texas over the past week which delayed picking for several days.
Mandarins
Satsumas are winding down as Clementines are starting up in California. Prices have been steady because there is a good supply at the moment; however, we have heard supplies might tighten up due to the east coast being short of supplies. Large fruit is currently limited. We have not heard much regarding quality issues.
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Grape inventories for the 2019 California season are beginning to dwindle into mid-November, as harvest is nearly complete industry-wide. Market pricing continues to firm up with each passing week, with the majority of growers expecting to finish shipping by early to mid-December. In regard to red seedless grapes, Scarlet Royals have virtually finished for the season, with volume now primarily in the Allison variety. Virtually the only green seedless variety now being shipped is an Autumn King, with the large majority of this late season grape already harvested and set aside in storage for shipping into early December. Autumn Royals are still available in small volumes for black seedless grapes, along with pallet volumes of Red Globes at most sheds as well. Overall, the California grape crop will finish significantly shorter than in 2018, particularly on green seedless varieties. Import-wise, the first Peruvian containers of both red and green seedless grapes are expected to arrive in early December to both coasts. Expect availability on all varieties to become extremely tight through December and well into January of 2020.
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Honeydews out of Nogales, Arizona, continue to be available in a light way. Look for the market to remain elevated for the short term.
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The majority of Brazilian product has been shipped for the season. We still have a few containers on the water pending receipt but harvesting in the growing region has come to an end. The Ecuadorian season is in full swing and we’ve seen shipments increase week over week into the United States. We are reaching the peak season for harvesting in Ecuador and will reach peak season of arrivals around the 2nd week of December. Ecuadorian supply is peaking on 10s and 12s, followed by a few 9s. We expect the market to remain strong on large fruit while small fruit will be competitively priced.
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Minimal rain was received in the region of Colima this week. We are seeing mostly overcast with cooler temperatures day to day. Currently, the weather is affecting the sizing profile of papaya. With partial sunshine and cooler temps, the fruit has remained peaking on smaller sizes like 14s and 16s, followed by 12s. Most retailers do not take these smaller sizes so most of these sizes have stayed in the international markets instead of being shipped to the United States. Premium sizes such as 8, 9, and 12s have been scarce due to the weather conditions and has created a stronger market week after week. The market has remained strong for #1 product but we are noticing some lower pricing has created a two-tier market.
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The domestic pear season is in full swing. All varieties are readily available in promotional volume. The crop is off the trees and quality is excellent!
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Pineapple

Pineapple (Offshore)
Gustavo.Lora@robinsonfresh.com
The atmospheric pressure close to Costa Rica’s Caribbean Sea has been high, generating accelerated trade winds within the country. The first few days of last week, Tropical Wave #48 entered Costa Rica generating constant isolated rain showers in the North and Caribbean regions in the average of 1-3 inches. Rain showers will continue to be present in most of the growing regions, including Central and Pacific. Due to the intense rain activity of the past few weeks, a lot of water spotting issues have been reported; this is happening even on low-color fruit. Brix levels decreased slightly due to additional humidity, but still reported within the 12 to 14 range, with some fruit showing higher brix. The weather this week will determine if water spotting issues continue for the next couple of weeks. The crossing report from the USDA has week 45 showing a low inbound volume out of Costa Rica at only 460 inbound loads for the entire continental USA. Europe pull is still in full swing which is dramatically affecting the volume allocated to the USA market. It is important to note that even with the low crossing volume, the USA market has not improved from previous weeks. The USDA is reporting moderate demand and about steady market.

Pineapple (Mexican)
Jiovani.Guevara@robinsonfresh.com

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California strawberries are still very limited and, with unstable weather patterns this week in Oxnard, product could be even tighter. While the fruit may look fair/good in the field and at ship-point, the fruit is showing quality issues on arrival. Santa Maria, California, is forecast for partly sunny skies with highs in the 60s, increasing to the 70s for the weekend with lows in the 40s. Oxnard, California, is forecast for showers on Wednesday, mostly cloudy skies on Thursday, and mostly sunny skies for the balance of the week. Highs are forecast in the 60s, increasing to the 70s for the weekend, with lows in the upper 40s. Watsonville, California, is forecast to be mostly sunny with highs in the 60s and lows in the 40s, decreasing to the 30s for the weekend. Santa Maria, California, fruit is showing occasional bruising, seedy, windburn, misshapen and occasional overripe and decay. Average counts are 22 to 24, occasionally higher. Watsonville, California, fruit has small size, bruising, seedy, white shoulder and soft shoulder and overripe. Average counts are 26 to 28, occasionally higher and lower.
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Seedless supplies are good out west a little tight in the east. We have supplies in Florida, Texas, and Nogales on seedless. Supplies will be good for two weeks and then they will start getting tighter in December. Southern Mexico had over 20 inches of rain and we will see lower yields in December and January. We are crossing some fruit from Mexico in Nogales and Edinburg, Texas. The quality has been good. Offshore melons will start in mid-December.
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Organic Fruits & Vegetables

We are now finished with the harvest of the new crop organic apples in Washington. Many of the apples are being put into controlled-atmosphere storage so that there will be a good supply available through spring of next year. This year’s crop is shaping up to be a larger crop than the previous year as well as another high-quality crop. Overall, the crop is projected to have an increase of around 15% this season over the previous crop. The fruit size on this year’s crop is running a couple sizes smaller than last year so expect an abundance of smaller fruit this year which will result in many promotional opportunities on bagged fruit. We currently have good availability on all varieties including organic Galas, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith apples, along with many others. We will have plenty of fruit of all sizes for you this season. Expect the overall pricing to be lower this season with fantastic opportunities throughout the rest of this year.
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Organic Consolidation

Bob.Stone@chrobinson.com

It is that time of year when some type of product is coming from just about every point along the west coast of the Americas. Salinas Valley is still harvesting, the Northwest is flush with the biggest organic harvest ever, the citrus groves of central California are producing, the Southwest Desert has started, Mexico is getting into full swing, and lastly South America is readying their mangos and grapes. Why does this matter? It matters because the Los Angles Service Center (LASC) in San Bernardino is smack dab in the midst of all of this commerce! We can be your one-stop shopping/consolidation point. And with new unloading hours beginning at 04:00, trucks can unload here and still be ahead of the traffic into Los Angeles. A bonus of our location, trucks have a multitude of avenues into Los Angeles. Give us a call and let us know what we can do for you. And don’t forget to make delivery/pick-up appointments at: 909-683-1695.
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Organic Dry Vegetables

Bob.Stone@chrobinson.com

Organic dry vegetables are a steady rolling machine except for mini sweet peppers; we hope to see an uptick in supply by the beginning of December. Concerning the other dry vegetables, there seems to be a new item to promote daily. Let us know what you are looking for and we will get you the deal you need!
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All fruit on our strategic organic melon grower base is done for the season. We should see some limited supplies of organic minis in Nogales through this week.
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Organic Onions

Bob.Stone@chrobinson.com

Onions keep moving steadily along with all varieties, including Sweets, available. We have deals available on just about every type and the HOT deal for the rest of the year are on 50 pound bags of jumbo red and jumbo yellow onions. Call for details. Of course, we are a steady rolling machine with our own Hummingbird top label brand of red onions and shallots. You would not want your customers’ kitchens to be without shallots to enhance their turkeys and prime ribs, and we have the world’s finest shallots.
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Domestic organic pear volume is up this year. The crop has finished being harvested and quality is excellent with promotional volumes readily available.
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Organic potatoes are going strong out of Central Colorado and we have Russets, Reds, Yellows, and Fingerling available from there. Quality and supply are good and we are able to pack in 3 pound and 5 pound bags or cartons. Fingerlings are available in 24 pound boxes or 16/1.5 pound bags. We have Russian, French, and Chef Blend varieties available. We also have supply starting in Oregon next week. We will have Reds, Yellows, and a few Russets available from here. Quality report is looking good on these potatoes.
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Florida has some availability but no major volume. Nogales is slowly getting started.
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Organic Sweet Potatoes

Chris.Lemmon@robinsonfresh.com

Organic sweet potato season is upon us. Now is the time to set your shelf space and display all the great varieties that are available. The quality of the sweet potatoes coming from Livingston, California, has been and is outstanding. All varieties–Orange, Red, White, and Japanese–are promotable but lock up your ads as soon as possible. Pack times at the shed will get tight and could hinder loading your trucks on time. We are packing in 40 pound boxes and 12/3 pound bags.
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Transportation

We are accepting freight opportunities from all geographic areas. Twenty-four hour lead time is preferred but all transactional last-minute opportunities are accepted.

 

Michael.Moyski@chrobinson.com
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Fresh from the kitchen

KALE & PEPPERED PEACH FLATBREADS

Ingredients

  • 3 tsp. oliv oil, divided
  • 1/2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cups (from a 10 oz. bag) Glory Foods® Organic Kale Greens, stems removed
  • 2 packaged flatbreads
  • 1 ounce soft goat cheese

… More at Kale & Peppered Peach Flatbreads

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