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Fresh from the Field

This week’s fresh update

October 8, 2019 | Volume 6, Issue 39

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Conventional Vegetables

The Peruvian asparagus season continues to be great! Volumes have been excellent and quality has also been very good. Due to the increased volumes for October, asparagus has been a big promotable item at retail and should continue to be through the fall.
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Our grower, Lewis Taylor Farms, Tifton, Georgia, started with peppers over the weekend and quality is outstanding! We expect to have promotional volume starting around October 10th and continue through the entire month of October. Plants look healthy so jumbo and XL sizes will be plentiful the first 2-3 weeks; premium display packs will be available upon request. Again, we expect to have promotional volume through the month of October.
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Broccoli
California supply on crowns will be short for the next 10-14 days. Good supply on bunches. Mexico has steady volume of crowns with very mixed quality.
Cauliflower
California will be short the next 10 days or so due to cooler temps.
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Celery supplies are plentiful with excellent overall quality and there are currently some volume deals available. Field reports are showing very nice product with good color, clean appearance, and very nice condition. The weather forecast calls for average temperatures into the weekend. Currently, Salinas and Santa Maria are the primary shipping locations for celery off the west coast. Oxnard is set to start production in early- to mid-November.
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With Georgia and Mexico stepping in with stronger volume this week, cucumber supply is fairly abundant. We have product both in Tifton and Nogales and we expect to have promotional volume through the month of October. Quality hasn’t been an issue and we expect it to remain this way for the next few weeks. Regional deals are done, as the cool weather has taken over.
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Collard, Kale, Mustard, and Turnip are available in Georgia. Crop is looking excellent! Weather has been favorable and that trend should continue based on current forecasts.
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Iceberg Lettuce
Supplies of head lettuce are expected to be lower over the next few weeks as the end of the northern growing season comes to an end. Soil-borne issues continue to have a negative impact on yield and overall quality. Assessments from the southern growing regions are mixed depending on location but there are some reports of decreased estimates due to the heavy rains. Quality reports are currently showing occasional mildew streak, rib blight, and bottom rot. Overall quality is fair with average weights.
Romaine Lettuce
Limited supplies of Romaine this week with lower estimates forecast over the next few weeks. Reports of excessive seeder and internal issues after the heat last week with some reports showing mixed sizing with some undersized heads. Quality reports are showing occasional fringe and very occasional leaf spot. Color ratios are showing more green than yellow color ratio.
Red & Green Leaf
Supplies of red and green leaf lettuces are steady with good supplies and there are still a few promotable options available this week. Quality reports are showing fair sizing with occasional lightweights, fair condition and overall quality. Occasional reports of fringe burn, downy powdery mildew and very occasional seeder. Santa Maria and Salinas are the primary shipping points out of California.
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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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With Georgia stepping in with volume and Mexico getting started, squash supplies are fairly abundant. So far, quality has been good on both colors. Our farm in Tifton will be in production through the month of October and early November. Weather permitting, we expect to hit peak in the next 7-10 days so promotional volume is available. Early reports show great quality coming out of Mexico and we are ready to start taking orders!
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Georgia has started with small amounts of volume available. Quality is very nice.
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Conventional Fruits

Mexico
Hass Avocado Board reported just over 1,300 loads that crossed the border from Mexico last week, a 43% increase from the week prior. Hass Avocado Board is projecting approximately 975 loads of avocados from Mexico to cross into the U.S. this week. The Aventajada crop is expected to trend to 48s and smaller. Weather: The weather is expected to be in the high-70s by day and the high-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
California came in with 15 loads harvested last week, a small decline from the week prior. The California crop is nearing the end. We should expect to see less than 20 loads per week of California avocados through the remainder of the season, coming mostly from the northern region of California.
Peru
The season is done for the most part and future arrivals will be minimal.
Chile
Last week, 36 loads arrived to 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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Blueberries
Imports are increasing in volume quickly, with more air shipments from Argentina expected in the next week or two. Temperatures in Argentina have been fairly cold, resulting in smaller volumes and less color to start. Peruvian vessel fruit is hitting the East Coast as well, with good color. Expect the rising cost to continue as we move into imported blueberries for the fall/winter months.
Blackberries
The blackberry market is still in flux this week, keeping the conventional Mexican blackberry market very tight. Weather-related production and quality issues are keeping volumes lower but should correct by the end of this week or next week. We should have promotable volumes soon!! Organic Mexican blackberries will be trickling in with better volume due to most organic acreage being covered (hooped) so less issues with the heavy rains. Both will see 2-3 day delays in crossing this week.
Raspberries
Mexican raspberries continue to produce lighter numbers and will start with new crop in mid-October. So far, the raspberry market has remained fairly stable but demand very much exceeds supply. The back-to-back rain events in Mexico have only made the lack of supply worse.
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Supplies are slightly less and the market has stayed active. FOBs remain high in the San Joaquin Valley and it looks as if they will remain this way. New crop out of Central Arizona is underway in a light way. Elevated demand looks to continue for the short term.
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Oranges
Valencias will start winding down in the next few weeks. 113s and 138s are limited. Chilean navel prices have stabilized but supplies are still plentiful on the West Coast. There is about two to three more weeks of imports before California navels become available again. Quality has been pretty good on imports; however, there have been some reports of issues with the acid ratio and brown rot.
Lemons
Desert lemons in District 3 just started back up. Lemon prices have stabilized on large lemons as demand has continued to be very strong. We are now seeing good supplies of Mexican lemons show up in Texas; however, even those prices have risen. Import lemons in California are just about done. 140s and larger are very tight, but there are still decent supplies on 165s and 200s.
Grapefruit
Quality out of California is improving, but has some occasional scarring. Internal and external color is nice with high brix. California has better supplies on red grapefruit with increasing volume daily, peaking on 36/40 count. 48 count and 56 count supplies are limited. Texas grapefruit will start back up in a few weeks.
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While the grape industry continues to pick and pack heavily into early October, the market is slowly beginning to firm up into the fall. There’s been no real change in regard to varieties over the past month; though, Scarlet Royals remain the dominant red seedless option, with other premium options such as Timco, Allison, and Sweet Celebration also available. Green seedless varieties also remain mostly unchanged, with the primary options industry-wide now mostly an Autumn King, Pristine or Stella Bella. Autumn Royals are now virtually the only black seedless option, with Red Globes also being packed in small but steady volumes. Looking forward to the end of the domestic season, many growers are anticipating their overall finish (particularly on green seedless) to be off significantly versus 2018. The industry will have a much better idea on the season longevity as harvest progresses through the month of October.
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Supplies of honeydew are drying up in California as the season finishes. New crop honeydew out of Nogales, Arizona and the Imperial Valley will begin in a light way this week. Look for the market to remain elevated for the short term until the desert and Mexico volumes hit.
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Overall crossings from Mexico continue to climb with peak sizing shifting to more 200 count followed by 230 count. Availability on 175 count seems to be slightly better while 110 count and 150 count continue to be very limited. Quality seems to be slightly better with less stylar than in past weeks. There is still anticipation that production will drop in the next 1-2 weeks and availability will be limited through the month of December.
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Brazilian mangos are being received in the Northeast. Peak sizing off these containers has been pretty balanced as volume picks up. We were seeing smaller sizes at the start of the season but the sizing profile has changed and we are now seeing large fruit spread evenly on our manifests. Quality reports are showing good firm fruit with excellent blush. We have now reached the peak of the Brazilian season.
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We are seeing the market come down on Papaya as more supply builds up out of Colima. Rainy weather remains for most of the week along with moderate winds. Peak sizes are 12s followed by 9s and 8s. With limited sunshine, the fruit is not sizing up on the trees before harvest. Several shippers are now ranging from $17-$19 FOB Texas.
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Pineapple

Pineapple (Offshore)
Gustavo.Lora@robinsonfresh.com
Tropical Wave #38 affected Costa Rica during the early part of the week, compounded with the closeness of the Intertropical Convergence Zone that generated unstable weather conditions for the afternoons, mostly for the Pacific, Central, North and Caribbean regions. Rainfall was between 1 to 3 inches in the growing regions. Quality-wise, fruit is reported as good but with possible water spotting and lower internal condition due to the lack of sunlight. A significant increase is expected on inbound volume out of Costa Rica for week 39 with the USDA crossing report showing 760 inbound loads for the entire continental USA. The USDA is reporting fairly good demand and slightly higher market as of October 4th.

Pineapple (Mexican)
Jiovani.Guevara@robinsonfresh.com

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Northern California strawberry supplies continue to decrease due to the plants showing their age with more quality issues. Combined with an overall lack of labor, with crews split between Southern California plantings and Northern California pickings, the Northern California supply situation is going to remain tight this week. 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 still seeing a split between the earlier plantings and the fall crop, with the major differences being size and resistance to decay. Oxnard, California is just starting to see some light harvest numbers. Santa Maria, California is forecast for sunny skies and warm temps with highs in the 70s, increasing to the 80s Friday through the weekend, and lows in the 40s. Watsonville, California is forecast to be sunny and pleasant with highs in the 70s and lows in the 40s. Santa Maria, California fruit is showing occasional bruising, seedy, and windburn fruit. The old crop is considerably smaller and is also showing some overripe and pin rot. New crop average count is 20 to 22 and old crop is 25 to 29, occasionally higher and lower. Watsonville, California has bruising, soft shoulder, seedy, sunburn, and worm damage. Average counts are 26 to 28, occasionally higher and lower.
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Seedless supplies are still light. Minis are tight as well. There are a few smaller minis hitting Nogales this week. Supplies should pick up in two weeks on seedless in Nogales. California will go another week with light supplies on both minis and seedless. We are crossing some fruit from Mexico in Nogales and Edinburg, Texas, with light supplies. We are starting minis and seedless in Georgia with light supplies.
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Organic Fruits & Vegetables

We have now been going strong for over a month on the new crop organics in Washington State. We have good availability on organic Galas, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Red Delicious, Golden Delicious and Granny Smith apples. Overall, the crop is good this year with an increase of around 10% versus last year’s crop. The crop is also running smaller in size than last year so expect that pricing will remain higher on the large 64 to 72 count sizes. Since there will be an abundance of smaller fruit, there will be very good promotable opportunities on the bagging fruit this season. The pricing on the organic Galas is the most attractive at this point of the season in regard to promotional pricing and availability, so call us for ad pricing.
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Organic Consolidation

Bob.Stone@chrobinson.com

We will be bringing in our yearly supply of juice carrots for the fall and winter into the Los Angles Service Center by the end of this week. These, along with our Albert Bartlett 16 x 1.5 pound bags of organic fingerling potatoes gives another reason to stop your trucks by the Los Angeles Service Center on their way out of town. We have Russian Banana, French Fingerlings, and the Chef’s Blend, all available to load here. As we get into the fall and holiday season, where fresh product has to come from further away and there is more freight in general on the road, we can expect the usual uptick in freight prices at this time of year. What better time to take advantage of the organic consolidation services we offer at our Los Angeles Service Center? As we have apples, stone fruit, onions, and potatoes coming out of the Northwest, grapes out of the Central California Valley, wet and dry vegetables out of the Upper and Lower Salinas Valleys, shallots and hard squash out of Hollister, new crop citrus just starting out of the Riverside Desert, Mexican dry vegetables, and last but not least, our offering of tropical items out of Texas, we are centrally located to be your consolidation point for all of these goods. Whether you want to consolidate all of your orders here or just need help with a few items, we are here to assist you. Feel free to give us a call to make your work load easier and more accessible.
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Organic Dry Vegetables

Bob.Stone@chrobinson.com

We are now supplying ad pricing for the month of October with promotional opportunities on colored bells and red, yellow, and orange bells crossing from Mexico. Call your salesperson for promotional details. Excellent volumes available! Mexico also continues to increase its crossings of dry vegetables with zucchini. The item to push is cucumbers as they have started to fill the pipeline causing prices to stabilize. Meanwhile, the Upper Salinas River Valley is still producing in good numbers and with the heat they are experiencing, product will be coming off the plants like gangbusters making for some good opportunity buys! But, you need to strike while the iron is hot! This situation will not last long! There are deals to be made on a different item almost daily. Stay in touch in order to keep up with all of the opportunities.
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Limited organic minis are available out of Central California. All fruit on our strategic organic melon grower base is done for the season.
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Organic Onions

Bob.Stone@chrobinson.com

Folks are lining up in Hollister to get on board with our Hummingbird brand of organic red onions and fresh shallots (not to mention our wide variety of Hummingbird hard squashes at the same farm). Does your customer have these new flavors for the fall season’s cooking? Also, we will start posting organic onions to our price sheet. These are now coming out of the Northwest and Nevada, with good volume and some hot pricing. There are many opportunities here for promotional opportunities to share with your customers. Call your sales representative for details and watch for onions on the next Tomorrow’s Organics price sheet.
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Washington State has a very nice crop of organic pears available to ship now. All varieties are available now. The crop is up from last year and quality is excellent.
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The organic potato season out of Washington is in full swing. Plenty of Russets, reds, and yellow potatoes available from there. The Colorado season has started in a small way with a few Russet potatoes and fingerling potatoes available from there. We will start up our organic potatoes out of Colorado next week. We should see Russets, reds, and fingerlings available for shipment the week of the 14th.
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South Georgia has started with on-and-off supplies. Nogales is expected to start with better volume the second half of this month. Please refrain from promotional volume at least for the next two weeks.
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Organic Sweet Potatoes

Chris.Lemmon@robinsonfresh.com

The organic sweet potato market continues to be very good going into the month of October. The quality of the sweet potatoes is very nice and all varieties are in full swing. Supply on orange, red, white and Japanese is good. The sizing is still peaking on US #1 size but mediums and jumbos are now available. As we get further into the month of October, we should start to see some ad opportunities pop up and pricing come down a little but it could be a couple more weeks.
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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

GRILLED ROOSTER POTATO ROUNDS

Ingredients

  • 1 bag, sliced into 1/4-inch thick discs, Albert Bartlett Rooster potatoes
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Featured topping:  gourmet spreadable herb cheese with minced chives

… More at Grilled Rooster Potato Rounds

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