Tuesday, September 26, 2023 | Issue 128

Keep up with the most recent market trends in our Freshspective updates. Discover what's influencing conventional produce, organic options, temperature controlled capacity, and floral so you can plan ahead and avoid disruption.

Conventional Vegetables

Asparagus . Bell Peppers . Broccoli . Cabbage . Celery . Cucumbers . Greens . Leaf Lettuce . Potatoes . Squash . Sweet Corn



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Mexico volume increased from areas such as Baja, California and a little from Central Mexico. Quality has been poor due to weather conditions increasing the seeding. This short season is projected to last until the end of October/first weeks of November and is getting to its peak now. Peruvian volume has decreased due to the field transitions as well as the increased demand from Europe. Both Trujillo and Ica are producing and are expected to continue until the end of the season. We have volume available in Miami in all sizes. This is a great time to push for promos and volume pulls.


Bell Peppers

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As previously stated, the local season is quickly coming to an end. Georgia won't see any volume until the middle/end of October. Please try to stay away from any promotions until we see volume in Georgia. Quality will start to be a concern.



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Mexico supplies have tightened up over the last few weeks making volume difficult to come by. Michigan has small amounts of product available. Georgia will start up again in mid-October. Maine is currently producing good quality and volume.



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Cabbage supply is snug out of the Midwest. Expect this to continue through the remainder of the season. The Northeast continues to produce limited supplies also. The Southeast will begin in a couple of weeks.

Celery supply is more limited this week as cooler weather has slowed growth in some areas. Quality reports show very nice celery with no major issues. The primary shipping locations are currently in Salinas and Santa Maria. The weather forecast calls for average temperatures with no rain this week. Please reach out to your Robinson Fresh representative for any additional information and promotional opportunities.



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Good production coming from North Carolina, and Georgia. We should have a promotable volume in the upcoming weeks. Promote with confidence!

Midwest greens are going strong. All varieties have excellent quality and supplies! Georgia has also begun with excellent quality and supply. See your Robinson Fresh representative for additional assistance.


Leaf Lettuce

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Supplies of iceberg are more limited this week while leaf lettuces are available in good volume. Overall quality is good with no major issues reported. The primary shipping locations will be Salinas and Santa Maria. The weather forecast calls for average temperatures this week. Please reach out to your Robinson Fresh representative for updates and information regarding availability and promotions.



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Not much new to report as harvest continues and reports remain positive. We are still experiencing good sizing, yields, and quality from most growing regions. The high yields, coupled with more acreage, are all creating an overall increase in supply, as predicted. As harvest continues, we are seeing markets continue to stabilize and settle. There are inventories that need homes and reasonable offers will be accepted. As previously noted, we will likely not see any increase in pricing until demand picks up for the holiday pulls. Reports on quality remain positive for russets, reds, whites, and yellows.

North Carolina and Georgia are coming into good volume, so don't be shy to promote. Weather permitting, we should have good availability for the next two weeks.


Sweet Corn

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Midwest deals are finishing for the fall. Wisconsin is one exception with corn until the end of September. Georgia is getting started again with very small volume.

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Insights to Action

Get the latest insights in retail activations and commodity trends!

Conventional Fruits

Apples . Avocados . Bush Berries . Cantaloupe . Citrus . Grapes . Honeydew . Limes . Mangos . Papaya . Pears . Pineapple . Strawberries . Watermelon


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We are now harvesting many new crop apple varieties as we progress further into the harvest season. The new crop apples that are harvesting are Honeycrisp, Gala, Golden Delicious, Fuji, Granny Smith, and Red Delicious varieties. Availability is improving weekly on the overall apple crop and prices are dropping accordingly. We are looking at a large crop of apples that is projected to be around 127 million cases this year. This will be the largest crop in several years and will result in great opportunities to promote apples and grow sales this year. The overall sizing of the apples is reported to be average with a good mix of all sizes of tray apples and good supplies of bagging fruit as well. The overall growing conditions were pretty good this year and is resulting is a high-quality crop with good color throughout most varieties.


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Starting this week, Mexico will control above 90%+ of the total volume of avocados being imported into the USA. With a concentrated size curve of 48s and 60s, retail shelve space should be a smooth transition from other countries of origin to Mexico over the next 2 weeks as California and Peru exit out of the market. Retail price points and customer demand will dictate if Mexico can ship 50-54 million pounds on a weekly average and maintain prices that keep growers and shippers busy through the end of the year.

Bush Berries

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The overall blueberry situation is worsening as El Nino-related weather continues to keep Peruvian production at a minimum. Production, combined with intensive international demand competition, will continue to keep Peruvian product demand exceeding supply for the next month+. Argentina will be getting heavy rain and storms this weekend which will keep their production lower as well. Cooler domestic temperatures will help improve quality on the remaining Oregon/Washington/Michigan product, so these may be the options to go with for the next week+ if Peru and Argentina struggle. 


Mexican new crop is up and running! Small production to start but it will ramp up quickly! Overall, a good outlook for this season and normal progression. 


Limited production the next couple of weeks with on-and-off rain in Colima and Western Michoacan.


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Cantaloupe production has slowed due to less acreage this time of year, less sun, and cooler weather. Sugar remains good as does quality although some fruit is showing a green cast on the exterior. Sizing is mostly jumbo 9s or 9 count, depending on the grower. California is winding down, with Arizona gearing up to start the fall crop in about 10-14 days.


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Current situation on "The California Standard" is not good. This is a gage on the eating and flavor profile that is calculated by a formula. This formula currently puts the level at 51.6 (up from 38.2 last week). The normal level for this time of the year is roughly 70. This will greatly impact the start of the season year over year. The California Cass report is the projected volume breakdown of the season. *This is mis-leading as most of the fruit is choice and not a true accurate representation of the challenges we will face this season. 
Valencia Oranges
Peaking on large sizes 72 count and larger, with smaller sizes 88/113/138 extremely limited. Pricing will continue to increase daily. Many are holding customers to a 6-week average pro-rate. Loading in the Central Valley of California. 
Navel Oranges
Navels are going to get a late start this year. The crop is projecting to be behind 10-14 days. Early crop estimates have the total volume down 10%-15% year over year. That, coupled with the thrip bug damage, means fancy fruit will be extremely short this year. The crop will be heavy to choice, with peak sizes in the 72/88/56 counts. 
Fruit is still loading in District 2. Supplies are extremely limited on domestic fruit and pricing will continue to increase until the District 3 and District 1 lemons start in November. District 1 lemons are also suffering from the damage of the thrip bug. It is worth noting that this damage or defect does not affect the taste, quality, or nutritional value of the lemons and is purely cosmetic. Due to the nature of this cosmetic damage, fruit will grade heavy to choice grade. This heavy choice grade will allow for promotions and aggressive retails for choice bagged fruit. The overall lemon crop out of District 1 is down 10-15% year over year. 
Mandarins are projected to get a later start this year (after Thanksgiving). This will mean many will have to lean heavily on imports to cover demand until the domestic crop begins. It is still too early to gage crop sizing and volume, but it is currently predicted to follow the same trend as navel and lemon crops in California (down in total volume). 
Navel Oranges
Projected end date on navels have been pushed up greatly. The new projected end will be October 9th. Navel oranges are being imported into the U.S. from South Africa and Chile. Chilean navels will end early year over year and South African navels are beginning to show issues. Both are due to the weather events both countries of origin faced this year. Navels are peaking on 56/48/40 counts with plenty of promotable volumes. Smaller sizing is extremely tight, with 113/138 counts being held for programs only. Projected end date has been pushed up greatly. The new projected end is October 9th with many retailers switching to Midknight Valencias (seedless Valencias) out of South Africa by October 15th. 
Lemons from Chile and Argentina are slowing down greatly. Argentina is wrapped up from a quality and availability standpoint. 
Mandarins are coming in from South Africa and Chile currently. The variety is W. Murcott, and they have excellent quality and sizing. We will see good supplies and availability through September. Look to promote for Back-to-School advertisements and promotions. Import mandarins will continue to tighten as market will adjust up to lengthen the season, bridging the gap until California crop begins. 
Grapefruit is currently coming in from Peru (mainly imported to Miami) and South Africa (to the Northeast). Good sizing distribution with peaks being 32/35 counts. Projected end of season will be October 21st. 
Cara Cara oranges from Chile are starting to slow down on availability with a projected end date of October 31st. Minneolas are coming in from Peru with a projected end date of October 14th. 
Lemons are projected to have a strong year out of Florida this year with a good distribution of sizing. Florida crop does present a choicer looking piece of fruit; however, flavor and internal quality will remain excellent. 
Grapefruit has a projected start date of mid-October. The overall sizing of the crop is up 1 size year over year. The overall crop from a volume perspective is going to be up this year. Last year, Florida was impacted by 2 hurricanes which greatly diminished the overall volume of the crop; so, this year should track as a normal year in volume.
Florida is delayed with a start of harvesting expected next week and with first availability for shipping the first week of October. 
Texas continues to rebound from the freeze back in early 2021 which greatly decreased the total volume of the crop. We are anticipating Texas grapefruit to take a major step forward this year with more volume, with 2024 projecting to be back into full production. Projected start date is November 1st, and the peak sizing will be 40/36 counts. 
The Mexican lemon crop is still struggling to produce the high-quality fruit that we are normally used to seeing at this time of year. Due to the lack of rain and excessive heat, lemons have been peaking around 140-165 sizes with much of the crop grading at or below choice. Harvest volumes have also been down this year as the growers are leaving fruit on the trees hoping the lemons will size up. I would expect a continuation on higher-than-average pricing on Mexican fancy lemons. Choice lemons are more available but finding clean fruit can be a challenge. Most shippers I have spoken to this year have a large amount of standard grade lemons; the price difference between them shows you the volume difference. I do fear the time at the end of the harvest when growers clean the trees and flood the market.



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The Table Grape Commission just released its storage report, and it appears volumes are down by as much as 40% compared to this time last year. We can expect prices to continue slowly climbing as we work our way through September and into October. Hopefully, we start to see some relief fruit from Brazil in late October with early November bringing fresh options to the spot markets. Quality has been hit or miss especially on certain varieties such as Scarlet Royals or Princess, with some of the premium varieties like Sweet Celebration and Sweet Globes holding up much better. Word of the short California crop has more and more Brazilian and Peruvian growers diverting fruit from Europe to the U.S. in order to capture the hot market. Only time will tell if it’s going to be enough to fill the gap between mid-November and late-December.


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Honeydew production in California is winding down for the season as Northern Mexico production is just around the corner. The Arizona fall honeydew crop is extremely light with most production out of Mexico. Sizing is currently a mix between 5/6 counts, followed by jumbo 5 counts. Sugar is excellent as is quality!


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The demand for limes has been steady. According to the USDA, the crossings through Texas from last week were at 627; over the weekend, 57 loads crossed.


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For volume, Brazil is going to start their peak packing this week and will continue at that peak for the next 3 weeks. We will be seeing that fruit arrive in the U.S. the last week of September and the beginning of October. Currently, we have many commitments that we are covering so little transactional volume is currently available. This will continue to be the trend for the remainder of September. Crop outlook for Brazil is about 50% large sizes (6-9 count), followed by 50% on small sizes (10/12 count). We have been seeing Tommy Atkins variety right now. In October, we will most likely see the mix of Tommy and Keitt varieties. Current weather conditions are favorable for mango harvesting, with highs in the upper 90s and lows in the low 70s. Brazilian fruit prices will be strong for the month of September. We expect this pricing to be firm if not higher than it currently is until the end of the season due to high demand in the market for mangoes. We are already hearing that by the end of this week, some shippers will be increasing their pricing FOB New Jersey on all sizes. 


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Supply conditions are good on all counts with surplus fruit available in the market. Pricing is slowly coming down and again slightly lower than the prior week. Weather is improving and the crop has reacted well with yields increasing. Most grower/shippers are offering surplus with higher yields and output good enough to cover internal and export markets. Weather is cooperating and there's nothing reported that could challenge the crop being harvested this week. Good surplus fruit is available at this time for transactional sales. Majority of sizes are between 6s, 7s, 8s, 12s, with GOOD surplus on ALL calibers. Quality is reported as good with fruit showing clean skin and little scarring with some speckling seen on the latest arrivals. Forecast is for tight supply with NO expected date for improvement. There is enough supply to service demand with prices trending flat.


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We are currently harvesting and shipping Bartlett, Bosc, red pears, and Anjou out of Washington and Oregon. The crop looks to be an above-average crop overall, and quality is reported to be very good. Look for a great year on pears this season!


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Supply is meeting demand in the U.S. market. 
Growing Regions
The season is slowly starting with more fruit crossing each week. Volume is not expected to significantly improve until mid-October. Some fruit is available at this time. 
Costa Rica
Volume continues to improve but not at levels expected. Some surplus is being offered by the growers at this time but mostly on small counts. Sizing is into smaller calibers with 5 count becoming tighter. This week, Costa Rica is expecting significant rainfall with the Intertropical Convergence Zone causing a lot of instability. Even though Costa Rica is under the influence of El Niño, peak season for hurricanes in the Caribbean is here. For this week, several systems continue causing instability in the Caribbean with stronger rain showers affecting most of the country. 
Quality & Condition
Costa Rica
Costa Rica quality is reported as good, but the quality control team continues to monitor for water spotting. We are also seeing a good percentage of external ultraviolet radiation damage, as well as external Corchosis and fruiticle damage. 
Mexico’s fruit has good external and internal condition with slightly lower brix. 
The USDA is showing a low number this week of only 425 loads crossing for the entire continental USA versus 1,150 loads the prior year. 
Little surplus fruit availability at some shipping points being offered by large grower/shippers. The market is slightly lower with good demand for pineapples at all locations.



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California growing regions will be producing steady supplies of fruit for the next couple of weeks, with better quality in the Santa Maria growing areas on newer fruit. The older fruit will tend to be softer, with more bruising and over ripeness, a shorter shelf life, and higher counts. The Santa Maria new crop fruit seems to be holding up better with firmer, larger fruit. Santa Maria, California is forecast for the week of September 25th to be mostly sunny, with highs in the low 80s on Wednesday, decreasing to the low 70s for the balance of the week, and lows in the 50s. The week of October 2nd is forecast to be sunny Monday and Tuesday, mostly sunny Wednesday and Thursday, low clouds on Friday, and then partly sunny for the weekend. Highs are forecast in the 70s, decreasing to the 60s on Sunday, and lows in the 50s. Salinas/Watsonville is forecast for the week of September 25th to be mostly sunny, highs in the 70s, and lows in the low 50s. 


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Watermelon supplies are starting to get a bit tight, and minis are very tight. Indiana and Delaware are winding down with limited supplies in the East. Southern Texas has supplies from Mexico. Central California is also winding down with limited supplies. Northern Mexico will start the second week of October out of Nogales.

Organic Fruits & Vegetables

Organic Apples . Organic Dry Vegetables . Organic Melons . Organic Onions . Organic Pears . Organic Potatoes . Organic Squash . Organic Sweet Potatoes


Organic Apples

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We are now shipping new crop organic Gala, organic Honeycrisp, organic Granny Smith, and organic Fuji out of Washington State. The supplies are increasing every week and as a result we are seeing prices drop as we get further into the season. The overall crop of organic apples looks to be a larger crop and higher quality than we have seen the last couple of years.

Organic Dry Vegetables

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We continue to see green bell peppers and colored peppers coming out of California. We are also seeing supply coming out of Nogales with supply from Mexico. The cucumber and zucchini markets continue to be strong as we wait for better supply to come up from Mexico. Hot peppers are available, and supply is good.

Organic Melons

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Organic minis are still going in Patterson, California. We are picking heavier to 6 count and 11 count minis. We will have supplies through September.

Organic Onions

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The organic onion market has been adjusting downward over the last week. With supply coming out of Washington, Oregon, and California, supply is strong. We continue to have beautiful jumbo and medium red onions coming out of Hollister, California. We are also seeing reds, yellows, and sweets coming out of the Northwest and quality is very nice there as well.

Organic Pears

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We are now harvesting and shipping new crop organic pears out of Washington State. We are currently shipping organic Bartletts, Bosc, red pears, and Anjou's. Quality on all these varieties looks very good this year. The growing conditions were good this season and we are looking at an above-average crop this year, so we have great opportunities to sell more cases and grow our business this season.

Organic Potatoes

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The fall crops of potatoes from Washington and Colorado are ready and getting started. Currently out of Washington, there are russets, reds, yellows, and bagged creamers going. The market is strong currently but that will adjust over the next few weeks. The Colorado season is going now on all three varieties and quality is very nice. They are packing 5-pound bags, 3-pound bags, and carton As. There is also a new grower this season out of Minnesota that is doing russets, reds, and yellows.

Organic Squash

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Our crop of hard squash has come early this year. We have all varieties available-- butternut, spaghetti, acorn, Delicata, Kabocha, and Red Kuri--and the market is steady. Markets are priced aggressively to help stimulate movement as growers are looking to move their squash. With October right around the corner, it would be a great time to run an advertisement. Give us a call for pricing.

Organic Sweet Potatoes

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We are now fully into new crop sweet potatoes this week. There are very few old crop sweets left. We are still waiting to get all sizes on varieties with the new crop but the quality that has come in so far is very nice. Over the next month, we will see how the size of the crops this season are and what the market will be doing for the start of fall.


Post-July 4th and Fall Harvest Season Updates
Typically, post the U.S. July 4th holiday, we experience a lull in the market, prior to the fall harvest season and peak retail to close out the calendar year. This year, we saw a slight drop in CPM and LTR immediately following the 4th of July, but the DAT cost per mile has gradually increased about 7% from July 30th through last week. We anticipate these costs to gradually increase through mid-November as we begin our fall harvest in preparation for all that fall brings. Think apples, corn, turkeys, pumpkin, and pies! 

Market Trends
The Midwest, Great Lakes, Mountain West, and the Northeast experience the most stress through fall harvest season due to the commodities grown and import produce prevalence. This tightness will likely impact costs through mid-November when we will provide more updates as the season progresses. 

Drop Trailer Services Demand Increases
We are seeing an increased demand for drop trailer refrigerated services. Request for Proposals in July sought about 50% of lanes to be drop trailer which is a significant increase from historical patterns. C.H. Robinson refrigerated drop trailer services are growing at a rate similar to market demand and are available through your account representative.

Global Updates 
USA Ocean Port Congestion
The contributing factors of port congestion lie with labor disruptions, larger capacity vessels, chassis shortages, container shortages, infrastructure shortfalls, consignee receiving limitations, terminal inefficiencies, trucking industry shortages, and limitations of data analytics of true cargo readiness. U.S. congestion has improved at ports in 2023. The congestion for the U.S. West Coast and the Los Angeles/Long Beach port is down 20% from 2022. The current ocean port congestion levels in the U.S. are expected to remain stable.  
Panama Canal
The Panama Canal is facing challenges due to both delays and drought, impacting operations. The drought has caused water levels in the canal to drop, making it difficult for vessels to pass through efficiently. This has resulted in queues of ships waiting for their turn, causing shipping schedules to be disrupted and leading to potential economic consequences. Some vessels are opting for detours, indicating a potential reduction in the congestion that has been impacting global maritime trade. The current drought across large parts of South America is affecting global trade and shipping. 
Ocean Carrier Consolidation
Fresh produce growers and shippers attempting to move cargo globally via ocean vessels are dealing with scenarios where ocean carriers genuinely dictate some markets. They dictate and determine the marketability and viability of export markets for many fresh produce exporters. Shippers are being forced to commit earlier to ocean lines to reserve space for upcoming seasons, and spot market space on vessels is nearly impossible to secure. 
Refrigerated Vessel Capacity
Seaborne reefer trade is on the brink of returning to growth in 2023, with volumes set to increase by 2.1%, outpacing the wider dry cargo trade. This is due to lessening supply chain disruptors and growing reefer cargo demand. The latest Drewry trade estimates also show that all reefer intensive trade routes experienced year-on-year growth in 1Q23, expanding 2.7%. Booking SPACE on board certain vessels does still remain challenging, with new surcharges from ocean carriers like "peak season surcharges" being added or increased, and labor shortages in logistics continuing to impact the entire global produce logistics sector. Expect tight capacity and lack of space on vessels for specific lanes like Peru to California.
Demurrage/Detention Charges
Shippers negotiating with ocean carriers or freight forwarders on perishable cargo contracts should request as much free time at destination as possible to reduce the risk of detention/demurrage charges when inspections/fumigations or drayage capacity constraints delay cargo delivery at destination. Unavoidable and unprecedented demurrage and detention charges due to delays in turning cargo at destination continue in 2023. 
Refrigerated Container Rates
While demand for shipping ocean containers has lessened in the majority of global trade lanes in 2023, that's not the case for all markets. For example, South and Central America trade lanes for refrigerated cargo continue to experience high demand. The elevated rates Latin America to the U.S. for refrigerated cargo are expected to remain at their 2022 levels throughout 2023. Shippers should watch for "peak season" and fluctuating fuel surcharges which are added to high rates and which ocean carriers are slow to remove. 
For more global freight insights, please visit Global Freight Market Insights | C.H. Robinson (

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Floral supply across the entire supply chain is abundant right now across product supply, air freight carriers, and domestic North American temperature-control capacity. It should be noted that freight rates have seen a slight uptick in price due to the recent increase in fuel costs. Demand has started to ramp up slightly with schools opening across the United States. The peak floral season and shipping period is between mid-January through late-May, covering the Valentine's and Mother's Day holidays. During these times of year, capacity across all modes of the supply chain are stress tested, so solidifying execution partners beforehand is key. Fresh floral product quality is acceptable from South American sources. With near 80% of floral supply coming through Miami, Florida, it's imperative to keep an eye on the weather for storm and hurricane disruptions. Talk to your C.H. Robinson account manager around contingency plan options.