This week's fresh update

JANUARY 18, 2022 | Volume 8, Issue 54

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Conventional Vegetables

 

Asparagus

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Asparagus market is higher this week. FOB in Florida is increasing due to the Peruvian season coming to an end. Within the next couple of weeks, we will transition completely to Mexican product, shipping from Calexico, California. Pricing and availability will be communicated daily due to the transitory nature of this market over the next couple of weeks.
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Bell Peppers

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Overall, new fields are not quite ready to be harvested in Florida, and Mexico is recovering from the holidays. Mexico is scheduled to get back to normal harvesting by next week, while Florida will continue to struggle for the next 10 days. Florida is mainly harvesting older fields and producing more off grades. Markets will remain active for the next two weeks.
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Broccoli

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Broccoli volumes are projected to be lighter the next few weeks as growers finish up their Georgia fields. California and Texas have good supplies.
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Cabbage

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Cabbage has good volumes in Georgia. Texas is going with some domestic supplies.
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Celery supplies in Santa Maria and Oxnard are steady with good volume available. Yuma and the Imperial Valley are set to start this week. Quality reports are showing good quality. The weather forecast calls for average temperatures with clear skies this week. Please reach out to your Robinson Fresh representative for updates and information regarding availability and promotions.
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Cucumbers

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Good volume from Mexico is finally here and markets are reacting. Supply is starting to exceed demand, and we expect conditions to remain as is. In Florida, we are still seeing issues with labor at the port and delays on releases of containers.
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Greens

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Plenty of volume on all varieties available out of Georgia. Cold temperatures at night are in the forecast over the next 10 days; this weather may impact turnip and mustard greens.
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Leaf Lettuce

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Iceberg and leaf lettuces are in very good supply in Yuma and the Imperial Valley. Overall quality is good with occasional blister/peel on the cap leaves reported. Please reach out to your Robinson Fresh representative for any additional information and promotional opportunities.
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Potatoes

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We have crop available throughout the U.S. and Canada so please reach out to your Robinson Fresh representative for quotes. We have FOB pricing available on all standard items but please reach out for any specific quotes needed. Washington State weather improvements are allowing for more pack time opportunity this week, so we have good volume and competitive transport rates available again this week. For those customers looking for something a little different, please ask about our delicious red skin/yellow flesh and purple varieties!
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Squash

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We hope to see better production from Mexico this week as we finally get back to normal harvesting. We are noticing some labor issues at the packing warehouses in Mexico as COVID cases continue to increase. Florida will continue to remain light especially with the current cooler temperatures. Squash will remain active, and quality of yellow is subject to scarring and scuffing.
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Sweet Corn

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Florida has limited volume; most growers are harvesting every few days. Limited volume is leading to higher pricing and is not likely to decrease. Sizing is typical for winter corn as it is much smaller than summer corn. Expect to see this continue unless there is a weather event.
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Conventional Fruits

 

Apples

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The apple market remains firm this week as demand remains strong. We now have endured several weeks of short holiday weeks, winter storms, and truck shortages that have made things difficult and kept markets high. Hopefully this week things will return to normal, and we can see where the apple markets settle out and hopefully we will get some relief on the truck rates as well. The overall crop is down this year with the total crop estimated to be around 119 million cases this season. This will make the second crop in a row that is smaller than normal and looks to be at least 2 million cases shorter than the crop last season. Most growers feel that the crop was hurt by the extreme heat and weather conditions that we experienced during the summer months. The tightest items this week are the premium Honeycrisp trays and the Honeycrisp bags as well as all Gala apples. The quality of the fruit has been good so far, but we will need to see how the fruit holds up in storage as we begin to open the California rooms as we get further into 2022. Pricing overall is running higher due to the shorter crop and overall inflation in the growing chain including labor, picking, packing, and transporting of apples. This is shaping up to be a challenging year, but we have a good grower base who will work with us to get through these challenges.
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Avocados

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Inventories have increased 6% versus the week prior yet pricing remains high. Currently, supply on size 48s and larger is limited and the retailer demand for those sizes is expected to increase as we near the “big game” loading period.
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Bush Berries

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Blueberries
More delays in transits from Chile as many vessels have been delayed and are struggling as the shortages in vessel freight/ships are just as bad as with general road transportation. Expect a continued tight market on blueberries through January and into February, as production remains lower and is being heavily impacted by vessels. 
Blackberries
Good quality but tightening supply as Mexico heads into the downward part of the current production cycle. Expect low production through January and February, with more production coming on late February/early March. This is normal production cycling--typically December is the low month--but with a delayed start to the season, the low production cycle was pushed back. 
Raspberries
Same with raspberries as blackberries, with lower production expected over the coming weeks, and more production as we head into February.

 

Cantaloupe

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Offshore cantaloupe supplies arrived from Honduras last week, adding to the Guatemalan supply. Plenty of supplies at all ports with an even mix of sizing. Quality and sugar are good.
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Citrus

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Oranges 
California navels are currently harvesting Fisher, TA, and Washington varieties. Peak sizing is on 72/88 counts. Larger fruit will become more available in the coming weeks as the season progresses. Quality is excellent and in peak eating time! Brix and color are high. Both Cara Cara and Bloods are being harvested with peak sizing on 88 count as well. 
Lemons 
Market and supply are currently steady. Peak sizing is on 115/140 count fancy with limited 165 and smaller. 
Grapefruit 
Overall market has started to soften as more supplies become available in Texas, Mexico, and California. Quality is excellent with no issues being reported at this time! In California, we are shipping Rio Reds, peaking on 36/40/48s. Small sizes are where the pricing is most aggressive. Mexican grapefruit is peaking on 40s/48s. Eating great and look great! Supplies have been on the lighter side to start the season but that is starting to change. Texas grapefruit are shipping strong, and quality has been great as well. 
Mandarins/Tangerines 
California mandarin crop is expected to be down 40% so supplies will be limited all season long. The current mandarin situation is dismal. Supply on the Clementines ended earlier than expected which left a gap in supply before the Tango/Murcotts started. Tango/Murcotts are now being packed, but the quantity being harvested isn't quite as large as the Clementine crop. Overall demand for bagged citrus, especially easy-peel citrus, has increased significantly in the recent weeks due to increased COVID-19 cases. Daisy tangerines are on the last leg of production this week, and Pixie tangerines are on the horizon come end of February. Quality of the Daisy has been excellent with very high sugars. Dekopons have started harvest along with Tangelo Minneolas. Mexico is also starting to ship some Dancy seeded varieties as well.

 

Grapes

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As an industry, we find ourselves stuck in a similar situation this week, as we have the last few; demand exceeds supplies. Continued supply chain challenges are limiting us to execute the supply and volume that is making its way to the U.S. This week specifically, we are facing what will be the toughest week to date this year in terms of fruit arrivals. Both container vessels and break-bulk vessels are light and delayed. Transactional markets continue to climb in pricing, which will hit a limit soon. We expect better supply arrivals, better markets and overall more normalized seasonality by middle of February. All the ports are fighting the same issues impacting the overall import grape season, supply chain with container shortages, transloading/cross docking, labor, and drayage equipment challenges. Things will be very much day-to-day again this week, with little to no supply options.
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Honeydew

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Offshore honeydew melons are in light supply at all ports. Some shippers are only selling honeydew with cantaloupe orders. Honeydew from South Mexico, shipping out of Nogales and South Texas, are tight as well. Quality and sugar have been good on all honeydew.
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Region: Veracruz, Mexico
The demand for limes has been moderate to low. Due to the Martin Luther King federal holiday, a crossing report was not available.
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Mangos

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We are now in the peak of the season, and we continue to see low availability on container spaces which will limit the total volume of product being shipped into the United States. Currently, all ports on both coasts are seeing delays due to high traffic and volume arriving. Customs and drayage companies are working slower than usual due to COVID-19/COVID-19 related issues in both the Northeast and Southeast. Long delays in West Coast ports have discouraged growers from shipping directly, with most of the volume being offered in the West being transferred from the East Coast to satisfy West Coast demands.
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Papaya

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The growing region of Colima continues to experience a bit cooler mornings in the 70s and warm days in the high 80s/low 90s with mixed rains. The warmer weather we have been seeing these past few weeks has helped harvesting at the growing region. That means that there will a little bit more volume available the beginning of 2022. Historically, we see overall supply for papaya limited at the end of the year due to weather conditions at the growing region. The heavy rains that hit Colima, Mexico for the past couple months have affected the quality/volume of the fruit. We expect better weather at the growing region for the weeks to come. This should lead to a bit move volume at the beginning of this year. Supplies continue to be somewhat limited this month, but with pallet availability on the market. Many shippers are holding back prices due to limited inventories.
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We have new-crop Bartletts, Anjou, red pears, and Bosc shipping out of Washington State and Oregon now. The crop in the Northwest is looking a little smaller in volume this year and the fruit will run one to two sizes smaller than last season. The premium quality large fruit will bring a premium this year and expect prices on the best fruit to trend up over the next couple of months. The price on Bartlett pears is rising with strong demand in the last few weeks. Expect most shippers to finish up with their Bartlett pear crop sometime in January with a few shippers remaining in early February.
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Pineapple

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Windy conditions will continue over Costa Rica, with some rainfall over the Central Valley and North Pacific with gusts that will reach a maximum of 60 miles per hour in the mountain ranges. As a result of the windy conditions, humidity will favor cloudiness and possible rains over the Caribbean and the Northern regions. Quality is reported as good, and conditions favor pineapple production with improvement in the internal condition of the fruit. Some radiation damage might be a possible in the following days due to the high levels of ultraviolet. Colder conditions the next few days might trigger Naturally Differentiated Flowering (NDF) events which will require close monitoring to track and determine the impact this may have on future supply. Weather in Veracruz, Mexico is reported as mostly cloudy with light rainfall expected during this week. Temperatures are expected in the mid-70s, with a low of 62 degrees Fahrenheit expected this week. Mexico's inbound volume did increase significantly last week, with higher volume than expected at 73 containers reported crossing from Mexico into the USA for week 1. Quality is reported as good, but with slightly lower internal conditions and Brix compared to prior week. USDA pineapple crossing report for week 01 is trending higher at just over 1,000 loads crossing for the entire continental USA. USDA is reporting good demand and market about steady.
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Strawberries

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Supplies on strawberries are starting to increase going into the last half of January. Central Mexico regions are producing moderate volumes which should increase in the coming weeks; there is strong demand with mixed reports of quality at the border as well as logistics challenges. Florida, with colder weather, has limited supplies. The Baja region is still behind schedule following some cooler weather. Volumes should increase by late-January and the quality is generally good. California volumes in Oxnard should continue to increase and Santa Maria is also starting to harvest some new crop. Santa Maria, California is forecast to be partly sunny, becoming sunnier for the weekend. Highs are expected in the 60s on Wednesday, increasing to the 70s on Thursday, decreasing to the upper 60s to low 70s for the balance of the week, with lows in the 40s. Oxnard, California is forecast to be partly sunny, becoming sunnier for the weekend, highs in the 60s on Wednesday, increasing to the 70s on Thursday, decreasing to the 60s on Friday, and increasing to the upper 60s to lower 70s for the weekend, with lows in the upper 40s to low 50s. California fruit is generally fair quality and may be subject to occasional bruising, misshapen, and white shoulder.
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Watermelon

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Supplies on seedless and minis are a little tight. Southern Mexico is shipping from Arizona and Texas. Florida has limited supplies of offshore melons. Supplies will be light in January and February on seedless and minis.
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Organic Fruits & Vegetables

 

Organic Apples

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We are now shipping organic apples from Washington State that include organic Honeycrisp, Galas, Granny Smith, Pink Lady, and Fuji apples along with other less popular varieties. So far, the quality is good on all organics as the growers are doing an excellent job of sorting out any issues at the packing sheds. The pricing so far is higher than last season on all varieties as demand for organics continues to rise each year. This season, the organic Gala crop is down significantly, and the price is expected to be around 20% to 30% higher than last season. The Granny crop looks more normal than last season’s small crop, but prices are rising again this week. The organic Pinks, Honeycrisp, and Fujis are also seeing more demand and we expect these prices to continue to rise this season. Also playing a part in the higher costs is the inflationary pressures on picking costs, harvesting costs, and transportation increases. Overall, expect to have good quality fruit with higher pricing throughout the season.
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Organic Dry Vegetables

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Western USA through Nogales, Arizona
Persian cucumbers and 12-count Euro cuke volume is limited but improving. Slicer cucumbers will be tight for the month of January with limited volumes; best to prebook. Soft squash (yellow straight neck and zucchini) and eggplant volumes are steady, and pricing is going up due to demand picking up to start the month. Look for deals on larger sizing. Promotable volume available on red, yellow, and orange colored bell peppers, 11-pound or Choice 25-pound. Green bell pepper volume is limited but there are some available. Chili and mini-sweet peppers are expected to have good volumes for January with promotional opportunities available. Butternut and spaghetti squash volume is promotable through April, while acorn and Kabocha volumes will ebb and flow in January.
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Organic Melons

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Our organic minis are done until next summer.
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Organic Onions

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Quick stop to our season. Demand has been outstanding the last week or two and it cleaned up our red onions for the season. We will be back in September with a new crop. Red onions are still available out of the Northwest and the market has moved up some again.
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Organic Pears

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Organic Anjou and Bosc are available out of Washington and Oregon. This season, the pears are running smaller than last year’s crop, which should provide more bagging fruit. Most growers feel that this is a result of the extended heat wave that hit the Northwest region during the growing season. Overall, the crop still looks like a good one and there should be plenty of fruit for our customers this season. Expect to see import Bartlett pears begin to arrive from Chile and Argentina toward the second half of February.
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Organic Potatoes

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Organic russets are in very good supply now and sizing is good. We are still seeing more potatoes that are perfect for bags but there are some cartons available in 80 and 90 counts right now. Organic red potatoes continue to be on the tighter side this season. Quality is good but there continues to be a little skinning happening. Organic yellow potatoes are looking great, and supply is outstanding! We have been doing 3 and 5 pounds and cartons so far this season with great success. If you are looking to promote a great potato, yellows would be a great choice right now! Fingerling potatoes are going strong! We have all varieties available out of Colorado and at our warehouse in San Bernardino.
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Organic Squash

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We have had good movement so far this season on our squash. We have finished up our supply of Delicata, acorn, and Kabocha for the season but still have plenty of butternut and spaghetti squash. Quality of both is very good. Supply out of Nogales is still good on most varieties.
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Organic Sweet Potatoes

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Organic sweet potato season is still going strong. If you are looking for something to promote for the end of the month, these would be a great item! We continue to have all varieties available, and quality is holding up nicely. We can do 3 and 5-pound bags if you are interested.
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Transportation

Expect temperature-controlled primary markets, such as California, Midwest, Great Lakes, Northeast and Southeast to surge in demand as we start 2022. Expect increased pressure to pull dry and refrigerated capacity to support several commodities as we push through the backlog created from the holiday season and new year. 
Labor Impacts in Temperature Controlled
A higher percentage of reefer carriers are in the 10-and-under fleet size and have a greater likelihood of experiencing a limit of available capacity in the marketplace due to absenteeism from COVID Omicron. Similar staffing impacts at shippers and receivers is creating increased delays with small reefer carriers as they struggle with limited to no elasticity in their fleets. 
Imbalance of Refrigerated Trucks 
2022 will continue to bring a unique imbalance for refrigerated trucks. With the exceptional demand and pricing for van freight, there is enthusiasm in the refrigerated community to run some refrigerated trucks as dry vans to save on the fuel and the use of the refrigeration unit while making similar money. These moves effectively decrease the available temperature-controlled capacity. Flexibility and communication are more critical than ever; with limited capacity and all the labor and equipment impacts related to COVID, it is imperative that shippers remain flexible to take advantage of the limited reefer supply. The backlog and case count will only last so long, and we need to be able to understand where we can move appointments and expected delivery dates and eliminate waste to our best ability to make this start to the year a success. Connect with a temperature-controlled expert to learn more about how seasonal and supply imbalances affect your business and how our unique transportation procurement and capacity solutions can help your shipping strategy in the short- and long-run.

 

Perishable Ocean Container Transportation

  • Overall capacity is affected by ongoing port congestion in many trade lanes. Vessels are oftentimes oversold, delayed back to their origin, missing scheduled port calls/stops, and unable to handle the volume of containers at destination.
  • Schedule reliability and operational constraints (recurring 4+ days delay) are expected to continue in 2022.
  • The global perishable logistics sector expects their main challenges in 2022 will continue to be finding space onboard vessels, chassis availability, increased surcharges by the shipping lines, and labor shortages in logistics.

For more Global Freight Insights, please visit Global Freight Market Insights | C.H. Robinson (chrobinson.com).


 

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Fresh from the kitchen

Brussels Sprouts with Mango and Bacon

Pair Brussels sprouts with mango for the perfect blend of salty and sweet! This simple yet colorful dish is sure to become a family favorite.

Ingredients

  • 4 mangos
  • 6 slices chopped bacon
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  1. Peel, pit, and dice mangos.
  2. Cook bacon in a large skillet until crispy.
  3. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain. Keep 1 tablespoon bacon fat in the pan, discarding the rest.
  4. Add all ingredients to the pan and cook, stirring regularly.

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