This week's fresh update

JUNE 28, 2022 | Volume 8, Issue 76

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Conventional Vegetables

 

Asparagus

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Supply is able to cover the demand right now. Local production is still available but starting to go down in Michigan. Mexico is crossing product and still able to supply the West Coast for another month. No quality issues in any of the regions at this point. The political situation in Peru is affecting exports due to transportation strikes that have stopped transit in some regions. They are negotiating with the government and hopefully everything will be resolved in the next couple of days.
^ Back to Conventional Vegetables

 

Bell Peppers

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This is the last week of harvesting pepper in Georgia. The good news is that the Carolinas have started and there seems to be plenty of volume to go around. Great quality so far out of the Carolinas, but please don't forget that they are also experiencing some high temperatures. New Jersey is scheduled to start after the 4th of July.
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Broccoli

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Texas has volume available, as does California.
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Cabbage

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North Carolina started and will go until sometime in August depending on the weather. New York starts mid-July and will go through October depending on the weather. Then, we head back to Florida.
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Celery supplies are steady with Salinas and Santa Maria becoming the primary loading locations for celery out of California. Most growers have finished for the season in Oxnard. Quality reports from the northern region are showing very nice product for the start of the season. The weather forecast calls for average temperatures into the weekend. 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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New Jersey seems to be the only region with any significant volume. Demand exceeds supply, so don't expect markets to drop anytime soon. Not a lot of product to be had. Proceed with caution. Michigan is still a couple of weeks out.
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Greens

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Supplies out of the Northern region are available. Due to the heat and dry weather, sizing is slow to come on. Expect supplies to improve over the next 7-10 days.

 

Leaf Lettuce

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Iceberg and leaf lettuces are steady with overall quality reported as excellent! The primary loading locations are currently in Santa Maria or Salinas. The weather forecast calls for average temperatures into this weekend. Please reach out to your Robinson Fresh representative for any additional information and promotional opportunities.
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Potatoes

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Conventional Potatoes
Old-crop storage supplies are running very low, but mixer Russet loads out of the Pacific Northwest are still possible so please reach out with your needs. We continue to have strong new crop availability with the bulk of our crop coming out of Florida and California. We have good opportunities on our B size yellows out of California right now due to the current crop having a smaller size profile, but this will change as we move into future lots. The earlier skinning issues in some of the red crops are virtually all gone now, so quality is looking excellent across the board. Robinson Fresh is now offering our exclusive Golden and Radiant Red specially selected potato offerings to all customers. These are our premium yellow and red potato varieties which have been selected for their taste and texture first and foremost. These new offerings are available in 20- and 50-pound cartons aimed at the wholesale and food service markets. Robinson Fresh Golden and Radiant Red potatoes will be offered in poly or paper consumer bags in the near future, so please reach out to your Robinson Fresh representative for further information. 
Conventional Onions
We are currently running our remaining Pacific Northwest stock of onions out of Washington State with limited supply as we transition to new crop. We continue to work with suppliers from across the U.S. on supply, so please reach out to your Robinson Fresh representative to tap into our extensive network of shippers to see what we have available. The bulk of our annual supplies will be starting mid-July with all colors available by the end of the month. All indications are that quality will be good with yields strong but also a little later than we hoped.

 

Squash

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The party is over in Georgia and the Carolinas. New Jersey, New York, and all the local deals are starting to take place. Weather continues to be a factor, as the extreme heat continues to shut down the growth of the plants. Expect the market to remain active.
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Corn volume is tight and will remain so through the 4th of July holiday. Watch for gapping after the holiday weekend as the Georgia deal is finishing this week. California and Texas remain tight on supplies for the holiday.
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Conventional Fruits

 

Apples

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The apple market will remain steady this week with prices fairly stable on most items. I expect the prices to start to tick up now as inventory levels drop for these storage items. 
The overall crop was down this year with the total crop estimated to be around 118 million cases. This will make the second crop in a row that is smaller than normal and looks to be at least 3 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 last summer. 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 storage rooms later in the year. 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.
^ Back to Conventional Fruits

 

Avocados

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The apple market will remain steady this week with prices fairly stable on most items. I expect the prices to start to tick up now as inventory levels drop for these storage items. 
The overall crop was down this year with the total crop estimated to be around 118 million cases. This will make the second crop in a row that is smaller than normal and looks to be at least 3 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 last summer. 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 storage rooms later in the year. 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.

 

Bush Berries

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Blueberries
Tight supplies again this week. Georgia is done for the season. North Carolina production continues to decline as they head toward the end of the season. California Valley is done for the season. New Jersey had a slow start to the season this week. Michigan is still expecting a good start right after the 4th. Overall, expect tight supplies on blueberries this week.
Blackberries and Raspberries 
Still good availability in Mexico on both blackberries and raspberries. Georgia and California blackberries are coming into good supply as well. And some Guatemalan blackberries are hitting the Florida ports. Expect ample supplies on both items for the coming weeks.

 

Cantaloupe

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Cantaloupe have tightened up quite a bit since the end of last week. Many growers in the desert region are finishing and some are hitting a gap until their next blocks are ready, which will be the end of this week. One shipper in California packed a few cantaloupe over the weekend and will continue to pack this week. California volume will be light for a couple of weeks. Quality, sugar, and sizing will continue to be strong in the desert region and California cantaloupe are looking to be very nice as well. Sizing is mostly 9 count, followed by 12 count, and then Jumbo 9 count., in both the desert and the beginning of the California crop.
^ Back to Conventional Fruits

 

Citrus

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Oranges 
Valencias Oranges
Fruit will be from the district 1 region (Fresno/Delano/Terra Bella/Bakersfield) of California for the primary shipping locations. There are no callouts on variety for Valencia oranges as Valencia is the variety. Valencia oranges will be the go-to orange variety for the next month as California navels are completely done and import navels won't begin until mid-July out of South Africa and Chile. California Valencia oranges will be around until the end of September. Typically, the Valencia season carries until new crop navels begin, but this will be a challenge this year. This challenge was created due to the Valencia oranges shipping earlier to counteract the early end of the navel season. Quality is excellent with brix at an average of 12. The outer appearance is good and clean, but we will see a rougher, more pebbled skin on a Valencia compared to the smooth skin on a navel. Peak sizing of 113/88/138, in that order. One callout is that the crop is down slightly from last year from early crop estimates. The market will stay firm due to the high navel market. 
Lemons
Fruit will be from the district 2 region (Filmore/Oxnard/Santa Paula). District 2 fruit began harvest in early May and will go through July. Peak sizing is 140/115/165 counts, in that order with 60% fancy and 40% choice. Import lemons out of Argentina are going strong! The market opened on the firmer side to start as a lot of the early fruit was sent to Europe because they have a stronger market currently than the United States. This is due to the increased volume of lemons out of California this year. We expect the market to come down over the next two weeks as more arrivals are expected, and the European market will slowly decline as more of their domestic lemons become available. 
Grapefruit
Fruit will be out of the district 1 region (Bakersfield/Exeter) of California for shipping locations. Grapefruit is expected to be tight all season (through June) in the California district 1 region, with demand exceeding supplies. Quality on district 1 fruit is excellent with a 90% fancy and a 10% choice spilt. The brix range is 12 to 14. Interior is seeing a vibrant bright pink/red with the exterior seeing that touch of blush that consumers love. Grapefruit out of Michoacán, Mexico has started in a small way which should provide some relief to the California market. Peak supplies are expected to begin in July. In addition to supplies coming on out of Mexico in July, South African fruit is also expected to begin. First arrivals of South African grapefruit will be tentatively July 13th. **Important** South African fruit comes in a 15-kilogram box (roughly 33 pounds). This is important when comparing to the domestic fruit which is packed in a 40-pound box (average). 
Mandarins
Fruit will be out of Peru and Uruguay for the next 2 weeks until South African fruit and Chilean fruit begin. Peru, Uruguay, South African, and Chilean fruit will all be going at the same time for June and July. The only callout difference will be what varietal we will see at different times. Currently, the best available variety is the Clemenule out of Peru/Uruguay. There are Peruvian Primisoles around, but the overall quality is poor. Overall, they will still be a good piece of fruit in terms of firmness and shelf life; however, the fruit generally eats very poorly and is a yellowish-orange color. The Primisoles do not peel very well and ultimately are undesirable by consumers. We suggest if you need to ship these, that you do so in a shipper label as opposed to a private label. One callout is arrivals out of Chile have been even slower than expected with transit times and lack of supply both affecting the amount of fruit we expect to receive over the next couple of weeks. As for shipments last week, Chile is down 62% year over year, with close to 60% of what's been shipped being size 36s and 40s. Expect the market to stay firm/high until July when supplies are expected to alleviate this issue once peak season begins.

 

Grapes

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Steady volumes of Mexican table grapes continue to cross the border with strong retail movement leading up to the 4th of July keeping markets stable. This coming week, we should see the heaviest volumes of Sugraone; overall, volumes are trending lower than pre-season estimates. Growers in Arvin, California are looking to get started this week, but daily temperatures exceeding 105 degrees could slow them down a bit. The timing is perfect for California to come online with volumes of premium Mexican fruit declining over the next two weeks. Look for markets to firm on all varieties now through the first full week of July, and then settle in once Arvin comes fully online.
^ Back to Conventional Fruits

 

Honeydew

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Domestic honeydew remain fairly tight. All shippers have a few but no big volume available. Quality and sugar have been good. Some typical wind scarring is present but very minimal. Sizing remains a good mix between 5/6 counts, with the newest region, Blythe, heavy to 5/Jumbo 5 count. We should start seeing a few honeydew out of the west side of the San Joaquin Valley in Central California toward the end of the week.
^ Back to Conventional Fruits

Region: Veracruz, Mexico 
Currently, the crop is peaking on 230/200/175s. The weather forecast is showing favorable harvesting conditions this week; however, high humidity is expected throughout the week. The demand for limes has been moderate. According to the USDA, the crossings through Texas from last week were at 488; as of Monday, the report is showing 158 crossings from the weekend. Sizing profile is peaking on sizes 230/200/175; size distribution is 110-4%, 150-7%, 175-16%, 200-23%, 230-31%, and 250-19%. Quality issues being reported include oil spots, blanching, scarring, and skin breakdown. Looking ahead, low availability on large limes will continue to be low. A slight drop in volume is expected for July due to blooms affected by the drought.

 

Mangos

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Unfortunately, we continue to see record low volume of mangos over the next few weeks with growers beginning to harvest prematurely due to high demand that will increase the gap in larger-size fruit. Nayarit and Sinaloa would normally be shipping strong, but they are just barely getting started with red mangos due to the fruit not being mature enough to pick. Flowering started late, but the weather has been cooler with temperatures causing the maturing of the fruit on the tree to simply stall and delay. The Nayarit red mango crop volume, which is mostly Tommy variety, is lower than last year and so delayed that it will basically not be ahead of Sinaloa’s Kents. The market is at an all-time high with retailers paying for transactional volume just to have mangos available for consumers.
^ Back to Conventional Fruits

 

Papaya

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The growing region of Colima continues to experience warmer mornings in the high 70s and warm days in the mid-high 80s with some rains. The warmer weather that we will see this week will help the crop to have better volume, and harvesting will increase at the growing region. That means that there will more upcoming volume and large sizes (7/8/9s) available. There will be some rains this week and next, with reports from the field saying that it should not have a big effect on volume or quality of the fruit. If we see something different, we will let you know as soon as possible. Historically, we see overall supply for papaya limited at the beginning of the year due to weather conditions at the growing region. We are now expecting warmer weather with light rains at the growing region for next week. Supplies will increase this month with load availability on the market both in Texas and Tijuana. Please note that there will be plenty of papaya volume through July.
^ Back to Conventional Fruits

We have green Anjou pears shipping out of Washington State and Oregon currently. The Anjou pricing is reasonable for this time of year, but I do expect pricing to start to rise again soon as supplies come down and many smaller growers finish for the season. Import Bartlett and Bosc pears continue to arrive at the ports, but availability is limited with light demand. The ocean container freight costs are much higher this year, so we are expecting higher prices on this imported fruit. Quality looks good on the pears at this point. Expect to see new-crop Bartlett pears start up out of California this year around the middle of July.
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Pineapple

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Weather in Costa Rica is reported as a bit more stable. A dust mass from the Sahara is moving over the Caribbean Sea and it will reach Central America reducing the chances and intensity of rainfall this week. Quality of the fruit is reported as good with water spotting present on large-count pines. Yields are starting to drop, with 6s and 7s becoming a bit tighter. As mentioned before, volume will start coming down in the next couple of weeks, resulting in very tight supply for most of July and a good part of August. Thunderstorms are expected through the day with highs of 82 and lows of 76. Winds are forecast NNE at 10 to 15 miles per hour and a chance of rain at 90%. Mexico's inbound volume was extremely low for week 25 at just below 40 containers crossing into the U.S. as reported by the USDA. Harvesting continues to be a challenge with roadways significantly affected by the recent rains. Robinson Fresh inbound volume out of Mexico is uncertain for next week. Quality is reported as good with good internal condition and high brix. Yields are mostly on small fruit as expected at the end of the season. As mentioned before, the regular Mexican season is over. We expect to have some volume available that will be posted on a week-to-week basis. The USDA pineapple crossing report for week 25 is showing inbound volume with a significant drop, to just above 1,100 loads crossing for the entire continental USA. This low number is likely due to vessel delays and could be revised in the next few days. The USDA is reporting demand as good and market steady.

 

Strawberries

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Most growers are quoting as sold out through the 4rth of July holiday with strong markets. A few Santa Maria growers are starting to phase a small percentage of their acreage to the freezer. Santa Maria, California is forecast for low cloud, then fog on Wednesday and Thursday, then the balance of the week mostly sunny and breezy. Highs are expected in the 60s, and lows in the upper 40s to low 50s. Watsonville, California is forecast to be mostly sunny with highs in the 70s, decreasing to the 60s on Sunday, and lows in the 50s. California fruit is generally fair quality with higher counts prevalent in the Santa Maria packs, with occasional bruising, overripe, misshapen, white tips and shoulders, and occasional wind damage.
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Watermelon

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Supplies are good on seedless, and minis are a bit tight in the East. Tifton, Georgia is going with good volume. Their quality has been very good. Missouri will start in a light way this week, and North Carolina the week after. Out West, Yuma and Phoenix, Arizona are going with good supplies on larger fruit. Patterson, California will start around July 5th. Our quality has been very good Out West as well. July will be a little tight for the first two weeks and then supplies will be better at the end of the month.
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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 holding up on all organics as the growers are doing a nice job of sorting out any issues at the packing sheds. The pricing is higher than last season on all varieties as demand for organics continues to rise each year and the overall crop is down this season. This year, the organic Gala crop is down significantly, and the price is expected to be around 20% to 40% higher, with the peak arriving during the mid-summer months. The other varieties are also down in supply and will see prices rising significantly this year as we get into the summer as well. The organic Pink Lady crop out of Washington will wrap up first as many growers will finish for the season by the end of June. Also playing a part in the higher costs are the inflationary pressures on harvesting costs, packing costs, and transportation increases. Imported organic Galas and organic Grannies are now arriving and there is good availability. Supplies out of Chile look adequate, but pricing will also be higher this season due to strong demand, high ocean freight, and overall inflationary cost increases across the supply chain.
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Organic Dry Vegetables

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Organic dry vegetables are becoming limited on supply this week out of Nogales. Persian cucumbers 12x1 have volume and there are volume deals on butternut hard squash Large/XL in cartons and bins.
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Organic Melons

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Our organics will start in the middle of July in Patterson, California. There are some organic minis in Texas right now as well.
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Organic Onions

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Plenty of red and yellow onions available out of California right now. The market is strong on them, with very good demand. Sizing is peaking on jumbos and there are also mediums available.
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Organic Pears

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There are limited quantities of imported organic Bartletts and organic Anjou pears available in the marketplace. Supplies are light as demand for this product this time of year is limited. Quality is reported to be good.
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Organic Potatoes

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New-crop California potatoes are in full swing now! You can now get red, yellow, and Russets out of Bakersfield. Demand for the new crop has kept the market strong on pricing but we should start to see these markets settle in the next couple of weeks. We are still doing Russet potatoes out of Colorado from storage and the market on these is much less than from California.
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Organic Squash

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Super-select 36-count cucumbers, Euro cucumber 12 counts, and Persian cucumber 1-pounders are available in McAllen, Texas, San Diego, California, and delivered to the Northeast and Midwest from Canada. Zucchini and yellow squash are available in Salinas, California, and McAllen, Texas, with limited supply. Hard shell squashes--butternut, acorn, spaghetti, and Kabocha—are available with limited supply in Nogales, Arizona. Mexico should be ending soon, and Northern California will be starting early July.
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Organic Sweet Potatoes

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California sweet potatoes are still going strong out of Livingston. All varieties are still available as well as all sizes. We should start to see a change in supply in the next few weeks as we will be winding down this year’s storage crop. New crop will start in late August or early September.
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Transportation

Refrigerated Truckload Spot Market
Following the trend of the van market, refrigerated spot market tension has settled into what is often considered a healthy market of supply and demand balance at 6.8:1, the most in recent weeks. Produce season thus far has been somewhat muted as compared to previous years with consumer demand presumably muted by inflation. Some of the more traditional produce origin markets such as California and Texas are down 19% and 42%, respectively. At these levels, the market can be considered balanced and refrigerated truckload pricing and capacity continue to benefit from this strategy but are not in a situation of being unable to source capacity to meet demand. Diesel price impacts are even more material for the refrigerated truckload community. Carriers’ cost of operations are not fully covered as diesel is at record levels. Carriers are looking at ways to reduce fuel and occasionally choose to set their reefer units on cycle, lowering the fuel need, but bringing increased temperature variation to the trailer and goods. C.H. Robinson works closely with our carriers on temperature expectations so as to help ensure quality of the goods in transit.

 
 
 
 
 

Perishable Ocean Container Transportation
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. Vessel demand and overall capacity issues have improved as we move into the summer months, including port congestion on most trade lanes. Despite lowering demand, vessels continue to be delayed back to their origin, missing scheduled port calls/stops, and unable to handle the volume of containers at trans-shipment ports and destinations. Shippers should assume +7 to +10 days of transit time on top of published transits times. Schedule reliability and operational constraints (recurring 7+ days delay) are expected to continue through the remainder of 2022. Booking space on board vessels in certain lanes is challenging, there are chassis availability shortages, increasing and ever-changing surcharges from ocean carriers, and labor shortages in logistics which all continue to impact the entire global produce logistics section. Ocean vessel pricing has seen anywhere from 10%-30% rate increases when comparing 2021 to 2022 rates. The elevated rates are expected to remain at their 2022 levels for the remainder of 2022 and into 2023. 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. Robinson Fresh has experienced unavoidable and unprecedented demurrage and detention charges due to delays in turning cargo at destination in 2022. 

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

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Fresh from the kitchen

DIY CITRUS ALL-PURPOSE CLEANER

Brighten up your home the best way possible with a fresh-smelling, citrus cleaner that really cleans. Create your favorite combination for even better results.

Ingredients
  • Select Robinson Fresh citrus fruit. Choose your favorite-scented fruit like navel oranges, lemons, pink grapefruit, and Minneola Tangelos.
  • Vinegar

Instructions

  1. Carefully cut away and save the peels—eat or juice the remaining fruit.
  2. Fill glass jar with peels.
  3. Pour in vinegar to cover the peels.
  4. Let stand 2–3 weeks.
  5. Strain so only liquid remains.
  6. Fill the spray bottle halfway full with the citrus/vinegar solution.
    Fill the rest of the spray bottle with water to dilute.

Link here for additional information.

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