This week's fresh update

SEPTEMBER 20, 2022 | Volume 8, Issue 87

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Conventional Vegetables

 

Asparagus

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Mexico started to cross some volume which is helping relieve the demand. The market is still high on the West Coast. Volume will be increasing in the coming weeks, weather permitting. Peru is still a little tight in volume in the north region due to a combination of weather and the last-of-the-field transitions. The south region has a little more availability in volume and is projected to have steady volume through October.
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Bell Peppers

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As we stated last week, peppers are on the way out in the local deals and markets are reacting. Weather permitting, we do expect Michigan to continue harvesting until the middle of October, but volume of #1 pepper will be less. South Carolina will start getting volume but not enough to fill the gap. Georgia is still trending to have volume by the middle of October. Some growers are scheduled to start by the first of the month. Looking down the road, Florida is scheduled to start by the middle of November.
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Broccoli

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Broccoli supplies out west are good, and quality is excellent! Maine also has good supplies for the present. The Southeast will resume production early October.
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Cabbage

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New York is in production and will go through October depending on the weather; then, we head back to Florida. Michigan also has product, and quality and sizing are excellent! Wisconsin is producing light volume.
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Celery supplies are plentiful with quality reports showing overall very nice quality. Celery is currently available in Santa Maria and Salinas with promotable volume expected to be available through the end of the month. The weather forecast calls for cooler than 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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Markets did react last week, but we still see good volume for the next two weeks. North Carolina will have new fields, and the weather has been cooperating. Georgia has started and, weather permitting, volume will only improve. Good time to promote for the next two weeks!
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Greens

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Georgia greens are starting this weekend! All flavors have good supply and quality! Come and get them!

 

Leaf Lettuce

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Iceberg and leaf lettuces remain limited, and markets are elevated. Overall quality is reported as fair as damage from the recent heat wave is present and the recent rains are expected to cause oxidation. The primary loading locations are currently in Santa Maria or Salinas. The weather forecast calls for cool temperatures into the 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
The Colorado potato season has begun! This is early compared to past seasons, but quality is nice, and Russets, reds, and yellows are all available. We are now able to ship our fingerling potatoes out of Colorado. We have our Gourmet Blend, Golden Yellow, Radiant Red, and Buttercream varieties.

 

Squash

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No major change from last week, as availability continues to exceed demand. We continue to see strong yields in the local deals, but October is quickly approaching, and the weather will quickly change. Yields of yellow squash in Georgia continue to improve, but we do need to be aware of the whitefly. Mexico is still on the books to start around the first/ second week of October.
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Sweet Corn

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Many of the northern growing regions will finish in the next couple of weeks as the temperatures start to cool off. The crop will transition back to the south in Georgia.
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Conventional Fruits

 

Apples

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The apple market remains a tight this week as we are cleaning up old crop and just getting started with the new harvest. Markets will be more volatile than normal over the next month as we go through this transitional period. Most varieties will not start harvesting until the end of September and the upcoming crop appears to be the smallest crop in recent history with projections of 108 million cases. This is down from last year’s smaller-than-normal crop of 120 million cases. Expect higher prices this season. We do expect to have good quality fruit again this year.
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Avocados

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The market for avocados has slowed down for various factors. Mexico's harvest slowed down as they had their Independence holiday. In addition, there was an earthquake on Monday close to Michoacan that shook the area and interrupted operations. They are resuming today and should normalize supply. The demand on 48s has increased and we are seeing market correction. There is availability on all sizes, and we are starting to see new arrivals with Aventajada fruit which is the second bloom of the crop. Prices are at great levels to be promoting all sizes! We are seeing more #2 fruit compared to the beginning on the ‘loca’ crop. Peruvian avocado volume has decreased. There is some inventory available and last shipments are approaching the U.S., but volumes are cleaning up. California and Colombian supplies are winding down.

 

Bush Berries

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Blueberries
GOOD SUPPLIES! While Michigan is starting to slow down in production as they near the end of their season, Mexico and Peru are starting to ramp up. We should see a cleaner transition from domestic to imports than in previous years; however, expectations are still for a tighter market late September into early October and then ample supplies mid/late October through December. 
Blackberries
GOOD SUPPLIES. Oregon has moved past peak with a few weeks left in their season. Mexico is going strong and rebounding from the rain last week. Organics still remain tight on supply. 
Raspberries
GOOD SUPPLIES. Mexico is going strong after the rain last week. Organics still remain tight on supply.

 

Cantaloupe

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Supplies in Arizona will pick back up this week as the one shipper currently with melons will be past the hail damage they received. California received light rain over the weekend and, for the most part, will not be harvesting for 1-2 days. Weather is looking to clear so everyone will be back on Tuesday and supplies should be normal going forward. Very few jumbo cantaloupe to be had the rest of the way out in California. Sizing is peaking on regular 9 count, followed by 12 count. We had already been seeing significant amounts of dirt on the melons which, after brushed off, leaves a ground spot. With the light rain over the weekend, expect the issue to continue. We are expecting California will still be going for another few weeks and then we will transition back to Yuma and Phoenix, Arizona for the domestic fall melon deal which should start mid-October.
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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. California Valencia oranges will be harvested until end of September with storage Valencia oranges extending to end of October. Smaller fruit continues to rise in price and availability is extremely tight. Back-to-School time is driving the demand through the roof on the smaller sizing. Fruit quality remains excellent but come the end of September the quality will start to decline. The larger sized fruit of the 72/56 counts are plentiful and are priced aggressively. 
Navel Oranges
Fruit will be from Chile and South Africa. Fruit availability is more abundant now as we are in peak season for navels. Sizing is primarily 88 and 105 counts. Look for the market to stay steady throughout the rest of the season. The season will wrap at the end of September when we then transition to the Midknight Valencia. Navels are very promotable on smaller sizes. 
Lemons
Fruit will be from Argentina (loading in the Northeast), and Mexico (loading in Texas). Mexican fruit is down roughly 40% to 45% year over year. This is due to the lack of rain in the region, which is also resulting in very little volume on larger sized fruit (75/95 counts). Quality in Mexico is starting off strong with clean fruit. Chile stopped large arrivals on both coasts due to the depressed pricing. Growers were unwilling to take the gamble this season. Most of the Chilean fruit is sizing 115 to 200 count, which is not helping the supply of larger fruit. Argentina stopped shipments last week with their season at an end. As a result of larger fruit becoming scarce, look for California District 3 to start up earlier this year. The market on 75-115 count is very snug, with 140-200 count being up slightly, but staying steady.
Grapefruit
Fruit will be out of South Africa and California. The South African fruit is far superior compared to the California Marsh Ruby variety. Smaller import grapefruit is in abundance compared to the larger fruit. The larger fruit is failing juice testing requirements for the U.S. Growers and agronomists were flown in to find a reason. Florida grapefruit is expected to start the middle of October. 
Mandarins
Fruit will be out of Peru, Uruguay, Chile, and South Africa. The only difference will be what varietal we will see at different times. The market is aggressive currently on all sizes and packs but look for this to turn the back half of September. The fruit expected at that time will be sizing primarily in the 36/40 size which is undesirable to major retailers. The 32 size and larger will become a premium for packs and will become very snug to finish out the import deal until California and Morocco start.

 

Grapes

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With temperatures in the Valley finally stable and much cooler, we will wait to see what damage the extended heat wave will have on the final crop estimates. Some growers are reporting soft berries in the Allison and Timco Red varieties causing red prices to hold or firm up a bit. The next week or two will reveal the extent of crop damage so the market is not fluctuating much with most shippers wanting to keep prices up for large and, especially, XL fruit. Prices are also being held up as older varieties begin to dry up and the newer late-season varieties hit the market. We are now seeing Autumn Kings, Pristine, and Autumn Crisp on greens and Holiday, Allison, and soon, Crimsons for red grapes.
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Honeydew

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Honeydew supplies remain tight. Between all shippers, all sizes are available. Quality has generally been good, but some staining is present. Sugar is very good. Most honeydew are shipping out of Central California with one shipper in Arizona currently harvesting. Supplies in California have started to dwindle as the end of the season is only a couple of weeks away.
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Region: Veracruz, Mexico 
Currently, the crop is peaking on 175/200/230s. The weather forecast is showing rain in the afternoon for the entire week. The demand for limes has been moderate. According to the USDA, the crossings through Texas from last week were at 614; over the weekend, 178 cases were reported as of Monday. Peak sizes are 175/200/230; size distribution is 110-4%, 150-6%, 175-13%, 200-25%, 230-26%, and 250-16%. Quality issues being reported include oil spots, blanching, scarring, and skin breakdown. Looking ahead, expect size distribution to stay in the small-mid range with larger sizes being less available in the next two weeks. Current weather conditions are likely to affect the quality of the fruit.

 

Mangos

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As we enter week 39, the Mexican mango season is winding down as many expect only a week or two left in the season. Los Mochis has had their share of challenges due to rain and quality. This week, there are many reports of external defects like heavy scarring and pitting along with more severe defects like Anthracnosis. Peak sizing in Mexico remains on 4/5s and 6s, with few other sizes available. This week will be the last week out of Los Mochis for the majority of shippers, but I wouldn't be surprised if a few continue to pack. The Brazil season has started, and we have started to receive containers in the Northeast. We have had several delays the last two weeks, but we are closely monitoring this and communicating to our customers.
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Papaya

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Region: Tecoman Colima and Michoacan, Mexico
The papaya growing regions are currently under partly cloudy conditions with a slight chance of thunderstorms. Highs of 81F and lows of 68F are expected with winds SSW at 5 to 10 miles per hour and the chance of rain at 50%. We continue to expect good volume for the remainder of September and quality has not been an issue at all with papaya looking good. The 7.6 magnitude earthquake that affected the Colima area on September 19th did not impact the fields but some damage to roadways has been reported. At this time, some delays with inbounds are expected due to road closures.
Sizing Profile: Majority of sizes between 7, 8s and 9s.
Quality: Imperial papaya are showing little speckling, but this is a natural characteristic of the fruit and does not affect internal quality. Overall quality has been good. Some skin water spots have been noted but this is minor and is considered purely appearance related. Color is 50%/12-14 brix at the point of shipping. The ideal temperature for Imperial papaya is 48F degrees to avoid quality issues upon receiving. 
Crop Outlook:  The forecast is for good supply to remain for September and October. As with all prior seasons, end-of-year weather conditions at the growing region might impact overall yields due to quality issues; but for the moment all looks good. Tropical storms are more prevalent from August to November but could be present until the end of the year. At this moment, there are rains at the growing fields with no issues regarding quality of the crop. If anything changes, we will keep you posted as soon as we get new information.
Market Intel: Market forecast is for good supplies with enough inventory to service demand. 

We are now shipping new crop Bartlett pears out of Washington and Oregon. The crop is smaller than last year with cases and prices expected to remain higher as a result. The pears did not grow as large as last year, so we are expecting a tight market on the large US#1 fruit with much more of the smaller or bagging fruit this year. Overall, we expect pricing on all sizes and packs to be higher than last year due to the smaller crop and inflationary costs.
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Pineapple

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The forecast calls for typical rainy season conditions over Costa Rica with intense rainfall in the afternoons. Transit of tropical waves is expected for this week which could increase rainfall. Quality is reported as good, but weather conditions are still not favorable for pineapple. We can expect water spotting to continue as our principal quality issue, along with low internal condition and lower brix levels mostly in areas closer to the North Caribbean. Thunderstorms are very likely with highs of 81F and lows of 77F. Winds are expected north at 10 to 20 miles per hour with a chance of rain of 90%. The crop is still delayed with volume not expected to increase until early October. Mexico's inbound volume for week 37 was reported at under 30 loads crossing into the USA. Very limited availability in Texas of Mexican fruit with little to NO large fruit available. Estimates have the regular Mexican season starting early October. The USDA total pineapple crossing report for week 37 is showing a much lower number of inbounds at under 1,000 loads crossing for the entire continental USA. The USDA is reporting demand as moderate and market slightly lower.

 

Strawberries

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California supplies are limited due to recent rains. Santa Maria, California is forecast to be mostly sunny. Highs are expected in the 70s and lows in the 50s. Watsonville, California is forecast to be partly sunny, becoming mostly sunny Friday through the weekend. Highs are forecast in the 70s, increasing to the 80s Thursday through the weekend, and lows in the 50s. California fruit is generally fair quality with smaller sized berries, occasional rain damage, white shoulders and tips, bruising, and over ripeness.
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Watermelon

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Watermelons and minis continue to be a little tight. North Carolina, Delaware, and Indiana are going in the East with limited supplies. Out West, Arizona, California, and Washington are going with light supplies. Mexico is starting up out of Edinburg, Texas and Nogales, Arizona for the fall crops.
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Organic Fruits & Vegetables

 

Organic Apples

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We have been shipping new crop organic Gala and organic Honeycrisp for a couple of weeks now. This week, we will begin to ship organic Granny and organic Fuji in very small quantities. Organic Pink Ladies are projected to start up around October 12th. The quality has been good on the organics we are shipping. Due to the smaller crop on all apples, we are expecting the pricing to remain higher on the crop this season.
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Organic Dry Vegetables

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Sonoran growers are 2-3 weeks behind schedule due to Hurricane Kay. This week, we can find organic cucumbers--36s, 42s, and plains--available. English cucumbers are gapping until the middle of October. Toward the end of the week, there will be zucchini and yellow squash. Next week, organic eggplant and hot peppers will be available.
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Organic Melons

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Organic minis are going out of Patterson, California for another two to three weeks. The quality has been very good.
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Organic Onions

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We are in full swing now with our red onions out of Hollister, California. The quality is outstanding, and our supply is very good! We have 40-pound jumbos and mediums, along with 16/3-pound bags. Shallots are early this year and we have them going as well. Again, quality is outstanding, and supply is good.
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Organic Pears

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Organic Bartlett pears are now shipping out of Washington State. Availability is improving each week as more growers begin to harvest. Sizing is running a little smaller this year compared to normal, so we expect there to be more bagging fruit as a result. Pricing is higher than last year due to the smaller crop this season. Expect organic Bosc and organic Anjou to be available toward the end of September.
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Organic Potatoes

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The Colorado potato season has begun! This is early compared to past seasons. Quality is nice, and Russets, reds, and yellows are all available. We have started the fingerling program this week and are available for loading. We have our Gourmet Blend, Golden Yellow, Radiant Red, and our Buttercream varieties.
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Organic Squash

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Our hard squash out of Hollister is in full swing. We have all varieties available--butternut, spaghetti, acorn, Delicata, and Kabocha. Markets are strong currently with the current supply that is out there. Quality is very nice.
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Organic Sweet Potatoes

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Harvest is in full swing in sweet potato country! With that said, there are still a few varieties that don't have all sizes available right now. This should change over the next couple of weeks but, for now, you can get new crop #1s and mediums. Jumbos are still tight. The quality of what has come in so far this season looks good.
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Transportation

Fall Produce Season Approaches 
The temperature-controlled market has fallen into its expected rhythm as the fourth quarter approaches. As fall produce harvest season nears, it creates reefer demand for produce imports along with domestic apples, pumpkins, and frozen goods supporting holiday cooking and baking season. Initial reports suggest the market will see an increase in demand from the current non-eventful produce season of the past few months as all things fall harvest and winter season kick into high gear. 
Northeast Produce Season
The Northeast produce import season in North America has started with the majority of imports entering through New Jersey and New York. The Northeast demand boom typically creates a tighter capacity market than most areas in the country, outside of the Pacific Northwest. Fuel continues to be a cost focus for refrigerated carriers; increased carrier cost impacts remain very material for the refrigerated truckload community. Carriers’ cost of operations have continued to climb, especially for reefer carriers, with reefer fuel impacts to consider on top of diesel, labor, and maintenance cost increases, to name a few. 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 to help ensure quality of the goods in transit. 
Work with Temperature-Controlled Experts 
Connect with our experts to learn more about how seasonal and supply imbalances affect your business and how our unique refrigerated transportation procurement and capacity solutions can help your shipping strategy for the next market cycle.

 

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. Services to east coast South America ports have reduced capacity by approximately 25% and blank sailings to west coast South America ports have increased to approximately 32% of capacity, because of space constraints and severe congestion at the trans-shipment hubs. Vessel demand and overall capacity issues improved as we moved through the summer months. The lack of vessel space 2020 to 2022 was primarily caused by vessel delays taking capacity out of the market. Demand is finally slowing, and vessel delays improving, which are combining to improve capability as of June 2022. For the remainder of 2022, shippers should continue to assume +7 to +10 days of transit time on top of the published transit times. Container News reports that schedule reliability for ocean containers is at 40% but also saw its first signs of slow improvement in June 2022. Booking SPACE on board certain vessels remains challenging; there remains chassis shortages, new surcharges from ocean carriers like "peak season surcharges" are now being added or increased, and labor shortages in logistics continue to impact the entire global produce logistics sector. Global refrigerated container rate pricing has seen anywhere from 10%-30% rate increases when comparing 2021 to 2022 rates. According to Rabobank, RaboResearch Food & Agribusiness August 2022, "Global reefer rates are expected to surge another 9%" in Q3 of 2022 over the previous quarter before they will normalize.” The elevated rates are expected to remain at their 2022 levels for the remainder of 2022 and into 2023. Shippers should watch for "peak season" and fluctuating fuel surcharges which are added quickly and removed slowly by the ocean carriers. 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

STRAWBERRY & GRAPE SMOOTHIE

Cool down with a quick, fresh and delicious Grape and Strawberry smoothie that requires only 5 ingredients. 

Ingredients
  • 8 Welch’s® strawberries
  • 2/3 cup Welch’s® grapes
  • 1/2 cup ice
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

Cut tops off strawberries. Place all ingredients into blender. Blend until smooth. Enjoy

Link here for additional information.

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