This week's fresh update

JANUARY 24, 2023 | Volume 8, Issue 104

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Conventional Vegetables



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West had a slow start due to cold temperatures this past weekend, but volume definitely improved from prior weeks. Quality looks good and price is stabilizing after having been very high over the past week. Peru is closing fields and getting ready to finish the season once Mexico starts increasing volume.
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Bell Peppers

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Some of the young plants from last weekend's cold front in Florida were exposed to frost. We do expect some disruption down the road. Mexico was cool over the weekend, and they are expecting the same conditions tonight. For the time being, Florida is producing steady volume.
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Markets are still volatile with California being the driver due to lack of supplies. Mexico and Georgia are both struggling with cold temperatures so volume of any kind will be an issue for the foreseeable future.
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Georgia has been struggling with freezing temperatures so volume could be an issue in the coming weeks. Texas does have some limited volume on cabbage and there is limited availability out of Florida as well.
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Celery supplies are improving as the desert growing region is getting into better production this week. Oxnard production is back up to speed after the rains last week. Celery is currently available in Oxnard, California, and Yuma, Arizona. The weather forecast calls for cool temperatures with no major rain into the weekend. Please reach out to your Robinson Fresh representative for updates and information regarding availability and promotions..
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We expect to see more containers arriving in South Florida. Demand remains strong so expect markets to remain active. Cooler weather over the weekend and tonight in Mexico will have an impact on future harvesting.
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Georgia fields continue to improve. Collard, kale, and turnip are available with some minor tip burn. Mustard continues to slowly improve back to normal as we move through the week.


Leaf Lettuce

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Iceberg and leaf lettuces are in good supply this week with excellent overall quality. The primary loading locations are currently in Yuma and the Imperial Valley. The weather forecast calls for cooler temperatures with no rain forecast into the weekend. Please reach out to your Robinson Fresh representative for any additional information and promotional opportunities.
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Demand has eased off on potatoes as many consumers count carbs and calories to bring in the new year. January and February are typically slow months for potato consumption. While the shortage of supply, especially for russets, will be an ongoing issue for the overall crop, the downturn in demand will allow for better availability and slightly lower prices for the next several weeks.   



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Cooler weather in Mexico over the weekend will slow production. Florida is bouncing back, and we are seeing great yields on zucchini. Yellow squash is also slowly bouncing back.
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Sweet Corn

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Recent cold weather across Florida and Georgia will be an issue. Mexico also experienced colder than normal temperatures so look for markets to be unstable for now. Florida does have some smaller volume available, and markets continue to be high for the time being.
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Conventional Fruits



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The apple market remains tight this week as the new crop came in well below the normal crop size. We are projected to have around 100 million cases this year and this is compared to an average crop of around 125 to 130 million cases. This will make the third crop in a row that is considered below average. Expect product to remain tight as we start off the new year with higher prices than normal in early 2023. There will be no new crop fruit entering the market until product begins to arrive from Chile and Argentina in early April.
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As we enter the second half of the month of January, Mexican fruit continues to be the majority of the U.S. market (97%). Harvest has increased this week and more crossings were reported at the border. The current crop is fully going, with a lot of fruit having sized up. We now notice more availability on jumbo sizes, but the harvest curve continues to be higher on 48s.The demand has stayed strong mainly on 60s as this size is being promoted by several retailers, followed by the 48s. The 60s and smaller have gained strength in the market moving up in value; however, we are seeing more of all sizes available and inventories growing. Availability on #2 fruit is also more present, especially on 48s and larger. At current pricing levels, we can say we continue having good promotional levels on most sizes of #1 and #2 avocados. Eating profile is very good, with fruit ripening well. As we advance in the season, the dry matter will continue to increase. The largest event for moving avocados is approaching--the “big game” happening mid-February. Make sure to set up a plan to have supply and promote! Peruvian and California avocado seasons are done. (Some green skin varietals are harvested but most stay on the West Coast). We have not yet started to harvest new crop Hass. 
Some inbounds reported, but very few. The European market somehow remains strong. With lower levels of Spanish and Israeli crop, Colombian shippers have higher expectations for their fruit, expecting the same returns they have with Europe. 
Dominican Republic
Some shipments are coming into the U.S., with green skin and some Hass arriving. Carla variety is now available. 
Shipments to the U.S. are being reported, mainly for set programs.


Bush Berries

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Additional supplies will be coming in this week but expect declining supplies to start within the next two weeks as Chile is post-season.
Still tight supplies on both conventional and organic raspberries. Ads plus lower production will continue to keep raspberries snug this week.
Good volume again this week on both organic and conventional!



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Cantaloupe supplies are very light at all ports with demand being decent. Sizing is trending toward jumbo melons with few 12/15 count. Quality and sugar are good.
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Weather Update
We expect weather to be perfect for harvesting this week allowing for a strong rebound in availability and quality. 
District 1 will start this week. Fruit will be on the smaller side this year with peaks in 150/125 count. 100-bin pack-outs late last week yielded, on average, the following percentage breakdowns leaving retail sizes very hard to come by: 50% (150 count), 13% (125 count), 7% (100 count), 2% (80 count), >1% (64 count), and the remaining choice grade. 
California Navels
Rain will help the fruit growth hopefully sizing up the fruit in the coming weeks as we transition varieties. Expect a strong week of harvest and volume as we are comfortably out of the rainstorms. There was fruit drop from the rains, but it is minimal. Peak sizing is 88/113/72 count, in that order. Deals will be available this week as we strongly rebound from the rains. 
Cara Cara Oranges
Similar story as navels. Peak sizing is 113/88 count, in that order, but rain will allow for 72 count and larger to become more available. Quality is excellent and volume is expected to come on in a big way this week. 
Currently, 3 regions are all in production on grapefruit with Florida still going (until the end February), Texas (middle/end of February), and California with the Rio variety. Smaller fruit is readily available with larger fruit on the tighter side. California is expected to be a little on the snug side as we get into the May/June time period. 
Available in all 3 Districts: Central Valley, Ventura County (Oxnard), and Coachella Valley (Mecca/Thermal). Good distribution on all sizes. Supplies are expected to pick up this week as the rain has passed, but this will make smaller size fruit difficult to find toward the end in Districts 1 and 2 as fruit will size up. ***Conventional seedless lemons and Meyer lemons are now available!*** 
California Mandarins 
California mandarins are loading in the Central Valley. Fruit is on the smaller side this week until we transition into the Tango variety (estimated 1/20/23). Peaks are on 36/32/28, in that order. Major retailers are making the concession to a smaller size to ensure supply. Quality has been a little shaky with all the rain but look for this to improve as fields dry and as we transition varieties. 
Moroccan Mandarins
Moroccan mandarins are loading in the Northeast. Fruit quality has improved as we have transitioned out of the Clementine variety and moved into better varieties like the Novas and Murcotts. Fruit sizing is good. Availability is improving as delays with containers become better. 
Pummelos are available to ship from the Central Valley. Large sizes are non-existent, now peaking on 14/12/18. Volume will be around until mid/end of March.
Volume and harvest are expected to start this week, available in the Central Valley, peaking on small sizes 88/113/138. 
Volume is expected to pick up now that fields and fruit are drying. Organics cannot be harvested in rain like conventional fruit due to pre- and post-harvest requirements. Volume is expected to improve over the next few days.



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This past week saw more unrest in the Ica regions of Peru with roadblocks interrupting the flow of fruit to the ports. The Government seems to have resolved the situation; however, these starts and stops will certainly affect volume, carrying into February. We should start to see consistent arrivals from Chile over the next couple of weeks. Unfortunately, projected volume is expected to be down 15% from last year, and coupled with gaps in Peruvian arrivals, could lead to firm markets well into February.
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Offshore honeydew are extremely light in supply with mild demand. Pricing is very high and continues to climb. More shippers are expected to have arrivals at the end of the week, but these arrivals will be light as well. Quality and condition are marginal due to some soft and scarred melons. Southern Mexican dews are light as well in Nogales. Mexico is getting a late and slow start due to weather but supply should pick up slightly next week. Mexican quality, condition, and sugar are good.
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The demand for limes has been moderate. According to the USDA, the crossings through Texas from last week were at 490. Crossings over the weekend were at 216 loads.



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• Peru is currently at the last of their peak of packing this week. We will see the peak arriving volume from Peru during the 4th week of January and 1st week of February into the U.S. Expect good volumes and availability during late January and early February on large fruit. 
• The total volume projection from Peru this season as a country is around 18 million cases of mango compared to the 16 million that were sent last year. 
• Reports are showing good quality on the Kent variety, with sizing being mainly on the 8/9 count mango, followed by 10 counts. Please note that small fruit (10/12 count) will be really limited from now until the end of the Peruvian season. As of right now, there are no quality concerns on fruit. 
• The current crop outlook on Peru crop is about 60% large sizes (6-9 count), followed by 40% on small sizes (10/12 count). We are entering another crop from Peru later this week that is expected to have more small fruit compared to previous crops. Preliminary reports on this specific crop are showing 70% large sizes and 30% small sizes. 
• There have been protests (roadblocks, fires, etc.) in Peru due to presidential issues that the country is currently having. As of right now, it has been on the south side of the country, and it has had a minimal effect on our mango supply chain. If at some point this season it worsens, we will be sending an update to the network as soon as possible. 
• We will be receiving only the Kent variety from Peru this season. 
Market Intel 
• Peruvian fruit will be coming in strong starting January. We expect large sizes to maintain strong pricing throughout the season. As for small sizes (10/12 counts), we are expecting them to be low which will maintain their strong pricing for the season. 
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The papaya growing regions are currently under mostly sunny conditions with very low chances of rain. Highs are forecast near 85F and lows of 57F with winds north at 5 miles per hour. Chances of rain are at less than 5%. Lower yields continue with tight supply expected to continue all through January with little to NO surplus product available. Transportation continues to be an issue internally in Mexico within the Sinaloa region due to ongoing government checkpoints for vehicles inspections. Very long lines are still present waiting to cross out of the region. All these issues are having a significant impact on papaya availability and there is no expectation that conditions will improve for the next few weeks. The majority of sizes are between 12s, 14s, and 16s, with very little large fruit overall. Overall quality is reported as good with the fruit showing little speckling. Forecast is for tight supply through the month of January with most small fruit available in the U.S. market. There's NOT enough supply to service demand with prices trending higher.

We are now shipping Bartlett, red pears, Anjou, and Bosc pears out of Washington and Oregon. Expect the supply of Bartletts to dry up fairly quickly when we enter early February. The crop is smaller than last year in overall cases and prices are expected to remain higher as a result. The pears did not size up this season, so we are expecting a tight market on the large US#1 fruit and more supply on 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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Stronger trade winds are forecast for the Caribbean, Central Valley, and the North Pacific regions of Costa Rica. Higher humidity from the Caribbean is favoring cloud coverage and some scattered rains. A cold front is still affecting the North and Caribbean regions, with conditions improving toward the end of the week. Quality is reported as good but some water spotting, low internal condition, and lower brix levels mainly on large fruit due to the lack of development of the fruit. Weather in Veracruz, Mexico, is reported as partly cloudy with very low chances of rainfall with highs of 80F and lows of 69F. Winds are forecast north/northeast at 20 miles per hour with the chance of rain at 10%. The crop continues with very low yields due to colder weather. Quality of the fruit is reported as good but with slightly lower brix and lower internal condition. Volume is peaking on mostly 5s and 6s. Mexico's inbound volume for week 02 as reported by the USDA is a higher number at almost 40 loads crossing for the entire USA. The USDA total pineapple crossing report for week 02 is showing higher inbound volume at just over 1,000 loads crossing for the entire continental USA. This is a sign of supply returning to normal levels in Costa Rica with total inbound volume very similar to that seen at this same time last year. The USDA is reporting demand as GOOD and market higher according to USDA shipping point prices.



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Product availability is very limited this week in the California and Baja growing regions due to cold weather. Central Mexico has limited availability and Florida is also limited due to cold weather. Santa Maria, California, is forecast on Wednesday and Thursday for sunny skies, mostly sunny on Friday, cool with clouds and sun on Saturday, and cool with low clouds on Sunday. Highs are expected in the 60s and lows in the upper 30s to low 40s. Oxnard, California, is forecast on Wednesday and Thursday to be sunny, Friday mostly sunny, becoming partly cloudy and cool for the weekend with highs in the 60s, decreasing to the 50s on Sunday, and lows in the 40s. Central Mexico is forecast to be partly cloudy with a few thunder showers on Thursday, cloudy on Friday, and then mostly sunny for the weekend. Highs are expected in the 70s, decreasing to the 60s on Friday, and then back up to the 70s for the weekend, and lows in the 50s. Plant City, Florida, is forecast on Wednesday to be mostly cloudy, breezy and warmer, and then clouds and sun for the balance of the week. Highs are expected in the 80s on Wednesday, decreasing to the 60s Thursday through Saturday, and up in the 70s on Sunday; lows in the 50s on Wednesday, decreasing to the 40s Thursday through Saturday, and the 60s on Sunday. California fruit is fair quality, firm, some inconsistently sized berries, occasional bruising, misshapen, white shoulders and rain damage, pin rot and mold. Baja fruit has white shoulders and rain damage.
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Watermelons and minis continue to be a little tight. Cooler weather in Southern Mexico is delaying yields. We expect the market to be a bit tight through February. Out West, Southern Mexico is starting up with larger fruit shipping out of Edinburg, Texas, and Nogales, Arizona. Offshore is starting up with light volume.
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Organic Fruits & Vegetables


Organic Apples

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We are now shipping all varieties of organic apples including organic Gala, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, Fuji, and Pink Lady apples. Due to the crop being smaller this year, the pricing on all organic varieties is higher than last year and we expect these higher prices to last for the entire season. At this point, it appears that the organic Gala and organic Granny will be the tightest this season. Expect pricing on the organic Gala and organic Granny to inch up as we progress through 2023. The quality of the fruit is reported to be good so far.
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Organic Dry Vegetables

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This week in Nogales, supply is limited due to colder weather in the forecast this week. Hard squash is available each day, but butternut is very limited. Zucchini and yellow squash have availability every day, and pricing is the same as last week. Eggplant has volume while cucumbers are limited. Red and orange bells have volume deals this week. Yellow bells are limited. Hot peppers, such as Jalapenos, Anaheims, and Serranos, have volume deals this week.
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Organic Melons

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Mini organic watermelons are done until spring.
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Organic Onions

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Organic red and yellow onions are holding steady on pricing. Quality is good and supply is available. You are able to get 40# cartons, 50# sacks, and 2#/3# bags. White onions are available, but pricing is strong.
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Organic Pears

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Organic Anjou and Bosc pears are now shipping out of Washington State and Oregon. The overall crop size is down this year compared to last season. Due to poor growing conditions, the fruit did not grow large this year, so we expect to see more small fruit and less of the 80 count and larger. The quality of the fruit is very good this season and we don’t expect to see any issues as we progress through the season. Pricing is running higher than last year, and we expect this trend to continue with more price increases as we progress through the season.
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Organic Potatoes

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Colorado potatoes are still going strong, but supply is really starting to tighten. You are able to get russets, reds, and yellows in 3# and 5# bags along with some size A cartons. Most of the russet cartons are on the smaller size and 90 count are available. Larger cartons are hard to come by. Still plenty of fingerling potatoes in Colorado!
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Organic Squash

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The hard squash market has really tightened over the last week. There are issues with sizing as most of the squash is on the small side coming out of Mexico. There are also a few growers that are finishing early this year due to growing conditions not having been great at the beginning of the planting season. We will see the market continue to climb on large size butternut and spaghetti squashes.
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Organic Sweet Potatoes

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As we move into the new year, we are starting to see a little price relief on organic sweet potatoes. Now that we have a good idea what is left in storage, you should start to see a few deals on off sizes to keep the inventory moving. Quality is still outstanding, and we are not seeing any quality issues. There are lots of opportunities for ads in the new year.
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Temperature-Controlled Shipping 
Happy New Year! The refrigerated winter season continues to create demand as anticipated while the overall temperature control market levels out as is normal in Q1. The winter market consists of commodities like meat, fruits and veggies, and frozen items. There are currently two markets experiencing stress: the Midwest due to demand coming out of distribution centers serving foodservice and retail, and the Pacific Northwest whose demand boom is created by apples, onions, and potatoes. Fuel, parts, and maintenance are a cost focus for refrigerated carriers. Increased carrier cost impacts remain material for the refrigerated truckload community. Carriers' costs of operation have continued to climb, especially for refrigerated carriers with refrigeration diesel fuel costs to consider on top of diesel for driving and labor, along with maintenance cost increases, among others. Carriers are reporting increasing concern with profitability and its impact on capacity and ability to serve. With pricing compressed as it is, carriers are looking for ways to reduce fuel and occasionally choose to set their refrigerated units on 'cycle,' lowering the fuel need, but bringing increased temperature variation to the trailer and goods. C.H. Robinson works closely with our contract carriers on temperature expectations to help safeguard the quality of goods in transit. Work with experts in temperature control! 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.

Perishables Ocean/Ports/Drayage Updates 

USA Ocean Port Congestion
Port congestion has been a topic of concern for many years, not just in the ocean environment, but for rail and air as well. Carriers arrive the freight and are facing unprecedented waiting times to unload at the ports, as terminals are already full and/or lack personnel to off-load cargo and distribute the balance to consignees. 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. 
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 their space demands for upcoming seasons, and spot market space on vessels is nearly impossible to secure. 
Container Gridlock
The result is chronic gridlock at many Latin American and United States ports. Ships are stranded offshore for possibly days to sometimes weeks at a time. Drayage truckers often sit in line for hours upon hours "hoping" for a chance to pick up the freight they have been dispatched to return to the port for export or deliver to the warehouse for consumption into the retail supply chain. 
Impact on Imports and Exports
The impact is not just with imports; it is with exports as well. A significant amount of U.S. exports is agriculture related. With these exports, some are perishable, and with delays resulting from cargo constraints or delayed bookings not only does this jeopardize the quality of the product but also U.S. global market share and competitiveness. Many export associations are revealing data demonstrating where their industry is losing global market share as they cannot complete orders. Services to east coast South American ports have reduced capacity by approximately 25% and blank sailings to west coast South American ports have increased to approximately 32% of capacity, because of space constraints and severe congestion at the trans-shipment hubs. 
Refrigerated Vessel Capacity
Vessel demand and overall capacity issues are beginning to improve moving into the winter "peak season" months. The lack of vessel space 2020 through 2022 was primarily caused by vessel delays and container turnaround taking capacity out of the market. Demand is finally slowing, and vessel delays improving, which are combining to improve capability (reported first in June 2022). Booking SPACE on board certain vessels remains challenging--there remain 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 section. Robinson Fresh is currently learning of tight capacity and lack of space on vessels from Peru to California. 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. 
Refrigerated Container Rates
While some routes such as Asia to United States have seen container rates decrease (mostly for general consumer goods), South America to North America routes have not yet seen any decreases in ocean container rates. Global refrigerated container rate pricing has seen anywhere from 10%-30% rate increases when comparing 2021 to 2022 rates. The elevated rates Latin America to the U.S. for refrigerated cargo are expected to remain at their 2022 levels into 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. Delays can also be costly in terms of extra demurrage/detention, for example. 

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

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Fresh from the kitchen

Three Ways to Zoodle

Move over pasta! Delicious, nutritious, and endlessly versatile, zucchini “noodles” are the perfect way to lighten up these three classic Italian dishes.


Zoodles Marinara

  • Zucchini
  • Marinara or tomato sauce
  • Parmesan cheese

Zoodle Lasagna

  • Zucchini
  • Tomato sauce
  • Mozzarella cheese

Pesto Zoodles

  • Zucchini
  • Pesto sauce
  • Pine nuts
  • Parmesan cheese


Zoodles Marinara

  1. Using a spiralizer, cut your zucchini into spaghetti zoodles.
  2. Sauté spaghetti zoodles over low heat.
  3. Top warm zoodles with your favorite marinara or tomato sauce.
  4. Garnish with parmesan cheese and enjoy.

Zoodle Lasagna

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Using a mandolin, slice zucchini into thin sheets.
  3. Arrange a single layer of zoodle sheets across the bottom of a 9 x 13 baking pan.
  4. Top zoodles with a thin layer of tomato sauce, followed by a sprinkling of cheese.
  5. Continue to alternate layers of zoodle sheets with tomato sauce and cheese.
  6. Place baking sheet in the oven and bake for 30–45 minutes until the cheese is golden brown.

Pesto Zoodles

  1. Using a vegetable peeler, cut zucchini into zoodle ribbons.
  2. Sauté zoodle ribbons over low heat.
  3. Add pesto sauce, pine nuts, and parmesan cheese. Stir until warm.

Link here for additional information.

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