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September 18, 2019

Market News

Weather Update
After a surprise rain event in the Salinas valley early this week, another cold front moves in out west with cooler temperatures and a chance of light rain mid-week. High pressure builds with a gradual warm up late this week into the weekend. A tropical storm approaches Western Mexico with strong winds and heavy rains especially along the coast of Jalisco/Michoacán late this week. In Florida Tropical storm Humberto moves is well east of the region with seasonal temperatures and afternoon showers the norm under an easterly flow.

Western Region:
Washington: Although Fuji and Golden Delicious were
expected this week, rain has prevented many shippers from harvesting fruit. Shippers are hoping to begin harvest by Friday/Saturday and increase availability by next week. With the cold Spring (late season snow) experienced in March, coupled with the mild temperature summer days (Highs in the 70’s), many Northwest shippers are battling slow growth/small sized apples. Meaning, the ‘internals’ (starch/brix inside the apple) are not reaching desired levels/sizes for harvesting. Many continue to stretch their inventories of stored fruit and are anxiously awaiting the start of new crop - Fuji, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Pink Lady—to name a few. Honeycrisps are peaking on the large side (80/88ct) with not a lot of small, foodservice sized fruit.
The volume continues to increase in Southern Baja, Mexico, and demand has decreased with the additional volume. Both regions in Peru (Ica/Trujillo) are experiencing warmer weather with Spring ready to start at the end of this week. Bigger size asparagus has improved with the improved weather. Markets on both coasts are lower this week with more production from both Mexico and Peru.
Avocado (Mexican)
The growing region of Michoacan Mexico continues to see rain. Current size curve is 48’s and larger. Small fruit (60’s,70’s,80’s) remain limited as growers are seeing less in the daily pack outs. The market continues to be a challenge with too many 48’s and larger and not enough 60’s and smaller. Current demand on small fruit has outpaced sup¬plies and has caused a significant spread in price. This will be the trend for the remainder of the month.
Berries (Blackberries)
Blackberries are the only berry that actually thrived in this recent heatwave. Blacks are coming off in increasingly good numbers out of the Central Coast . Mexican product is arriving at various U.S. entry points in increasing numbers. Quality has been good on fresher fruit but there is still some red cell being reported upon arrival in some lots. Look for the market to slip slightly lower overall as better numbers become available.
Berries (Blueberries)
Blueberries are finishing up in the PNW and Michigan will run through mid October weather permitting. After that it will be all imported fruit from Mexico , Argentina ,Uruguay and Peru. Quality on the last of the PNW fruit is just mar¬ginal while the fruit coming out of the Michigan area is still showing good quality. The Imports are being reported as having very good quality at this point . Imports are also commanding a premium price compared to domestic prod¬uct. The offshore fruit is being distributed through the ports of Philadelphia, Miami and Los Angeles. The Mexican fruit is coming up through McAllen Texas and Baja California. Look for markets to remain steady .
Berries (Raspberries)
Raspberries continue to be exceedingly tight as we move forward into the weekend . Mexico has not yet begun to produce significant numbers, West Coast production has been stunted by the extreme heat experienced over the weekend. The heat not only affected the plants themselves it also affected harvesting crews. Many shippers pulled crews out early as the temperatures under the hoops rose to intolerable levels for the workers. Expect light supplies to continue into next week with higher pricing a possibility towards the end of this week. Quality is generally good but we can expect to see some heat related issues such as early breakdown and some possible light mildew caused by the moisture in the air.
Berries (Strawberries)
The strawberries continue to be challenged by less than ideal weather events. Extreme heat over the last weekend exceeding 100 degrees inland and hovering in the mid 80s to 90s on the coastal regions of both Santa Maria and Watsonville /Salinas have caused reduced yields on the front end of the week. Monday we saw a light rain occurring through most of the morning into mid day. This combina-tion of heat and precipitation will affect both quality and harvest projections. Expect to see softer fruit with bruising and moisture related issues such as mildew and premature breakdown in some of the berries. Shippers are working diligently to keep problem fruit out of the pack but with the extreme nature of these past weather issues there will be a noticeable decrease in overall quality. The market will remain firm with open market fruit becoming increasingly tight as we move into the weekend . Although projections are not calling for severe heat , we are expecting another warming trend coming up Sunday through next week where temps are expected to reach mid 80s to 90s inland. The market will remain strong with higher undertones through next week.
Broccoli supplies continue to get tighter as we are currently gapping in supplies and lower yields due to the recent heat. Quality is fair to poor depending on the region with slight purpling, pin rot, some mechanical damage, hollow core and occasional yellow cast.
Citrus (Lemons)
Domestic supplies on 140’s and larger continue to be tight. We’ve seen a high demand for domestic supplies, imports supplies seem to be winding down. Suppliers are doing their best to cover orders day to day. Current supplies are being harvested from District 2 (Southern California Region) and are winding down with suppliers maximizing fruit availability and it’s fresh utilization. Some suppliers have started District 3 (California Desert/Arizona Region), supplies are light to start but will gradually increase over the next few weeks.
Citrus (Limes)
Supplies continue to get tighter each week and markets are rising quickly as well. Due to the drought condition in the growing regions the industry is getting light packouts and minimal crossings. The outlook moving forward de¬pends on the weather in Mexico, without any rain we won’t see improvement until the next 4-6 weeks. Sizing profile on 230/250 size look to be in better shape than 110 – 175 sizes. Quality has been fair, we are seeing oil spotting and some stylar still. Please know that we are looking to find other options and continue to source limes from other growing regions. Current markets have risen weekly and are expected to moving forward until supplies improve.
Stone Fruit
Stone fruit supplies continue to get lighter. Yellow nec¬tarines are pretty much finished now. There is very little residual fruit left and very limited on size ranges. White nectarines are steady with more availability than yellow, but will finish up over the next week. Yellow and white peaches are steady, although the fruit is heavy on larger size ranges. We expect peaches to last through September. Plums are in good supplies with good quality. Plums will last through Oc¬tober. Overall, stone fruit markets are climbing. Demand has increased as a result of schools starting up. Unfortunately, this year’s weather was very warm and brought on stone fruit early in the season. This will leave us with a shorter late season harvest. Plums will be our only late season opportu¬nity on stone fruit.
Tomatoes (Western)
California rounds are steady and have not shown much waiver in the last several weeks. Overall, production is con¬sistent as farms work though lower yields due to excessive temperatures. Similarly, romas are also showing challenges from the heat waves in California at a time when Mexico imports are only moderate. The newly agreed suspension agreement draft has eased concerns of a shortage of tomatoes coming from Mexico helping to steady supply as growers in Mexico continue to work through transition and recent rains. Grape and cherry tomatoes are continuing to improve from the past couple of weeks now that supply is improving out of Mexico.

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