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MARKETS AND TRENDS

California rains expected to disrupt strawberry shipments throughout winter
Because of four straight years of drought, many have forgotten that buying strawberries in the winter from California comes with potential supply gaps.   When it rains it is difficult to get into the fields, and depending upon the severity of the storm, crop damage can occur. However, strawberry plants are typically prolific producers so a few days of good... Read more
Chilean blueberry season in full swing
Chilean blueberries have gotten off to a slower start than expected, but since Week 51 weekly shipments to the United States and Canada have been higher than last season. In fact, during Week 5, the U.S. market will see a new historic high for weekly arrivals, with more than 6,000 tons of Chilean blueberries entering the market. Recent strong arrivals will... Read more
Good desert weather flips veg market as supplies increase
On Jan. 15, the Washington Post ran a story on the front page of its Style section headlined, “Cauliflower is so hot right now you may not be able to afford it — or find it.” That same day, cauliflower from the California and Arizona’s winter vegetable districts was being sold at below break-even prices. “It shows you how quickly things can change,” said Denny... Read more
San Luis Valley acreage remains stable, organics see increase
Overall potato acreage in Colorado’s San Luis Valley has remained relatively stable in recent years, with a 4-5 percent fluctuation depending on rotation. But one notable aspect of that acreage is the increase in certified organic acres, which in 2015 made up slightly less than 8 percent of the total. According to information provided by the Colorado Potato... Read more
Red potato marketing  could enjoy uptick in 2016
The overall mood of several Red River Valley red potato shippers reflected substantial disappointment with low prices as 2015 shipping drew to a close. However, streaks of optimism simmered based on several points. These grower-shippers reported weeks ago that Quebec potato shippers were unloading large volumes into the East Coast markets that are critically... Read more
Packaging for nearly every fresh produce item has undergone innovations and even revelations in recent years. And so it’s no surprise that apples are also being packaged in new ways Brief research shows new, emerging and popular fresh apple packaging include totes, clamshells, foam nets, baguettes, consumer-sized boxes, individually wrapped, sealed and resealable... Read more
The presence of El Niño can significantly influence weather patterns across large portions of the globe for an extended period of time. “El Niño is real,” stressed Mark Greenberg, president and chief executive officer of Capespan North America, a global supplier of fresh fruit. “Its impact is felt with increased moisture and precipitation in the eastern Pacific,... Read more
Vegetable supplies tight as holidays approach
Rick Reed, vice president of produce and floral for the New York-based chain Price Chopper, perhaps said it best when asked about the high price of vegetables this winter. “Forget the high prices, you can’t even get cauliflower. Nobody is even quoting it,” he said Dec. 8. “I’ve been around for a long time so I’ve seen some tight situations, [and] this ranks... Read more
The U.S. Department of Agriculture lowered its estimate of the 2015-16 Florida orange crop to 69 million boxes, nearly 30 percent below last year’s crop of 96.7 million boxes. "The lower estimate is a reflection of the times and the challenges our growers face," Michael W. Sparks, executive vice president and chief executive officer of Florida Citrus Mutual,... Read more
Washington potato supplies could be tight this marketing season
Chris Voigt, executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission, said the 2015 harvest has generally been picture perfect. “This was one of the smoothest harvest seasons we’ve had in Washington,” he told The Produce News. “There were no major delays, and the crop got into the barn much earlier than normal.” He provided some additional insights about... Read more
A week before Thanksgiving, vegetable grower-shipper giant Tanimura & Antle announced, “The West Coast is officially sold out for the weekend.” In the firm’s regular supply outlook newsletter, T&A wrote:  “We knew it was going to be tough to meet Thanksgiving demand this season, but never in the history of our company have supplies been so limited.... Read more
Spring rains result in downward estimate for Chilean cherries
A cold spring, occasional frosts and rains that have been both heavier and later than previous years have resulted in a revised estimate from the Chilean Cherry Committee. The committee, which represents 84 percent of the industry’s export volume, has released a new update and estimate based on field data and early shipments. As of Week 46, Chile has exported... Read more
 Florida orange crop estimate drops again
The U.S. Department of Agriculture lowered its estimate of the 2015-16 Florida orange crop by 7.5 percent, or 6 million boxes, to 74 million boxes. The final 2014-15 Florida orange crop tallied 96.7 million boxes. The USDA dropped 3 million boxes off early-mid varieties, now pegging them at 37 million boxes and 3 million boxes off Valencias, which put that variety... Read more
Chilean citrus reaches new heights in 2015
With strong retail and consumer demand, Chile shipped nearly 204,000 tons of Navels, lemons and easy peelers (clementines and Mandarins) globally, with 165,000 tons, or 81 percent, coming to the United States and Canada between May and October. Total citrus exports from Chile climbed 30 percent over the previous season. Looking at global Chilean citrus export... Read more
ATLANTA — The Chilean fruit industry has seen challenges in recent years ranging from untimely freezes to strikes at shipping ports to a less-than-favorable exchange rate with its trading partners, which have in one way or another hampered its important fresh fruit exports. But this season officials are optimistic that the fresh fruit export season is shaping... Read more
Citrus industry at crossroads dealing with greening issues
Citrus greening disease has left Florida with its smallest crop of oranges in more than 50 years and is now threatening both Texas and California, as well as other parts of the world.   Joel Nelsen, president of California Citrus Mutual in Exeter, said the entire U.S. citrus industry is at a crossroads with the future of the industry on the line. Already... Read more
Mexican produce largely unscathed by Hurricane Patricia, with the exception of papayas
ATLANTA — Mexico’s produce industry dodged a bullet Oct. 23-24 when Hurricane Patricia dissipated upon landfall after fear that there would be widespread damage from the powerful Category 5 storm. Weather reports indicated that Patricia was one of the most powerful hurricanes ever recorded, with sustained winds of 200 mph. But the winds decreased to 165 mph... Read more
Western veg prices rising with tighter supplies expected in November
An early-October supply-exceeds-demand situation for Iceberg lettuce and other vegetable crops has righted itself and western grower-shippers are expecting shorter supplies and higher prices as the Thanksgiving holiday pull begins to materialize. Already on Oct. 14, cauliflower was selling in the high teens while broccoli was in the mid-teens and Iceberg lettuce... Read more
Weather wreaks havoc on Ontario’s apple crop
Consumers can expect fewer Ontario apples on the market this fall and it’s all due to unfavorable weather during this past growing season. A spring frost the night of May 22-23 that affected many of the province’s apple-growing regions is responsible for much of the decline in this year’s apple crop, which is estimated to be down about 50 percent from normal... Read more
The U.S. Department of Agriculture issued its initial 2015-16 Florida orange forecast, pegging the crop at 80 million boxes, down 17 percent from last season's total of 96.7 million boxes. The USDA estimated early to mid varieties at 40 million, down from 47.4 million at the end of last season, while the Valencia orange total is 40 million boxes compared to... Read more