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MARKETS AND TRENDS

The U.S. Department of Agriculture released its initial forecast for 2014-15, pegging the orange crop at 108 million boxes, up from last season's total of 104.4 million. Early-mid varieties accounted for 52 million boxes, while Valencias came in at 56 million boxes. "This is a positive number as the Florida citrus grower continues to battle citrus greening... Read more
Beneficial rains over the Red River Valley in late August and early September were setting the stage for good harvest conditions of the region’s red potato crop. Ted Kreis, marketing and communications director of the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association in East Grand Forks, MN, added that good harvest conditions, including a softening of the northern... Read more
Tarheel 2014 sweet potato harvest will be back to normal
BENSON, NC — North Carolina's sweet potato harvest, still in full swing at mid-September, is back to normal, and none too soon. After two years in a row of below-average acreage planted due to weather, the 2014 crop is growing on 66,000 acres. That's the USDA estimate cited by Sue Johnson-Langdon, executive director of the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission,... Read more
“The weather in Louisiana has been great for this year’s sweet potato crop,” Rene Simon, executive director of the Louisiana Sweet Potato Commission, headquartered in Baton Rouge, LA, told The Produce News in mid-August. “Overall it’s been a really good growing season for our producers.” He said that the crop was planted a little late due to cool and wet weather,... Read more
Normal California kiwifruit crop expected as light Chilean season wraps up
The board of directors of the California Kiwifruit Administrative Committee, in a meeting July 23, approved an estimate for the total volume of California kiwifruit expected to be marketed from the 2014 harvest in the range of 6.8 million to 7 million seven-pound tray equivalents. In context, that would be considered “a normal production year,” according to... Read more
With Mexico ending a bit early, Brazil and then Ecuador will be the main sources for mango supplies for the last third of the 2014 calendar year. Typically, Mexico lasts well into September overlapping the Brazilian deal, which usually gets underway in August and has an eight- to 10-week shipping window before greater volume from Ecuador hits the market in late... Read more
California date harvest running one to two weeks early with good quality
“The crop is starting early this year,” said Lori Cooper,  manager of the California Date Administrative Committee in Indio, CA, in an interview with The Produce News Sept. 3. It is running anywhere from seven days to 14 days ahead of normal, “depending on where you are in the valley.” The California Date Administrative Committee is a federal marketing... Read more
In agriculture, weather often has the last word. Earlier in the growing season, it was appearing that the 2014 Idaho potato crop may come in early, size well, and have good yields. But August was unusually cool and wet in eastern Idaho where most of the state’s potatoes are grown, and that slowed down the growth of the tubers, leading some in the industry to... Read more
California Navel Orange Objective Measurement Report, issued by the California Department of Agriculture in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service, is a usually reliable estimate of California's Navel crop. The newest report, released Sept. 11, estimates the 2014-15 crop at 78 million 40-pound cartons,... Read more
Wisconsin potatoes enjoying strong start to 2014 season
The weather has been kind, providing Wisconsin potato growers with a very good summer production season. The earliest harvest started well in mid-August. Weather permitting, the growers expect a very good fall harvest.   “It’s been a great growing season. It’s gone real well,” said Mike Carter, chief executive officer of Bushmans’ Inc., in Rosholt, WI. Wisconsin’s... Read more
Potential for a record-setting apple crop looms large on Washington’s horizon
Washington apple producers are rising to the occasion, changing the notion of what the “new normal” is looking like for the state’s industry. This season, the Evergreen State is predicted to market 140.2 million 40-pound boxes of apples, another large crop and anticipated record-setter. Jon DeVaney, executive director of the Yakima Valley Growers-Shippers Association,... Read more
Much-hoped-for rain fell in Colorado's San Luis Valley this summer, giving the region's potato producers a much-needed respite from ongoing drought conditions and declining aquifer levels. "The San Luis Valley has had a decent year so far in terms of surface water flows. For the first time in the last several years, stream flow amounts were near normal through... Read more
Michigan’s apple growers will harvest approximately 28.74 million bushels of apples this year, according to the official crop estimate announced Aug. 22 at the USApple Outlook meeting in Chicago. This estimate is in line with the 2013 crop, which was a record size crop of 30 million bushels. “Michigan’s growers, packers and shippers are ready to get their apples... Read more
Peruvian sweet onion volume to show uptick this season
Exports of Peruvian sweet onions may grow by as 10 percent during the 2014-15 season. In late July, Miguel Ognio, chief executive officer for KeyPerú S.A., attributed the increase to increased land in production. According to Ognio, approximately 7,400 acres (3,000 hectares) of sweet onions were planted this season. The expansion is primarily occurring in Arequipa,... Read more
New York apple growers geared up for a second fabulous crop
"We convened on a conference call with our members across the state on July 25," Julia Stewart, spokesperson for the New York Apple Association headquartered in Fishers, NY, told The Produce News. They forecasted then that crop would be 30 million bushels, just slightly above our average of 29.5 million but not as high as our 2013 crop which was estimated at... Read more
Tomato market strong, enters typical August scenario
It happens every year. August is the month that every homeowner with a garden becomes a tomato farmer, and many small farmers come out of the woodwork to supply their local farmers’ markets with an abundance of round red tomatoes or even heirloom varieties. “We call it the dog days of August and this year we are starting to experience it a little early,” said... Read more
Garlic prices expected to stay generally strong
With a similar acreage planted to last year and normal yields expected, the 2014 California garlic crop should be up a little from last year, when yields were off somewhat, according to Bill Christopher, president of Christopher Ranch LLC in Gilroy, CA. At the same time, the amount of Chinese garlic in the market this year should be down, as China has a lighter... Read more
New York state’s apple harvest is anticipated to get under way Aug. 15, right on schedule, and growers are expecting this year’s crop to be a strong encore to last year’s vintage yield. Meanwhile, an all-new consumer website dedicated to New York state apples offers variety information, recipes and locator maps to help find local apples. Apple growers from across... Read more
Peach harvest in southwest Michigan is under way. “A few are in now,” said Barry Winkel, the partner and general manager of Benton Harbor, MI-based Greg Orchards & Produce Inc. The volume will grow in the last days of July. Red Haven peach harvest will begin from this area in the first week of August, Winkel said. Southwest Michigan’s peach trees were... Read more
Weather takes toll on 2014 Rocky Ford cantaloupe volume
Despite some recent hail storms and difficult spring weather in southwestern Colorado, Rocky Ford cantaloupe producers are expecting to harvest an overall volume of the signature fruit that is comparable to last season. "Our business is 100 percent dependent on weather," said Michael Hirakata, chairman of the Rocky Ford Growers Association and general manager... Read more