Market Minute: California farmlands getting saturated again
The driest California drought in a century has made a significant turnaround this winter from all the atmospheric river rain and mountain snowpack. The ground is beyond saturation to a point where it is actually surging back up from the earth.
California agriculture accounts for 80 percent of all the water usage in the state. It irrigates over 9 million acres from rivers, lakes, reservoirs through aqueducts and canals feeding the farmlands.
Year to date, California has had 25 inches of precipitation, an average of 142 percent. The Northern California area snowpack of water equivalent has averaged 169 percent. The Central area is at 213 percent, and South is averaging 249 percent. The statewide average is at 208 percent. This is prior to the atmospheric river drenching the land.
Until we get a better read on the crop outlook in California based on the rain and flooding, we suggest planning your ad programs around it for now. There are still good produce items available from other shipping points to generate plenty of sales.
Iceberg, Leaf and Romaine Lettuce: There is a moderate supply, good quality and good demand out of Yuma, AZ. Iceberg out of western Arizona is light on 24s with a slightly lower market and very light on 30s with a steady market.
Grapes: Chile: Supply is very heavy, demand light and the market steady. Peru: Supply heavy, demand fairly light, market steady. Excellent quality and very promotable.
Clementines: Heavy supply, moderate demand and a steady market. The California season is under way with a good supply and outstanding quality — promotable.
California Navel Oranges: Good quality, good demand, moderate supply on a steady market. Promotable.
Green Bell Peppers: Lighter supply from Florida on a moderate demand. Slightly higher pricing. Market should improve the end of March.
Tomatoes: Steady product is coming out of Mexico with good quality and lower pricing. Florida is also shipping a steady amount with the new crop adding to it in April. Very promotable.
As always, the suppliers are always your best guides in helping you develop the weekly ad promotions. Get additional information on availability and costs from them.
Ron Pelger is a produce industry adviser and industry writer. He can be contacted at 775/843-2394 or by e-mail at [email protected].