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Trendspotting: Low supplies driving up produce prices

By
Craig Levitt, managing editor

The heat wave has broken for much of the country; however, the effects continue to play out. According to Mark Campbell, founder and CEO of ProduceIQ, the heat waves across the West Coast have caused various crops to ripen rapidly. Take strawberries for example: earlier in the season weather created an increased supply and prices plummeted. Now, the reported output in California is near historic lows.

“It would not be unreasonable for strawberry markets to be extremely tight for quite a few weeks,” said Campbell.

Asparagus supply is also expected to be light for the foreseeable future. “Asparagus prices typically climb this time of year as growers begin to transition from central Mexico to the West Coast; however, this year, historic drought conditions are stifling grower output even further,” said Campbell. He added that chillier weather and port delays are slowing the flow of supplies from Peru.

Supply is forcing pear prices higher as well. Bosc pears are being reported at over $50, and Bartlett continues at record prices of $32. “Right now, Northern California is holding the line, but Washington should start in the next three weeks and provide some relief to elevated prices,” said Campbell.

Craig Levitt

Craig Levitt

About Craig Levitt  |  email

When his dreams of becoming a professional hockey player came crashing down due to lack of talent, Craig Levitt turned to journalism. He graduated from Hofstra University in 1992 and has covered various areas of the retail food trade since 1996. Craig joined The Produce News in 2017 and is now managing editor. In his spare time, Craig still plays men’s league hockey (poorly) and enjoys walking the aisles of his favorite supermarket with his wife and two daughters.

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