ASPARAGUS - EXTREME Jumbos are still tight and prices are still escalated due to the end of the season. We expect this to improve next week. There is currently a widespread problem in Caborca, Mexico that is resulting in delayed harvest productivity in fields ranging from 50 – 55% BELOW the levels forecast for this time of year. Current weather is excellent and growers are trying to figure out WHAT factors are causing the delayed initiation of “normal” productivity and harvest levels. Growers are unable to provide volume forecasts to cover pre-planned promotional (ad) commitments. There is so little volume crossing outside of “prior commitments” that the USDA has almost no open market volume on which to report pricing. There is a lot of activity with importers SEARCHING for volume to cover commitments.
AVOCADO - EXTREME We continue to see a shortage in supply and prices rising. We expect this to continue to get worse particularly on larger fruit as the size mix shifts to the heavier fruit.
CAULIFLOWER - EXTREME Due to weather, we are seeing shortages and very high prices. Quality is average. Please expect price increases and short supply.
CELERY - QUALITY ISSUES and shortage in supply. We continue to experience rain events throughout California, with February historically being our “rain” month. In Oxnard, these constant rains have caused the celery to develop many defects in the acres currently being harvested. The outer petioles continue to get water logged (becoming translucent), and although we try to strip these petioles from the stalks while harvesting, this is not always 100 percent effective. More recently, we are experiencing a level of pith much higher than we were three to four weeks ago. Pith at high levels can be a major defect as the inside of the celery will tend to break down quicker and turn into decay. It becomes very apparent at the ends of the celery where the celery has been cut. Even the use of our waterjet cutting technology cannot minimize the effects of high amounts of pith we are experiencing.
Some of the other overall quality issues that celery is experiencing under these constant rain conditions are listed below:Outer petioles – Water logged (translucency)Light color/paleMud inside petioles.Reduce shelf life (17 days max)Brown ends.
It is very important that our customers make every attempt to order the minimum amount of product necessary to fill orders and avoid any excess inventory. With reduced shelf life and the potential higher level of pith than usual this time of year, this is not a good time to stock up for promotions or introduce this product for the first time. We will update this information as we see any substantial shifts in quality.
CILANTRO - EXTREME Supply is very light. Quality is variable, there is still yellowing with some decay. Prices are high and we are seeing shortages.
GARLIC - EXTREME We saw another increase in price. The supply of domestic garlic remains tight. Pricing on domestic peeled 4x5s is still high. In the past week or two, we have observed a slight relief in demand. This is fairly normal following the New Year.
In regards to Chinese garlic, there is an increase in supply especially on the East Coast. During this time of year, it is normal for China to export all pounds that were not placed into cold storage for the year. A percentage of the loads received in the US this past month are because of this, the garlic was not put into cold storage and must be sold in late November/December to avoid expiration. A percentage of Chinese peeled lbs. received in the last month are challenged (especially on the East Coast). Issues include excess translucency, pink and yellow aging/stress marks, mold, etc.
With the additional supply compounded with the quality issues, the price of Chinese garlic has decreased in the past month. This week we are seeing it rise again due to the Chinese supply decreasing.
As we move into the next three months, we expect the Chinese supply to continue to decrease which will lead the market to return to abnormal highs. Some Chinese shippers have recently received higher duty rates from US Customs. There are indications that these companies will not be exporting garlic to the US for the foreseeable future.
LEMONS - SIZING Volume is expected to be low for the next couple weeks. Very tight on 165s and 200s. Mostly large, fancy grade fruit.
FORECAST FOR NEXT MONTH:
Over the next three to five weeks (now through the end of March) the industry will experience issues with supply for romaine/mix lettuce, romaine hearts, broccoli and cauliflower. These issues are a result of the warmer than normal weather conditions that have taken place since start of Yuma and product being 1-2 weeks ahead of schedule (broccoli/cauliflower) and as far ahead of schedule as 2-3 weeks on a high side (romaine/mix and romaine hearts) throughout the entire Yuma growing season. Growers have tried to do what they can to slow product growth and minimize the supply shortage but unfortunately, it is easier said than done when mother nature brings the product forward in Yuma.
In regards to Salinas, the extremely wet and colder than normal weather during the Salinas planting season (January/February) has our growers are doing all they can to try to bring product forward as much as possible to mitigate the potential supply gap, but this has been extremely challenging with temperatures ranging in the mid 50’s to low 60’s plus January and February being some of the wettest months on record. In the next 5 weeks we will see shortages on product. We will keep you updated.
Native Maine Produce & Specialty Foods
10 Bradley Drive
(207) 856-1100 Phone