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Fresh from the Field

This week’s fresh update

February 13, 2018 | Volume 5, Issue 7

Conventional Vegetables

Volume of asparagus is still strong. We expect another week of good weather and good supplies. This is a great time to promote asparagus. We are starting to see a slight shift in sizing from the larger sizes of jumbo, ex-large and large to more standard and small. This indicates we are past the peak volume and this trend will continue until we close the season in northern Mexico.

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There is plenty of availability out of Mexico. Prices are coming off due to heavy supply. The quality has been good.

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Broccoli & Cauliflower

John.Tillman@robinsonfresh.com

Supplies currently exceed demand. Markets should remain depressed for the remainder of February as the East Coast is back into steady supply. Quality is strong overall.

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Volume on cabbage continues to remain strong in both Texas and Florida with good availability. Quality has been great with fair weather conditions the last couple of weeks in both regions. Demand will start to pick up for the holiday pull by the end of the month. Supplies will not be as strong as last year.

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Brawley and Oxnard are the primary shipping points for celery out of California. Supplies are plentiful from the Brawley area with promotable volume available. Quality is reported as good with occasional light color on the outer petioles.

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There is plenty of availability coming out of Mexico driving the price down from last week. The quality has been good and we should not have any supply issues for this week.

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Steady supply is available on Collard, Kale, Mustard, and Turnip. This should be the trend for the next 1-2 months.

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Yuma, Arizona and the Imperial Valley, California are the primary shipping points for Iceberg Lettuce off the west coast. The weather forecast for the southern growing region calls for mild temperatures over the next two week with a very low chance of precipitation. Overall, quality is reported as clean with occasional wild heads and close trim.

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Yuma, Arizona and the Imperial Valley, California are the primary shipping points for leaf lettuces off the west coast. The weather forecast for the next few weeks is calling for near average temperatures across all of the southern growing region which will keep plants growing at a rapid rate. Overall quality is reported as good with occasional twists and close trim.

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Mexican grown onion crossings have slowed down a bit due to weather issues. Medium sizing in all colors are hard to find. Texas grown 1015 carton sweets are just getting started. Washington, Idaho and Oregon still have plenty of all sizes and colors for sale.

Potato seasons is going strong out of our multiple locations. The market seems to be holding steady right now and the quality of our potatoes is great. In Prince Edward Islands, the Rooster and Blonde Bella are in good supply. Out of Center Colorado, there are many varieties to choose from. Rooster, Blonde Bella, Russets, Organic Russets, Reds, Yellows and Anya Fingerling potato. Up in Warden, Washington we have Conventional Rooster and Blonde Bella ready to go.
In Organics, there are Rooster, Blonde Bella, Russets and Apache. For those looking for a different potato to promote the Apache is a great choice.

There are no changes on zucchini out of Mexico crossing Nogales. Quality is marginal and supply exceeds demand. Prices remain moderate and do not expect much change for the next 7 days. Yellow squash is slightly higher. Quality is mixed in most growing regions and demand moderate.
Florida zucchini prices remain lower and demand is moderate with mixed quality. Yellow squash volume is light and quality is mixed. Newer fields are starting in Homestead, Immokalee and Arcadia, Florida. Volume is increasing and prices should come off slightly over the next 7 days.

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Volumes are normally light this time of year with quality performing as expected for the winter months which means typical Southern Florida winter corn available, 1.5″ barrel size and 6″ length.

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Conventional Fruits

Many retailers have moved to 100 count apples versus 88’s and larger. This is due to the larger price spread on certain varieties such as pinks, grannies and honeys.

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Mexico
Mexico continues to be the main supplier for the US market. Inbound volumes out of Mexico continue to be high. Demand continues to be strong, especially on 48’s and larger. Buyers and markets are adjusting to the new disposition on transportation laws and costs. The market has increased in part because pricing at the grower levels has increased and some growers are reducing harvest. There is high demand on large fruit. The crop on the trees is reported to be healthy and in good supplies. They are moving to harvest higher altitude land. Dry matter levels are good at this point and quality and ability to ripen fruit is good as well. We are in the regular bloom crop throughout Q1 2018.
California
Harvest is still light. More areas have reached the minimum dry matter percentage on 60’s and larger but several growers are holding off harvest until markets strengthen more. Volumes will increase as we advance through February into March. Clean, good quality fruit reported.
Peru
Awaiting for new crop this year. In the month of February we see Green Skin fruit (Fuertes variety) available. Hass normally starts harvesting for export in March/April.
Chile
Shipments to the US have been low volume. A lot of the Chilean fruit is being exported to other markets such as Europe and Asia. The crop was affected by heavy rains during the beginning of the season and made fruit mature faster. We are reaching end part of their season.
Colombia
Shipments to the US had stopped temporarily due to some problems at field to keep certified groves suitable for shipment and export to US.

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There is good volume on blueberries this week but we will be on the downward side of the Chilean season soon. Quite a few ships and container are still waiting to be unloaded at the ports in Delaware and New Jersey since last weekend due to weather-related issues slowing the unload. The Port of Philly and surrounding area is slow due to short-staffing because of the Big Game combined with weather; this should be better by the end of the week.
Raspberries remain tight as more rain fell in Michoacán, Mexico over the weekend making it difficult to enter the fields.
Blackberries are still in good production, however, quality is mixed due to post-rain issues.

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Cantaloupes from offshore suppliers are available on both coasts and there is a good distribution of sizing as well. Deals are to be had on smaller fruit as supply is heaviest on 12s and 15s. Look for regular supply to be available this week and next week.

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Update California Navels
The California navel season is about 48% harvested. Fruit quality is holding strong and eating quality is great. Navel movement has really picked up for both domestic and export. The size structure is still running 72, 56, 48, 88 and fruit is at full color. Some shippers are scrambling to pack whatever Summer navels they have to stretch out the season to the middle of March for the Valencias.
Update California Lemons
The D-1 lemon season is moving along nicely with 50% of the crop harvested and a few shippers are either starting D-2 or will be starting soon. The lemon size structure is 140, 115, 165, 95 and are holding up strong with great eating quality. The fruit has held up well in the markets in both domestic and export and currently is peaking in demand.
Update California Mandarins
The Murcott and Tango season is about 40% harvested with no signs of slowing down as demand for export and domestic is at its peak. The fruit quality and taste is really good with brix between 12.5 and 14.0. This crop is a lot lighter than expected and the blocks are picking light. The size structure right now is 28, 32, 36, 24, 18 and growing.
Update Texas Grapefruit
As Florida is wrapped up, Texas grapefruit is moving along well. Most customers are slowly transitioning into Texas grapefruit. The quality has been great this season and it looks like they will run through the end of March and maybe into the beginning of April. They are harvesting heavy volumes and demand is very high. The size structure is 48, 56, 40, 36 and has great eating quality.
Update Organic Navels
The organic navel season is moving along with a few shippers starting to wrap up the season. There are a few shippers that are talking about going all the way through March and a few into April. The size structure is 72, 56, 48, 88 and the eating quality is great. The brix is between 12.5 and 13.5 and fruit is holding up really well on the market.

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Last week we saw some of the biggest fluctuation of the grape market that we had seen in sometime. This week the market has settled and we do not anticipate any major market adjustments in the coming weeks. Volume is continuing to increase as we are about 2 weeks away from peak volume. Peak volume will continue through March and then volume will start to decrease. We are approaching the perfect time to promote red and green grapes with promotable volume available in multiple varieties including Sweet Celebration, Flames, and Crimsons for red grapes.
Green grape varieties include Thompson, Sugraone, Arra 15, Sweetie, and Sweet Globes.
Black grapes and Red globe grape volume is slowly increasing and are available to complete your import grape selection.

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Honeydew supply is decent. Supplies are a bit lighter than last week. We have Mexican honeydews in Nogales, Arizona. Honeydew also coming from Honduras both in Florida and in California. We should see decent supplies for the balance of the week and also next week. Quality overall is nice with good sugar.

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Our limes are grown in eastern Mexico, and the current crop shows excellent quality with good green color. We are currently peaking on 175s with very good availability on 150s and 110s. We are seeing fair availability on 200s/230s/250s. Over the next week we are expecting to see a slight shift in size, moving to 200s and 230s. Overall, supplies will start to decline through the end of the month.

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Peruvian mangos are peaking on Kent variety 8 and 9 count sizes. The fruit is exhibiting excellent quality and good blush color. Volume of Peruvian mangos has increased with better supplies available. Demand remains high, especially on 10 and 12 counts. Mexico has begun harvesting the Ataulfo or Honey variety. Supplies are still low but are expected to increase in the next few weeks. Peak sizing is on 18’s and 22’s and the quality is reasonable for early crop mangos. Some minor cosmetic defects should be expected like scarring and some latex staining.

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There have been lighter supplies the past 2 weeks as the growing region experienced heavy rains and overcast, cloudy weather, causing fruit not to mature as rapidly. Better weather is forecast for this week with volume projected to increase upwards. Markets remain high due to low production. Expect this trend to continue as well. Quality is excellent, with size profile mostly 9s and 12s.

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The market is steady on most varieties. Anjou 120’s and smaller are very tight. On the import side, Argentina’s crop is down 30%. This, however, does not mean we will receive fewer pears necessarily. It does mean that prices will probably be stronger throughout the season as compared to last year.

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Pineapple

Pineapple (Offshore)
Gustavo.Lora@robinsonfresh.com
Weather in Costa Rica has improved significantly with partly cloudy days and less rainfall in the Northern region of Costa Rica. Port operations are still the main issue at this time with some vessels canceling the stop in port Limon completely. This continues to have a domino effect with more delays in vessel departures. No significant temperature drops triggering natural flowering have been reported for last week. Quality in all our farms is reported as good, lighter shell color and solid 14+ brix are reported on all farms. USDA is reporting a slight increase in inbounds for week 5 at 600 loads up from week 4 at 550 loads inbound from Costa Rica. Availability offered is still tight on all counts with improvement expected to come after week 9 of packing. The market is reported as steady with moderate demand.

Pineapple (Mexican)
Jiovani.Guevara@robinsonfresh.com
The main growing regions in Mexico are the states of Veracruz, Tabasco and Colima, crossing mostly through the Texas border. Supplies from Mexico are good with sustained demand. Markets have remained stable in last couple of weeks with good supplies from both Costa Rica and Mexico. Weather conditions in the growing region is reported to be in the high 70’s with 40-80% chance of showers later in the week. Quality is reported to be very good with brix levels averaging 13% and supply peaking on 5/6 count and limited supplies of 8 count.

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California production areas have no rain in the forecast this week; both Oxnard and Santa Maria will experience some cooler temperatures which will slow down the maturation of the fruit. Florida production is still steady. there is rain in the forecast the front half of this week. Quality could be compromised from the heat and rain over the past week. Central Mexico production will be steady this week, with fruit potentially available mid-week for shipping out of Texas. Growing areas in central Mexico did experience some rain last week, and we are still feeling the effects on availability today. We are post-holiday now, so the market should start to stabilize and have more fruit available towards the end of the week. Please be sure to pre-book your orders!
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Supplies are good out of Southern Mexico are a little tight on seedless and mini watermelon. Supplies continue to be steady as they are picked up in Nogales, Arizona and Edinburg, Texas from Southern Mexico. Brix range from 9 to 11 on conventional melons and some lots are higher. We have some seedless and minis hitting Tifton, Georgia from the Yucatan, Mexico each week. There are some offshore seedless and minis on the east coast and west coast as well. Some of the spring Florida melons have been planted last couple of weeks in southern Florida.

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Organic Fruits & Vegetables

Washington State has set a record crop of organic apples for the 2017/2018 season. Supply heavily outweighs demand on all varieties with the exception of Honeycrisp. Quality remains exceptional and is expected to hold up for a couple months before condition becomes subject. Imports from the Southern Hemisphere will start to arrive in late March or early April.

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Organic Consolidation

Bob.Stone@chrobinson.com

The Los Angeles Service Center is a great tool to optimize your supply chain by having your smaller quantity items consolidated for easy pick up. With ELDs having a greater impact on transportation, reducing pickups will aid in getting your customer their product on time. Organic produce is an area of specialty for the Los Angeles Service Center. Give us the shopping list and we will work to improve your customers quality, pricing and overall satisfaction. With a wide array of offerings, custom packs and customer solutions, the Los Angeles Service Center is poised to bring value to your account.

Organic Dry Vegetables

John.Pursel@robinsonfresh.com

Tomorrow’s® Organic label bell peppers, cucumbers and mini sweet peppers are crossing from Mexico weekly. Loading out of Nogales, our bell pepper quality has improved and a range of sizes are available from extra large to medium as well as some choice. Cucumbers are currently being packed in 36ct as well as selects. Our organic mini sweet pepper production is ramping back up. They are loading at the Robinson Fresh Service Center in San Bernardino in 1 lb. as well as 8oz. bags. Now is the time to promote.

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The desert is just about done with only small amounts of larger sized fruit available. Region 2 (Fallbrook, Temecula, coastal, etc.) is starting to fill the pipeline with the hopes that we see prices drop by week 7. There is some fruit from the Santa Clara river valley, but that if not very plentiful at this time.

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Currently, organic mini melons are in a gap and are expected to have more availability by late-March out of Central Mexico.

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We are currently moving organic onions and shallots out of Hollister, California. For organic red onions, we are packing a 40# Jumbo carton. For organic shallots, we are packing a 4/5# carton. Quality is top notch with the market holding fairly steady for California.

*Updated 1/23/18

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Organic Oranges

Tom.Ashcroft@chrobinson.com

The organic navel season is moving along with a few shippers starting to wrap up the season. There are some shippers talking about going through March and a few into April. The size structure is 72, 56, 48, 88 and the eating quality is great. The brix is between 12.5 and 13.5 and fruit is holding up really well on the market.

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There are ample supplies of domestic D’Anjou in Washington State.
Domestic Bartletts are done for the season.
Import Bartletts from Argentina will land in mid-February on both coasts. Argentina had ideal growing conditions this season and expect a clean crop with good supply available through the summer months.

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Organic potato season is in full swing with good supply coming out of Center, Colorado. Russet potatoes are a Norkotah variety and sizing is ideal for 3# and 5# bags. Cartons of russets are at a premium right now and are limited in supply. Red and Yellow potatoes are available in 3#, 5# bags, and Size A cartons. B and C sizes are very limited. We have the Anya Fingerling potato available, packed in a 16/1.5# bag and 24# carton. Rooster potatoes are still available but are limited in supply out of Colorado. In Warden, Washington we have Russets, Reds, Yellows, and Apache varieties and quality are looking great.

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There is limited supply of organic squash coming out of Mexico. Excessive heat has affected the quality. There is even less availability on yellow squash with no anticipated change in volume or quality for this week.

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Organic Sweet Potatoes

Chris.Lemmon@robinsonfresh.com

Robinson Fresh organic sweet potatoes are available in California, Arkansas and North Carolina. At this time, all product is storage crop and is holding well. Arkansas and North Carolina have the Covington variety. Our California program has the most varieties available with Bonita, Murasaki, Covington (Beauregard) and Diane (Garnet). Pack sizes available are 40 carton as well as bags ranging from 2 – 10 pounds.
*Updated 2/6/18

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Transportation

Available capacity on the West Coast, specifically in California, has improved greatly over the past few weeks. Continue to plan for lead time in all regions; also evaluate transit matrixes with your carrier partners to ensure they comply with hours of service.
Northeast: Recommend 24 hours lead-time in Northeast
Southeast: Recommend 24-48 hours lead-time in Southeast
Midwest: Recommend 24-48 hours lead-time in Midwest
South: Recommend 48-72 hours lead-time in South Texas
Northwest: Recommend 48-72 hours lead-time in Northwest
West: Recommended 24 hours lead-time in West
John.Stenderup@chrobinson.com

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Fresh from the kitchen

ROASTED ROSEMARY ROOSTER POTATOES

Ingredients

  • 2.2 lb bag Albert Bartlett Rooster Potatoes
  • Kosher salt to taste
  • Rosemary to taste
  • Pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

… More at: Roasted Rosemary Roosters Potatoes

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