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Fresh from the Field

This week’s fresh update

June 12, 2018 | Volume 5, Issue 28

Conventional Vegetables

Demand continues to remain light for the early weeks of summer, but we expect this trend to shift as some of the local programs come to a close. Washington has already finished, and New Jersey is expect to end this coming weekend. This will leave Michigan and Ontario as the two main summer regions going in the north. While Central Mexico is starting to come on with some excellent volume and quality along with Peru. The month of June and early July will be great times to run promotions as volumes are plentiful and quality is excellent.

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Coachella is finishing up for the season. This district has the smaller bells such as choice and medium. Bakersfield has started and they are in crown pick which is yielding Jumbo, XL, and Large.

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Broccoli & Cauliflower

John.Tillman@robinsonfresh.com

The broccoli market remains relatively tight with strong demand along with expensive freight rates to go across the country. Don’t expect a major change until Maine broccoli starts around 7/15-7/20. The cauliflower market is depressed overall. California is the only major player with supply. Cooler temps have slowed growth. This should remain the story for at least another 5-7 days.

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The Salinas celery season has begun and quality looks excellent with reports from this area showing medium green color, crisp texture and overall clean product. There will be some overlap between the northern and southern growing regions and there is still plenty of promotable volume available coming from the Oxnard area. Most growers are peaking on the larger sizes.

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The Salinas celery season is set to start within the next few weeks and quality looks excellent. Initial quality reports from this area are showing medium green color, crisp texture and overall clean product. There is a lot of promotable volume available coming from the Oxnard area as well. Most growers peaking on the larger sizes.

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Supply is minimal out of Nogales. California has a steady supply with markets slightly higher than last week. US cucumber out of the east are showing wide range in quality.

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Supply remains limited across all shipping locations on greens. This will be the trend for the next 1-2 weeks.

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Quality overall is reported as very good with full frame heads, clean condition and nice texture. Warm temperatures are expected today but temperatures should be near average over the next few days. Supplies are more balanced this week and there will be promotable volume available going into Father’s Day weekend. Salinas and Santa Maria are the primary shipping points for Iceberg lettuce off the west coast.

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The heat wave forecast from last week is expected to peak but won’t be quite as hot as originally expected. Temperatures forecast for the end of this week are near average for this time of year. Overall, the weather has been favorable and most growers are reporting great yields and quality with no major defects. Excellent supplies expected over the next few weeks and there will be plenty of promotable volume available. Salinas and Santa Maria are the primary shipping points for Leaf lettuces off the west coast.

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Russet Potatoes
The storage crop is steady from most northern growing regions (Idaho, Washington, Canada, etc.), and pricing is steady as growers have switched to the Centennial variety (flatter and smooth) which tends to suffer the least through its dormancy period. The new crop is available from central California, and due to the higher growing costs, is priced much higher than the storage version. Bulk and bag options are available. Both new crop and storage will overlap each other through July when storage crop tends to clean up. After this, both regions should see a drop in price to aid those efforts until new crop is available again in September. We don’t anticipate any significant news until mid-July.
Varietal Potatoes (red/yellow)
YELLOWS have loosened up a little from a supply perspective but pricing will remain high through the summer. RED potatoes are waning out of Florida. Prices are steady, but most of storage has cleaned up so the hot deals may be harder to come by. New crop reds are available in California. If you are after price, stick with the Florida crop.
Specialty Potatoes
We have cleaned up our eastern Canadian Rooster crop, which leaves us with a new crop California which we’re pricing very close to Reds. We still have approximately 4 loads of fingerling potatoes in PEI. These are the Anya variety and are very similar in appearance to the Russian Banana variety. We can do these in overwrap trays as well as poly bags or bulk cartons. Our other specialty varieties (fingerlings, purples, etc.) are only organic for the summer (see “organic” update). Please see our experts at Potato_Sales@robinsonfresh.com for pricing.
*Updated 6/5/18

There is a good supply of squash out of US growing areas. Pricing has stayed relatively stable. There are slight condition issues out of the East coast due to inclement weather. West coast production is on the rise, but excessive heat on the horizon could affect volume and quality.
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Sweet corn is available in all colors for loading this week and quality is excellent.
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Conventional Fruits

Granny Smiths we have more truckloads left in the Northwest as compared to the same time last year. However, we have less red apples available this year as compared to last year.

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Mexico
Inbound volumes out of Mexico reported on HAB came in at 1000 loads that crossed the border into the US vs the 1000 loads projected. This week is projected to be just under 1000 loads of avocados crossing into the US. Rains are expected to continue again this week and pricing is expected to see a decline on larger sizes while pricing on smaller sizes is firming up. Promotable volumes are expected through the month of June. We are in the last part of the season which will produce darker fruit between now and June 30. We recommend temperatures on transportation, storage and handling at 38-39 F. Please notify your customers that they should expect to see darker fruit and that their Quality Control Departments are aware as well.
California
California is now experiencing warmer weather while only coming in at 245 loads vs the 415 loads they had projected. This is likely an indication that some California growers are waiting for the better anticipated pricing that the 4th of July demand is expected to bring. The weather in the California growing regions are forecasted to be in the mid 70s – low 80s this week and HAB is estimating 400 loads to be harvested this week. Fruit quality is excellent and sizes are peaking on 48s and 60s with approximately 40% color shading showing on the fruit.
Peru
Exports to Europe have been heavy on large sizes. Asia demand has been strong on the limited volume of small sizes Peruvian production brings. Shipments have been increasing each week and we anticipate the US market to see good volumes of 48s and larger hitting the east coast and west coast during the month of June. Promotable volumes are expected to be available through the month of September.
Chile
No shipments were reported. They are finished for this season.
Colombia
Shipments to the US currently not shipping. They are working issues with certifications and permits in fields to export. Dry matter in most areas have reached minimums for export. Small fruit profile will be most prevalent.

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There is good production in California and in North Carolina on Blueberries this week, although there is more rain coming for Georgia. California has about 2-3 weeks, then we should see New Jersey begin with British Colombia not far behind.
Blackberries continue to tighten as Mexico gets closer to the end of their season and Guatemala deals with post-volcano issues. California is starting later than expected with volume not ramping up until next week. Georgia rains keep the Georgia crop in low production mode.
Raspberries remain stable but in low production as we cycle to the next area.

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Cantaloupe supplies continue to improve as more and more domestic production comes on board. Quality overall is good and peak sizing is on Jumbo and 9 count. There is only small volume on smaller fruit. Overall, the quality is very nice with good color and sugar reported. Look for more California and Arizona supplies to be produce and showing up in the marketplace this week.

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Update California Navels
The California summer navel season is coming to an end with most shippers wrapping up the summer navels within the week. Quality is still good for the most part, but we are starting to see more pliable fruit with some quality issues on the market. The crop is about 95% harvested. The brix are anywhere from 14.5 to 16.5. The size structure is still 56, 72, 48, 88, 40 and the demand is very high on small sizes. Some are showing a tinge of green on color, but for the most part looking good.
Update on Chilean Lemons
The import season is underway. The fruit is looking good and solid, and there was no sign of decay on any of the lemons inspected. The fruit cut well inside and was very firm with only some green spotting on small sizes and scar.
Update California lemons
The D-2 season is in full swing and harvest is going great. The D-2 lemon harvest has picked up since the D-1 season is all done and most lemons on market right now are coming from D-2. The sizes structure is still running 140, 165, 115, 95, and quality is looking good, but could change soon with warmer weather coming up.
Update Chilean Mandarin
Chilean Mandarins are slowly trickling in to the US market. Demand is high and quality has been good so far. The fruit is firm with good brix levels. Peak sizing is on the 30/32/34 count equivalent.
Update California Grapefruit
The California grapefruit season is well underway with 25% of fruit already harvested and the demand is very good right now. California grapefruit size structure is 48, 56, 40, 36, 32 with great eating quality and brix at 13.0 to 15.0 and great blush on the inside and outside of the fruit. The demand for export and the domestic market should be great for everyone from shippers to growers and the market.
Update California Valencias
The Valencia season is well underway and shippers are heavy into harvesting Valencias. The market is slightly increasing. The export demand is good, but again only on small sizes. The quality on Valencias is good and the fruit is at full color with an occasional tinge of green. The Valencia size structure is changing with great spring weather. The fruit is growing and we are starting to see bigger sizes 72, 88, 56, 48. Quality of the Valencias is very good right now and the brix levels are around 13.0 to 14.0.

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Mexican and Coachella grape inventories remain tight, with nearly all growers oversold daily, especially on green grapes. YOY, both regions remain down significantly in terms of volume that has been harvested year to date and market pricing is more firm than we typically see by this time in the season. Sugarones are struggling to reach the appropriate sugar and brix levels keeping supply very low and prices high. Flames are improved from the last couple weeks but are still demanding a steeper price than previous year and promotions are not recommended. Black seedless grapes (Summer Royals) are also available in pallet volume, along with organic red and green out of both regions.

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Honeydew supply is somewhat light. Supplies are slightly lighter than last week as we are seeing light domestic supply and lower amounts of honeydew crossing in Nogales. We should see a continued light supply of honeydews for the balance of the week. Quality overall is very nice with good appearance and 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 peaking on 200s and have good availability on 230s. 175s should become more available as we move through the month while 150s and 110s will be much lighter in supplies.

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Mangos are currently imported from the states of Michoacán, Jalisco, and Nayarit. The Tommy Atkins variety is representing most of the volume and sizing is well distributed among all sizes. Kent variety mangos are harvested with sizing peaking on 8s and 9s. The quality of the fruit is good with a fair amount of blush. The Honey mangos are peaking on 16s and 18s with fair quality, and the fruit is showing some staining and scarring. Demand over the past couple weeks has been very strong, driving prices up. The supply is beginning to increase and the trend is expected to continue over the next few weeks.

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Papayas are beginning to increase in volume due to hotter weather in the growing region. Volume is expected to produce 5 loads per week with sizing evenly distributed between 8s, 9s, and 12s. Expect this trend to continue this month. Markets are stable and movement is increasing with summer approaching.

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California Bartlett pears will start around July 15. The D’anjou market is very strong in the northwest as supplies are getting shorter.

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Pineapple

Pineapple (Offshore)
Gustavo.Lora@robinsonfresh.com
Heavy rains are reported in the Northern Region of Costa Rica, presenting some challenges with harvesting. Rainy season will go from now well into November. Quality is reported as good, with shell color at .5-1.5 and solid 14+ brix at all our farms. Minor basal spotting on larger fruit, mainly on 5s, has been reported with some loads lost due to water spot. USDA crossing report shows a decrease on inbounds from Costa Rica for week 22 at 940 down from week 21 at 1154 loads. Fruit availability offered at our farms is high and expected to be strong until week 29, with fruit landing in the USA at end of July. We have a steady market with lighter demand.

Pineapple (Mexican)
Jiovani.Guevara@robinsonfresh.com
Veracruz and Tabasco are the main growing regions for pineapples in Mexico and mostly cross thru the border entries in the state of Texas. We expect lower supplies in the next 2-3 weeks as Mexico will be in their low production season. Supplies and quality of the fruit are inconsistent during natural floration. Demand for Mexican pineapples is moderate on all sizes, with moderate inventories on all sizes in the marketplace.

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We should see peak production levels this week in the Salinas/Watsonville and Santa Maria, California growing areas. Weather this week in Santa Maria and the Salinas/Watsonville areas is forecast for sunny skies becoming partly cloudy Friday through the weekend, with highs in the 70s decreasing to the 60s Friday through the weekend and lows in the 50s. Santa Maria, California fruit has occasional bruising, soft shoulder, over ripe and pin rot, with counts averaging 20 to 22, some higher. Salinas/Watsonville areas have occasional bruising, white shoulder and over ripe with counts averaging 18 to 20, some higher.

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Supply on seedless and mini watermelon remain a little tight on the east coast until this weekend. Texas is gapping between Edinburg, Texas and the Dallas Area. The west coast has some supplies from Yuma, Arizona and southern California. We are seeing a bit of quality issues with decay from the rain on the east. The quality in Texas and on the west coast is better. Trucks are very tight in Texas. Supplies on seedless will pick up around June 20 out of Georgia.

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Organic Fruits & Vegetables

Imported organic Gala and Granny Smith apples have arrived on both coasts. Washington State has set a record crop of organic apples for the 2017/2018 season. Supply heavily outweighs demand out of Washington State. Quality on the crop out of the southern hemisphere is expected be very good for supply through the summer months.

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Organic Consolidation

Bob.Stone@chrobinson.com

We would like to take a moment away from the organic activity at the LASC to remind everyone what an asset the LASC can be in assisting with your logistics challenges. With trucks in the Southern California regions tracking at 12 loads available for every refrigerated truck out on the road (and the Salinas area close behind) and trucks out of Nogales just as tight, now is the time to look at the cost savings in using the LASC to consolidate loads. We are right off of I215 with extremely close proximity to I-10, I-15, and CA-210. As most of you know when trucks get tight, the harder it is to find one which will do more than one or two picks. Allow the folks at the LASC help bring your freight in on LTL carriers to consolidate your loads and make it possible to tell perspective over the road carriers you only have one pick up, at the LASC.
This service can come in handy this week as organic grapes and melons out of the southwest desert are still slow to come on due to the unseasonably fluctuation temperatures. Save fuel, time, and profits by using the LASC for one point consolidation. Leafy greens are in abundance as are most other commodities in the vegetable category.
Valencias oranges, grapefruit, and lemons are available organically just about every day but to 2 or 3 growers are needed to fill orders covering the full range of offerings. It is easier and more cost-effective to ship the product into the LASC as opposed to telling a trucker you have 7 pick-ups.

Organic Dry Vegetables

John.Pursel@robinsonfresh.com

Our Florida and Georgia crop is in full swing with yellow S/N, zucchini and cucumbers. All product will load out of Lake Park, Georgia. Green bell peppers are peaking with Jumbo size and are beautiful. Our 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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Organic D2 lemons have high demand with pricing increasing daily. Crop is peaking on the 115/140/165 count with very high demand on the 165/200 count. Demand is slow on the 63/75 count. Quality has been good with about 75% Fancy / 25% Choice.

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Organic mini melons are available in Nogales and the Imperial Valley as well as Coachella. We are underway in Salome, Arizona on our own MelonUp! organic minis as well. Supplies are light but steady.

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Our organic onions and shallots are done for the season. Thank you everyone for your support and looking forward to this fall.

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Organic Oranges

Tom.Ashcroft@chrobinson.com

Organic Valencias are in full swing with peak sizing on 72/88 count. Demand has been fair with the supply of navels diminished. Quality is good with high brix and full color.

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Domestic supply of organic pears has come to an end. Imports of organic Bartlett pears have landed on both coast and D’Anjou’s are available on the West Coast. Quality is excellent and good supplies are expected to last through early summer.

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Organic Potatoes (Red, Russet, Yellow) are currently being packed out of Edison, California. Carton A, B and C’s are in good supplies as well as 5# and 3# bags, quality is outstanding! Organic Russian Banana and French Fingerling potatoes are also available to load in Edison. We are seeing very light yield on our Purple potatoes, so we are pulling back the reigns our blended bag product. Our organic fingerlings are currently being packed in 24# boxes and 16/1.5# bags.
*Updated 6/5/18

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There is organic squash available out of Fresno and Otay Mesa, California. Volume is light and prices are steady from last week.

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Organic Sweet Potatoes

Chris.Lemmon@robinsonfresh.com

Organic sweet potatoes are currently shipping storage crop. Storage is holding well, but prices are starting to rise. Expect them to climb through July. Our pack sizes available are 2lb – 10lb bags, Mediums, US#1 and Jumbos.

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Transportation

Equipment will be re-entering the marketplace this week after the CVSA Road Check, however, some equipment is positioned outside of normal sequence which may cause supply/demand imbalances throughout the week while carrier networks normalize. Also, we will continue to see demand increase with produce seasonality approaching its peak in California.

Northeast: Recommend 24-48 hours lead-time in Northeast
Southeast: Recommend 48-72 hours lead-time in Southeast
Midwest: Recommend 48 hours lead-time in Midwest
South: Recommend 48 hours lead-time in South Texas
Northwest: Recommend 24 hours lead-time in Northwest
West: Recommended 48 hours lead-time in West
John.Stenderup@chrobinson.com

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Fresh from the kitchen

BAJA FISH TACOS WITH MANGO SALSA

Ingredients
For the Mango Salsa

  • 2 large ripe mangos, peeled, pitted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup minced red bell pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 green onions, sliced (green tops only)
  • 1 small jalapeno pepper, stem, seeds and membrane removed

For the Tacos

    • 1 pound cod fillets, rinsed and patted dry
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    • 1/2 teaspoon Mexican oregano
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
    • 8 corn tortillas, warmed
    • 2 cups shredded green or red cabbage
    • 1/2 cup crumbled cotija cheese (may substitute shredded Monterey Jack)

… More at: Baja Fish Tacos with Mango Salsa

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