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Fresh from the Field

This week’s fresh update

April 16, 2019 | Volume 6, Issue 15

Conventional Vegetables

Pepper continues to be a struggle as supplies remain short as the Mexican season has started to approach its end. We’ll continue to receive product through the rest of the month; however, we’ll be trending more to smaller and off-grade sizes. Big retail-size quality product is limited on the west coast and will remain like that for another 10 days at least until Coachella starts seeing volume toward the second part of next week. Florida fields are producing yet the volume is not enough to suffice the East Coast demand. As of today, not a ton of quality problems reported bicoastal, but expect more suntans and choice red as we get into warmer temperatures. Expect both short- and long-term outlook to remain on the shorter side. We suggest to refrain from any pepper promotions for the rest of the month and possibly through May.

Cauliflower – Markets and availability remain active due to excessive rain the west coast has received. Availability and markets will continue to remain volatile until June due to planting gaps over the past 2 months, again caused by the rain. Volume will continue to vary week to week depending on the shipper and weather.
Broccoli – Georgia is in volume on broccoli. This should remain steady for another 5-7 weeks. California is expecting planting gaps over the next 2 months that could play a factor in market and availability. Volume will continue to vary week to week in the west depending on shipper and weather.

^ Back to Conventional Vegetables

Florida cabbage is starting to dry up as Georgia product has become available. More shippers are coming on board by next Monday out of Georgia. Weather out East continues to be good for growing conditions and has led to earlier harvest dates as we move up the coast for cabbage, squash, cucumber, etc. Texas product remains available as well, with markets evening out among the growing regions.

^ Back to Conventional Vegetables

With Oxnard now the primary shipping location for celery on the west coast, supplies remain limited and markets near record highs. Quality reports from this area are listing seeder as the most prevalent issue, although there are also reports of bottom rot due to the heavy rains as well as pith on the outer petioles. Supply from this area is expected to fluctuate week to week due to rain-delayed plantings earlier in the year that will affect the industry as a whole. The warm weather has helped to close some of the near-term supply gaps anticipated earlier this month but there are still some weeks in late April, early May when celery supply is expected to be very limited.

^ Back to Conventional Vegetables

Cucumber supplies remain plentiful in Mexico; new fields in Sonora have started and volume continues to ramp up quickly. Sinaloa is still in production and crossings through Nogales are prevalent. Baja and Central Mexico fields are in play as well with crossings through San Diego and McAllen, respectively. Quality for the most part is good but in Nogales some issues with sunken areas and scarring have been noted. Florida spring fields are also in production with steady supply and decent quality. Georgia fields are expected to start the last week of April in a small way. With warmer temperatures finally hitting multiple growing regions, cucumbers are expected to be a great promotional item all the way through the end of April and possibly into May.

^ Back to Conventional Vegetables

Supply is steady on all varieties of greens in Georgia. Weather forecasts are predicting favorable growing weather for the next 10 days to 2 weeks. Quality is good across the board.

^ Back to Conventional Vegetables

Supplies of romaine, green and red leaf lettuces are fairly plentiful to start the week as production continues to increase in the northern regions. The warm weather over the last two weeks has helped speed up growth rates and filled in some of the gaps anticipated earlier this month. There are still sporadic gaps anticipated for both leaf and iceberg lettuces through the month of April and into early May. Quality reports from the northern regions have shown mixed quality. The most prevalent issues reported are mildew, mixed sizing and occasional fringe burn from the recent high winds. Oxnard, Santa Maria and Salinas are the primary shipping points for leaf and iceberg lettuces off the west coast.

^ Back to Conventional Vegetables

Colored Potatoes such as Reds & Yellow skin varieties are tightening up with most major growing areas cleaning up storage to include Eastern Canada, NE USA, WI/ND, and CO. Pressure bruising is an issue as growers get to the bottom of the bunkers and six months’ worth of weight start to manifest in black external spotting which leads to decay. Pack-outs in some areas are as low as 30%, particularly in yellow varieties. New crop will first appear in FL followed quickly by TX & AZ. CA will start in mid-May. Prices will be high and very firm to start, but even as they settle down, this upcoming time period (Apr-Jul) has always seen the highest FOB prices in the calendar year. Russet Potatoes are still plentiful, particularly in Idaho where smaller sizes for bags and carton-count packs can be had at fair pricing. Larger Carton counts (40-60ct) are still tight particularly in the PNW; expect steep pricing. Easter is the last true large scale promotional opportunity for potatoes, after which consumer usage and sales slow through the summer. What stands a chance during the summer months are bite size and fingerling potatoes which due to the small size make for excellent grilling or cold-salad optys. These varieties won’t drive volume, but they make excellent complimentary cross-promotions items for grilled meat promotions or salad ingredient promotions.

Squash supplies remain steady bicoastal. Spring crops in Sonora are coming along and volume is plentiful. Quality has been really good and it should remain like that at least for the next couple of weeks as we can finally foresee good weather in the growing regions. Florida fields are ramping up as well with both yellow and green steady with improved quality. Georgia fields are getting started in a small way this week; we definitely expect volume to increase progressively in the next 7-10 days. Squash remains as a highly promotional item for the rest of the month and well into May.

^ Back to Conventional Vegetables

Volume of corn continues to increase in Florida as we move into bigger plantings. Quality is excellent. There is more availability on bicolor than on yellow or white, so please contact your representative if you are looking for one of those colors.

^ Back to Conventional Vegetables

Conventional Fruits

Imported Galas are now available on both coasts, with Granny Smiths and Fujis to become available in the next week or two. So far, prices are holding firm and most growers believe they will stay strong throughout the season. Smaller-sized imports can be brought in on a program, but there will be little supply of small fruit on the open market.
Washington Apples
Gala

The crop is smaller in volume than last year. Prices are generally firm. Strong demand for retail sizes and grades as well as consumer bags. The slicer market is using more small, low-grade fruit than the industry can produce.
Granny
The crop is significantly smaller in volume than last year. Most of the availability is on oversized fruit (48s and 56s). Prices are high and shortages exist throughout the manifest, but particularly on the smaller sizes. Retail bags are basically unavailable as all shippers are struggling to cover their retail commitments at this point. Extra lead time is needed on orders to help secure coverage.
Red Delicious
There are deals to be had on Red Delicious. The crop is smaller in volume than last year but retaliatory tariffs and soft demand from export markets have reduced demand. Prices have been trending lower and are negotiable. The lowest prices of the year are upon us.
Fuji
High-color fruit is limited this year; however, there are deals to be had on lower-color Fujis. Retail sizes and grades remain tight.
Gold Delicious
The crop is very short and product is very tight. Prices are much higher than last year with small sizes especially scarce. Over the past several years, many Gold Delicious trees have been pulled out of the ground and replaced with other varieties that are gaining popularity. The short crop this season has exasperated the situation.
Honeycrisp
As it seems to happen every year, the market continues to rise as we get later in the season. Look for this trend to continue throughout April. There will be very limited supplies of import Honeycrisp.
Specialty Varieties
They are many new varieties available and more coming each year, though some of them are starting to finish for the season. Please reach out regarding specific varieties.

^ Back to Conventional Fruits

There’s an expected harvest slow-down this week due to Holy Week and that may raise prices if growers in Mexico decide to take time off for Holy Week instead of capturing the current favorable market.
Mexico
Hass Avocado Board reported just over 1,500 loads that crossed the border from Mexico last week. Hass Avocado Board is projecting 1,300 loads of avocados to cross into the U.S. this week. Sizing is expected to be heavy to 48s and larger with good demand on most sizes. The weather is expected to be in the high 70s /low 80’s by day and the 40s at night. Transit temperatures are 38-40 degrees.
California
California harvested over 100 loads last week. Growers that can harvest early are pushing to harvest at current pricing levels. Volumes will increase now through June but the overall projection for California is expected to be nearly half of 2018 crop due to multiple factor, including the fires and high heat waves that hit California during the summer of 2018. Peru growers have begun harvesting. There will be some arrivals in late April and volumes will start to increase by mid-late May. Volumes are reported to be 20% lighter than last year due to the alternate-year bearing trees.
Chile
The season is coming to an end. Most of the fruit stayed in Chile this year as their domestic demand is strong.
Dominican Republic
Sporadic shipments are being made to the USA.
Colombia
Sporadic shipments are being made to the USA.

^ Back to Conventional Fruits

Florida Blueberries
Florida blueberries are ramping up quickly! Close to hitting peak production! Expectations are that blueberry volumes will continue to increase over the next few weeks. Get ready for good promotional pricing!! Georgia Blueberries
Starting now in a lighter way but expect good volume coming in June! Georgia is expecting a big season with heavy promotional numbers, most of which will come on late-May through June on the Rabbiteye varieties.
California Blueberries
We are expecting a big season on California blueberries as well, starting mid-May and running through June!
Mexico – All Berries
Border issues continue to impact all crossings of mix berries. The delays are impacting overall volumes and the addition of large retail ads on mix berries is only compounding the problem. Expectations were that more supply of raspberries & blackberries would become available this week but, right now, that is looking very doubtful. The lack of supply is driving the market up even further. Until more stable crossings come in or we see more supply to counter hold-ups at the border, expect Mexican mix berries to continue to be in tight supply.

^ Back to Conventional Fruits

Cantaloupe market has firmed up slightly. The west and the east coasts both have fruit available out of Los Angeles, New Jersey and Florida; however, supplies have lessened. We see lighter supplies coming in on vessels for the next two weeks. Quality overall is good with good color, sugar and flavor being reported in most packs. Mexican-grown cantaloupes crossing in Nogales, Arizona will begin by the end of the week.

^ Back to Conventional Fruits

Navel Oranges
Supply is peaking on 72/88/113 count. 56 count and larger are available but not very abundant. Fruit is grading more choice than previous weeks. As rains have cleared, good volumes are being harvested and pricing is dropping slightly compared to last week. Quality is fair on navels with some puff and scarring in the choice fruit.
Lemons
Desert lemons in southern California have been coming to an end. The fruit has a lower quality, grading more on the choice side due to scarring. D2 lemons will start harvesting shortly. There is good supply on D1 lemons in San Joaquin Valley. Quality is good and peaking on 115 count and larger. Small fruit is tight and markets are trending upward.
Grapefruit
Supply out of Texas is fair and will have supply through this month. Quality is fair with occasional scarring. Internal and external color is nice with high brix. Product is peaking on 48/56 count. California has better supplies on red grapefruit with increasing volume daily peaking on 36/40 count.

^ Back to Conventional Fruits

We are officially past the marketing order which means any grapes coming into the United States now need to pass US#1 upon arrival. Because of that, we are seeing decline in volume on both red and green. Often we see substantial arrivals of crimsons post marketing order; however, this year with the weakened market, combined with lack of color in the remaining crimsons to be harvested, many growers are diverting their fruit to other parts of the world. With green seedless markets already elevated due to slow movement, it has done just that and there is now some availability to move on storage green grapes. That being said, we are still looking at nearly a month or so before we start to see any sort of substantial volume on red grapes coming out of Mexico/Coachella, with volume on green starting one week earlier. The crop out of Mexico looks to be strong and very promotable from the last week of shipping in May through the third week of June.

^ Back to Conventional Fruits

Steady go on honeydew supplies. Northern Mexico crop we will be starting this week and supplies are expected to be good. Overall, honeydew demand has improved as the gap we had last week pushed markets up slightly.

^ Back to Conventional Fruits

Lime supplies are down this week due to the availability of supply and the shorter production week due to the holiday. Weather is expected to remain clear. The crop is currently peaking on size 230s and 250s with larger limes expected to represent a small percentage of the crop going forward. Expect limited availability and higher pricing going into the weekend; then next week, supplies should pick back up some.

^ Back to Conventional Fruits

The mango volume out of Mexico continues to be limited but supplies are starting to increase gradually. The Ataulfo/Honey mango crop is peaking on 18s and 22s with the fruit showing a mostly clean appearance and green color with some scarring and latex burns being noted on QC inspections. Volume of Haden variety mangos are peaking on 12 count followed by 14s and 10s. The larger sizes of 7s, 8s, and 9s are very limited. The fruit is showing a light blush of approximately 15% to 20% and good general appearance.

^ Back to Conventional Fruits

Weather in Colima continues to be sunny, no rain in the forecast. Sizing has been peaking on 8/9 count followed by 12s. No major quality issues to report at the moment. Market remains steady with supply expected to be limited until 3rd week of April. Starting in May would be a good time to start promoting as we will see more supply on Imperial papaya.

^ Back to Conventional Fruits

Domestic D’Anjou and Bosc Pears are available in promotable volume. Import Bartletts from Argentina are now available and quality is excellent.

^ Back to Conventional Fruits

Pineapple

Pineapple (Offshore)
Gustavo.Lora@robinsonfresh.com

Weather in the northern region of Costa Rica is reported as partly cloudy with light rain in the forecast for this week. Volume remains irregular out of our main farms in the north region with an already late and slow improvement on yields. All Costa Rica inbounds are currently for contracted pack-to-order business only. Quality is reported as good; shell color at .5- 1.00 with solid 13+ brix reported at all our farms. USDA latest crossing report shows week 14 at only 550 loads inbound from Costa Rica versus week 13 at a higher 700 inbound loads. Very low volume for the Easter pull season which should ideally be 1000+ containers. USDA reporting fairly good demand and about steady market.

Pineapple (Mexican)
Jiovani.Guevara@robinsonfresh.com

Weather in Isla Veracruz is reported in the low 90s with low chances of rain for the week. Yields continue to improve on mostly 6/7 count. Supply from Mexico is high and will continue this way for the remainder of the month of April. Quality is reported as good; shell color at 1.00 with solid 13+ brix reported at all our farms. Demand for Mexican pineapples is high due to Easter pull and will remain high during April. Keep in mind, peak volume out of Mexico is now and volume is expected to lower in May as we approach the gap during the summer months (June-July). USDA reporting fairly good demand and about steady market.

^ Back to Conventional Fruits

As the warm spring weather continues in the Santa Maria and Oxnard, California growing areas, we should see a marked increase in supplies. Limited harvesting has begun in the Salinas/Watsonville growing areas. Look for most shippers to have promotable volume for the Easter and Mother’s Day holidays. Santa Maria, California is forecast for partly sunny skies with highs in the 70s decreasing to the 60s for the weekend and lows in the 50s decreasing to the 40s for the weekend. The Oxnard, California area is forecast for mostly sunny skies with some clouds, highs in the 60s and lows in the 50s. Santa Maria fruit is firm with occasional bruising, misshapen, green tip and wind burn and average counts of 14 to 16, occasionally higher and lower. Oxnard fruit is fairly firm with occasional bruising, overripe, misshapen, seedy and wind burn with average counts of 20 to 24, occasionally higher and lower.

Supplies on seedless are tight on smaller fruit. Southern Mexico is finishing up and Northern Mexico is starting in a light way. Crossings coming into Edinburg will be light for two to three weeks. Edinburg, Texas will start around May 15th. We are crossing more 36 count and 45 count into Nogales this week. Florida has starting up with limited supplies and we are picking heavier to 36 count seedless. Volume will pick up in May when Arcadia, Florida gets going.

^ Back to Conventional Fruits

Organic Fruits & Vegetables

We will see limited supplies of organic import apples arriving to both coasts as we get into April. The Washington crop this season is up versus last season. Product is still available on all the key varieties including Gala. This is the time of year when we start to see some scald in organic Granny Smith apples. Conventional Granny Smiths are treated with an anti-scald agent; however, organics cannot be treated this way. Be careful to make sure your Granny Smiths don’t have scald. Washington will be done with organic Granny Smith in the next few weeks. Washington organic apple supplies are starting to clean up on some varieties. Demand for organic apples continues to increase each year as availability and pricing become more attractive. Many of the lower grades and off sizes will be marketed as conventional because demand for organics is primarily for a limited range of sizes and grades. As a result, the organic harvest will be significantly higher than the number of organic cases actually packed and shipped. Organics will require a little more lead time but we can fulfil your needs in 3 pound bags as well as tray-packed fruit.

Organic Consolidation

Bob.Stone@chrobinson.com

We are finally seeing some real signs of spring as Mexican peaches have started and have been shipping for a week now. Additionally, mini seedless watermelon have slowly but surely increased in steadiness of supply and we should see some prices starting to come off next week. Next week is when we should also see the first of the Mexican cantaloupe crossings. We have the hottest deal of the year on organic asparagus loading in Coalinga currently. And, finally, all of the wet vegetables have finished up in the California and Arizona deserts with production in full, albeit limited, swing in the Central Valley of California and the Salinas/Watsonville areas. Prices are not as high as they were a few weeks ago except for a few items (celery, for instance). Once again, you can see how widely dispersed everything is and the advantage that our organic consolidation can lend to your profitability. Whether you want to consolidate your orders for FOB pick-ups, or better yet, utilize the Los Angles Service Center to consolidate your buys into one easy pick-up, where are here to help you. Please feel free to call on a member of the organic team for more details.

Organic Dry Vegetables

Bob.Stone@chrobinson.com

The organic dry vegetables coming out of Mexico currently are still somewhat of an up-and-down market, feast or famine. One day there is a load of cucumbers looking for a home and the next day you are lucky to find a few pallets of them. However, this situation is much better than where we find the organic (and all) green pepper market(s). Supplies are day to day but there is some light at the end of the tunnel as we are starting to see some fruit cross. Likewise, the colored bell pepper market has started to rebound. There are plenty of cherry and grape tomatoes with promotion opportunities. There should be a jump in supplies next week with this being Holy Week when Mexico basically shuts down from the Thursday before Easter until the following Monday. This should give the fields some time to catch up and make for some decent harvests next Monday and Tuesday.

Supplies are gapping on organic minis in Nogales. Expecting some new crop loading in Nogales, Arizona mid-month.

^ Back to Organic Fruits & Vegetables

Organic Onions

Bob.Stone@chrobinson.com

We have finished with our own organic red onions in Hollister. Thank you for another great season and we will see you again in the fall. There are still some shallots left at the location but they too are winding down for the season. If you are still in need of domestic onions, Texas Sweet 1015 yellow onions have started out of Texas along with red onions, available in jumbo, large, and 12 x 3 pound bags. This is some very nice product. Onions from Mexico have started to trickle in ever-so-small amounts, mainly white onions. And the California desert is still scheduled to begin the third or fourth week of this month bringing some much needed supply into the marketplace.

^ Back to Organic Fruits & Vegetables

Organic Bartletts from Argentina are now available. Organic D’Anjou and Bosc will start soon. The crop from Argentina is clean and quality looks great.

^ Back to Organic Fruits & Vegetables

Organic Russets
As we finish up the month of April and go into May, we are seeing supply on russet potatoes tighten. The quality of the potatoes is still doing great as the varieties we are in hold well this time of year. The market seems to be getting a little stronger as well as we are starting to see supply dry up in other growing regions.
Organic Red Potatoes
Like the russet potato, supply on reds is getting tight. We currently have supply in Colorado and Oregon so we should see orders being covered though April and into May. The California crop on reds has started off slow and the quality has been affected by some frost during the growing season.
Organic Yellow Potatoes
Yellows are tight and the market is reflecting this. The quality on what is left in the storage season seems to be holding up but volume is hard to come by.
Organic Fingerlings
We continue to have great supply of our fingerlings in Colorado and the quality is holding up very nicely. We are still shipping Chef Blend, Russian Banana, and French fingerlings. We are shipping our supply to our warehouse in San Bernardino, California for ease of loading.

^ Back to Organic Fruits & Vegetables

Organic squash has gotten a little better out West. We are seeing better arrivals in Nogales. Organic zucchini is pretty available and quality has been good. Organic yellows are a little more sporadic and quality has been borderline. We expect the situation to remain the same for the remaining of the season (about mid- May). East Coast supply is somewhat steady with borderline quality and inconsistent sizing. Again, zucchini much more available than yellow with not much change in the horizon.

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Transportation

Accepting all freight opportunities from all locations. 24-hour lead time appreciated but not required. We have capacity to secure your freight safely and deliver on time.

David.Stramel@chrobinson.com

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Fresh from the kitchen

RUBY RED GRAPEFRUIT BARS

Crust Ingredients

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter

Topping Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup fresh juice from Tropicana® Fresh Ruby Red grapefruit
  • 1 teaspoon fresh zest from Tropicana® Fresh Ruby Red grapefruit
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • powdered sugar, for dusting

… More at Ruby Red Grapefruit Bars

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