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Fresh from the Field

This week’s fresh update

June 25 , 2019 | Volume 6, Issue 25

Conventional Vegetables

Markets continue to suffer due domestic and import growing regions having production at once. New Jersey, Michigan and Canada will be looking to end production soon. There are currently many ads and great retail pricing currently at a variety of different retailers. Markets will finally begin to improve as domestic production finishes up in the next 2-3 weeks.
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Georgia’s peak volume is past us; however, we expect some availability for the next 7-10 days, especially in smaller sizes like large/choice/suntan, while jumbos and place pack are pretty much done for the season, at least in terms of volume. South Carolina and North Carolina continue to ramp up somewhat in volume so that helps to keep up with the East Coast demand. California fruit started to move up north; expect supply to be hit and miss during this transition. Other local regions will start by the second part of next month. Now is not a good time to promote peppers.
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Broccoli
California has steady supply with no gaps in the near future. The mid-Atlantic is producing steady but limited volume and this will continue for the next 3-4 weeks.
Cauliflower
Supply is steady in California. Quality has been mixed. This will be the trend for the next 2-3 weeks.
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Supplies of celery are slowly improving as volume increases in the northern growing regions. Quality reports show very nice product with clean appearance and good condition. The weather forecast calls for slightly lower-than-average temperatures with light winds over the next two weeks. Currently, Oxnard, Santa Maria, and Salinas are the primary shipping locations for celery off the west coast.
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With new fields and local regions getting started, cucumber supply is somewhat steady again. Georgia has some volume again. So far, quality has been okay. North Carolina/New Jersey are coming up with better volume and able to take care of the local demand. Good Mexican supplies are coming through the Texas Valley and San Diego with great quality. Cucumbers seem to be plentiful short term but don’t get caught up too far in advance as Georgia growers will start wrapping their season in the next 10-15 days.
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Georgia quality and supply are steady on Kale, Mustard, and Turnip. We have 1-2 weeks remaining on this crop. The northern growing areas have Mustard and Turnip being harvested in small volumes across most states. Volume on these items will continue to ramp up leading into July. Collard and Kale volume remains light due to the spring rains in most areas. With Georgia Kale available to supplement, we shouldn’t see any supply issues on this item. Collard will be a struggle for the next 10-14 days.
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Markets remain elevated while supplies of leaf and Iceberg lettuces remain very limited. Most growers have limited production this week to allow upcoming fields to gain size and weight. Current blocks are producing lower yields due to small sizing and there are also reports of a small supply gap in place due to the late season rains this spring. Some of the effects of the heat wave are still visible in the form of sun scald, fringe burn and occasional internal defects. The weather forecast calls for near-average temperatures over the next 10 days. Oxnard, Santa Maria, and Salinas are the primary shipping points for leaf and Iceberg lettuces off the west coast.
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Colored potatoes such as reds & yellow skin varieties are tightening up with most major growing areas cleaning up storage to include Eastern Canada, Northeast USA, Wisconsin/North Dakota, and Colorado. Pressure bruising is an issue as growers get to the bottom of the bunkers and six months’ worth of weight starts 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 Florida, followed quickly by Texas and Arizona. California 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 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 (40-60 count) are still tight, particularly in the Pacific Northwest; 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 opportunities. These varieties won’t drive volume, but they make excellent complimentary cross-promotional items for grilled meat promotions or salad ingredient promotions.
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Georgia’s volume continues to drop; we have about 10-15 more days to wrap it up for the season. Yellow squash yields are way down and retail product is very limited due to excessive scarring and scuffing. On the over end, zucchini is more available. Local supply has started with production from multiple regions from east to west. This will definitely give Georgia some relief. We suggest refraining from promoting squash for the next 2-3 weeks until local supplies becomes more available.
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As we move into the holiday pulls, there will be very limited volume on yellow and white corn. There are still some bicolor pre-books available; see your Robinson Fresh rep for more details. The market is firming up as of this morning so try to book early.
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Conventional Fruits

Washington Apple shippers are now turning their attention to the cherry crop which is off to a fast start. As a result, there will be less pack time dedicated to apples, and availability on certain sizes, grades and varieties may become an issue. While things tend to get tighter during this time period, the market historically does not react much, other than there may be less “deal” fruit than during other parts of the season. The other issue that is likely to arise is that transfer trucks between sheds are busy with cherry movement, and there may be more pick-ups in order to fulfill orders with multiple varieties. There is still a lot of fruit left in Washington; slower-than-expected movement on some varieties earlier in the season, coupled with imports now in full force, has created a situation where a lot of fruit still needs to be moved out before the new crop starts. Don’t let up on apples! There are good supplies of imports on both the east and west coasts and the market is basically unchanged. The quality on most of the imports has been excellent.
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Blueberries
Blueberries in Georgia are mostly done for the season–a few shippers may continue but most have finished. Due to heat-related issues, many farms in North Carolina are going day-to-day. Oregon and British Columbia are going to start within the next 10 days, with Michigan about 3 weeks away. Alabama and Texas continue to push on the “Locally Grown” front with fruit to move! Please inquire if interested in our Locally Grown product
Raspberries
Raspberries continue to produce good volume in Mexico; promotable volumes are dependent on growing regions in Mexico and where the farmers are located in each region.
Blackberries
Blackberries continue to dwindle in Mexico as we come closer to the end of their season. The few farmers in the Highlands will continue to go through July. California is slowly starting this week. The market remains stable with good production this week, but be wary of the next few weeks as Mexico production falls off.
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Domestic cantaloupe production continues with peak sizing of 9 count and good supplies exist. We are expecting consistent production out of Arizona and new production from California next week. Sizing continues to be peaking on 9 count with only lighter volume of smaller fruit.
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Navel Oranges
Supply has peaked on 72/88. 56 count and larger are becoming increasingly available in the late lanes. 113/138 count are in tight supply at the moment. Fruit is grading more choice as the navel season winds down in California. Limited volumes are still being harvested and pricing is creeping up on small navels. Quality is fair on navels with some puff and scarring in the choice fruit. We are starting to see more and more Valencia oranges in California. Supply is increasing on both small and large fruit, as well as fancy fruit. Imports from South America will start arriving the second week of July. First arrivals on import navels will be small.
Lemons
Desert lemons in southern California are winding down. The fruit has a lower quality, grading more on the choice side due to scarring. There is good supply of large lemons with deals on 75s and 95s. Quality is good and peaking on 115 count and larger choice. Small fruit is tight and markets are trending upward. We just started seeing Mexican lemons showing up in Texas. Import lemons from South America are showing up in California and are peaking on 140s and 165s.
Grapefruit
Quality out of California is improving, but has some occasional scarring. Internal and external color is nice with high brix. California has better supplies on red grapefruit with volume increasing daily, peaking on 36/40 count.
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Grapes out of Mexico and Coachella continue to be harvested in peak volumes into the last week in June, with market pricing plummeting through last week, particularly on Mexican fruit. Heavy volume on both Flames and Sugraones will continue to be packed out of both regions over the next 7-10 days. Pricing is staying low and steady as growers try to push out as much volume as possible within the next few weeks prior to the start of harvest out of Arvin, California. Black seedless (Summer Royals) and Red Globes are now also readily available in both loading locations, with overall volume harvested in 2019 finally beginning to surpass 2018 levels year to date.
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Honeydews are in good supply from Nogales and also with new crop in Phoenix, Arizona and El Centro, California. Quality overall is very nice and there are also many varietal melons available out of Arizona and California. We are expecting honeydew and variety melons in Bakersfield starting this week.
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Mangos are currently being imported from the growing regions of Southern Sinaloa, Nayarit, Jalisco, and Michoacán. We will receive our last loads from Michoacán this week as their growing season will close for the season. This region continues to see rain throughout the week along with cooler temps. We have received our first organic mangos from Southern Sinaloa, starting with low volume and building supply as we get into July. Peak sizing on organics are expected to be on 10’s and larger with a few 12s per load. Current sizing on conventionals is peaking on 10 count, followed by 9 count and 12 count. The larger sizes, like 7 and 8 counts, are becoming more available in combination with smaller sizes. The varieties include Tommy Atkins and Haden for the red mangos with very good quality and fruit exhibiting a small amount of blush.
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Rain remains in the forecast all week in the growing region of Colima. Temps are in the low-70s in the morning and high-80s in the evening. Imperial Papaya has not been affected by the constant rain these past few weeks but we are still monitoring quality as the rain progresses. We are in the peak of the season now and volume has been increasing week over week. Sizing continues to peak on 8/9s with a few 12s per manifest. Quality has been good with no major issues to report. Market pricing remains firm. Please reach out to your Robinson Fresh representative for July promotions.
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Domestic D’Anjou Pears remain in good supply. There is now good volume of import Bosc available from Argentina.
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Pineapple

Pineapple (Offshore)
Gustavo.Lora@robinsonfresh.com
For this week, we are expecting accelerated trade winds over the central and north areas of the country, compounded by incoming high humidity from the Caribbean Sea towards the Caribbean and North Caribbean growing areas. This is generating cloudy conditions with possible rain showers specifically in the mornings. Although we are not expecting heavy rains, weather needs to be monitored as the morning rain showers might be followed by afternoon sunlight which is not ideal for good internal condition of the fruit. Ultraviolet radiation issues and water spotting are the common problems caused by this weather. Quality is reported as good but, again, with very low yields on large-count fruit. 5s are now a trickle making it very difficult to complete full-load volume even at large farms. There is solid 13+ brix reported at all our farms. The USDA has not updated their crossing report with week 23 as the last week posted showing 700 inbound loads from Costa Rica. These are very low numbers for this time period, with some farms already going through natural flowering peak. The USDA is reporting moderate demand and steady market.

Pineapple (Mexican)
Jiovani.Guevara@robinsonfresh.com
Veracruz and Tabasco are the main growing regions for pineapples in Mexico and mostly cross through the border entries in the state of Texas. We expect limited supplies from Mexico for the next few weeks as they go through their summer gap. Both external and internal quality are good, with brix levels reporting 13% plus. Volume overall is limited and sizes will be mostly 7/8 count. Please contact your Robinson Fresh sales representative with any questions.
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Many shippers are still seeing lighter supplies due to the rain and hot weather from a few weeks ago, with production down up to 35% due to damage to green fruit and flowers during that time. Santa Maria, California is forecast for low clouds, then sunshine, and then mostly sunny skies for the weekend, with highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s. Salinas/Watsonville, California is forecast for sunny skies on Wednesday, becoming partly sunny Thursday and Friday, and mostly sunny through the weekend. Highs are forecast in the upper-60s to low-70s and lows in the 50s. Santa Maria fruit has occasional bruising, over ripe, pin rot, windburn, seedy and misshapen, with average counts of 20 to 22. Salinas/Watsonville fruit has occasional bruising, misshapen, fan and green tips, with average counts of 21 to 23.
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Supplies are good on seedless and minis. We are picking in Japer, Florida this week, along with Pellham, Georgia; Pineview, Georgia; and Blackville, South Carolina. Minis are in productions with good volume and excellent quality out of Tifton, Georgia and Blackville, South Carolina. Battleboro, North Carolina will start in the middle of July. We have good production out west from Salome, Arizona and Yuma, Arizona. We will start Los Banos, California at the end of next week. We will have steady supplies to promote melons in July.
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Organic Fruits & Vegetables

There are still supplies out of Washington on organic Red Delicious, Gala, and Fuji, although there are fewer suppliers. Expect pricing to slowly increase until supplies run out. Imports are in on both coasts as well, with mostly Galas, Fujis and Granny Smiths available.
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Organic Consolidation

Bob.Stone@chrobinson.com

We have deals to consolidate for you! Grapes at their lowest prices in years. There is stone fruit out of the Central Valley. Bagged red, gold, and russet potatoes are available. And Tomorrow’s Organics® citrus has started up again with bagged organic Valencia oranges. This week, we will be selling domestic lemons out of our Los Angles Service Center warehouse in San Bernardino, California. There are also great deals on melons galore and the Central Valley and Upper and Lower Salinas Valley are really starting to pop with their delayed late spring (now summer) harvest. There are wet vegetable buys galore to take advantage of. Remember to look to your Tomorrow’s Organics® team member to assist you in finding all of these great deals which are now spread all over the state. Not only will we find the best deals, we will help you to consolidate your orders, whether at the Los Angles Service Center or at partner docks at various locations, to make your job easier.
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Organic Dry Vegetables

Bob.Stone@chrobinson.com

California is finally starting to roll with the organic dry vegetables. There are deals being offered on certain commodities such as zucchini. However, there are still certain items which are slow to fill the pipeline, like green and colored bells. This situation should start to turn around by the weekend.
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Fair supplies of organic minis are available in Salome, Arizona. We continue to see light supplies of organic mini melons coming from the California Imperial Valley this week and, very shortly, new crop in Bakersfield, California.
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Organic Onions

Bob.Stone@chrobinson.com

Organic onions have started in earnest in the Lower San Joaquin Valley. There are plenty of yellows with all packs available. Reds are a little tighter with sizing, mostly to the jumbo size; more should be starting any day. Whites are the tightest right now with mostly mediums or smaller available. There are a few organic Vidalias available but they are very tight. Additionally, the northwest crop is starting to produce; very shortly, we will have onions out of the Great Northwest, bringing the market down a little.
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Organic Bartletts, Bosc and D’Anjou from Argentina are now available. The crop from Argentina is clean and quality looks great.
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Organic Russets
The California season is in full swing now; demand is really good but supply remains tight. Quality coming out of the fields looks really nice and we should start to see more product available over the next week or two. Carton russets are still hard to come by in the peak sizes of 70 count and 80 count.
Organic Red Potatoes
Quality has been getting better each week and supply is starting to catch up to the demand. We should start to see this market level off over the next week as growers start to get a build-up of their inventories. Pack styles are 3 pounds and 5 pounds; cartons are starting to see more B size potatoes become available.
Organic Yellow Potatoes
Quality of yellow potatoes has been outstanding from the very beginning of the season. Supply and demand has leveled off and we are seeing a good market at prices that will move. Pack styles are 3 pounds and 5 pounds; cartons, like reds, are starting to see more B size become available.
Organic Fingerlings
We continue to have supply of our Chef Blend variety available from Colorado and our warehouse in San Bernardino. Supply should last 2 to 3 more weeks and then we will be finished until the fall. There are a few California fingerlings available right now and the quality seems to be good. Market is strong on the new-crop fingerlings.
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Not much change in Georgia from the past few weeks. Fields are in production; however, quality is hit and miss, especially on the yellow. Volume seems to be somewhat steady on zucchini.
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Organic Sweet Potatoes

Chris.Lemmon@robinsonfresh.com

Organic sweet potatoes are still going strong on all four varieties right now. As we move into the end of June and early July, the market will start to move up in price. Currently, the quality is holding and most growers should have supply until the new crop starts.
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Transportation

We are accepting freight opportunities from all geographic areas. Twenty-four hour lead time is preferred but all last-minute opportunities will be accepted.

David.Stramel@chrobinson.com
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Fresh from the kitchen

TROPICAL WATERMELON COMBO

Ingredients

  • 2 cups Watermelon, cubed (seedless)
  • 1 Lime, sliced
  • 1 Orange, sliced
  • 2 cups Blueberries
  • 6 cups Water

… More at Tropical Watermelon Combo

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