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Fresh from the Field

This week’s fresh update

February 12, 2019 | Volume 6, Issue 6

Conventional Vegetables

We are seeing good volume and quality out of Mexico right now, it looks like the next 10 weeks we should continue to see volume. Now is a great time to run a promotional advertisement. Expect a big push for sales from the middle of February through the month of March.
*Updated 1/29/19

^ Back to Conventional Vegetables

We started to see a little bit more availability on green bell peppers than the past couple months. Florida supply remains steady yet somewhat short compare to previous years, although quality has been outstanding. The Mexican supply has started to come thru with more consistent crossings and higher volume. Quality has been good for the most part out of Mexico, and availability seems to be fair for the next couple weeks.

Broccoli & Cauliflower

John.Tillman@robinsonfresh.com

Broccoli – Supply exceeds demand on supply from Mexico and California. This should remain the trend for another 1-2 weeks.
Cauliflower – Colder temperatures and rain in the west have created limited availability on cauliflower across all growing regions.
*Updated 2/6/19

^ Back to Conventional Vegetables

Product is still slightly tight out of southeast. A combination of colder than normal weather, along with less overall acreage planting is leading to the higher markets. Georgia cabbage has come to an end for the most part and will be back in mid- to late-April.

^ Back to Conventional Vegetables

Supplies of celery remain tight this week as most shippers have less planted this season and Florida volume is also lower compared to past years. Quality reports show fair overall quality with occasional frost damage and pith on the outer petioles. These defects are expected to subside over the next two weeks as the upcoming blocks are showing improved quality. The markets are expected to remain elevated in the near term. Oxnard and Santa Maria are the primary loading locations for celery off the west coast.

^ Back to Conventional Vegetables

Expect Mexican supplies to remain on the shorter side in Nogales for the remainder of this week. New fields should start with some production towards the weekend and increase gradually, at the moment quality is a little suspect with more sunken areas than normal. Offshore supplies from Honduras are steady with good quality overall. While the short term outlook can be a little bumpy, availability is expected to be much better with promotional volume toward the end of the month.

^ Back to Conventional Vegetables

Supply on Collard, Mustard and Turnip remain steady with no signs of concern. The effects of the hard freeze ten days ago is still impacting kale as there are extremely light supplies this week. Look for kale volumes to improve over the weekend and into next week.

^ Back to Conventional Vegetables

The weather forecast for this week calls for slightly warmer temperatures with daytime highs in the 70s and overnight lows in the low to mid 50s. Iceberg supply is stable with markets steady to start this week. Quality reports show fairly good color with occasional close trim and light color. There is a wide range of sizing but overall medium to large size with fairly firm to firm texture. Yuma and Brawley are the primary shipping points for Iceberg lettuce off of the west coast.

^ Back to Conventional Vegetables

The weather forecast for this region calls for slightly warmer temperatures with breezy conditions expected this weekend. For this week, there are good supplies of romaine, green and red leaf lettuces available in the Desert growing region. Quality reports are still showing some of the effects from the frost. Overall, quality has improved and the frost damage is expected to decrease over the next two weeks. Yuma, Brawley and Coachella are the primary shipping points for leaf lettuces off the west coast.

^ Back to Conventional Vegetables

Russets
Eastern Canada and U.S. growing regions are holding back on promotions and are working to keep contract customers in stock to include shipper contracts. As such, they’re starting to pull in product from the Central and Western growing regions, depleting those piles faster than normal. Idaho, Washington, and Western Canada seem to have fared better during harvest and have good supply, but not a great deal of larger sizes. If you’re looking for large count russets (40-60 count) try Colorado.
Reds
Wisconsin has finished up most of its reds and is pulling from North Dakota to fulfill contract business. This is a result of the heavy rains during harvest that kept many potatoes in the field. There is decent supply of reds in North Dakota, Colorado and Washington, but promotional discounts will not be plentiful. You will not see the same drastic bottom basement offerings that plagued growers during the spring of ’18, and Florida crop reports for new harvest are too early to understand whether there will be relief in the east. The red is still the preferred promotional variety for St. Patrick’s Day (Mar 17), but offers should be confirmed early to ensure supply.
Yellows
FOBs out of Washington are priced high, but prices generally drop as you move eastward. By mid to late February we expect yellow availability to tighten up somewhat. It won’t be enough to drive record high pricing, but it will firm up market tremendously. Expect a lot of discount-retailers to be tempted with US#2 or lower grades to fill their shelves. This item is ideal for Easter promotions, and Florida should be in full swing by the time this holiday arrives. Expect lightly discounted advertising offerings, and retailers will need to dip into their own margins if they want to drive tonnage.
Fingerlings
Purples are in very light supply, and storage quality of French and Russian are on the cusp. It may not be the best time to carry this item for the first time, as supply will be intermittent until the new harvest in California is ready in May.
Rooster (Irish)
We have excellent supply of Ireland’s market-share leading potato in Washington, Colorado and Prince Edward Island. This is an excellent item to promote during March/April, and we are offering a consumer sweepstakes that could award an all-expense paid trip to Ireland or a $5000 cash prize. All Rooster bags will carry a Shamrock logo with details for consumer registration in the sweepstakes.
Bite-Size Potatoes
Most supply will be coming from western United States, as the same rains that affected Wisconsin, Ontario and eastward, have affected availability of bite-sized potatoes. Market leaders are horse-trading with each other to fill orders. Robinson Fresh’s “Perfect Potato” items are getting ready to harvest the second crop in southern California, and have ample supply available to fill the void.
*Updated 2/6/19

Bicoastal squash supplies remain steady. Zucchini is plentiful in both growing regions. A good yellow squash out of Florida is definitely a little harder to come by. We expect quality and volume to remain steady this week and likely increase toward the end of the month. Mexican product arriving through Nogales is plentiful with outstanding quality. As new fields come into play, we foresee promotional volume available toward the second part of the month and well into March.

^ Back to Conventional Vegetables

There is still limited availability due to the recent rains and somewhat sporadic harvests. Watch for volume to improve toward the end of this week.

^ Back to Conventional Vegetables

Conventional Fruits

Gala
The crop is smaller in volume than last year. Prices are generally firm. We are seeing 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
The crop is smaller in volume than last year but tariffs and soft demand from export markets has reduced demand. Prices have been trending lower and are negotiable. Now is a great time to go after additional volume and create value for your customers.
Fuji
There are deals to be had on lower color Fujis. Retail sizes and grades are still commanding a premium, especially very high colored fruit.
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 overall crop this season has exasperated the situation.
Honeycrisp
This year’s crop was up in volume due to new orchards coming into production, and younger orchards having better yields as the trees mature. Pricing is still high as demand continues to increase throughout the country. The market is rising, particularly on the premium grades and retail sizes. Look for this trend to continue as we get later into the season.
Specialty varieties
They are many new varieties available and more coming each year.

^ Back to Conventional Fruits

Mexico
Hass Avocado Board reported 1,100 loads that crossed the border from Mexico last week. HAB is reporting an estimate of 1000 loads of avocados crossing into the US, and an estimation of 1200 for next week. Sizing is expected to continue to be heavy to 48s and 60s with excellent quality. The weather is expected to be good for harvesting avocados again this week. Temperatures are expected to be in the mid-80s in the day and the low 50s at night with no rain in the forecast. Transit temperatures are 38-40 degrees.
California
California has begun harvesting small volumes. We should expect to see most of California’s fruit to stay in California and export to Asia this season. Volumes will increase in the spring but the overall projection for California is expected to be nearly half of 2018 crop due to multiple factors including the fires and high heat waves that hit California during the summer of 2018.
Peru
Shipments to USA have not begun yet. We should expect to see the next arrivals in the spring.
Chile
Under 50 loads were received last week. With Mexico supply coming on strong into the USA, Chilean growers will likely find other markets to send their fruit that are less competitive.
Dominican Republic
Sporadic shipments are being made to the USA.
Colombia
Sporadic shipments are being made to the US.

^ Back to Conventional Fruits

Chilean Import Blueberries
Delays over the weekend due to Northeast weather, possible delays this week due to the sam. Looking at an end date to import season – early March. Sporadic arrivals until then as we continue to battle through poor weather on the Atlantic.
Mexico Blueberries
Mexican blueberries are holding steady on supply. The majority of the crossing are in 6oz, which pints & 18oz being more of a special pack. Pricing out of Mexico is a bit higher than the imported vessel fruit for the freshness reasons–the Mexican supply is just a few days old vs 2 weeks on the water for other supplies. With that is also the difference in supply, Chile is definitely higher volume overall than Mexico. Mexico is already moving their pricing up quickly with the expectation that Chile is going to end earlier than expected.
Blackberry Update
Mexico blackberries have tightened up supply very quickly. Much of this is due to lesser quality and lower production until the next production peak in late March. Heavy demand on promotion now is partly why supply is low.
Raspberry Update
Mexico raspberries continue to remain tight supply as production won’t again pick up until late March. Quality has been overall very nice. Raspberries aren’t as tight as blackberries. Advance notice is needed and only small volumes are available.

^ Back to Conventional Fruits

The cantaloupe market has settled to near seasonal levels. The west and the east coasts both have fruit readily available out of LA, NJ and Florida. Supplies are good enough for promotions and we see steady supplies for the near term. Quality overall is good with good color, sugar and flavor being reported in most packs.

^ Back to Conventional Fruits

Weather Update
More rain is forecast in the growing regions will continue to limit harvesting.
California Navel Oranges
Navels are still in good supply. The crop is peaking on 72 count and smaller. 138 count have been scarcer as that market has dropped below growing cost. 56 count and larger are still available, but this week seem to have tightened up on supply slightly. Export markets are starting to pull more citrus causing fancy pricing to firm up. Fruit has matured and we are now at full color.
Cara Cara Oranges
There is good supply on 72 count and smaller with good demand for bagged business. 56 count and larger are very limited. The market is steady with not many fluctuations. Color and brix are good. The season will go through mid-April.
Blood Oranges
Demand is slower on the bloods. The crop is peaking on 88/113 count with very limited amounts of 72 count and larger. Internal color is great and external color is good with some outer blush. Availability will continue through mid-March.
California Lemons
We are currently harvesting good supplies of D-1 lemons. Outer quality is excellent with about 80% of the fruit grading out as fancy. Peak sizing is on 140/165 count with larger fruit limited.
Texas Grapefruit
Demand for grapefruit has slowed slightly the past week or so. Peak sizing is on 48/56 count fancy with extremely limited 36 count and larger. External quality has been fair with little wind scarring. Internal quality has been great with good brix and high flavor. This week there is good availability on choice fruit and little fancy fruit.

^ Back to Conventional Fruits

 

Demand still exceeds supply on both the west and east coast for imported grapes into mid-February. Diversion of Peruvian fruit to Asia and Europe, combined with a slow start in Chile, are the two main factors that have led to this shortage. We expect to see both red and green grapes remain tight at least through the rest of February, until larger volumes of fruit that has been harvested in Chile over the past few weeks arrive to the U.S. Having said that, we still need to fill the very bare pipeline with fruit and that will take some time as there are still preseason prices out there that are driving some movement. As importers continue to raise pricing on transactional volume, some fear we could face a similar situation that we did last season in Mexico. The next few weeks will be critical as more fruit is coming and we will need wholesale and retail support to move through the crop when it eventually arrives.

^ Back to Conventional Fruits

Supplies are light and demand is strong. Honeydews continue to peak on larger sized fruit, J5s and 5s, with lighter supplies on 6s and 8s. Light supplies exist out of Nogales and also on the offshore product. Overall quality is very good with decent sugar levels. Our honeydews from Southern Mexico continue crossing, but supplies are light and demand exceeds supply.

^ Back to Conventional Fruits

Our limes are grown in eastern Mexico, and the current crop shows excellent quality with good green color. Sizing is currently peaking on 175s with very good supplies of 110s and 150s. There is fairly good availability on 200s while 230s and 250s remain lighter in availability. Supplies are expected to remain steady for the next 10 days.
*Updated 1/15/19

^ Back to Conventional Fruits

The supply of mangos from Peru continues to be limited, with demand exceeding supply. The fruit is peaking on larger sizes of 7s and 8s with 10s and 12s extremely limited. The quality is reported as good for the most part with some reports of mixed maturity in the mangos. The arrival of Peruvian mangos will peak between week 6 and 7, however, with the current shortage, this increased volume might still not be enough to fill demand. In Peru, the shortage of mangos is being felt even stronger and with volume harvested dropping supplies could be critical during the second half of February.

^ Back to Conventional Fruits

The region of Colima has experienced cooler temperatures in the 50s for most of the mornings and 80s in the evenings. Weather has improved and more sunlight has helped the crop in the last week. Sizing has been peaking on a 9/12 count followed by 8s. The market has come down with the favorable weather. We expect pricing to continue to decrease toward the end of February as we start to see more volume out of Colima.

^ Back to Conventional Fruits

Domestic pears are available in promotable volume. Quality is very nice and will continue. We do not expect any gaps between domestic supply and imports.

^ Back to Conventional Fruits

Pineapple

Pineapple (Offshore)
Gustavo.Lora@robinsonfresh.com
Weather in the northern region of Costa Rica is reported as cloudy with afternoon showers and cool temperatures. Pineapple supply continues to be lower than expected with better supply on large count fruit this week. New estimates point at April-May as the peak Costa Rica volume months for 2019. No AOS fruit from Costa Rica at this time with all efforts focused on securing pack-to-order fruit. Quality is reported as good, with shell color at 0.5 – 1.00 and solid 14+ brix reported at all our farms. USDA crossing report is showing a slight increase on inbound loads from Costa Rica into the USA with week 05 at 750 loads into the USA vs week 04 at 680 loads inbound from Costa Rica. USDA reporting moderate demand and about steady market.

Pineapple (Mexican)
Jiovani.Guevara@robinsonfresh.com
Isla, Veracruz is forecast for temperatures in the mid-80s with low chances of rain during the weekend. Volume from Mexico is increasing weekly. Quality is reported as good, shell color at 0.5 – 1.00 and brix over 13%. Sizing will be heavier on the 6 count and 7 count on these inbounds, followed by 8 count and 5 count. Market and demand conditions are stable compared to last week. Supplies from Mexico will continue to increase in production without interruptions until May/June 2019. Demand for Mexico pineapples is MODERATE on all sizes, with good supplies on all sizes in the marketplace.

^ Back to Conventional Fruits

Supplies are very limited this week in California due to cold weather and forecast rain. The Oxnard area is forecast for rain Wednesday and Thursday, mostly cloudy Friday, partly cloudy on Saturday and rain and drizzle possible on Sunday with highs in the 60s and lows in the 50s, decreasing to the 40s Friday through the weekend. Central Mexico is forecast for partly sunny skies with full sun for the weekend with highs in the 80s and lows in the 40s. Florida is forecast for mostly cloudy skies and a possible thunderstorm on Saturday, highs in the 60s increasing to the 70s Thursday for the weekend and lows in the 40s, increasing to the 50s Thursday through the weekend. Oxnard fruit has occasional bruising, frequent white shoulders or under color, water damage, scarring, green tip and misshapen and average counts of 18 to 20.

Supplies are good on seedless and mini watermelon. Crossings are starting to pick up as production keeps increasing each week. Melons are coming from the Jalisco, Mexico area into Edinburg, Texas and Nogales, Arizona. Offshore melons are going as well. Honduras is picking up in volume. We will have supplies form the Yucatan, Mexico on the east coast for the next couple of months.

^ Back to Conventional Fruits

Organic Fruits & Vegetables

Product is available on all the key varieties including Gala, Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Honeycrisp, and Fuji. 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, as demand for organics is generally 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 sometimes require a little more lead time but we can fulfill needs in 3 pound bags as well as tray packed fruit.

Organic Consolidation

Bob.Stone@chrobinson.com

Rain free Southern California, Arizona and Mexico have allowed many organic growers to get caught up in their fields and start to fill the supply pipeline. However, because of all the extraneous weather of the previous 2 to 3 weeks, along with temperatures still cooler than normal, the markets are all over the place. The Robinson Fresh organic team is regularly updating deals and hot buys. Not only can we get these deals, but we have the LASC where we can consolidate purchases for the ease of one stop shopping. Allow us to supply you with the deals and then we can take care of getting all of your purchases consolidated at the LASC, truly centrally located at this time of year, to make for easy one pick, one drop, trucking, Thus saving you time, money, and headaches.
*Updated 2/6/19

Organic Dry Vegetables

John.Pursel@robinsonfresh.com

Nogales is currently shipping organic yellow squash, zucchini and cucumber. Organic green bell pepper volume is increasing in Nogales this week and next. Hard squash is available in Nogales as well as Hollister.

Organic lemons are currently loading out of southern California in D-3. Quality is good and the crop seems to be peaking on 165/200/140 count.

^ Back to Organic Fruits & Vegetables

Supplies are gapping on organic mini melons in the west out of Mexico.

^ Back to Organic Fruits & Vegetables

Our organic red onions are currently shipping out of Hollister, California. The crop has peaked with jumbos and minimal mediums are available. Organic shallots are limited this season but are available in 20 pound box or 4×5 pound sacks.

^ Back to Organic Fruits & Vegetables

Organic Oranges

Tom.Ashcroft@chrobinson.com

Organic navels are currently growing out of D-2. Peak sizing is 88/72 count and running slightly smaller than conventional sizing. Demand continues to be strong and exceeds supply on 56 count and larger.

^ Back to Organic Fruits & Vegetables

Organic Bartletts from Argentina have begun shipping to the states. Crop looks similar in volume but down in size profile by about 2 sizes from last year. Domestic organic D’Anjou are still available in good volume.

^ Back to Organic Fruits & Vegetables

Colorado Organic Potatoes
The organic russets out of Colorado are still looking great as we finish up the Norkotahs for the season and switch into Centennial over the next couple of weeks. There will be limited cartons available once we are in Centennials for time for the rest of the season. With the quality that we are seeing right now we should have supply into mid-April.
Organic Red potatoes are still in good supply and again quality is holding nicely. With our current supply we should have supply through March or early April.
Organic Yellow potatoes are in really good supply right now and we are looking to promote them for the next 6 weeks. Quality is holding nicely and we should have supply through March.
Oregon Organic Potatoes
We have organic Red potatoes available out of Malin, Oregon right now. Quality is very nice and supply is good. We are looking for promotions on this supply and should be able to promote over the next 6 to 8 weeks. We can pack them in either 10/5# bags or 50# cartons.
*Updated 2/6/19

^ Back to Organic Fruits & Vegetables

Organics squash supplies are plentiful in Nogales. Mexican crossings are more prevalent and quality is pretty good overall. East coast squashes is getting better with new fields coming to play. The short term outlook seems steady.

^ Back to Organic Fruits & Vegetables

Organic Sweet Potatoes

Chris.Lemmon@robinsonfresh.com

Organic sweet potatoes are currently shipping out of California. The storage crop is holding well and all sizes are available. Our pack sizes available are 2 pound – 10 pound bags, Mediums, US#1 and Jumbos.

^ Back to Organic Fruits & Vegetables

Transportation

We are accepting all freight offers from every location. We have secured capacity ready to haul your freight.

David.Stramel@chrobinson.com

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Fresh from the kitchen

SWEET POTATO CINNAMON ROLLS

Ingredients

Dough

      • 1 1/2 lbs Green Giant™ Fresh Diced Sweet Potatoes
      • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
      • 1 stick unsalted butter
      • 3 eggs
      • 1/2 cup warm water
      • 1 Tbsp active dry yeast
      • 2 Tbsp sugar
      • 1 Tbsp olive oil

      Cinnamon Filling

      • 1/2 lbs Green Giant™ Fresh Diced Sweet Potatoes
      • 1 1/2 cup brown sugar
      • 2 1/2 Tbsp cinnamon
      • 3 Tbsp all-purpose flour
      • 1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
      • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

      Icing

      • 2 cups powdered sugar
      • 2 Tbsp milk
      • 1 tsp vanilla extract
      • 1/2 stick unsalted butter, melted
      • 1/4 tsp salt

… More at Sweet Potato Cinnamon Rolls

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