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Fresh from the Field

This week’s fresh update

August 14, 2018 | Volume 5, Issue 37

Conventional Vegetables

Demand has increased over the past week due to promotional programs with several retail outlets. We are seeing declining volumes from Central Mexico and light supplies from Peru. Quality from Peru has been very good and we should expect this to continue while the southern hemisphere while winter weather is present with cooler temperatures that can cause asparagus to grow slowly and tips remain very tight. We should see increased volume from Peru in about 4 weeks when the forecast warmer temps start to settle in. The middle of September through the middle of November is a great time to promote asparagus.
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There is plenty of availability driving markets down. Expect this trend to last for this week.^ Back to Conventional Vegetables

Broccoli & Cauliflower

John.Tillman@robinsonfresh.com

Broccoli – Supply is limited in all growing regions due to unexpected gaps in the crop.
Cauliflower – Supply continues to exceed demand in California, causing markets to remain depressed.

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Green is fairly active due to adverse weather in some of the eastern growing regions. Rains in Georgia and North Carolina have significantly reduced this year’s crop and postponed harvest, driving demand to the west coast. Slightly colder weather in Salinas and Santa Maria are have slowed growth and we are in a small gap. Most growers are expecting better supplies over the next 2 weeks. Volume out of the Midwest is still extremely limited. Expect volume to be more available come the week of 8/13.

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Quality looks excellent with field reports showing medium green color, crisp texture and overall clean product. Most growers have a good balance of sizing with slightly heavier supplies of the larger sizes.
*Updated 8/7/18

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Markets are tightening up, and there is less availability. Expect rising prices for the next 7 days.

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Weather continues to be a mixed bag for the Midwest with temperatures in the upper 80s. We are expecting supply to be sporadic on most items for the next couple weeks with Kale being the exception. Kale supply is steady. Turnip and mustard are in short supply for the next 7-10 days.

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Steady supplies of Iceberg lettuce are forecast for this week and quality reports are showing medium to light green color, nice texture and overall clean appearance. Salinas and Santa Maria are the primary shipping points for Iceberg lettuce off the west coast.
*Updated 8/7/18

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Salinas and Santa Maria are the primary shipping points for leaf lettuces off the west coast. Good quality is reported on leaf lettuces this week. Some of the growing areas had strong winds over the last few weeks and there are reports of occasional wind burn tips on the outermost leaves. Promotable volume is available and no major weather events are forecast at this time.
*Updated 8/7/18

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Potatoes
This is a slow time of year for both consumer usage and available new crop. However, good time of year to talk about the upcoming fall harvest and plan the retail set and promotion calendar. If someone is going to expand their current retail set, now is the time to have the conversation.
Russet Potato
There is a new crop in California, with storage crop available in Washington and Idaho. You’ll see supplies dwindle toward the end of July as everyone cleans up. Early new crop may be found in Washington during August.
Red Potato
California has the newest potatoes available. Any other growing region bears risk with quality and condition. Make sure inspections are available. Growers are aware and are trying to get what they can so most are open working with you through issues to maximize their returns as they clean up.
Yellow Potato
This variety is practically sold out across the country, which should really be fine with most receivers since potatoes don’t fly off the shelf when summer fruit selections are available. If you weren’t on contract with this item coming out of the winter months, you’ll be hard pressed to find this variety on the open market. If you do, be prepared to pay.
Specialty Potato
Purples are in short supply. Fingerlings across all varieties are hit and miss with regard to supply. We still have several loads of ROOSTER potatoes in storage in Washington. FSQA cuttings are showing good quality, and we can do interesting pricing on these. Please email our sales team for more info: potato_sales@robinsonfresh.com.

Not much has change from last week, as there is still good availability out of Otay and Santa Maria, California. Quality remains fair.

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Local deals are up and running and there is good volume of quality product.

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Conventional Fruits

The new crop galas are being packed as are a few ginger golds. Projections of the new crop are showing it to be similar to last year’s crop, but possibly slightly down. Generally, the apple size will be larger this year as compared to last year where we had more small fruit available.

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Mexico
Inbound volumes out of Mexico reported on HAB came in at 725 loads that crossed the border into the US vs the 650 loads projected. This week is projected to be 700 loads of avocados crossing into the US. Sizing is heavy to 48s and smaller with very little #2s making up the volume. Transit temperatures have changed to 40-42 degrees and ripening times on new crop fruit have been extended to 3-4 days.
California
California came in below their projections with under 175 loads. California growing regions are forecasted to be in the 80s & 90s this week and many growers will be in their final harvest of the season.
Peru
300 loads were received into the USA last week. There are 250 loads anticipated to deliver into the USA this week.
Chile
There have been some early shipments sent to Asia. Volumes will increase as the maturity levels improve.
Colombia
Sporadic shipments are being made to the US.

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Blueberries continue to tighten up as Michigan and British Colombia are the remaining two loading locations until Argentina begins in early September. More fruit is going to Controlled Atmosphere to prevent any gaps. There is a little extra fruit this week due to weather but is overall trending down in production.
Blackberries continue to remain very tight in supply, as they are slow to come in from Guatemala. Small amounts of Mexican highland fruit and small amounts of California, Washington State fruit is coming in. The blackberry market will remain snug until the rest of Mexico begins in October with promotable volume.
Raspberries are slowly tightening up, with good volume again this week from both Mexico and California.

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Cantaloupe remains in good supply on the west coast out of the Mendota, Patterson and Huron, California loading areas. We are seeing peak sizing on J9s and 9s. Expect supplies to remain good for the next couple of weeks. Growers are into peak volumes this week and next week. Overall, the demand continues to remain soft. There could be a hint of improvement demand wise by the weekend. Eastern Cantaloupes out of Indiana are close to done.

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Update on California Valencia’s Crop
The California Valencia season is at about 58% harvested. Fruit is still hanging on with temperatures over 100 degrees for a straight 18-20 days. We are seeing lots of re-greening on the Valencias and are going to see more gassing time. The size structure right now is 72, 56, 88, 48. Most shippers have stopped exporting because of the long gassing durations and to make sure they extend the season through September, but there are still plenty of Valencias available. The eating quality is only getting better and brix is between 14.0 to 15.5.
Update on D-2 Lemon Crop
The D-2 lemon season is starting to finish with only a few shippers still harvesting D-2 lemons. The hot weather in Southern California took its toll on the D-2 lemon crop and caused a loss of about 20% of the crop. Shippers sped up harvesting because of the fruit over maturing at a quick pace. The quality has held up well even with these very hot conditions. The D-3 season is starting slow because of the fruit maturing slowly and is expected to start harvest the first week of September. The demand for lemons is very strong with limited inventories and prices going up. The quality of the lemons is great and the eating quality is excellent. The size structure is 115, 140, 95, 165, 200.
Update on California Grapefruit
The California grapefruit season is 72% harvested and the demand is strong. Most shippers have stopped exporting because of the hot temperatures affecting the condition of the grapefruit. Fruit is becoming more pliable, but still good for the domestic market. The size structure of the grapefruit is 48, 40, 36, 56, 32 with brix around 14.5 to 15.0.
Update on Chilean Lemons
The Chilean lemons season is in full swing, but lemons are not arriving fast enough to the support the market as demand in the U.S. is very high with limited volume and prices are rising fast. We should be getting more containers starting this week, but most are sold before they arrive. The fruit is arriving with only a few minor issues so far, but it is still early in the season and hopefully quality will hold for the whole season. The size structure is 115, 140, 165, 95. The lemons are looking good with few grade defects like tinge of green, slight spotting and scar, but the fruit looks good and in great firm condition.
Update Chile Navels
The Chilean navel season is in full swing with about a million cartons of navels to arrive in the next 2-3 weeks. The problem is that there will be lots of small sizes 88, 72, 64, 113 with limited volume on 56s and larger. Most Chilean growers are going to start harvesting the Washington variety and the hope was we would get bigger sizes. The fruit will not be as small as the Fukumoto, but we will not see the heavy 56 and larger fruit we were expecting. The good news is we are expected to get limited volume on 88/113s and we will see more 72/64s and a just a bit more 56s. The navels are in good condition with only a few issues. Some of the fruit from the last container is showing a tinge of green, but overall, the majority of it has good color. The size structure right now is 72, 88, 113, 56.
Update Mexico Lemons
The Mexico lemon crop is harvested with light volumes. Mexico is planning to start harvest with good volume in the next 3 weeks. The report is that the fruit is left should be of good quality. The gas time on lemons right now is 72-96 hours of gas time. The real harvest of Mexico lemons will start in about 2 to 3 weeks. Last week we met with growers and we should have 60 to 70 loads available for us when they begin harvest. We will keep everyone updated as we get more information.
*Updated 7/31/18

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As we approach the middle and end of August, we are looking forward to getting into some newer varieties of red and green grapes and will be winding down on Flames and Sugarones. Krissy, Magenta, Timco, and Scarlett Royals will be soon be available as options on red grapes.
There are several green grape varieties available right now including Sugarones, Ivory and Sweet Sunshine. Upcoming varieties are Pristine, Stella Bella, and Autumn Kings.
Black grapes will be transitioning from Summery Royals to Autumn Royals in a few weeks. Quality and size are at or above expectations on all varieties with all sizes available from medium-large up to XL & jumbo. Organic red and green grapes can be consolidated and loaded at one shed to make it easier logistically.

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Supplies exceed demand on Honeydews out of California. Peaking on larger sized fruit, J5s and 5s, with good supplies on 6s. Overall, quality is very good with good sugar levels. Orange Flesh Honeydews remain on the snug side and other mixed melons will likely remain snug for the remainder of the season.

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Our limes are grown in eastern Mexico, and the current crop shows excellent quality with good green color. We are approximately 80% into the new crop and should be fully into it by next week. Sizing is shifting and peaking on 230s with fairly good availability on 200s. 175s and larger will be light in supply for the next 3-4 weeks. Recent rains will improve the size profile by September 9.

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Mangos are currently imported from the state of Sinaloa. Both Kent and Keitt mangos are being imported, however, the Keitt variety will represent most of the volume going forward. Both varieties are exhibiting reasonable quality. The Keitt variety is showing a higher percentage of fruit with cosmetic defects. This is due to the thinner and more delicate skin of the Keitt variety. Sizing is peaking on 7s, 8s, and 9s. As the season out of Mexico begins to draw to a close volume is expected to drop and prices are expected to increase.

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Papayas are beginning to increase in volume due to hotter weather in the growing region. Volume is expected to produce 10 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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The pear crop will be up considerably this year as compared to both 2017 and 2016.

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Pineapple

Pineapple (Offshore)
Gustavo.Lora@robinsonfresh.com
Weather conditions are forecast to worsen toward the middle of the week with heavy rains affecting the harvest in the northern region. This will put additional pressure on an already very tight supply. Our farms will be very tight on large count fruit. Tight supply is expected to continue until mid-October, well into week 45 packing. Quality is reported as very good, with shell color at 0.5 – 1.00 and solid 14+ brix reported at all of our farms. USDA is showing a significant decrease on inbound volume from Costa Rica for week 31 at 790 loads down from week 30 at 1000. We have better demand on 5s and 6s.

Pineapple (Mexican)
Jiovani.Guevara@robinsonfresh.com
Veracruz and Tabasco are the main growing regions for pineapples in Mexico, mostly cross thru the border entries in the state of Texas. We expect low supplies this week as Mexico continues to be in their low production season (summer gap). We expect to start our new season by the end of next week. Supplies, quality and sizing of the fruit during this time of the year are inconsistent due to natural floration. Demand for Mexican pineapples is moderate on all sizes, with low inventories on all sizes in the marketplace.

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Volumes in Salinas/Watsonville and Santa Maria growing regions remain fair but are trending downward as Santa Maria starts to see some early harvesting on the Portola variety. Quality overall is fair with smaller fruit due to the warmer temperatures and harvesting in the back half of the season. This week the Salinas/Watsonville and Santa Maria, California growing areas are forecast for low clouds then sun and then mostly sunny for the weekend, with highs in the 70s and lows in the 50s. Salinas/Watsonville fruit has occasional bruising, white shoulder, misshapen, fan and overripe and an average count of 24 to 26, occasionally higher. Santa Maria fruit has occasional bruising, misshapen and overripe. The average count is 24 to 26.

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Supplies and quality are good on seedless and mini watermelon. We have supplies in, CA, NC, MO, DE, TX, WA and IN. Minis have good volume as well. Continue to promote the rest of the summer. Most retail customers will run ads the next 5 out of 8 weeks. You can promote seedless and mini watermelon every other week for the rest of the summer.
*Updated 8/7/18

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Organic Fruits & Vegetables

Washington State is looking to set a record crop of organic apples this fall. Volume looks to be up 30% from last year. We are expecting excellent quality as this summer has had ideal growing conditions in Washington State.

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Organic Consolidation

Bob.Stone@chrobinson.com

There is a lot left to summer but the strange weather patterns, particularly the lack of cool nights, is wreaking havoc on a multitude of crops. The dry veg commodity group is especially hard hit as what little is still coming out of California has some major quality or sizing issues, causing prices to nearly double from last week. Unfortunately, Mexico has not started in full force, and the preponderance of hurricanes and tropical storms hitting western Mexico are not helping. Additionally, wet vegetables are impacted by these weather patterns, causing price jumps and marginal quality if you do not shop around. Fortunately, we work with some growers that have ranches in locations on higher latitudes and altitudes which extends their growing season and the quality they put to market. Just contact us and we will be sure to get you the right product at the right price.
Although the weather has impacted the summer fruit, it is resilient and we have great offerings on all flavors of seedless grapes, along with cantaloupe, and watermelon this week. California Bartlett pears have started in Lake County and California apples are in good supply and the northwest is ramping up with their crops of stone fruit, pears, and apples. Get ready to see these items on our Hot Buy sheet. Remember the convenience the LASC can offer you in terms of consolidating your orders here so that your trucks load with a minimal amount of picks instead of driving all over California getting your product. We can get nearly every item you may need into the LASC overnight and have it ready for loading onto your truck the next day. It will pay big dividends to utilize this most economical service we offer daily.

Organic Dry Vegetables

John.Pursel@robinsonfresh.com

Our California crop just finished and we are starting plantings in Florida and Georgia for fall. Please let us know your needs as we finalize schedules. 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 – look for promotional opportunities starting this month.

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Organic lemons are in high demand with pricing continuing to increase. Peak sizing is on the 140/165 count with most of the demand on 165/200 count. Eating quality is great with minimal quality issues.
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Organic mini watermelon continue in the Central San Joaquin Valley with several shippers quoting and very good quality fruit available. Market conditions continue to be supply over demand and overall business remains slow. The organic market is mirroring the conventional market on melons with many suppliers and lighter than desired demand.

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Our organic red and yellow onions are loading in Edison, California. The crop is peaking with Jumbo followed by medium. Ask for promotional opportunities.

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Organic Oranges

Tom.Ashcroft@chrobinson.com

Organic Valencias are in full swing. Demand continues to climb as well as pricing. Peak sizing is on 56/72 count with most of the demand on 88 count and smaller. Quality is good with minimal scarring and high brix.
*Updated 7/31/18

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Domestic organic Bartletts have started and quality is excellent. The crop looks significantly larger this year than last year.

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Organic Russet potatoes are still in short supply as we have transitioned from California up to Washington. We will continue to see light supplies until the third week of August. We will have a few available next week out of Warden, Washington available. Organic Red & Yellow potatoes are available now through September in Washington. Supply is getting better each week and quality seems to be starting off good. We will transition to Colorado by the first week of October. Organic Rooster potatoes are still on track to start the first week of October out of Center, Colorado. Organic Fingerling potatoes are slowly winding down out of California and are limited to Russian Banana until we get started in Center, Colorado the week of September 17.

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Supply remains steady out of southern California. Pricing is holding similar to last week.

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Organic Sweet Potatoes

Chris.Lemmon@robinsonfresh.com

Organic sweet potatoes are currently shipping storage crop and new crop out of California. The new crop is priced higher than storage. Storage quality is holding well, but is looking to move out to make room for new crop. Our pack sizes available are 2 lb – 10 lb bags, Mediums, US#1 and Jumbos.

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Transportation

Capacity and rates are stable for loads with lead time. Unplanned volume or transactional freight can be subject to increased rates, especially where you have network saturation.

Northeast: Recommend 24-48 hours lead-time in Northeast
Southeast: Recommend 28-48 hours lead-time in Southeast
Midwest: Recommend 24 hours lead-time in Midwest
South: Recommend 24 hours lead-time in South Texas
Northwest: Recommend 24 hours lead-time in Northwest
West: Recommended 24 hours lead-time in West
Benjamin.Thompson@chrobinson.com

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Fresh from the kitchen

BREAKFAST SIX LAYER TRIFLE

Ingredients

  • 4 cups minced watermelon
  • 3 cups organic fat free vanilla yogurt
  • 2 cups lowfat natural granola
  • 3 cups organic fat free peach yogurt
  • 2 cups organic crisp rice cereal
  • 2 cups shredded coconut

… More at Breakfast Six Layer Trifle or, watch the video below:

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