Market Conditions – February 20

Weather Update A cold low-pressure system moves into California Wednesday with rain and cold temperatures across the state. The very cold system will bring freezing morning temperatures throughout California and the southwestern desert locals into the weekend. High pressure builds behind the system with a warming trend next week. Seasonal temperatures continue across Central Mexico with a slight cool down and a chance of rain across Northern Mexico as the storm track passes to the north. A moist southerly flow moves into Florida late this wee producing warmer temperatures and scattered showers across the region into the weekend. Another system moves in from the north early next week.

Apples Demand is moderate with steady pricing across all varieties with the smaller foodservice sizing getting premium. Good supplies of 48-64 are available in the Red varieties. Granny Smiths and Golds are still leading the pack with the strongest pricing on the smaller sizing. Pricing feels like we could have finally hit the top. Or is this the calm before the storm when the weather warms up in the coming months. Only time will tell. Gala demand continues strong across all sizes. Quality overall is still being reported as good upon arrivals.

Avocado (Mexican) Harvest from Mexico remains steady and the demand is keeping pace. Field prices have strengthened triggering a strong demand for 48s and smaller, which remain very tight based on the size curve. The expectation is for stable harvest for the balance of the month while demand steadily increases. Mexico is currently harvesting the “Aventajada” crop and will run into June. Come July, the harvest of the “Flora Loca” Variety will start up.

Green Bell Peppers Supplies currently exceed demand on all sizes of green bells. Market on Green bells has stabilized after adjusting down on both #1 and choice grade pack.

Strawberries The Strawberry market is a real mixed bag at this point. California is drying out from recent rains but near freezing temperatures have continued to hamper plant growth. Expect light supplies out of the Oxnard and Santa Maria locations for another week at least. Quality is improving but there will be the occasional white shoulder and some cases of water-related issues with some of the fruit.

Broccoli The broccoli market continues to pick up with the colder and wet weather we’ve recently experienced. Weather looks to be cooler the next few days in all areas slowing down the growth process. Next weeks weather in Yuma looks to warm up to the mid 70’s. Look for supplies to get a little better with improved weather. Quality is good with slight purpling, some mechanical damage, and occasional yellow cast.

Brussels Sprouts The Brussels Sprout market has leveled off but still remains snug with supply being affected by the recent rains. The quality has been affected by the rain and cold weather and sizing tend to run smaller due to this recent colder weather. Look for the Brussels Sprout market to remain tight going into next week.

Cauliflower Cauliflower continues to be extremely short. The market continues to get stronger as suppliers are battling lower yields. The Yuma weather has been cooler resulting in a slower growth process. Overall, the quality is good with minor bruising and some yellow cast with weights in the 25 to 28-pound level. Look for this market to continue to be tight going into next week.

Celery The celery market continues to gain strength throughout the country. Escalated pricing is in effect on all contracts and value-added items. Demand exceeds supplies. Very cold soil temperatures in the Oxnard/ Santa Maria region coupled with heavy rains have stopped the growth and harvesting of this commodity. Common defects include bowing, leafy tops, mud, insect damage and pith. Needless to say, quality is fair at best. Yuma production is limited as well with the same type of defects. Expect fair quality and light supplies throughout the month of February.

Cilantro The Cilantro market looks to continue to be steady in Yuma and Mexico. The cilantro quality is good and has been affected a bit by the colder weather at the beginning of January. Look for the cilantro market to continue to remain steady going into next week.

Lemons Due to the recent weather, the smaller size fruit 140’s and smaller are looking to tighten up for the next couple months. The rain and cold weather brought on the larger fruit and smaller fruit is staying limited on sizing and green on the trees. Current markets are looking steady, normal business on small fruit looks steady for now but could get snug in the next few weeks.

Oranges California is at the center of multiple storms bringing heavy rain, snow, wind, and flooding across the state – The Central Valley is no exception. Due to the wet weather, we are experiencing challenges with the harvest. Unable to get into the fields, supplies are very limited and we are experiencing shortages on all sizes and grades. Color and flavor are excellent, brix averages are climbing to 13-14 as we are into some of our best varieties of the season with great quality. The pack has been majority fancy grade with limited choice grade availability.

Grapes (Green) Green grape supplies are still limited. This week, we are seeing slightly better availability on the west coast, but the east coast is still very limited. Although the industry is in a better position than we have seen over the last 4 weeks, supplies are still too light to fill the pipeline. Market prices are still firm and we expect things to remain the same for another 7-10 days. We will see markets slowly decline as better supplies arrive late next week. Quality is being reported as strong and sizes are in the Large to Extra Large range. We anticipate things to smooth out by late next week and hope to see consistent supplies over the next 4-6 weeks as we move through the import season.

Grapes (Red) Red grape supplies are gradually improving week over week. This week’s supplies are better than last week’s and we expect even more availability next week. We have not seen the markets react as quickly or severely as we initially expected.

Kale The kale market continues to stay remain strong and steady with the recent rain and cooler weather in Yuma. Quality is fair with full bunches, and only an occasional yellow leaf being reported.

Iceberg Lettuce This market has become active with all suppliers. Demand is up. Cold weather has caused the plants to grow much slower than normal. Common defects being reported about this commodity to include ribby, big veins, blister, mechanical, misshapen heads and puffiness. Please understand this is industry wide defects that are being reported. The quality is fair. Temperatures are expected to heat up next week, but will only be in the 60’s this week. This will cause soil temperatures to stay below optimal conditions. The weights on liner lettuce are averaging 38-43 pounds.

Leaf Lettuce Romaine, as well as green and red leaf and butter, are active in the marketplace. Demand is clearly up compared to past weeks. The cold weather and rain have caused havoc to the growth cycle of these commodities. Twisting, mechanical, blister, fringe burn, and mildew are common defects being reported. All of these defects are industry-wide issues. Fair quality will continue for the entire month of February at a minimum. The value-added product will have a shorter shelf life. Cool weather will continue in the growing regions for the rest of this week.

Onions White Onions are in very few hands with a very strong market. Quality is fair at best. The only light at the end of the tunnel is Mexico supplies crossing into the U.S. through Texas. Supplies will slowly increase over the next several weeks accompanied by Reds then followed by Yellows. Medium Yellow and Red onions look to be limited for the balance of the Northwest storage crop and are getting a premium over the larger onions. Quality overall is still good.

Tomatoes  Mexico is in full swing production working through winter crops with steady volumes crossing AZ and TX. Nearly all items are at Suspension agreement minimums. There is a good supply of large rounds and plenty of volume spanning all varieties. Roma tomatoes have strengthened by a dollar or so following a series of scattered showers in Mexico while farms rotate. With mostly dry weather conditions in the coming week, markets should continue into February near minimums with healthy supply through both McAllen and Nogales facilities.

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