Commodity Updates – September 18, 2019

Weather Update

After a surprise rain event in the Salinas valley early this week, another cold front moves in out west with cooler temperatures and a chance of light rain mid-week. High pressure builds with a gradual warm up late this week into the weekend. A tropical storm approaches Western Mexico with strong winds and heavy rains especially along the coast of Jalisco/Michoacán late this week. In Florida Tropical storm Humberto moves is well east of the region with seasonal temperatures and afternoon showers the norm under an easterly flow.


Although Fuji and Golden Delicious were expected this week, rain has prevented many shippers from harvesting fruit. Shippers are hoping to begin harvest by Friday/Saturday and increase availability by next week. With the cold Spring (late season snow) experienced in March, coupled with the mild temperature summer days (Highs in the 70’s), many Northwest shippers are battling slow growth/small sized apples. Meaning, the ‘internals’ (starch/brix inside the apple) are not reaching desired levels/sizes for harvesting. Many continue to stretch their inventories of stored fruit and are anxiously awaiting the start of new crop – Fuji, Golden Delicious, Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Pink Lady—to name a few. Honeycrisps are peaking on the large side (80/88ct) with not a lot of small, foodservice sized fruit.


The volume continues to increase in Southern Baja, Mexico, and demand has decreased with the additional volume. Both regions in Peru (Ica/Trujillo) are experiencing warmer weather with Spring ready to start at the end of this week. Bigger size asparagus has improved with the improved weather. Markets on both coasts are lower this week with more production from both Mexico and Peru.


The growing region of Michoacan Mexico continues to see rain. Current size curve is 48’s and larger. Small fruit (60’s,70’s,80’s) remain limited as growers are seeing less in the daily pack outs. The market continues to be a challenge with too many 48’s and larger and not enough 60’s and smaller. Current demand on small fruit has outpaced supplies and has caused a significant spread in price. This will be the trend for the remainder of the month.

Bell Peppers

Green Bell Pepper- Continue to be harvested in Hollister and Stockton California. Mostly #1 grade being packed from these districts with few choice. Production could decrease slightly due to rain in the Hollister area on Monday. Quality on green bell pepper from Hollister and Stockton are good. Both Retail/Choice grade green bell pepper supply meets demand. Light supplies of green pepper also being harvested in Baja California.

Red Bell Pepper- Good supplies of red bell pepper being harvested in the Hollister and Oxnard growing district. More retail grade currently being packed. Supplies from Oxnard and Hollister are expected to increase as we move forward in the month of September. Market on red bell pepper continues to decrease this week with better supplies. Moderate supplies of Red bell pepper continue available to load in Nogales, AZ and McAllen, TX.


Blueberries are finishing up in the PNW and will run through mid October weather permitting. After that it will be all imported fruit from Mexico , Argentina ,Uruguay and Peru. Quality on the last of the PNW fruit is just marginal. The Imports are being reported as having very good quality at this point . Imports are also commanding a premium price compared to domestic product. Look for markets to remain steady.


The strawberries continue to be challenged by less than ideal weather events. Extreme heat over the last weekend exceeding 100 degrees inland and hovering in the mid 80s to 90s on the coastal regions of both Santa Maria and Watsonville /Salinas have caused reduced yields on the front end of the week. Monday we saw a light rain occurring through most of the morning into mid day. This combination of heat and precipitation will affect both quality and harvest projections. Expect to see softer fruit with bruising and moisture related issues such as mildew and premature breakdown in some of the berries. Shippers are working diligently to keep problem fruit out of the pack but with the extreme nature of these past weather issues there will be a noticeable decrease in overall quality. The market will remain firm with open market fruit becoming increasingly tight as we move into the weekend . Although projections are not calling for severe heat , we are expecting another warming trend coming up Sunday through next week where temps are expected to reach mid 80s to 90s inland. The market will remain strong with higher undertones through next week.


Broccoli supplies continue to get tighter as we are currently gapping in supplies and lower yields due to the recent heat. Quality is fair to poor depending on the region with slight purpling, pin rot, some mechanical damage, hollow core and occasional yellow cast.


The California carrot market is steady with the cellos and custom cuts moving along smoothly . Jumbos are still fairly snug with some shippers reporting light numbers. The Mexican Jumbo market is slightly lower as they compete with local markets in Colorado, Georgia and the Canadian North East. Quality out of all areas is good.


Cauliflower market continues to stay steady with slightly lower yields. The quality is good with minor bruising and yellow cast with weights in the 25 to 28-pound level. Look for the market to continue to adjust going into next week.

Chili Peppers

Jalapenos – Good supplies of Jalapeno available to load in Los Angles from Mexico and California. Jalapeno are being harvested in Baja California where the quality is good. Domestic jalapeno being harvested in Santa Maria, CA. Mostly medium to large size are available from Santa Maria. Market on jalapeno have maintained in teens for the week. Jalapenos from Mexico are also available to load in McAllen, Texas. Pasilla – Good supply of Pasilla peppers available to load in Los Angeles from Mexico.

Pasilla is being harvested in Baja California. Quality on Pasilla from this region is mostly good. Size on the pepper is mostly medium to large. Pasilla peppers also being harvested in Santa Maria, California. Market on Pasilla is Lower/steady. Pasilla from Mexico also available to load in McAllen, Texas.

Anaheim – Good supply of Anaheim available to load from Baja California and Santa Maria. Quality from Baja and Santa Maria is mostly good. The anaheim continues to be in the mid-teens and is expected to stay there through the week. Anaheim from Mexico also available to load in McAllen, Texas.

Serrano – Good supplies of Serrano peppers available to load in Los Angeles, from Mexico. Supplies are expected to remain steady throughout the week. Supplies currently meet demand. Price on Serrano pepper remain in the mid teens and is expected to remain the same through the week. Serrano supplies also crossing through McAllen, Texas.

Tomatillo – Husk tomatillos are available to load in Los Angeles, from Mexico. Quality of husk variety is good. Good supplies on husk tomatillos are expected to continue through the week. The tomatillo market has remained steady on both husked and peeled. Both Husked and Peeled tomatillos have remained steady in the teens. Both varieties of tomatillos also available to load in McAllen, TX


Domestic supplies on 140’s and larger continue to be tight. We’ve seen a high demand for domestic supplies, imports supplies seem to be winding down. Suppliers are doing their best to cover orders day to day. Current supplies are being harvested from District 2 (Southern California Region) and are winding down with suppliers maximizing fruit availability and it’s fresh utilization. Some suppliers have started District 3 (California Desert/Arizona Region), supplies are light to start but will gradually increase over the next few weeks.


Supplies continue to get tighter each week and markets are rising quickly as well. Due to the drought condition in the growing regions the industry is getting light packouts and minimal crossings. The outlook moving forward depends on the weather in Mexico, without any rain we won’t see improvement until the next 4-6 weeks. Sizing profile on 230/250 size look to be in better shape than 110 – 175 sizes. Quality has been fair, we are seeing oil spotting and some stylar still. Please know that we are looking to find other options and continue to source limes from other growing regions. Current markets have risen weekly and are expected to moving forward until supplies improve.


Demand for small Valencia’s continues to be very strong and we expect supplies to remain limited until we transition to California Navels. Markets continue to remain firm on small sizes. We’re still about six weeks away from Navels, but still have Chilean supplies available to help offset and fulfill orders. Our suppliers are doing their best to keep up with the high demand but they are taking it day by day on availability on pack outs from the fields. Flexibility on loading dates and the ability to sub into another size will help all of us fulfill orders during this time period. Please continue to prebook orders in advance to help strategize and prepare in case we run into inventory issues.


The West Coast cucumber market is steady. Better supplies crossing into San Diego from Baja California this week. Supplies crossing through Nogales remain moderate. Quality from both districts are good. Cucumber crossing through San Diego are being harvested in Baja California. Cucumber crossing through Nogales are being harvested in Durango, Mexico. All sizes and pack styles are being packed from both districts. Cucumber quality crossing into Arizona and California are good.

Grapes (Green)

Green grape supplies are steady this week. New varieties are still in the process of being harvested and markets are slightly higher. Quality has been good with reports of high color and occasional soft berries. Autumn King is the newest variety to start this week. Quality on these grapes is excellent, but market prices are at least $2 higher than the other varieties (Great Green and Thompson). Overall, we can expect green grape supplies to get lighter and lighter as we move forward. Shippers expect an early end to the domestic season, some are saying as early as mid October. We expect to see a gap between domestic and import fruit.

Grapes (Red)

Red grape supplies and markets remain steady this week. No real changes from last week. Good volumes of new variety red grapes are being harvested and quality is being reported as very strong. Sizes are heavier on sizes L-XL. We saw an increase in demand as school started and it has remained consistent. Shippers have fresh inventories with little pressure to blow out fruit. Thus, markets have been steady and strong with spot buy opportunities available. We expect good supplies through transition. Transition will start to be part of the conversation come November.

Lettuce Iceberg

This market has been stronger on lettuce overall to begin the week. Very warm temperatures in the growing regions has created lower yields with many suppliers. Escalated pricing is not in play but expect the commodity to be moderate to light for the rest of this week. Overall, demand is up in the industry. Salinas and Santa Maria continue to be the main regions for this commodity. Mexico has had some production as well. Suppliers continue to report good, overall quality. A few minor defects include mildew on outer leaves, misshapen heads and slight mechanical damage. Weights are ranging from 40-44 pounds.

Lettuce Leaf

The romaine market was expected to get stronger but many suppliers have remained steady to begin the week. Demand is fair. Growers continue to have good production with the warm temperatures in the valley. The overall quality is reported to be good. Mechanical, twisting and slight mildew damage has been reported. Shippers are using more labor to peel down the outer leaves to have a nicer box to receive. Weights are reported between thirty-two to thirty five pounds. Romaine hearts will have good availability all week. Red and green leaf as well as butter will have steady supplies all week. The weights on green and red leaf range from twenty-one to twenty-four pounds per case.


Onion markets out of the Northwest in Idaho/Oregon and Washington are slightly lower and have begun to stabilize. Yellow, red and white onions are in full production with excellent quality. The larger size super colossal and colossal yellow are lighter in supply but improving weekly. Rain has been sporadic in some growing regions curtailing harvests and slowing production but supplies remain plentiful. Expect markets to level out and hold relatively steady for the balance of September.


Northwest Bartletts are peaking on 90ct (Wenatchee area) and 110ct-120ct (Yakima) with limited supplies on FCY/low grade. New crop Green D’Anjou (90ct/100ct) and Bosc (90ct-120ct) are limited in availability; especially on low grade—more so than Bartletts. Red pears have not started with any kind of volume. Red D’Anjou pears should start next week with minimal volumes. Special varieties—such as Seckel, Forelle, Comice—are expected over the next two weeks. Quality is excellent.


Idaho potato markets continue to slide down as harvesting continues. Size profile is increasing on the larger size counts with the smaller sizes starting to slow down. Rain and wind in Idaho today will curtail harvests. Weather looks to improve mid-week but more rain is in the forecast for Thursday and Friday which will slow production towards the end of the week. Washington production and markets are in line with Idaho

Zucchini & Yellow Squash

Good supplies of Zucchini and Yellow S/N squash being harvested at all three California growing districts. Steady volume is expected to continue through the week from all districts. The market on both zucchini and yellow squash is remaining steady. Quality from all three California growing districts are good on both varieties. Light supplies of zucchini squash have started to cross through Nogales, AZ this week from Sonora, Mexico. Quality from the Sonora crop is good.


California rounds are steady and have not shown much waiver in the last several weeks. Overall, production is consistent as farms work though lower yields due to excessive temperatures. Similarly, romas are also showing challenges from the heat waves in California at a time when Mexico imports are only moderate. The newly agreed suspension agreement draft has eased concerns of a shortage of tomatoes coming from Mexico helping to steady supply as growers in Mexico continue to work through transition and recent rains. Grape and cherry tomatoes are continuing to improve from the past couple of weeks now that supply is improving out of Mexico.