MARKETS AND TRENDS

Good growing conditions launch Michigan produce deal
The springtime brought good growing conditions for Michigan’s produce industry. The Michigan deal started four days earlier than a year ago, and the outlook going into July is great, said Loren Buurma, a partner in the Willard, OH-based Buurma Farms Inc. Talbert Nething, the sales manager of Van Solkema Produce Inc., based in Byron Center, MI, said his firm... Read more
Summer citrus variety demand follows North American consumer trends
The demand for sweet and easy-peel citrus with no or few seeds is apparent when one considers the varieties currently being imported for the summer months. While there are exceptions, such as the continued demand for traditional oranges and lemons, U.S. distributors report that the demand for clementines, Mandarins and Minneolas and other sweet and easy-peel... Read more
Blues gaining rock star status in Pacific Northwest
Signs point to a bright future for blueberry production in the Pacific Northwest. Looking forward, Alan Schreiber, administrator of the Washington Blueberry Commission, said, “Production will continue to climb, both conventional and organic, both processing and fresh. I see the West Coast of North America dominating the blueberry market in the next five to 10... Read more
Mexican grape deal coming to an early end
Except for Red Globes, the Mexican grape deal will finish by the end of June, according to Jerry Havel, director of sales and marketing for Fresh Farms, based in Rio Rico, AZ. “The California grape deal is a little early and we are finishing a little early, so the timing is about perfect,” Havel said June 16. “The deal was good for us, the market was good and... Read more
LIMA, Peru — Since gaining access to the U.S. market four years ago, Peruvian avocados have made great strides in becoming an important source of the popular fruit. “That first year it was a very humble beginning, with 32 million pounds,” said Xavier Equihua, president and chief executive officer of the Peruvian Avocado Commission, which is part of the federal... Read more
San Joaquin Valley onion growers infusing national onion pipeline
On June 5, information in the National Potato and Onion Report was updated with data from the Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The following data were provided regarding the 2015 onion season in California’s San Joaquin Valley. According to the report, demand for yellow mediums was moderate, and demand for other varieties... Read more
New Jersey blueberries expected to arrive the week of June 15
As millions of people along the East Coast shivered their way through a cold and brutal winter, blueberry bushes throughout Southern New Jersey enjoyed a long and deep slumber. The winter of 2015 was devoid of any temperature spikes that would have interrupted the blueberry plant’s dormant stage, and consequently, the region received the perfect amount of chill... Read more
2015 Jersey Fresh produce season under way with good quantities of high-quality crops
The 2015 Jersey Fresh produce season is underway and should be highlighted by good quantities of high-quality produce. According to the New Jersey state climatologist, this winter was a cold and snowy season with below-average temperatures. March temperatures averaged 35.8 degrees, which is 5.3 degrees below normal and ranks as the 14th coldest winter since 1895.... Read more
Mexican mango crop could be record breaker
All indications are that the 2015 spring-summer mango season is shaping up to be a record breaker. The short supplies of 2014 are long forgotten as suppliers are reporting a flood of mangos in the marketplace and unbelievable volumes shipping each week. The Mexican season began at the end of January and will run until September with a projection of approximately... Read more
With some warmer weather in the forecast as California steamed toward early June, vegetable supplies might start to pick up, which could mean more predictability in the marketplace. Though that could be the case, some are not so quick to concede that, as predictability has been the enemy for the past few months. Mark McBride, who sits on the sales desk for... Read more
Northwest cherries up to two weeks early
For the most part, Mother Nature has cherry picked just the kind of conditions that growers in the Pacific Northwest need to produce the quality cherry crop the region is known for. In 2015, these conditions will translate to good volume, impressive size and high quality. Some shift in the marketing window for Rainier cherries, whose popularity continues to... Read more
Large mango volume an opportunity for retailer promotions
The National Mango Board is encouraging retailers and suppliers to act quickly to move more mangos due to the higher-than-normal import volume. This year’s mango volume has already seen weekly shipments of more than 4 million boxes, an 18 percent increase compared to the largest week in 2014.  Volumes are expected to remain steady through Q2 of 2015. Mexican... Read more
Pipfruit acreage down, but quality high for New Zealand
New Zealand pipfruit producers are anticipating slight decreases in apple and pear volumes exported this season. “Export apple volumes for the 2015 season were estimated to be around 300,000 tons,” said Alan Pollard, chief executive officer of Pipfruit New Zealand. Reductions in pear volumes are expected to follow a similar tend. “Export pear volumes for the... Read more
California's new potato deal off to early start
It was the earliest start of new potatoes from Kern County, CA, in memory, according to longtime sales representative and observer Tom Franconi of Mazzei-Franconi Co. LLC in Edison, CA. “Typically, we would start around May 1,” he said, “but this year there were Kern County potatoes on the market on April 21.” This is the same story that growers and shippers... Read more
Berries buck trend showing slight declines in fruit consumption
Although the consumption of fresh fruit has shown a 2 percent decline in the past five years, berry consumption has bucked the trend and shown increases among demographic groups studied by the fresh fruit industry. “We are definitely seeing increased demand and consumption of berries with consumers,” said Kayla Oberman, director of marketing for Naturipe Berry... Read more
California figs season under way, good volume by June
The California fig crop did not begin its season this year quite as early as last year’s record setter, but it is early nonetheless. Kurt Cappelluti, sales manager for Stellar Distributing Inc. in Madera, CA, which is owned by M.L. Catania Co. Ltd. in Mississauga, ON, said “the fig crop is definitely earlier than it used to be. We picked our first fruit on April... Read more
The U.S. Department of Agriculture said its estimate of the 2014-15 Florida orange crop decreased 5.6 million boxes to 96.4 million. During the 2013-14 season, Florida produced 104 million boxes of oranges. Early-mid varieties increased slightly to 47.4 million boxes while Valencia oranges dipped 6 million boxes to 49 million. "There is no doubt about it we... Read more
It is a simple case of demand exceeds supply, according to members of the California grower-shipper community. “We have a very, very, very active market across the board,” said Matt Seeley, vice president of marketing for The Nunes Co., based in Salinas, CA. “We were ahead of schedule on just about everything, which has finally created gaps. As such, prices... Read more
With the first melons being picked from the California desert on April 28, Barry Zwillinger told The Produce News that it is the "earliest and best melon crop in 30 years of doing this.” Zwillinger, who is the owner of Legend Produce, which has operations in both California and Arizona, said what appears to be a great season for his firm is the result of perfect... Read more
Drought conditions persist in Colorado
Colorado State Engineer Dick Wolfe said officials continue to monitor Colorado snowpack and water levels. “In general, the reservoirs are in good shape,” he told The Produce News in mid-April. “But drought conditions still persist. We started into the winter with good snowpack. Then things dropped off in February.”Dick Wolfe Alpine areas are still showing good... Read more