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MARKETS AND TRENDS

On May 17, Jason Hanselman, industry affairs associate with the National Watermelon Promotion Board, provided an update on watermelon movement. "We're now seeing a trickle out of Arizona and a bit more than that from Texas," he stated. "Additionally, Florida continues to pick up steam, though things are still a bit behind schedule." According to Hanselman, "Florida... Read more
New Zealand pipfruit exports see increase
Alan Pollard, chief executive officer of Pipfruit New Zealand, provided The Produce News with a snapshot of the 2016 pipfruit season. “We estimated 351,000 tons of pipfruit exports for the 2016 season,” he stated. “This is an increase of 5 percent over last year's actual exports of 334,000 tons.”Alan Pollard According to Pollard, the... Read more
Uncharacteristic weather appears to be the norm in California, which is leading to a vegetable supply situation that is very difficult to predict. The last four months of 2015 saw some very strong markets for most vegetables items because of weather-induced supply gaps. The first four months of this year saw a reversal of fortunes as warmer-than-normal weather... Read more
North Carolina sweet potato exports on pace for record year
From 2009 to 2014, per capita sweet potato consumption grew 60 percent in the United States to 7.5 pounds, led by North Carolina, where about half of all domestic sweet potatoes are grown, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data. North Carolina has also been investing to develop export markets, particularly in Europe, where sweet potatoes are not a traditional... Read more
California fresh fig crop on target for strong summer volume
Fresh figs from California began being shipped in early May with the Breva crop (fruit from the previous year’s budwood) from desert production taking center stge. But by the end of May, the southern San Joaquin Valley will also start producing and strong production should continue throughout the summer as all districts transition to the main crop. Karla... Read more
Unprecedented drought conditions in Brazil causing papaya shortages
North America’s largest Golden papaya importer is seeing continuous shortages in the Brazilian papaya supply caused by extraordinary heat and El Niño-related drought in the previous months. The shortages are expected to last throughout July. HLB Specialties, based in Pompano Beach, FL, sources from four different Brazilian papaya growers, including... Read more
For the third consecutive month, the U.S. Department of Agriculture raised its estimate of the 2015-16 Florida orange crop, now predicting growers will produce 81.1 million boxes, a 7 percent increase over last month's estimate. While the crop is still projected to be down 16 percent from the 96.8 million boxes of oranges Florida produced during the 2014-15... Read more
Berry consumption continues to rise
As consumers continue to search for fresh produce that offers the healthiest fare available, they are increasingly turning to berry consumption. And this trend also confirms that inclusion of berries as an active ingredient in a host of food items at home continues to grow: they are a do-not-disregard ingredient. One of the rock stars of the berry category... Read more
Stone fruit still early but cooler weather has slowed crops
In early April, it looked like most of California fruit crops that peak in the summer would be very early this year by as much as 10 days to two weeks. But Mother Nature reared a cooler head for much of April causing fruit growth to slow done and a more normal timing to ensue. Bill Purewal, president and owner of PureFresh Sales Inc. in Selma, CA, told The Produce... Read more
California sweet corn hits the supermarket shelves
After much anticipation, California-grown sweet corn is now available to consumers state-wide. Harvest has commenced in the Imperial Valley region, and it’s shaping up to be a positive season. A few early shippers have been going for a few weeks now, with the majority of growers starting this week. “We are extremely fortunate that the weather has been fairly... Read more
When California cherries are early, Mother’s Day promotions are the rage. When they are late, the Memorial Day Weekend is the holiday that benefits. “This year, we can promote California cherries throughout the month of May” and hit both holidays, said Jim Hanson of Grower Direct Marketing LLC, based in Stockton, CA. Hanson said that with the expansion of the... Read more
On April 5 the National Watermelon Promotion Board released a snapshot of watermelon movement based upon market data collated by the AMS Market News Portal. "After a brief lull, it looks like Mexico is back to their average production if not a tick higher," said Jason Hanselman, the board's industry affairs associate. "Price has fallen off a bit from the highs... Read more
South Florida growers rebounding from unprecedented winter rains
If anything characterizes conditions during early production for Florida's southern growers of fresh fruits and vegetables it’s rain — and plenty of it. “Simply put, it was a pretty miserable winter for south Florida producers,” said Lisa Lochridge, director of public affairs for the Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association. “After an unseasonably warm fall,... Read more
Avocado shipments continue on record pace
Mexico pumped a lot of fruit into the United States during the first quarter of the year setting the stage for a total annual volume that could eclipse 2015 numbers. Last year Mexico sent 1.77 billion pounds to that U.S. markets with total consumption approaching 2.2 billion pounds. According to data on the Hass Avocado Board website, during the first 12 weeks... Read more
Georgia expected to yield most flavorful peach crop in years
Having just rounded the spring chill successfully, this year’s Georgia peach crop is shaping up to be sweeter than it has been in years. “Our tree’s quest to accumulate cold hours got off to a slow start in December, but Mother Nature provided just what we needed with a very cold January and February,” Kent Hoots, grower coordinator of the Georgia Peach Council,... Read more
With the California onion harvest slated to get under way in late April, shippers are anticipating the start of the deal with a great amount of optimism. Cindy Elrod, a veteran onion saleswoman who sits on the desk at Peri & Sons Farms Inc. in Yerington, NV, told The Produce News in late March that a strong market was currently in play and all indications... Read more
With onion production winding down from several competing areas and a smaller crop from the Rio Grande Valley anticipated for this season, it appears that a strong onion market may accompany the Texas onion crop throughout its six-week deal. Because Mexico, which ships a significant number of sweet onions through Texas in the February-through-March time frame,... Read more
California avocado volume begins to increase
Some weather issues combined with a disappointing early season market to get the California avocado season off to somewhat of a shaky start. With a huge amount of imported fruit in the market in January, the market price for the start of the California avocado season was not very strong, to say the least.  However, handlers believe the market will improve... Read more
Vidalia crop will be slightly smaller, but quality shaping up and promotable volume on the way
It is too soon to know how this year’s Vidalia crop will ultimately turn out — the onion gets most of its size during its last few weeks underground and most growers won’t begin shipping until the last week of April — but early season weather problems appear to have been overcome and the region is expecting a typical season based on stands in the field. Which... Read more
It’s undeniable — retail shelf space allotment is giving way to increases in tropical fruits and vegetables. Produce departments now overflow with papayas, pineapples, mangos and limes, as only a few examples. And it is not only ethnic cultures that are enjoying these items today. Traditional U.S. consumers continually learn more about tropical items and how... Read more