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MARKETS AND TRENDS

Weather takes toll on 2014 Rocky Ford cantaloupe volume
Despite some recent hail storms and difficult spring weather in southwestern Colorado, Rocky Ford cantaloupe producers are expecting to harvest an overall volume of the signature fruit that is comparable to last season. "Our business is 100 percent dependent on weather," said Michael Hirakata, chairman of the Rocky Ford Growers Association and general manager... Read more
California growers expect large crop of quality grapes, despite challenges
It is not easy being a farmer anywhere, and it has certainly not been easy in recent years to be a grape grower in California in the face of a plethora of challenges, ranging from drought exacerbated by government-imposed limitations on agricultural water use to rising labor costs and a maze of ever-intensifying regulatory pressures. Yet thus far, California... Read more
San Luis Valley 2014 spud acreage increased, fingerlings on the rise
ALAMOSA, CO — With potato acreage up 8.5 percent over 2013’s numbers, Colorado Potato Administrative Committee Executive Director Jim Ehrlich responded optimistically when asked recently about the 2014 San Luis Valley crop. The annual flyover took place during the week of June 16, and Ehrlich said the official acreage number was set at 54,200, compared to 49,700... Read more
In Ventura County, north of Los Angeles, lemons and avocados often compete for the same ground, and many growers produce both crops. For a good portion of the spring and early summer, those two crops also competed as to which had the higher f.o.b. prices. But as the summer wears on, both markets are expected to come off their highs, though they should remain... Read more
2014 Jersey Fresh peach season shares in long, historic tradition
Since the 1600s generations of New Jersey family farmers have been growing peaches, making Jersey Fresh peaches the original locally grown fruit long before “carbon footprints” or “food miles.” For hundreds of years the New Jersey tradition for peach growing excellence has continued and the best peaches then are still the best peaches now. New Jersey can make... Read more
Water is Colorado's wildcard
There's nothing black and white about conditions in Colorado where water is concerned. But Colorado State Engineer Dick Wolfe said it isn't hard to characterize the situation. "It's a tale of two extremes," he told The Produce News. "We are way above average in the northwestern part of the state. In the Southwest, it's clearly a different story." Wolfe said... Read more
Michigan crops looking good, despite being late due to cold weather
Like so much of the United States, the winter and spring in Michigan was long, cold and wet. These factors have delayed production in the state, but fruit and vegetable growers alike indicated that their fresh products will be in good condition. Some vegetables, such as radishes, were shipped as early as May and early June. As the calendar turns to July, Michigan... Read more
New Mexico kicks off  an early onion season
Onion production is ramping up for New Mexico’s 17 shippers. “Many of those are also growers, while other growers broker their onions,” said Katie Goetz, public information officer for the New Mexico Department of Agriculture. Onion movement began early this year. “The shipping season started in mid-May this year and will run through late August for the most... Read more
“Overall, Chilean citrus exports are set to fall in 2014 due to the effects of last September’s freeze and a drought in the IV region,” Karen Brux, manager of marketing and promotions for the United States and Canada for the Chilean Fresh Fruit Association in San Carlos, CA, told The Produce News. “However, not all varieties are expected to decrease.” Brux,... Read more
California garlic crop normal with good quality, Chinese crop down
With the harvest of both California and Chinese garlic under way, industry sources say that the California crop appears to be good quality with similar acreage to last year, while Chinese production is expected to be down about 7 percent due to slightly reduced acreage and slightly lighter yields following a huge 2013 crop. “I just got a report that the first... Read more
Retailers will be pleased to learn that fresh blueberry supplies from the Pacific Northwest are expected to be of strong volume and high quality. Comments from two of the region’s growers summarize these expectations for a successful season. “Blueberries continue to be highly sought after,” said Suzanne Wolter, director of marketing for Rainier Fruit Co. in... Read more
New York looking at outstanding back-to-back apple seasons
As old and new apple crop seasons dovetail each other, insights from the orchard show a bright future for New York's industry. "Last year, we had an excellent crop, a full crop, one of the largest crops in history," said Jim Allen, president of the New York Apple Association in Fishers, NY. "Pricing was OK. Quality and packouts were good. We're still selling... Read more
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's forecast of the 2013-14 Florida orange crop decreased 6 million boxes to 104.3 million boxes. While early-mid varieties accounted for 53.3 million boxes, Valencias dropped 6 million boxes to 51 million boxes. "This decrease is about what we expected with the continuing effects of HLB, or citrus greening so we are not surprised,"... Read more
Early start, smooth transition seen for San Joaquin Valley grapes
The spring grape deals out of Sonora, Mexico, and California’s Coachella Valley both got off to an early start this year and are expected to finish earlier than usual for most varieties, but grape shippers anticipate a smooth transition from those districts into the San Joaquin Valley as the early vineyards in the San Joaquin are also ahead of schedule. “At... Read more
Solid summer ahead for tomatoes
The tomato market should be fairly solid this summer as the drought might affect supplies but local deals should help produce promotable supplies for the category. The summer months usually bring lots of tomatoes as local deals and backyard plants all over the country are typically in full bloom. However, the coastal commercial deals still have something to... Read more
Northwest pear growers forecast a full-size crop
During annual pear meetings that took place last week in Portland, representatives of the Northwest pear industry met to project the size of the 2014 fresh pear harvest and review program strategies and tactics for the coming season. With reports of a crop of excellent quality from the Pacific Northwest growing regions of Wenatchee and Yakima, WA, and Mid-Columbia... Read more
Early Westside deal expected to have normal volume
As with many commodities in California this year, the start of the melon season on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley — also known as the Central Valley — will be earlier than normal. Some growers expect a start as much as two weeks early, and some just a few days early. Growing conditions have been excellent, according to Steve Smith, president of Turlock... Read more
Central California onion deal starts early on down market, but prices expected to firm
Being early with a crop can be a desirable thing when it hits a marketing window, but not when it comes in on top of an already glutted market. That is what happened at the start of the Central California onion deal this year, but growers were confident that it was only a temporary situation and prices would soon firm. "We started early," as did most growers... Read more
Northwest cherries expected to hit 20 million-box mark
It won’t be long before cherry producers in the Pacific Northwest are picking and grinning. This year’s harvest is expected to ramp up early, and favorable conditions during the growing season are expected to translate to fruit of exceptional quality and flavor. Producers couldn’t be happier. “Current estimates are saying that there will be approximately 20... Read more
California cherry market remains hot as season winds down
Lack of volume has created a demand-exceeds-supply situation for California cherries, which is expected to remain the case until shippers from the Golden State finish up their crop around June 10 and Washington shippers enter the deal. On May 22, the Market News Services reported the best varieties and largest cherries were selling for as much as $90 for a 16-pound... Read more