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MARKETS AND TRENDS

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
Texas onion crop should be lighter in volume
For the first time in memory, the acreage devoted to onions in South Texas is probably below the 5,000 figure. “I’m not sure why but they don’t report (planted) acreage anymore,” said Don Ed Holmes, owner of The Onion House in Weslaco, TX. “I didn’t vote for that but that’s the way it is. Looking at what’s out there, it appears that we are off again. Maybe 10... Read more
In late February, shipments of mangos from Peru were winding down and the Mexican mango deal was getting off to a relatively slow start. Hence, light supplies are expected well into March before heavier shipments from Mexico can fill the pipeline. At least that was the view of a couple of California importers conversant on the topic. “There is going to be a... Read more
Positive early outlook for South Carolina peach crop
South Carolina peach farmers are looking forward to an excellent peach crop in 2016 in spite of the challenges they faced last year. Favorable growing conditions have given growers a positive outlook for a fruitful crop of everyone’s favorite summertime treat. After delays from heavy rains in the fall, growers immediately began working on the upcoming season.... Read more
Nogales distributors savor spring normalcy
NOGALES, AZ — There was no singular event — such as a hurricane or major freeze — that disrupted Mexican production this winter; however, the much-publicized vigor of El Niño managed to cause disruptions of cold and rain through the fall and early winter. The first sign of trouble came in late October, just as many leaders of the Mexican produce industry gathered... Read more
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's 69 million-box estimate for the 2015-16 Florida orange crop is is nearly 30 percent below last year’s crop of 96.7 million boxes and represents a decline of more than 71 percent since the peak of citrus production at 244 million boxes during the 1997-98 season. “Today's citrus crop forecast further illustrates that Florida's... Read more
California rains expected to disrupt strawberry shipments throughout winter
Because of four straight years of drought, many have forgotten that buying strawberries in the winter from California comes with potential supply gaps.   When it rains it is difficult to get into the fields, and depending upon the severity of the storm, crop damage can occur. However, strawberry plants are typically prolific producers so a few days of good... Read more
Chilean blueberry season in full swing
Chilean blueberries have gotten off to a slower start than expected, but since Week 51 weekly shipments to the United States and Canada have been higher than last season. In fact, during Week 5, the U.S. market will see a new historic high for weekly arrivals, with more than 6,000 tons of Chilean blueberries entering the market. Recent strong arrivals will... Read more
CMI launches 2016 Kanzi apple season
Kanzi apples sell at a 35 percent price premium above the category average, presenting a great opportunity for retailers to increase consumer transaction size, according to Columbia Marketing International, the Wenatchee, WA-based grower-marketer of the variety. CMI announced the last week of January that the 2016 Kanzi brand apple season is officially under... Read more