MARKET REPORT – AUGUST 4TH, 2017
Now, of course the big news is the weather.
Sorry for scant news from this desk, but anyone growing garlic commercially was AWOL from their normal routines for the last couple of weeks, including me – the only time that anything to do with garlic is time-sensitive and the work days crowded – very crowded. The process is interesting because you finally get to see your crop – hidden from view for 10 months since you planted it. Now is when you find how new varieties worked, which areas of your field need more compost for next year etc. And it pretty well all has to come off within a few days. But we’re done.
Now, of course the big news is the weather. Temperatures have been near or above average across the Southern Interior – nothing earth shattering, but coastal BC has been much warmer. This is an extension of a massive dome of high pressure that has been roasting from well into Mexico and most of the western US. Regional growers in Washington and Oregon are taking the brunt of the extreme heat, streaking past records. Joe Siri’s farm in Clackamus hit 43C yesterday. The first victim of this heat for any ground-cropper is the most temperature sensitive varieties. Mustards, peas, and spinach especially suffer. It’s not that vegetables can’t grow at those temperatures, but growers generally plant varieties that work well for their climate, and not for a potential 10 degree spike for a few days. Thankfully, this awful forest fire smoke that has smothered the Fraser Valley and into the Skagit Valley in Washington where Ralph’s farm is has literally blotted out the sun, and temperatures for this week have been well below the original forecasts. A week ago we were looking at a forecast high for today of 40C in the Fraser Valley, and instead we’ll be into the low 30’s. That’s great news for berry growers – we’re in the peak of the local blueberry and raspberry seasons and the weather / smoke combo is saving the day, keeping the berries from blowing up in the field.
Here’s a fast run through.
Apples: With imports running down to just 4 varieties, racks are getting boring, but wait, the first BC summer apples are coming off – Transparent, Sumac, Discovery, Tydemann’s, Vista Bella – a nice spread of colour should help spice things up.
Avocado: We’re still waiting on Pragor growers to get permission to pack and sell new crop, so one more load from growers in other areas. We’re going down in a few days to meet with them to get an idea of how the season will likely shape up.
Berries: Bring it on! We have listings for all 4 of the major berries from BC growers as well as California strawberries. As mentioned, we’re at the peak of local blues.
Grapes: A great California season with strong supply, quality and pricing. Ad possibilities are endless. The only issues we’re hearing about are labour shortages, only made worse with increasing hostility between Trump’s immigration soldiers and undocumented workers.
Lemon: Prices continue to climb above the current surreal levels. Sales don’t seem to be affected – people buy lemons because they just have to have them, no matter the price.
Mango: Even with a plethora of stone-fruit, grapes and melons in the market, mango sales continue to rock. Harvests have no moved north to the Mazatland area, with Nayarit and Michoacan done. Pricing is excellent. Sinaloa growers who increased Ataulfo plantings over the last few years are now being well rewarded – traditionally only grown in the south of Mexico, it’s nice to have yellow mangos available at this time of year.
Melons: Supply is sure and steady, and we expect to see a wider spread of BC available very shortly – with three watermelon listings plus plump Galia’s listed already
Stonefruit: Cherries are winding down in Washington, which signals BC being out of the market in 2-3 weeks. Apricots are strong. Early nectarines are just days away, and cling peaches are just hitting stride. Prices are down this week with most growers into the fray. High temps and no rain are making for a picture perfect harvest scenario.
As mentioned, heat is going to impact all greens, especially those that are sensitive so we’ll keep our fingers crossed that this short-lived heat wave continues to be dampened with the smoke layer, which is really keeping highs 5C lower every day.
California has suffered as well, with shorts on broccoli and broccolini keeping prices up, but there are no supply issues.
Roots: All good with local beets and carrots in play again, and potato harvests coming soon, with reds now top-killed and waiting for skin set, and pink-eyed Warba’s in good supply.