MARKET REPORT – MAY 17TH, 2017 – SOME YEARS ARE JUST COLD
In 1964 on this date there was a string of frosty mornings with some snow falling in the Fraser Valley. In 1986, around this time it was sleeting in Vancouver. This morning there is fresh snow on all the local ski areas (although most are closed) and snow warnings out for the mountain passes. Some years are just cold – including a few years in Vancouver over the last 100 years when there was actually no summer, just cool and rainy. And in those years, as with this one, local crops are going to come slowly. Last year was the opposite – we had BC Cherries on our price list last May long weekend and blueberries in very early June. Not this year. Even with hot weather on the way, it will take weeks and weeks for early plantings to catch up.
The apple market continues to tighten up, with some fear of market gaps later in the summer with such high demand on organics and a so-so production season in Chile. Avocados are stable at this point, with some anxiety about remaining fruit in the orchards sustaining a very demanding market until the Mexican government (Sagarpa) allows new crop fruit to be harvested. Blueberry harvest increases are slowly letting prices wander down, a bit. Navel oranges are about done – we will pick up odds and ends over the next few weeks but time to take that tag off the shelf and make room for something else. That something else isn’t going to be oranges, with nearly all specialty citrus finished save Pixie’s, which are still being harvested and are eating sensationally well.
Melons –well, isn’t this perfect – the first really nice days forecast for Coastal BC in 2017 happen to be arriving in a few days, in line with the long weekend AND a fabulous set of melons, mostly FT.
Raspberries – with production starting a bit in California, prices on Mexican fruit are dropping fairly quickly. Strawberries are entering peak harvest mode for the next 6 weeks. We haven’t seen any pricing drops yet – there are a lot less strawberries planted in Watsonville and other key producing areas compared to years gone by and that is entirely because there is not enough harvest labour available. I wonder why?
On the greens side, will repeat many previous messages – it was cold, really cold, and wet, really wet, and everything in California grew slowly. So prices went up. Then it warmed up, but everything was still late. Now, many ‘things’ have caught up – cauliflower for one, and kale and chard and a few others, so we will now see pricing stabilize on these. Celery will stay impossibly high for many weeks because it takes 50 days longer to grow than broccoli or cauliflower and is way, way behind in coastal California. And Broccoli, well, we got slammed this week, and are going to be run out of Agrofresco brand in the next few days and will then be out likely over the weekend, so will have uber-expensive California product coming in on the weekend to fill the gap. Prices are way up again on broccoli – that first flush was nice and prices dropped by $25, but supply is very thin and prices have soared again. Lakeside is listing the price for broccoli today as “first born.” CalO has announced no broccoli until June. This will only ease off as regional growers across the US and Canada fall into reasonable production mode.
Corn: This is not a one-shot, but it isn’t a long term deal either. This is one farm operation just up the coast from Cabo San Lucas in Baja who have a perfect corn window. Product is pricey, quality is usually excellent but there isn’t huge volume. It’s basically first come first served.
Local greens; you will see local kale, chard, cilantro and others pop up (and off) the lists for the next few weeks. There is some greenhouse / hot house / hoop production at several farms, some in pretty good quantities. Just expect to be disappointed if you order it and are subbed Cali / Mex product. No guarantees. Main BC Field production is still several weeks away in this cold and wet spring.
Celery: This just appears to becoming scarcer and scarcer and prices continue to soar into the ether. Anything close to size is generally getting harvested as 30 count (including our Agrofresco product on its way) and some farms are listing, and you heard it here first, 48 count celery. (Loose hearts!)
Very little other news to report until next week.