Produce Update-May 29 2015
Fair Trade Month was a flying success – thank you all for all the special promotions you did and supporting producers and suppliers who are looking after their employees, their social and environmental sustainability, and certifying with 3rd party auditors to prove their commitment.
Consumers world-wide continue to give traction to this multi-decade movement, with continued growing sales. This wouldn’t happen without your commitment and moral drive to not only carry the product, but to promote all aspects of what fairly traded product means to the grower communities. Again – a big thanks – it just shows us that all the work we do in the Global South is meaningful work.
A quick run through for next week – apple supply is strong, with a big crop in NZ, and better volumes out of Chile and Argentina, coupled with a still strong supply on some Washington varieties. Avocados continue to trend upwards, quality is excellent and pricing, although higher, is lower than in previous years, despite the weather problems. Rainy season has started much earlier in Michoacan than historical starts. Rainfall is generally up about 20% over most years, so new crop could potentially start in 6-7 weeks, with a preponderance of larger sized fruit, so we’re not expecting to see prices climb much more than current levels. If your customers love big fruit our next load arrives early in the week and there is a mountain of big sizes – enjoy! Bananas sales continue strong, and we’re seeing very nice fruit from Cerro Azul. The blueberry market continues to level out at very reasonable price points as California is still peaking while Oregon and Washington are gearing to start up quite early. Expect an awesome grape season, with expanded production out of Sonora, and a solid crop expected from California – luckily grapes don’t need much water! Melons continue to be in oversupply, with the California crop starting early there is definitely grower to grower competition. If they all had a conference call at the beginning of the season they might be able to plan better, but it seems many growers, seeing high prices on honeydew last year all over-planted and are now begging to move volumes, and not making much money. California stone fruit is in high demand with lower production and smaller sizes related to less allocation of water resources, so don’t expect pricing on any of this category to change much – even lower grade bulk pack fruit is netting much higher prices this year. And yes, it’s the last day of May, and we’re listing Washington cherries – 2 weeks earlier than ever before.
Pears continue to be a strong category, and with the introduction of specialty heirloom varieties this year is bringing customers back for more. Strawberries – well, we don’t need to tell you that pricing and quality are drawing huge sales. Esteban is very happy with all the support! Special pricing because of a current glut will continue through next week.
All veg pricing is higher than traditional – this isn’t really a water issue – it’s more about a lot of weather issues over the past few weeks (too hot and too cold), but more-so it’s about demand, with not enough supply to match growing organic veg sales. Even crops that should be in the basement on price this time of year because of competition from more locally sourced produce across the continent continue to fetch high prices. You will see more BC greens on this week’s list with a few more adventurous early season growers in the mix, including an expanded selection from Troy Harker, as well as a few more listings from Ray at Ralph’s Greenhouses – a bit more expensive but we know of several of you who lunge at his product as a primary brand.
Sadly, our last shipment from Agrofresco has arrived as Gustavo winds down for the summer months. This program was, over-all, extremely successful, for a large commercial trial on several crops. We are a small piece of the Agrofresco pie – you would find most of their product being sold through major brand name labels who contract celery and broccoli with them, as well as several components of popular salad mix brands, but artichokes, brussels sprouts and kale were new adventures, and we will add to that list for next season and with improved packaging and labelling.