MARKET REPORT – SEPT. 2ND, 2016
MAKE BROCCOLI GREAT AGAIN!
Well, back in the saddle after 3000km. of driving in the East. I’ll have lots of stories to tell from potatoes to wild blueberries. It’s always fun to see new terrain and learn new things. But first, let’s talk about baseball hats. It’s pretty hard to avoid news of Donald Drumf and the perversity of American politics, and equally difficult to avoid pictures of him wearing his trademark “Make America Great Again” baseball hat.
His latest marketing scheme that he pulled out of his ‘hat’ this week, after his impromptu visit to Mexico, was to produce the hat below, worn by ex-mayor of New York Rudy Giuliani (Make Mexico Great Again Also.) And over the last 3 days, baseball hat producers around the world must have been working around the clock. So just for fun, take a look at what has been produced in just 72 hours and imagine how far this is going to go!
AND THIS OF COURSE IS MY NEW FAVOURITE, JUST OUT THIS MORNING IN MEXICO!
Now for your weekly news: We’ve seen a dramatic cool down the last 3 days across BC, expected to continue well into next week, with high temps struggling to push past 18-20C even in the Similkameen and Okanagan. Copious rains have also inundated the Fraser Valley. Expect a sudden drop in production of pretty well everything, but especially heat-loving sub-tropicals. There has been substantial over-production of cukes and zucchini the last two weeks so my guess is that prices will increase rather substantially over the next few weeks as plant die-off combines with low heat units.
New? Well, an apple list populating quickly as each variety comes off the trees – that’s a given for this time of year. I’ve talked before about how different varieties of fruit are ripening at strange times – very early and sometimes late. So if you are wondering why we have Fuji on the list, normally not ready until October, these are “September Fuji’s” that are a small run from just a couple of growers that has arrived a couple of weeks early.
Blueberries? We met Ivan and his wife Ruby (who has since passed away) more than a decade ago when they were just starting out on Vancouver Island. Ivan has carried on but has been able to sell all his blueberry production on the Island, but very kindly offered us the last pallet of his last pick and they are stunning and not to be missed!
Grapes: We’re into the peak already (already?) on famous BC Coronation and Himrod’s. Coronations are the close relative of Concord, but with much smaller seeds. You know the flavour if you’ve ever had a glass of grape juice. California markets are tightening, despite perfect temperatures in the Central Valley only because of the very unusual harvest dates for each variety which generated ripening of several varieties causing a glut for the last few weeks, which has now turned into a supply side shortage.
Lemons: This is going to get worse before it gets better, with Sunkist, California’s largest citrus co-op saying they are out of the game for 6 weeks – we can lean on those words quite heavily. However, the very small Mexican season is on in several locations with harvests just beginning. Mexicans don’t have yellow lemons (Limon Real) in their diets, which is why production is small. Clever growers in Veracruz are into the market “fast and furious” with pricing just slightly off current California prices. Limes, luckily are in a cooling market.
Mangos: OK you guys – we’re down to dregs on Mexican fruit but California is on – the nicest looking fruit of the season – spendy yes, but price has never been an issue on these.
Melons: As mentioned above, cooler temperatures will drive down local Melon production, but there are several growers in the mix this year in a big way so expect good supply well into the month. Deals to be had on bins from California.
Passion Fruit: Not a huge category of course, but some clever folks in California realized that they have the same growing conditions as the Columbian uplands – where the world shops for these. Whenever we’ve touched this category before we’ve had to truck for 8 hours down the coast of Peru (and 14 hours from another grower) and then find someone to put them on a plane in Lima. For us, this is easy peasy hauling from California. Be brave!
Pears: Just in – first picks of Asian Pears – there should be more availability this year with reduced volumes going to the school lunch programs and a crop of much larger fruit than last year’s drought reduced harvest. Lots of choices on an expanding late summer line-up of pears.
Plums: The season is far from over with lots of volume of late-pick varieties to go.
Finally, for the fruit front, strawberry production is increasing with perfect temperatures along the California coast and prices have eased a bit, just a bit, but every few dollars makes a difference!
Veg: Well, with all that rain, both here as well as the Okanagan, the market should stabilize with lower production. There has just been too many growers in the mix this year producing all the same crops.
Cauliflower: Like many California greens, prices are trending upwards as the transition to southern fields has just begun. Large producers base in Salinas in the summer and El Centro / Yuma in the winter, producing, generally speaking, for 6 months at each location, so we’re into the last 6 weeks of the Salinas season – hence subtle and not-so-subtle upward adjustments. Celery will be fairly stable going forward – it’s the anomaly because of its much longer growing season.
Eggplant: Such a stable market, stable volumes, stable supply and then all of a sudden there is an abundance, and looking at volumes over the skinny Labour Day weekend, everyone pulls their hair out by the roots and goes on a selling spree. In other words, prices are uber reasonable.
Roots: We’re going to have a spectacular root year. Good spurts of heat and bursts of rain have produced massive volumes on carrots, beets, potatoes etc. This isn’t going to affect pricing, we’ll just have a great selection farther into the spring than ever before. Just sayin’