MARKET REPORT – SEPT. 9TH, 2016
SEPT 9, 2016 MARKET REPORT
Unfortunately we need to talk about weather this time around. As infrequent as they are, Pacific Hurricanes do rear their ugly head in a way that affects the produce world. Spinning up usually to the west of Southern Mexico, they usually either go to sea, or occasionally bring wind and rain to coastal Mexico from Acapulco to Puerto Vallarta. Every couple of years a storm will hit Cabo San Lucas, but if they go inland they are usually ripped apart by the 2500M high Sierra Laguna mountain range of southern Baja.
And then, twice in the past 6 years, coastal Mainland Sonora and Sinaloa get nailed if these storms are still intact after traversing Baja, and moving slow enough to re-build over the Gulf. Well, Hurricane Newton just did that. A very slow moving storm, it produced copious precipitation across Chiapas, Guerrero, Michoacan and Colima, and then nailed small producers in Baja with 120kmh winds and heavy rain, and 3 days ago hit the growing regions between Los Mochis and Guaymas in Sinaloa and Sonora, and then inland through Hermosillo before moving north through the non-agricultural areas south of Phoenix.
Wow, one storm managed to inflict pain in so many growing regions, from the warm areas around Acupulco (papaya, pineapple, mango), north through Lazaro Cardenas and western Michoacan (avocado, grapefruit, citrus), coastal Colima (limes, bananas), Baja California (tomato, peppers, herbs, Los Mochis north to Guaymas (Llano, Covilli, Del Cabo FT tomatoes, Wholesum – as well as hundreds of small producers in one of the highest production areas in Mexico for domestic food as well as winter production of everything from sugar snap peas to field cucumbers.) And then the storm touched down on Rico, Citricos, Divine Flavor and other major producers in the inland desert.
Los Mochis, Sinaloa.- Ahome ya fue declarado zona de emergencia y por lo tanto podrá atender las necesidades de todas aquellas familias que se han visto afectadas no sólo por la pasada tormenta Newton, sino por las anteriores también, declaró Arturo Duarte García.
This is downtown Los Mochis 2 days ago. Having spent some time in that area I recognize the street and the bar on the next corner.
So how are you impacted? Well, here is what we do know: Virtually all of our winter supply of tomatoes, cukes, zucchini, melons etc. all come from the regions that were impacted. Luckily the plants are small and grown in shadehouses, and with a lot of advance notice, screens were rolled up so there was fairly minimal structural damage. Baby cucumber and zucchini plants are severally impacted by heavy rains because they get mud-splashed and when coated with dirt they can’t photosynthesize properly but that can be washed off. But there will be a lot of crop delay for all those growers. Inland, Rico only had 5cm. of rain and we are waiting to hear from others. For field crops like field cukes and zucchini, the same applies – some damage to young plants from wind and lots of mud-splash as well.
The biggest factor right now, and it’s a big one is avocados. With 250 – 400mm of rain (12-16’) across Michoacan over a period of more than a week, the avocado harvest ground to a halt for a week. Prices soared 40% in 2 days in that region. Our next load due to arrive this weekend will now not ship until this weekend. The fruit wasn’t affected by wind and rain, but we are looking at a gap for the middle of next week, and it ain’t just us, because we have tried to beg for anything to fill in and are coming up empty. California’s crop is down 50% because of blossom drop back in the spring (heavy rainstorms) and, well, that’s the news.
Greens pricing has increased on some commodities as well – not because it rained in California, but because there is so much summer production now in Mexico because of lack of water in California, the 100cm of rain that has fallen in Guadalajara and Guanajuato has blown up a lot of broccoli and cauli, forcing a jump of up to $8 on conventional broccoli between early this week and early next week, with a similar carry on organic. Expect some shuffling over the next 10 days. Some fields in central Mexico were under water two days ago.
Cauliflowerette? New Asian variety, with so many different varieties, we’re calling it more like what it looks like than the variety names. Slightly yellow curds – apparently a “hot” “new” thing.