MARKET REPORT – APR. 07, 2017 – Every bit of help counts for Peruvians
As many of you saw last week, we issued a plea for help for our drowning banana producers in Peru. If you missed the email about this let us know. We are trying to raise as much money as possible in this matching fund relief program to get into our banana growers hands by Easter, which means we will be transferring money next Thursday morning. If you need more information, let us know and we will send you the details. Every bit of help counts.
Now, as for today’s report. Gulp. Prices are not only over the top, there is such a shortage of supply for some commodities that there are actually gaps, even at the conventional level. At today’s pricing, conventional Romaine hearts should be retailing in the $12 – $15 range later next week. Of course, we’ve been watching this situation play out since November, watching massive over-supply take a 180 and turn to a major gap. Although mostly weather-related, there are other market factors at play related to over production early in the season which are now correcting very quickly. But people still need to eat, and if your customers faint, start to sob, or exhibit other symptoms of sticker shock, don’t worry – they will go to the conventional store down the block, note that prices aren’t that much different, and be back to your door.
Category by category, here how it is going to pan out.
Apples: As we transition more and more to Washington (with Chile about 6 weeks out) prices are substantially higher. Despite Washington production of tens of millions of cases of apples, there are such strong markets in Mexico, South America and Asia it doesn’t seem to matter what the price is, and there is huge demand for organic apples in Japan, China and Korea to keep prices high.
Avocado: Prices are going to continue to climb with fruit more scarce than thought. Peru could be a great player this time of year, but they don’t want to leave fruit on the trees for long, and there is a huge demand in Europe for S. American avocados because their production window slides in ahead of the crop in Spain. New Mexican crop won’t start to harvest until sometime in July. We have a new load arriving Wednesday, but will be down to scraps by Tuesday.
Blueberries: Mexico is now winding down as California will start to hit some volumes over the next couple of weeks, but they are getting their pound of flesh in the meantime. Up until a few years ago there was an actual real 2 month gap between Chile and California, and it’s only the past few years that Mexican growers have moved to blueberries, finding a good production window from late February to early June.
Lemon/Lime: Little change here, a wetter than normal spring is creating some harvest delays on lemons – prices continue high. Lime production is lower across Mexico, hence a subtle increase in lime prices.
Mangos: A great Mexico crop looms as we move into central growing areas, with early harvesting about to start in Michoacan, and the Chiapas harvest still going strong. Excellent quality and sizing on a surprising volume of Ataulfo. Expect markets to stabilize for a couple of weeks, before dropping 20% by early May, the typical pattern.
Oranges and Citrus in general: We’re still in the great patch of this category with a full selection of Navel and Valencia, plus three bread-winners of the specialty Tangerine market. Pricing is hitting seasonal levels with no change expected for 4 – 6 weeks. Nice when at least something is stable!
Papaya – This is one of those species where a widening range of retailers step up and try it out, simply because it seems to have very consistent supply – no use making room on the rack unless it’s on the list every week. Quality arrivals every week. Seems to be working out. Join in the fun. Great shelf life!
Pears – Continuing great supply out of Argentina, with mid-season D’Anjou arriving and overlapping with late Washington storage.
Strawberries – Supply continues to grow, with many districts in play. A few stops and starts with showers popping into weather forecasts every few days. Expect pricing to drop right after Easter by a few dollars. Not like historical lows because our Canadian petro-dollar continues to rate poorly.
Now………….for the interesting news.
You can expect the current veg pricing to stay in place, right like it is, for at least a few weeks. It will not get better until there is some heat in California, but with highs of 18C on the best days, nothing is going to leap out of the ground, and the desert is virtually finished. I’m not going to talk about this at length, having reviewed it with all open ears for what seems like weeks if not months. It just is what it is, and what you see is being nearly mirrored on the conventional side, with pricing out of AZ and California today looking very similar, and similarly very, very high.
… you know that line ‘when the cat’s away the mice will play’ – we haven’t quite figured out what happened at Agrofesco this week – perhaps a stale April Fool’s Joke, but more likely a mis-communication of some sort out in the field while the boss was on holiday- but all our inbound lettuce and kale has arrived packed in broccoli boxes. It’s all very nice product, but you will see separate line-item listings for small kale and small lettuce. They are 20% smaller. Price is more than 20% smaller. The Romaine we’re listing as 24 ct. Hearts. However….maybe it’s a blessing in disguise, giving you some better retails with slightly smaller product. With Gustavo’s agreement we are capping pricing on all our kale, lettuce, broccoli 14 and crowns– so getting him a very solid return, after months of ditchwater pricing, but trying to keep pricing low enough that you can still sell it. So going forward, prices only have one way of going – just not quite yet.
We’re into our last week of BC Beets – once again it has been a miraculously long storage season, with local growers definitely pony-ing up with good storage conditions.
OriginO pepper production is slowly increasing. Enough that they’re not tempted to turn on the heat, but slow enough that we will continue to carry Mexican listings as well. Expect to be subbed some of the time. Expect the first flush of TOV for Sunday orders. Once again, supply limited.
………and finally, why do we have BC potatoes again? Bruce Miller at Across the Creek is not just a potato grower, he is also a certified seed potato grower, in the Pemberton Quarantine Zone. What’s that? Certified potato seed means it is disease free, and certain more remote areas are designated as seed potato zones. The Quarantine means that you are not supposed to actually take potatoes into those areas, lest they have a disease. There are even signs on the highway that say “no potatoes beyond this point” or something like that. Anyhow, back to the story….. organic farmers all over W. Canada buy his seed potatoes (a seed potato is generally an unwashed nugget). Bruce always holds back enough potatoes to supply all his seed customers, and when he’s pretty well wrapped up his seed sales, we get everything left. Which is why.