MARKET REPORT – APR. 1, 2016
Squash – here’s a story I alluded to a few weeks ago. Squash is from Latin America, historically – I just love saying the word in Spanish – CALABAZA – try it out instead of Awesome or Holy Crap – its part of my vocabulary. Anyhow, over the last 300 years, those indigenous squash have been hybridized and hybridized etc. to become the acorns, kabocha, butternut and spaghetti we all know and sort of love.
A couple of years ago we funded a trial project, planting our 4 major sellers at 23 different ranches in Michoacán – the intention was to have a crop that could grow at Pragor Avocado producers orchards in those awkward patches of ground that don’t work for avocados, and could give them an additional source of income. We had an agronomist working with the producers, who were spread over an area that represented a 1500 meter altitude difference from highest to lowest. But it didn’t matter where they were, the butternut flowered and didn’t set fruit. The Delicata we tried finished off at the size of a flattened tennis ball. The Kabocha hardly grew, and were the size of ping pong balls – etc.
But, the original ones that look sort of the same were growing like mad all over the place. So instead of trying to force Mother Nature to do something she clearly wasn’t ready to do, we decided instead to ask a few growers to put together a plot or two of their traditional squash and we would see what happened. Well, out of a couple of small patches appears thousands and thousands of pounds of squash, that looks and tastes like our typical market varieties, although they are larger. And they are in bins, and they are going to be well priced compared to some product on the market in this squash-lean time of year. So just asking you, if you have the floor space, to consider promoting indigenous Mexican squashes – the hereditary mothers as it were – and of course they are Fair Trade. We’re enclosing a PDF of a display card with more information for you as well.
Second up – that Rebel program started off so well, we ended up shorting stuff, so sorry about that. Mid-week we expect to have a good pack-out of Rebel Grapefruit (and Fairtrade as well), so it’s going on the price list today to tantalize, but the product won’t be here until sometime Tuesday it looks like – so it’s really for the last ½ of the week.
Where are all the bloody mangos! Instead of our usual overlap between Peru and Mexico, instead we have a huge gap. Peru quit shipping earlier than normal because the season ended weeks early (El Nino impact) and Mexico, after a little tiny dribble out of Oaxaca, is a full month behind in Michoacán – due to an extremely cold winter (El Nino?) It was snowing and hailing in the mango orchards just 3 weeks ago, so not surprising, but we have very, very little to offer, when this time last year we had fruit arriving at this time and had just finished with our last Peru container. How climate change and a strong El Nino can change things that dramatically!
Things to watch:
Carrots are getting tight during the desert to Central Valley transition so watch your retails, especially on table and juice.
But, generally speaking, pretty well all green veg pricing continues to slump. Looking back we haven’t seen pricing this low for years, taking currency into account, so take advantage, and never listen to me about predictions about choppy pricing and transition in such a weird year! Desert growers continue to clean up before closing down, and are keeping their crews busy to the very end – generally speaking, for US growers along the border, this will go down as a generally crappy year. Over a 5-6 month growing season, the combination of cold weather and high heat made life rough, and when there was lots to harvest, there were too many people in the market and saturation pushed prices down significantly over the last 6 weeks.