MARKET REPORT – APR. 29TH, 2016
IMPORTANT NEWS FIRST:
Once again, weather is in the news, and it’s not that something awful has happened, it’s just a very unusual spring along the California Coast. The following is from Organic Girl – and they aren’t the only salad company suffering: “unfortunately our raw product challenges will get worse before they get better.
The raw product team is working against a handful of issues including: mildew, insects, and weather. Adding to the challenges this week was extremely heavy rains in San Ardo which will cause a delay in harvesting over the next 48 hours. The latest estimate is we will have 50%-60% of our raw product needs for the next 3 weeks. This weekend will be the roughest (well below 50%). All varieties/flavors will be affected. Be aware that this is an industry issue, we continue to receive calls from customers asking for us to help fill shorts from our competitors.” So what’s the issue? Normally rain is not an issue in the spring in Salinas growing areas – it’s a rare occasion in a normally very moderate climate, but this year, occasional heat waves, some very cold nights and moderate rainfall every few days has caused serious problems, and those will affect salad, lettuce, spinach, napa, baby bok choy and STRAWBERRIES. We should be drowning in berries right now, but there are few berries around, with most production coming out of the small amount of organic fields south of Ensenada, a couple of hours south of Tijuana.
Here’s a fast rundown of what else you can expect this week:
Apples: Selection continues to get tighter and tighter with our selection of Washington Fuji getting close to the end, and Pink Lady and Granny virtually finished for the season. Imports are limited to Gala, with later season Fuji, Granny, Cripps etc. on the water but not set to arrive for a couple of weeks. These gaps continue to get worse every year – mostly because demand on US growers is higher than supply, despite more and more acreage being converted over every year.
Avocado: Prices continue to slide up, but mostly offset with a stronger Canadian dollar. May 5 is the big day that growers wait for – the big push for Cinco de Mayo, but prices rarely drop after this build up as we move into leaner production through to August.
Berries: As above, strawberry supply is limited and we have had to let Esteban Martinez off the hook on our annual contract price – so all strawberry pricing is up. Perhaps time to look back at blackberries for a while as a sub. Blues are very expensive as Central Valley blues are just starting to ramp up. Raspberries are suffering with the weather as well – despite that they are grown in hoop houses to protect them from fog and rain, temperature extremes and high humidity accompanying the rain are having an impact.
Mangos: Finally, after what seems like eternity, we are now into reasonable production in Michoacan. Our first load from Elite is listed, but may not arrive until Mon/Tues all depending on which highways are flooded in Texas and border line-ups for extra trucks loaded up for the holiday or whatever curve-ball we get thrown. We have some stock of other brands now. We’re hoping for a great run on these.
Citrus: No let up on lemon pricing – scant supply and quality also being affected by topsy turvy weather in Riverside. Lime pricing continues high with the harvests down 33% in Tecoman (Manzanillo) because of late flowering issues. Grapefruit – still solid supply on Fair Trade product for the foreseeable future. Specialty citrus winding down with only a couple of items left – Cara Cara are finishing up quickly. Navel prices are inching up as the season finishes, with larger and choice fruit being the focus at this point. Valencias continue to be from Hermosillo with a very slow start to the California season.
Stonefruit: We had apricots and aprium listed from Homegrown, but they pulled the shipments – they can’t explain it, but said the fruit is ripening way too fast – so we’ll wait and see what happens on that front and hoping that it is just some quirk and not a long-term issue.
Grapes: Yup! First shipments of Fair Trade grapes are on the road – arriving Wednesday, watch for them on next week’s list!
On the veg front, prices are slowly climbing on several items – you will see celery markets slowly tighten up, as well as crops that are being affected by weather in California – lettuce, spinach, napa and bok choi are all of interest. Chard pricing has just spiked as well, with some growers walking away from patches that are crawling with black aphids.
There are still deals to be had on cukes, zucchini and MX tomatoes – currently all in over-supply.
Hey – we know that many of you are coming to Van for the CHFA show. We aren’t. We, however, would love to see you – we’re only a couple of miles away – check out our new digs, meet people you only talk to on the phone, see our warehouse staff in 3D instead of their smiley faces in Ursula’s Sunday blog! Call!