MARKET REPORT – DEC. 1ST, 2017
Always a fun month – planning holiday ads, trying to figure out receiving schedules based on what days of the week work around holidays, thrown in some snowstorms and avalanches here and there, and very volatile pricing on imported product. Just makes August seem so easy!
Apples – major report out of the U.S. this week showing that sales of apples in the US are down across pretty well all varieties, conv. and organic except new 2# stand-up pouch packs, which are the only SKU with increasing sales. The stats were worrisome for large packers in Washington, a 5-8% drop in sales doesn’t look good when that State is packing 100 million boxes. Even a 5% sales decline equates to 8 or 10 million extra boxes of fruit in sheds above previous year levels. That may carry into Canada as well, hope not, but expecting as BC starts to wind down on most varieties over the next 10 weeks that WA fruit will be very, very competitive as move into the Spring.
Avocado – Prices have stabilized with a little downward pressure over the next 2 weeks.
Bananas – aw crap! With hundreds of trucks crossing from the US to Canada loaded with bananas every week unimpeded, why do our CBSA powers that be insist on inspecting sea containers so often. Apologies for the few days we were o/s this week – totally out of our control! We’re back in stock of coloured fruit now.
Berries – All berries are still at high-season levels but we do expect blueberries to start to drop as air-freight Chilean fruit mingles with Argentina’s peak of harvest fruit arriving by sea into NY and LA.
Melons – continuing solid supply – temps way above normal in Sonora Desert are keeping growers in this game. Usually by now overnights have dropped well into single digit territory a couple of times and Rico / Divine would have quit harvesting in what is usually a lucrative fall window, well before plants are burned out, but we’re still in October weather there for some reason (?) keeping the market active, well-supplied and well priced.
Oranges – same milder than normal temps have also been pervasive in the Central Valley, keeping Navels green – they need some frost to sweeten and colour up, so most Navels are still being gassed green. Prices will slowly trickle off on Navel and Valencia as seasonal sales of Cara, Tangerine, Satsuma, Blood, Tangelo etc. start to impede sales of regular varieties. New restrictions now in place for two more large citrus producing counties for export or shipping restrictions due to citrus re-greening disease which is spreading across more and more California districts. Not sure how that will pan out, but definitely immediately impacting several organic growers we work with.
Greens – Growers have been dumping broccoli and cauli like mad this week, tripping over each other to be in the basement on pricing, currently set well below production cost. Take advantage while you can, this is short lived. More than one grower has predicted gaps or tight supply starting right at that crucial sales time looming in a couple of weeks, or quoting future pricing for ads and cap deals well above current markets, if quoting at all. That’s what happens when Ma’ Nature throws down some good and abnormal heat and speeds things up. The market is so volatile, there is up to a 250% price spread between just a handful of major farms I looked at, which says that no one really knows how many more days this will continue.
Tomatoes and other warm temp veg – This is a screwball market as well, with extremely tight supply on bell peppers and cherry tomatoes tipping prices well above normal levels on all but a few tomato SKU’s, while there is enough extra zucchini and cucumber out there to fill a football stadium, and like the broccoli market, growers are now just trying to get paid back for their boxes and seed cost.