MARKET REPORT – FEB. 26TH, 2016
We are getting some of the nicest artichokes!
Apple market seems to be stable, although high, with all fruit Washington XF or Juice. Avocado continues to be a strong market with mid-season fruit very high in oil, giving richer flesh and more flavour.
We’ve added a few citrus varieties now that we’ve started our annual run with Churchill Orchards Tangerines, plus some other fun stuff. This is our 3rd year with this small producer up in the southern California coast range in Ojai – despite having dozens of varieties of specialty citrus, they have very little available commercially except their amazing Pixie Tangerines, but we can sneak a few layers of others with them. First is the Cocktail Grapefruit, which doesn’t really exist – it’s a hybrid created 80 years ago that never became a commercial variety, but like so many of Jim’s trees at Churchill, he was able to get his hands on seed stock of some very unique fruit. The Cocktail Grapefruit is small, sweet, very low-acid, and is actually not a grapefruit at all – being a cross between several varieties of Mandarin, Tangerine and Pommelo. Jim also grows Oroblanco, a much more well-known grapefruit – also a cross between a Pomello and grapefruit – also very sweet and low-acid. Neither of these will make your lips pucker up!
The gloves are off on 7 count Mangos – we have dropped the price so that the price per mango is the same as 9’s – give your customers an extra few bites for the same price. The mango market is a bit of a mess, with Peru no longer shipping and Mexico several weeks away. But with a last minute scramble to finish the harvest there is now a lot of Peruvian fruit in the market place through all markets – Miami to Montreal, L.A. and Philadelphia, with some vendors shipping on consignment to capture any recovery. Too bad for the growers, who get a crappy return, as they do every time there are an extra few dozen containers dotted across the continent, despite the fact it’s not their fault. We’re biting the bullet, selling well below our landed cost – having guaranteed an excellent return to our Fair Trade growers. We will be done with our last container over the next 10 days and then will fill-in with scraps as we wait for the first Michoacan shipments in early April, and expensive Ataulfo from Oaxaca and Chiapas in the meantime.
The rest of the citrus category including specialty oranges, navel, Valencia, lemon, limes – everything is fairly stable, and we are now hitting the peak of tangerine / mandarin production, with lots of fruit on the trees and a great selection – don’t ignore this category, just pick a couple to try so you don’t confuse cashiers too much!
Strawberry markets are finally recovering, with higher yields across Mexico and SoCal, with early production already starting in Watsonville off 2nd year plants.
We are getting some of the nicest artichokes you will ever see from Agrofresco right now – and priced for retails mirroring conventional on these large premium chokes. The next enjoyable price plunge is on asparagus, with more districts opening quickly and prices off quite a bit from the last sparse months.
The greens market is still in the toilet – nearly sick of seeing 20 quote sheets a day that all say HELP on one line or another – it’s too bad that there is such a glut at the moment, because we’ll all be looking at prices twice as high in a few weeks, and you will see some upward pushes already today as growers get on track on a few items.
We continue to see stellar greens from Agrofresco and with spring temperatures and new fields coming on we will be amping up our volume and a smattering of a few trials we’re running as well. You will see a new listing for celery stalks bulk – with the celery market so low right now, it won’t seem like much of a deal, but when markets rise, these won’t go up that much – we’re bringing these in because we have such a high demand for celery for juice, and for Gustavo, this is off-cut from his premium celery packs that sells for much lower prices in the domestic market in Mexico – so he makes a little more, and it will be cheaper for our juice customers – yours too!
The high temperatures noted on Wednesdays report have fueled much higher production on Cukes and Zukes – you will see those corrections downward today as well as on all tomato SKU’s – I know these seem like prices from the old days, but don’t expect them to last as this flush moves through the market.
All for now!