MARKET REPORT – JULY 15TH, 2016
Well there you go – up to date with mostly great news!
Here’s a few notes of interest this week.
Apricots are winding down quickly after a short selling window and lower yield over-all this year – we may squeak out another 2 weeks, but that’s all.
Bananas – all these damn inspections have left us with a gap on FT bananas looming for early next week with our next container expected to be released mid-week and ripened fruit by Friday. We will have bananas and will be subbing with GROW bananas for those few days.
Cherries – Harvests are done and very little fruit in the pipe from the S. Okanagan. Lapins and Rainiers are shipping from Oyama in N. Okanagan for the next few weeks.
Grapes – With all the heartache in the vineyards of California we told you about on Tuesday, growers are facing continuous price crunches as they struggle with very abnormal ripening dates – expect to see price volatility, with current markets depressed.
Lemons and Limes – What goes up must go down. Prices on limes continue at what has become a normal seasonal high. This is a water issue. California reservoirs are very close to full after a wet winter and there is irrigation water available, but so many trees were walked away from or cut over the past 5 years there is just less fruit available. Limes on the other hand are a-plenty for once and prices are coming off quickly.
Mango – Ataulfo season is winding down quickly. That variety is only grown in Oaxaca, Chiapas and Michoacan, and not farther north into Sinaloa or Sonora. They can’t tolerate the cooler nights at more northern latitudes and produce poorly when out of their comfort zone – so in another 10 days or so they will disappear, not to return again until spring. There is a great crop of Kent and Tommy now coming out of Sinaloa, with southern Baja also starting. With Michoacan and Nayarit areas wrapping up expect to see subtle price increases with less fruit available as we move north. Sizing is on the small side in Sinaloa which relates to a freeze in Jan/Feb that affected blossoming and shortened the growing season. We won’t see many 6/7/8’s until the August/September California Keitt harvest.
Melons – well, talk about hot! Most of California’s melons are now shipping from the southern Central Valley (Bakersfield) and the fields have been baking (is that where the name came from?) This area has been toasty hot since the beginning of the month with just a handful of days below 35C and highs forecast for the next 2 weeks in the 40C range. That is perfect melon weather and we expect prices to be sloppy until the season has peaked. Growers farther south in the desert are winding down quickly – with even hotter temperatures (44C – 48C the last 2 weeks) speeding things up. That generally means a lot of smaller fruit – cantaloupe ripening off when they are in the 15/18ct size range.
Peaches and Nectarines – we’re waiting for the BC crop to explode wide open in a few days as we get into the larger mid-season clings – forget about mangos – prepare for a big display! The market has dropped 40% in just 10 days as growers start to react to increased harvest – no one wants to sit on peaches! We’re getting some huge California nectarines in on the weekend as well.
Oranges – ho hum, what a boring category this is during the summer months. Mexico is wrapping up its Valencia’s. California basically done on Navels, so expect to see little except California Val’s until October when this category starts to get interesting.
Pears – A nice transition as the last arrivals from Argentina on Bartletts and their derivatives are done and the early California crop starts. There will be a price increase for this short-window limited production crop then prices will drop with the first BC harvests 3-4 weeks out. It looks like D’Anjou may not gap this year between S and N hemispheres so expect no changes for a few weeks on price / availability.
Pineapple – We’re currently in a good run of beautiful pineapple from Capa Coop. Always a treat!
Plums – oh boy, we’re starting our BC season not only early, but out of geographic sync. We usually only see Gold Shiro first off the block, and they’ve just started in the Similkameen, but Neil Sproule is already harvesting June Bloods up in the North Okanagan for arrival on the weekend – very, very early!
Beans – Nice to see a wide variety of beans from Old Meadows, a new B.C. grower we’ve added to the roster. Every year we beg local growers to plant more beans, but it’s always a struggle because, like peas, they are so labour intensive. If you are growing a wide range of crops you plan for a certain sized crew, and if we throw beans or peas into the mix, there isn’t enough labour available. B.C. growers can’t just pick up the phone and call – workers on the migrant program arrive in the late spring and have to be employed and housed for a 6 month period and you have to plan your crops around who is going to harvest. It’s not like the old (really old) days when there was enough local labour plus roving bands of hippies filling in time between tree planting gigs. Just a note that Old Meadows is also harvesting local bulk cauli.
Beets – now here’s a first. We used to run out of local beets in January and see the first BC start in early August. That’s how it always was. We ran out of most BC beets last week, after a great storage season,with just a few bags left from Alberta, and this weekend we see our first arrivals on bulk beets from 2 Interior growers. This isn’t climate change – this is local producers seeing growing demand and market windows and building better storage and starting crops with protection in the early spring. Way to go!
Bok Choy – normally not worthy of mention in market reports, but we’ve added several new products in the Asian greens category – Yu Choy, Baby Shanghai Bok, and Pea Tips from a local producer just starting with us, Grassroots. Welcome!
Cabbage – we’re moving quickly to all local supply on green – with slower growing red starting to build volume. And what is it with red cabbage this year – sales are growing as fast as kale was a few years back? Let me know if you have the answer!
Carrots – huge interest in bunchers this week from all our favourite growers, here, Washington and California – all on special. We’ve lowered price on CA table carrots this week, seems as we were subbed these instead of juicers. We are also getting pro-rated on 24/2 and 10/5 packs with high heat in California affecting harvest scheduling.
Corn – someone else has stepped up to the plate. We have seen some great local corn growers come and go. Some of you may remember Cliffe Farm in Armstrong who deluged us with 20 bins at a time. But they retired. Then there was the Quiring family who trained with the Cliffe’s, but opted out of corn farming very quickly. Then Michael Allen at GBE took up the game in Chilliwack, but alas he has also left the farming world. And now, Longview on Vancouver Island has started a corn program in earnest. First deliveries slated in the next few days.
Cukes – we’re also starting early on local cucumbers, but with ongoing cool weather across all regions there isn’t much volume behind the listing, so keep your hearts open to receiving California product as a sub for a while.
Leeks – Yes, the Leek King is back! Very briefly, Ralph’s Greenhouses is a misnomer – Ray is the grower (Ralph was his Dad) and the greenhouse thing – well, that’s where he starts leeks, not grows them. Ray is just a few km. from the very warm Puget Sound and rarely is he weather affected because his climate is much milder than a few miles inland. His farm is about an hour south of the BC/WA border. And he grows fabulous leeks and sells all across the continent because he can harvest 10 months of the year when everything is frozen in everywhere else. Leeks are started in February, planted out in the spring and are harvested through to the next May – a 15 month growing season, then we gap for 2 months before the new ones are big enough in July. There are 2 types of leeks. Ones that Ray grows, as well as local leeks, are hardy, mostly Italian varieties that can tolerate freezes down to, get this, -25C. They have long white shanks of very useable flesh. In southern California fields they grow a fast-growing summer variety that doesn’t like frost and produces a little nub of white on the end of an unusable stalk, and that’s what we have to sell for that 6-8 weeks when Ray is out. So now you know.
Potatoes – White Cascades are in from Across the Creek, the beginning of the potato parade as variety after variety starts harvest over the summer. Have you ever had the treat to drink Schramm’s Organic Vodka – an award-winning sipping vodka distilled in the most unlikely place – Pemberton? It isn’t that unlikely because their true potato vodka is made with Bruce Miller’s White Cascades. Something else you probably didn’t know! And no, we don’t sell the vodka.
Watercress? Yes, finally, after what I think is a 10 year gap, Roots is growing local watercress. Thank you.
Well there you go – up to date with mostly great news!