MARKET REPORT – JULY 20TH, 2018
So, everyone, my apologies. Market reports have been scant if not completely missing for some time. I decided, for the 3rd time since 1988, to once again be a small scale organic farmer, which has accounted for about ½ my adult life. There is no spare time, and I’ve been racing home as fast as I can every work day to switch irrigation, weed, harvest, plant etc., and currently am simultaneously harvesting a fairly large planting of garlic and transplanting winter veg. Anyhow, that’s my excuse.
Here’s a fast catch-up, and I promise I will be back in the saddle keeping you as informed as I can of changing markets etc. as my work-load decreases. With Ursula leaving us for a teaching profession, after working here since forever, and no longer doing Hot Shots on Sundays, you will NOT be abandoned, and we’ll do our best to keep up – although no one will be able to reproduce what she did here lovingly every week, winding and weaving her wisdom and personal life through pictures of what she felt was 5/5 produce.
Apples: Local apples can’t come too soon – although selling prices are, unbelievably about 12% lower than last year, over-all the selection is limited and pricey.
Avocados: A big mess in the California industry as many producers have been added to the LBAM restrictions. Those are counties where growing infestations of Light Brown Apple Moth, a gift from NZ about a decade ago, have forced the USDA (and CFIA) to add restrictions of produce moving not just from California, but county to county, with most avo and citrus producers recently added to the quarantine areas. Mexico new crop has started but very scant – we aren’t expecting our first Fair Trade fruit to arrive until early September. At the same time, squeezing a 70/84 count out of California is very difficult – being well into their peak season, most fruit is big, big, big although very well priced. You’ll find our 48’s are cheaper per each than the smaller ones!
Then there is this: Heat scorched avocados
( Photo courtesy Enrico Ferro )
Blues: No blues here – growers are at peak of the season and getting as much fruit off before the next hot spell hits – temps into the mid-30’ in the Fraser Valley to hit (again) in a couple of days – we’re loaded up and ready. Most organic Valley growers wind up soon – they specifically grow earlier or very late fruit to miss the window when Drosophila fly drills holes in every berry. This ugly guy. Conventional growers can douse their berries with umpteen different noxious herbicides but the only organic cure is to grow varieties that hit harvest times outside Drosphila’s peak egg laying period.
Cherries: Happy to have such a good crop this year, though desperately short – mainly due to flooding in so many areas this spring. Sproule’s in Oyama has started with perfect Yellow Rainier’s.
Lemons: You have noticed some pretty high pricing on lemons. Conventional is the same story. We’re getting lots of nice fruit, but many chains (larger supermarket) drop out of the organic biz when price points are too high. Here’s a couple of quotes from a salesperson at Sunkist (California’s largest grower owned packer) when suggesting buyers look at Africa, Mexico and Europe. “The lemon situation is very ugly. Supplies extremely tight, and this will not change anytime soon. I hate saying these words, but if you can get off-shore I would do it for the summer.” And “As I believe everyone knows at this point, the lemon situation is going to be very ugly all summer and probably until mid-October out of California. Please get off-shore if you can.”
Some retailers are buying our ugly juice lemons at ½ the price and mixing a few in to the rack to keep prices down a bit.
Mangos: This category continues to amaze this year in quality and volume. Tommy from Michoacan done and winding down quickly in Nayarit and Sinaloa. Tommy doesn’t do well north of there, most growers in Sinaloa and Sonora have shaken the tree down and replanted with Kent. We’re done with Tommy’s for awhile, mostly holding out for the Baja crop coming up in a few weeks. Ataulfo long over from Chiapas and Oaxaca – now coming from new plantings in the mountains in Sinaloa where they seem to do well – this will be a 3-4 week run max.
Melons: With the heat coming on down here on the Coast and ramping up in the Interior this is one category where no one should run short. Lots of mini’s and bins in house and on inbound trucks.
Oranges: Valencia is the only current model. Prices soared last 36 hours as fears that LBAM rules and quarantines will change shortly. Valencia grow in the same counties as avocado, just placed in quarantine zones yesterday. It is what it is!
Veg: Actually not much to talk about here. Prices and market are very stable with so many listings of BC product. Not a vast amount of volume behind some of these numbers this early in the season, which explains back-up from the US on many items.
Beets: We contract beets with Agrofresco in Mexico – harvested primarily in April, May and early June when they are their peak and set to last us until there is local volume in late August and when all the 8 month old storage beets hanging around in sheds across California are starting to really taste like cardboard. That’s the plan. But, someone working for Gustavo down there had an extra acre or two of spare land in their sights, and a big bag of beet seeds, and went a little crazy. So we’re sitting on a few pallets of extra beets to say the least. I’ve priced accordingly. Take advantage and give those sales a kick with a lower retail for the next few weeks. Please.
Chard: Why talk about chard? Why prices high? Many growers (incl. my own little patch) are finding chard bolting when it absolutely shouldn’t be – it’s supposed to go to seed at the end of the season, or most of the time in the following spring. Every variety, every supplier although mostly non-hybrid open-pollinated seed seems to have issues. We’ll blame that on the confusion every plant is having with 60% more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than years ago. How would WE do with 60% more oxygen in the atmosphere – the equiv. to what plants are feeling? Yahoo!?
Oops: Run out of time – Still have ¼ acre of garlic left to harvest and running out of time!