MARKET REPORT – JULY 21ST, 2017
FIRST – A Big Thank You!
We have wrapped up our Peru Relief efforts after what stretched to several months of fund-raising. We have doubled (matched) the nearly $11,000 raised and sent our banana growers the last of the money. Over 600 families are members of BOS (Asociación Bananeros Orgánicos Solidarios.) $22,000 is not a huge amount of money spread over 600 growers, but dollars go a lot farther in that small depressed economy – and everything helps these small families repair water systems and replace flooded plants. Thanks again for helping out, and engaging your customers as well. We will get you some information and pictures showing how the money is being spent, and we will see that first hand when we visit them in a few months as well.
Let’s take a fast look at the current state of affairs.
Weather first – continuing above normal temperatures are definitely helping all BC production – both coastal veg and Interior fruit. After a very cool, wet and slow start this year, there has been a lot of catch-up. Lack of intense heat is also letting fruit crops develop naturally. California is having the opposite, where continuing above normal temperatures translate to intense heat which is negatively affecting crops we rely on even during our own growing season – broccoli, cauliflower and celery, and there are some serious supply issues on those at the present time, at least on the organic side. Why don’t we grow our own broccoli and cauliflower? Well, those 2 crops are produced locally but in very small volumes, and for a grower to get into this market, commercially, there are two factors. For one, this is a go big or go home game because the infrastructure required to be economical is exorbitant. Harvesters, hydro-coolers, ice tanks etc. – I’d guess $250,000 up front is what it would cost. Second, we have had growers try to get into these 2 markets before, and every time they have been beaten back with so much aphid pressure they had to rototill the crops in. And why, with land so expensive, would people risk a large commercial planting, with or without the right equipment, in an extremely competitive market!
Apples: Some very shallow inventory at our end – we’re transitioning very quickly, at least on Gala, to new crop California apples next week sometime. Always expensive, it’s nice to get very high pressure Gala’s, now that Chile has been finished for some time. Better supply on later high pressure Chilean fruit like Granny and Pink Lady. Local apples will start in a couple of weeks with the regular rotation of tart dessert apples like Sumac and Tydemann’s. We’re still 4 weeks from crisp and sweet Sunrise and Earligold.
Apricots: Very nice quality rolling off as we near the peak of this always short season.
Avocado: We’re into new season fruit, with this one-shot from a grower who was lucky to get clearance to move to new crop. Many of our Pragor growers are still not allowed to harvest because of weak oil content. This is a highly regulated industry, at many levels of government, as well as by those groups we don’t mention by name that utilize avocado industry cash to launder proceeds of nefarious activity. All those ‘agencies’ confirm when growers can harvest. This is very nice fruit we have, and at prices indicative of how the season is going to look through November, with a good flush of fruit.
Harvesting for new crop is difficult, with small volumes of large fruit. We have OK supply on most sizes but we definitely have a huge surplus of 22 count – discounted down to very palatable pricing.
Weather has been an issue in Central Mexico. A huge swatch of Mexico is very wet in the summer. In fact for many growers, including Agrofresco it is colder in the summer than in winter. Most land in Guanajuato, Jalisco, Michaocan and other states in that area goes fallow in the summer because of the cool and wet conditions. Daily thunderstorms, capturing copious groundwater and fueled with warm temperatures produce extremely wet and windy conditions from May to September, as well as thunder and lightning. One area we are working in got over 600 mm of rain last week alone, with breached levee’s and flooding citrus orchards under 8 meters of water! In this picture, water has been receding for 3 days, finally exposing the lemon trees a good friend just planted a few weeks ago.
Blueberries: It’s really just all about blueberries right now – a perennial best-seller, and once again 5# bulk boxes are the key to most people’s happiness. Perfect growing conditions – as long as it isn’t baking hot, especially right after it rains – berry quality will be excellent. You know that we pick 1 MILLION pounds of blueberries every day in the Fraser Valley at this time, don’t you? (Mostly non-organic, obviously.)
Cherries: A vista of cherries awaits – we’re moving well into this season with both red, and yellow Rainier’s, several vendors from Similkameen all the way to North Okanagan. Take a look at Rebel Cherries – not beat-up, these are just smaller 11 row bulk packs – not that many available though.
Lemons and Limes: Lemons continue to get tighter and tighter with weekly price squeezes, while at the same time lime prices tend to falter a bit – it seems that it is a very rare occasion when both these fruit are both pricey, or both cheap at the same time.
Mango: What an awesome mango year – most of our arrivals have been stellar. Growers are getting a good solid return and prices up here are reasonable – that’s because the Canadian dollar has rebounded very quickly the past few weeks, and because these mangos are coming from more northern areas, trucking is much less expensive. We are seeing the end of the Ataulfo’s pretty soon, with not many grown north of Mazatlan, and we’re also seeing a lot more Kent’s and less Tommy’s – Kent’s being similar to Peruvian fruit – a little less colour but perhaps the most intense flavour.
Melons: Really great run on cantaloupe as we transitioned through Sonora and Imperial and now into the San Joaquin without much of a hiccup. There was a flash of heat that wiped out many growers, but we’ve been pretty lucky on all our melons. There is even a treat on the menu today with Galia melons from the BC Interior – you know the one – looks like a cantaloupe, and has green flesh like a honeydew, and tastes like a cross of the two.
Nectarines and Peaches: A continuously great program this year. There are only 2, yes 2 California farms who are in moth control programs and that can export to Canada, and we’re hoping they continue to opt in. A great lead-up to our own great BC peach and nectarine programs. A little splash of early PF1 Peaches last week will open up the early cling market in 7 – 10 days. We’re currently listing big fruit from California with early harvests of BC clings packing in 60 and 70s.
and Strawberries: Nothing has changed – we are having a miraculous strawberry season – all good arrivals, few rejections, perfect growing weather, good looking fruit and great eating to boot! Anytime you wanna put these on a special, you just let us know and barter the pricing down.
AS mentioned above about veg pricing – we’re now seeing pricing for broc and cauli at higher prices than a few months ago when they were ridiculous. This all happened in the last few days – broccoli pricing alone has jumped over $20US a case between Wednesday and Friday from a few vendors.
Beets: What? Who talks about beets. Well, Agrofresco (Ecocampos brand) did some beet trials for us this year (on nutrient loading, as well as production) and for some unknown reason, they planted out about a thousand times more Chioggia than we wanted. So we’re sitting here with, yes, 660 bags of Chioggia beets. So we’re selling them 30 – 40% cheaper than red beets and we’re hoping that will inspire you to do something with them. Do juice customers care if they have striped cores?
Corn: Small batches of BC corn in July? Corn is supposed to be “knee high by the fourth of July”, and produce in early August, but this is from Longview, on the Island, where the weather is much warmer and drier. But it is still limited for a little while.
Greens: Can now safely say that most ground crops are finally in good supply. That was a brutal cold May and early June and it is really only now that lettuce etc. are growing well. Expect prices to start to slide on some local greens with so many growers in the mix on a limited line of products.
Roots: Looking good! Local potatoes start digging by end of next week with whites and some early Reds. These will be small. Growers love to compete on nuggets / C’s when California is the only organic game in town and prices are high. Washington onions are coming out of the ground. Most other roots are imports as we wait to see local product size up – some local beets and carrots as well.
Tropicals: Local cukes, local eggplant, and OriginO greenhouse TOV, peppers and LE Cukes. Some specialties are coming from down south in the lead up to local availability.
OK< back to work!