MARKET REPORT -JULY 27TH, 2018
Whew – hot out down here on the coast, and long range forecasts have another handful of days of near-record temps before cooling to more seasonal. Not just us – this is a global event with shocking temps across Europe, Russia, the Orient and the W. ½ of North America. Although we always have and have had heat “waves” like this, this one is unprecedented because of the temps in the Arctic, Scandinavia and Siberia which are substantially higher than a normal Arctic summer, which has led to the worst forest fire season ever north of 60.
Heat isn’t the best thing for many crops, while it can be great for others. Tomatoes and onions love this, but spinach, lettuce, blueberries and others get stressed. We’re lucky to have local producers who are all over it, and will babysit heat-affected veg.
Apples: Local apples can’t come too soon. Early varieties will be coming soon – other than a smattering of dessert apples, Earligold is always the first, arriving mid week. And where are all the Vista, Tydemann, Sumac, Transparent, Williams Price and others? Most growers we have worked with are getting top dollar on these crisp, tart apples from the burgeoning cider industry, where they can just harvest 100% of the fruit into bins and call it a day. Can’t say I blame ‘em. S.A. Gala are all but done, with a few California growers getting top dollar as usual at this time. Still good supply of other high pressure models like Granny and Pinks to last through until the local early Fuji and later varieties are available. Quite an anomaly at this time that Gala’s are getting a 30% premium over Pinks!
Avocado: We’ve slowed down our run on California fruit – getting anything in volume 60ct or smaller is nearly impossible, which is bad news. Good news is that we are looking at 3 – 4 weeks before our first shipment of Pragor FT avo’s leaves Mexico. Keeping fingers crossed on that delivery. That is such a great program and we hated to see them run out of fruit earlier in the summer which left us dry for more than 2 months.
Cots: like other stonefruit a shortened season, lower volumes and higher prices to be expected on most BC crop with supplemental fruit from the US still in the cards for a few weeks.
Berries: Local blues are always popular but there is some heat-culling going on, so no big gaps, but certainly no over-supply. Besides, BC organic growers have the fail-safe of freezing anything extra, or heat-stressed, and getting the same or better return dealing with them that way. Raspberries are, as usual, in tight supply, and the nice shot of local fresh-picked fruit is just about done. Still large volumes of California straws at very reasonable prices. Remember that normally production starts to slow this time of year because those poor plants have been pushing out big plump berries for 4 months. But also remember that this year started many weeks late – remember how cold and rainy it was in California in March and April? No? Well the growers sure do – they completely missed the Easter Weekend window AND had nowhere near enough fruit for the biggest sales week of the year, being Mother’s Day. Weird isn’t it that there is an association between certain holidays and events and certain food. St. Patricks Day = cabbage. Super Bowl Weekend = avocados. Christmas Dinner = Brussels Sprouts and Yams. And for religion and mothers it’s strawberries on the respective days.
Citrus: Continues to be an issue with high prices on a smaller Valencia crop, and as mentioned last week, a true shortage of lemons. Seasonal weather is keeping Mexican Persa Limes in play at fair pricing. Lemon shortage has been enhanced, as noted last week, by incursions into counties in Riverside from light brown apple moth. Some of our favorite shippers are having to negotiate to sell until this new wave of restrictions is comprehended, which is enhancing the shortage especially on organic.
Nothing much to mention about grapes, mangos or melons – all three categories are booming as is production, with a great growing season currently on melons and grapes in California, and a good early start to the mango season in N. Mexico and Baja (soon.) Grape pricing is on the high side because of some earlier losses in the early start areas in Huron and other desert areas because of intense heat – a week at over 115F (45C+) did damage earlier affecting over-all volumes. Mexico is out of the deal now.
And really very little out of the normal on veg with stupendous local production on most greens and a thicker and thicker list of local sub-tropicals with field peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, cherries etc., backed up by quickly increasing volumes.
If you thought retail was changing quickly – it just quickened. Starting at the beginning of August, people in Phoenix, Arizona can
a/ order their groceries online from Walmart
b/ 3 hours later a self-driving car (with A/C) will pick them up, and take them to Walmart.
c/ the car waits in the loading zone in front of the store
d/ then the car takes you home. No extra charge.
Perfect, in an awful sort of way.