MARKET REPORT – MAR. 30TH, 2016
Lots to talk about!
First, it was great to have Gustavo Gaya drop in on Monday. He planned his trip around the arrival time for a truckload of his product arriving from Mexico, and spent a couple of hours with our Receiving crew. He wasn’t checking for quality – that was a given – he wanted to make sure the pallets were built right, and then compare his packouts to our other vendors. He even weighed his kale bunches to see how they measured up, and when finding that the black kale was a little light, he was on the phone to his ranch and pronto! This is the first time we have ever had a supplier from anywhere in either the US or Mexico actually come to see how things look at our end. So that was cool.
He also wanted to know what the reception was for the plastic boxes some of his product has been shipping in. In the ancient past, we were always happy to have growers ship in plastic crates, because they were in high demand – the minute they were stacked behind the store, people grabbed them to store their vinyl records in. Well those days are over. Empty banana boxes will always be in high demand as long as people move. Anyhow, long story short – wax boxes use new paper fiber and are coated with petroleum based wax that then goes to landfill. Plastic crates are cheaper by a few dimes, are re-usable, collapsible and made out of recycled high-density plastic, that can be recycled for a 3rd time into a wide array of products. So we kind of like the idea, and worst case you can collapse them and put them in the dumpster, but we’re hoping you can find other uses for them. If they were made of new plastic we wouldn’t have considered it.
Now, to produce – prices remain low on some veg crops because, although the desert is winding down, early crops are on, and early, in central California, so the transition on fast-growers is smooth, but expect some hiccups. As the Mexican season starts to wind down on cherry toms, zucchini, cukes etc., you can expect those markets to climb – but that’s sort of OK, because we are now getting trickles of OriginO peppers in (yes, trickles) with tomatoes not too far away – we even have bulk cherry tomatoes!
The pear market is opening up quickly, even D’Anjou and Abate Fetel are on their way as Argentina shippers see that big gap and are shipping as quickly as possible.
Apple prices remain high, with Washington shippers matching Argentina and Chile, and US importers matching South American fruit to Washington – either way prices on Washington fruit continue to adjust upwards on many varieties.
Finally, strawberries have hit the mark, with Watsonville starting to harvest, Oxnard and Santa Maria in full swing, and Baja also starting in earnest in and around Ensenada and down the coast. It was a rough year for strawberry producers right through the winter, keeping markets sky-high, but we expect pricing to stay about where it is, give or take 10-15% either way, until Mother’s Day, then after that the market will fall to the normal spring values.
Roots continue in good supply, with a surprising amount of BC product still in the market including parsnips, onions and beets. Potato supply is strong on all varieties from multiple shippers across the country and some BC product still available. Onions are starting to tighten up, especially reds, where there is only a few weeks’ worth left in Washington and a potential gap before Imperial and Huron begin – although there is always some Mexican Reds to fill in that little window.
You know spring has sprung when we have Living Rain Rhubarb coming in, and we’re always amazed by how well it sells – but it’s luscious, tender, big stalked and bright red.