MARKET REPORT – MAY 26TH, 2017
Here’s an A to Z rundown for the week
We’re just closing out the first ½ decent week of vegetable growing weather this spring here in coastal BC. Despite just a handful of days over 20C in all of April and May, local crops are going to start making their way to center stage over the next couple of weeks. What and when? Read below.
Apples: With high demand and slim volumes this could potentially be the tightest summer for apple supply yet. In 2010 there was so much surplus organic production in NZ and Chile that growers were really happy to get $20 a box return. Those days are over – a galloping global appetite for apples combined with weather issues in Chile have ramped up pricing to counter lower volumes. It will be interesting though. We would foresee prices inching up another 20%, esp. on Gala as supply wanes, and we’re looking at a complete dependence on southern hemisphere fruit for 10 solid weeks.
Avocado: Don’t ask what you don’t want to know. With new crop now 7 weeks from harvest, the world is waking up slowly to the novelty of a Mexico with very, very few avocados left from the 2016 crop still left on the trees and ‘sky is the limit’ pricing potential. We have really good supply right now except very few if any of the 22/24 ct.
Apricots: Here today, gone tomorrow. Very fast sell-through on this very short California season.
Grapes: Strong out of the gate, this Fair Trade grape deal out of Sonora was just such a solid line right through last season and the opening salvo was no different this year. Divine Flavor is by far the biggest exporter of Mexican organic grapes to Europe – and to ship containers of grapes across Mexico by truck and then across the Atlantic to Europe, you had better be totally on your game. Well, they are, and it’s that post-harvest quality, fast turnover, quality fruit and nice presentation that just go hand in hand that makes this a very strong brand.
Mango: A great Mexican season is just hitting a galloping stride with more orchards in Michoacan nearly done on Tommy. Nayarit’s season (the next growing area to the north) is still a couple of weeks away, but there is lots of fruit in the market. Nayarit is just north of Puerto Vallarta for reference. Estimates are for a strong season in all northern districts through the summer. Yay!
Melons: Production is now picking up along the coast in Mexico as interior growers start to wind down (getting too hot!) Imperial and Yuma will get into the fray shortly which may create a bit of a glut towards the middle of June. In the meantime, were shipping some really great fruit and as much Fair Trade as we can get our hands on.
Stonefruit: Besides a smattering of very pricey cherries, there are some very solid volumes on peaches and nectarines already, although tending small, and a strong supply expected to last right through June. Still too early on plums but harvests are just getting going. Remember that California ships a massive amount of plums – with dozens and dozens of varieties. This category has become more and more popular every year and worthy of some half decent display space.
And my annual one-line reminder – especially to all new to the industry – Aprium = ½ apricot / ½ plum, and has a slightly fuzzy skin. Pluot = ½ plum / ½ apricot and has a smooth skin, and both considered to be in the plum category.
Berries: Blueberry volume and quality is excellent – always a bit on the pricey side coming out of the California high rent districts but sales usually aren’t affected. Raspberry volumes are still light, prices on the high side. And then there’s strawberries which we are struggling to keep in stock some days. We’ve worked with this same grower since a long time ago (at least 10 years). It’s been pretty great. And with perfect weather over the past month in Watsonville, we’ve been serving up some pretty great berries.
Then there’s vegetables:
Finally there are some volumes coming on in the wet veg category to buy a little relief. Not talking about a flood here, just product coming out of the soil at the same rate as the market needs it after a couple of months of a very wild ride. Regional production is starting to click in across a large part of the Continent giving California a chance to catch up and become more of a local provider through the summer months.
You will see prices crumble first on lettuce, where a tight supply on green and red has now loosened considerably, although romaine (which takes 10 days longer to grow) will likely be tight for some time.
We do have small amounts of local lettuce coming in, and we’re offering the growers the same prices as California product – local should NOT be cheaper! Broccoli is a very choppy market with prices swinging wildly from one day to the next and generally still pretty expensive. The veg that takes the longest to grow (celery) is going to, and you heard it first, stay pricey potentially to late June. We’ve been watching this one since we announced back in March that there was going to be a squeaky tight market and potential gaps. The sparse volumes available along the coast are selling through quickly, and many growers are harvesting babies (36/48 count) to take advantage of the Rolls Royce pricing, but they are simply robbing Peter to pay Paul here because those 36/48’s would be full size in 3 weeks. Like celery, cabbage is also slow to grow, and you’re seeing a very normal surge in pricing with high demand and low volumes.
Bottom line – expect much instability for a couple more weeks and then it won’t really matter because all but a few commodities will be local!
Final note: our Agrofresco contract ends for the season next week, with just two more trucks on the way. We are going to continue into June with some products (broc, celery) and anything else he has where there isn’t full coverage from local growers.
The roots situation is much more stable – nothing much to report on at all.