MARKET REPORT – NOV. 16TH, 2018
This will be short and sweet
I got back from Mexico very late last night and then stupidly didn’t listen to the traffic report on the radio, because, why would you do that if it was after midnight? So, also stupidly, spent a very long, long, very long time sitting on a bridge with 1000 pairs of red tail lights ahead of me, behind an accident, so operating at 80% or less after a very short night.
Two good things and one bad thing.
Prices are ALWAYS high this week on green veg. This is the week that Americans pull vast amounts of food for their Thanksgiving weekend and growers are juggling prices hourly to match supply and demand. What they weren’t expecting this year was multiple days of much below normal temperatures – lows just a few degrees above freezing dropped soil temperatures enough to cut growth substantially across the desert growing areas. So it’s been a crap shoot the last few days finding supply and keeping inventory levels. It’s just that the majority of produce on the market is pre-sold for their long weekend, so there is no universal pro-rating until after those commitments are met. Makes sense, just hurts in the pocketbook. (It nearly hit 0C where we were a couple of days ago, 1500 km. south of the US border.)
And now for the good things….
While in Mexico we spent a day with Gustavo at Ecocampos where acres and acres of kale, cabbage and lettuce looked stunning. Our first arrival will be early next week, and lettuce will be on board for the following week – just waiting for a few more days of growth. Guanajuato has experienced double their “normal” rain this summer, and although the rainy season usually ends September 15th or so, it kept on going for another 8 weeks. (A detailed explanation follows.) Our first set of lettuce was full sized but got hammered in a storm so we didn’t ship it. 2nd stand looked way better and will be here on the next truck.
Little ‘ol Discovery, pissed at on-going shortages, quality issues and stupid high pricing on many varieties of California citrus, went all bold and planted out our own orchards in Jalisco at several locations. Thousands and thousands of lemon, lime and orange trees.
Looking at what were little twigs a year and a half ago, they have grown incredibly quickly in 16 months. I had no idea that citrus trees go from 0 to 60 in just a few years.
Here’s a picture of Julie, (behind the tree,) our tropical buyer / Fair trade manager, planting the first tree at our Santa Rosa project in August of 2017, with Rafael, our manager of Mexican ops. (The pink belly in the back of the picture is the mayor of the local town, who couldn’t resist a little ceremony and a chance to toast with a little tequila at noon.)
So I made a point of taking a picture of Julie’s tree a couple of days ago to see the difference. Holy Dinah! Goes to show what compost, soil bacteria inputs, in combination with topical neem and garlic sprays can do! Look for these on our price list in 2019 when there’s enough fruit to start shipping in earnest.
And a side note. The tree that I planted at our ground-breaking ceremony last August is embarrassingly small by comparison.
Now as promised above, here is a little climate change story for you. Thunderstorms need fuel, and an engine, as do hurricanes, (which are thunderstorms that got out of hand.) Fuel = water, and engine is ocean water above 28C – the threshold for development of all hurricanes world-wide. Storms fire up in the Pacific off the central coast of Mexico every morning, from mid-May to mid-September, when summer ocean temps hit the magic mark. We’ve experienced rapid-fire lightening and torrents of rain and sometimes hail across Michoacan many times during visits, a daily occurrence for the residents, and always between 10AM and 2PM, just a couple of hours drive inland from Ixtapa on the coast. As thunderstorms do, racing along at 100KMH, they put on their displays with wind, lightening and rain as they cross the central regions, like Guanajuato and Jalisco, from 2PM to 5PM, and those same storms then do their thing over Veracruz in the early evening before they hit the Gulf of Mexico. This is an everyday occurrence until the autumn temperatures bring the ocean heat content down below 28C again. After that, rain is scarce from October to May – the months when we import fresh veg from Mexico – cool nights and moderate days make for happy kale!
However, ocean temperatures, thanks to global warming (you know, the climate change thing that the Trump person says is a hoax), ocean temperatures off Mexico have been between 2 and 4C above historical levels this year. We had 2 great storms and deluges last week while we were there, because the current ocean temperatures off the coast, from Acapulco north to Puerto Vallarta are still well above the 28C threshold for storm development, 8 weeks later than normal. As I write this, in mid-November, it’s 30C, when it should be in the 26-27C range. So now you know!