MARKET REPORT – NOV. 24TH 2017
First, Chilean Blueberries have started in earnest and we’re off the block with the larger 12 X 6.6 clams.
We love the fact that one of this small group of growers we’re working closely with visited us in 2009 (his bro’ in law worked in Vancouver at the time), and we’ve been buying his berries every year since the spring of 2010. It was with him that we coordinated our fund raising campaign after the devastating Chilean Earthquake of 2010, which hopefully a few of you will remember, raising nearly $40,000 – ½ of that coming from our customers. (At that time, the money was used to pay for dozens and dozens of pre-fab wooden houses for their workers who had lost everything.)
As mentioned on Wednesday’s report, markets for a few commodities have crumpled, broccoli being the major one, with cauli close behind – why is this? A couple of factors; there is always Thanksgiving clean-up in America. Vast volumes are shipped about a week ago, then the volumes for this current period plunge. Growers assess what’s left in the fields and price accordingly. What made that situation worse was the weather, which requires a more detailed explanation.
There isn’t just one variety of broccoli (or cauli, or any other vegetable.) Producers choose certain varieties of broccoli which perform for their own conditions, and at that time of the year. So a grower in Yuma will plant broccoli that does well, even when winter-time lows hit close to freezing and daytime highs hit 30C. And they would grow a much different variety for production in March/April choosing varieties that are extremely heat tolerant – able to grow a quality head even when temps hit 45C.
Growers near the coast of California – Salinas, Oxnard areas, plant winter varieties that grow at cool temperatures. The normal in those areas range from 15C at night to 20C during the day. The problem occurs when these cool-loving slow growing broccoli varieties hit hot temperatures. Growth is erratic, heads get leggy, and they seed-out very quickly. Not that the product isn’t nice, but it has to be harvested and marketed quickly. This week temperatures were in the high 20’s for 5 days, hitting 30C-32C a couple of days ago. That broccoli in the field, destined for projected harvest 10 days farther down the road, has “matured” quickly and has expanded the volume available right now, while the market is still burping over Thanksgiving. Which is why prices have continued to drop. Unfortunately, when this situation happens, it just means that there will be less broccoli in a couple of weeks. We can’t predict what the market will be like at that time, – will there be enough broccoli?, Growers in Imperial and Yuma are about to emerge into the market as the transition to the desert completes with their earliest crops – one of which is broccoli. Hope that makes sense.