MARKET REPORT – OCT 19, 2018
A fast cruise through the categories shows this:
Avocado: Production is way up this week as all producing areas in Mexico are open for business. Growers are planting avocados by the tens of thousands of acres every year to try to keep up demand, and in non-traditional growing areas. Pricing should stay stable for a month or two, before harvest estimates are established for the 2nd flowering which can produce an abundance for Feb – June harvests. Slowly our selection of “non-Fancy” which we sell in 11kg lugs will increase – those are fruits with some surface marking (from rubbing against branches) or sun-burning (crimson patches) that sell a discount. The later into the season we get, and the longer the fruit remains on the trees, the more selection there will be of Cat 2 fruit. We’ve just received the first of these this week, but only 84 count.
Blueberries: BC, Washington, California all done for the year – thanks for the biz! Small amounts may trickle in from different areas – notably Peru and/or Argentina before the main Chilean season starts. We’ll be running the same impressive Chilean program again, and although hard to believe it, we are now into our 10th season selling berries from Alberto and Toti and others. Look for this to start up in late November.
Lemons: Whew – that was the worst giant gap ever! A sellers’ market for 3 months, with Sunkist, the largest coop packing house in California telling its customers, way back in August to “please buy off-shore”. Too dry, too hot, too little water, fewer trees in production – take your pick. New crop is finally ready – and prices are dropping. Some cheaper product already in the market having been gassed to colour a little early.
Mango: As mentioned last week this will be the first year we’ve ever seen (at least in our own little bubble) where there will not be a mango gap. Brazil and Ecuador have started early, with a little bit of California left in the market. And yes, they are all expensive right now, and will be until the early Peru harvests overlap with late Ecuador – then the market will be a bidding war and not based in reality.
Melons: Our local season has ended, and Mexico hasn’t really got started on Cantaloupe or Honeydew, so will be sparse and spendy. Faster growing Mini’s are no problem and fast becoming the main-stay melon year-round. Recent weather (3 hurricanes) over the past 6 weeks, although devastating in some parts of Sonora and Sinaloa, didn’t affect production on melons at the farms we work with. What got hit hardest was losses in the tens of thousands of acres of corn grown for the national market.
Papaya: Why am I talking about Papaya? We ran a really successful program the last two years on these 25/30# boxes with good sell through at retail. Size is everything of course, but so is quality. We drop out of this deal when there is a plethora of fruit available in the summer to crowd racks, but with stone-fruit season all but done, a bit of tropical spices things up. This isn’t a shot in the dark, but a stable program you can dedicate some space to long-term.
Pears: Fast disappearing Bartlett’s (Green and Red) and a very small Bosc harvest are steering us to Flemish and D’Anjou. Selection will dwindle to pretty well just D’Anjou in a couple of weeks. Just so ya’ know.
Persimmons: Here’s one fruit to turn customers off. They take home a Hachiya and eat it hard and sour, and their appetite for this fabulous seasonal fruit is lost. Is it possible to come up with signage for that? Only Eat when Mooshy! That would work!
Leaping forward to:
Carrots: Hoping you remember the hell that Similkameen growers went through this spring, with fields under water. Two of the largest BC carrot growers lost all their first plantings. And they are done for the year already. At the moment we’re waiting on harvest info from Alberta growers, where we have gone in the past when BC was done, but we’re used to that transition being in March or April, not October. This refers mainly to 24/2 and 10/5 packs.
And now, for some pictures:
Our man on the ground, Rafa, has just walked a lot of field today to bring us some pictures. (And when you walk the field at Ecocampos, your shoes are red! That’s all the minerals in the natural soil in the region.) We should be ready to go in 2 weeks. This is our 6th season on this program. Why did a little Vancouver company spend so much effort working with a grower in central Mexico? Here are a few of the reasons. Weather – the weather in Guanajuato in the winter is virtually the same as the Fraser Valley here in the summertime – perfect for kale, lettuce, broccoli, celery and cabbage. No prolonged freezes or baking days to stress plants out like we often find in desert growing areas in California.
So we looked for an alternative, back in 2013 – a good grower, stable growing weather and a moderate climate for 7 months. So there’s that.
We also wanted to work with an “all organic” farm for the majority of our green wet vegetables. Most of the brands you see in this category are subsidiaries or divisions of large conventional farms. So we are prejudice, and that’s our preference.
Then there’s quality – and that’s the biggie! Our product is harvested in the morning, pressure-cooled, iced and loaded onto a northbound truck late in the day – and with a team driving the truck, it is sometimes faster from Guanajuato to Vancouver than it is from Arizona. Go Figure! Good harvest and post-harvests speaks volumes to shelf life. Our internal reporting should match your results – claims on Ecocampos products are the lowest of any brand of wet veg we sell. And no matter the price, selling the last head or bunch is where your net profit lies – right?
One last note: You will notice increasing prices on broc, lettuce etc. on American brands – that is just the impact of the always imperfect transition from coastal California out to the deserts and hopefully won’t last very long.
In other news:
We are winding up a prolonged BC field crop season – a great run for local croppers of tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, eggplant etc. Soon to be replaced with Mexican product. There was some hurricane damage along coastal Sonora and Baja, and although not severe, it did rattle some cages and with higher losses in Baja, expect market prices to be on the high end for awhile.
Til next week.