MARKET REPORT – SEPT 16TH, 2016
OK, Avo’s are now arriving Saturday.
There was as mentioned previously a 5 day Hurricane based harvesting gap of 5 days – avocados aren’t harvested in the rain. Then there was a surge of several hundred more trucks every day heading north as markets caught up. What we forgot to think about was big border delays as those trucks moved into the U.S., hence another 1 day delay. Unfortunately there is another hurricane brewing (currently not yet a tropical storm) in the same place, off the coast of Acapulco, and it’s outer rain bands are skimming over Michoacan. We’re hoping this one stays out to sea and doesn’t affect Mexico the way the last one did.
We’ve assembled enough reports from growers across Sonora now to know that the last storm (Newton) spared most of the growers we buy from along the Mexican Coast. Although winds gusted to 90 kmh in Guaymas, Vida Fresh, Llano, Divine Flavor, Rico etc. all reported that they were well prepared with over a week of notice, that most plants were still in the greenhouse waiting to be transplanted, shadehouses had all their screens rolled up so winds would blow through, and the only significant damage was to field plantings of herbs. So that’s all good news.
And, we may be shopping down there fairly soon. Summer is going to end soon from a growing perspective. Today is expected to be the last day of normal temperatures with high temperatures struggling to get into the mid-teens for the next solid week, right across all growing areas, with rain expected right across the province including the Similkameen and Okanagan. That is going to bring an abrupt halt to reasonable production of many crops. Tomatoes, cukes, eggplant, zucchini and specialties will bear the brunt. After iffy weather the week before last, several growers quit bothering to even harvest field cucumber and zucchini – most plants are already pretty well burned out and harvests were slim pickin’s. Only those growers who put in very late plantings are still in the zucchini mix, and prices are now reflecting current production. Expect prices to rise fairly sharply with volumes down 50-70% across these categories, and arrivals from California and Mexico will be in the mix in 10-12 days.
Greens production hasn’t changed – lots of growers with lots of product – the last few weeks have been relatively seasonal for production of kale, chard, lettuce etc. so we expect continued good supply for several weeks. A few years ago we really only had a handful of larger farms producing this spread, but the list of farm vendors has doubled in size, adding to competition and therefore good supply and very reasonable pricing.
Working through the list, we are expecting to see a downslope on lemon pricing as fall harvests begin, but don’t hold your breath just yet, price drops on citrus usually start with small, choice and bagged fruit with larger fancy sizes holding their own, although they are down a tad from a week ago. The grape category continues strong with BC Coronation, Himrod, Venus all in good supply for some time. California will have a climate change related shorter season, but expect grapes on your rack into late October or early November. Melon production is also going to decline substantially with this cool weather coming and with California winding down we’re aiming for a melon drought starting soon and continuing through the end of December before new production starts in Sonora. Only one BC grower is still in the game and that’s Porterfield in Ashcroft – one of the hottest places in Canada – too hot for trees! BC harvests of peaches, nectarines and plums are pretty well finished, but still lots to be had and at continuing soft pricing (price is soft – not the peaches!) Lots of plums left to ship – give it 10 days and they should all be through the system. Mangos will also wind down soon with limited harvests left – that usually happens in September anyhow, and with hurricane damage to some harvest areas, the season will end in a couple of weeks. Ecuador is next in line and with an early harvest date established we expect to only have a 6 week mango gap this year. With all these seasonal gaps looming, what will be left to sell? – don’t worry, you’ll just have room to stock more varieties of apples!
Great selection of pears – pretty well every variety is listed – add a couple of varieties! And one you should definitely look at are the Seckel pears – we just know that you can convert a lot of non-pear eating folks with this one – smooth, creamy and sweet.
The veg category, as mentioned, is stable with good supply on all root crops. One of our garlic growers who accounts for 80% of our sales has seen a big production decline because of a virus that infected part of his field, so we expect a shorter season on this one. Carrots may also be an issue, with a production shortage from one of the larger producers in the Interior, but these are both things to worry about months from now, and will just force us to move into Washington a little earlier than last year.
Oh, one last thing. You will see a listing for San Marzano Roma tomatoes. Some of you Roma tomato specialists will recognize this is a premium tomato with sensational flavor that you know and love. We don’t usually list a seed variety for tomatoes, except in this particular circumstance.