MARKET REPORT – SEPT. 30TH, 2016
Here’s a fast rundown as we gear up for Thanksgiving!
Apples: Where are you going to find room for this huge list of varieties? Harvests are now underway for all the late season varieties. These high pressure, long storing varieties include Braeburn, Fuji, Granny and Pink Lady which all need a nip of frost to sweeten them up. Don’t expect to see these listed for at least a couple of weeks – there’s just too much activity on pack lines to do everything at once. We’ll be listing ½ bins of orchard run grade starting this week, with a longer variety list shortly. Orchard Run grade means that it is a mix of everything from Cee (Commercial) up to XF. Defective fruit is separated and sold as process (juice) grade. There is definitely a price saving because these apples don’t go over a pack line and have no PLU. Generally about 80-85% are what would otherwise be packed as F/XF. A great way to offer special pricing with reasonable margins.
Avocado: Quite a kafuffle this week in Michoacan with a growers strike – demanding higher prices, orchards were not harvested for several days. Avocado pricing is controlled by many forces, supply, mafia, California pricing etc., and there is a difference between fruit going into the US compared to Europe and Canada. Avocados going into the US have to come from USDA Certified orchards, another level of certification that hovers around orchard management practices and enhanced food security, for which growers pay dearly. USDA fruit usually generates a 10-15% higher price. This week the spread was $1 per kg. to growers, partly due to a very small and pricey California crop allowing very good prices vs. a very competitive market in Europe, demanding a far lower price. Well, although those are market pressures, a grower getting paid 30% less than his neighbour, the difference being that USDA price, you can imagine the frustration. As well, avocado production has soared in neighbouring Jalisco – just a few hours’ drive away, all of which is bound for Europe as well, and all at lower pricing strengthening this very large price gap. We’ll see how this pans out – the growers have made their point. Our next load will be delayed for a few days, but we expect to be OK except on smaller sizes which are already running down. We just got news that the “growers strike” will continue until Sunday.
Bananas: A few months ago there was a big shake-up in global shipping when the Hanjin Steamship Line filed for bankruptcy. Not only stranding tens of thousands of containers on boats that weren’t being unloaded (for fear of not getting paid), but also thousands of trucks with Hanjin containers stuck on their chassis and no one wanting the empty cans, nowhere to put them, and no cranes to take them off. Shipping lines globally have of course lined up to fill that gap and all adjusted their schedules substantially. Service corridors and feeder lines have all adapted. The upside for us is that we are now seeing schedules that will get us much faster service – by 5 days in some cases. The downside is that these schedules all kicked in while we had fruit on the water or just leaving, and now containers are arriving much earlier than expected. Which creates a space issue for us. Upside is that we have more fruit for the next 2 weeks than we need, so we’ve cut pricing substantially in hope you will help us out with a little more volume.
Cranberries – sorry, we took lots and lots of pre-bookings and it looks like we’re pretty well sold out unless you confirmed volume with us already.
Grapes – with awkward ripening cycles it’s been a very interesting year for California growers. Late varieties ripening ahead of early ones and a shortened season have created gaps and gluts that haven’t happened before, with so many varieties staged to produce a very even flow for a 6-7 month season. Not this year. We’re heading into another glut with ample volumes on a wide variety of fruit coming up. Look to slacker pricing.
Lemons – pricing continues to come off, rather unevenly, with choice and combo packed fruit falling more precipitously – you will only see a noticeable drop on bagged fruit as the market evens out over the next few weeks.
Mangos – they are still squeezing Keitt’s out of northern Mexico I don’t know how, but they are) and we have some California coming. And those are big. And they sell. And there are a few of you out there who jump on these. You know who you are. Not going to name names here, but there aren’t that many of these 4 counts available this year. Just sayin’
Melons – treat yourself this week with Saras Choice Cantaloupes. They are slightly elongated and late ripening. For us, that means they are ripening on colder nights than other varieties and producing more sugar. We’ve listed the actual variety because we have people out there who know how great they are. Much sought after, the actual seeds cost 20c each!
Oranges – Navels are finally done. I think growers stretched that season out too long this summer and the last few shipments were pretty gnarly. Valencia is the only game in town, but you can start thinking about stretching that citrus display out soon with Cara Cara waiting for the thumbs up to start harvest.
Pears – a smorgasbord awaits with nearly a full set. Great selection of red pears as well. Those little Seckle’s are selling very well, with more people looking for dessert pears with a nice smooth texture. And from the heirloom side, Bronze Bosc’s are always nice. If you’re going to buy a naturally russetted pear, nice to get one that’s uniform with a lovely bronze finish – also on special this week. Kieffer Pears are a new one – grown in the Fraser Valley. Similar to the Seckle it is a great eater, but also a great dessert pear. We don’t see these often, because the actual tree can’t handle our cold winters although they are the most popular pear grown in the southern U.S.
Asparagus – perfect timing for Thanksgiving, the first of the Mexican new crop is now shipping out of Constitucione in the deserts of central Baja.
Brussels on the stalk – lovely sprouts from Icecap in Pemberton still on their little Brussels tree. It’s time people started to broil instead of boil – these stalks go in the oven, cook quickly, taste way better. Your customers can become one with the plant that’s growing their Brussels Sprouts. It’s an experiential dimension to add to Thanksgiving dinners. We know it will be a winner – pre-books on these were jaw dropping.
Cauliflower/Celery/Broccoli – perfect timing for a glut! This will help – having great pricing on the three biggest green veg sellers all at once, especially now – well, it sure helps promote at these prices next week!
Greens – we’ve had stunningly good weather on the not-so Wet Coast the last few weeks and there is an abundance of chards and kale to be had at 2006 pricing, or cheaper! In fact we’ve been able to lower pricing on dozens of lines of BC greens!
Eggplant / Cukes / Tomatoes – Here we are about to plunge into October and we still haven’t come close to a hard frosts in the Similkameen or Okanagan, and there are no long range plans to change that for at least a week. We continue to get reasonable supply on all sub-tropicals from multiple farms, but prices are creeping up with a lot more hunting in the field for product to harvest. This will end at some point, but it’s a repeat of last year with unseasonably warm temperatures across southern BC. Still great supply on zucchini from Fraser Valley farms – these last two weeks have provided ample heat units.
And down at the bottom of the list – Chestnuts from Sproule’s up in Oyama – these are the roasting on the open fire variety, not the toxic horse chestnuts.
Have an exciting week!