October 16, 2015
Local roots are strong!
Well, we didn’t expect a late truck this week because of mudslides and road closures on the ONLY highway north out of Los Angeles! There’s some great video’s out there of cars being washed down the “Grapevine” as that section of the highway is called as it passes through the Coast range. El Nino predictions are that southern California can expect much higher rainfall than normal for the next 6 months. This is going to help the drought situation because reservoirs will fill up and the groundwater aquifers will also re-charge well. But if it is also warm while it’s wet, there won’t be a big snowpack in the Sierra’s, and that is the water that most farmers rely on. We will just keep our fingers crossed.
Here’s your update for the week:
A complete plethora of apples, and the first pack of Pink Lady is on its way. Thanks for putting up with our continuing shortage of smaller sized avocados the last 2 months. Good news – the next order arriving at the end of next week has a much more even sizing array with good volume on 18/20/22’s. We will also expect a slight price decrease with a slightly stronger Canadian dollar, and prices dropping off a bit in Michoacan. BC Grapes are done, and although there are a few listings, there is no volume behind those lines – expect they will not be around this time next week. California will be good for another 5-6 weeks, although expecting to end 2 weeks earlier than normal – and if there is substantial rain in the southern Central Valley, that could also shorten the season and they will be left on the vine to slowly shrivel to raisins.
Lemon pricing is coming off quickly with the new crop coming off the trees, and projections of an actual increase in production over last year from several growers. Lemons just wait and wait for cooler weather to turn colour, and if picked green and gassed to turn yellow, they go back to green fairly quickly – besides who wants fruit that isn’t really ready. California mango season is finishing off, and we will be out early in the week. Now we will wait for Ecuador, and that will be a long wait with harvest delayed two weeks – take your mango signs down for at least 6 week. We could fill in with Brazilian fruit in the meantime, but the distance between production areas and sea container terminals, and a long time on the ocean make this nearly impossible – especially with so little organic available.
Yes, melon season is over with local and California finished. Now we wait for coastal Sonora – the first brands will likely be Llano – one of only 7 or 8 organic growers in Mexico who are licensed to sell cantaloupe into the US or Canada. Then the market will open up with production from the Sonora desert – Heaven’s Best and Rico, and then Del Cabo in Baja. Why the restriction on cantaloupe you ask? Well, it’s ancient history and goes back 15 years or so to a salmonella issue. Only the larger growers who have full time testing labs on site grow melons for export, and it’s not chicken poop that creates the problem with melons – it’s salmonella on the actual seed, before it’s planted – which is why the seeds are tested before they go into start trays – there you just learned something!
Navel pricing is still high, with most of our suppliers looking at green fruit and waiting for colour instead of gassing them orange – which is common at the beginning of the season. Homegrown, our traditional primary supplier has sent us a crop forecast that shows they will have 20% more oranges across the board than last year – partially due to more growers joining the company (which is a grower-owned marketing body.) Expect a much different story on Navels in 2-3 weeks when the main crops start to come on. California Valencia are virtually non-existent – most growers have stopped shipping. The big change will be in early November when the first Mexican Valencia’s start – the first variety being Desert Sweets from the Citricos Coop in Hermosillo. A couple of specials on pears for you as we transition from BC to Washington. Most of our growers are done with all but specialty varieties. Washington has a much bigger crop and enough volume to have CA storage on storage varieties like D’Anjou and Bosc.
Switching to veg – no major changes – BC is winding down ever so slowly, and production is still strong on many items. On hot weather crops like beans, zukes, cukes, tomato etc. there is some availability, but also not a lot of strength behind some of those numbers – we know you’d rather go local, but that isn’t going to happen some of the time with lean volume coming in.
Our lazy dog days of summer continue for Fraser Valley farms, with highs this week in the low 20’s, production just keeps on going and is allowing us to miss the ugly transition on California crops – where production will be moving from Salinas to the desert, and there will be gaps in-between because of late wet dates (industry code for first time seeds get watered in the field or in starter trays) in the Imperial and Yuma areas.
Local roots are strong – probably our biggest selection ever on all roots from a multitude of farms.