Produce shipments will be starting soon involving Michigan asparagus, Vidalia onions, and grapes from Mexico.
Michigan asparagus shipments will get underway within the next week or so. While the Great Lakes State’s asparagus has traditionally been more of a local crop, Chicago has historically been a big market. Now, loadings are destined to markets in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Tennessee and even to Georgia. Another change is the crop used to go mainly to processors, but now keeps shifting more to fresh. For the first time last year Michigan shipped 12 million pounds of “grass” for fresh markets, compared to 10 million pounds for processing. This year fresh shipments are projected to increase by another five to 10 percent.
Michigan apple shipments – grossing about $3000 to Dallas.
Vidalia Onion Shipments
Concerning more produce shipments, while the Georgia Department of Agriculture has set April 25th as the official date Vidalia onions can be packed and shipped, in truth, every year the sweet onion is shipped prior to this date. The catch is it cannot be legally shipped under the Vidalia name prior to the official starting date. Shipping prior to official date increases the chances of the onions being “hot” and doesn’t help the image of the brand. Much of that is because early onion pungency levels are too high, making them taste hot instead of sweet.
Vidalia onions can only be grown in parts of a 20-county area in the southeastern part of Georgia. Last season, farmers harvested 268 million pounds of Vidalia onions from 11,200 acres. Value of production for last year’s crop exceeded $120 million.
Southern Georgia produce shipments – greens, carrots – grossing about $2200 to New York City.
Mexican Grape Shipments
As most Mexican vegetables crossing the U.S. border at Nogales wind down this time of year, an exception is grapes. The harvest in Mexico begins the first week of May. Mexican grape shipments soon follow, with volume increasing as Memorial Day approaches. Peak Mexican grape shipments will occur during June, then quickly wind down in early July. Estimates are sketchy right now, but early indications are that a good, but not record crop will be available for hauling.
Mexican melons, mangoes, veggies through Nogales – grossing about $3200 to Chicago.