There’s probably no single California produce item having more truck loads per week than table grapes, although this should be changing soon as volume is headed towards a season ending slide. Still, San Joaquin Valley shippers loaded about 975 truck loads last week. The first Chilean grapes to arrive at Philadelphia by boat are expected the week of December 18th.
In the Southern San Joaquin Valley in the Bakersfield area, there is pretty steady movement of carrots averaging around 375 truck loads weekly.
As the seasonal shift of vegetable shipments is nearly completed from the Salinas Valley, light volume of items ranging from broccoli to cauliflower has started from Central and Western Arizona. Heavier volume already is underway, particularly from the Yuma area with lettuce. The combination of head lettuce, as well as romaine and leaf lettuce totaled nearly 2500 truck loads last week and volume is still increasing.
Low Tomato Shipments
Thanks to Hurricane Irma last September, Florida tomato shipments this season are down 54 percent compared to the same time a year ago. Florida, as of December 9th has shipped 3.44 million cartons, down 54 percent from 7.4 million cartons in 2106. For example, Florida tomato shipments the week of December. 3-9 totaled 500,000 cartons, down over 65 percent compared with 1.492 million cartons the same week last year.
The USDA reports total supply of domestic and imported tomatoes the week of Dec. 3-9 was 1.9 million cartons, down 25 percent from 2.56 million cartons the same week a year ago.
Tomato prices at shipping point had hit $35 in mid-December resulting in high prices at retail stores and resulting in fewer sales as consumers balked at the high prices. The f.o.b. (shipping point) price for central and south Florida tomatoes on Dec. 12 was $37.95 per carton for some mature green tomatoes, four times higher than the $8.95 per carton the same time a year ago.
Cold weather in central and eastern parts of the country limited some Mexican tomato shipments coming through south Texas in early December. For imports coming in through Nogales, tomato shipments from Sinaloa, Mexico should experience significant volume increases in January.
Florida may not have normal tomato shipments until mid-January.