Strawberry shipments along with mixed vegetables are showing significant increases from the Salinas Valley, including Watsonville, as truck rates to many destinations had double digit increases. Also, consignment loads should be a concern to truckers.
While Ventura County strawberry shipments are just about finished, Santa Maria and Salinas were providing most of the strawberry volume during the past week. However, Santa Maria is entering a seasonal decline, while Salinas is just heating up. For example, between Salinas and Santa Maria this past week over 1700 truck loads of strawberries were shipped. In the weeks ahead it will the Watsonville area that takes over berry volume.
In the coming weeks California truck rates on produce will be interesting to watch. In recent days, some truck rates from Salinas to New York City were hitting $9000.
Strawberry shippers are complaining about too much strawberry volume and low prices at shipping. However, this writer has yet to see significant drops in strawberry prices at his local Wal Mart.
The situation regarding a glut of strawberries is so bad, it could mean trouble for produce truckers hauling the fruit. Some berries are being sold on consignment. In other words, product is being shipped in hopes of finding a buyer while it is in transit. Some product that normally would be sold on the fresh market is going to the processors.
If you are hauling a load of strawberries that are on consignment, be aware you maybe pressured to change your destination if a buyer is found in another city. Too often, extra miles are added to a trip without adequate compensation for the additional miles being offered.
The USDA reports total shipments of strawberries from all origins for the week of May 6 – 12 totaled 77.9 million pounds, up 31 percent from 59.5 million pounds the same week a year ago.
California strawberry shipments accounted for nearly 99 percent of all commercial shipments, with light volume from Mexico and North Carolina.
California’s shipments of 76.8 million pounds the week of May 6-12 were up 31 percent compared with a year ago, when the state shipped 58.6 million cartons. California’s loadings of organic strawberries the week of May 6-12 totaled 6.2 million pounds, up 20 percent from 5.2 million pounds the same week a year ago.
California strawberry volume for the fresh market of 9.568 million trays the week of May 6-May 12 was up from a previous projection of 7 million trays for that week.
Through May 12, season-to-date shipments (conventional and organic) of California strawberries totaled 55.01 million trays, down slightly from 56.7 million trays last year at the same time and 57.7 million two years ago.