Mushroom shipments look good for the first quarter of 2018, which will be an improvement, at least for some areas of the country….Meanwhile, the forecast for Florida citrus shipments takes another hit.
Shipments of mushrooms from Texas and Florida should be better this year as the region has recovered from hurricane damage last fall. While mushrooms are grown indoors, production still depends on the quality of compost, which is grown outside.
As long as growers don’t have to deal with frozen compost, a relatively mild fall has led to improved conditions. At the same time companies such as Oakshire Mushroom Farm of Kennett Square, PA, which markets mushrooms under the Dole label, see adequate labor as a continuing problem, like other operations, because mushrooms are a very labor-intense crop.
Monterey Mushrooms Inc. of Watsonville, CA also anticipates an good crop for early 2018. The company has 10 farms strategically located around the United States and Mexico and it makes its own compost.
White mushrooms still constitute most mushroom shipments, but brown mushrooms continue to gain. Ten years or more ago, white mushrooms represented over 90 percent of shipments. That has now shrunk to about 70 percent, because baby portabellas are still increasing in popularity. Portabellas have been fairly stable, accounting for around 6 to 7 percent of total volume. Specialty mushrooms, particularly shiitake and oyster, also are gaining in volume.
Florida Citrus Shipments
45 million boxes of oranges from Florida are predicted to be shipped, down 2 percent from the USDA January forecast.
The 2017-18 crop will be the smallest in over 75 years, assuming the estimate is accurate. Hurricane Irma devastated much of the production in the state when the storm hit last September, compounding the low production numbers caused by citrus greening disease.
The current crop projection is off 35 percent from the 2016-17 season.
The forecast for valencias is now 26 million boxes, down 4 percent from the January estimate.The projections for non-valencia oranges and grapefruit are unchanged at 19 million boxes and 4.65 million boxes, respectively.