Outlook for Mushroom Shipments; Salinas Valley Lettuce Loads are Improving

Outlook for Mushroom Shipments; Salinas Valley Lettuce Loads are Improving

DSCN0852U.S. mushroom shipments should be good for the rest of the summer and into the fall season — and perhaps beyond.

The reason is mushroom crop yields this year remain healthy and strong, but similar to many agriculture crops, there are seasonal ebbs and flows in production.

Giorgio Fresh Co. of Temple, PA has observed this year summer mushroom shipments are at a peak, with volume expected to be story through early fall.  However supplies are expected to tighten during the November-December holiday period, which is normal.

Mushrooms a  whole continue to grow in popularity, especially with organics, specialty varieties and brown mushrooms — including crimini/baby bella and portabella.

Kitchen Pride Mushroom Farm Inc. of Gonzales, TX is expecting strong shipments through the summer, with a tighter market going into the fall and winter months.

Although mushrooms are grown indoors, extreme weather and a lack of a steady labor pool can be serious detriments to production because production levels depend greatly on the quality of the growing medium, commonly called compost, which is produced outdoors.

At Monterey Mushrooms Inc. of Watsonville, CA, the mushroom crop outlook is excellent,  in part because the company has 10 farms strategically located around the U.S. and Mexico.  Monterey makes its own compost, which helps the company grow “end to end.”

Ostrom Mushroom Farms of Olympia, WA has noted production and quality problems in the Pacific Northwest during the spring because of compost and mechanical difficulties, but this has improved.

Salinas Lettuce

Salinas Valley head (iceberg) lettuce shipments have been erratic this season due erratic growing conditions.

Additionally, romaine shipments have improved from earlier this year when there was an outbreak of E. coli.  More than 200 people were sickened and five people died.

Coastline Family Farms of Salinas has noted hot stretches followed by cold stretches of weather which replaced what is typically is a consistent, mild climate.  It adversely affected the quality of head lettuce and weight with the product being lighter than normal.  For example, a bin of lettuce in early August weight about 1,000 pounds to only about 700 pounds in mid August, a problem that still exists in late August.  The shortage of head lettuce has helped improve demand for romaine lettuce since the E. coli problem has faded.

Salinas is shipping nearly 1,150 truck loads of head lettuce weekly, while around 850 truck loads of romaine are being shipped a week.

Salinas Valley vegetables – grossing about $8500 to New York City.