Author Archive

Hispanic Conumers Lead in Avocado Consumption

By |

avocadoGirlIt’s no surprise Hispanics are avocado buyers, but a recent Hass Avocado Board study shows that even as consumption of the fruit has risen in many demographic groups, Hispanic consumers continue to outpace others in many areas.

The study, Hispanic Avocado Shopper Trends,  and a companion document giving retailers ideas on how to capitalize on the findings, Hispanic Avocado Shoppers Trends Action Guide, is based on retail data from the IRI Consumer Network, according to a news release.

Hispanic household purchase trends of avocados outpace non-Hispanic households in these areas:

  • The percentage of total U.S. households that buy avocados
  • The average avocado spend per household; and
  • The percentage of households that buy avocados at the “super” level ($25.36 and more a year)

“Hass avocados are continuing to gain widespread popularity,” Emiliano Escobedo, executive director of the Hass Avocado Board, said in the release. “And this study shows that Hispanic households are particularly involved in the avocado category and play an important role in its growth.”

In 2017, Hispanic household avocado purchases averaged $33, 45 percent more than the $22.69 spent by non-Hispanic households, according to the release, and average per-trip purchases were $4.46, compared to $3.83 for non-Hispanic households.

The Hispanic “super households” (the HAB breaks down purchase levels into super, heavy, medium and light) are the main reason for the gap between their purchases and non-Hispanic households, with 36 percent of them in the super category, versus 24 percent of non-Hispanic households meeting that level.

Hass Avocado Board is the essential online resource for the Hass Avocado industry providing timely relevant data and research for the domestic producers and importers it represents.

Read more »

Heat Hits California Avocados; Chilean Mandarin Volume Continues Impressive Growth

By |

DSCN0872California avocados are dropping from the trees because of triple digit temperatures that have been common since early July….Meanwhile, imported Chilean mandarin volume has have increased nearly five-fold during the past six years.

Some temperatures have hit 115 degrees F.  For example, Del Rey Avocado Co. Inc. of Fallbrook, CA reports avocado groves in San Diego County’s Pauma Valley and Temecula have suffered from the heat. As a result, fruit drop resulting from the heat is expected to cut avocado shipments and possibly increase the price of California avocados in late summer marketed in August, particularly after Labor Day.

The 2019 avocado season could also suffer from this year’s weather, particularly with potential tree damage.

In the southern growing regions of San Diego and Riverside counties, the harvest was about 85 percent finished when the early July heat hit groves.  To date, California growers have harvested about 300 million pounds of fruit.  Most of the remaining crop is in cooler areas, north and toward the coast.

California’s avocado shipments this season was originally estimated to be 350 million pounds, but some observers have lowered their estimate to 320 million or less.

Shipments of about 13 million pounds per week in early July faded to 10 million pounds by mid-July.  California avocado shipments are now dropping sharply.

Imports of Peruvian avocados began arriving in peak volumes in early August and supplies from Mexico are also available.

Chilean Mandarins

The first shipments of Chilean mandarins arrived by boat at U.S. ports in late July with 64 tons on the East Coast and 21 tons for Canada.

Although this season got off to a slower start than last year, Chile expects to ship a record 101,000 tons of mandarins to North America this year, a 32 percent over last year.  In 2012 Chile exported 22,000 tons of mandarins.   Today, the Chilean mandarin industry has become the main supplier of easy peelers to North America.

Read more »

Citrus Shipment Estimates for California and Texas are Reduced; California Garlic Update

By |

A355California and Texas orange shipping estimates have been lowered by the USDA….Meanwhile California garlic loadings are off to a good start.

The California shipments are pegged at 44 million boxes, down 1 percent from the USDA’s June projection.  Texas orange shipments of 1.88 million boxes, are down 11 percent from June.

The California valencias shipping forecast has been lowered 5 percent to 9 million boxes, on par with last season.

The forecast for California navel shipments remain steady at 35 million boxes, which is down 11 percent from the 2016-17 season.

While USDA lowered its estimate for Texas orange shipments, 1.88 million boxes still represents a 37 percent gain from last season.

The Florida orange shipping forecast of 44.95 million boxes was unchanged from the previous month, as June was the final update of the year.

In September, Hurricane Irma devastated citrus groves throughout the state.  In the 2016-17 season, Florida shipped 68.85 million boxes of oranges.

The estimate for early, midseason and navel varieties was 18.95 million boxes, down 43 percent from the 2016-17 season.

The Florida valencia shipping forecast was 26 million boxes, down 27 percent from 2016-17.


USDA estimates 2017-18 grapefruit shipments at 12.86 million boxes, down 7 percent from last month and down 26 percent from 2016-17.

Texas shipments are projected at 4.8 million boxes, 16 percent lower than the June estimate, but on par with last season.

Estimates for Florida and California were 3.88 million boxes and 4 million boxes, respectively. The projections have not changed since June, but the numbers represent a 9 percent drop from 2016-17 for California and a 50 percent drop for Florida.

Other Citrus

California is expected to ship 20 million boxes of mandarins and tangerines, down 5 percent from the June estimate and down 16 percent from the 2016-17 season.

The volume forecast for Florida is unchanged from last month — at 750,000 boxes — but down 54 percent from last year.

USDA estimates total lemon shipments at 21.8 million boxes, the same as June but down 2 percent from 2017-18.

Garlic Shipments

The domestic garlic crop has gotten off to a good start, and expectations are high for the 2018 season.  Christopher Rancy of Gilroy, CA expects to ship over 100 million pounds of garlic this season.  I it the largest crop the shipper has had in decades.

Read more »

Produce Shippers are Concerned over Rising Truck Rates

By |

A346Historically, the produce industry gives truck transportation and trucking rates little thought, unless they are having a problem getting their product loaded, or rates are on the rise.  Well, both are happening.

For example, several Northwest potato shippers have recently expressed concerns over what it cost to ship their potatoes.  They say the situation has become enough of a concern in various parts of the country that more regional potato crops are being plants. Being closer to major markets means less transportation costs.

Valley Pride Sales LLC of Burlington, WA recently complained about short truck supplies and is concerned the situation will not be improving anytime soon.  They also hear about a shortage of drivers.  The company has seen freight rates to East Coast for russet potatoes costing $9 per 50-pound carton.  This is seen as given potato shippers on the East Coast an advantage in the marketplace since they pay less for trucks.

New York Trucking Concerns

As with most companies in the produce industry, New York produce operations have seen escalating truck rates since 2017.  However, shippers there are complaining less than shippers elsewhere.  This is due to their location of being much closer to major Eastern metropolitan regions than Western and Midwest produce shipper.

For example, Torrey Farms Inc., of Elba, N.Y. observes the proximity to Eastern markets  places their operation with many within five to six hours drive time.  The company believes transportation will be a battle all summer long N.Y.  While Torrey Farms typically has adequate trucks during June and July, by the start of July truck supplies already were tight this year.

New regulations that implemented electronic logging device mandates has made it harder for truckers reports Paul Marshall Produce Inc. of Batavia, N.Y.  The trucking company notes two years ago the trucking lane from Elba to Chicago was pretty steady at  $1,000 per load.  In the summer of 2017, those rates escalated to $1,600.

At Turek Farms of King Ferry, N.Y.,  truck rates during the July Fourth holiday period were up 20 to 25 percent compared with a year ago.  The company notes the new electronic logging device mandate rules mean adding another day to any trucking route more than 500 or 600 miles.


Read more »

Chilean Clementine Imports are Rising; Tamarind Imports are Also Increasing

By |


Significant increases in clementines from Chile are being reported….Meanwhile, tamarind imports also are on the rise.

Through the middle of July Chile had exported nearly 50,000 metric tons of clementines to the U.S., representing a 42.9 percent increase over the previous year.  Of that volume, 57 percent was shipped to the East Coast.

During the same period, South Africa loaded 6,000 metric tons of easy peelers, all sent to the East Coast.  By comparison, Peru has exported over 16,000 metric tons of soft citrus to the East Coast, marking a 48 pecent increase over the previous season.

Peru has also exported nearly 2,000 metric tons of easy peelers to the West Coast – a 17 percent rise.

Heavy Chilean clementine arrivals on the East Coast in late June and early July complemented 2,000 metric tons of fruit from South African and 2,600 metric tons from Peru.

Tamarind (in photo)

Tamarin is popular in Latin and Asian cooking, the ingredient has drawn broader interest lately.  Tart tamarind also is an everyday item in Hispanic market areas.

Both ‘agua fresca’ and ‘tamarind’ have been trending up steadily in Google trends, especially during the summer months.  This is in line with what is being seen with consumer trends on Indian flavors and fruit-infused or flavored water.

Frieda’s markets the fruit in a clamshell that informs consumers how to use it. The fruit has been included in sauces, glazes and cocktails.

Latin American candies, popsicles and the beverage agua de tamarindo also is used with the fruit.  Retailers sometimes merchandise tamarind with items like ginger and turmeric or with tropical fruit.

Read more »

Oregon Potato Shipments Have Started; Jersey Tomatoes are in Peak Volume

By |

DSCN0851Very light loadings of Oregon potato shipments have started….Meanwhile, New Jersey tomato shipments are in peak volume.

The early season potato harvest in Oregon is underway pretty much on schedule from normal past years.

Harvest of Oregon potatoes will continue until November.  Plantings in the Klamath region was completed in early June, and that those potatoes are in their early stages.

About 13 percent of Oregon potato shipments are with table stock (fresh market), which is mostly russets with some reds and yellows, 7 percent chip potatoes, and the rest being processed russets or other varieties of the russet type.

Government figures show that in the region which includes Oregon, Washington and Idaho, about 65 percent of potatoes grown in those three states are exported internationally, and should once again include South Korea.

New Jersey Tomatoes

In 2017  New Jersey tomatoes were the third ranking crop in the Garden State, coming off of 4,000 acres, with shipments totaling 112 million pounds.  New Jersey annually ranks in the top 10 in the U.S. in shipments of tomatoes.

Tomato loadings are at a peak now and that peak will continue for another week or so.  However, the season will continue through October.

Growtopia of Swedesboro, NJ, was formerly known as Sorbello Farms.  It is a third-generation family-owned farm that has 900 acres, with nearly 200 acres of Jersey Fresh vegetables and features its own packing facility.  Growtopia/Sorbello Farms also grows asparagus, zucchini squash, cucumbers and Bell peppers throughout the year.  The company ships Jersey Fresh vegetables across the United States and Canada.

Growtopia Farms is located off exit #10 on route 295 or exit #2 on the NJ Turnpike.

In 2018 the company was first farm in New Jersey to implement precision spraying through unmanned drones rather than a traditional ground sprayer.  This produces a much smaller carbon footprint, a 75  percent  reduction in pesticides, and thermal imaging to aid in its scouting program.

Read more »

Suggested Yard Sign: I’m Running for this Office to Get Away from My Wife

By |

IMG_6364By Larry Oscar

With the increased amount of political activity our roads have been littered with all shapes and sizes of “Vote for Me ” yard signs. I counted 23 yard signs at one intersection alone.

What is note worthy is how they seem to magically appear overnight. They are kind of like the toad stools that appears after a recent rain. I’ll be glad when this is all over and the attack of these pests recedes into the sunset. What is interesting is how the candidates try to “Out-sign” their opponent. You can find four or five of the same sign within five feet of each other. I got news for you. If they spend that much money wastefully by placing four or five of the same sign in one spot, just think how they will spend your tax dollars.

We should vote for the candidate that didn’t litter the road with their signs. What would even be better would be for the bozo politician running for office to fix a pothole in the road with his sign money. He could spray paint over the fixed pothole and say “Vote for me, because I fixed this pothole.” That way we could kill two birds with one stone. And for sure we would vote for any bozo politician who fixes potholes rather than litters our roads.

Stealing political yard signs is illegal, but do we really want our police force spending time guarding these stupid signs. We should charge the politicians a fee for guarding their signs. Maybe they would plant fewer signs if they had to pay a sign security fee. What amazes me is what you don’t see. There was not one single negative yard sign. It seems to me that with all the negative radio and TV adds that there ought to be at least one negative yard sign.

How about a sign that reads “Don’t vote for Fisher cause he sucks eggs!” Now that would lighten up your day when driving to and from work wouldn’t it? “Did you know Bob Smith, who is running for Governor, is sleeping with your wife?” Or maybe “County Commissioner Sam Wilson has jock itch!”  I think there is a real opportunity here to throw dirt on your opponent that they are flat out missing. The cost of  these signs is about $2 – $4 each, so the total cost can’t be cheap when you add up how many there are.

This may explain the ever stretched out hands of the politicians looking for campaign contributions. What any smart candidate should do is ask for a donation with a promise not to use it for yard signs. How about handing out political cigars. Now that is something I could support. Yard signs are really not very effective. According to one study between 1984 and 2012 the use of political yard signs quadrupled. Yet they are only about 1.7 percent effective and have about the same effect as direct mail. That makes them 98.3 percent ineffective, for those politicians who can’t do simple math. And I’m sure a lot of them can’t.

Recently I asked one candidate why anyone would want to run for one of these worthless positions. The answer I got back was “maybe for prestige.”  Can you imagine what a miserable life some people must have if that’s the main reason they are running for office? I never stopped to think about it, but I do seem to remember how our state legislators run around calling each other “senator” like it was some big shot title. Ego has no bounds. Then there are the politicians that thinks they can “make a difference.” How naive. History is full of these misguided souls.

Somehow these types all seem to end up with a bitter and cynical outlook on life. Societies all repeat history because they never can learn from it. One thing I have observed is that when the cycle of change occurs over several generations the younger generation tends to repeat the sins of their fathers almost without exception. Maybe that is because they never experienced the problems and failures of the past. And after all, they think that they can deal with it because they are more “enlightened” than their parents and grandparents were.

As the world enters a period of over population, and with the problems that will bring, we must all do a reality check. The truth is that some problems have no good solution. We must just learn to deal with them. This may be hard for some to accept, but it does not make it any more untrue. Facts are facts and our ability to deal with most of our problems in society is limited at best. This has been proven time and time again. The same will be for yard signs I guess.

As the years go buy I’m sure they will only proliferate. Although I do hope they gravitate toward some good old negative humor and mud slinging. Or maybe an honest campaign sign that reads “Vote for me because I’m running for this office to get away from my wife.”  It helps if we all keep our sense of humor you know.

(Larry Oscar is a graduate from the University of Tulsa and holds a degree in electrical engineering. He is retired and lives with his wife on a lake in Oklahoma where he brews his own beer, sails, and is a member of numerous clubs and organizations.)


Read more »

New York Vegetable Shipments are on Normal Schedule

By |

A39New York vegetable shipments were hindered by too much rain a year ago, but in 2018 farmers were wishing they had more rainfall.  Still, crops seem to be in pretty good shape and normal shipments are taking place.

For example William Farms LLC of Marion, NY is reporting loadings occurring on a normal schedule thus far this season. In similar fashion, Turek Farms of King Ferry is reporting vegetables maturing on time, but could use some moisture.

Onion shipments for Raymond Myruski LLC of Goshen, NY should get underway the first half of August.

A look at USDA shipment figures for New York fruit and vegetable shipments showed mixed trends.

  • Apple shipments, the top volume commodity in New York, were down 11 percent from 2016.
  • Onions, the second-ranked fresh commodity by volume, saw shipments increase 18 percent in 2017 compared with the previous season.
  • Sweet corn, ranked third in volume during 2017, recorded fresh shipments in 2017 that were up 30 percent from 2016.
  • Cucumber shipments in 2017 were up 5 percent from the previous year, and fresh bean shipments were up 1 percent, according to the USDA.
  • Cabbage shipments were off 3 pecent, and potato shipments were nearly unchanged from a year ago.

Green bean loadings started in early July for Torrey Farms Inc. of Elba, N.Y.,  while cabbage and squash have just started.   Supply should be steady, and quality looks good.

At Eden Valley Growers of Eden, NY vegetable crops are coming on at about the same time as in 2017.  The company started shipping lettuces, broccoli and cucumbers abut a month ago, which were followed by bell peppers and hot specialty pepper. Sweet corn loadings got underway the third week of July.

The company also ships squash and cucumbers.  Eden Valley plans to ship through October, with hard squashes and pumpkins coming on in the fall.  A majority of the New York vegetable shipments to markets in the Northeast which has 50 million consumers, but some product is destined to markets up and down the East Coast.





Read more »

Washington, Oregon Potato Shipments are Light, but Increasing

By |

DSCN0828Fresh potato shipments got underway from Washington’s Columbia Basin and Oregon’s Umatilla Basin in late July with yellow and red potatoes, then with russet norkotahs.

Washington state potato acreage has been stable in recent years at about 170,000 acres, and it is expected to remain similar this year.

About 90 percent of Washington potato volume goes to processors for frozen potatoes.  Much of this processing is attributed to access to deepwater ports in Seattle-Tacoma for export to Far East markets.

Strong global demand for frozen potatoes, growing at 6 to 8  percent a year could lead to an even higher percentage of spuds going to the processors in the future.

Only about 2 percent of Washington production is with organic potatoes, which is split evenly between fresh and processing uses.

Washington fresh potato shipments in 2017 totaled 22.9 million 50-pound cartons, up from 20.1 million cartons in 2016, according to the USDA.

Oregon Potato Shipments

Over the past three season Oregon potato shipments came off of  38,900 acres, where fresh volume accounts for about 12 percent of the production.

Limited water supplies could result in a decline in the Klamath Falls growing region in 2018.   However, acreage could increase in the Blue Mountain-Hermiston area on the Washington border.

Oregon shipped 5.3 million 50-pound cartons in 2017, up from 5.1 million cartons in 2016.  In comparison, the Idaho’s fresh shipments in 2017 were 73.9 million 50-pound cartons, up from 70.4 million cartons in 2016.

Idaho growers harvested 309,000 fall potato acres in 2017, off from 324,000 acres in 2016.

Truck Rates

The Washington/Oregon potato industry at times has expressed concerns over rising truck rates for potatoes pointing out the cost of freight has been equaling the cost of the product being hauled.  For example, a common truck rate has been $9 per 50-pound carton, which is the average price of a box of russets.  This is believed to be possibly opening the door for more regional potato production so receivers can save on freight rates.


Read more »

Steady Progress at Index Fresh Pharr Facility Since Opening

By |

A333By Index Fresh

Riverside, C.A. — Since its opening on January 9, 2018, the Index Fresh facility in Pharr, TX, has seen steady progress and is rounding out support for the company’s operations across the United States. The leading avocado marketer broke ground on this 60,000 sq. ft. ripening, packing and distribution center just over a year ago in June.

“The bagging and repacking in the facility has increased in the last few months,” said Manrique Palacios, Distribution Center Manager of Index Fresh in Pharr.

With its proximity to the Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge, the facility has been a great point of contact for Index Fresh expanding its Mexican program this year, said  Santiago Pacheco, VP of Operations at Index Fresh.

“Mexico is a year-round source and we bring all of our Mexican products through Pharr. It’s an integral part of our operation. We use it for staging, for shipping loads into the Midwest, Northeast, and the West.,” said Dana Thomas, President and CEO of Index Fresh.

Index Fresh is the first occupant in the Pharr Produce Park, a big step for Pharr’s economic development as construction of other facilities continue at the Produce Park.

The Index Fresh facility is equipped with 2600 pallet positions, 10 ripening rooms, and three bagging machines. “We are expecting our second Mexican season and complete our first year of operations. We are performing an analysis to enhance our bagging capacity for the next season and working on business development to expand our ripening volume in Texas and the Midwest,” said Palacios. “We are also open to offering 3PL services that include storage, ripening, bagging, and distribution to potential customers.”


Index Fresh is a worldwide marketer of avocados, sourcing from all major growing regions around the globe, including California, Mexico, Peru, and Chile.  Headquartered in California, the company has facilities spread across Texas, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Ohio, Colorado, and Illinois. Early this year, Index Fresh also started operations at its new packing, bagging, and ripening facility in Pharr, TX.

Read more »