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Shipping Updates: San Joaquin Valley Grapes; Plus Cherries from Montana and Washington

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IMG_5948+1Here’s a triple threat for hauling opportunities out of the Western U.S.  July means shipments of Montana cherries and San Joaquin Valley grapes, while Washington cherries are rapidly building in volume.

Although Central San Joaquin Valley grape shipments, similar to other California crops, will be a little later starting this season than last, grape haulers probably won’t notice the difference.

California grape shipments are initially estimated to total 112.1 million, 19-pound box equivalents.  Last year’s volume was 109 million boxes.  An official estimate is due in late July.

Many shippers will get underway with light volume loadings the first week of July in the Central San Joaquin Valley.  Meanwhile, some Coachella Valley shippers will still will be shipping fruit  into July, while others have finished the season during the last half of June.

Additionally, Mexican spring grape shipments are just wrapping up.

Montana Cherry Shipments

Glacier Fresh, cherry grower in the Flathead Lake region of western Montana was founded in 2001 and has traditionally grown high-quality fruit for the export market.  However, this season it will also be providing fruit for markets in the U.S. by working with Giumarra Cos, based in Los Angeles.

Glacier Fresh cherry shipments will get underway in late July with Rainiers and dark red varieties.  The Montana fruit operation works with Montana growers to pack and ship more than 1 million pounds of fruit, accounting for over 25 percent of the state’s annual cherry shipments.

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by FirstFruits Marketing of Washington

YAKIMA, Wash. – FirstFruits Marketing of Yakima, WA announces that the 2017 Washington cherry shipments are well under way with exceptional quality and great color available now.

FirstFruits is currently shipping dark sweet cherries and Rainier cherries were in limited quantities starting June 16, with full volume by June 22.  Both dark sweet and Rainier cherries are available in conventional and organic varieties.

“The cherry crop looks excellent this season in terms of quality,” said Chuck Zeutenhorst, general manager of FirstFruits. “The color is just outstanding and we’re looking forward to working with our retail partners to present their customers with a great cherry program this season.”

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NatureFresh Farms Builds New Distribution Center, Expands Organic Offering

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GreenhouseLeamington, ON  – Increased demand for premium greenhouse grown products across the NatureFresh™ Farms product line has prompted one of Canada’s largest independent growers to break ground on a new 106,000 sq.ft Distribution Center in Leamington, ON. Construction is to be completed by mid-summer.

“The continued expansion of our operations & launch of new products is a direct result of the growth of the NatureFresh™ Farms brand”, said Peter Quiring, President. “Over the last few years, we have increased our production capacity to meet the demands of our retail partners. Our commitment to quality, regardless of season, is enabling NatureFresh™ Farms to be an integrated supplier 12 months a year. Expanding our production capabilities in Leamington shows our commitment to growing our business in Canada”, commented Quiring. Family owned & operated, NatureFresh™ employs more than 500 people across all of its greenhouses & distribution centers in both Canada & USA.

The state of the art distribution center will enable NatureFresh™ to increase production and specialty packaging on site. The addition of the new facility will compliment the existing 5 distribution centers that are currently operational across the company’s 130 acres in Leamington, ON. NatureFresh™ also opened a 60,000 sq.ft facility in Toledo, OH in Fall 2016 to service the new 45 acres of greenhouse tomato production in Delta, OH.  Due to the success of its Ohio tomato program, the company has already outgrown the Toledo facility 6 months after opening the doors and will be expanding in the months to come.

After doubling its Organic Bell Pepper acreage in 2016, NatureFresh™ recently launched their new USDA Certified Organic TOV’s and Organic Red Grape Tomatoes.

“The increasing demand for organics prompted our team to bring two new items to market this year, both are being grown in Leamington, ON”, said Ray Wowryk, Director of Business Development. The Organic TOV’s are available in bulk format whereas the Organic Red Grape Tomatoes are available in Dry Pint formats.

Lastly, the company also unveiled its new Canadian grown TOMZ™ Snacking Tomatoes in March that are being packed in new top seal formats. NatureFresh™ grows its proprietary TOMZ™ brand snacking tomatoes in Delta, OH (winter production) and Leamington, ON (summer production).

About NatureFresh Farms

NatureFresh Farms™ has grown to become one of the largest independent, vertically integrated greenhouse vegetable growers in North America  with growing operations in Leamington, ON and Delta, OH.

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Port of Philadelphia Buys Former Site of Philadelphia Produce Market

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phillymktphotoPhilaPort announced the acquisition of a 29-acre parcel of land, locally known as the former Philadelphia Produce & Seafood Terminal, located at Third Street and Pattison Avenue. With this purchase PhilaPort now owns 1,016 acres of land.

This purchase from Philadelphia’s public-private economic development corporation, PIDC, will allow PhilaPort to develop warehousing to support the growth in container operations at Packer Avenue Marine Terminal.

“As we densify and increase container capacity at PAMT, we needed more land to grow,” Jeff Theobald, chief executive officer of PhilaPort, said in a press release. “This land, located less than a half mile from [Packer Avenue Marine Terminal], allows us to enact a major component in our plan.  It enables us to relocate warehousing adjacent to our main container operations.”

PhilaPort has enacted an aggressive timetable to grow Port cargo volumes. This new land will play a critical role and directly augment the $300 million port development plan set by Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, the board and the CEO of PhilaPort.

“We are excited to support the continued expansion of PhilaPort with the sale of this strategic parcel,” John Grady, president of PIDC, added in the press release. “For more than 60 years, this site has played an important role in the movement of goods and services throughout the region, supporting business growth and thousands of family-sustaining jobs. With its strategic location, growing port, deep pool of skilled labor, and direct access to a large customer base in the northeast United States, Philadelphia is poised for even greater investment, development and job growth as a center for logistics, transportation, and distribution.”

The port is an economic engine in southeastern Pennsylvania; this purchase exemplifies the important role public and private warehousing plays in the Port achieving its full potential.

“The cooperation between the port, the city of Philadelphia and PIDC has been outstanding,” Deputy Mayor Richard Lazer said in the press release. “Mayor Kenney has placed a high priority on moving the port forward. In the weeks and months ahead, the city of Philadelphia will continue to move in lockstep with Governor Wolf’s goal of generating family sustaining jobs.”

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NW Pear Shipments in Early August; New Zealand Apples Arriving at American Ports

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IMG_5934+1Washington and Oregon pear shipments will be down only slightly when the new season arrives….Meanwhile Imported New Zealand apples are arriving at American ports.

2017 pear shipments from Washington and Oregon should total 17.6 million boxes, 2 percent less than in 2016  and 10 percent less than the five-year average, according to the first industry estimate for the season.

 The forecast was compiled at the June 1 annual Pear Bureau Northwest meeting.
“Growers are reporting an excellent quality of pear crop on the trees, albeit a bit shorter crop than last season,” Kevin Moffitt, president and CEO of Pear Bureau Northwest, said in a news release. “At nearly 18 million boxes, we expect a high-quality crop in promotable numbers.”
 Starkrimson pears are expected in early August with bartlett harvest expected in late August.  Meanwhile, anjou, bosc and comice will be harvested from September through early October.
Concorde, forelle, and seckel will be picked in September and October.
By variety, the industry estimates are:
  • 8.9 million boxes of green anjous, about 51 percent of total Northwest fresh pear crop and up 7 percent from 2016;
  • 4.4 million boxes of bartletts (25 percent of the total crop), down 4 percent from 2016 and 2 percent off the five-year average;
  • 2.2 million boxes of boscs (13 percent of the total crop).
  • 1.1 million boxes of red anjous (6 percent of the crop), 10 percent higher than 2016.
The organic pear estimate for 2017 is pegged at 1.12 million standard boxes, which is 6.4 percent of the total Northwest crop. That’s 5.5 percent lower than a year ago but 10.5 percent above the five-year average.
The organic green anjou crop is estimated at 470,000 boxes, with organic bartletts at 377,800 boxes and organic bosc at 123,200 boxes.
Yakima Valley apples and pears – grossing about $5000 to Philly.
New Zealand Apple Imports
New Zealand’s apple season is well underway, and high-quality fruit is arriving at U.S. ports.  The 22 million carton crop is now estimated at 19.5 million. Some of the major importers in North American are Oppenheimer, Vancouver, BC; and Giumarra Fruit Co. Inc., Los Angeles.

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Ohio Vegetable Shipments Could be Heavier than Ususal Later in Season

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RadishDespite a crazy growing season due to weather factors, Ohio vegetable shipments started a few weeks ago.  If anything, some replantings of crops could mean heavier than normal loadings later in the season.

Green bean shipments will start anytime now.  Sweet corn  loading get underway in mid-July and like green beans, will run into October.  Cabbage kicked off about a week ago and will run into November.  Potato diggings will start in August and ship from storage into March.

A number of items got underway between mid-May and mid-June, so you can expect good volumes of radishes, cilantro, variety lettuce, collard, turnip, mustard, kale, green onions and parsley continuing through September.

Coming on soon in July will be beets, zucchini, yellow squash and cucumbers, lasting through September.  August will bring peak volumes of sweet corn, peppers, celery, carrots and fall squash.  Also, shipments have started with leafy vegetables, root crops and summer squashes tomatoes and eggplant, following in late July.  All of these items should be available into mid-October.

Harvest of soft squash begins  in late June, and bell and hot peppers, eggplant and cucumbers will follow in early July, with hard squash in late August. Hard squash and pumpkin shipments, as well as gourds wrap up Ohio fresh vegetable shipments starting in late August.

Some of the major Ohio vegetable shippers include  Buurma Farms, Inc.; Wiers Farms Inc.; and Holthouse Farms, all based at Willard, OH.  There also is Onion Boy, Shelby, OH (onions that start in late July}, as well as Doug Walcher Farms of Northfield and Micheal Farms of Urbana.

The leading agricultural products in Ohio are soybeans, grain, corn, and greenhouse and nursery, which account for over one-half of Ohio’s total agricultural production. Wheat and hay are also important.  But vegetables also play an important role with shipments covering nearly half of the United States and parts of Canada.

 

 

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Black Gold Farms’ Fresh Red Potato Shipments Coming Out of Missouri

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Keith Groven, Black Gold+1By Black Gold Farms

Grand Forks, ND – Black Gold Farms will soon be harvesting fresh red potatoes in the boot heel of Missouri. With ideal planting and growing conditions and plenty of moisture, this year’s crop looks to be one of the best yet.

“We’ve been growing red potatoes on the boarder of Missouri and Arkansas for about 10 years, and every year we get a little better. This year is no different.” commented John Halverson, COO of Black Gold Farms. “We’ve been able to learn a lot about growing potatoes in the summertime heat from over 30 years of chip potato experience in warmer climates. We’re able to transfer those leanings to the fresh market. While there are many differences, the principles are the same: use the right variety, get the timing correct, push them through the wash line and into the cooler as quickly as possible, and then, ship to our customers while they are still at their freshest” Halverson concluded.

Keith Groven, Fresh Sales Manager of Black Gold Farms states, “Our customers really find value pulling fresh reds out of Arbyrd, MO as the quality is consistent, and we are geographically central to many of the major cities which provides locally grown opportunities. Customers recognize that Black Gold Farms is the red potato expert, especially this time of year, in this geography.”

Keith Groven                                 Black Gold Farms will be harvesting, packing and shipping their own crop of red potatoes out of their Arbyrd, MO farm and packing facility until the middle of July.  After that, the Black Gold Farms Indiana crop will be ready. This allows for Black Gold Farms-grown product to be supplied to customers year-round.

“Each of our farms has their own unique characteristics, but what’s really valuable is that our customers know that the red potatoes they’re getting and the service they’ve come to expect is all Black Gold Farms” remarked Groven.

Black Gold Farms is offering up redventurous recipes like Red Potato and Chorizo Paella, as well as digital/social promotions geared towards bringing awareness to the adventurous side of red potatoes.

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Western States Cherry Shipments; Eastern Shore is Moving Vegetables

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DSCN9486Some Western cherry shipments are finished, but the Northwest cherry crop is coming on….Meanwhile, the Eastern Shore of  Maryland, Virginia and Delaware is underway with vegetables.

California cherry shipments are ending up at nearly 9 million, 18-pound boxes, which would exceed the 8.7 million-box-record loadings in 2008.  It may very well be California’s best and largest sweet cherry season ever as Washington state’s harvest gets underway.  Hollister, CA finished about a week ago.

Last year California finished with 5.1 million boxes after losing about 3 million boxes to rain.

California’s cherry industry has had many disappointments in recent years due to rain or heat.  Inadequate winter chill led to poor fruit set in 2014 and a crop of just 2.7 million boxes.  And 2005 and 2006 were at 3 million boxes or less.

California shipments averaged 250,000 boxes per day between May 5 and June 4, with a peak of 377,000 boxes on May 23.

About 70 percent of California’s crop was shipped to all regions of the U.S. and 9.4 percent to Canada, 9 percent to South Korea and the balance to Japan, China, Hong Kong and a few others.

Pacific Northwest Cherry Shipments

Pacific Northwest cherry shipments are forecast at 22.7 million boxes with Washington cherry shipments accounting 81 percent of  it.   The Northwest counts by 22-pound boxes and California by 18-pound boxes.

The Washington harvest began with the Chelan variety at Doebler Orchard near Mattawa on June 6.

It was a limited run for the first cherries, but packing cranked up about June 15 as more orchards started picking.

Yakima Valley apple and pear shipments – grossing about $4500 to Dallas.

Eastern Shore Vegetable Shipments

All packing sheds on the Eastern Shore were running as of yesterday.

Fresh potato shipments are particularly good for Canada this season with reds, russets and yellows being shipped from areas of the Eastern Shore.  However, the majority of potatoes are shipped throughout the Northeast when those areas are not producing.

The largest russet grower on the Eastern Shore is Yaros Farms in Lower Northampton County.  Dublin Farms in Horntown is one of Virginia’s biggest potato  operations.  It ships 12 to 15 loads daily from late June through mid-August.

When the southern states stop shipping, loadings are redirected there. Depending on the volume from Canadian potatoes from year to year, the Eastern Shore also distributes into in Canada.

There typically is between 3,000 and 4,000 acres of potatoes grown on the Eastern Shore.

C&E Farms in Cheriton, VA, is one of the largest green bean operations in the nation.  C&E Farms also ships green beans from North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Florida. The company has packing facilities in Cheriton and in Parrish, FL.

Virginia’s three major tomato operations, Lipman Family Farms, Pacific Tomato Growers and Del Monte, will be shipping about equal volumes of round, roma, grape, cherry and heirloom tomatoes from late June through September.

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Mastronardi Aquires Backyard Farms; Volume Grows from Port of Oakland

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DSCN2858+1Canadian greenhouse growing operation Mastronardi Produce and purchased another greenhouse growing facility in the state of Maine.

Family owned and operated fourth generation business Mastronardi Produce of Kingsville, ON has acquired New England year-round greenhouse tomato grower Backyard Farms of Madison, ME.  Mastronardi The leading grower and shipper of specialty and commodity greenhouse produce in North America,  Backyard was launched 10 years ago and ships primarily throughout the Northeastern United States.

Together, Mastronardi Produce and Backyard Farms will grow and ship non-GMO verified tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers to the top food retailers in North America.  Backyard Farms operates two greenhouses totaling 42-acres

About Mastronardi Produce

Ours span over 60 years to the pioneering of the North American greenhouse industry. Before Grandpa Umberto Mastronardi came along, there were no commercial greenhouses in North America. His vision was to provide consumers with fresh greenhouse grown vegetables all year long. After four generations, the Mastronardi family still owns and manages what is now the leading greenhouse vegetable company on the continent, growing and selling world-class tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers.

Port of Oakland Cargo Handling Update

California’s Port of Oakland saw import cargo increase 19 percent in March compared with a year ago.
Total loaded container volume for both imports and exports, were up 9.3 percent. The increase contrasted with a 9.2 percent decline in February, according to a news release.
“This is a nice rebound,” maritime director John Driscoll, said in the release. “We’re watching now to find out if it signals stronger trade growth for the rest of the year.”
Port figures indicated 402 ships called in Oakland during the first three months of 2017, down about 5.6 percent from a year ago.  At the same time, those ships carried an average of 8.4 percent more containers in and out of Oakland.  The conflicting trends point to greater volume on fewer ships, according to the release.
That trend will result in several positive trends, according to the release, including reduced vessel operating expenses for shipping lines, less demand for berthing space at marine terminals and a reduction in diesel emissions at port because of fewer vessel calls.

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CA Valencia Shipments Have Started; P.E.I Potato Shipping Update

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DSCN9477Summer valencia and other California citrus shipments are underway….Meanwhile, there is less acreage and growers of potatoes in Canada, but volume is maintained.

Navel orange shipments from California are finishing early as valencia orange loadings  as will as lemons and other citrus are gearing up.

California primarily ships valencia oranges during the summer months with this season’s crop being moderate size, coming off of about 70,000 acres.

California navel orange shipments will end this month instead of their normal conclusion around the Fourth of July.  In fact, navel loadings destined for the East Coast concluded with the beginning of June.  California growers shipped 82 million cartons of navels this season, as compared to 94 million cartons in 2016.

Valencias are often referred to as the ‘summer orange’ since peak supplies are available June through September.  Higher than usual valencia shipments are seen since navels are ending early.

Fewer California lemon shipments are seen this season.  However, more imported lemons are seen coming from Chile, Argentina and South Africa for deliveries throughout North America.

Canadian Potato Shipments

Prince Edward Island continues to reduce its potato acreage, but remains the largest shipper of spuds in the country, according to Statistics Canada’s census of agriculture.

Island farmers planted 83,326 acres in 2016, down from 386,561 acres in 2011, but that was still close to a quarter of all the potato land in Canada. That number has dropped off in recent decades. Until 2005, the province was planting more than 98,842 acres a year.

The second biggest grower was Manitoba, at 67,672 acres.

While the number of acres grown was down just 3.7 per cent, the number of farms reporting was down significantly. In 2011, 300 farms reported potato fields and in 2016 that was down to 247.

That means the average potato farm is getting a lot bigger.  In 2011 the average P.E.I. potato farmer put in 289 acres. In 2016 that was up to 338 acres.

Canadian Fruit Shipments

While shipments are not anything near Canadian potatoe  shipments, fruit shipments are becoming a larger part of Island agriculture, with blueberry shipments leading the pack.

Acreage of fruit, berries and nuts were up 12 per cent between the two censuses, amounting to 14,388 acres.  The huge majority of that, 96.5 per cent of it, was blueberries.

Apples also saw a significant increase, from 126 to 153 acres.

Overall, the number of farms on the Island fell 9.5 per cent, to 1,353.

 

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Fewer Granny Smiths Remain in Storage, but Overall More Apples to be Shipped

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DSCN9474June 1st the amount of fresh granny smiths remaining in storage stood at 2.12 million cartons, down a whopping  54 percent from the same time last year and 45 percent from two years ago.  Meanwhile, other U.S. fresh market apples being held in storage on June 1st were up 12 percent over year-ago levels and 5 percent greater than the five-year average, according to the last monthly report from the U.S. Apple Association this season.

The granny smith volume in the U.S. was short from the start of the crop year, but the gap compared with last year was not as far.  The first storage report of the season from U.S. Apple, issued on November 1st, showed there were 13.78 million cartons of granny smiths to be hauled, off 12 percent from the 2015 November 1 figure.

The apple industry had shipped about 85 percent of the granny crop by early June, compared with 73 percent shipped at the same time last year.

New crop granny smith is expected to get underway around October 1st.

California granny smith loadings will begin by mid- to late August.  In the 2015-16 season, California shipped about 443,000 cartons of granny smith apple, about 25 pecent of the state’s total fresh apple shipments.

Chilean packers are pretty much finishing up granny smith apples now, with sporadic controlled atmosphere rooms expected to open as late as July or early August. Some Chilean granny smith shipments have experienced bruising and bitter pit issues this year.

Yakima Valley, WA apple and pear shipments – grossing about $4200 to Chicago.

More Overall Apples in Storage

Total fresh U.S. apples remaining in storage as of June 1st was 25.4 million cartons, 12 percent above the same time a year ago but 15 percent lower than two years ago.  The U.S. Apple Association plans to release the 2017-18 crop estimate August 25th, and the first storage report for that crop will be issued in early November.
Washington state apples accounted for 24.03 million cartons (95 percent) of total U.S. fresh apple holdings on June 1st.

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