Archive For The “News” Category

Butterfly is Acquiring Bolthouse Farms from Campbell Soup Company for $ 510M

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By Butterfly Equity

LOS ANGELES, CA — Butterfly, a Los Angeles-based private equity firm specializing in the food sector, recently announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Bolthouse Farms from Campbell Soup Company (NYSE:CPB) for $510 million in cash, subject to customary purchase price adjustments.

Founded in 1915 and based in Bakersfield, CA and Santa Monica, CA, Bolthouse Farms is a vertically integrated food and beverage company focused on developing, manufacturing and marketing proprietary, high value-added natural, healthy products. The company has leading market positions in fresh carrots and refrigerated premium beverages in the U.S., along with a strong and growing presence in refrigerated salad dressings. Bolthouse Farms benefits from access to over 65,000 acres of premium growing land, nationwide fresh distribution capabilities, and a state-of-the-art carrot and beverage processing facility. The company has approximately 2,200 employees and operates facilities in Bakersfield, California, Hodgkins, Illinois, Wheatley, Ontario and Prosser, Washington.

Bolthouse Farms is Butterfly’s fourth investment within its “seed to fork” approach to investing in food across agriculture, aquaculture, food and beverage products, food distribution and foodservice. Going forward, Butterfly Operating Partner Jeff Dunn will assume the role of CEO of Bolthouse Farms, where he previously served as President and CEO from 2008 until 2012, when it was acquired by Campbell Soup Company. He continued leading the business for Campbell Soup Company from 2012 until his departure from the company in 2016.

“We are thrilled to partner with a vertically-integrated produce and fresh food leader with a history as rich as Bolthouse Farms, and we believe the company’s future is very bright especially given the continued rise of plant-based food in the diet of today’s consumer,” said Butterfly Co-Founder Adam Waglay.

“We are proud to support Bolthouse Farms in further bolstering its strong positioning within fresh carrots and chilled premium beverages, and are excited to back a group of seasoned operators as passionate about produce as Jeff and his team to lead what is already a strong organization,” said Dustin Beck, Butterfly’s other Co-Founder.

“Bolthouse Farms holds a special place in the produce industry and my team and I are deeply committed to strengthening and broadening Bolthouse Farms’ unique legacy,” said Mr. Dunn. “We can’t wait to get started.”

The closing of the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and customary closing conditions and is expected to occur in summer 2019.

Butterfly was advised by Kirkland & Ellis on legal matters in connection with the transaction. Campbell Soup Company was advised by Centerview Partners, Goldman Sachs and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.

About Butterfly:

Butterfly Equity (“Butterfly”) is a Los Angeles, California based private equity firm specializing in the food sector, spanning the entire food value chain from “seed to fork” via four target verticals: agriculture & aquaculture, food & beverage products, food distribution and foodservice. Butterfly aims to generate attractive investment returns through deep industry specialization, a unique approach to sourcing transactions, and leveraging an operations-focused and technology-driven approach to value creation. For additional information about Butterfly, please visit its website at www.butterflyequity.com.

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Partnership to Fight Food Waste is Announced by Feeding America, Feeding Texas

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By Collaborative for Fresh Producee

DALLAS — Feeding America®, Feeding Texas and the Collaborative for Fresh Produce (Collaborative) have announced an exciting partnership to address hunger and food waste in the Southwest and develop a regional model that can be scaled nationally.

Beginning June 14, 2019, Feeding America, through a grant to Feeding Texas, which launched the Collaborative in 2018, will become the newest investor in the Collaborative for Fresh Produce. Feeding America’s investment will support the Collaborative as it hones a sustainable model to partner with commercial farmers and food banks to efficiently collect and distribute donations of imperfect and surplus produce to hungry families in Texas and across the Southwest region.

“At Feeding America, we are regularly searching for innovative approaches to solve hunger and ensure that more people have access to fresh produce, crucial for a healthy lifestyle,” said Anne Swanson, vice president of fresh produce sourcing at Feeding America. “We believe strongly in the potential of the Collaborative for Fresh Produce and, as a result, are very pleased to provide significant funding and resources to Feeding Texas to support the Collaborative’s great work.”

The Collaborative for Fresh Produce was founded because one in eight Americans struggles with hunger yet an estimated 20 billion pounds of edible fresh produce are wasted each year. To tackle this issue, the Collaborative uses state-of-the-art technology and optimizes supplychain logistics to offer growers, shippers and wholesalers an outlet to address large-scale quantities of surplus produce and to provide a low-cost option to food banks as they source fresh produce for their communities.  The Collaborative funds its operations through the generosity of its donors in addition to a 1 cent per pound processing fee paid by food banks.

In fiscal year 2019, the Collaborative for Fresh Produce anticipates distributing approximately 60 million pounds of fresh produce donated by more than 65 growers and shippers, mainly located in Texas.  This produce will then be accessed by more than 25 food banks in a six-state region: Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas.  These food banks supply thousands of non-profit agencies and pantries serving millions of people struggling with hunger in their communities.

“We’re so pleased that Feeding America has recognized the Collaborative’s pioneering work and wants to take a leadership role in developing a national model for our country’s agricultural community and its nationwide network of food banks,” said Lyda Hill, of Lyda Hill Philanthropies and the founding funder of the Collaborative for Fresh Produce. “Our goal from the outset was to work in tandem with food banks across the nation to create a scalable model, and Feeding America is ideally positioned to do just that.”

To avoid confusion with donors and food banks, the Collaborative for Fresh Produce, in partnership with Feeding America, will now take a supporting rather than a leading role in developing a national model and will continue to operate with a focus on the recovery of Texasgrown produce. Feeding Texas, the statewide network of Feeding America food banks in Texas, will support the Collaborative in developing the model and be its liaison to Feeding America.

“Feeding Texas was very honored to have piloted this program in Texas before spinning it off to become the Collaborative for Fresh Produce,” said Celia Cole, CEO of Feeding Texas. “We are committed to sustaining the long-term health of the organization and are now proud to shepherd it into this growth phase.”

Due to these changes, Simon Powell, president and CEO, and Jim Farley, CFO, of the

Collaborative for Fresh Produce will step down from the day-to-day leadership and operations.  Beginning June 14th, Dale Long, currently the Collaborative’s executive vice president of sourcing will become interim executive director. Rhonda Sanders, CEO of the Arkansas Foodbank and board member of the Collaborative, will lead the transition efforts.

“We are delighted to see this effort gather this critical support from Feeding America,” said Jim

Bildner, CEO of Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation and chairman of the board of the Collaborative.  “In addition, we would like to thank Simon and Jim who have been so instrumental in the formation of the Collaborative during this first year. Their dedication and passion to solve hunger and address food waste is to be applauded and we are extremely grateful for their service.”

To learn more about how to donate fresh produce to the Collaborative, contact Dale Long at dale@cfproduce.org or 469-858-6190, or to make a financial contribution contact Celia Cole at ccole@feedingtexas.org or 512-527-3624.

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About Feeding America

Feeding America® is the largest hunger-relief organization in the United States. Through a network of 200 food banks and 60,000 food pantries and meal programs, Feeding America provides meals to more than 46 million people each year. Feeding America also supports programs that prevent food waste and improve food security among the people we serve; educates the public about the problem of hunger; and advocates for legislation that protects people from going hungry. Individuals, charities, businesses and government all have a role in ending hunger. Donate. Volunteer. Advocate. Educate. Together we can solve hunger. Visit www.feedingamerica.org, find us onFacebookor follow us onTwitter.

About Feeding Texas

Feeding Texas (www.feedingtexas.org) is the statewide network of food banks. Its mission is to lead a unified effort for a hunger-free Texas. Feeding Texas works collaboratively to ensure adequate nutritious food for communities in Texas, improve the health and financial stability of the people served, and engage all stakeholders in advocating for hunger solutions in support of this mission.

About Collaborative for Fresh Produce

Founded in 2018, the Collaborative for Fresh Produce is a non-profit organization that is partnering with commercial farmers and food banks to fight hunger by fighting food waste.  Through the use of state-of-the-art technology and optimized supply-chain logistics, the Collaborative created a sustainable model to efficiently collect and distribute donations of imperfect and surplus produce that can be accessed by our nation’s food banks and the hungry families they serve.  Founding funders include Lyda Hill Philanthropies, Draper Richards Kaplan Foundation and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. For more information, go to www.cfproduce.orgor e-mail FreshProduce@cfproduce.org.

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Gladstone Land Acquires Pistachio Orchard in California

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By Gladstone Land Corporation

MCLEAN, Va. — Gladstone Land Corporation (NASDAQ: LAND) (“Gladstone Land” or the “Company”) announced that it has acquired approximately 930 gross acres of farmland in Chowchilla, California, for approximately $28.6 million. The farm consists of 852 planted acres of pistachio trees in their 11th leaf. In connection with the acquisition, the Company also entered into a 10-year, triple-net lease with The Specialty Crop Company, Inc., reported to be one of the top nut growers in the world and the largest grower of fresh and dried figs in the world.

“We are delighted to add another large pistachio orchard to our growing number of farms,” said Bill Reiman, Managing Director of Gladstone Land. “This acquisition was driven by one of our strong tenant relationships. There are many opportunities for us to grow our farmland assets by teaming up with great producers, and this acquisition is a prime example of that. This orchard is just coming into peak production, and we expect many years of great production.”

“Pistachios are an exciting growth area for us,” said David Gladstone, President and CEO of Gladstone Land. “This orchard is located in an area with attributes conducive for growing pistachios, such as optimal climate conditions and good access to water. Our tenant, The Specialty Crop Company, is an ideal partner for us as we continue to add farmland growing specialty crops to our farmland holdings. And like most of our tenant-farmers, they are growing foods that are considered to be healthy.”

About Gladstone Land Corporation:
Gladstone Land is a publicly-traded real estate investment trust that invests in and owns U.S. farmland and farm-related properties located in certain major agricultural markets across the U.S., which it leases to third-party farmers. The Company reports the current fair value of its farmland on a quarterly basis; as of December 31, 2018, its estimated net asset value was $12.88 per share. Gladstone Land currently owns 87 farms, comprised of 74,828 acres in 10 different states across the U.S., valued at approximately $649 million. Its acreage is predominantly concentrated in locations where its tenants are able to grow fresh produce annual row crops, such as berries and vegetables, which are generally planted and harvested annually; as well as permanent crops, such as almonds, blueberries, and pistachios, which are planted every 10 to 20-plus years and harvested annually. The Company may also acquire property related to farming, such as cooling facilities, processing buildings, packaging facilities, and distribution centers. Gladstone Land pays monthly distributions to its stockholders and has paid 74 consecutive monthly cash distributions on its common stock since its initial public offering in January 2013. The current per-share distribution rate on its common stock is $0.0445 per month, or $0.534 per year.

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Rapid Growth of Greenhouse Production is Apparently Slowing

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The rapid pace with which greenhouse construction is apparently slowing down for several reasons.


According to Cuesta Roble (Oak Hills) Consulting’s 2018 report, there are 894 greenhouse vegetable companies in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, according to Cuesta Roble (Oak Hill) Consulting’s 2019 report. The study is named, Greenhouse Vegetable Producing Companies North America

Greenhouse proponents say the structures offer better protection from the unpredictability of weather, outdoor pests and contamination and indoor growing of all kinds offers more reliability and consistency.

In 2012, there was 98 million square feet of greenhouse vegetable production in the U.S. specifically, according to the USDA.

In Canada, greenhouses produced 612.8 million pounds of tomatoes in 2017, the latest number available, according to Statistics Canada. That is more than 14 million pounds above 2016’s production level and about 35 million above 2015. 

But the typical annual 7 percent increase in acreage experienced by the 201 grower members of the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers Association isn’t expected to continue into 2019. Ontario accounts for about 80 percent of the entire Canadian greenhouse output.

And it is not just the cannabis explosion taking up space.

The whole process of expansion has gotten more complicated. There are growing uncertainties of what land municipalities will serve for greenhouse production. 

The time it takes to build a greenhouse has jumped from 24 months to 40 months due to issues ranging from land purchase and rising building costs. As demand increases, so does the demand on resources. 


Cannabis production is demanding on current resources. These resources can mean everything from steel, to municipality services, to construction workers.

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IMG Citrus Adds 4,000-Acre Grove to Portfolio

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By IMB Citrus

VERO BEACH, FL – IMG Citrus, a family-owned, vertically-integrated citrus grower, packer, and shipper in Vero Beach, FL, announced the acquisition of one of the largest grapefruit groves in St. Lucie County. The 4,000-acre grove increases their control of citrus land management in Florida by over 75 percent, securing their position as an established citrus leader in the state of Florida, and solidifying their commitment to the industry. The grove has been renamed Happy Food Grove, after their main consumer brand “Happy Food,” which can be found in supermarkets across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia.

“Investing in agri-business is always risky, but citrus is even more so today because of Greening,” said Michel Sallin, IMG Citrus President. “We know Florida grapefruit is the best in the world. We believe in this industry and we believe in Florida grapefruit. A solution to Greening will be found, and when that day comes, we’ll be ready.”

While Greening remains a threat, IMG Citrus’ production model utilizes innovative practices and technologies to keep groves productive and profitable.

“We have adopted a more aggressive approach to production, focusing on high density, and super high density planting methods to help combat Greening by creating a more controlled environment,” said Brian Randolph, Director of Grove Production. “In the new grove, we can optimize nutrient and water management, a critical factor for production in a Greening environment. This level of precision not only helps keep the trees healthy, but it’s more environmentally sustainable by reducing water use and nutrient runoff.”

An additional 397 undeveloped tree acres will be home to the company’s new grove redevelopment project, with 273 acres of citrus trees to be set within high-density planting blocks predicted to produce mature fruit within three years, and 124 acres of trees set within existing traditional blocks.

Their high density planting methods were fine-tuned over the last three years at their groves at Cherrylake, IMG Citrus’ sister company, also founded and operated by the Sallin family.

“Cherrylake was originally all citrus groves,” explains Sallin. “We lost nearly everything during the freezes in the 1980’s. Rather than shut everything down, we adapted by turning our Cherrylake property into a thriving, ornamental tree farm that focuses on landscape construction and maintenance, while moving our citrus operation down south to where it is today. 75 Acres of land at Cherrylake is still dedicated to citrus, where we have been able to explore new varieties and high density planting methods.”

The newly-acquired Happy Food Grove also contains a 300-acre reservoir, and is home to native wildlife including deer, wild turkey, alligators, Roseate Spoonbills, and Blue Herons.

“We are stewards of our environment, and we diligently protect the quality of our air, land, and water,” said  Sallin. “We realize that we do not own our land, but rather, we are borrowing it from future generations. Our best management practices help ensure our horticultural practices are in line with this philosophy.”

In addition to the land purchase, the acquisition also included transitioning 17 existing grove employees to IMG Citrus.

“It was important to us that we did not disrupt the operation of the grove, and more importantly, that the employees felt reassured that IMG Citrus would continue to provide them the opportunity to work and grow within the company,” said Joaquin Perez, Human Resources Manager. “Our goal is to make the transition as easy and as seamless as possible, and I think we’ve done that well through open communication. Employees have kept their same positions, they’re just part of a bigger family now.”

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About IMG Citrus:

IMG Citrus is a second-generation citrus grower, packer, marketer, and shipper in Vero Beach, Florida, with over 9,000 acres of productive AGland. Family owned and operated for over 35 years, IMG Citrus was founded by Michel and Veronique Sallin. Born and raised on a French farm, Michel has a genuine love for sustainable agriculture, and an entrepreneurial spirit that fuels a passion for using the most innovative processes and technologies. Today, a second generation of family-operators is involved and working alongside the most professional industry leaders that make up the IMG Citrus team.

About Happy Food:

Happy Food is IMG Citrus’ primary consumer brand, and is marketed in North America, Europe, and Asia. The brand features bright colors, happy fruit faces, and is used to pack citrus including grapefruit, oranges, and mandarins grown in Florida, as well as South America and Mexico. Since its launch in 2013, Happy Food continues to re-energize the citrus aisle with a cheerful, contemporary brand that promotes a healthy, happy lifestyle.

About IMG Enterprises:

IMG Enterprises, the holding company for IMG Citrus, is a Florida owned and operated family agri-business with divisions in citrus, real estate, mitigation banking, and landscape construction. The mission of IMG Enterprises is to manage a sustainable enterprise rooted in the land which benefits its family, employees, and community, while having a positive impact on the environment. With over 500 employees, the company ranks 31st on the list of Top Privately Held Companies by the Orlando Business Journal.

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Good Movement Continues with Apple Shipments

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By Stemilt Growers

WENATCHEE, Wash. – The apple season continues to roar along and Stemilt’s latest Fruit Tracker Fast Facts analysis is proof of strong category performance in March 2019.

According to Nielsen scan data, apples made up 8.2 percent of fresh produce sales on average in the U.S. between February 24 and March 30. The volume of apples was down 1.8 percent year-over-year and dollars were up a nominal 0.2 percent.

“With less volume in this crop and supplies starting to dwindle because of seasonality, we expect to see strengthening apple prices in the coming months,” said Brianna Shales, Stemilt communications manager. “The 2019-20 apple crop is trending two weeks later than last season’s crop start and that will add pressure on supply and demand during the late summer transition.”

Regionally, the Midwest topped the national average, with apples making up 9.4 percent of fresh produce sales in March 2019. The Northeast was second with 7.7 percent of fresh produce sales from apples, followed by the South at 7.5 percent and the West at 7.8 percent.

The top five apple varieties in March 2019 were: Gala, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Red Delicious, and Granny Smith. Gala volumes were up 14 percent year-over-year with dollars also up double-digits at 10.7 percent. Gala accounted for 27 percent of March apple sales. Honeycrisp has also seen volume growth of 9.3 percent and dollar growth of 7.2 percent when compared to March 2018. Honeycrisp made up 24 percent of apple dollars in March.

“Gala has been moving in a positive direction all season. The quality of Gala this year has helped this top variety and helped drive consumer demand for apples,” said Shales.

Stemilt’s signature apple, Pinata®, saw sales increases in March 2019 when compared to the year prior. Fueled by good sizing and great eating qualities, volumes of the tropical apple were up 4 percent and dollars up 6 percent in March.

The average retail price of apples in March 2019 was $1.69 per pound. Organic apples were up nearly 2 percent in volume year-over-year and made up more than 9 percent of total apple volumes sold in March 2019. The average retail price for organics was $2.19 per pound, a 30 percent premium over conventional apples.

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About Stemilt

Stemilt Growers is a leading tree fruit growing, packing and shipping company based in Wenatchee, Washington. Owned and operated by the Mathison family, Stemilt is the leading shipper of sweet cherries and one of the nation’s largest suppliers of organic tree fruits.

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Melon Varieties are Added to Mix at Dan Andrews Farms

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Two varieties of melons are being added to the line up this season by Dan Andrews Farms LLC of Bakerfield, CA.

Over the year the firm has grown honeydews, cantaloupes and watermelons and this season is adding orange-flesh honeydews as well as hami melon that shaped like a football, which have white flesh and an exterior yellow rind with a touch of green.

Hami melons taste similar to honeydews, but are more of an Asian specialty melon.

The company has reduced cantaloupe acreage to add the new melons, which were requested by customers. The produce will bein June and July.

Andrews Farms also has gone back to growing carrots after dropping the item a couple of years ago. The carrots will include jumbo and short-cut carrots for Grimmway Farms in Bakersfield.

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Celebrating our 51st Wedding Anniversary!

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Today is the 51st wedding anniversary for my wife Vivian and I.

It doesn’t seem that long ago I met Viv at a 4th of July church picnic. It wasn’t totally by accident as my older bother had invited me to his church a week earlier and I briefly met her there.

It’s been quite a journey and I wouldn’t be who I am today without her. We have a beautiful daughter and wonderful son-in-law, as well as a precious 5-year old grandson.

Throughout my career as a writer, mostly with trucking and produce related publications, I have had her unwavering support. Nearly all of those years I was self employed as an independent contractor. She handles the books, taxes, etc. She also can be a pretty good editor.

During most of my career in journalism there was a lot of travel. I’ve visited many produce shippers, and wholesalers, as well as transportation companies over four-plus decades, located from coast-to-coast.

I give Viv much of the credit for being there during the critical years to raise our daughter who today is an excellent physical therapist in home health. We also are so proud of her for being an extraordinary mother and wife. Our son-in-law is also very special and talented.

My wife is loving, caring and a blessing to all who know her. We are blessed with relatively good health and are thankful for our family and friends. We also are thankful to all of you who make HaulProduce.com possible.

What a life we have shared and most of it has been made possible by living in the greatest country in the world. May God bless America and each of you.

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Study Sheds Light on Who Buys Produce and Why

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Shoppers of produce who purchase fresh cut (referred to value-added) items often or whenever possible tend to fall into several categories.

Core value-added shoppers were found by The Food and Marketing Institute in a study found that 47 percent have a six-figure household income, 47 percent make three or more shopping trips a week, and 43 percent order produce online. The results have been released in the 2019 Power of Produce report.

Additonally, 40 percent of core value-added buyers are also core local buyers, and 36 percent are also core organic buyers.

“Core value-added shoppers are interesting to retailers, with above-average spending and weekly trips,” FMI wrote in the report. “Much like seen in organic, the presence of children is a point of entry, particularly among high-income shoppers. In urban areas, expanded assortment is likely to do well, including organic value-added assortment and kid-focused solutions.”

Two years ago, 20 percent of shoppers fell into that category. Now the number is 28 percent.

“Despite the increase in purchase frequency, there is significant room for growth, with 64 percent of shoppers being occasional users, at best,” FMI wrote. “Overall, value-added users skew toward higher-income shoppers, older millennials, often with young kids living at home.”

The core value-added shoppers reported several variables that would prompt them to purchase more — better prices (57 percent), longer shelf-life (39 percent), greater assortment (39 percent), greater variety of flavors (36 percent) and better organic offering (32 percent).

Many consumers who land in the category of sometimes buying value-added produce are Gen X (47 percent). Within that periphery group, 49 percent eat fresh fruits and vegetables 4-5 days a week, 47 percent make two trips a week, and 47 percent have a household income of less than $35,000.

For that shopper segment, key triggers to buy more were better prices (63 percent) and longer shelf-life (37 percent), according to the report.

Among consumers who hardly ever buy value-added produce, many are baby boomers (37 percent), limited-assortment shoppers (31 percent), two-person households (33 percent) and people who eat produce less than three times a week (35 percent).

In that group, 58 percent said better prices would prompt them to buy more, but 17 percent said they were unlikely to buy more regardless of changes made.

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Cost of Eating Out is Rising Faster than Eating at Home

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A8The cost of eating out is rising faster than eating at home.

The latest USDA Economic Research Service food price outlook reports restaurant food prices in October were up 2.5 percent higher than year-ago.

By contrast, the USDA reports food purchased at grocery stores was just 0.1 percent higher compared to a year ago.

“Between the 1970s and early 2000s, food-at-home prices and food-away-from-home prices increased at similar rates,” the report said. “Since 2009, however, food-at-home and food-away-from-home price growth has diverged.”

While grocery prices have shown signs of price deflation in recent years, restaurant prices have steadily increased.

In part, the different price responses are attributed to variations in the cost structure of restaurants versus supermarkets or grocery stores. Labor and rental costs are a bigger factor with restaurants than grocers.

For this reason, decreasing farm-level and wholesale food prices, which have exerted downward pressure on food-at-home prices, have had less of an impact on restaurant menu prices.

Outlook

For 2018, the USDA notes retail food prices are expected to change between zero to 1 percent, below the 20-year historical average of 2.1 percent.

The USDA said while fats and oils, pork, nonalcoholic beverages, dairy, and processed fruits and vegetables could potentially decline in price, prices for beef and veal, poultry, fish and seafood, eggs, and fresh fruits and vegetables are expected to increase.

“Due to deflation in 2016 and 2017, expected price increases would still leave overall price levels in 2018 lower than in 2015,” the USDA said.

For 2019, the USDA said retail prices are expected to rise between 1 and 2 percent, which would mean the fourth year in a row with lower-than-average inflation.

Fruits and Vegetables

Retail prices for fresh fruits in October were down 1.5 percent compared with October 2017, with apple prices off 3.6 percent and banana prices were off 0.7 percent.

The USDA expects fresh fruit prices to increase 1 to 2 percent in 2018 and increase 2 to 3 percent in 2019.

Retail fresh vegetable prices in October were 0.7 percent higher than in October 2017. Fresh vegetable prices are expected to change between zero and 1 percent in 2018 and increase an additional 2.5 to 3.5 percent in 2019.

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