Archive For The “Trucking Reports” Category

Florida Spring Vegetable Shipments are Right on Track

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April and May tend to be the peak shipping months for Florida spring vegetables and favorable growing conditions are expected to provide a good shipping season.

For example, West Coast Tomato LLC of Palmetto is expressing optimism as its volume has been ahead of last year. It has about 3,000 acres in the Immokalee and Palmetto areas and has been shipping tomatoes since October and will complete shipments in early June.

Florida Vegetable Shipments

Duda Fresh Foods Inc. of Oviedo, which grows vegetables on 6,000 acres in the Belle Glade area, reports good weather and plenty of water supplies and has been shipping celery since December and will continue through April.

Scotlynn Sweet Pac Growers LLC of Belle Glade grows and ships corn and other vegetables reports similar good growing conditions. It began shipping in early March and reached good volume in early April that should continue through May. The company ships primarily sweet corn to start, but later in the season has radishes, beans and cabbage, among other items.

At Weis-Buy Farms Inc. of Fort Myers, ships tomatoes and peppers, with a season starting in early October and continuing until June 1st.

Overall Florida vegetable volume is ahead of last year, in part because of favorable weather without hurricanes, unlike a year ago.

L&M Cos is based in Raleigh, NC, but has offices in Palatka, FL. The company reports Northern Florida has had some weather issues causing some vegetable crop to be running late, particularly with cabbage, broccoli and greens.

Mack Farms Inc. of Lake Wales began digging potatoes in early February from about 1,600 acres and has had good volume.

Jones Potato Farm of Parrish reports good shipments of potatoes, and green beans after starting in late March.

Utopia Packing LLC of Myakka City has good volume with bell peppers and cucumbers.

Florida Specialties Inc. of Immokalee shipping
green beans, eggplant, bell peppers, squash and specialty peppers through May.

Florida Fruit Shipments

Wish Farms of Plant City plans to be shipping blueberries until Memorial Day, with Florida growers expecting to pack nearly 4 million pounds of “blues” this season. This would be an increase from 3.4 million pounds a year ago.

Florida Classic Growers, which markets product for the Dundee (FL) Citrus Growers Association is planning to ship valences through May.

Florida Watermelon Shipments

Southern Corporate Packers Inc. of Immokalee is shipping watermelons from Southern Florida through May, with loadings coming out of Northern Florida from late May though June.

The company also grows watermelon in Georgia, Missouri, Indiana and Delaware, which enables the company to have melons available through December.

McMelon Inc., a subsidiary of Mack Farms Inc., both of Lake Wales will start shipping watermelons in early May.

Florida vegetables, watermelons and potatoes – grossing about $2700 to New York City.


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Significant Increase in California Strawberry Shipments Coming in Time for Easter

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While there were tight supplies of Southern California strawberries for Valentine’s Day shipments, growers expect improved volume leading up to Easter, which is April 21st.

Strawberry acreage in Ventura County is once again down this season — 5,300 acres compared to 5,518 acres last year — but production is expected to increase since farmers are planting higher-yielding varieties.

The California Strawberry Commission, based in Watsonville, confirms there has been reduced acreage during the past several years, but at the same there has been record-breaking shipments annually for the past 4 or 5 years.

Growers in the Oxnard area a year ago produced about 38.6 million trays of strawberries, up from about 37.2 million trays in 2017.

This year rains have hindered the start of the 2019 season.

As of the week ending February 2nd growers in the Southern California district, which includes Oxnard, Orange County, Coachella and San Diego, had shipped about 2 million trays of strawberries. A year ago, volume for the same period was about 3.3 million trays.

Easter typically kicks off the primary shipping season for California strawberries, when berries will be available from several growing areas in the state, including Watsonville.

Ventura County strawberries and vegetables – grossing about $3400 to Dallas, $6700 to New York City

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Broccoli Producer Atlantic Fresh is Increasing Shipments

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Atlantic Fresh, which specializes in broccoli production, offers east coast broccoli to local and regional customers four or more days sooner than west coast providers, due to location.

The company, based in Clarks Summit, PA, is currently harvesting broccoli in Florida, recently added new farms in North Carolina, New Jersey and New York in 2018, and other locations have expanded their production acres as well. The increase in production is in response to growing consumer demand for broccoli. With 51 percent of grocery shoppers purchasing broccoli, and increased purchasing year over year, broccoli is making its way onto more U.S. plates. Broccoli was the third most popular produce item shoppers said they bought in 2018 that they didn’t buy previously. While broccoli has been the main focus of Atlantic Fresh, the company has also been increasing cauliflower and organic broccoli production each year and looks forward to expanding these offerings in the future.

To complement its eastern roots and harvest one day – deliver the next philosophy, Atlantic Fresh is rolling out a fresh brand redesign and new website. The redesigned logo, with bright blue anchor design, makes a playful connection to our Atlantic coast broccoli farms. The top of the anchor silhouettes in front of a red broccoli crown, that translates into a scalloped design element used in the new packaging. The revamped design can be seen on the new website and on conventional broccoli and cauliflower boxes, organic broccoli boxes, rubber band tags, bags, and overwrap stickers. Atlantic Fresh also refreshed its popular Asian crown “dragon” carton.

Atlantic Fresh was formed in 2010 by L&M and Parker Farms. Each company has over 15 years of experience growing broccoli on the east coast of the United States, and in 2010 joined forces to offer a reliable, high quality year-round source of eastern broccoli to their customers. Atlantic Fresh grows on 14 farms across eight eastern states including Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

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Apple, Pear Imports to Increase from Southern Hemisphere Countries

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A 2 percent increase in Southern hemisphere apple crop production is forecast for 2019 compared with 2018.

A new report from the World Apple and Pear Association said 2019 Southern Hemisphere pear production is forecast at 1.33 million metric tons, up 2 percent from last year and off 3 percent from the three-year average.

Apple Shipments

Southern Hemisphere apple production this year is 5.26 million metric tons, up 2 percent from last year and the three-year average, the forecast states.

Argentina, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, and South Africa all are forecast to increase volume, while Chile’s crop will be lower, according to the estimate.

Chile, the leading Southern Hemisphere apple producer, is forecast to produce a crop of 1.67 million metric tons, down 5 percent from last year off 1 percent below the three-year average.

Brazil is the second-ranked producer of apples in the Southern Hemisphere and will see output of 1.15 million metric tons, up 5 percent from a year ago, and 6 percent above the three-year average.

By variety, the association said fuji production by all Southern Hemisphere countries will be 826,000 metric tons, up 22 percent from a year ago and 10 percent up from the three-year average. Gala output is forecast to at 1.95 million metric tons, down 7 percent from a year ago and 1 percent above the three-year average.

Pear Shipments

With overall Southern Hemisphere pear production pegged up 2 percent compared with the last year, the association said Argentina pear output is forecast at 600,000 metric tons, up 4 percent from last year and down 9 percent from the three-year average. Argentina accounts for 45 percent of Southern Hemisphere pear output.

South Africa, with 32 percent of Southern Hemisphere pear output, is forecast with 423,000 metric tons.

New Zealand Apples

The New Zealand apple industry is expecting another bumper crop, and projected exported apple crop value is expected to hit $1 billion by 2020.

New Zealand exporter T&G Global LTD expects to pack a total of about 7 million cartons, according to a news release, including Jazz and Envy varieties.

The company’s apples have traditionally been sold to the United Kingdom and U.S., but Asia and the Middle East are growing in sales, with half of T&G exports going to those markets, according to the release.

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California Avocado Shipments May Crash 48% this Season; Imported Avocados Increase

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A California heatwave in 2018 did a “number” on the California avocado crop, which is expecting its smallest volume in a decade. The heat hit some of the state’s key growing regions, and most shipments this season will be limited to the Western states. Meanwhile, there was significant increase in avocado imports last year.

Current estimates are for production of 175 million pounds (79,000 metric tons), which would be 48 percent lower than last year’s 338 million pounds (153,000MT), according to The California Avocado Committee.

There hasn’t been this small of a crop since the 2009 season, when 174.5 million pounds were produced. Between then and the previous season production has fluctuated greatly, ranging from a high of 534.5 million pounds in 2010 to a low of 216 million pounds in 2017.

Two other major players in the global avocado market during the same period – Peru and South Africa – are expected to have back-to-back seasonal declines in production.

There are areas that should have had much better production which were hit hard by heat that went well over 100 degrees, with some areas reaching 116 or 117 degrees for a short period of time.

Adding to the problem was cold temperatures in the prior months, along with wildfires the previous year.

The duration of the season is set to be shorter than last year, with peak avocado shipments occurring from late March through July, as opposed to last year when volume continued into September.

Imported Avocados

There was a 15 percent increase in U.S. imported avocado volume during 2018, while crop value plunged 11 percent.

Trade statistics from the USDA indicate the total value of U.S. avocado imports totaled $2.35 billion, down from $2.64 billion in 2017. By volume, U.S. imports of avocados reached 1.04 million metric tons, up 15 percent from 900,200 metric tons in 2017.

The USDA reported Mexico accounted for 87 percent of the total volume and 88 percent of the total value of U.S. avocado imports.

U.S. imports of Mexican avocado grew 17 percent by volume but shrunk 11 percent in value in 2018, according to the USDA.

Peru was the second leading avocado supplier to the U.S., accounting for 8 percent of the value and volume of U.S. imports. 

Chile ranked as the third most important avocado supplier, representing 3 percent of both volume and value of U.S. imports.

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South American Grape Imports are Improving after Slow Start

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Early season imported grapes from South America have been lower, although with the arrival of March volume is improving.

To date, Chilean grapes imported through early March were down 32 percent compared to last year, reports the USDA, with imported Peruvian grapes being down 46 percent compared to the same time a year ago.

A Pro*Act market report dated March 6th notes imported grape supplies from Chile and Peru were increasing and quality was good in early March. A consistent volume of imported grapes is expected through early April, when the transition of Mexican grapes starts crossing the U.S. border in mid-April.

On March 6th the USDA’s Market News Service reported prices for extra large Chilean red seedless grapes at $20 to $24 per carton, up from $16 to $20 per carton the same day a year ago.

The early March market was under downward pressure with increasing volume and prices may decline with ample volume in the near term, according to the report.

A range of retail prices for red seedless grapes in selected U.S. cities, ranged from a low ad price of $1.28 per pound in Detroit to a high of $3.99 per pound in Seattle and New York.

Retail promotions of red seedless grapes were reported by the USDA in 7,637 U.S. stores for the week of March 1st with an average price of $2.48 per pound. That compares 8,186 stores promoting red seedless grapes a year ago at an average price of $3.07 per pound.

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New Shipping Seasons for California’s Star Ruby Grapefruit; Georgia Carrots

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Bee Sweet Citrus Inc. of Fowler, CA is now shipping its Star Ruby grapefruit from the Central San Joaquin Valley and will continue to do so for the next few months. Georgia carrot loadings from Grimmway Farms also has started.

“Every year, Star Ruby grapefruit continue to grow in popularity and take the produce industry by storm,” said Bee Sweet Citrus Sales Representative Joe Berberian. “This variety is less acidic than other grapefruit varieties and has many health benefits.”

Low in calories and a nutritional powerhouse, Star Ruby grapefruit is the reddest of all grapefruit varieties. An excellent source of vitamin C and fiber, one serving can provide you with over half the recommended daily intake of vitamin C and can also help promote a healthy digestive system.

A grower, packer and shipper of California citrus, Bee Sweet Citrus was founded in 1987. It is a family owned and operated company, and ships over 15 different varieties of citrus.

Georgia Carrot Shipments

Grimmway Farms, headquartered in Bakersfield, CA, who is the world’s largest producer of carrots, has activated its Sparks, GA carrot packing facility and will be providing regional shipments through mid-May.

The company is offering conventional cello and jumbo carrots grown in the Southeast and packed under the Grimmway Farms, Bunny Luv and Premier labels.

“Sourcing carrots from our Sparks, GA facility is a great option for customers and distribution centers in the Northeast, Southeast and Midwest,” says Mike Anspach, Vice President of Sales at Grimmway Farms.

Grimmway is loading carrots from the Southeast facility Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m . (EST) by appointment only. To book a loading appointment, please call 1-866-328-6867.

About Grimmway Farms

Family-owned and headquartered in Bakersfield, California, Grimmway Farms traces its roots to a produce stand opened by the Grimm brothers in the early 1960s. Grimmway is a global produce leader and the world’s largest producer of carrots. Grimmway supplies more than 65 organic, USA-grown crops and brands include Cal-Organic Farms and Bunny-Luv.

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Mexican Citrus Exports are Expected to Increase, USDA Says

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A small increase in Mexican citrus shipments to the U.S. is expected this year, a new report predicts. Nearly all of Mexico’s fresh oranges are exported to the U.S., originating from Sonora.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Foreign Agricultural Service report said Mexican fresh orange and lime production is forecast to continue to grow for marketing year 2018-19.

According to the report, growers in the northern states of Mexico have said that fresh fruit exports to the U.S. for processing purposes have increased due to the decrease in Florida orange production.

The report forecasts that Mexican fresh orange exports will increase slightly to 78,000 metric tons in marketing year 2018-19.

Nearly all fresh orange exports go to the U.S., and most oranges exported to the U.S. are navel oranges grown in Sonora, according to the report.

Meanwhile, the report said Mexican Persian and key lime exports for 2018-19 are expected to be strong and are pegged at 725,000 metric tons.

The spring Persian lime harvest begins in early April, the report said. Depending on prices, the Persian limes are typically shipped to European markets before being shipped to the U.S.

Lime exporters continue to expand into the European and Japanese markets, but still supply about 40 percent of the U.S. and Canadian markets.

International prices for Persian limes began at U.S. $16 to $18 per 40-pound box in October and November; prices during April and May 2018 were as high as $63 per box, the report said.

Mexican grapefruit exports are projected at 20,000 metric tons, with strong European prices pulling volume there over the U.S. market.

Mexican produce crossing at Nogales, AZ, grossing about $3400 to Chicago.

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Trend for Fewer Apple Shipments this Season Continues

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A trend of fewer apple shipments this season continues. There were 78.9 million (42-pound) bushels of apples remaining in storage for the fresh market as of February 1st. This is 12 percent lower than at the same time last year, and 7 percent lower than the 5-year average.

The apple industry had 78.9 million (42-pound) bushels of fresh-market apples in storage as of Feb. 1, 12% less than the same time in 2018, and 7% off the five-year average.

Apples headed to the processing market are seeing similar drops, with 14 percent less fruit on February 1st than at the same time in 2018, with a drop of 13 percent compared to the 5-year average, according to the U.S. Apple Association’s monthly Market News report.

The top fresh-market varieties on February 1st (and unchanged from five-year average), according to the apple association, were:

  • Red delicious — 21.65 million bushels (-19 percent);
  • Gala — 15.48 million bushels (4 percent);
  • Fuji — 10.15 million bushels (12 percent);
  • Granny smith — 8.52 million bushels (-20 percent);
  • Honeycrisp — 6.54 million bushels (123 percent);
  • Cripps pink/Pink Lady — 4.11 million bushels (18 percent); and
  • Golden delicious — 3.61 million bushels (-47 percent)

Regional fresh apple holdings for February 1st were (in bushels):

  • Northeast — 5.67 million;
  • Southeast — 354,000;
  • Midwest — 2.96 million;
  • Southwest — 168,500; and
  • Northwest — 78.87 million.

Washington apples – grossing about $4200 to Chicago.

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Orri Mandarin from Israel is Arriving in U.S. Through May

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By John Vena Inc.

PHILADELPHIA – As mandarin production in California starts to slow for the season, shipments of premium-quality Israeli fruit have just begun to arrive on the East Coast for the U.S. market.

The primary Israeli mandarin export is the Orri, a hybrid developed specifically to maintain flavor and integrity through the international supply chain. The first containers of the season arrived to specialty produce importer and wholesaler John Vena Inc. (JVI) in Philadelphia at the end of January.

“We’re very pleased with the quality of our first containers. The fruit is already eating better than any other citrus I have had in recent memory, and I have been handling Orri in particular for some years – more or less since the variety’s notoriety began to spill over from Europe,” reports JVI president John Vena. “We’ve already been getting brix readings as high as 14. Luckily for anyone who loves citrus, shipments are anticipated to continue through May.”

This year was particularly unusual for members of JVI’s grower partner, Granot, a cooperative of 45 agricultural kibbutzim that has roots going back to the early 1940s. For reasons not yet understood, fruit across the country matured much more rapidly than anticipated, leading to a good supply of large fruit early in the season unlike any ever seen. The cooperative was packing fruit as early as mid-December, several weeks prior than projections estimated, and production saw record volumes of larger sizing with limited medium and small fruit in direct contradiction to the bell curve that typically characterizes the harvest.

Despite the atypical start, growers expect a particularly strong Orri crop for 2019 with consistent volumes and excellent quality. Smaller fruit has already begun to arrive and ratios are expected to normalize in the coming weeks, although large fruit packed in a bulk 10-kilogram value case, which is often favored in the ethnic retail segment, is anticipated to remain abundant for the season.

About John Vena Inc.

Established in 1919, John Vena Inc. (JVI) is a fourth-generation, family-owned and -operated specialty produce importer, wholesaler, and distributor providing a full suite of services including custom packing, program ripening, and logistics. JVI handles a wide range of specialty items for foodservice, retail, and processing, including fresh herbs, greenhouse vegetables, gourmet foods, tropical fruits, ethnic produce, wild edibles, microgreens, edible flowers, and baby vegetables.

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