Archive For The “Trucking Reports” Category

The Changing Face of Spring Produce Shipments out of Florida

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A4The face of Florida spring produce shipments long have been centered around citrus, mixed vegetables and tomatoes.  This will continue to be the case in the foreseeable future, but there are some other products that have entered the picture and could provide substantially larger volume in the future.

Florida peach shipments have started in recent years, and the state is heavily promoting the stone fruit, particularly in April, when it has a shipping window pretty much to itself.  Florida peaches are shipped as imported Chilean peaches are winding down, and before the product is ready in California, Georgia and South Carolina.

Asian vegetables are relatively new to Florida produce production, which are grown across the state and have a growing concentration in the St. Augustine/Hastings area of North Florida.

These items range from Chinese cabbage, to bok choy, beans, bitter melon, Chinese broccoli and many other Asian herbs and vegetables.  As these items become more mainstream, there will be more loading opportunities for produce haulers.

There also has been increasing acreage with sweet potatoes in recent years.  Florida has the first domestic sweet potatoes of the growing season prior to the traditional Louisiana, Mississippi, California and North Carolina sweet potato seasons that start in late summer.

Brussels sprouts are another up-and-coming crop in Florida, particularly in the Hastings area.  Cabbage traditionally has been a staple crop in this area, but growers in the area have recently branched out to other crops, such as broccoli and cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.

Florida Tomato Shipments

Grower, shippers such as Oakes Farms Inc. of Immokalee and DiMare Co. of Homestead launched tomato shipments in October and continue into June.  Tomato volume typically has a substainal volume increase starting in the middle of March.

Between March and May, Florida accounts for 55 percent of grape and cherry tomato shipments in the U.S. and 41 percent of the round tomatoes.

On average, Florida supplied 100 percent of temple oranges, 70 percent of sweet corn, and 55 percent of snap beans shipped the U.S. from 2014-17.

Florida produce shipments – grossing about $3200 to New York City.

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Imported Mexican Shipments Look Steady; Russet Spud Loads Compared to Other Varieties

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A2Imported Mexican shipments are expected to remain steady with good volume for the next six weeks.  Meanwhile, here’s a break down of U.S. potato shipments when comparing russets and other varieties.

Mexican produce shipments from bumper spring crops are now occurring Mexico with items such as tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, bell peppers, watermelon and mangoes. Table grapes, among others, will begin in a few weeks.

March and April are often seen as a secondary shipping peak for northern-grown Mexican products as demand typically increases with improving spring weather in U.S. markets.  Imported Mexican produce shipments are expected to remain very steady through April.

Russet Potatoes

Russet potato shipments have been giving away, at least to a certain degree, to other varieties of spuds, although russets easily remain the category.  At least this is the case from a study of potato movement from July through December.  It has been a long time since russet shipments have seen an increase compared to other potato varieties.

In data collected by Nielsen, fresh russet volume was up 0.43 percent for the six-month period.  Russet potatoes accounted for 66.08 percent of potato category sales, up from 65.46 percent a year ago.

Red potato shipments ranked second behind russets for the July through December period, accounting for 16.03 percent, down from 17.03 percent in the same period a year ago.  Red potato sales for the six-month period were off 1.48 percent compared with year-ago numbers, and red potato volume was down 6.78 percent compared with a year ago.

The third-ranked potato category in July through December last year was yellow potatoes, accounting for 10.75 percent of total fresh potato sales compared with 9.85 percent last year.  White potatoes, the fourth-ranked fresh potato category, suffered declines in volume and sales compared with a year ago.

White potato sales were off 6.20 percent compared with a year ago, while volume of white potatoes sold at retail from July through December was off 12.21 percent compared with the same period a year ago.  White potato sales accounted for 5.55 percent of potato category sales, down from 6.19 percent the same period a year ago.

Fingerling potato sales account for just 0.23 percent of total potato category sales from July through December, up just slightly from 0.22 percent the same period a year ago.


Grand Forks, ND red potatoes – grossing about $4600 to New York City; $2000 to Chicago; $2800 to Dallas.

Idaho russets – grossing about $5100 to New York City.

San Luis Valley, Colorado russets – grossing about $2200 to Chicago $4000 to New York City.


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L&M Quadruples Organic Production in Florida

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DSCN0440By L&M

L&M is full swing into the Florida farming season with four times more organic shipments planned in 2018. Unlike many Florida companies that are consolidating organics, L&M is growing organics on two of their own, company-owned farms in Florida.

The company is growing organic bell peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, and butternut and spaghetti squash in Branford, FL. Over in Palatka, FL, L&M has already begun harvesting organic broccoli, green and red cabbage, and kale; and will be adding red and golden beets and cauliflower into the mix this year as well.

Over the years, L&M has worked hard on its organic program, taking the same pride in their certified organic farming and packing as they do on their other farming programs, including sustainability and food safety.

“We have made great progress on our organic program and are as proud of our attention to detail and exceptional quality on organics as we are on our conventional products.  So far this year we have produced some very nice organic broccoli, cabbage, and kale; and we look forward to beginning harvest of beets, peppers, cucumbers, and squash in the coming weeks” noted Adam Lytch, Operations Manager for L&M Farms.

Greg Cardamone, General Manager of Vegetables, added, “Organics is an exciting space to move into with continued growth and popularity. Year after year, consumption of organic fruits and vegetables is increasing and we are excited to be able to meet our customers’ needs with East Coast production.

“With the recent truck shortage our customers have found it valuable to be able to load their organic and conventional items together – without giving up the valuable shelf life that large cross-dock programs often bring.”

Along with increased organic farming, L&M has also developed new purple organic packaging. Most recently, L&M added new organic broccoli and cauliflower bags and tags, butt tags for organic cabbage, 3lb mesh sweet potato bags, and hard squash labels.


South Florida vegetables – grossing about $3500 to Boston.

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CSS Farms Partners with RPE on Agri-Pack Onion and Potato Shipments

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BANCROFT, Wis. — CSS Farms, a multi-state agriculture company producing onions and chip and specialty potatoes, and RPE — category leader and year-round grower/shipper of potatoes and onions — announce the selection of RPE as exclusive marketing partner of Agri-Pack, a CSS Farms subsidiary and Pasco, WA-based grower-packer-distributor of potatoes and onions.

CSS Farms Managing Partner Reagan Grabner said the partnering organizations share a collaborative mindset, strategic approach and entrepreneurial spirit, noting RPE and CSS Farms have worked effectively together since 2010 as joint venture partners in Tasteful Selections, an industry leader in the bite-size potato category, growing it from 1 ½ percent of the United States market eight years ago to 18 percent today.

Since the 2017 mid-year acquisition of Agri-Pack by CSS Farms, a commitment to positioning the business for future growth has been apparent, Larry Denke of Agri-Pack sales said. “I already have witnessed significant investment in the business to bring even more innovation to our operations in the northwest.

RPE in the past decade expanded from a company operating almost exclusively in Wisconsin to a diversified organization selling from every onion- and potato-producing state in the United States and Canada.

Russell Wysocki, RPE president, expects Agri-Pack operations to anchor a comprehensive onion program supplying food service companies, restaurants, retailers and other entities servicing and selling directly to consumers.

“Agri-Pack will be the cornerstone of an expanding onion program that contributes to growth of an entire industry, just as we have demonstrated with the potato industry during the last 10 years,” Wysocki said.

RPE as a sales and marketing entity has considerable experience working with growers and customers alike to introduce innovations while expanding the potato and onion categories.

CSS Farms, a nationwide agricultural business, provides innovative solutions and superior quality and service.

Agri-Pack is a Pacific Northwest farming and packing operation of an extensive and high-quality onion and potato crop.

RPE, a second-generation family farm, is a category leader and key grower/shipper of year-round potatoes and onions.

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Domestic KIKU Apple Shipments Have Another 6-8 Weeks Before Imports Start Arriving

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A33By CMI Orchards

WENATCHEE, WA:  U.S. KIKU® growers, in the final 6-8 weeks of shipping a successful 2017 apple crop,  and are making plans for the first KIKU® imports from the Southern Hemisphere.

According to George Harter of CMI Orchards, the 2017 KIKU® brand apple season was very successful despite a smaller overall harvest.  “Between CMI and our partners Rice Fruit Company in  (Gardners) Pennsylvania and Applewood Orchards in (Deerfield) Michigan, we had less volume to sell…,” said CMI Orchard’s George Harter.

Even with the volume reduction, Harter says that the Nielsen national scan data underscores the success of the strategy this year.  The data reveals that the top 15 KIKU® retail chains nationally increased sales by 124 percent with volume up over 100 percent.

“The top 15 KIKU® retailer banners in the U.S. more than doubled their KIKU® volume for the season,” said Harter.  “More importantly, they increased their volume while sustaining higher average retail prices.  In a year where most retailers are experiencing significant category price deflation, having an apple brand like KIKU® drive sales and higher retail prices has been a huge win.”

Harter says the U.S. KIKU® growers will probably be completely sold out by mid May, well ahead of last year.

With supplies of domestically grown KIKU® winding down, the focus is now shifting to KIKU® imports from Chile and New Zealand.  Robb Myers, Import Manager for CMI Orchards, says the company is setting plans now for the import KIKU® season beginning June 1.

“We’re expecting a strong import season on KIKU® from our growers in the Southern Hemisphere,” said Myers.  The import KIKU® season will kick off in early June with supplies available through September, he added.

Myers said shipments already are being planned retailers get ready for the first of the import KIKU® arrivals on June 1.

About KIKU Apples

KIKU® brand apples come from select growers in strategic regions across the United States, and exclusively from CMI Orchards from their Southern Hemisphere partners.  One of the owners of CMI Orchards (Columbia Fruit Packers) was granted the exclusive opportunity to develop the North American market for KIKU® brand apples.


Washington apples – grossing about $4600 to Chicago.

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Shipping Roundup: Texas Onions, Ontario Produce, Colorado veggies and Blueberry Imports

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A2Here’s a news roundup ranging from Texas onion loadings to increasing shipments by an Ontario company, as well as a Colorado produce shipper, and finally, an update on blueberry imports.

Texas Onion Shipments

South Texas onion shipments get underway within the next couple of weeks, but due to industry consolidation and decreasing numbers of onion growers and shippers over the past 15 years, there has been a 31 percent decrease in the number of onion producers and a 34 percent decrease in the number of handlers.

The Rio Grande Valley of South Texas has about 60 onion growers and about 30 shippers.  Total shipments of south Texas onions were about 3 million 50-pound equivalents for the 2015-16 season,

Texas onions, Mexican imported produce – grossing about $3400 to Chicago.

Red Sun Shipments

Red Sun Farms of Lemington, ON is expanding its shipments of tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers to include Golden Sun Avocados.

Best known as a North American greenhouse grower, Red Sun Farms will be handling avocados produced in Mexico, and distributed through the company’s supply chain to service customers throughout North America.

Red Sun Farms will begin distributing the Mexican avocados during the second quarter of 2018.

Sakata Sweet Corn

Sakata Farms of Brighton, CO is changing its farming operation and discontinuing sweet corn production, and concentrating on onions and other crops.

The company is holding a farm equipment auction March 10 at 9:30 a.m. Mountain time.  The company will no longer raise sweet corn, broccoli and cabbage.

Blueberry Imports

Fresh blueberry shipments take place in the U.S. the year around, made possible in large part by the increasing amount of imports from South America, which supplies product during the offseason of U.S. blueberry shippers.  Chile is the leading country supplying “blues” this time of the year to the U.S., accounting for 52.7 percent of fresh cultivated blueberries over the past five years.

Since 2013, however, Mexico, Argentina and Peru significantly increased exports to the U.S.  Argentina has upped exports to the U.S. by 35 percent from 2013 to 2017, Uruguay is up 46 percent and Mexico is up 414 percent.

Percentage wise, the biggest increase has come from  Peru, with U.S. imports from that country up 3,971 percent from 2013 to 2017.

Overall, blueberry imports are up 44 percent.

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Western Vegetable Shipments to be Light as a Transition from the Desert Takes Place

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DSCN0449A shipping gap appears likely in the West as vegetables from the desert shipping areas of California and Arizona are seasonally winding down.  At the same time the seasonal transition of the products from the desert to Huron in the San Joaquin Valley and to the Salinas Valley probably won’t be that smooth.  Light vegetable shipments at best are seen in the coming weeks.

There seems to be more years than not, when a smooth transition from the desert areas to those to the north in California fail to materialize.

Refrigerated truck loadings out of the desert are wrapping up one to two weeks early this season, aided primarily by warmer weather, at least by winter standards there, even though there has been enough winter weather to cause quality problems with lettuce.  This is has been primarily with California desert head lettuce showing blistering and having problems with peel.

Vegetables out Salinas and Huron were scheduled to start shipping a week or two earlier, but cooler weather pushed back the growing schedule.  As a result of the desert ending early combined with delays in Salinas and Huron, vegetable shipments will be lighter well into March.  Unless the weather cooperates, the situation could extend into the middle of April.

Truck loadings in Salinas and Santa Maria with cauliflower and broccoli are just starting in very light volume.

Vegetable shipments in the desert typically extends through March, but the season is expected to finish as much as two weeks earlier than that.

Head lettuce shipments from the Huron district in the San Joaquin Valley should get underway in light fashion during the last half of March.  Volume loadings of Salinas Valley lettuce should occur during the first half of April, about one to two weeks later than normal.

Vegetable shipments from El Centro, CA and Yuma, AZ are grossing about $6700 to New York City.

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Shipping Updates: California’s Gold Nugget Madarins, Mexican Mangoes and U.S. Produce Exports, Imports

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The ugly, but tasty Gold Nugget mandarin shipments are underway, while an increase in imports of Mexican mangoes are seen…Finally, here’s a glimpse at American’s imports and exports of fresh produce.A4

Mandarin Shipments

Gold Nugget mandarins are now being shippe by Bee Sweet Citrus  of Fowler, CA.through March.

Gold Nuggets, which will be shipped through March, have a bumpy exterior with a bright orange easy-peel rind and a sweet flavor..

Gold Nuggets are every citrus lover’s dream,” director of communications Monique Bienvenue said in a press release. “Not only are have they been voted to be one of the best-tasting mandarin varieties by a professional taste panel, they’re also easy-to-peel and are virtually seedless.”

The fruit is good for snacking, for salads or even for marmalade.

Mexican Mango Imports

Mexican mango imports by the U.S. began arriving about a month ago with ataulfo variety, arriving from the states of Chiapas, Oaxaca and Michoacán.  The forecast calls for volumes and quality are going to be much better than last year out of Southern Mexico.  About 29 million boxes of mangoes will be shipped through the week of May 19, an increase of 5 percent from the same period in 2017. The Mexican mango shipments are expected to continue growing in volume, driven in large part by increasing production in the Los Mochis area in northern Sinaloa.

Produce Imports and Exports

U.S. fresh fruit and vegetable exports will increase from $7 billion in 2016 to $8.5 billion in 2027, a gain of 21.4 percent over 10 years.  A much faster increase is seen for imports of fresh fruits and vegetables.  Imports of fresh produce will climb from $19.2 billion in 2016 to $32.1 billion in 2027, a gain of 68.9 percent over a decade.

“Growing consumer incomes, coupled with a demand for a wide variety of food, drives increases in U.S. agricultural imports over the projection period,” the USDA said, noting that the 4 percent annual growth in horticultural imports is largely driven by active fresh fruit and vegetable sales.

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Canadian Tomato Imports are Increasing; Further Citrus Decline is Projected

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DSCN0447Imports of tomatoes by U.S. tomato imports was unchanged in 2017, while Mexico continues to be the dominant supplier, although imports from Canada are increasing….Meanwhile, further plunges in citrus shipments are seen in years ahead.

Total fresh tomato imports in 2017 amounted to $2.177 billion, down 4 percent from 2016. Volume of all U.S. tomato imports came to 1.78 million metric tons, unchanged from 2016..

The USDA reports imports from Mexico accounted for 85 percent of the value ($1.842 billion, down 6 percent from 2016) and 90 percent of the volume (1.612 million metric tons, unchanged from a year ago) of tomato imports.

Canadian Tomatoes Increase

Imported tomatoes by the U.S. from Canada were up both in volume and value. U.S. imports of Canadian tomatoes in 2017 were $312.9 million, up 13 percent from 2016. Volume of Canadian tomatoes shipped to the U.S. was 165,400 metric tons, up 7 percent from 2016.  Canada represented 14 percent of the value and 9 percent of the volume of total U.S. tomato imports.

The Dominican Republic and Guatemala shipped lesser tomato volumes to the U.S., together accounting for less than 1 percent of total U.S. tomato imports.

Citrus Decline is Predicted

Noticeable  decreases in Florida’s citrus shipments are projected to be an issue for U.S. citrus over the next 10 years, according a new report from the USDA’s long term projections issued in mid-February.

Over the next decade, fruit, tree nuts and vegetable shipments are forecast to increase at a modest 0.6 percent annually, when measured by farm weight.

Citrus, however, will suffer declines in shipments during the next decade, plunging from 17.49 billion pounds in 2018 to 14.04 billion pounds by 2027, a drop of 20 percent.

“While the value of production is expected to grow over the next decade due to higher prices, citrus production continues to decline slowly over the projection period, primarily due to loss of bearing acreage in Florida and the spread of citrus greening, a citrus disease spread by insects for which no cure currently exists,” the USDA report states.

The report said citrus greening has the potential to threaten the “entire citrus industry if not closely monitored.”

The USDA said declines in citrus production are projected to be offset by increases in non-citrus fruit.

The value of U.S. fruit, vegetable and nut production will top $65.8 billion by calendar year 2027, up from nearly $52 billion in 2018.  The value of production will grow about 2.7 pecent per year for fruits, nuts and vegetables. Of the total value, fruits contribute nearly 40 percent of the total value, tree nuts 18 percent and vegetables 42 percent.

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U.S. Potato Shipments are Similar to a Year Ago; A Look at Mexican Product Crossing into South Texas

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A1U.S. potato shipments are remaining fairly steady week to week with total shipments quite similar to a year ago….Meanwhile, here is a look at Mexican produce items crossing the border in the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

Roughly the same amount of U.S. potatoes remain in storages to be shipped from the major potato states that existed at this same time in 2017 as of February 1st.

Storages held 202.55 million cwt. (per hundredweight) at the beginning of February, compared to storages holding 203.10 million cwt. a year earlier.   Potatoes remaining to be shipped accounted for 51 percent of the volume by fall storage states, only one percent more than 2017. Potato disappearance is down three percent to 197 million cwt., and season-to-date shrink (loss of product due to quality) has also fallen, down five percent from 2017 to 15.4 million cwt.

The 13 key fall crop producing states listed in the USDA report account for 91 percent of all potato volume.

The leading potato shipping areas last week shipped about the following number of truck load equivalents:  Idaho, 1750; Colorado, 625; Columbia Basin (Washington) and Umatilla Basin (Oregon), 340; Wisconsin, 285; Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota, 250; and Nebraska, 185.

San Luis Valley of Colorado potatoes – grossing about $2400 to Chicago.

Stevens Point, WI potatoes  – grossing about $3200 to Atlanta.

Rio Grande Valley

Mexican vegetable shipments and tropical fruits are crossing the border at Pharr, in South Texas, on a fairly steady basis from week to week, although volume is not exceptionally heavy on most items.  The biggest tonnage is coming from tomatoes and avocadoes.  Both commodities are averaging about 1,000 truck loads per week.  Tomatoes consist primarily of vine ripes, followed by plum or romas.  However, keep in mind the Mexican avocado loadings will soon start declining as the season comes to an end before returning in a few months.

Mexican strawberries are amounting nearly 450 truck loads weekly, with limes have similar, but increasing volume.  Otherwise, there are watermelons and cucumbers, with a host of other items with much smaller volume.

In the Lower Rio Grande Valley, Texas grapefruit amounts to around 250 truck load weekly, with much smaller volume found with oranges.

South Texas and Mexican produce – grossing about $5700 to New York City.

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