Archive For The “Trucking Reports” Category

Mushroom Shipments Rebounding after Pandemic-Related Shortages

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Mushroom shipments in the U.S. and Canadian are slowly starting to increase after growers curtailed planting in response to a huge drop in sales when COVID-19 hit in March.

South Mill Champs of Kennett Square, PA notes there have been extensive shortages of mushrooms because of the disruption of the foodservice market as a result of COVID-19. Shipments still remain significantly lower than a year ago, but meeting demand during what is typically the slowest time of the year for mushroom sales.

To-Jo Mushrooms of Avondale, PA., reports it had minimal supply interruptions, although there were challenges with fluctuations in demand. Since mid July more consistent shipments have been occurring.

Highline Mushrooms of Leamington, Ontario, reports it has maintained very strong and consistent demand from retail for mushrooms recently, making it difficult to maintain adequate supply for the demand.

Phillips Mushroom Farms of Kennett Square, PA notes when COVID-19 hit, it did not reduce growing or harvesting projections very much beyond normal seasonal changes, and demand has remained strong throughout COVID.

Ostrom Mushroom Farms of Olympia, WA., has reported frustrations because the company was in the process of moving production about 220 miles away to Sunnyside, WA., where an all-new workforce had to be trained under trying circumstances.

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Washington Apple Shipments Forecast is Similar to Last Season

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Washington apple shipments for the 2020 fresh crop are forecast at 134 million 40-pound cartons, nearly the same as the 2019 crop of 133.9 million cartons, reports the Washington State Tree Fruit Association of Yakima.

“The 2020 Washington state apple crop looks to be similar in size to last year’s,” Jon DeVaney, association president, said in a news release. “Harvest is underway and growers anticipate being able to meet strong consumer demand with an ample and high-quality harvest. Our members are growing large crops, but with more varieties to choose from and while continuing to raise the already high standards of quality that domestic and international consumers have come to expect.”

For the second year in a row, gala variety apples will be the biggest volume variety. Galas will account for 23 percent of the state’s crop, compared with 17 percent for red delicious, 14 percent for fuji, 13 percent each for Honeycrisp and granny smith and 5 percent for cripps pink.

The surging Cosmic Crisp variety will account for about 1.2 percent of the total crop.

Organic apple production is predicted to hit to 21 million cartons, or 16 percent of the fresh crop. That compares with organic production of 15 million cartons in 2019.

The fresh apple forecast is based on a survey of association members.

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U.S. Imports of South African Citrus are Rising Sharply

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South African citrus imports have risen sharply this season, increasing between 15 and 38 percent over last year.

Summer Citrus from South Africa reports it became clear early in the season consumers in the northern hemisphere wanted citrus products because they are a great source of vitamin C.

It now appears that South Africa’s soft citrus such as naartjies and clementines are doing well, and oranges are particularly sought after by US consumers.

The Citrus Growers Association reports the South African citrus industry expects to export about 140 million cartons this year, compared with 127 million last year. The increase is due to the new cultivation of soft citrus and lemons that has begun bearing fruit.

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B.C Blueberry Shipments Struggle; Quality is a Concern

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British Columbia blueberry shipments are taking a hit this summer due to weather factors adversely affecting quality, as well as a labor shortage.

Caution is urged when loading the fruit due to possible rain related quality issues. Shipments normally last through September.

Westberry Farms of Abbotsford, B.C. reports blueberry growers in Canada’s British Columbia are facing serious challenges as poor weather and labor shortages have created difficult conditions for harvesting.

The harvest started in mid-July and producers have struggled to salvage their fruit and maintain normal production levels. B.C. blueberry shipments are forecast down significantly from 200 million pounds in 2019. While it may be hard to predict how low volumes may end up, weather-related issues from cool and wet weather along with serious flooding in some fields along the Fraser River have made it difficult for picking machines to get out and harvest.

Fraser Berry Farms has expressed concerns about the quality of fruit from excessive rainfall.

British Columbia’s blueberry industry has more than 25,000 acres in production and demands large amounts of labor. The Covid-19 pandemic, according to the Grower’s organization, has made labor availability few and far between. A dip in the workforce of more than 50 percent – especially for handpicking – has created real problems.

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California Avocado Shipments May Hit 400 Million Pounds

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While total avocado volume is small compared to Mexico, California avocado shipments for 2020 is expected to reach nearly 400 million pounds — nearly an 85 percent increase over last year.

Loadings are expected to continue into September with limited volume extending into October.

This year’s crop has benefited both from naturally being a larger crop in the alternate-bearing cycle and excellent growing conditions.

This year’s crop has benefited both from naturally being a larger crop in the alternate-bearing cycle and excellent growing conditions.

Henry Avocado Corp. of Escondido, CA has finished its avocado program in the southern part of California, but will continue to ship from the north,  in August through October.

Shipments will take place in Ventura County, transition to the Santa Barbara/Goleta area and then move northeast into the Santa Maria area and as far as Morro Bay and the San Luis Obispo.

The company points out it takes longer to grow in the northern area, so they have fruit available later in the summer and into the early fall, depending on the size of the crop.

Eco Farms of Temecula, CA, report loadings to retail supermarkets made up for the company’s drop in foodservice business that resulted from restaurant closures prompted by the corona virus pandemic.

California’s avocado season actually peaks in May and June, before the official start of summer. Peak weeks for California this year were the last week of April and the first week of May. May was the biggest month for California avocado shipments.

The market needed avocados at that time because Peruvian imports were late arriving in the U.S.

Del Rey Avocado Co. Inc. of Fallbrook, CA expects Del Rey to finish its California shipments in mid-October, about a month later than most other shippers.


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Peruvian Asparagus Imports are Headed for Peak in September

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U.S. imports of Peruvian asparagus arrive year-round, but peak supplies are expected beginning in September and continuing through the end of the year.

Importers say volume will be flat to slightly lower, in part because of COVID-19 stresses on labor and transportation.

Crystal Valley Foods of Miami, FL imports Peruvian asparagus from Peru year-round, although it typically peaks in the fall from September/October through December.

The USDA reports the four-year volume compound annual growth for Peruvian asparagus from September through January is relatively flat at 1.6 percent.

Southern Specialties of Pompano Beach, FL is receiving lower volumes from Peru compared to the same period last year, with blame pointed at the COVID-19 virus. However, the company has seen volume pick up in August.

Through mid-July, U.S. imports of Peruvian asparagus were 28.5 million pounds, down 40 percent from 48.4 million pounds.

Alter Produce of Calexico says the actions of the Peru government related to COVID-19 could affect the flow of product the balance of the year, because there is no real clear answer. The import outlook is really up in the air depending on how the Peruvian government decides to deal with the pandemic.

But the bottom line is Peruvian growers will be forced to harvest their fields, otherwise they will miss the window before Mexico comes in with big volume in early 2021.

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Wisconsin Potato Shipments Underway with Normal Volume

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Wisconsin potato shipments remain light as the harvest has recently started. Good, steady volume is expected in September.

Farmers Potato Exchange of Antigo, WI started digging chip potatoes in late July and tablestock potatoes about two weeks ago.

Alsum Farms & Produce of Friesland, WI believes this may one of the best crops in years with 90 percent of the fields being average or above average for reds, gold and russets.

The company started with red and gold potatoes the last week of July and russets August 12th.

Okray Family Farms of Plover, WI reports Wisconsin’s potato production is located in the state’s 1.75 million-acre Central Sands region, which rests on deposits of sand and gravel.

Grower-shipper RPE Inc. of Bancroft, WI. expects a good potato crop, which has started on time.

Gumz Muck Farms LLC of Endeavor, WI notes potato quality is above average with good size and started harvest over a week ago.

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San Joaquin Valley Grape Shipments Moving in Steady Volume

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California table grapes are in full swing for 2020 with fruit shipping a little faster than previous seasons and following slightly lower volumes in the Coachella Valley.

Grape shippers are looking at what it considers a new normal volume for 2020. The two major grape-producing regions of the state, the Coachella and San Joaquin Valleys ship 99 percent of the nation’s commercially grown table grapes.

The transition between the Coachella and San Joaquin Valleys was smooth with the demand likely a reflection of shorter volumes from the Coachella Valley and Mexico and excellent San Joaquin Valley fruit quality.

The California Table Grape Commission estimates 104.9 million 19-pound boxes will be shipped this year. This means the 2020 estimate is the same volume as was harvested in 2019.

This season there will be a few new table grape varieties, even if their availability doesn’t impact volume all that much over all. The top 15 varieties harvested in 2019 represented 75 percent of the shipments.

Grapes and stone fruit – grossing about $5400 to Chicago.

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Mexico Reduces Forecast for Berry Exports to U.S.

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Mexican berry exports will be down from originally forecast to its leading market this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but is still expecting an increase over 2019.

National Association of Exporters of Berries (Aneberries), reports the country had expected a double digit rise in exports to North America. But in light of the pandemic, it now expects Mexico to see a 5 percent increase over last season in berry exports.

The industry currently has more than 116,000 acres of crops in 22 states and it exports over 400,000 metric tons (MT) each year, a figure that represents $2.5 billion to Mexico. However, 97.5 percent of exports are concentrated in the United States and Canada, so Mexico is looking to diversify into other markets, mainly in Asia and the Middle East.

The primary challenges to gain a foothold of these markets are logistics and commercial relationships. Berry exports must be shipped by air, especially raspberries and blackberries. However, the pandemic has interrupted intercontinental flights.

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Peruvian Blueberry Exports Predicted to Increase 25 Percent to U.S.

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The Peruvian blueberry industry is expecting a huge 40 percent rise in exports this season to about 165,000 metric tons (MT).

The South American country overtook Chile last season becoming the world’s largest exporter of fresh blueberries, sending 120,000MT to overseas markets. The Peruvian blueberry association ProArandanos reports peak volumes were forecast for early November, when a little over 10,000MT of fruit is expected to be shipped.

Asian countries are set to receive the biggest increase in percentage terms, with exports to the region due to double over last year. Meanwhile, exports to Europe are expected to increase by 50 percent, and to the U.S. by 25 percent. Peru exports about half of its blueberry volume to the U.S., 30 percent to Europe, 15 percent to Asia and the remaining 5 percent to other countries in South America, as well as the Middle East and the Caribbean.

Peru expects to export to Taiwan for the first time this coming season, having gained market access in March. The country began its export season in May, with shipments to Brazil and Thailand.

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