Archive For The “Trucking Reports” Category

Loading Opportunities: CO Potatoes, CA Mandarins, MI Apples, and — Maine Broccoli

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DSCN0028While Colorado potatoes are pretty well known to produce haulers, here are some loading opportunities such as California mandarins, Michigan apples and what — broccoli from Maine!  Yep, that is right.  Check it out.

The San Luis Valley of Colorado has 51,900 acres of potatoes which is up 800 acres from last season.  Russets remain the primary spud shipped from the region, making up approximately 95 percent of the annual shipments.  

Red potatoes now account for around 5 to 7 percent of the volume, while yellows are also increasing making up nearly 10 percent of production.  Fingerlings and specialties account for about 3 percent.  Over all, annual shipments have remained steady in recent years  Last season Colorado had 14 million hundredweight (cwt) of potatoes.

Colorado potatoes – grossing about $2100 to Chicago.

Sunkist Mandarin Shipments

Sunkist Growers Inc. based in Valencia, CA will start shipping California mandarins on November 1st, and will be shipping  a lot more of the citrus this season.  Mulholland Citrus of Orange Cove, CA recently joined the Sunkist cooperative and will add 8 million 5-pound cartons to Sunkist mandarin shipments this year, doubling the volume of Sunkist from last season.  Sunkist has thousands of grower-members as part of its cooperative, which are  based in California and Arizona.

Michigan Shipper Expands

Riveridge Produce Marketing Inc. of Sparta, MI ships about 35 percent of fresh Michigan apples and how now entered the apple cider business with the opening of the new Riveridge Cider 17,400-square-foot cold storage.  The opening was September 8th starting with blended gallon and one-half gallon cider.  It includes cold pressing and bottled blended fresh apple cider, as well as varietal blends of Fuji, Gala and Honecrisp.  The new operation can bottle 30,000 gallons a day.

Maine Broccoli Shipments

Hapco Farms of Riverhead, NY has been growing and shipping Maine broccoli for over 20 years, producing in excess of one millions boxes every season from July through October.  It has eight different varieties of broccoli, depending upon the time of the year.


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Shipping Outlooks: Hurricane Damaged FL; ID Spuds, WA Apples and Imported Mangoes

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DSCN0043Here’s a shipping outlook for different areas and commodities ranging from Florida after Hurricane Irma, to Idaho potatoes, Washington apples and imported mangoes.

Florida’s projected 75 million-box orange crop may have been slashed by 40 percent or more due to Hurricane Irma, depending on where the groves are located.  Heavy losses are also are expected with grapefruit and other items.

This is the off season for many Florida vegetable shipments, but products such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and strawberries in South Florida took a big hit and replantings will result in shipments being at least a month or two if not more later than normal.

Idaho Potato Shipments

Idaho potato shipments from the season that recently ended was 12 percent over that of two years ago.  The diggings for the current crop are underway off of  308,000 acres, which is 15,000 acres less than last year.  However, Idaho will still have plenty of potatoes to haul.

Idaho potatoes – grossing about $3000 to Chicago.

Apple Shipments

Red delicious will soon lose its status as the volume leader in the Washington apple industry as the variety will amount to 25 percent of the 2017-18 crop, off about 5 percent from recent years.

Gala apples should account for 23 percent of the new crop, and is on track to surpass red delicious this season or next.  Red Delicious popularity has declined because of a number of new varieties that are considered to taste better.  Growers have been planting proprietary varieties or improved versions of varieties such as gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp and Cosmic Crisp.

Over 600,000 Honey Crisp trees were planted this year, and about 5.5 million more will go in the ground next year.  A significant reason for more Honey Crisp planting is it has a harvest window very similar to that of the Red Delicious.

Yakima Valley apples – grossing about $6600 to New York City.

Mango Imports

As Mexican mango imports seasonally decline the slack its being picked up by imports from Brazil.  Brazil’s season is expected to continue through November with a projection of approximately 8.2 million boxes  Peak imports are expected mid-September to mid-October.

As Brazilian imports wind down, imports will be available from Ecuador followed by Peru, which will take production into the new year with the return to volume from Mexico coming in March.

Mexican mangoes through Nogales – grossing about $4000 to Chicago.



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Wisconsin Potato Shipments Could be Affected by Frost; Red River Valley is Barely Underway

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Volume in terms of hundredweight is expected to be down only slightly for Wisconsin potatoes shipments this season.  Meanwhile, the Red River Valley has very limited potato shipments at this point.

Wisconsin’s potato shipments are expected be off about 5 percent this season from a year amounting to 27 million hundredweight (cwt) the 2017 18 growing. storage and shipping season.  The 2016=17 fresh volume totaled 28.5 million cwt.

Due to a late weather related planting, growers will be leaving the potatoes in the ground as long as possible to give time to gain size.  This resulted in diggings getting underway September 11th instead of September. 1st.  Updated forecasts will be needed as growers are rolling the dice a bit as the latter harvest increases the change of a damaging frost.  Wisconsin’s potato farmers normally complete harvest by October. 10th.   Digging of potatoes this fall could continue as late as October 20 to gain as much growing time as possible for a product that is gauged by weight.  Thus, growers are praying for a late frost.

Russet potatoes currently make up about 70 percent of potato shipments in the U.S., followed by red potatoes that have increase to 20 percent and yellow potatoes amounting 10 percent.  Russets also continue make up the biggest volume of Wisconsin potato shipments.

How Wisconsin  Potato Volume Ranks
Wisconsin is the nation’s third-largest potato shipping state, and ranks number one No. 1 east of the Mississippi River.  Frito Lay has become a big presence in the Badger State and accounts for 25 percent of Wisconsin’s potatoes shipped for the processing market.  Another 10 percent of the state’s potatoes are shipped as seed.

Red River Valley Potato Shipments

Shipments haven’t really ramped up yet but red potatoes from the nation’s largest “red” production region have got underway.  While red potatoes continue to grow in popularity, about 18 percent of the Valley’s fresh potato production will be yellows this fall, a number that has tripled in the last six years.



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Shipping Updates from Salinas Veggies to FL Citrus and Imported Persimmons

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DSCN9984While Salinas Valley veggie shipments have been hindered due to weather related issues, it may pale in comparison to Florida oranges after Hurricane Irma.  Also, imported Japanese persimmons to be become a reality.

Salinas Valley vegetable shipments leading up to Labor Day were paired back because of hot weather and the effects are still being felt nearly two weeks later.  When the temperature surpasses 90 degrees F. it becomes to hot for field workers, not to mention quality issues come into focus.  The result has been lighter-than-normal loadings of  leafy greens, broccoli, and cauliflower.  Caution is urged when loading, as produce haulers should look for potential heat related quality problems.

Florida Citrus vs. Irma

The wrath of Hurricane Irma is bound to be bad news for Florida citrus, especially orange that already is reeling from declining production due to citrus greening.  Florida accounts for 56 percent of U.S. citrus production and is the number one state for oranges, although the vast majority goes for processing.   Still, we’re talking about Florida’s total production for oranges in 2015 was valued at $1.17 billion.

Other top produce crops threatened by Irma are tomatoes, and green beans, although neither are in peak season.  Severe citrus crop losses seen for product exposed to hurricane force winds exceeding 85 mph.

Imported Persimmons


WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is publishing a final rule allowing the importation of fresh persimmon with calyxes (a plant part protecting the flower) from Japan.

APHIS scientists prepared a pest risk analysis and determined that commercial shipments of persimmons with calyxes produced under a systems approach can safely be imported into the continental United States. The systems approach includes requirements for packing house registration, orchard monitoring and control of pests, fruit culling, biometric sampling, a phytosanitary certificate with additional declaration, port of entry inspection and traceback. These measures will protect our country against the introduction of plant pests.


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Sweet Potato Shipments for New Season are Just Getting Started

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DSCN9997U.S. domestic sweet potato shipments of the new crop started recently from two of the leading states, North Carolina and Louisiana.

Loading opportunities for sweet potatoes should be similar this season compared to a year ago from the top volume state of North Carolina, as well as from Louisiana.   The harvest got underway in late August by some companies, while getting started in early September with others.  Assuming the product is cured before shipping, this mean the hauling season has barely started.

Observers believe there are around 3.1 billion pounds of sweet potatoes to be shipped during the season that lasts about a year from approximately August to August.

SMP Southeast/Edmonson Farms, Vardaman, MS has added 350-400 acres this season with its beauregard, bellevue and orleans varieties.

Wayne E. Bailey Produce Co., Chadbourn, N.C., began its harvest the latter part of  August, about a week earlier than last year and hopes to wrap up digging by the end of October.

Some sweet potatoes from this past season are still being shipped from storage as is the case with Ham Produce Co. Inc., Snow Hill, N.C.  It should complete shipments of the old crop by the end of  September, while transiting to its 2017 crop.

Potato and sweet potato shipper Wada Farms Marketing Group LLC, of Idaho Falls, ID markets sweet potatoes for some growers in sweet potato producing states.  Its growers started harvesting around the start of September.

Kornegay Family Produce, Princeton, N.C., began harvesting around Labor Day.

Meanwhile, Southern Produce Distributors Inc., Faison, N.C., launched its harvest the first week of September with the covington variety and planned to start digging murasakis, an increasingly popular purple-skin, white-flesh Asian variety, three weeks later.

Garber Farms, Iota, LA., was on a similar path to getting its season underway and like other areas, was reporting good, quality sweet potatoes.



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Northwest Pears are Similar in Volume to Last Year; New Pear Variety is Coming

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DSCN0035Volume and loading opportunities for Northwest pears should be similar to last season.

If the forecast holds this should translate into early variety pears shipped for the summer and fall pear season in 2016 being down 3 percent, followed by winter pear volume that continues well in 2017 being up 2 percent.

Rainier Fruit of Selah, WA, as well as most other pear growers started shipping bartlets in mid August and anjouis in early Septembers, about two to three weeks later than last season.

The Pear Bureau Northwest projects shipments near 18 million boxes, down about 9 percent from the five-year average.  The forecast for loading opportunities improved a little from the June 2 estimate, which predicted volume would be down about 2 percent from last season.

Probably the biggest change is Bosc shipments are projected to decline by 19 percent from last season and a 16 percent drop from the five-year average.

New Pear Variety

WENATCHEE, Wash. — Oneonta Starr Ranch Growers of Wenatchee, WA will have limited shipments this season of Gem, a new pear variety, which is about five years away from full production.  The limited volume will be shared this season with retail customers and a few consumers to start gathering some feedback on the fruit.

The pear is expected to be a relatively convenient offering compared to other options in the category, meaning it can be eaten out of hand.  The taste is said to be more like a Bartlett, but a little spicier type taste to it.  A lot of times with pears one has to wait for it to change color or check the neck to gauge its ripeness.  Another appeal with the Gem is it does not instantly brown when cut.  This could possibly lead to value-added opportunities such as packaged pear slices, which has become so popular with apples.

Oneonta markets fruit for Diamond Fruit Growers of Hood River, OR.





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Eastern Apple Shipments Should Show an Increase for the Second Straight Year

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DSCN0030A second consecutive increase in apple shipments from all of the Eastern states has been predicted by a recent USDA forecast.

New York state us the second-largest apple shipping state in America and has an estimated volume for this season of 28.5 million 42-pound carton equivalents.  This is a two percent increase over 2016’s 28.1 million cartons, but well below 30 million-plus production of the three season of 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Pennsylvania the  second-largest apple shipper among the Eastern states and is forecast to have 11.7 million cartons, which would be up 11 percent over 2016’s 10.5 million cartons.  Virginia’s estimate is 5.2 million cartons, up a whopping 22 percent over a year-ago when volume stood at 4.3 million boxes. Virginia avoided a devastating spring freeze, unlike a year ago, so it should ship way more fruit this year.

West Virginia is predicted to have 2.2 million cartons, which  is 18 percent higher than the 1.9 million cases from last year.

But to put this in perspective, Washington state should ship 159.5 million cartons of apples in 2017, down eight percent from the 174.3 million cartons in 2016.  Meanwhile, Michigan’s estimate is 19 million cartons, off 32 percent from nearly 28 million a year ago.

In the Gardners, PA areas the first harvested apples of the season took place the week of August 7th with, ginger golds, while galas and Honeycrisps followed within days.

New Eastern Apple Varieties

In New York two of the newest apple varieties are on the brink of major shipping increases.  Crunch Time Apple Growers of Wolcott, NY, a grower cooperative, which has 145 growers, and ships about 60 percent of the apples in New York.  It expects to load 100,000-boxes for the first time this season, which will be the fourth year for SnapDragon and fifth for RubyFrost.  This would nearly double the shipments this season for these varieties.  The new crop of SnapDragons will be on the market in the fall, with RubyFrost shipping out of storage in January.

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Shipping Updates for California Kiwifruit; Mango imports; U.S. Apples

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DSCN0005The first shipping forecast for California kiwifruit has been issued, while we take a look at coming mango imports, and domestic apples loading opportunities.

California kiwifruit shipments are expected to be off only a little from a year ago when California growers produced 31,324 tons.  An initial forecast this season, which is called by some “conservative,” estimates there will 30,449 tons of kiwi.  About 98 percent of the U.S.-grown kiwifruit is produced in California.

Around 80 percent of of the crop is shipped to domestic markets, while some fruit exported, primarily to Mexico, Canada and Japan.

California kiwifruit shipments occur from late September until April

Western Fresh Marketing Services Inc.,  of Madera, CA. should start initial shipments the third or fourth week of September.

The Flavor Tree Fruit Co. LLC, Hanford, CA., will have 86 acres of gold kiwifruit grown under large tents this season as the company plans to ship about 50,000 cartons of gold kiwifruit from October until January and possibly February.

Mexican Mango Imports

Imported mangoes from Mexico should continue through September.  Light volumes of imported mangoes from Brazil are now arriving at U.S. ports.  Brazilian mango imports will peak in mid October and run until November, with a projected 7.8 million boxes.

Meanwhile, Through the week ending Aug. 12th, Mexico had shipped about 67.9 million boxes, up from about 66 million boxes through the same week in 2016.

 Apple Shipments

The U.S. Apple Association projects a 248.3 million carton crop for 2017-18, which would be 8 percent smaller than last year, but right on the 5-year average.

“There’s every reason to be optimistic about this year’s apple crop,” said Mark Nicholson, co-owner of Red Jacket Orchards, Geneva, N.Y.

The estimate is only 400,000 42-pound cartons lower than the USDA estimate from a few weeks ago.  The estimate came at the conclusion of the association’s annual Apple Crop Outlook and Marketing Conference, August 24-25 in Chicago.

The Washington crop is estimated at 159.5 million cartons, 1 percent higher than the 5-year average but 8 percent smaller than last season.  New York’s crop is estimated at 28 million cartons, 1 percent above the 5-year average and nearly the same as last year’s production.


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Higher Volume Tomato Shipments Coming Soon from Baja, Southern and Northern California

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DSCN0001From South of the border in Baja California to just above the U.S., Mexican border and then up north in the San Joaquin Valley, good volume tomato shipments are coming soon.

Although Baja California tomato shipments have been under way since April, the seasonal increase in volume of Mexican tomatoes crossing the U.S. border at Otay Mesa, CA has just started.

August is typically a slower month, primarily since growers don’t plant as much because there will be homegrown garden tomatoes and regional production in the summer.  When those summer tomatoes start fading, the larger commercial farmers come back for a fall season.

Everything from conventional and organic roma tomatoes as well as heirloom tomatoes and organic round tomatoes from Baja California started in June.

Higher volume shipments from this area south of San Diego in Mexico will ramp up in mid-October and continue into mid-January.

California Tomato Shipments

Meanwhile, shipments are also is underway north of the U.S. Mexican border.

West Coast Tomato Growers LLC, of Oceanside, CA, started shipping romas and round tomatoes in July, and supplies are expected to last into November.  The company has increased its roma production 50 percent this season.

A decade ago, there were a handful of tomato growers in San Diego County, but now West Coast is the lone survivor.  A primary reason is land values for home and commercial real estate, combined with the increase in Baja production.  Labor and production costs also are cheaper south of the border.

Although the Baja California tomato farming production continues to increase, there is competition from California’s San Joaquin Valley.  The valley has bee shipping tomatoes since the second week of June and will continue until the first week of November.

Hot summer weather in northern California led to below-average yields and some quality issues, but by September more favorable weather is expected that should result in better volume and quality out of northern California.

Northern California tomatoes – grossing about $4000 to Chicago.






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Fall Shipping Update from Pumpkins to Hard Squash, Ornamentals, and Grapes

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DSCN8844Favorable weather across much of the United States is resulting in good loading opportunities for pumpkins and other fall items.  Meanwhile an update on California grape shipments shows the best is yet to come.

Pumpkins are grown in almost every state and shippers in most areas see a good crop of pumpkins and hard squash for the upcoming season. Since these items are grown in so many states, most loads are regional or local.
While pumpkins are an American Halloween tradition, good volume typically occurs after after October 31st.   Pumpkin shipments typically are brisk following Halloween as Americans prepare for Thanksgiving.
For example, Frey Farms in Keenes, Ill., started shipping its fall pumpkins the last week of August. Besides regular pumpkins, the company sells painted pumpkins as an in-and-out item and pumpkin tattoo kits – food-safe transfers that enable consumers to “paint” a pumpkin in a minute.
Van Groningen & Sons Inc. Manteca, CA starts shipping pumpkin and ornamentals around Labor Day.
Todd Greiner Farms of Hart, MI began shipping  pumpkins, squash and ornamentals in late August.
Jackson Melons Inc., of Henderson, TX will start shipping carving pumpkins right after Labor Day.
Pumpkin Pyle of Floydada, TX  is shipping pumpkins, squash and ornamentals, which will continue through until about October 20th.
California Grape Shipments
The California table grape shipments continues through the summers and by season’s end at the end of the year, maybe January, is projected at 111.4 million 19-pound boxes.
California grape  shippers loaded 108.9 million 19-pound box equivalents, about 40 percent of which was moved from May through August.  With the end of August, 60 percent of the overall crop had been shipped in 2016, but the season should last into January.
Over 85 varieties are grown in California, with the leading varieties being scarlet royal, autumn king, flame seedless, crimson seedless and sugraone.  About 93 percent of the state’s grapes are seedless.
With California grape crop in 2016, 36 percent of the fruit was exported, mostly to Canada, Mexico, China, the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan.

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