Archive For The “Trucking Reports” Category

Good Volume with Peruvian Asparagas and Chilean Avocados; Washington Organic Apples to Have Big Increase

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DSCN0832Imported Asparagus from Peru and imported avocados from Chile should have good volume this season, while a big increase is seen for Washington state organic apples.

Peru has year-round asparagus production, but peak imports by the U.S. is October through December.

Imports from Peru will be increase as competing countries producing asparagus complete their seasons.  Domestic production  from New Jersey and Michigan will end in another week, resulting in demand for Peruvian asparagus, which will continue to improve and should remain steady through the end of the year.

Peru accounted for about half of all U.S. asparagus imports in 2017, compared with 47 percent from Mexico. Peru exports asparagus to the U.S. year-round, with peak shipments from September through December.

Both Crystal Valley Foods of Miami and Carb Americas of Fort Lauderdale noted last summer most asparagus was being sourced New Jersey, Canada, Michigan, Washington and Mexico.  With the arrival of fall, U.S. importers are turning to Peru for supplies.

Chilean Avocados

While it may be too early to predict how many imported avocados from Chile will occur,  volume is expected to by up slightly from the 66 million pounds a year ago.  The first Chilean avocados arrived a couple of weeks in the U.S.  Consistent, steady imports of Chilean avocados are expected into the early spring of 2019.

Washington Organic Apples

A 40 percent increase in organic apples from Washington states is expected this season.  Volume is predicted to reach nearly 19 million bushels.  Organic apple shipments from Washington have been setting records the las several years.  The previous record was a little over 13 million boxes.

The first estimates last August predicted total Washington apple shipments of around 131 million 40-pound boxes for the 2018 season, a 2 percent decrease in volume from last year.  This should result in the third or fourth largest Washington apple crop on record.

Washington apples shipments – grossing about $4800 to Dallas.

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Argentina Blueberry Imports by U.S. Should be Lower as Competition Increases

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A337While imported Argentina blueberries are arriving at U.S. ports, boat arrivals will be heaviest during October and November, before winding down by the end of the year.

The country typically exports about 65 percent of its total volume to the U.S., but that could decline about 10 percent  this year, due to increased competition from Peru.

The first “blues” arrived by air in early September.

Argentina exporter Hortifrut Expofresh reports the country’s blueberry exports to the U.S. should approach 11,000 metric tons, similar to a year ago.  Argentina will ship more organic blueberries this season, plus should have more volume of blueberries by sea container compared to last season.

Argentina exporters will be sending more fruit to the U.S. by boat via Chile this year, which has a transit time of 17 days.  In total, it is estimated about 35 percent of Argentina blueberries will be exported to the U.S. by sea containers this year.

Wish Farms of Plant City, FL reports the addition of Savannah as a port to receive Argentina blueberries is expected to increase shipments by boat. Fruit shipped by vessel can be cold treated instead of fumigated. Since fumigation isn’t allowed for organic fruit, cold treatment is important for that category to grow.

Wish Farms notes the quality of Argentina fruit is expected to be outstanding with really good taste.

Argentina exported about $58 million in fresh blueberries to the U.S. in 2017, compared with $79.7 million in 2016 and $62.5 million in 2016. U.S. imports of organic Argentina blueberries totaled $7.7 million in 2017, up from $5.6 million in 2016.

Gourmet Trading Co. of Los Angeles reports said the season looks good, with a favorable exchange rate expected to benefit exporters.  A normal winter after a warm fall in the growing regions has occurred.  However, spring temperatures were cooler than normal.

Argentina is experiencing its first exports to China between September and December this year.




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NC Sweet Potato Shipments will Suffer Significantly from Hurricane Florence

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A14Damage resulting from Hurricane Florence could cut North Carolina sweet potato shipments by as much as 35 percent, at least with one early estimate.  Better estimates may not be available for weeks.

Vick Family Farms of Wilson, N.C  was expecting to resume the week harvest the week of September 24th when fields should dry.  The grower-shipper had completed harvesting about 35 percent of its crop before the massive storm hit.

Farming operation near Wilson, N.C., received about 10 to 12 inches of rain, while southern and southeastern parts of the state east of Wilson received 30 to 40 inches of rain. The farm and packinghouse never lost power.  The Vick operation is guessing it has lost 25 to 35 percent of its production, while growing regions south and east potentially suffering greater damage.

The North Carolina sweet potato harvest usually finishes harvest by November or when there is a heavy frost.  Thus, how much of the crop is harvested will affect volume this season.  Whether post hurricane harvested sweet potatoes will have good storage quality is another concern. Effects from the hurricane are expected to be felt for the next 12 months.

Product harvested prior to Florence has been cured and is being shipped.

The USDA reports season-to-date shipments of North Carolina sweet potatoes totaled only 200,000 pounds through September 15th, off from 7.8 million pounds the same time a year ago.

Nearly all U.S. sweet potatoes are shipped by truck and for the 2017 shipping season North Carolinas accounted for 72.9 percent of the volume, Mississippi 11.7 percent, California 11.6 percent and Louisiana 3.8 percent.

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Massive Amounts of Cranberries Could be Dumped This Season

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A12Huge amounts of cranberries could be dumped this season or diverted to other places such as a charity institutions as production has soared in recent years.  Light loadings of fresh cranberries are underway.

At the same time cranberry growers are pushing the USDA to bail them by having the feds slash the amount of fruit that can be sold for the 2018-19 shipping season by about 25 percent.

The USDA published a proposed rule last Apple upon the recommendation of the Cranberry Marketing Committee, which would limit the quantity of cranberries from the 2018-19 crop a handler may purchase from growers.  The bottom line is hope the recommendation will artificially prop up prices for growers.

Because of the USDA’s perceived inability to act upon the recommendation, frustration is running high in the cranberry trade.  Most of issues actually involve cranberries destined for markets other than fresh.  Fresh cranberry shipments, which represent only a small percentage of total production, should remain relatively stable this season.

The Cranberry Marketing Committee’s proposal divert fruit from the U.S. commercial market could be sold to foreign markets (except Canada), be given to charitable institutions, provide nonhuman food use or simply be used as compost in the field.

Soaring inventories of processed cranberries led to the recommendation.

In 2011, existing cranberry inventories were around 4.6 million barrels, but that increased to 9.9 million barrels at the end of the 2016-17 season.

By the end of the 2017-18 season, inventories are projected to be approximately 10.9 million barrels, the proposal said. Inventories as a percentage of total sales have also been increasing from approximately 50 percent in 2010 to approximately 103 percent in 2016, and could reach an anticipated 115 percent after the 2017-18 season. These inventories have had a depressing effect on grower prices, which for many growers have fallen below their cost of production.

Fresh cranberry shipments won’t be compromised.

The proposal, put forward by the Cranberry Marketing Committee in a February vote, would establish a marketable quantity of 7.275 million barrels and a grower allotment percentage of 75 percent based on their historical production. The proposal exempts organic cranberries.

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Trucking Issues are a Factor in NY Apple Shippers Joining Forces

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DSCN0834by New York Apple Sales & Red Jacket Orchards

Glenmont, N.Y.  – This spring, the principals of Red Jacket Orchards (Geneva, N.Y.) and New York Apple Sales, Inc. (Glenmont, N.Y.) agreed to join their fresh apple marketing programs to provide better trucking service and more opportunities for their customers.

Red Jacket Orchards (RJO) is a powerhouse in the All Natural, Cold Pressed Juice and Cider category, and has built up the Red Jacket® brand in the beverage and fresh apple category over multiple family generations. New York Apple Sales (NYAS), likewise, is a multigenerational family business that has built a reputation for delivering high-quality apples to large retailers nationally as well as internationally.

“Bringing our two sales forces together to better serve the apple and juice markets only makes sense.  Presently, we are serving customers at the same time with either fresh apples or fresh juice, and with today’s increasing pressure on trucking logistics combining our orders will greatly benefit both of our customers,” commented Mark Nicholson, Fresh Business President and Co-owner of RJO.  “Our plan is for the RJO sales force to continue managing the juice sales, while NYAS will focus on the fresh apple category.  Both teams will continue to concentrate on what they do best.  Additionally, NYAS’s much larger distribution network will be a huge benefit for both our companies, and more importantly for our customers,” Nicholson added.

Mike Messler, Production and Logistics manager for New York Apple Sales said, “because of new federal regulations trucking can be a huge problem today. The cost of trucking is increasing while the availability of trucks is decreasing. Any consolidation of orders will benefit us all.

Also, the RJO juice plant is within 35 miles of the NYAS packing operation where the RJO apples will be packed.”

“RJO has built its brand for fresh apples for decades, and over the years has developed a sizeable following in New York City and other regional markets. We are pleased to now be able to continue the brand penetration with the RJO label in their existing markets as well as expanding into new markets,” commented John Cushing, VP of Sales for NYAS. “We are excited about having the RJO fresh apple brand in our wheelhouse. Already I can see the synergies that will take place with customers we are both serving. They do juice, we do apples. It is a great fit!  In the future we expect that we can expand both categories.”

“Both of our companies have deep roots in the New York Apple industry. My Step-dad, Marty Michelson, founder of New York Apple Sales, and Joe Nicholson of RJO were both industry leaders in the N.Y. apple Industry. Both Joe and Marty were individual entrepreneurs, but they both shared a common goal to grow New York State’s apple industry.  With our two companies working together today, we are continuing that goal,” said Kaari Stannard, owner of New York Apple Sales.

The Nicholson brothers couldn’t agree more. “The transition of a family business from one generation to the next is fraught with challenge, however, we just completed the most recent step in that process when Mark and I purchased our father’s portion of the company. Similar to how he spearheaded the company’s growth from a roadside retailer into a commercial apple grower, packer, and shipper after our grandfather retired in the early 1980’s, we have set our strategic goals high as well. Mark and I are intent on building a world class beverage company that is also well grounded in the production of its main raw ingredient in the apple orchard,” commented Brian Nicholson, CEO and Co-owner of RJO. “After examining the opportunities afforded by packing, selling, and distributing through NYAS, and specifically their Pomona Packing partners in Wolcott, N.Y., we decided to cease our fresh apple packing operations in Geneva and move our apples there,” added Brian. RJO will continue to pack summer fruits at their Geneva location.

About New York Apple Sales, Inc.

NYAS teams up with multiple growers and packing facilities located in all the major growing regions in New York State. Our goal is to deliver the best selection, competitive pricing, and superior fruit all year long.

About Red Jacket Orchards

Located in the beautiful Finger Lakes Region of New York State along the rolling hills of Seneca Lake, RJO has mastered the art of harvesting and pressing premium fruits and juices! Three generations of the Nicholson family have grown apples and summer fruits, including berries, currants, cherries, peaches, plums and the largest apricot orchard on the East Coast. Founded in 1958, what began as a local apple farm has grown to a 600-acre family orchard. In addition to producing fresh fare, we offer a range of cold-pressed, all-natural juices and pantry items.

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Mexican Avocado Shipments will be Lighter Through September

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DSCN0866Fewer Mexican avocado shipments are expected through September as there will be a transition from the old to the new crop.

Mission Produce Inc. of Oxnard, CA expects both the size of the fruit as well as the tonnage out of Mexico to be off a little through most of the month of September as the industry moves into the flora loca — or off-bloom — avocado crop, which bridges the gap between the old crop and the aventajada crop, which will get underway in the fall.

The company does not expect to see huge tonnage from the flora loca crop, although the fruit size should be fairly normal, but will lean toward the smaller sizes.

Although finding big fruit was a challenge in August and continues to be in September, for a driver hauling product, it doesn’t matter.

There also is expected to be higher quality avocados from the flora loca crop, than with the old crop, where the percentage of No. 2-grade fruit exceeded 20 percent.

Calavo Growers Inc. of Santa Paula, CA  has noted the current summer crop from Mexico is pretty good, but it is not great.  However, the company expects to see good volume out of Mexico this fall, similar to last year.

 2016 was the first year Mexico had a smaller crop for export to the U.S., and now Mexico is  coming back with its second good crop in a row.

The Giumarra Cos. of Los Angeles observes the Mexico avocado season has several blooms, allowing the country to ship product the year-round.  As a result, Giumarra and many other U.S. avocado shippers rely heavily on Mexico.

Currently, California avocado shipments are winding down as the season comes to a close.  Meanwhile, the Mexican flora loca crop is comparatively light.  This is very typical as July, August and September always have fewer avocado shipments.


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Mango Imports are Arriving from Brazil, Haiti as Mexico Season End is Near

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ChiquitaBoatBrazilian mango shipments are underway, although purposely a little later than previous years.

Amazon Produce Network of Vineland, NJ has noted Brazil exporters delayed shipments to the U.S. .  Initial arrivals to the U.S.  have started arriving since Labor Day. The delay was possible as growers did not induce flowering as early as in past seasons.  Total volume is estimated be only 1 percent lower than 2017.

Brazilian mango shipments are projected at 7.8 million boxes for the season with the season ending in mid December.


J&C Tropicals of Miami, FL report mango shipping delays because of weather in both Haiti and Mexico.

Overall mango volume from Haiti are down 48 percent from the same time last year, with roughly 1.47 million boxes this year compared to 2.17 million in 2017.

Hurricanes in 2017 that were followed by heavy rains adversely affected the trees and the flowering stage.  Because the season was launched late the 2018 season extended through the first week of September, compared to the 2017 season that ended at the end of July.


Weather has also affected Mexican mango exports.

As for the northern Sinaloa area, it made its annual switch of varieties from kents to keitts, exports slowed.  Southern Sinaloa this season was extremely dry cutting the length of season compared to a year ago.  Exports should are now returning to normal volume.

Currently Mexican mango exports are 3 percent higher than a year ago at 69.65 million boxes compared to 67.84 million boxes in 2017.  Mexico’s season begins in southern states (Chiapas, Oaxaca, Michoacan and Guerrero) followed by the northern states (Colima, Jalisco, Nayarit and Sinaloa).
As with any perishable produce commodity, weather related issues can suddenly adversely affect crops, but observers are reporting any such issues affecting the crop.

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California Pears Shipments for Fall Better than Originally Expected

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DSCN0840by California Pear Advisory Board

Sacramento, CA — With pear shipments higher than originally anticipated and ongoing harvest of multiple varieties, the California pear industry is perfectly positioned for fall.

“California Bartlett pear volume is coming in over 15 percent higher than the pre-season crop estimate,” said Chris Zanobini, executive director of the California Pear Advisory Board. “Quality and sizing have been exceptional for the fresh market and we are expecting strong availability through the fall.”

Zanobini said that as of August 21, California shippers have packed 1.6 million boxes of Bartletts and 300,000 boxes of Golden Bosc, Comice, French Butter and a number of red pear varieties.
“Bartlett harvest in the mountain districts is about halfway through and other varietal harvest is just beginning with strong availability of all varieties available now and through the fall,” said Zanobini. “Record high sugars and firm pressures are resulting in great shipping and eating pears this season.”

California pears are shipping throughout the country.

The organization has a strong social media program and is partnering with several chains to tell the story of local pear farmers like Chuck Baker, depicted in a video currently being shared with consumers and retailers as part of the Pear Advisory Board’s social marketing program.

All efforts are aimed at telling consumers the story of California pears which are sustainably raised by pear farming families who are growing pears on the same land as their great-great grandparents. This story is shared on the organization’s website various and social media channels

“September is officially Farm-to-Fork month in Sacramento – which bills itself as America’s Farm-to-Fork capital,” explained Zanobini.  “With the strong volume and good quality now available, California pears are perfectly positioned for promotions throughout the months of September and October. We are pushing hard for support among California retailers whose customers demand locally-grown products when they are in season.”


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California Grape Shipments are Looking Very Good Through Thanksgiving

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A36California grape shipments got off to a slow start last spring for a number of reasons, but excellent volume and quality with not shipping gaps are seen through Thanksgiving.

Fruit Royale of Dinuba, CA describes the season as now being “off to the races.”  There was a small overlap with Mexico, which slowed the start of the California grape shipments, plus hot weather in August slowed coloring of red and black grapes.

King Fresh Produce Inc. of Dinuba, CA, has estimated that California will ship 120 million cartons of fresh table grapes this season, 10 percent increase over the 109 million cartons shipped in 2017.  This includes heavy volume with red, red, green and black grapes through Thanksgiving.

Chuck Olsen Co. of Visalia, CA, sees a crop of 110 million to 114 million cartons being shipped and is pleased with overall fruit quality and a good set.

Olsen explained that the natural shatter, which is a self-thinning process, was excellent this year producing large, loose grape bunches. “We have the makings of a very nice crop that is eating very well.”

Jasmine Vineyards Inc. of Delano, CA, also sees the San Joaquin Valley as being excellent, with uninterrupted supplies well into December.  Although there was a slow start to the season, shipments picked up nicely in mid-August and peak loadings should continue into latter October.

Grapeman Farms, which markets it grapes through Stevco of Los Angeles is equally optimistic.  It has reported quality as “phenomenal,” dispite a lot of hot weather in July and August,  However, the growing season leading up to harvest was been perfect.

San Joaquin Valley grapes – grossing about $4100 to Dallas.

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Rains Benefit New York State Apples for the New Season

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DSCN0830By New York Apple Sales

Storms and severe rains – that settled in over upstate and central New York in mid August caused massive flooding and damage to property, but for the apple crop, the rain was a benefit. Most growing areas were not in the path of the heaviest downpours, as much as 9 inches in certain areas, but rather received between .5 and up to 4.5 inches. Those amounts were perfect for apples.

New York Apple Sales is the largest and most geographically diverse shipper in the Eastern US.  “Having orchards and shipping locations in all of the four major growing and packing regions of the state, help us provide consistent offerings for our customers,” remarked Kaari Stannard, President and Owner of NYAS. “While one area may be dryer than normal, other regions can make up the difference in size and volume.” she added.

Matt Wells, Director of Field Operations for New York Apple Sales, along with Dan Ingersoll, both report that the much-needed rain will greatly enhance the quality of this year’s crop. “The 2018 crop was in great shape prior to the recent weather patterns, a very clean crop that was developing nicely. The rain was a bonus that will help us finish off the crop, to perfection,” said Wells.

Dan Ingersoll, NYAS Field Scout remarked “I have been scouting and managing orchards for over 30 years, and the 2018 crop is one of the best I have seen. Usually we have a few varieties, that for one reason or another, will have some problems. This year, however, everything looks to be strong and clean. The crop is on schedule and growing nicely and the taste and appearance should be exceptional.”

“We are really excited about our special varieties such as SnapDragon, KORU, Premier Honeycrisp, EverCrisp and SweeTango.  At this stage, they look awesome,” said John Cushing, VP of Marketing for NYAS. “We are ready to go, and anxious to kick of the sales year. We have now started shipping from the Hudson Valley, and soon the remainder of the state will start to harvest

Ginger Gold and early red summer apples are being packed. Next up will be Gala, as well as another traditional regional favorite, McIntosh, with Honeycrisp quickly following,” added Cushing.

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