Archive For The “Trucking Reports” Category

Strong Shipments are Expected this Season for California Onions

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California onion shipments have shifted from the California desert areas and are now coming in good volume out the San Joaquin Valley.

Domestic volume most of this year has been well below normal, but loadings now appear to be back to normal as weather has been favorable for California crops.

Gills Onions LLC of Oxnard, CA finished shipments of its Brawley, CA onions in mid-May and has transitioned to the Bakersfield area, where its loadings will continue through August.

In September, the company’s storage onion shipments will move to the King City area, where the company’s onion loadings should continue until March or April.

Volume at Gills Onions should be up this season compared to a year ago due to some new packinghouse packing equipment.

Telesis Onion Co. of Five Points, CA will be shipping red, white, yellow and sweet onions until the end of August, with volume expected to be similar to last year.

Peri & Sons Farms of Yerington, NV concluded its Imperial Valley onions shipments in California in late May and has transitioned northward to the San Joaquin Valley.

The company is growing, packing and shipping mostly yellow and sweet onions in the San Joaquin Valley, but also will offer some white and red varieties from that region. When valley shipments taper off in late August, the company will transition to its Yerington headquarters. Overall volume should be similar to last year.

JBJ Distributing Inc./Veg’Land Inc, will start shipping white, yellow and red onions from its grower in Hollister, CA, after the 4th of July and continue from that location through October . The company handles organic onions exclusively.

JBJ was importing onions from Mexico during the winter and spring, and transitioned to Arvin, CA., before launching its Hollister season.

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Early Forecast Has Michigan Apple Shipments Looking Good

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While Washington state continues to easily lead the nation in apple shipments, both Michigan and New York have been running neck and neck in recent years for second place.

During the 2018-19 season Michigan shipped apples to retailers in 32 states, up from about 28 states the previous season.

The Michigan Apple Committee in Lansing relates there has been a good increase into markets in the Northeast and the organization is hoping to expand its presence into the Southern U.S.

While the bloom on trees is a little late this year due to a cool and wet spring, warmer temperatures recently have spurred bee activity during pollination. This has observers optimistic about a full crop.

Last year, the Michigan apple shipments totaled about 24 million bushels, down from early season projections of 27 million bushels or more.

Michigan fresh apple loadings typically range from 10 million to 14 million bushels, with the balance of the crop going to processors. The 2018 crop was about 10 million to 11 million cartons fresh. 

While an overall larger crop is seen, one exception could be the Honeycrisp variety, where growers are seeing a somewhat lighter crop compared with a year ago.

While early varieties will begin harvest in August, gala harvest is expected to get underway around Labor Day.

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Northwest Cherry Shipments are Rapidly Increasing

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Northwest cherry shipments are off to a good start and excellent volume is expected leading up to the Fourth of July and beyond.

Around 2.5 million cartons had been picked as of June 19. Northwest cherry shipments this season are forecast to fall in the 20 million to 23 million cartons range. Cherry picking got underway around June 8th, a little later than last year.

“Our cherries ripened up a few days earlier than expected as the weather has really been favorable this spring,” said Steve Castleman, vice president for sales for CMI Orchards of Wenatchee, WA. “Lots of sunshine and warm temperatures have brought the color and sugars up and we’re looking at a superior harvest with sweet, vibrant and high-quality fruit for the duration of the season.”

Tim Welsh, a general manager for Columbia Fruit Packers (one of four grower/packer companies that owns CMI Orchards) said in the release the Washington cherry crop has seen very little wind, and that has resulted in very clean fruit.

Welsh said in the release that sizing will be mixed with a range of small to extra large at the beginning of the season.

“As the season progresses, our cherries continue to get larger and larger, and by July we should see a lot more large fruit than typical,” he said in the release. Welsh said there will be “huge” promotable volume between the end of June and the end of July.

Harvest for CMI is officially underway for the company’s very first crop of Skylar Rae cherries, according to the release.

“They are big, bright, blushing and sweet as can be,” Shane Marston, sales manager for CMI, said in the release.

CMI joined forces with Stemilt this year to grow and market Skylar Rae cherries, according to the release. The variety, originally discovered by the Toftness family in Washington, are available in a 1-pound clamshell or pouch bag, and supply is limited, according to the release.

Northwest cherries, apples and pears, grossing about $6300 to New York City.

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Verry Cherry Plum Volume to Have Significant Volume Increase

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Specialty products are now the focus of Flavor Tree Fruit Co. LLC of Hanford, CA and no one item seems bigger than its Verry Cherry plum – a high-brix fruit cross between various cherry and plum varieties.

Flavor Tree expects to begin harvesting Verry Cherries this year in about the third week of June, with shipments extending into August.

This year’s volume is projected to grow by over 100 percent compared to 2018, totaling about 500,000 boxes this year. 

The Verry Cherry is described as being juicy like a plum and having the size of a small plum. On the cherry side, it is painted as sweet with a nice cherry flavor.

Flavor Tree also exports the Verry Cherry to China, which amounted to about 40,000 boxes in 2018, despite facing tariffs of 50 percent.

The company has rights to almost all Verry Cherries grown, with about 450 acres in production, mostly grown in the Hanford area.

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Oregon Blueberry Shipments to have Significant Boost this Season

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By California Giant Berry Farms

Watsonville, CA – California Giant has been building their year-round berry shipments over the past several years in response to customer demand for increased volume of all four berry types.  This year the company reports a milestone with fresh blueberries.

The company expects the summer blueberry crop to begin just in time for July holiday promotions both in retail and foodservice.  Availability of fresh California Giant organic and conventional blueberries will continue throughout the summer and into the fall when the season moves to Mexico & South America.  Again, the company has developed long term relationships with farming partners in those regions as well enabling a smooth transition from one region to another allowing promotions to continue.

Due to higher demand over the past 5 years, fresh California Giant blueberry volume has increased each year by anywhere from 15 to 30 percent.  

However, summer volume from the Pacific Northwest in 2019 will increase by 45 percent over just last year.  The conventional program will increase by 25 percent over last year, and the organic blueberry volume is expected to increase by 90 percent over 2018.  The significant increase in California Giant brand blueberries is due to efforts in building grower partnerships, specifically in Oregon, allowing the company to ship most of their summer blueberries domestically reducing food miles. 

California Giant is looking forward to this new program addition as the company will provide good volume of both conventional and organic blueberries now on a year-round basis.

“We have worked together at California Giant to develop long term partnerships with our blueberry farming partners and are excited to see these relationships come together to benefit both of us.  We look forward to sharing details with our trading partners about our expended blueberry program and the volume we will bring to the table with both conventional and organic fruit just in time for summer,” says Markus Duran, North American Blueberry Operations Manager. 

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Arkansas Produce Shipments Changing with the Times

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Arkansas isn’t known for its fresh produce shipments, but over the years it has had a significant volume of tomatoes for a few weeks starting in July. Some fresh items are declining while others are seeing gains in acreage.

During the past 15 years sweet potato shipments have increase, while tomato and watermelon volume is down Overall, there are mixed trends for Arkansas produce shipments including vegetables, fruits and melons.

The sweet potato gets underway about September 1st, with curing taking about 4 to 6 weeks. Shipments will then start lasting until the new crop is ready in 2020.

The USDA Census shows fresh vegetable acreage in Arkansas totaled 9,500 acres in 2017, up from 7,806 in 2012 and 8,782 in 2007.

The census notes Arkansas total sweet potato fresh market acreage was estimated at 3,492 acres in 2017, up from 2,757 acres in 2007. 

Arkansas sweet potatoes grown for processing totaled 1,106 acres in 2017, up from 369 acres in 2007.
During the same period, the census exposed Arkansas fresh tomato acreage dropped from 1,101 acres in 2007 to 952 acres in 2017, a drop of 14 percent.

For example, Harrod & Hensley Tomato Co. of, Hermitage, Ark., which grows fresh tomatoes in south central Arkansas reports the state’s tomato acreage could be down 40 percent this year. A factor in the decline is more market pressure from hothouse volume in Mexico provide increased competition for field grown tomatoes.

Tomato loadings got underway about a week ago and will continue until round July 20th.

USDA statistics reveal Arkansas watermelon acreage was fairly stable the past five years, but has been sliding over the longer term.  Watermelon shipments will occur from early July into the last half of August.

With 1,822 acres harvested in 2017, Arkansas watermelon acreage fell steadily from 1,880 acres in 2012, 2,059 acres in 2007, 2,267 acres in 2002 and 2,770 in 1997.

Arkansas fresh vegetable acreage in 2017, with percent change compared with 2012:

  • Snap beans: 107 acres harvested in 2017, up 73 percent from 2012;
  • Cantaloupes: 56 acres in 2017, down 53 percent from 2012.
  • Cucumbers: 115 acres in 2017, up 15 percent from 2012;
  • Lettuce: 30 acres in 2017, up 76 percent from 2012;
  • Leaf lettuce: 21 acres in 2017, up 75 percent from 2012;
  • Mustard greens: 68 acres in 2017, up 89 percent from 2012;
  • Okra: 74 acres in 2017, up 155 percent from 2012;
  • Southern peas: 260 acres in 2017, down 58 percent from 2007; and
  • Pumpkins: 363 acres in 2017, down 15 percent from 2012. 

Fruits and Nuts

Arkansas apple volume has declined, shipments for the state’s grapes and pecans has risen in the past 5 years.

The Ag Census show non-citrus fruit bearing acreage totaled 1,542 acres in 2017, up 8 percent from 1,429 acres in 2012 but off 33 percent from 2007.

Bearing and non-bearing acres of apples totaled 283 acres in 2017, off 4 percent from 296 in 2012 and sharply down from 1,048 acres in 1997.

Bearing and non-bearing acreage of grapes totaled 956 acres in 2017, up 4 percent from 2012 and 28 percent higher than 2007.

For peaches, the 2017 Census of Agriculture reported 669 acres in 2017, down 1 percent from 2012 and off a whopping 75 percent from 2,816 acres in 1997.

The Census of Agriculture reports pecans are expanding in Arkansas. For 2017, bearing and non-bearing acreage of pecans reached 15,736 acres, up 36 percent from 11,591 acres in 2012 and 71 percent higher than 9,185 acres in 1997.

Blackberry acreage in Arkansas was reported at 501 acres in 2017, up 4 percent from 480 acres in 2012. Blueberry acreage in 2017 totaled 356 acres in 2017; no comparisons were available for previous years. 

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New Jersey Produce Shipments Increase During June

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While New Jersey produce shipments start in May with items ranging from asparagus to greens, some root vegetables, spring onions and strawberries, volume increases with a longer list of items moving into June, July, August and September, which are the peak shipping months.

Jersey has had a good growing season for fresh produce and now two of its largest volume makers, blueberries and peaches, are coming on.

Nationally, New Jersey is one of the top 10 shippers of blueberries, peaches, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, apples, spinach, squash and asparagus.

Peach Shipments

New Jersey peach shipments, which start in late June, occur primarily from July through September. The Garden State has about 80 orchards comprising about 5,000 acres with production values at about $30 million annually. Most commercial orchards are in Southern Jersey.

New Jersey is the 4th largest peach shipping state in the U.S., with about 55 orchards on 5,000 acres, producing 22,000-25,000 tons.

Sunny Valley International has been marketing peaches and blueberries since 1995, representing the Jersey Fruit Cooperative, which produces over l million cases of blueberries, yellow peaches, white peaches and nectarines a year. Peaches used to be the main crop, but\the co-op has shifted mostly to blueberries, while the peach industry is consolidating into fewer growers, but bigger growers. 

Sunny Valley’s growers produce about 1.2 million boxes, or 30 million pounds, of peaches — the majority yellow peaches. Volume for peaches is expected to be about 10 percent more this year. Sunny Valley will be shipping peaches from July to mid September.

Blueberry Shipments

From June 11 to July 31, New Jersey blueberries shipments have just started from what some refer to as the “blueberry capital of the world,” Hammonton, NJ, with loadings continuing through July.

Sunny Valley’s 11 blueberry growers are reporting great growing conditions. In a normal season, the company ships about 1 million cases, or about 9 million pounds, of blueberries. 

Consalo Family Farms of Vineland, NJ has announced an additional 50 acres for growing and packing capabilities from 8 million to 9.5 million pounds during the New Jersey blueberry season.

Vegetable Shipments 

New Jersey sweet corn and tomato loadings start the third week of June, with volume coming on by the Fourth of July.

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Peruvian Avocados Arriving at U.S. Ports into September

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Peruvian avocado imports by the U.S. should continue until around Labor Day, after arrivals began in May.

Peruvian growers are expected to ship 160 million to 180 million pounds of avocados to the U.S. this season depending on market conditions.

Last year, Peru shipped 180 million pounds of avocados to America.

Del Rey Avocado Co. of Fallbrook, CA reports the majority of avocados imported from Peru usually arrive at ports on the East Coast, while fruit grown in California tends to remain in the West.

California has a very small volume crop this season and Mexico also has fewer avocados than normal.. This could result in more Peruvian avocados being shipped to Western markets than usual this season.

Calavo Growers Inc. of Santa Paula, CA is in it’s 4th year of importing avocados from Peru to the U.S., and the third year of a relationship with the same grower-packer in that country.

The company’s initial Peruvian avocado imports from young trees in the furthest northern district had been distributed by mid May,while shipments from the Trujillo area farther south, where the main plantings are, started with in the past week.

McDaniel Fruit Co., Fallbrook, CA., expects to import a record amount of Peruvian fruit this season due to the small California crop. The company has been pleased with initial arrivals that started in May and describes the quality as excellent.

Eco Farms of Temecula, CA was experiencing good arrivals of Peruvian avocados in late May and early June when supplies from both California and Mexico had tightened.

Index Fresh Inc. of Riverside, CA., has been a major importer of Peruvian avocados to the U.S. since 2012 and ships product to Canada. A significant difference this season is 2019 imports from Peru started 2 months earlier than a year ago, which didn’t see significant volume until August.

The Peruvian avocado season typically lasts about 4 months long, but growers are planting trees in new areas in an attempt to extend the growing season.

Calavo is expecting a 10 to 15 percent increase in volume from Peru this year due to young trees maturing, but more importantly, a result of growers adjusting their balance of shipments between Europe and the U.S.

Although Peru is known for shipping larger sized fruit than California or Mexico, the size curve is beginning to fall into a more normal range.

Index Fresh will receive avocados from Peru at ports in both California and Philadelphia, which gives Peruvian fruit a freight advantage compared to some other countries of origin. 

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Michigan Fresh Asparagus Volume is Increasing

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Michigan asparagus shipments have been underway for a month and should continue through the end of June from the west-central area of the state.

The Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board in Dewitt, MI notes loadings have been lagging because cool weather limited picks of asparagus fields to about 11-12 harvest sessions through late May, compared to normal tallies of 15-16.

Last year processed asparagus accounted for about 60 percent of the volume, although there is less processing demand this year. That is expected to result in more fresh shipments. One estimate has fresh shipments accounting for about 75 percent of the volume with product for processing making up the balance.

The USDA census report notes Michigan’s asparagus acreage was 12,285 acres in 2017, up from 9,405 acres in 2012 and 12,127 acres in 2007. Acreage has gone down compared with 1997, when 18,266 acres of asparagus were harvested in the state. About 9,500 acres were planted this year.

Michigan’s primary competition comes from Mexico and Peru during the May to June shipping window, although imports haven’t been big this year. Last season, May volume accounted for 33 percent of total fresh shipments and June accounted for about 67 percent of total annual volume.

Michigan’s fresh shipments of 385,000 28-pound equivalent crates in 2018 compared with 421,000 crates in 2017 and 417,000 crates in 2016.

In 2018, Michigan accounted for about 32 percent of total domestic asparagus shipments, trailing Washington (49 percent), but well ahead of California (19 percent).

However, both Mexico and Peru have big year-round volume coming to the U.S., and last year May to June U.S. imports from those two countries were seven times bigger than Michigan’s shipments in those two months.

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North Carolina Blackberry Shipments are Coming Soon

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By Wish Farms

Plant City, FL – International grower and year-round marketer of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, Wish Farms is gearing up for a robust Southeast blackberry season.

North Carolina berry shipments are underway and peak volume is expected around the second to third week of June, with the season concluding in September.

Since 2016, growth in the blackberry category has been a focus for Cane Berry Director Jose Saca: “We aligned ourselves with exceptional growers that allow us to provide great tasting varieties like PrimeArk 45, Osage, Ouachita and Natchez among others. We are also encouraged by the steady growth in consumer demand. If there are no major weather events, we can expect a good production year with early volume estimates 15-20 percent higher over last season.”

In 2018, Wish Farms completed a 7,500 square foot cooler in Shelby, N.C. to manage their blackberry shipments in the region. All Wish Farms blackberries in this region will ship from this facility after thorough quality control inspections. 

“This southeastern blackberry program is essential to our mission of providing the best tasting berries,” said James Peterson, VP of Sales. “We look forward to working with our retail partners this June and throughout the summer to support blackberry ads.”

The blackberry season is expected to align well with the high-quality blueberry shipments shipments coming from the region.  Weather in Georgia and North Carolina has been ideal leading up to the season.  Plants have had favorable chill hours. Presently, there have been no major weather events or late winter injuries that lead to bud or fruit damage.


About Wish Farms:

Wish Farms, founded in 1922 and third-generation owned, is a year-round supplier of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries growing both conventional and organic varieties. 

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