Archive For The “Trucking Reports” Category

San Luis Potato Shipments Starting Late, with Lower Volume

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Colorado potato shipments could be off 10 percent or more this season due to less planted acreage and weather conditions during the growing season and harvest.

Rain and cool weather last spring delayed the potato harvest in the San Luis potatoes up to 2 weeks in some areas.

The Colorado Administrative Committee reports 8 percent less acreage has been planted this season. Even with favorable weather it is seeing 5 to 10 percent less volume and possibly more for the 2019 – 2020 shipping season.

Still, potato operations such as Fresh Farm Direct LLC of Monte Vista, CO insist quality will be good even with less product.

Skyline Potato Co. of Center, CO expects yields to be similar to last season.

Aspen Produce LLC of Center, CO expects a “really nice” crop for this season.

Potatoes from the San Luis Valley – grossing about $2150 to Chicago.

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Peruvian Sweet Onion Imports are Building in Volume

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The shipping season for Peruvian sweet onion lasts longer than any other sweet onion area – six to seven months. It starts in August as Vidalia sweet onions are winding down, and continues into February and sometimes March. A high percentage of those onions are exported to the U.S.

Bland Farms LLC of Glennvile, GA is the largest grower-shipper of Vidalia onions with 2,000 acres. It has nearly that much production from Peru. The company typically ships about 2 million 40-pound equivalent boxes of Vidalias, compared to 1.8 million out of Peru,.

Keystone Fruit Marketing Co. of Greencastle, PA points out due to the long onion season from Peru, the product is imported by the country 50 percent of the year.

L.G. Herndon Jr. Farms Inc. of Lyons, GA notes Peruvian onions are particularly important to East Coast markets in the U.S. In the west during the Peruvian season there are sweet onions being shipped out of California and Nevada.

The company points out Chilean sweet onions would be exported to the U.S. in February and March, but in the past seven to eight years that volume is much less..

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Fall California Grape Shipments are Looking Strong

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California grape shipments in the fall of 2018 were up 11.2 percent from September through December compared to the previous year. A similar pattern is expected again as we close out this year.

Sunview Marketing International of Delano, CA credits a lot of this good volume to the firm’s mix of proprietary varieties.

Sun Pacific of Pasadena, CA notes their company has 19 varieties of grapes for shipping as they enter the fall. The operation has growing volume with organic grapes.

The official estimate for California grape shipments was adjusted downward from 116 million boxes to 110 million boxes. However, some observers believe the final packout could be even lower.

Top Brass Marketing of Bakersfield, CA cites excellent volume this season and does not believe loadings have been lagging as they were last year. The company sees the seasonal decline in shipments of cherries, stone fruit and melons as helping grapes take center stage from September through November.

San Joaquin Valley grapes – grossing about $6300 to New York City.

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Chilean Blueberry Exports to Hit Record Volume this Season

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Chilean exports of fresh blueberries will hit record export volume in the 2019-2020 season, as the country expects to export 115,000 tons this season, 4 percent more than a year ago.

The export increase results from new plantations registered in recent years. Chile has increased by more than 9,880 acres in the last 4 seasons, which will reach full production in the coming years.

Chilean blueberry producers created the winter market for blueberries in the United States, however in recent years there has increasing competition from other couinries including Peru and Mexico.

While Chile was still the number one supplier of imported blueberries to the U.S. market during the 2018-19 season, Chile had a 52 percent market share with Peru at 38 percent and continuing to gain.

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Lower Mushroom Shipments are Seen Heading into Fall

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Mushroom shipments are expected to be down this fall due to problems with compost and limited labor availability from some areas.

Phillips Mushroom Farms of Kennett Square, PA had adequate supplies last summer but now has less production because it is using new composting materials that are fresh off the fields. The problems resulted from excessive rains or the past two years. This caused deterioration with hay and straw to the point it could not be used. This has resulted in increasing prices for compost.

Ideally, hay and straw weather in the field for up to a month before going into the compost pile. Due to tight supplies, hay and straw are going directly from the field to the compost pile, which can delay optimum production for up to 6 weeks.

Even with optimum production in the weeks ahead the Phillips Musrooms is uncertain it will be able to have enough production for the holidays. There also have been issues with compost, mold, weather and yield issues in British Columbia as well.

Ponderosal Musrooms & Specialty Foods of Port Coquitlam reports continuin issues with its white and brown ,mushrooms., plus problems with adequate labor supplies.

Ostrom Mushroom Farms of Olympia, WA has taken two grow rooms out of production because of a lack of labor, The company also cites the rising cost of labor in Washington since 2017. In 2020 labor costs will increase an additional $1.50 per hour,reaching $13.50.

Ostorm also reports heavy demand for mushrooms during the spring and summer, when consumers usually cut back somewhat in favor of local berries or stone fruit, also has put pressure on supplies.

Monterey Mushrooms Inc. of Watsonville, CA is more optimistic stating it has 10 farms throughout the U.S. and expects to supply is costomers.

Likewise, To-Jo Mushrooms of Avondale, PA. expects to ship adequate supplies to customers into next year.

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California Pomegranate Shipments Hit Peak Volume

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Peak California pomegranate shipments are now underway and will continue through November, before the season closes at the end of the year.

Observers estimate put the fresh crop loadings this year at close to 6 million boxes in 2019, down 15 to 20 percent compared to forecasts earlier in the season.

The very earliest pomegranate varieties — principally granadas and early wonderful — got underway in mid-August. The wonderful variety accounts for about 70 percent of the state’s total volume.

The USDA reports California fresh pomegranate shipments totalled 38.9 million pounds in 2018, more than double 2017 shipments of 14.4 million pounds.k

Beyond whole fresh pomegranates, fresh pomegranate arils (seeds), are gaining in popularity and retailers such as Costco and Walmart have expanded their fresh aril offerings. Trinity Fruit of Fresno, CA is now shipping dried arils.


Pomegranate acreage in California has been growing fast over the past 20 years. The 2017 Census of Agriculture reported bearing and non-bearing acreage of pomegranate totaled 30,917 acres, down slightly from 32,226 in 2012 but up from 24,458 in 2007, 9,529 acres in 2002 and just 4,672 in 1997. 

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California Navel Orange Shipments Forecast to be Down 7 Percent in New Season

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California navel orange shipments are predicted to be off 7 percent from last seasone.

With harvest expected to begin this month, the USDA predicts California navel shipments will be 76 million (40-pound) cartons, down 7 percent from the previous year.

Of the total navel orange crop in California, the USDA reports 73 million cartons are estimated to be in the central San Joaquin Valley.

Survey data indicated a fruit set per tree of 319, below the 5-year average of 366. The average Sept. 1 diameter was 2.169 inches, about 2 percent below the five-year average of 2.225 inches. The cara cara orange set was 268 with a diameter of 2.185 inches.

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Apple Imports: Mexico has Sizeable Increase; Canada is Off Slightly

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A significant increase in Mexican apple shipments are seen this season, while a small decrease in Canadian apple loadings are forecast.

Mexican Apple Shipments

The estimated 27 million 42-pound cartons are 20 percent larger than an average year.

The Chihuahua region is the leading Mexican apple producing and is expecting a crop of 23 million boxes this year, up substantially from its average of about 18 million cartons.

The total crop in Mexico is projected at 27 million cartons. Of that total, about 7 million cartons will be put in controlled atmosphere storage and 10 million will be put in conventional storage.  The balance of the crop be marketed immediately.

Because Mexico never supplies export markets, the Mexican apple market will be flooded until January 2020.

However, U.S. apple exportersl are still expected to be sending fruit to Mexico. Each year, Mexico consumes about 38 million cartons of apples. This leaves about 11 million cartons this year for the U.S. and other countries to fill the need for more apples.

During the 2018 shipping season, the U.S. moved about 12.8 million cartons to Mexico, and Mexico is the biggest export market for U.S. apple exporters.

Since 80 percent of Mexico’s apples are golden delicious, the country produces very few galas. This presents opportunities for U.S. exporters to export a lot of the more popular galas to Mexico,

Canadian Apple Shipments

Canada is estimated to have 18.8 million cartons of apples this season, down 2 percdent from 201. Compared with the five-year average, 2019 production in Canada will be up 1 percent.

By Canadian province, apple shipments are forecast at:

  • Ontario predicted to be down 11 percent to 7.3 million cartons, 2 percent below the 5-year average;
  • British Columbia is forecast at 4 million cartons, 15 percent more than the 5-year average;
  • Quebec apple output is rated at 5.3 million cartons, down 5 percent from the 5-year average;
  • Nova Scotia apple estimate is 2 million cartons, up 16 percent from the 5-year average; and
  • New Brunswick output is forecast at 144,000 cartons, down 12 percent from the 5-year average.

Mcintosh variety apples account for 26 percent of the Canada crop, followed by gala with 17 percent and Honeycrisp with 7.5 percent. U.S. apple exports to Canada in 2018 totaled about 6.8 million cartons.

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Heavy Apple Shipments are Seen this Season from Washington

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Washington state, the nation’s leading apple shipper is expected to load around 136 million cartons this season, compared to 116 million a year ago.

However, some apple shippers across the state believe volume could be even higher.

Stemilt Growers LLC of Wenatchee, WA notes some estimates have the forecast as much as 145 million to 150 million boxes. The proof in the pudding will arrive in December, when the crop is all harvested. However, this is in contrast to last year’s crop, which had fewer shipments than normal, plus had further reduction due to less fruit meeting minimum shipping standards.

Gala apples will overtake red delicious this year as Washington’s top apple variety.

In Washington’s 2019 estimate, both varieties will gain on last year’s volume, but galas will increase by 16 percent, for a forecast total of 31.8 million 40-pound cartons, to grab the No. 1 spot from red delicious.

Reds will total 29.4 million cartons, or 4 percent more than last year’s 28.2 million.

Fuji (17.7 million cartons), granny smith (17.3 million) and Honeycrisp (15 million) round out the top five apple varieties in Washington for the upcoming season. Honeycrisp volume is expected to jump 24 percent over last year’s 12.1 million boxes.

The Oppenheimer Group of Vancouver, British Columbia ships conventional and organic Jazz, Envy and Pacific Rose apples grown in Washington, as well as New Zealand. It should start moving Jazz around October 15th, with the first Envy shipping about two weeks later. 

Chelan Fresh of Chelan, WA shipped about 1 million cases of organic apples last year, and it is anticipating a 20 percent increase this season. The company loaded organics into July this season and expects the same for this new season.

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Exports on the Rise to U.S. with Specialty Produce from Guatemala

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During the past 20 years Guatemala’s exports of specialty vegetables and fruits to the U.S. have been steadily on the rise.

The Guatemala Produce Trade Association, and the USDA have reported increases of fresh and frozen fruit imports from Guatemala by 18 percent from 2014-18, to 5.8 billion pounds. Fresh vegetables in that category have remained steady, at an average of 147 million pounds a year, according to the USDA.

Imports include French beans, sugar snap peas, snow peas, blackberries, baby vegetables, rambutans, papayas and plantains.

“We can offer year-round because Guatemala offers attractive growing conditions throughout the year,” Charlie Eagle, vice president of business development for Southern Specialties Inc. of Pompano Beach, FL., said in a release. Additionally, its proximity to South Florida enables us to move product quickly and manage the cold chain efficiently.”

Katiana Valdes, marketing director at Crystal Valley Foods of Miami, said Guatemala’s infrastructure has been improving rapidly.
“Our growing partners all maintain rigid quality and food safety programs,” Valdes said in the release. “It’s with this focus on quality and food safety, the variety of production areas, and continuous advances in agriculture techniques that Guatemala’s specialty exports have been able to expand.” 

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