Archive For The “Trucking Reports” Category

Southeastern Blueberry Shipments Should Rebound this Year

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Following 2 years of weather-related disappointing seasons, Southeastern blueberry shipments should more normal this season.

In March 2018 frosts hit fruit that had an early set due to a warmer than usual winter. 

J&B Blueberry Farms Inc. of Manor, GA., picked only 200,000 pounds last season, off, down from the usual 1.25 million pounds of fresh blueberries from 170 acres.

Barring a late frost, the company expects a more typical harvest beginning about April 15th, with peak shipment coming in May before the season winds down in late June or early July.

Last season was the second in a row for low volume for Swain Foods of Patterson, GA. Production fell to 150,000 pounds last year. The grower-shipper markets fruit from a total of about 250 acres which includes his own farm as well as other growers.

Swain Foods expects to ship over 1 million pounds of fruit this season, beginning around the end of April, with highbush peaking in the first two weeks of May and rabbiteye in mid-June. The season should wrap up by mid-July.

In 2018, Georgia shipped 50 million pounds; 30 million in 2017 and 67 million in 2016. 

The volumes are much less compared to 2015’s 85 million pounds.

Alma (GA) Nursery & Berry Farms, shipped only 700,000 pounds of fresh berries and 1 million pounds for the frozen market last year. 

This season, the company looks to move 2.5 million pounds of fresh highbush and rabbiteye berries and 600,000 pounds of frozen fruit from about 400 acres. Shipments should start about April 5th, with peak loading coming around May 12th and the first week in June, before completing the season in late June.

If the weather cooperates, Alma Nursey & Berry Farms expects Georgia as a whole to ship around 100 million pounds of berries this season.

Florida Blueberry Shipments

Naturipe Farms of Grand Junction, MI has operations in Florida and started harvest the first half of March and ich.-based Naturipe Farms expects to start limited harvesting around March 11, loadings are now at a peak.

Wish Farms Inc. of Plant City, FL expects to ship about 4 million pounds this year from the 600 acres working with about 19 contract growers. 

Harvest started in mid-March with peak shipments occurring the first week to 10 days of April. Blueberries picked and shipped north of Gainesville, FL should continue until Memorial Day.

Crystal Valley Foods, Miami, FL. was importing Chilean blueberries which overlapped a little with its new season for Florida berries. The company will be shipping Florida fruit through May. The company will be handling Georgia blueberries from April through June or early July, and Alabama product from May through June.

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Texas Onion Shipments Should Hit Stride by Mid April

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South Texas onion shipments have been increasing since there should be strong volume by mid-April.

Favorable weather and temperatures during the growing season have only dipped into the 30s a couple of times with no reports of freeze damage.

Early season shipments from the Lower Rio Grande Valley have been lighter due to a lot of rain and some cooler weather. The first Texas onions are usually loaded around St. Patrick’s Day.

Last year, onion acreage in the lower Rio Grande and the Winter Garden-Uvalde region was a little over 7,500 acres.

During the past few years, acreage has been increasing in by about 100 acres or 200 acres annually, but there is some thought that attrition and cutbacks by onion growers could cut acreage by 20 to 30 percent this season.

About 70 percent of the acreage is located in the Rio Grande Valley and 30 percent in the Winter Garden-Uvalde area. Valley shipments should continue into late May or early June. 

Winter Garden and Uvalde onions will start by the end of April and run through June.

The Onion House of Weslaco, TX has spoke of a strong, quality crop, aided by a nice winter and a good spring. Most of the Texas onion shipments will occur from April through mid-May.

During 2018, there were adequate onion supplies from Mexico and south Texas, in addition to late-running volume from Washington and Idaho-eastern Oregon, which tended to flood the market.

This year an onion shortage in Holland and an expected quicker end to the Peruvian onion season has American growers more optimistic, since Mexico and then Texas’ onion crop will be the only fresh new crop of sweet onions available.

Last season there was a significant increase in truck rates for onion shipments as demand outstripped the supply of equipment. This season growers are reporting better truck supplies, although rate increases are expected moving into spring.

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PennRose Farms Adds Two New Growers

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PennRose Farms of Wimauma, FL., has added two more growers to its network in the U.S. and Mexico.

Moore Farms of Manor, GA, and Patterson Farm of China Grove, N.C., has joined PennRose Farms, as exclusive suppliers, according to a news release. Moore Farms grows bell peppers, cucumbers, summer squash, specialty peppers, cabbages and eggplants. Patterson Farm launches its season in June with shipments of bell peppers, specialty peppers and cucumbers, continuing through October.

“Our spring, summer and fall vegetable lineups bring substantially greater value for our customers with the addition of these growers who share our vision of quality, safety, sustainability and service,” Jason Wyatt, director of sales and business development at PennRose Farms said in the release. “As a grower-owned company, we will continue investing in innovative and long-term supply chains.”

Chuck Ciruli, managing partner of PennRose Farms, welcomed Moore Farms and Patterson Farm to the company in the release. Patterson will have a key role in expanding year-round distribution as a local producer with retail and foodservice customers.

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Mexican Mango Shipments Moving into Good Volume after Slow Start

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Imports of Mexican mangoes for the 2019 season are finally moving into good volume following a slow start in January and February.

Overall volume from Mexico through mid-May will be 11 percent less than last year — about 27.9 million 8.8-pound boxes, according to the National Mango Board of Orlando, FL.

The Mexican mango season began the second week of January and should continue into early October.

As of the week ending February 9th, Mexican growers had shipped approximately 608,336 boxes to the U.S. this season. During the same period last year, Mexico had shipped about 1.5 million boxes.

Vision Import Group of Hackensack, NJ started its Mexican mango imports in early March when it completed its Peruvian mango imports.

Freska Produce International LLC of Oxnard, CA was shipping limited supplies of Mexican mangos in the middle of February, and was trailing last season’s imports by about 1 million pounds due to weather factors during the growing season.

Amazon Produce Network of Vineland, NJ received its first Mexican mangoes February 11th, which was showing some quality problems, but improvements have come with arrivals of the tropical fruit since then. Heavy volume with quality Mexican product was expected for April and May. By then Amazon also will be imported mangoes from Guatemala, Coast Rica and Nicragua.

Ciruli Bros. LLC of Rio Rico, AZ received its initial Mexican mangoes coming through South Texas and Nogales, AZ in early March. Imports were expected to be good until the week before Easter (April 21st), picking slows because of labor challenges during Holy Week. Normal imports were expected in time for Cinco de Mayo, May 5th.


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Florida Spring Vegetable Shipments are Right on Track

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April and May tend to be the peak shipping months for Florida spring vegetables and favorable growing conditions are expected to provide a good shipping season.

For example, West Coast Tomato LLC of Palmetto is expressing optimism as its volume has been ahead of last year. It has about 3,000 acres in the Immokalee and Palmetto areas and has been shipping tomatoes since October and will complete shipments in early June.

Florida Vegetable Shipments

Duda Fresh Foods Inc. of Oviedo, which grows vegetables on 6,000 acres in the Belle Glade area, reports good weather and plenty of water supplies and has been shipping celery since December and will continue through April.

Scotlynn Sweet Pac Growers LLC of Belle Glade grows and ships corn and other vegetables reports similar good growing conditions. It began shipping in early March and reached good volume in early April that should continue through May. The company ships primarily sweet corn to start, but later in the season has radishes, beans and cabbage, among other items.

At Weis-Buy Farms Inc. of Fort Myers, ships tomatoes and peppers, with a season starting in early October and continuing until June 1st.

Overall Florida vegetable volume is ahead of last year, in part because of favorable weather without hurricanes, unlike a year ago.

L&M Cos is based in Raleigh, NC, but has offices in Palatka, FL. The company reports Northern Florida has had some weather issues causing some vegetable crop to be running late, particularly with cabbage, broccoli and greens.

Mack Farms Inc. of Lake Wales began digging potatoes in early February from about 1,600 acres and has had good volume.

Jones Potato Farm of Parrish reports good shipments of potatoes, and green beans after starting in late March.

Utopia Packing LLC of Myakka City has good volume with bell peppers and cucumbers.

Florida Specialties Inc. of Immokalee shipping
green beans, eggplant, bell peppers, squash and specialty peppers through May.

Florida Fruit Shipments

Wish Farms of Plant City plans to be shipping blueberries until Memorial Day, with Florida growers expecting to pack nearly 4 million pounds of “blues” this season. This would be an increase from 3.4 million pounds a year ago.

Florida Classic Growers, which markets product for the Dundee (FL) Citrus Growers Association is planning to ship valences through May.

Florida Watermelon Shipments

Southern Corporate Packers Inc. of Immokalee is shipping watermelons from Southern Florida through May, with loadings coming out of Northern Florida from late May though June.

The company also grows watermelon in Georgia, Missouri, Indiana and Delaware, which enables the company to have melons available through December.

McMelon Inc., a subsidiary of Mack Farms Inc., both of Lake Wales will start shipping watermelons in early May.

Florida vegetables, watermelons and potatoes – grossing about $2700 to New York City.


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Significant Increase in California Strawberry Shipments Coming in Time for Easter

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While there were tight supplies of Southern California strawberries for Valentine’s Day shipments, growers expect improved volume leading up to Easter, which is April 21st.

Strawberry acreage in Ventura County is once again down this season — 5,300 acres compared to 5,518 acres last year — but production is expected to increase since farmers are planting higher-yielding varieties.

The California Strawberry Commission, based in Watsonville, confirms there has been reduced acreage during the past several years, but at the same there has been record-breaking shipments annually for the past 4 or 5 years.

Growers in the Oxnard area a year ago produced about 38.6 million trays of strawberries, up from about 37.2 million trays in 2017.

This year rains have hindered the start of the 2019 season.

As of the week ending February 2nd growers in the Southern California district, which includes Oxnard, Orange County, Coachella and San Diego, had shipped about 2 million trays of strawberries. A year ago, volume for the same period was about 3.3 million trays.

Easter typically kicks off the primary shipping season for California strawberries, when berries will be available from several growing areas in the state, including Watsonville.

Ventura County strawberries and vegetables – grossing about $3400 to Dallas, $6700 to New York City

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Broccoli Producer Atlantic Fresh is Increasing Shipments

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Atlantic Fresh, which specializes in broccoli production, offers east coast broccoli to local and regional customers four or more days sooner than west coast providers, due to location.

The company, based in Clarks Summit, PA, is currently harvesting broccoli in Florida, recently added new farms in North Carolina, New Jersey and New York in 2018, and other locations have expanded their production acres as well. The increase in production is in response to growing consumer demand for broccoli. With 51 percent of grocery shoppers purchasing broccoli, and increased purchasing year over year, broccoli is making its way onto more U.S. plates. Broccoli was the third most popular produce item shoppers said they bought in 2018 that they didn’t buy previously. While broccoli has been the main focus of Atlantic Fresh, the company has also been increasing cauliflower and organic broccoli production each year and looks forward to expanding these offerings in the future.

To complement its eastern roots and harvest one day – deliver the next philosophy, Atlantic Fresh is rolling out a fresh brand redesign and new website. The redesigned logo, with bright blue anchor design, makes a playful connection to our Atlantic coast broccoli farms. The top of the anchor silhouettes in front of a red broccoli crown, that translates into a scalloped design element used in the new packaging. The revamped design can be seen on the new website and on conventional broccoli and cauliflower boxes, organic broccoli boxes, rubber band tags, bags, and overwrap stickers. Atlantic Fresh also refreshed its popular Asian crown “dragon” carton.

Atlantic Fresh was formed in 2010 by L&M and Parker Farms. Each company has over 15 years of experience growing broccoli on the east coast of the United States, and in 2010 joined forces to offer a reliable, high quality year-round source of eastern broccoli to their customers. Atlantic Fresh grows on 14 farms across eight eastern states including Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania.

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Apple, Pear Imports to Increase from Southern Hemisphere Countries

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A 2 percent increase in Southern hemisphere apple crop production is forecast for 2019 compared with 2018.

A new report from the World Apple and Pear Association said 2019 Southern Hemisphere pear production is forecast at 1.33 million metric tons, up 2 percent from last year and off 3 percent from the three-year average.

Apple Shipments

Southern Hemisphere apple production this year is 5.26 million metric tons, up 2 percent from last year and the three-year average, the forecast states.

Argentina, Australia, Brazil, New Zealand, and South Africa all are forecast to increase volume, while Chile’s crop will be lower, according to the estimate.

Chile, the leading Southern Hemisphere apple producer, is forecast to produce a crop of 1.67 million metric tons, down 5 percent from last year off 1 percent below the three-year average.

Brazil is the second-ranked producer of apples in the Southern Hemisphere and will see output of 1.15 million metric tons, up 5 percent from a year ago, and 6 percent above the three-year average.

By variety, the association said fuji production by all Southern Hemisphere countries will be 826,000 metric tons, up 22 percent from a year ago and 10 percent up from the three-year average. Gala output is forecast to at 1.95 million metric tons, down 7 percent from a year ago and 1 percent above the three-year average.

Pear Shipments

With overall Southern Hemisphere pear production pegged up 2 percent compared with the last year, the association said Argentina pear output is forecast at 600,000 metric tons, up 4 percent from last year and down 9 percent from the three-year average. Argentina accounts for 45 percent of Southern Hemisphere pear output.

South Africa, with 32 percent of Southern Hemisphere pear output, is forecast with 423,000 metric tons.

New Zealand Apples

The New Zealand apple industry is expecting another bumper crop, and projected exported apple crop value is expected to hit $1 billion by 2020.

New Zealand exporter T&G Global LTD expects to pack a total of about 7 million cartons, according to a news release, including Jazz and Envy varieties.

The company’s apples have traditionally been sold to the United Kingdom and U.S., but Asia and the Middle East are growing in sales, with half of T&G exports going to those markets, according to the release.

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California Avocado Shipments May Crash 48% this Season; Imported Avocados Increase

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A California heatwave in 2018 did a “number” on the California avocado crop, which is expecting its smallest volume in a decade. The heat hit some of the state’s key growing regions, and most shipments this season will be limited to the Western states. Meanwhile, there was significant increase in avocado imports last year.

Current estimates are for production of 175 million pounds (79,000 metric tons), which would be 48 percent lower than last year’s 338 million pounds (153,000MT), according to The California Avocado Committee.

There hasn’t been this small of a crop since the 2009 season, when 174.5 million pounds were produced. Between then and the previous season production has fluctuated greatly, ranging from a high of 534.5 million pounds in 2010 to a low of 216 million pounds in 2017.

Two other major players in the global avocado market during the same period – Peru and South Africa – are expected to have back-to-back seasonal declines in production.

There are areas that should have had much better production which were hit hard by heat that went well over 100 degrees, with some areas reaching 116 or 117 degrees for a short period of time.

Adding to the problem was cold temperatures in the prior months, along with wildfires the previous year.

The duration of the season is set to be shorter than last year, with peak avocado shipments occurring from late March through July, as opposed to last year when volume continued into September.

Imported Avocados

There was a 15 percent increase in U.S. imported avocado volume during 2018, while crop value plunged 11 percent.

Trade statistics from the USDA indicate the total value of U.S. avocado imports totaled $2.35 billion, down from $2.64 billion in 2017. By volume, U.S. imports of avocados reached 1.04 million metric tons, up 15 percent from 900,200 metric tons in 2017.

The USDA reported Mexico accounted for 87 percent of the total volume and 88 percent of the total value of U.S. avocado imports.

U.S. imports of Mexican avocado grew 17 percent by volume but shrunk 11 percent in value in 2018, according to the USDA.

Peru was the second leading avocado supplier to the U.S., accounting for 8 percent of the value and volume of U.S. imports. 

Chile ranked as the third most important avocado supplier, representing 3 percent of both volume and value of U.S. imports.

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South American Grape Imports are Improving after Slow Start

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Early season imported grapes from South America have been lower, although with the arrival of March volume is improving.

To date, Chilean grapes imported through early March were down 32 percent compared to last year, reports the USDA, with imported Peruvian grapes being down 46 percent compared to the same time a year ago.

A Pro*Act market report dated March 6th notes imported grape supplies from Chile and Peru were increasing and quality was good in early March. A consistent volume of imported grapes is expected through early April, when the transition of Mexican grapes starts crossing the U.S. border in mid-April.

On March 6th the USDA’s Market News Service reported prices for extra large Chilean red seedless grapes at $20 to $24 per carton, up from $16 to $20 per carton the same day a year ago.

The early March market was under downward pressure with increasing volume and prices may decline with ample volume in the near term, according to the report.

A range of retail prices for red seedless grapes in selected U.S. cities, ranged from a low ad price of $1.28 per pound in Detroit to a high of $3.99 per pound in Seattle and New York.

Retail promotions of red seedless grapes were reported by the USDA in 7,637 U.S. stores for the week of March 1st with an average price of $2.48 per pound. That compares 8,186 stores promoting red seedless grapes a year ago at an average price of $3.07 per pound.

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