Archive For The “Trucking Reports” Category

Plentiful Mexican Grapes Shipments are Coming; Sweet Potato Update

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A2Plentiful grape shipments crossing the border from Mexico will be starting in a few weeks, plus here’s a shipping update on sweet potatoes.

Mexican Grapes

Mexican grape shipments will get underway in late April, with peak loadings occurring between the last week of May and the third week of June.  A majority of the Mexican grapes will be crossing the border at Nogales, AZ.

The Mexican state of Caborca will come into its major production in early June, after shipping its first box in late May.  The first crop estimate is expected about April 19-20, but good volume is predicted.

This 2018 crop is expected to be similar to 2016, which yielded a normal volume of about 16 million boxes.  In Mexico in 2017, there was a record-breaking fresh grape crop of 21 million boxes exported to the U.S.  An additional 4 million boxes were sold in the domestic (Mexican) market.

Nearly all of Mexico’s table grape vineyards are in the state of Sonora.  Sonora’s three basic grape-growing regions are Hermosillo, Caborca and Guaymas.  Guaymas is the farthest south and ships the earliest Sonoran grapes. The Hermosillo growing district has production to the west of town, in the La Costa area — near the relatively warm waters of the Sea of Cortez — and to the north in Pesqueria.  Generally speaking, Caborca supplies the end of Mexico’s fast and short May-June deal. 

Sweet Potato Shipments

American sweet potato growers harvested 159,300 acres in 2017, down from 163,300 acres the previous year.  From 2010-14, that number had remained between 115,000 and 130,000 acres.  As acreage and yields have increased, farmers have seen lower markets, leading one to wonder if supply isn’t finally exceeding demand.  Meanwhile, moderate volume of sweets potatoes are being shipping from North Carolina, with much lighter volume from other areas.

Louisiana Sweet Potatoes

Louisiana will continue shipping sweet potatoes into June, ranking a distant fourth in volume nationwide behind North Carolina, California and Mississippi.  Cajun country is shipping about 25 truck loads of sweet potatoes a week.  Loads are grossing about $1800 to Chicago.

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Shipping Outlook: Florida Blueberries, Peaches, and Valencias

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A3Here is the outlook for loadings of Florida blueberries, peaches and Valencia oranges.

Florida blueberry shipments are now moving in decent volume and will continue  until the middle of May.

Wish Farms of Plant City, FL should have about 250,000 pounds of organic fruit from Florida this year, compared to 100,000 pounds a year ago.  Strawberries are Wish Farms’ largest crop, accounting for  about 60percent of its volume, compared to 30 percent for blueberries. The company will wind up its strawberry season any day now.

In all, Florida blueberry production consists of about 7,000 acres and 1,000 growers.  Florida shipped about 20 million pounds of blueberries in 2017, and a similar volume is expected this year.


New Florida Blueberry Shipper

MIAMI, FLA. –  Crystal Valley Foods (Crystal Valley) has announced that it will begin shipping conventional and organic Florida blueberries under the Crystal Valley label this season. The first shipments will begin at the end of March and they will be available through the end of May.

The company has an exclusive partnership with a grower/packer in Hawthorne, Fla. and they expect a good Florida season as weather in the region has been conducive to good volume and quality.

With the acquisition of Team Produce last year, Crystal Valley has been able to successfully enter into the berry category, supplying imported blueberries from September through April. The transition into Florida is the first step in offering their customers year-round blueberries.

About Crystal Valley Foods

Founded in 1994, Crystal Valley Foods is a leading grower and importer of produce from Central and South America. With offices and facilities in Miami and Los Angeles, the company is one of the largest importers and distributors of asparagus in the USA. Its extensive product line also includes baby vegetables, peas, beans, berries, baby lettuces, peppers and other specialty crops.


Florida Citrus

The Dundee (FL) Citrus Growers Association reports Florida grapefruit shipments are winding down, but valencia oranges will continue through April. with storage crop available into June.

Florida Peaches

Florida peach shipments are just getting started will continue until the middle of May. with peak loadings mostly occurring during April.   Traditionally, Florida peaches start as Chile exits the marketplace and before California, South Carolina or Georgia being shipments of new season fruit.


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Mexican Spring Produce Imports Providing Increased Competition for California Produce

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DSCN0446California spring vegetable shipments are seeing increasing competition from Mexican imports.

USDA trade statistics show imports of fresh broccoli and cauliflower from Mexico soared to $294 million in 2017, up 27 percent from $231 million in 2016 and up 87 pecent from 2013.  By volume, U.S. imports of Mexican fresh broccoli and cauliflower totaled 262,000 metric tons, up 14 percent from 2016 and up 49 percent from 2013.

Imports of fresh broccoli and cauliflower were only $19.6 million and 45,000 metric tons in 2000, according to USDA statics.  That’s just 6 pecent of 2017 import value and 17 percent of 2017 import volume.

Around 44 percent of Mexican imports of broccoli and cauliflower were recorded from January through April in 2017.  March was the biggest month for imports for fresh broccoli and cauliflower from Mexico, with more than 33,000 metric tons reported in March 2017, or about 13 percent of total annual imports.

The value of U.S. imports of fresh lettuce from Mexico has increased year over year recently. In 2016 had a slight dip in volume, followed by a big jump in 2017.

Growth in imports of fresh lettuce from Mexico also has been strong.  Total imports of Mexican fresh lettuce totaled $246 million in 2017, up 13 percent from 2016 and 55 percent from 2013.  By volume, 2017 imports of Mexican fresh lettuce totaled 231,000 metric tons, up 30 percent from 2016 and 54 percent higher than 2013.

In 2000, fresh lettuce imports from Mexico totaled just $6.5 million in value and 10,000 metric tons in value. That accounts for just 3 percent of 2017 import value and 4 percent of import volume.

Fresh asparagus imports from Mexico totaled $422.3 million in 2017, up 21 percent from 2016 and 35 percent higher than 2013.  By volume, imports of Mexican asparagus were 147,000 metric tons in 2017, up 16 percent from 2016 and up 58 percent from 2013.

Year 2000 imports of Mexican fresh asparagus were $67 million in value and 38,000 metric tons in volume. That is just 16 percent of 2017 value and 26 percent of 2017 import volume.

Imports of Mexican fresh celery totaled $33 million in 2017, up 27 percent from 2016 and up 43 percent from 2013.  By volume, imports of Mexican celery totaled 64,400 metric tons in 2017, up 33 percent from 2016 and 33 percent from 2013.

Imports of Mexican celery in 2000 $7.5 million in value and 22,400 metric tons in volume. That represents 21 percent of 2017 value and 34 percent of 2017 volume.

Mexican imported vegetables at Nogales – grossing about $3600 to Chicago.

Mexican imported vegetables from South Texas – grossing about $5900 to New York City.

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Shipping Update: Texas Onions; and Potato Exports

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 DSCN0443Lower Rio Grande Valley onion shipments are just getting underway with optimism for good volume and quality. Meanwhile, potato exports to Canada take a big jump.

South Texas onion shipments are just getting underway in very light volume, with decent loading opportunities expected in early April.

There are about 7,000 acres of onions in the ground, similar to past seasons.  Shipments should continue into late May to early June out of the Rio Grande Valley.  Much smaller volume will be available in July from the Winter Garden area just south of San Antonio.  Light shipments from West Texas will be follow, continuing into early September.  Currently, imported Mexican onions are crossing the border into South Texas and should finish sometime in April.

The Rio Grande Valley of South Texas has about 60 onion growers and about 30 shippers such as Southwest Onion Growers LLC, McAllen, The Onion House, Weslaco and J&D Produce of Edinburg.  Total shipments of south Texas onions were about 3 million 50-pound equivalents for the 2015-16 season,

Potato Exports Show Big Growth to Canada, Mexico

U.S. fresh potato exports soared 17 percent in value last year led by double-digit growth in Canada and Mexico.  U.S. fresh potato exports totaled $238.8 million, up 17 percent from a year ago, according to the USDA.  Volume of fresh potatoes exported in 2017 totaled 544,624 metric tons, up 11 percent from 2016.

Leading the U.S. export market for fresh potatoes was Canada, where $101 million worth of potatoes were shipped, up 15 percent from 2016.  The volume of U.S. fresh potatoes sold to Canada totaled 263,426 metric tons, up 9 percent.

Mexico purchased $41.8 million in 2017, up 14 percent from 2016.  Volume of U.S. fresh potato exports to Mexico totaled 93,350 metric tons, up 2 percent from 2016.

Sales to other markets, with gains/loss compared with a year ago:

  • Taiwan, $22.2 million (19 percent);
  • Japan, $18.47 million (-5 percent);
  • Philippines, $11.9 million (80 percent);
  • South Korea, $8.9 million (160 percent); and
  • Malaysia, $6.5 million (19 pecent).

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The Changing Face of Spring Produce Shipments out of Florida

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A4The face of Florida spring produce shipments long have been centered around citrus, mixed vegetables and tomatoes.  This will continue to be the case in the foreseeable future, but there are some other products that have entered the picture and could provide substantially larger volume in the future.

Florida peach shipments have started in recent years, and the state is heavily promoting the stone fruit, particularly in April, when it has a shipping window pretty much to itself.  Florida peaches are shipped as imported Chilean peaches are winding down, and before the product is ready in California, Georgia and South Carolina.

Asian vegetables are relatively new to Florida produce production, which are grown across the state and have a growing concentration in the St. Augustine/Hastings area of North Florida.

These items range from Chinese cabbage, to bok choy, beans, bitter melon, Chinese broccoli and many other Asian herbs and vegetables.  As these items become more mainstream, there will be more loading opportunities for produce haulers.

There also has been increasing acreage with sweet potatoes in recent years.  Florida has the first domestic sweet potatoes of the growing season prior to the traditional Louisiana, Mississippi, California and North Carolina sweet potato seasons that start in late summer.

Brussels sprouts are another up-and-coming crop in Florida, particularly in the Hastings area.  Cabbage traditionally has been a staple crop in this area, but growers in the area have recently branched out to other crops, such as broccoli and cauliflower and Brussels sprouts.

Florida Tomato Shipments

Grower, shippers such as Oakes Farms Inc. of Immokalee and DiMare Co. of Homestead launched tomato shipments in October and continue into June.  Tomato volume typically has a substainal volume increase starting in the middle of March.

Between March and May, Florida accounts for 55 percent of grape and cherry tomato shipments in the U.S. and 41 percent of the round tomatoes.

On average, Florida supplied 100 percent of temple oranges, 70 percent of sweet corn, and 55 percent of snap beans shipped the U.S. from 2014-17.

Florida produce shipments – grossing about $3200 to New York City.

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Imported Mexican Shipments Look Steady; Russet Spud Loads Compared to Other Varieties

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A2Imported Mexican shipments are expected to remain steady with good volume for the next six weeks.  Meanwhile, here’s a break down of U.S. potato shipments when comparing russets and other varieties.

Mexican produce shipments from bumper spring crops are now occurring Mexico with items such as tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant, bell peppers, watermelon and mangoes. Table grapes, among others, will begin in a few weeks.

March and April are often seen as a secondary shipping peak for northern-grown Mexican products as demand typically increases with improving spring weather in U.S. markets.  Imported Mexican produce shipments are expected to remain very steady through April.

Russet Potatoes

Russet potato shipments have been giving away, at least to a certain degree, to other varieties of spuds, although russets easily remain the category.  At least this is the case from a study of potato movement from July through December.  It has been a long time since russet shipments have seen an increase compared to other potato varieties.

In data collected by Nielsen, fresh russet volume was up 0.43 percent for the six-month period.  Russet potatoes accounted for 66.08 percent of potato category sales, up from 65.46 percent a year ago.

Red potato shipments ranked second behind russets for the July through December period, accounting for 16.03 percent, down from 17.03 percent in the same period a year ago.  Red potato sales for the six-month period were off 1.48 percent compared with year-ago numbers, and red potato volume was down 6.78 percent compared with a year ago.

The third-ranked potato category in July through December last year was yellow potatoes, accounting for 10.75 percent of total fresh potato sales compared with 9.85 percent last year.  White potatoes, the fourth-ranked fresh potato category, suffered declines in volume and sales compared with a year ago.

White potato sales were off 6.20 percent compared with a year ago, while volume of white potatoes sold at retail from July through December was off 12.21 percent compared with the same period a year ago.  White potato sales accounted for 5.55 percent of potato category sales, down from 6.19 percent the same period a year ago.

Fingerling potato sales account for just 0.23 percent of total potato category sales from July through December, up just slightly from 0.22 percent the same period a year ago.


Grand Forks, ND red potatoes – grossing about $4600 to New York City; $2000 to Chicago; $2800 to Dallas.

Idaho russets – grossing about $5100 to New York City.

San Luis Valley, Colorado russets – grossing about $2200 to Chicago $4000 to New York City.


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L&M Quadruples Organic Production in Florida

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DSCN0440By L&M

L&M is full swing into the Florida farming season with four times more organic shipments planned in 2018. Unlike many Florida companies that are consolidating organics, L&M is growing organics on two of their own, company-owned farms in Florida.

The company is growing organic bell peppers, zucchini, cucumbers, and butternut and spaghetti squash in Branford, FL. Over in Palatka, FL, L&M has already begun harvesting organic broccoli, green and red cabbage, and kale; and will be adding red and golden beets and cauliflower into the mix this year as well.

Over the years, L&M has worked hard on its organic program, taking the same pride in their certified organic farming and packing as they do on their other farming programs, including sustainability and food safety.

“We have made great progress on our organic program and are as proud of our attention to detail and exceptional quality on organics as we are on our conventional products.  So far this year we have produced some very nice organic broccoli, cabbage, and kale; and we look forward to beginning harvest of beets, peppers, cucumbers, and squash in the coming weeks” noted Adam Lytch, Operations Manager for L&M Farms.

Greg Cardamone, General Manager of Vegetables, added, “Organics is an exciting space to move into with continued growth and popularity. Year after year, consumption of organic fruits and vegetables is increasing and we are excited to be able to meet our customers’ needs with East Coast production.

“With the recent truck shortage our customers have found it valuable to be able to load their organic and conventional items together – without giving up the valuable shelf life that large cross-dock programs often bring.”

Along with increased organic farming, L&M has also developed new purple organic packaging. Most recently, L&M added new organic broccoli and cauliflower bags and tags, butt tags for organic cabbage, 3lb mesh sweet potato bags, and hard squash labels.


South Florida vegetables – grossing about $3500 to Boston.

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CSS Farms Partners with RPE on Agri-Pack Onion and Potato Shipments

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BANCROFT, Wis. — CSS Farms, a multi-state agriculture company producing onions and chip and specialty potatoes, and RPE — category leader and year-round grower/shipper of potatoes and onions — announce the selection of RPE as exclusive marketing partner of Agri-Pack, a CSS Farms subsidiary and Pasco, WA-based grower-packer-distributor of potatoes and onions.

CSS Farms Managing Partner Reagan Grabner said the partnering organizations share a collaborative mindset, strategic approach and entrepreneurial spirit, noting RPE and CSS Farms have worked effectively together since 2010 as joint venture partners in Tasteful Selections, an industry leader in the bite-size potato category, growing it from 1 ½ percent of the United States market eight years ago to 18 percent today.

Since the 2017 mid-year acquisition of Agri-Pack by CSS Farms, a commitment to positioning the business for future growth has been apparent, Larry Denke of Agri-Pack sales said. “I already have witnessed significant investment in the business to bring even more innovation to our operations in the northwest.

RPE in the past decade expanded from a company operating almost exclusively in Wisconsin to a diversified organization selling from every onion- and potato-producing state in the United States and Canada.

Russell Wysocki, RPE president, expects Agri-Pack operations to anchor a comprehensive onion program supplying food service companies, restaurants, retailers and other entities servicing and selling directly to consumers.

“Agri-Pack will be the cornerstone of an expanding onion program that contributes to growth of an entire industry, just as we have demonstrated with the potato industry during the last 10 years,” Wysocki said.

RPE as a sales and marketing entity has considerable experience working with growers and customers alike to introduce innovations while expanding the potato and onion categories.

CSS Farms, a nationwide agricultural business, provides innovative solutions and superior quality and service.

Agri-Pack is a Pacific Northwest farming and packing operation of an extensive and high-quality onion and potato crop.

RPE, a second-generation family farm, is a category leader and key grower/shipper of year-round potatoes and onions.

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Domestic KIKU Apple Shipments Have Another 6-8 Weeks Before Imports Start Arriving

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A33By CMI Orchards

WENATCHEE, WA:  U.S. KIKU® growers, in the final 6-8 weeks of shipping a successful 2017 apple crop,  and are making plans for the first KIKU® imports from the Southern Hemisphere.

According to George Harter of CMI Orchards, the 2017 KIKU® brand apple season was very successful despite a smaller overall harvest.  “Between CMI and our partners Rice Fruit Company in  (Gardners) Pennsylvania and Applewood Orchards in (Deerfield) Michigan, we had less volume to sell…,” said CMI Orchard’s George Harter.

Even with the volume reduction, Harter says that the Nielsen national scan data underscores the success of the strategy this year.  The data reveals that the top 15 KIKU® retail chains nationally increased sales by 124 percent with volume up over 100 percent.

“The top 15 KIKU® retailer banners in the U.S. more than doubled their KIKU® volume for the season,” said Harter.  “More importantly, they increased their volume while sustaining higher average retail prices.  In a year where most retailers are experiencing significant category price deflation, having an apple brand like KIKU® drive sales and higher retail prices has been a huge win.”

Harter says the U.S. KIKU® growers will probably be completely sold out by mid May, well ahead of last year.

With supplies of domestically grown KIKU® winding down, the focus is now shifting to KIKU® imports from Chile and New Zealand.  Robb Myers, Import Manager for CMI Orchards, says the company is setting plans now for the import KIKU® season beginning June 1.

“We’re expecting a strong import season on KIKU® from our growers in the Southern Hemisphere,” said Myers.  The import KIKU® season will kick off in early June with supplies available through September, he added.

Myers said shipments already are being planned retailers get ready for the first of the import KIKU® arrivals on June 1.

About KIKU Apples

KIKU® brand apples come from select growers in strategic regions across the United States, and exclusively from CMI Orchards from their Southern Hemisphere partners.  One of the owners of CMI Orchards (Columbia Fruit Packers) was granted the exclusive opportunity to develop the North American market for KIKU® brand apples.


Washington apples – grossing about $4600 to Chicago.

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Shipping Roundup: Texas Onions, Ontario Produce, Colorado veggies and Blueberry Imports

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A2Here’s a news roundup ranging from Texas onion loadings to increasing shipments by an Ontario company, as well as a Colorado produce shipper, and finally, an update on blueberry imports.

Texas Onion Shipments

South Texas onion shipments get underway within the next couple of weeks, but due to industry consolidation and decreasing numbers of onion growers and shippers over the past 15 years, there has been a 31 percent decrease in the number of onion producers and a 34 percent decrease in the number of handlers.

The Rio Grande Valley of South Texas has about 60 onion growers and about 30 shippers.  Total shipments of south Texas onions were about 3 million 50-pound equivalents for the 2015-16 season,

Texas onions, Mexican imported produce – grossing about $3400 to Chicago.

Red Sun Shipments

Red Sun Farms of Lemington, ON is expanding its shipments of tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers to include Golden Sun Avocados.

Best known as a North American greenhouse grower, Red Sun Farms will be handling avocados produced in Mexico, and distributed through the company’s supply chain to service customers throughout North America.

Red Sun Farms will begin distributing the Mexican avocados during the second quarter of 2018.

Sakata Sweet Corn

Sakata Farms of Brighton, CO is changing its farming operation and discontinuing sweet corn production, and concentrating on onions and other crops.

The company is holding a farm equipment auction March 10 at 9:30 a.m. Mountain time.  The company will no longer raise sweet corn, broccoli and cabbage.

Blueberry Imports

Fresh blueberry shipments take place in the U.S. the year around, made possible in large part by the increasing amount of imports from South America, which supplies product during the offseason of U.S. blueberry shippers.  Chile is the leading country supplying “blues” this time of the year to the U.S., accounting for 52.7 percent of fresh cultivated blueberries over the past five years.

Since 2013, however, Mexico, Argentina and Peru significantly increased exports to the U.S.  Argentina has upped exports to the U.S. by 35 percent from 2013 to 2017, Uruguay is up 46 percent and Mexico is up 414 percent.

Percentage wise, the biggest increase has come from  Peru, with U.S. imports from that country up 3,971 percent from 2013 to 2017.

Overall, blueberry imports are up 44 percent.

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