Posts Tagged “California”
Meanwhile, $9,000 gross freight rates from Salinas to the East Coast are becoming relatively common.
Cantaloupe shipments from the West Side of California’s San Joaquin Valley are expected to get underway next week, as loadings will continue into October.
Overall acreage is down about 5 to 10 percent on cantaloupes from a year ago. Whether that translates to yields and an reduction in loads remains to be seen.
Cantaloupe shipments start each season from Huron in the southern part of the valley and gradually moves northward into the Firebaugh district, before coming out of the Los Banos area. The end of the season has cantouples originating from fields in the northern area of Crow’s Landing.
Besides cantaloupe, other melons will be available for hauls ranging from honeydews, to Cranshaws, Casabas, Persians, Canaries, Orange Flesh, Santa Claus, Galias and Hamis.
Shipments of these items should get underway by July 1st.
Record Grapes Shipments?
Southern San Joaquin Valley table grapes from the Arvin district near Bakersfield will start shipping a little early this year (last week of June). Combine this with Sonara Mexican grapes crossing the border at Nogales, AZ and Coachella Valley grapes in the California desert running a little late – and there could be a glut of fruit needing to be shipped just prior to the Fouth of July holidays.
A number of grape shippers will be going entering the shipping arena the week of June 24th.
The April preliminary estimate this year is 106.9 million 19-pound boxes of grapes . If this holds, it will top last year’s record volume of about 101 million boxes.
More than half of that volume will be harvested and shipped after Sept. 1.
If the estimate holds it would result in record California grape shipments for the second year in a row.
Coachella Valley grapes – grossing about $6700 to Atlanta.
Salinas Valley veggies, berries – grossing mostly around $8000, with some as high as $9500 to Boston; $6,000 to Chicago.
Hauling fresh produce tends to provide much higher freight rates than dry freight, obviously because of the perishability of fresh fruits and vegetables, and the extra care required with temperature, humdity, air circulation in the load, etc.
The higher risk to which truckers are exposed, also includes the possibilites of claims that reduce a driver’s pay check, or even worse, having the load rejected.
The degree of exposure to problems upon arrival at destination can depend on the honesty and integrity of the parties involved. Did the shipper pre-cool the product? Did the driver maintain proper temperature settings? Did the buyer or receiver pay too much for that product five days ago when the order was placed, and now the fruit on the market is worth $2 a box less? All of these examples can lead to claims or rejections with produce loads.
There have been studies over the years including the recent one titled Comparison of Pallet Cover Systems to Maintain Strawberry Fruit Quality During Transport which provides some interesting information. For example, this research concludes that TransFresh Corp’s Tectrol process reduces fruit decay by increasing carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in pallets covered by bags.
With CO2 levels increased by 11 to 16 percent, Tectrol beats its competitors in the important area of decay in strawberries by up to seven percent following delivery and two days on the shelf.
So how does this translate into a reduction in claims and load rejections for the produce trucker, if there is less decay in product being transported?
“That’s an interesting equation,” states Rich Macleod of TransFresh Corp. , Salinas, CA. “No one will ever talk about that. No one gives us their data. We’ve never been able to prove that (fewer claims, rejected loads), because we get it (information) by hersay.”
Macleod says experienced drivers know if they pick up a load of strawberries covered with bags, they are confident there will be no problems with that load. The expert in controlled atmosphere loads has been told by retailers “…their strawberry program is much easier” since using Tectrol.
However, when he asks that customer for data relating to load rejection and claims for strawberries comparing shipments with and without CO2 infused bagged pallets, he hits a stone wall. Those receivers acknowledge the benefits of Tectrol, but refuse to provide any statistics.
(This is the last of a 6-part series featuring an interview with Rich Macleod, vice president, pallet division North America for TransFresh Corp., Salinas, CA. He has been with company since 1976, and has a masters degree in post harvest science from the University of California, Davis.)
California’s Santa Maria district currently leads the state in strawberry volume with nearly 800 truck loads being shipped a week, but the Watsonville district will be catching up – and surpassing Santa Maria very soon. Meanwhile, Salinas Valley vegetables are continuing to increase is volume led by lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower. The San Joaquin Valley in cranking up with everything from stone fruit to vegetables.
The Imperial and Coachella valleys are shipping melons and mixed veggies, plus Coachella table grapes are now being shipped in volume.
Some produce loads, particularly from more northern Calilforna shipping areas, are already exceeding a rate of $9,000 to the East Coast.
Mexican tomatoes are being shipped in volume from Baja peninsula via distribution centers around San Diego. Product ranges from romas to grape, cherry and vine ripe tomatoes.
Looking ahead, warm April temperatures have pushed the California pear crop about 10 days ahead of last year. Early variety pears from the Sacramento River district should get underway around July 2-3, followed by bartletts about July 5.
The projected California almond crop is expected to reach 2 billion pounds this year. This would fall short only to 2011’s 2.03 billion pound crop and is 6% higher than 2012’s output, which was about 1.89 billion pounds. Almonds are the state’s largest agricultural export, with California alone producing 80 percent of the world’s supply.
California almond shipments come from over 810,000 acres.
Salinas vegetables – grossing about $9000 to Boston.
San Joaquin Valley stone fruit – about $6,000 to Chicago.
Grower/shippers in California’s San Joaquin Valley report good shipments of quality California stone fruit in the last half of May and it should pick up even more with the month of June.
SOME PRODUCE RATES ON STONE FRUIT OUT OF THE SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY HAVE EXCEED $9,000 TO BOSTON DURING THE PAST WEEK.
Yellow and white peaches, as well as yellow and white nectarines have been moving for the past month.
Peak stone fruit shipments will be occurring the last half of June and July, with about average shipments seen for the season.
PEARS – California pear shipments will start the earlier than at least the past couple of years. Loadings are expected to get underway around July 9th.
Northwest cherry shippers, for the first time in six years, expect good volume shipments for cherries in June. The first shipments of cherries in the state could start from June 1 through June 3.
Barring some bad weather (which would probably be rain), full bore cherry shipments should be occurring in time for the Fourth of the July for the first time since 2007.
The record shipments of 23 million 20-pound boxes of Northwest cherries last year was a 23% increase over the 2011 crop.
The Northwest will likely harvest a cherry crop in the 18 million to 20 million carton range in 2013.
San Joaquin Valley stone fruit – grossing about $8,800 to Boston.
Peach shipments from South Carolina will get started by early June, usually a few days later than nearby Georgia. However, it won’t be until good shipments come on several weeks later, you’ll have decent loading opporunities. Peak loadings should come just in time for the Fourth of July.
An unseasonably cold March and disease could very well slash watermelon shipments from Central and South Florida by 50%.
Western Michigan apple shippers apparently dodged the proverbial bullet last week, avoiding significant freeze damage, which would have been a scary repeat of a year ago, when most shipments were wiped out by the cold. It appears there will be be good apple shipments when movement starts this summer.
Similar to 2012, Michigan growers have 36,500 acres in apple production this season.
Asparagus growers in Southern Ontario have taken a hit as freezing temperatures took their toll on the crop recently. Frozen asparagus has a clear appearance and spears will droop as it warms up and should not be shipped. However, these plants will grow more spears.
Avocados from Mexic0Produce truckers this season have already picked up a lot of avocado at ports of entry along the Southern border. Trucks have delivered nearly a million pounds of Mexican avocados to markets across the USA and Canada. However, this is only the beginning. Before the season ends later this year, a billion pounds of Mexican avocadoes will have been hauled to markets a cross North America.
The study was conducted by the University of California, Davis and The University of Florida.
While a primary goal of the study is to find better ways to have produce with better quality and flavor delivered from the field to the kitchen shelf, transportation plays a key role in this.
Rich Macleod of TransFresh Corp. describes this as a “global process” where it must be considered that actions taken during the entire handling process can influence even the best varieties of product that end up in the hands of the consumer.
“The study confirms my private belief, plus our private research over the years,” he says. “If you do these processes correctly; cool it, transport correctly with good temperature control, with a CO2 atmosphere, you are going to deliver better fruit to the consumer.”
In the report, it details strawberry shipments with palletized loads covered with bags and carbon dioxide (CO2). The transcontential shipments compared the modified atmosphere shipments of CO2 West, PEAKfresh, PrimePro and Tectrol (TransFresh).
The results of the study may show why Tectrol is the dominant supplier of bagged, controlled atmosphere shipments out of California. Macleod says over half of the California harvested strawberries in California are shipped using the Tectrol process by TransFresh. California also grows and ships the vast majority of the nation’s strawberries.
The summary of the study’s findings probably explains why many strawberries look great when shipped and still are beautiful when displayed in your local supermarket. However, how many times have you purchased strawberries in the store and no sooner get home and notice quality problems occuring (a common experience with yours truely, the purveyor of this website)?
The study summarizes, “The Tectrol cover was sealed to the pallet base, a partial vacuum was applied, and pressurized CO2 gas was injected inside….CO2 concentrations within pallets at the beginning and end of transport were higher (11% to 16%) in the sealed Tectrol system and relatively low (.06% to .30% in the open CO2 West, PEAKfresh and PrimePro cover systems.”
Continuing, the report states, “The incident of fruit decay was low (1% to 1.4%) after transport, but increased substantially following a 2-day shelf life at 68 degrees. However, fruit from the Tectrol pallets exhibited significantly less decay (36%) after shelf life than the CO2 West (39%), non covered (pallets)(41%), PrimePro (42%) and PEAKfresh (43%).”
(This is Part 3 0f 5, featuring an interview with Rich Macleod, vice president, pallet division North America for TransFresh Corp., Salinas, CA. He has been with company since 1976, and has a masters degree in post harvest science from the University of California, Davis.)
Not only are we nearing the peak shipping season from California, which accounts for about half of the nation’s fresh produce, but other areas, particularly in the upper mid-west and east are providing competition for trucks.
Caution Hauling Desert Items
Before I get into the Salinas and San Joaquin Valley shipments, use caution loading desert vegetables such as bell peppers and corn as temperatures well above 100 degrees have been occurring. It’s been really hot in the Coachella and Imperial valleys, as well as Arizona’s Yuma district. Little or no report of heat damage has yet been reported but keep your eyes peeled for scalding and other heat symptoms in the days ahead. Even watermelons can suffer if prolonged heat occurs.
Dozens of different kinds of vegetables are being shipped from the Salinas area. But the big volume items are various types of lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower. There also is decent volume with brussel sprouts and celery. Nearby Castroville is the artichoke capital of the world, while nearby Watsonville is ground zero for strawberry shipments.
San Joaquin Valley
This report will focus primarily on summer from from the SJV. We’ll soon cover the many vegetables coming into volume.
Stone fruit, led by peaches, plums and nectarines, are just getting underway from the southern part of the valley.
The consensus appear to be that around 40 to 43 million boxes of stone fruit will be shipped this year from the San Joaquin Valley, which would be pretty average when looking at the volume for the past five years.
California cherry shipments are building and hitting good volume just prior to the Memorial weekend (May 25-27). However, winds damaged 40 to 50% of the early variety Rainier cherries around Bakersfield on May 5th.
There also was some wind damage to almond trees in the Bakersfield area.
Last year, California shipped a record 101.5 milion boxes of grapes. The Coachella Valley, which is shipping now, accounts for 10 percent or less of this volume. The rest comes from the San Joaquin Valley, starting with the Arvin District in late June.
Apple shipments, which took at 30 percent hit last year, are expected to return to normal this year. Beginning in July, California apple shipments get underway, but this is minor (2 million boxes) compared to Washington state (129 million boxes predicted).
Located near Bakersfield, Kern County ships a lot carrots and potatoes, althouigh this time of the year you will get a better freight rate hauling more perishable items ranging from lettuce to stone fruit, grapes and berries.
Kern County potatoes shipments started about a week ago. Due to so much over production of russet potatoes around the country, this variety has been reduced by up to 75 percent. Russets have been replaced primarily with red, yellow and white potatoes.
When Kern County growers are not planting carrots or potatoes in their fields, they use bell peppers as a rotation crop. Bell peppers loadings are just starting and building in volume, continuing until November.
Salinas vegetables – grossing about $5200 to Chicago.
California desert vegetables – about $7300 to New York City.
California cherry shipments kicked off the third week of April and volume is building. Decent loading opportunities are now just beginning to happen. Decent volume for deliveries in time for the Memorial Day holiday (May 25-27), with earlier varieties are expected. However, the later variety bing volume will be substantially less than a year ago.
The San Joaquin Valley southern region including Brooks and Tulare shipments will likely peak May 16-21. Overall peak shipments should be around May 25 to June 7. The bing cherry crop shipments are expected to be off by 30% to 50% from last year, due in large part to an alternate-bearing cycle.
California has had normal asparagus shipments during April, but loadings are expected lighter than usual now and this will probablycontinue through May.
Like so many areas of the country, a colder than normal spring has Michigan asparagus shipments off to a slow to start. Significant increases in volume are not expected until the third week of May, two weeks or more behind schedule.
After recovering from an early March freeze, Florida sweet corn grower-shippers are finally entering peak spring shipments. Peak loadings normally start around mid-April.
Georgia sweet corn shipments also are going to be a little later due to the cold growing season. Corn loadings from Georgia should start in late May, but decent shipments will not be happening until early June. Georgia’s shipments normally end after July 4.
South Georgia vegetables – grossing about $2400 to New York City.
Central Florida vegetables – about $4000 to Boston.
Overall this season, I’ve been disappointed in the quality of California strawberries, both in taste and appearance. As long as your receiver knows what they are having delivered, then it should reduce your chances of claims or rejections. Hopefully quality will improve with the transition to northern shipping areas.
Studies have shown if your load has pallets with sealed bags from Tectrol with the CO2 modified atmosphere, you will have berries with better arrivals and extended shelf life.
California has refined growing methods on more than 40,000 acres and have improved yields by 44 percent since 1990, but you can’t control Mother Nature. About 90 percent of USA grown fresh strawberries are from California.
The Salinas/Watsonville district is easily the state’s most important when it comes to strawberry shipments, with loads amounting to nearly half of California’s production.
During a year, Salinas/Watsonville ships nearly 20,000 truck load equivalents of strawberries, with the Santa Maria district moving nearly 11,000 truck load equivalents and Southern Californa shipping over 12,000 truck load equivalents.
Although a few California growers began harvesting and shipping early blueberry varieties last March, the bulk of loadings occur in May and June, with the season ending by July.
California is now shipping blueberries and all the signs point to good volume and quality. The Golden state this year is expected to exceed the 1,100 truck load equivalents of “blues” shipped in 2012.
California is home to 80 blueberry producers and 20 handlers, and ranks fifth nationally blueberry shipments.
Blueberry volume is light, but seasonally increasing from the southern and central disticts of California. Raspberries are in light volume from Ventura County.
Salinas strawberries and vegetables – grossing about $7500 to New York City.
Light shipments of cherries from California’s Arvin district near Bakersfield have gotten underway within the past week. Decent volume should be occuring within the next week or two. Excellent quality with good volume are being forecast for both California and Washington state this season, despite a mid April freeze in Washington that will reduce some loading opportunties.
Apricots are among the most perishable of stone fruits, but optimism abounds this year the product won’t get taken out by Mother Nature as it pretty much has been the past four years.
Most apricots are grown, packed and shipped in the San Joaquin Valley. Loadings should be hitting stride now and continue through May. About 90 percent of the apricots grown in the United States come from California. Production in 2011 was nearly 69,000 tons.
Meanwhile, there are much better loading opportunities with California items ranging from strawberries to mixed vegetables.
Strawberry shipments are heavy and will continue to heavy for another month.
Overall, the Salinas Valley is becoming the most active area for produce shipments. Lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower, plus dozens of other mixed vegetables are being shipped and volume will increase in the weeks ahead.
The nearby Watsonville district is shipping some strawberries, but but there also are berries and some mixed veggies coming out of the Santa Maria district to the south.
The Coachella Valley is expected to start harvesting desert grapes any day now, but good volume shipments are not expected until the week of May 20. Normal volume is expected.
Southern Californa strawberries, vegetables – grossing about $5400 to Chicago.
Salinas Valley mixed veggies – about $7400 to New York City.