Posts Tagged “cherry”

Northwest Produce Shipments are Significant

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IMG_6909Northwest cherry growers expect a 2013 crop of 18 million boxes to be shipped, well short of last year’s record 23 million boxes.

Shippers from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah released their crop estimate last week.  Washington is the largest shipper fresh cherries, with an expected crop of 14 million boxes.  A box of cherries weighs 20 pounds.

Shipment of cherries should get underway in early June around the Columbia River, with peak loadings taking place in the Northwest prior to the Fourth of July.

Northwest cherry shipments are expected to be similar to 2011 when the five states shipped about 18 million boxes.


Before the 2012-13 Washington state apple shipping season ends in July or August, 132,245,000 truckload equivalents of apples should have been hauled.  Sure, some of that fruit will go by rail, but it is trucks carrying the bulk of the loads.

On average, the Yakima and Wentachee Valleys are currently shipping about 3,000 truckload equivalents of apples each week.

Potatoes continue to be a big mover, especially out of Idaho, which has more russet potatoes this season than it knows what to do with.  Idaho is loading around 1,800 truckload equivlents of spuds each week.

Washington’s Columbia Basin and the adjacent Umitilla Basin in Oregon are providing loads of potatoes and onions.  However, both spuds and onions combined, do not come even near the volume of potatoes being shipped out of Idaho.

Idaho potatoes – grossing about $3500 to Cleveland.

Washington apples – about $6300 to Orlando.



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Produce Hauling from the Salinas Valley, San Joaquin Valley

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Between now and August produce truckers will have the upper hand when it comes to freight rates – assuming you don’t have contract rates (but that’s another story).

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.

Salinas Valley

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).

Kern District

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.


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National Produce Loading Opportunities

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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.



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California Rates Remaining Strong After Recent Jump

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Since California rates shot upward on June 4th by $1000 dollars or more from California to the midwest and east coast, rates have pretty much maintained that level  (around $6000 to Chicago and about $9000 to the east coast).    Now the question is whether loads for the 4th of July holiday will take another jump.  Since the 4th falls on a Wednesday, there are differing opinions whether rates will go any higher, as opposed to if the holiday fell on,  say a Monday or a Friday, making for a long holiday weekend.

In California’s Westside District of the San Joaquin Valley, cantaloupe and honeydew shipments will be starting around Independence Day.  Normal shipments are expected, although there’s plenty of apprehension among some melon shippers over the ramifications of the cantaloupe listeria outbreak last year with Rocky Ford region cantaloupe in Colorado. That outbreak adversely affected cantaloupe shipments for other production areas as many consumers stopped buying melons.

In Southern California, record shipments of avocados continue.  The region is shipping about 30 million pounds of avocados weekly to points around the USA, with a total for the season expected to hit 415 million pounds!….California cherry loads  from the Lodi-Stockton area will be winding down within the next week or so, which will end with a record of around 23 million boxes, up 3 million boxes from the amount shipped a year ago.

Meanwhile, there’s heavy volume with vegetables coming out of the Salinas Valley, and increasing stone fruit shipments from the San Joaquin Valley.

San Joaquin Valley stone fruit – about $5500 to Chicago.

Salinas Valley vegetables/Watsonville strawberries – around $9200 to Boston, and can be a few hundred dollars higher or lower depending upon the day of the week, demand for trucks, etc.





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Produce Shipments Across the USA

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Looking ahead in Washington state, unless weather changes everything, record cherry shipments are being predicted.  Coming out the Yakima and Wenachee valleys, cherry shipments kick off the second week of June and will continue into mid July.  Meanwhile, if you’re in the region, steady shipments of late season apples and pears continue.

In Nogales, AZ, the U.S. Custom and Border Protection has expanded lanes for trucks importing Mexican produce to eight lanes.  Mexican grapes are now crossing the border and an estimated 8 to 9 million cartons are expected to be shipped to points throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Looking down the road a bit, vine ripe tomatoes out of Southeastern Arkansas could start shipping one to two weeks early this year.  Light volume is expected by late May, with good volume coming within a week or so.  Shipments are expected to continue into mid-July.

Blueberry loads are now available from Southern Georgia, joining other items ranging from greens to squash, cucumbers and peppers.  Southern Georgia’s Vidalia onions are now in peak movement to markets, particularly in the eastern half of the country.

In California, grapes and melons are coming out the desert, while Southern California continues to ship berries, avocados, citrus and some veggies.   Look for building volume on vegetables from the Salinas Valley….May should be an interest month as we monitor building produce volume, availablilty of refrigerated equipment, and its effect on freight rates…..As always, truckers’ abilities to find westbound freight to pick up fruits and vegetables in California and the Northwest will be a challenge.

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