Posts Tagged “desert lettuce shipments”

Western Lettuce Shipments in Seasonal Shift: Caution Urged Loading Head Lettuce

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Shipments of lettuce and other leafy greens are shifting from the California and Arizona deserts to the short Huron, CA, season, with the Salinas Valley season just getting underway this week. Some caution is urged in loading head lettuce, which has quality problems.

Markon Cooperative notes in its weekly Fresh Crop Report, lettuce prices are steady and supplies are strong as consumer demand is rising with more restaurants opening.

USDA reports both romaine and iceberg lettuce prices have nearly doubled in the last month.

Romaine, green leaf and spring mix supplies are very good quality, Markon reports, while iceberg lettuce has some issues with frost, mildew and wind-damaged outer leaves. It is recommended your receiver be alerted while still at shipping point the condition of the lettuce.

The transition from the desert areas to northern California growing areas occurs every spring.

California/Arizona desert lettuce and other vegetables – grossing about $6100 to Chicago.

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California Desert Lettuce Shipments are Looking Strong

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California winter desert lettuce shipments are looking good this season due to good growing conditions, although the nearby Yuma lettuce season may be a little behind schedule because of rain.

Coastline Family Farms of Salinas, CA transitioned its lettuce shipments from the Salinas Valley to Yuma, AZ the second week of November and to Brawley, CA this week, where it has a branch operation.

The company reports the Yuma area was hit by a significant storm system that included heavy rain and hail, which causes significant damage to some early planted lettuce fields.

While lettuce shipments were lighter than normal for Thanksgiving, volume is now improving.

Coastline began around Thanksgiving from Brawley with Imperial Valley vegetable shipments including about two dozen items such as romaine, romaine hearts, cauliflower, green leaf and red leaf lettuce. These loadings should continue until early April

While romaine grown in Salinas has been cited for food borne illness, it thus far has not affected growing areas in the California and Arizona deserts. One possible point of confusion from a consumer perspective may be, for example, was observed recently in a Wal-Mart supermarket. A well known shipper stated on the romaine in the display case was distributed by the company “from Salinas, CA.” However, a Wal-Mart sign stated no lettuce was Salinas was being distributed by the store. That may be factually correct, but how many consumers hestitate to by the romaine because they do not know where it was grown.

Who really cares where the company who distributed it is from. It is more important to known where the produce was grown. One can debate\ the costs of labeling, but that is a whole different issue.

Boskovich Fresh Food Group of Oxnard, CA grows and ships most of it vegetables from Ventura County, although it complements its program of celery, cabbages, romaine, red- and green-leaf lettuce and other items with a limited amount of lettuce and some red and green leaf from Yuma.

Meanwhile, Peter Rabbit Farms of , Coachella, CA launched its red and green leaf season the second week of November, followed by romain loadings a week later. The company was experiencing truck load volume by Thanksgiving, with the season continuing through March.

Ocean Mist Farms of Castroville, CA grows and ships winter vegetables from the Coachella Valley including artichokes, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cardone, cauliflower, celery, fennel/sweet anise, a full line of leafy greens, green cabbage, iceberg lettuce, rapini/broccoli rabe and spinach.

Shipments of iceberg and leaf items started the third week of November, while broccoli and cauliflower got underway a few days before Thanksgiving. The company has increased its Brussels sprouts and iceberg lettuce volume this year.

Baloian Farms of Fresno CA started shipping from the Coachella Valley the first half of November with items ranging from romaine, to romaine hearts, red leaf, green leaf, jumbo butter leaf and cauliflower following its seasonal transition from the Fresno. The company expects similar volume again this season with romaine and green leaf , while more volume will be coming from other vegetables such as romaine hearts, green onions, cauliflower and celery.

Such a storm can damage or even destroy planted fields, he said.

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Desert Vegetable Shipments are Rebounding; California Citrus Freeze Update

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DSCN1848Produce shipments can be a crap shoot anytime of the year, but the odds certainly increase when trying to grow and ship perishable products in the wintertime.  Sometimes you dodge the bullet, sometimes not.   The proverbial bullet was dodged recently in the California and Arizona deserts, although some vegetables may have been grazed.  But shipments are pretty much back to normal…At the end of the report is an update on the California citrus freeze.

Vegetable volumes out of the California and Arizona deserts are returning to normal after freezes in the first half of December.  Record lows slowed growth across the board, but broccoli and cauliflower were hit the hardest.

Desert lettuce shipments are warmer in the Imperial Valley from such places as  Holtville, compared to the Yuma district in Western Arizona.

Iceberg or head letttuc, as well as  mixed leaf mostly escaped the freezing weather but cauliflower, broccoli, spring mix, arugula and other leaf items suffered a little bit with damage such as tip burn.

It is too early to get a handle on whether desert celery plantings and its resulting shipments will come off later than their typical early January start because of the December cold.

Whether we are talking Imperial Valley vegetable shipments, or Yuma vegetables shipments, it is particularly wise to keep an eye on the weather, and when you do load, make sure your receiver knows the quality of the product.  Winter veggies tend to get beat up by Mother Nature and are not always pretty.

California Citrus Shipments

Early inspections of freeze-damaged citrus in California’s Kern County pegged mandarin orange and lemon losses at around 20 percent, and navel losses at less than 5 percent.

Still, the toll of a Dec. 4-10 cold snap remains unclear in Kern County and in Fresno and Tulare counties…..We’ll still ring in the New Year before we start getting a significant feel for how much California citrus shipments will be affected.

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