Posts Tagged “Desert vegetable shipments”
The roller coaster ride of western winter desert vegetables has seen peaks and valleys in volume over the past three months and it is not over yet.
Light shipments of Western vegetables occurred in holidays ranging from Thanksgiving and Christmas through New Years and well into January. Then volume experienced a dramatic increase with lettuce and many vegetables heading into February. However, a potential shipping gap is looming as it appears winter vegetable shipments may come to a conclusion in mid- to late March. This would be ahead of the transition for many produce shippers to the Salinas and Santa Maria valleys.
The winter weather forecasts of hugh amounts of rains El Niño in Southern California have failed to materialize. Although a wet March is still being forecast. If that occurs and it drenches the desert, an even earlier end to vegetable shipments would most likely occur.
Some are saying that regardless of the El Niño situation, desert loadings are going to end early. While Salinas Valley vegetable shipments might get an early start, volume still will be light.
There will be some early Salinas fields harvested from mid-March to mid-April, but shipments will be variable at best.
Yuma, AZ vegetables shipments – grossing about $5700 to New York City.
While weather related issues continue to adversely affect produce shipments around the country, keep your fingers crossed shipments are getting back towards a more normal track in the deserts of Arizona and California.
The unprecedented run of low shipments and shipping gaps appears to be over, with the possible exception of celery. This means higher volume and more consistent shipments of various types of lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower.
Since the week of January 11 it has been warmer and temperatures are in the mid- to high 40s for lows and the highs are in the high 60s to low 70s. Let’s hope the good desert weather continues.
Meanwhile, much of Central and Northern California have been hit with above-average rain since the beginning of the year, something the desert areas were spared for the most part.
Growers in the coastal California valleys (Santa Maria and Salinas), which will be shipping the majority of the nation’s vegetable crops in the spring are having a few problems getting into the fields to plant. The shift in lettuce production to Santa Maria typically occurs around April 1. Those fields harvested in April need to be planted this month. If the storms continue, that could be an issue.
There’s complaints about a lot of low produce freight rates now. Just look at the desert, which is grossing under $2 per mile.
Desert vegetable shipments – grossing about $5800 to New York City.
Wintertime any year can pose it own set of problems relating to shipping volume, gaps, and quality for California produce shipments. But this year is becoming even more unpredictable with the California El Niño storm season underway, which can translate into weeks of frequent rain, resulting in harvest delays or damage to strawberries, citrus and vegetables.
Rain is predicted through the end of January, which can affect late March and early April produce shipments after the seasonal transition from the California and Arizona deserts.
The Yuma, AZ shipping area has already been experiencing much lighter shipments of cauliflower, broccoli and celery.
Central California plantings (San Joaquin Valley), including the Huron district, is already a concern to many produce growers who hope to plant on the schedule. Huron often prevents or lessens a shipping gap between the desert and Salinas for items such as lettuce.
Concerning citrus shipments, California packinghouses have been stepping up harvest in anticipation of coming rains. Thus far, shipping gaps have pretty much been avoided.
Citrus is more resistant than vegetables to rain damage, so growers work to increase picking and packing during storm breaks.
Luckily for strawberry shipments in the months ahead, the Watsonville and Salinas districts completed planting before any storms. However, drops in strawberry shipping volume is expected from Ventura and Orange counties.
Over 2016 California strawberry shipments are expected to have decreased volumes.
Above average rainfall is forecast through March in California, Texas and Florida by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Based on NASA satellite imagery, climatologists say the warming trend in the Pacific Ocean equals that of the same months in 1998, when heavy rains and flooding rolled through the regions. It was one of the two strongest El Niño’s on record.
The Salinas Valley had extensive flooding in 1998.
BOTTOM LINE….There’s a pretty good chance lighter than normal western vegetable shipments will be with us for a while.
California and Arizona desert vegetable shipments, grossing about $3800 to Chicago.
Growing and shipping fruits and vegetables in winter is risky business and weather conditions too often play havoc. For example, cold weather in the California and Arizona deserts are disrupting vegetable shipments. In Florida, southern vegetables have been pounded by heavy rains, literally wiping out crops. Strawberry shipments further north in Florida are being hurt by heat.
Desert Vegetable Shipments
Cold weather in the early season and variable weather since then has slowed vegetable growth – and shipments of cauliflower, broccoli, Iceberg lettuce, leaf items or Brussels sprouts. With temperature highs varying as much as 20 degrees from day to day, problems happen. Then there are nightly lows around freezing, that curtail early morning harvests. The result is volume running 25 to 50 percent below normal, which will continue through the end of the year. Farming operations are having to remove the outer leaves of lettuce with ice damage.
California, Arizona desert vegetables grossing about $3800 to Dallas.
Florida Vegetable Shipments
South Florida’s Redlands growing region was hit with torrential rains in early December, resulting in severe damage to winter yellow squash, zucchini and green beans.
The 15 inches of rain that pounded Florida City and Homestead, Fla., also hurt tomatoes and sweet corn, but the squash and beans sustained the most severe damage with losses in the 60 to 70 percent range. The excessive water killed many plants and caused serious quality issues that prevented vegetables from being shipped for the Christmas holidays.
The region grows product primarily mid-November through mid-April, similar to Belle Glade, Fla., and Immokalee.
Belle Glade ships corn and beans while Immokalee ships beans, tomatoes and squash.
Florida Strawberry Shipments
Higher than normal temperatures in the Plant City, FL area has resulted in strawberry shipments facing shipping gaps. Volume is less than normal due to the heat. Although volume is starting to increase, it will probably be the second full week of January before loadings are up to where they should be.
Florida vegetables and strawberries – grossing about $2000 to Chicago.
Walnut production in California is slightly more than that of the previous season. But because exports to China are down because of duties imposed, this may actually result in more domestic shipments than last season. However, the amount of domestic shipments will be determined in part, if exports to Turkey and the Middle East replace of the China bound walnuts.
The forecast has walnut production at 575,000 tons, a one percent increase from last year.
Central San Joaquin Valley walnuts, kiwi, pomegranates, apples, etc. – grossing about $4000 to Dallas.
Desert Vegetable Shipments
Both the Salinas Valley and the Santa Maria district were wrapping up shipments early at the close of November. Combine that with the seasonal shift of broccoli, cauliflower and other items to Yuma, AZ and the Imperial Valley of California, where volume is lighter than normal, and we’re looking at shipping gaps. Good volume and steady shipments may not occur until after Christmas.
Deserts shipments still too light to get an accurate quote on truck rates.
Florida Tomato Shipments
South Florida is shipping grape, mature green and cherry tomatoes, primarily from the Homestead and Palmetto-Ruskin areas. However, temperatures that often have been running 15 to 20 degrees warmer than normal have reduced volume and sizing on the product.
For example, as of mid November, growers had harvested a little more than 1,158 40,000-pound units of mature greens compared to 1,383 units the same time last fall.
Central and South Florida tomatoes, mixed veggies – grossing about $2500 to New York City.
Idaho potatoes shipments – grossing about $6000 to New York City.
Desert Vegetable Shipments
Perfect weather in the Southwestern deserts of Arizona and California may be great for production and volume with head lettuce, romaine, broccoli and other vegetables. However, demand for such items in portions of the upper Midwest, and especially the Northeast has been killed because of snow storm after snow storm. The desert shipping areas have another month or so before the transition to the Huron district in the San Joaquin Valley. Vegetable loadings typically occur for about three weeks from Huron before shifting to the Salinas Valley.
Desert vegetables – grossing about $5400 to Atlanta.
An extended warm weather streak is occurring in the California and Arizona deserts, resulting in fair to good movement of vegetables. The only problem is treacherous winter weather in many northern and northeastern markets is hurting demand.
Desert vegetable shipments are taking place from the Imperial, Coachella and Pal Verde valleys of California, as well as the Yuma area in Arizona. Everything from head lettuce to romaine, as well as broccoli and cauliflower, and greens are being loaded. The primary problem might be if there are some temporary shipping gaps due to weather factors earlier in the season….Mexican asparagus volume is building at the Calexico, CA border crossing.
Carrot shipments from the Bakersfield area are averaging over 300 truck loads per week.
While strawberry loadings out of the Oxnard district are light, there is better volume with celery.
California citrus shipments ranging from oranges to tangerines and mandarins are available from shippers in Central and Southern California.
California avocado shipments have recently got underway and the forecast calls for loadings to total 327 million pounds during the 2014-15 season, about 10 percent greater than this past season. Volumes are expected to build into March with ‘promotable’ volume beginning in April.
Overall, this is perhaps the lightest volume time of the year for California produce shipments, which too often results in multiple pick ups to fill the trailer.
California desert shipments – grossing about $4400 to Chicago, $6500 to New York City.
Colorado potato shipments are steady and averaging about 800 truck loads per week. Potato acreage in the San Luis Valley is up 8 percent in 2014 to 53,700 over 2013’s 49,700 acres.
San Luis Valley potato shipment totals through December 2014 are very similar to the previous year, with 10,579 loads having gone out with the end of the year 2014 compared to 10,529 in 2013. Truck shipments of fresh were at 2,654, up from 2,614 the previous year.
Colorado potato shipments – grossing about $2200 to Chicago.
Desert Vegetable Shipments
A couple of weeks of above-normal temperatures since the middle of January have helped bring on vegetables supplies – and shipments – in the western desert areas of California and Arizona. In fact this week plenty of sunshine and highs mostly in the lower 70s are predicted.
In early- to mid-January, there were very light supplies of Iceberg lettuce as well as most other vegetables. But high temperatures in the 70s in Yuma, AZ, and California’s Imperial Valley brought on fields more quickly and increased shipments.
However, it is still the middle of winter with almost three months of weather yet to play out. Although the harvest is ahead-of-schedule there is the potential for supply and shipping gaps if the weather cools off and growing time takes longer.
Desert vegetables – grossing about $7000 to New York City.
Supply and quality issues will complicate the remainder of the California and Arizona lettuce deals, and prices should stay high as a result, because of shipping gaps.
You also are paying more for lettuce at the supermarket. Cartons of lettuce at shipping point are more than triple what they were this time last year (now $25.50-28.50 for cartons of film-lined 24-count iceberg).
This problem is expected to last weeks, if not months. For example there are about 12 weeks left for shipping lettuce out of Yuma. It is beginning to look like the shipping gaps, and quality problems will be around until the seasonal shift takes the harvest back to Huron, Santa Maria and Salinas.
If colder than normal weather is prevelant in the coming weeks it could further delay or reduce lettuce volume – and shipments.
Yuma vegetable shipments – grossing about $7200 to New York City.
California produce shipments
Sunny Southern California was more like a winter wonder land New Year’s Eve when a snowstorm dumped up to 6 inches on parts of Riverside County and caused damage to avocado orchards.
Damage assessments should be available very soon. Just when you think you’ve seen everything, it snows in Temecula, CA! About half of an estimated 330-million pound crop is shipped from the state’s southern growing regions of Riverside and San Diego counties. To the north, Ventura County got some low temperatures Dec. 31 and Jan. 1 but fruit loss was expected to be minimal.
Avocado tree branches were down, although there is hope the fruit on the tree would still be harvestable. Damage from the weight of the snow doesn’t necessarily mean freeze damage.
Meanwhile, California table grape shippers have completed harvests, with what appears to be the second largest crop on record, despite the drought. It is estimated there will be 105.9 million 19-pound boxes shipped, which would be short of last year’s 116.3-million-box haul, but exceeding the 101.3 million packages turned out in 2012. Grape shipments could finish this week for the season.
In the meantime, California desert vegetable shipments are unpredictable as ever with shipping gaps occurring due to past freezing weather.
Imperial Valley/Yuma vegetables – grossing about $3000 to Seattle.
Southern California avocados, berries and celery – grossing about $5000 to Atlanta.