Posts Tagged “feature”

Arkansas Produce Shipments Changing with the Times

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Arkansas isn’t known for its fresh produce shipments, but over the years it has had a significant volume of tomatoes for a few weeks starting in July. Some fresh items are declining while others are seeing gains in acreage.

During the past 15 years sweet potato shipments have increase, while tomato and watermelon volume is down Overall, there are mixed trends for Arkansas produce shipments including vegetables, fruits and melons.

The sweet potato gets underway about September 1st, with curing taking about 4 to 6 weeks. Shipments will then start lasting until the new crop is ready in 2020.

The USDA Census shows fresh vegetable acreage in Arkansas totaled 9,500 acres in 2017, up from 7,806 in 2012 and 8,782 in 2007.

The census notes Arkansas total sweet potato fresh market acreage was estimated at 3,492 acres in 2017, up from 2,757 acres in 2007. 

Arkansas sweet potatoes grown for processing totaled 1,106 acres in 2017, up from 369 acres in 2007.
During the same period, the census exposed Arkansas fresh tomato acreage dropped from 1,101 acres in 2007 to 952 acres in 2017, a drop of 14 percent.

For example, Harrod & Hensley Tomato Co. of, Hermitage, Ark., which grows fresh tomatoes in south central Arkansas reports the state’s tomato acreage could be down 40 percent this year. A factor in the decline is more market pressure from hothouse volume in Mexico provide increased competition for field grown tomatoes.

Tomato loadings got underway about a week ago and will continue until round July 20th.

USDA statistics reveal Arkansas watermelon acreage was fairly stable the past five years, but has been sliding over the longer term.  Watermelon shipments will occur from early July into the last half of August.

With 1,822 acres harvested in 2017, Arkansas watermelon acreage fell steadily from 1,880 acres in 2012, 2,059 acres in 2007, 2,267 acres in 2002 and 2,770 in 1997.

Arkansas fresh vegetable acreage in 2017, with percent change compared with 2012:

  • Snap beans: 107 acres harvested in 2017, up 73 percent from 2012;
  • Cantaloupes: 56 acres in 2017, down 53 percent from 2012.
  • Cucumbers: 115 acres in 2017, up 15 percent from 2012;
  • Lettuce: 30 acres in 2017, up 76 percent from 2012;
  • Leaf lettuce: 21 acres in 2017, up 75 percent from 2012;
  • Mustard greens: 68 acres in 2017, up 89 percent from 2012;
  • Okra: 74 acres in 2017, up 155 percent from 2012;
  • Southern peas: 260 acres in 2017, down 58 percent from 2007; and
  • Pumpkins: 363 acres in 2017, down 15 percent from 2012. 

Fruits and Nuts

Arkansas apple volume has declined, shipments for the state’s grapes and pecans has risen in the past 5 years.

The Ag Census show non-citrus fruit bearing acreage totaled 1,542 acres in 2017, up 8 percent from 1,429 acres in 2012 but off 33 percent from 2007.

Bearing and non-bearing acres of apples totaled 283 acres in 2017, off 4 percent from 296 in 2012 and sharply down from 1,048 acres in 1997.

Bearing and non-bearing acreage of grapes totaled 956 acres in 2017, up 4 percent from 2012 and 28 percent higher than 2007.

For peaches, the 2017 Census of Agriculture reported 669 acres in 2017, down 1 percent from 2012 and off a whopping 75 percent from 2,816 acres in 1997.

The Census of Agriculture reports pecans are expanding in Arkansas. For 2017, bearing and non-bearing acreage of pecans reached 15,736 acres, up 36 percent from 11,591 acres in 2012 and 71 percent higher than 9,185 acres in 1997.

Blackberry acreage in Arkansas was reported at 501 acres in 2017, up 4 percent from 480 acres in 2012. Blueberry acreage in 2017 totaled 356 acres in 2017; no comparisons were available for previous years. 

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New Jersey Produce Shipments Increase During June

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While New Jersey produce shipments start in May with items ranging from asparagus to greens, some root vegetables, spring onions and strawberries, volume increases with a longer list of items moving into June, July, August and September, which are the peak shipping months.

Jersey has had a good growing season for fresh produce and now two of its largest volume makers, blueberries and peaches, are coming on.

Nationally, New Jersey is one of the top 10 shippers of blueberries, peaches, tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant, cucumbers, apples, spinach, squash and asparagus.



Peach Shipments

New Jersey peach shipments, which start in late June, occur primarily from July through September. The Garden State has about 80 orchards comprising about 5,000 acres with production values at about $30 million annually. Most commercial orchards are in Southern Jersey.

New Jersey is the 4th largest peach shipping state in the U.S., with about 55 orchards on 5,000 acres, producing 22,000-25,000 tons.



Sunny Valley International has been marketing peaches and blueberries since 1995, representing the Jersey Fruit Cooperative, which produces over l million cases of blueberries, yellow peaches, white peaches and nectarines a year. Peaches used to be the main crop, but\the co-op has shifted mostly to blueberries, while the peach industry is consolidating into fewer growers, but bigger growers. 

Sunny Valley’s growers produce about 1.2 million boxes, or 30 million pounds, of peaches — the majority yellow peaches. Volume for peaches is expected to be about 10 percent more this year. Sunny Valley will be shipping peaches from July to mid September.

Blueberry Shipments

From June 11 to July 31, New Jersey blueberries shipments have just started from what some refer to as the “blueberry capital of the world,” Hammonton, NJ, with loadings continuing through July.

Sunny Valley’s 11 blueberry growers are reporting great growing conditions. In a normal season, the company ships about 1 million cases, or about 9 million pounds, of blueberries. 

Consalo Family Farms of Vineland, NJ has announced an additional 50 acres for growing and packing capabilities from 8 million to 9.5 million pounds during the New Jersey blueberry season.

Vegetable Shipments 

New Jersey sweet corn and tomato loadings start the third week of June, with volume coming on by the Fourth of July.

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Gladstone Land Acquires Pistachio Orchard in California

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By Gladstone Land Corporation

MCLEAN, Va. — Gladstone Land Corporation (NASDAQ: LAND) (“Gladstone Land” or the “Company”) announced that it has acquired approximately 930 gross acres of farmland in Chowchilla, California, for approximately $28.6 million. The farm consists of 852 planted acres of pistachio trees in their 11th leaf. In connection with the acquisition, the Company also entered into a 10-year, triple-net lease with The Specialty Crop Company, Inc., reported to be one of the top nut growers in the world and the largest grower of fresh and dried figs in the world.

“We are delighted to add another large pistachio orchard to our growing number of farms,” said Bill Reiman, Managing Director of Gladstone Land. “This acquisition was driven by one of our strong tenant relationships. There are many opportunities for us to grow our farmland assets by teaming up with great producers, and this acquisition is a prime example of that. This orchard is just coming into peak production, and we expect many years of great production.”

“Pistachios are an exciting growth area for us,” said David Gladstone, President and CEO of Gladstone Land. “This orchard is located in an area with attributes conducive for growing pistachios, such as optimal climate conditions and good access to water. Our tenant, The Specialty Crop Company, is an ideal partner for us as we continue to add farmland growing specialty crops to our farmland holdings. And like most of our tenant-farmers, they are growing foods that are considered to be healthy.”

About Gladstone Land Corporation:
Gladstone Land is a publicly-traded real estate investment trust that invests in and owns U.S. farmland and farm-related properties located in certain major agricultural markets across the U.S., which it leases to third-party farmers. The Company reports the current fair value of its farmland on a quarterly basis; as of December 31, 2018, its estimated net asset value was $12.88 per share. Gladstone Land currently owns 87 farms, comprised of 74,828 acres in 10 different states across the U.S., valued at approximately $649 million. Its acreage is predominantly concentrated in locations where its tenants are able to grow fresh produce annual row crops, such as berries and vegetables, which are generally planted and harvested annually; as well as permanent crops, such as almonds, blueberries, and pistachios, which are planted every 10 to 20-plus years and harvested annually. The Company may also acquire property related to farming, such as cooling facilities, processing buildings, packaging facilities, and distribution centers. Gladstone Land pays monthly distributions to its stockholders and has paid 74 consecutive monthly cash distributions on its common stock since its initial public offering in January 2013. The current per-share distribution rate on its common stock is $0.0445 per month, or $0.534 per year.

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Peruvian Avocados Arriving at U.S. Ports into September

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Peruvian avocado imports by the U.S. should continue until around Labor Day, after arrivals began in May.

Peruvian growers are expected to ship 160 million to 180 million pounds of avocados to the U.S. this season depending on market conditions.

Last year, Peru shipped 180 million pounds of avocados to America.

Del Rey Avocado Co. of Fallbrook, CA reports the majority of avocados imported from Peru usually arrive at ports on the East Coast, while fruit grown in California tends to remain in the West.

California has a very small volume crop this season and Mexico also has fewer avocados than normal.. This could result in more Peruvian avocados being shipped to Western markets than usual this season.

Calavo Growers Inc. of Santa Paula, CA is in it’s 4th year of importing avocados from Peru to the U.S., and the third year of a relationship with the same grower-packer in that country.

The company’s initial Peruvian avocado imports from young trees in the furthest northern district had been distributed by mid May,while shipments from the Trujillo area farther south, where the main plantings are, started with in the past week.

McDaniel Fruit Co., Fallbrook, CA., expects to import a record amount of Peruvian fruit this season due to the small California crop. The company has been pleased with initial arrivals that started in May and describes the quality as excellent.



Eco Farms of Temecula, CA was experiencing good arrivals of Peruvian avocados in late May and early June when supplies from both California and Mexico had tightened.

Index Fresh Inc. of Riverside, CA., has been a major importer of Peruvian avocados to the U.S. since 2012 and ships product to Canada. A significant difference this season is 2019 imports from Peru started 2 months earlier than a year ago, which didn’t see significant volume until August.

The Peruvian avocado season typically lasts about 4 months long, but growers are planting trees in new areas in an attempt to extend the growing season.

Calavo is expecting a 10 to 15 percent increase in volume from Peru this year due to young trees maturing, but more importantly, a result of growers adjusting their balance of shipments between Europe and the U.S.

Although Peru is known for shipping larger sized fruit than California or Mexico, the size curve is beginning to fall into a more normal range.


Index Fresh will receive avocados from Peru at ports in both California and Philadelphia, which gives Peruvian fruit a freight advantage compared to some other countries of origin. 

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Michigan Fresh Asparagus Volume is Increasing

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Michigan asparagus shipments have been underway for a month and should continue through the end of June from the west-central area of the state.

The Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board in Dewitt, MI notes loadings have been lagging because cool weather limited picks of asparagus fields to about 11-12 harvest sessions through late May, compared to normal tallies of 15-16.

Last year processed asparagus accounted for about 60 percent of the volume, although there is less processing demand this year. That is expected to result in more fresh shipments. One estimate has fresh shipments accounting for about 75 percent of the volume with product for processing making up the balance.

The USDA census report notes Michigan’s asparagus acreage was 12,285 acres in 2017, up from 9,405 acres in 2012 and 12,127 acres in 2007. Acreage has gone down compared with 1997, when 18,266 acres of asparagus were harvested in the state. About 9,500 acres were planted this year.

Michigan’s primary competition comes from Mexico and Peru during the May to June shipping window, although imports haven’t been big this year. Last season, May volume accounted for 33 percent of total fresh shipments and June accounted for about 67 percent of total annual volume.

Michigan’s fresh shipments of 385,000 28-pound equivalent crates in 2018 compared with 421,000 crates in 2017 and 417,000 crates in 2016.

In 2018, Michigan accounted for about 32 percent of total domestic asparagus shipments, trailing Washington (49 percent), but well ahead of California (19 percent).

However, both Mexico and Peru have big year-round volume coming to the U.S., and last year May to June U.S. imports from those two countries were seven times bigger than Michigan’s shipments in those two months.

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Rapid Growth of Greenhouse Production is Apparently Slowing

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The rapid pace with which greenhouse construction is apparently slowing down for several reasons.


According to Cuesta Roble (Oak Hills) Consulting’s 2018 report, there are 894 greenhouse vegetable companies in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, according to Cuesta Roble (Oak Hill) Consulting’s 2019 report. The study is named, Greenhouse Vegetable Producing Companies North America

Greenhouse proponents say the structures offer better protection from the unpredictability of weather, outdoor pests and contamination and indoor growing of all kinds offers more reliability and consistency.

In 2012, there was 98 million square feet of greenhouse vegetable production in the U.S. specifically, according to the USDA.

In Canada, greenhouses produced 612.8 million pounds of tomatoes in 2017, the latest number available, according to Statistics Canada. That is more than 14 million pounds above 2016’s production level and about 35 million above 2015. 

But the typical annual 7 percent increase in acreage experienced by the 201 grower members of the Ontario Greenhouse Vegetable Growers Association isn’t expected to continue into 2019. Ontario accounts for about 80 percent of the entire Canadian greenhouse output.

And it is not just the cannabis explosion taking up space.

The whole process of expansion has gotten more complicated. There are growing uncertainties of what land municipalities will serve for greenhouse production. 

The time it takes to build a greenhouse has jumped from 24 months to 40 months due to issues ranging from land purchase and rising building costs. As demand increases, so does the demand on resources. 


Cannabis production is demanding on current resources. These resources can mean everything from steel, to municipality services, to construction workers.

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North Carolina Blackberry Shipments are Coming Soon

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By Wish Farms

Plant City, FL – International grower and year-round marketer of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries, Wish Farms is gearing up for a robust Southeast blackberry season.

North Carolina berry shipments are underway and peak volume is expected around the second to third week of June, with the season concluding in September.

Since 2016, growth in the blackberry category has been a focus for Cane Berry Director Jose Saca: “We aligned ourselves with exceptional growers that allow us to provide great tasting varieties like PrimeArk 45, Osage, Ouachita and Natchez among others. We are also encouraged by the steady growth in consumer demand. If there are no major weather events, we can expect a good production year with early volume estimates 15-20 percent higher over last season.”

In 2018, Wish Farms completed a 7,500 square foot cooler in Shelby, N.C. to manage their blackberry shipments in the region. All Wish Farms blackberries in this region will ship from this facility after thorough quality control inspections. 

“This southeastern blackberry program is essential to our mission of providing the best tasting berries,” said James Peterson, VP of Sales. “We look forward to working with our retail partners this June and throughout the summer to support blackberry ads.”

The blackberry season is expected to align well with the high-quality blueberry shipments shipments coming from the region.  Weather in Georgia and North Carolina has been ideal leading up to the season.  Plants have had favorable chill hours. Presently, there have been no major weather events or late winter injuries that lead to bud or fruit damage.

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About Wish Farms:

Wish Farms, founded in 1922 and third-generation owned, is a year-round supplier of strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries growing both conventional and organic varieties. 

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Florida Avocado Shipments Should Rebound this Season

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Normal Florida avocado shipments have not been seen since 2017 and optimism abounds 2019 is the year of rebound for this tropical fruit.

Brooks Tropicals Inc. of Homes reports in 2017 it was Hurricane Irma which devastated the Florida avocado crop and 2018 the fruit was still recuperating.

Southern Florida, where avocados are the Miami-Dade area’s second largest crop, has had excellent weather with warm temperatures and adequate rains. The season for Florida avocados typically begins in June and continues until February or March.

M&M Farm Inc. of Miami expects to grow and ship around 800,000 bushels this season. In 2018 due to the previous-year hurricane and declining (laurel wilt) acreage, the entire Florida avocado industry only shipped about 500,00 bushels.

Limeco LLC of Princeton, FL recently launched its avocado season. The company notes the 2018-19 crop was only about 60 percent of normal, due to the after-effects of the 2017 storms.

Unity Groves of Homestead, FL is looking forward to normal avocado shipments this season as their avocado trees have rebound from the adverse effects of Hurricane Irma in 2017.

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IMG Citrus Adds 4,000-Acre Grove to Portfolio

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By IMB Citrus

VERO BEACH, FL – IMG Citrus, a family-owned, vertically-integrated citrus grower, packer, and shipper in Vero Beach, FL, announced the acquisition of one of the largest grapefruit groves in St. Lucie County. The 4,000-acre grove increases their control of citrus land management in Florida by over 75 percent, securing their position as an established citrus leader in the state of Florida, and solidifying their commitment to the industry. The grove has been renamed Happy Food Grove, after their main consumer brand “Happy Food,” which can be found in supermarkets across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Asia.

“Investing in agri-business is always risky, but citrus is even more so today because of Greening,” said Michel Sallin, IMG Citrus President. “We know Florida grapefruit is the best in the world. We believe in this industry and we believe in Florida grapefruit. A solution to Greening will be found, and when that day comes, we’ll be ready.”

While Greening remains a threat, IMG Citrus’ production model utilizes innovative practices and technologies to keep groves productive and profitable.

“We have adopted a more aggressive approach to production, focusing on high density, and super high density planting methods to help combat Greening by creating a more controlled environment,” said Brian Randolph, Director of Grove Production. “In the new grove, we can optimize nutrient and water management, a critical factor for production in a Greening environment. This level of precision not only helps keep the trees healthy, but it’s more environmentally sustainable by reducing water use and nutrient runoff.”

An additional 397 undeveloped tree acres will be home to the company’s new grove redevelopment project, with 273 acres of citrus trees to be set within high-density planting blocks predicted to produce mature fruit within three years, and 124 acres of trees set within existing traditional blocks.

Their high density planting methods were fine-tuned over the last three years at their groves at Cherrylake, IMG Citrus’ sister company, also founded and operated by the Sallin family.

“Cherrylake was originally all citrus groves,” explains Sallin. “We lost nearly everything during the freezes in the 1980’s. Rather than shut everything down, we adapted by turning our Cherrylake property into a thriving, ornamental tree farm that focuses on landscape construction and maintenance, while moving our citrus operation down south to where it is today. 75 Acres of land at Cherrylake is still dedicated to citrus, where we have been able to explore new varieties and high density planting methods.”

The newly-acquired Happy Food Grove also contains a 300-acre reservoir, and is home to native wildlife including deer, wild turkey, alligators, Roseate Spoonbills, and Blue Herons.

“We are stewards of our environment, and we diligently protect the quality of our air, land, and water,” said  Sallin. “We realize that we do not own our land, but rather, we are borrowing it from future generations. Our best management practices help ensure our horticultural practices are in line with this philosophy.”

In addition to the land purchase, the acquisition also included transitioning 17 existing grove employees to IMG Citrus.

“It was important to us that we did not disrupt the operation of the grove, and more importantly, that the employees felt reassured that IMG Citrus would continue to provide them the opportunity to work and grow within the company,” said Joaquin Perez, Human Resources Manager. “Our goal is to make the transition as easy and as seamless as possible, and I think we’ve done that well through open communication. Employees have kept their same positions, they’re just part of a bigger family now.”

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About IMG Citrus:

IMG Citrus is a second-generation citrus grower, packer, marketer, and shipper in Vero Beach, Florida, with over 9,000 acres of productive AGland. Family owned and operated for over 35 years, IMG Citrus was founded by Michel and Veronique Sallin. Born and raised on a French farm, Michel has a genuine love for sustainable agriculture, and an entrepreneurial spirit that fuels a passion for using the most innovative processes and technologies. Today, a second generation of family-operators is involved and working alongside the most professional industry leaders that make up the IMG Citrus team.

About Happy Food:

Happy Food is IMG Citrus’ primary consumer brand, and is marketed in North America, Europe, and Asia. The brand features bright colors, happy fruit faces, and is used to pack citrus including grapefruit, oranges, and mandarins grown in Florida, as well as South America and Mexico. Since its launch in 2013, Happy Food continues to re-energize the citrus aisle with a cheerful, contemporary brand that promotes a healthy, happy lifestyle.

About IMG Enterprises:

IMG Enterprises, the holding company for IMG Citrus, is a Florida owned and operated family agri-business with divisions in citrus, real estate, mitigation banking, and landscape construction. The mission of IMG Enterprises is to manage a sustainable enterprise rooted in the land which benefits its family, employees, and community, while having a positive impact on the environment. With over 500 employees, the company ranks 31st on the list of Top Privately Held Companies by the Orlando Business Journal.

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Good Movement Continues with Apple Shipments

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By Stemilt Growers

WENATCHEE, Wash. – The apple season continues to roar along and Stemilt’s latest Fruit Tracker Fast Facts analysis is proof of strong category performance in March 2019.

According to Nielsen scan data, apples made up 8.2 percent of fresh produce sales on average in the U.S. between February 24 and March 30. The volume of apples was down 1.8 percent year-over-year and dollars were up a nominal 0.2 percent.

“With less volume in this crop and supplies starting to dwindle because of seasonality, we expect to see strengthening apple prices in the coming months,” said Brianna Shales, Stemilt communications manager. “The 2019-20 apple crop is trending two weeks later than last season’s crop start and that will add pressure on supply and demand during the late summer transition.”

Regionally, the Midwest topped the national average, with apples making up 9.4 percent of fresh produce sales in March 2019. The Northeast was second with 7.7 percent of fresh produce sales from apples, followed by the South at 7.5 percent and the West at 7.8 percent.

The top five apple varieties in March 2019 were: Gala, Honeycrisp, Fuji, Red Delicious, and Granny Smith. Gala volumes were up 14 percent year-over-year with dollars also up double-digits at 10.7 percent. Gala accounted for 27 percent of March apple sales. Honeycrisp has also seen volume growth of 9.3 percent and dollar growth of 7.2 percent when compared to March 2018. Honeycrisp made up 24 percent of apple dollars in March.

“Gala has been moving in a positive direction all season. The quality of Gala this year has helped this top variety and helped drive consumer demand for apples,” said Shales.

Stemilt’s signature apple, Pinata®, saw sales increases in March 2019 when compared to the year prior. Fueled by good sizing and great eating qualities, volumes of the tropical apple were up 4 percent and dollars up 6 percent in March.

The average retail price of apples in March 2019 was $1.69 per pound. Organic apples were up nearly 2 percent in volume year-over-year and made up more than 9 percent of total apple volumes sold in March 2019. The average retail price for organics was $2.19 per pound, a 30 percent premium over conventional apples.

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About Stemilt

Stemilt Growers is a leading tree fruit growing, packing and shipping company based in Wenatchee, Washington. Owned and operated by the Mathison family, Stemilt is the leading shipper of sweet cherries and one of the nation’s largest suppliers of organic tree fruits.

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