Posts Tagged “feature”

Improved Weather Helping West Mexico Spring Vegetable Shipments

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West Mexico spring produce shipments are looking up with improved weather following a tough fall/winter season. There are increased supplies and more reasonable prices.

Earth Blend LLC of Nogales, AZ reported January and February supplies were disrupted with low yields for some growers.

The company had a slow start from Hermosillo, Mexico. Cucumbers got underway in late March 20, with watermelons coming on in early April. Honeydew melons kicked off the second week of April, with roma tomatoes showing up in mid-April.

IPR Fresh, Rio Rico, Ariz. adverse weather ranging from hurricanes to rain limited bell pepper shipments. The spring products for IPR Fresh includes red, orange and yellow bell peppers, European cucumbers and watermelons.


Rich River Produce LLC, of Rio Rico, AZ notes water issues remain in certain growing areas, including Culiacan in northern Mexico.

Some growers cut their production 30% to 50% and were shipping only two or three loads of cucumbers or bell peppers a day rather than their usual six or seven loads.

Certain areas, such as Hermosillo, Guaymas and Obregon, had ample water, but cold weather slowed production.

Rich River Produce will transition to Baja California in the summer and focus on chili peppers and cucumbers.

Ciruli Bros. LLC of Rio Rico had good supplies of Champagne mangoes by the end of March.

The company has cucumbers, eggplant, squash and bell peppers for spring shipping.

Ciruli expected volume to be up in the spring, especially on mangoes. Big demand in the U.S. has resulted in double-digit growth in mango sales.

Ciruli Bros. debuted its Rowdy Rabbit organic label last summer and offers an organic line that includes eggplant, squash, bell peppers, colored bell peppers, tomatoes and cucumbers.

Honeydews, seedless watermelons, mini seedless watermelons, kabocha squash, butternut squash and all colors of table grapes will be among the core products shipping from MAS Melons & Grapes of Rio Rico this spring.

Delta Fresh Produce of Nogales will continue to ship roma and round tomatoes and cucumbers out of Sinaloa this spring and will complement them with production on romas and cucumbers out of Sonora. The company also will have blueberries, watermelon, cantaloupe, zucchini, yellow squash, gray squash, green bell peppers and table grapes in Nogales and, for the first time, asparagus that ships from Yuma, AZ.  

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Fruit Arrivals at Port of Philly Not Expected to be Affected by Baltimore Bridge Collapse

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PhilaPort is known for being a prime destination for imported fruits and this situation is not expected to be negatively impacted due to the collapse of the Francis Scott Key Bridge in Baltimore after being hit by a ship on March 26. It resulted in the deaths of 6 people, and widespread speculation over its impact on other East Coast ports.

The Port of Baltimore does not handle large produce volumes. However, those ships normally going to Baltimore now have to reroute to other East Coast ports. This raised numerous questions about the capacity to handle the additional cargo. 

The Port of Philadelphia is a major destination for produce imports in the U.S., and has already received additional ships and will continue to receive more. 

PhilaPort has experience with the type of cargo being diverted and is confident it will be able to handle it, without affecting other operations.

At PhilaPort, 54% of the containers handled are refrigerated, establishing itself as the go-to port for produce.


The Delaware River port community encompasses three separate entities, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Among the three, they account for $6.6 billion in total food imports, with fruits and vegetables accounting for more than $4 billion of that total. 

Both New York and Virginia, have larger ports capable of providing the additional offload service, meaning those imports don’t have to be delivered to Philadelphia. 

For the automobile industry, one of the largest categories for the Port of Baltimore, it is not expecting a big flood of additional cars. 

The Port of Philly gives priority to fruits and vegetables, receiving large shipments from the west coast of South America. 

PhilaPort expects no negative impacts on its produce shipments from any diversion noting it has dealt with cargo surges in the past.

Philadelphia received its largest ship ever, the CMA-CGM Marco Polo, a 16,000 TEU ship recently. The model is the largest type of container ship that can land in the U.S. East Coast. 

The ship was scheduled to go through the Suez Canal and pick up clementines in Morocco. However, the conflict in the Red Sea meant the ship had to go south around South Africa.

With the opening of this seasonal service, the port is optimistic it will be receiving a lot more fruit in the future. 

Since this route starts in China, it should open opportunities for frozen fruits and vegetables from East Asia in the future.

Additionally, members of the Cosco Shipping Lines company intend to start a new service from the west coast of South America to Philadelphia.

The details of this new route have yet to be revealed , but the port expects the service to start soon. 

It very well could ship from Chile, Peru, and Ecuador with fruits up to Philadelphia. 

This means now the top 5 global shipping companies will have operations in the Port of Philly.

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Shipments for North Carolina Broccoli Crowns to Start in Late April

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Chelsea, MA – Morning Kiss Organic will soon be shipping organic broccoli crowns as part of the company’s complete line of organic produce. Pack sizes are 14 counts and crowns, however pack size can be customized according to customer request. Choosing organic means all Morning Kiss Organic broccoli is grown without chemical residues by sustainable, non-GMO farms. Morning Kiss Organic works to source produce from East Coast farms to reduce spoilage and carbon footprint.

North Carolina broccoli crown loadings will begin in late April. 

New Sprout Organic Farms in Asheville, NC is an important growing partner for broccoli. New Sprout Farms is a leader in organic produce, and works in partnership with 10 other organic farms. 

“At New Sprout, it is our goal to provide the freshest east coast organic produce to our customers, that’s why we harvest to order,” says Bridget Kennedy, Director of Sales & Grower Relations at New Sprout Organic Farms. “We do strategic crop planning with our growers to match our customers’ needs. Planning and partnership is key to keeping our farms financially sustainable,” says Kennedy.

“Working with organic growers like New Sprout Farms is part of our commitment to sourcing the best produce from East Coast farmers,” says Mike Guptill of Morning Kiss Organic. “Working with East Coast farmers helps to reduce environmental impact by freight and also helps to ensure we have the freshest produce for our retail partners and consumers.”

About Morning Kiss Organic

Morning Kiss Organic is the organic banner for DiSilva Fruit, Gold Bell and Arrowfarms.  Utilizing just-in-time deliveries allows Morning Kiss Organic to operate efficiently, maintaining freshness and optimizing the supply chain. By meeting consumer trends with smaller pack sizes, food waste can be reduced. Morning Kiss Organic and its parent companies aim to manage demand anticipating and buffering for disruptions within the supply chain and market volatility.

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California’s Post-Flood Recovery and Refrigerated Truck Projections

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By Isabella Silva, ALC Marketing Coordinator

Recent storms in California have significantly impacted agricultural operations. However, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is ready with technical and financial assistance to aid farmers and livestock producers in recovering from these adverse weather events. California’s agricultural sector has demonstrated remarkable resilience, supported by infrastructure enhancements, crop diversification, government assistance programs, and ongoing research and innovation efforts. It’s fascinating to note that California was in a severe drought just three years ago, highlighting the striking contrast in weather patterns. Nevertheless, both extremes resulted in similar agricultural shifts, noting the industry’s adaptability. This article explores the sector’s recovery from floods and projects California’s demand for refrigerated trucks. 

According to the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources, investments in infrastructure, such as levees and irrigation systems, have played a crucial role in mitigating flood damage and protecting agricultural lands. Farmers in California have implemented crop diversification strategies by planting flood-tolerant varieties to minimize losses. Partnering with Full Belly Farm in Yolo County, California, the USDA California Climate Hub conducted an extensive case study emphasizing adaptation planning practices as opportunities to alleviate the impacts of extreme weather conditions. Their focus on building soil organic matter not only improves crop fertility, but also increases soil water retention and holding capacity. Ongoing research endeavors aim to develop flood-resistant crop varieties and innovative farming techniques, further enhancing the industry’s resilience against future flood events. As government-sponsored insurance and assistance programs offer crucial financial support to farmers, it’s important to see how this reflects the transportation industry. 

DAT reported citrus, almonds, avocado, and strawberry crops are expected to be impacted and have already contributed to 84% fewer truckloads of produce compared to this time last year. However, there’s still ample time for the 2024 produce season to regain its momentum, even with the national produce volumes down 17% from last year. With more resources, solutions, and research each year, California is continually improving its ability to address flooding challenges. This suggests a potential increase in the demand for refrigerated trucks in California’s agricultural supply chain, a positive sign for the industry’s recovery.

*****

Isabella Silva graduated from St. Edward’s University in 2022 with a BA in Communication, complemented by minors in Psychology and Health Communication. In July of the same year, she began her career at the Allen Lund Company in the Marketing department. Isabella is set to start her MS in Public Relations Innovation, Strategy, and Management at the University of Southern California in May.

isabella.silva@allenlund.com

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16% Drop, Possibly More, Predicted for Peruvian Avocados

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Peruvian avocado exports started in January, but the 2024 crop experienced small volumes of fruit from the inter-Andean valleys, especially compared to the large volumes that are estimated to leave the country in April and May, according the Association of Hass Avocado Producers and Exporters of Peru (ProHass).

As reported by Agraria, about 93 percent of the avocados exported from Peru are the Hass variety, the most exported in the world. In 2022, 554,000 tons of Peruvian Hass avocados were exported; in 2023, there were 558,000; reflecting growth of about 1 percent.

This year Peru expects to export about 468,000 tons of Hass avocados, which would mean a drop of 16 percent compared to last year, although it could be larger. There have been unfavorable weather conditions for cultivation.

Since there are no longer new areas of expansion, each climatic blow will be felt in the export figures; when it is growing. The adverse weather events are hidden by the new hectares that enter, but Peru is no longer expanding as it did.

There are several factors that are contributing to less overall volume this season. Mexico is already finishing its heavy volume of the season, with less production; California comes with smaller fruit and a drop of between 20-30 percent; Chile is no longer a player that moves the needle anywhere in the world, as they consume everything they produce and have problems with the availability of water; Spain volume is being impacted because of a water issue; Portugal has already stopped its growth, they also had problems with water availability; Some African countries such as Senegal, Tanzania, Morocco, and South Africa are growing, but they do not compete with the Peruvian avocado, as they go to other destinations such as the Middle East, they also go to Europe.

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East Coast Buyers Choosing Imported over Domestic Citrus this Year

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U.S. domestic citrus shipments are down overall this year due to lack of volume out of Florida, combined with cost of truck rates from the West Coast. This has resulted in East Coast buyers turning to imports. 

The U.S. imports citrus mainly from Mexico, as well as Chile, Peru, and South Africa. In 2023, Mexico exported 1.6 billion pounds of citrus to the United States.

International Fruit Company of Hammonton, NJ reports imports are increasing from Morocco primarily due to the low costs. This year, production of Nadorcott mandarins in Morocco has increased by 20% in volume.

“The company reports if you want to ship fruit from the West to the East Coast, it can cost $10,000. However, from the East to the West, rates go down to $6,000. 

East Coast buyers are looking to Morocco, Egypt, or even South Africa because costs are much lower. 

There is a similar situation with Argentine lemons. It comes in through the East Coast at a competitive price, and it’s much cheaper to market there directly. 

East Coast imports typically will reach as far west as Texas.

There is a good supply of lemons in California at the moment, so exporters would rather send their fruit to the East Coast where prices are more competitive. 

Comparing total import volumes, the balance between what comes into the East Coast vs. the West is about 80 percent to 20 percent, company notes. 

Import volumes to the West increase only during the California off-season from around May and October.  During the season, local producers supply much of the market. 

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Research Shows Benefits of Daily Avocado Consumption

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As the common proverb goes, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. After a recent Penn State study, it appears the same may be true about avocados.

Nutritional science researchers Kristina Petersen and Penny Kris-Etherton found, in a study of 1,008 U.S. consumers, that eating just one avocado a day improved overall diet quality among participants.

“Previous observational research suggests avocado consumers have higher diet quality than non-consumers,” Petersen said in a press release. “So, we developed this study to determine if there is a causational link between avocado consumption and overall diet quality.” 

The scientists examined changes in the Healthy Eating Index, a measure of diet quality based on national Dietary Guidelines, after the addition of a daily avocado. 

They used an exploratory analysis approach to examine changes over 26 weeks. Petersen and Pugh hoped to assess the link between HEI and food intervention on cardiometabolic risk–related outcomes, as few past clinical trials have evaluated diet quality change.

They randomly split participants into two groups. One continued its usual diet, limiting avocado intake, while the other incorporated one avocado a day.

Of the control group, 72% were female. The self-reported racial and ethnic distribution of the cohort was 69% white, 21% Hispanic, 15% Black, and 6% Asian. The remaining 10% either did not answer, were listed as American Indian, or checked multiple races or ethnicities.

At week 26, a greater increase in the HEI score was observed in the avocado-supplemented diet group than in the habitual diet group. The reason for the change was more surprising than the outcome.

 “We determined that participants were using avocados as a substitute for some foods higher in refined grains and sodium,” Petersen said. “In our study, we classified avocados as a vegetable and did see an increase in vegetable consumption attributed to the avocado intake, but also participants used the avocados to replace some unhealthier options.”

Petersen said she hopes implementation of healthier diets will help reduce incidents of chronic and preventable conditions, like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and kidney disease.

The Avocado Nutrition Center supported the study but did not contribute to data analysis or interpretation, the university said.

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Strong Domestic Blueberry Shipments are Forecast by California Giant

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California Giant Berry Farms of Watsonville, CA is forecasting big volume and shipments for domestic blueberries this season.

“We’re forecasting a strong harvest of domestic conventional and organic blueberries in the immediate months, from several different growing regions including California, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina. This will all be followed by a large blueberry crop coming from the Pacific Northwest growing regions in early July,” shared Thomas Smith, director of sales at California Giant Berry Farms.

Conventionally grown Florida blueberries have recently begun harvesting and peak volumes are expected by mid-to-late April. Georgia production started in early April and will hit peak production in early May. Concurrently, the North Carolina growing region will add to volumes that bolster the southeast season.

Promotable volumes from the opposite side of the states—California’s Central Valley—will provide ample supplies of fresh blueberries from mid-May through mid-to-late June.

California Giant’s Oxnard California organic blueberry crop has been harvesting since early 2024 and hit peak production volume in early April, before a steady decline in May. The Central Valley organic blueberry crop will begin peak production in late April with production continuing through May.

“We’re on the right track to have a very good supply of high-quality blueberries throughout the domestic season,” added Smith.

Through the shared industry goal to drive significant increases in blueberry consumption, California Giant continues to deliver the best berry experience by providing a year-round supply of sustainably grown fresh berries that represent the highest standards for quality and consistency.

ABOUT CALIFORNIA GIANT BERRY FARMS

At California Giant Berry Farms, our year-round supply of strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries set the standard for quality and consistency and provides retailers, foodservice, and consumers with the best berry experience. Over four decades, we have evolved into a global
family united by a passion for delivering excellence.

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Port of Houston is Ramping Up for Growth; Perishables are a Key Part of the Plan

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The Port of Houston is in the midst of numerous upgrades and expansions, while propelling itself into the future.

With strategic investments in new equipment, terminal infrastructure and channel improvements, the port continues to solidify its position as a vital hub for trade in the Gulf region. 

“American farmers and ranchers depend on a reliable and efficient transportation system to move their products to market,” Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a news release. 

According to the USDA, the Port of Houston has faced challenges in handling agricultural exports due to a shortage of chassis, leading to inefficiencies in moving reefers on and off vessels. 

“The USDA is pleased to announce the partnership with the Port of Houston and the expanded collaboration with NWSA to further ease port congestion. Through these investments, we continue to deliver on our promise to bolster the supply chain and support American-grown food and fiber,” Vilsack said in the release.  

With support from the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service, the port is leasing additional chassis to mitigate these challenges. 

“This is an opportunity for new or emerging candidates, or new or emerging commodities to enter the US marketplace. And that’s what makes the Port of Houston so great,” said Dante Galeazzi, CEO and president of the Texas International Produce Association.

Additional improvements at the Port of Houston aim to optimize infrastructure and channel capacity to better serve the region.  

This includes widening, deepening and maintaining the Houston Ship Channel, driving the development of landside infrastructure and inland distribution networks, and enhancing efficiency and resilience through innovative technology and other strategies. 

“Port of Houston only has room to grow,” Galeazzi said. 

The Pro Citrus Network, operating through the Port of Houston, plays a vital role in facilitating the efficient transportation and distribution of citrus products. 

Founded in 2004 in California as a grower-shipper, PCN was the first to import lemons into Port Houston in 2008. Since then, PCN has grown throughout Texas and the Midwest. 

After outgrowing several leased facilities in Houston, PCN launched sister company Foremost Fresh Direct to service PCN to provide citrus year-round, as well as service other fresh produce and perishable customers needing cold storage, bringing additional commodities including avocados, grapes, melons, pineapples, juice and additional perishable items.   

 

 

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While Most Calif. Avocado Shippers May be down, McDaniel Sees an Increase

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California avocado shipments are estimated to be down about 12 percent from last season. However, McDaniel Fruit Co., baseded in Fallbrook, CA, does not expect to see a decline in its production.

California is estimated to have 208 million pounds this season.

The grower/shipper/packer reveals with its growing partners, thousands of new trees are planted every year in California. So, while the California avocado industry is expected to be down, McDaniel expects to have the same volume of fruit as last year if not more.

The company also sees better sizing than last year during the peak shipping months of April, May and June and into July and August.

During the next few months, McDaniel Fruit will be shipping avocados from Mexico, Peru and Colombia, as well as from California. Peru is expected to be a significant player this summer and Colombia is also a point of origin with increasing supplies.

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