Posts Tagged “feature”

California Grape Shipments are Looking Very Good Through Thanksgiving

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A36California grape shipments got off to a slow start last spring for a number of reasons, but excellent volume and quality with not shipping gaps are seen through Thanksgiving.

Fruit Royale of Dinuba, CA describes the season as now being “off to the races.”  There was a small overlap with Mexico, which slowed the start of the California grape shipments, plus hot weather in August slowed coloring of red and black grapes.

King Fresh Produce Inc. of Dinuba, CA, has estimated that California will ship 120 million cartons of fresh table grapes this season, 10 percent increase over the 109 million cartons shipped in 2017.  This includes heavy volume with red, red, green and black grapes through Thanksgiving.

Chuck Olsen Co. of Visalia, CA, sees a crop of 110 million to 114 million cartons being shipped and is pleased with overall fruit quality and a good set.

Olsen explained that the natural shatter, which is a self-thinning process, was excellent this year producing large, loose grape bunches. “We have the makings of a very nice crop that is eating very well.”

Jasmine Vineyards Inc. of Delano, CA, also sees the San Joaquin Valley as being excellent, with uninterrupted supplies well into December.  Although there was a slow start to the season, shipments picked up nicely in mid-August and peak loadings should continue into latter October.

Grapeman Farms, which markets it grapes through Stevco of Los Angeles is equally optimistic.  It has reported quality as “phenomenal,” dispite a lot of hot weather in July and August,  However, the growing season leading up to harvest was been perfect.

San Joaquin Valley grapes – grossing about $4100 to Dallas.

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Rains Benefit New York State Apples for the New Season

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DSCN0830By New York Apple Sales

Storms and severe rains – that settled in over upstate and central New York in mid August caused massive flooding and damage to property, but for the apple crop, the rain was a benefit. Most growing areas were not in the path of the heaviest downpours, as much as 9 inches in certain areas, but rather received between .5 and up to 4.5 inches. Those amounts were perfect for apples.

New York Apple Sales is the largest and most geographically diverse shipper in the Eastern US.  “Having orchards and shipping locations in all of the four major growing and packing regions of the state, help us provide consistent offerings for our customers,” remarked Kaari Stannard, President and Owner of NYAS. “While one area may be dryer than normal, other regions can make up the difference in size and volume.” she added.

Matt Wells, Director of Field Operations for New York Apple Sales, along with Dan Ingersoll, both report that the much-needed rain will greatly enhance the quality of this year’s crop. “The 2018 crop was in great shape prior to the recent weather patterns, a very clean crop that was developing nicely. The rain was a bonus that will help us finish off the crop, to perfection,” said Wells.

Dan Ingersoll, NYAS Field Scout remarked “I have been scouting and managing orchards for over 30 years, and the 2018 crop is one of the best I have seen. Usually we have a few varieties, that for one reason or another, will have some problems. This year, however, everything looks to be strong and clean. The crop is on schedule and growing nicely and the taste and appearance should be exceptional.”

“We are really excited about our special varieties such as SnapDragon, KORU, Premier Honeycrisp, EverCrisp and SweeTango.  At this stage, they look awesome,” said John Cushing, VP of Marketing for NYAS. “We are ready to go, and anxious to kick of the sales year. We have now started shipping from the Hudson Valley, and soon the remainder of the state will start to harvest

Ginger Gold and early red summer apples are being packed. Next up will be Gala, as well as another traditional regional favorite, McIntosh, with Honeycrisp quickly following,” added Cushing.

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The Doughnut Peach is Everywhere Right Now

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A16By Sarah Jampel, Bon Appetit

Might I be so bold to throw my hat into the ring and call it The Summer of the Donut Peach?

Okay, so maybe it’s a stretch, but I’ve seen more squat, pancaked peaches—which are sweeter, milder, and less fuzzy than their spherical sibs—this year than ever before. What once seemed like a rarity, sold at only the fanciest grocery stores (when Florence Fabricant wrote about “a new kind of white peach” sold at Grace’s Marketplace in 1993, she called the fruit “juicy and luscious” though “peculiar” and “positively deformed”) has become commonplace: crates piled high at the farmers’ market, clamshells for sale at Whole Foods and on Fresh Direct. I love their name, their look, and their feel, and I can’t leave the market without buying at least one for each palm.

With such a funny shape (they’re like the Persian cats of peaches), you might assume there’s some funny business going on with their breeding. But flat peaches aren’t genetically-modified oddities at all: They’re the descendants of wild pan tao (also called peento) peaches from China, which were introduced to the US nearly 150 years ago. It wasn’t until the ‘60s and ‘70s, however, that scientists at Rutgers New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station hybridized the plants to produce hardier, frost-resistant trees with bigger, sweeter, peachier fruit. They called the fruit, low in acid and high in sugar, the Saturn (you can guess why).

Jerry Frecon, now a horticultural consultant and Rutgers professor emeritus, worked with Dr. Fred Hough to develop Saturn at the Agricultural Experiment Station, then, in the ‘80s, brought the variety to Stark Bro’s Nurseries and Orchards Co. in Missouri, which purchased the license to grow and sell the trees.

When the Stark Bro’s’ license for the Saturn peach expired in the early 2000s, more farmers were able to grow flat peaches than ever before, opening up the market and putting flat peaches in more stores. And since those early days, many more varieties of trademarked flat peaches have been introduced in US markets—Frecon estimates there are 15 to 20 kinds in this country, and many more around the world—as people have grafted and hybridized.

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Cargo Data’s Boomerang 2 Series is a Resuable Temperature Recorder

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A13Cargo Data’s Boomerang 2 series combines the versatility of a reusable temperature recorder with the convenience of a built in high-graphic temperature chart display.

This unique temperature recorder is an ideal instrument for monitoring cold storage warehouses, refrigerated ocean containers, and reefer trucks/trailers.  The reusable nature of these instruments eliminates the need to repeatedly purchase single-use disposable temperature recorders.  Additionally, the complete temperature chart for the monitored period can be viewed immediately without the need to connect the instrument to a computer or reader.

Maximize Efficiency

Boomerang 2 can bring new efficiency to internal QA/Receiving/Food Safety operations.  The easy-to-read chart is viewable at any time during the monitoring session.  This unique feature enables quick scheduled temperature checks with the touch of a button.  Boomerang 2 can monitor temperature for up to 180 days continuously.  All temperature data can be easily downloaded and archived using Cargo Data’s free KoldLink desktop software.

Boomerang 2 can be configured to monitor temperatures as high as 296 degree F.

Do you have a coolers or trucks/trailers to monitor for your HACCP program?

Cargo Data Corporation has developed its unique Boomerang 2 reusable temperature recorders for use in both refrigerated warehouses AND on refrigerated trucks/trailers.
Boomerang 2 has a built-in LCD screen to display up-to-the minute temperature data without the need to connect to a computer.  Boomerang 2 is an ideal tool to provide FSMA compliance AND quick resolution of temperature related disputes. Boomerang 2 can monitor for up 6 months at a time.  User replaceable battery.
Regularly $99.99/ea, now $79.99/ea

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Build a Better Bowl of Mushrooms during September

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MushroomBy The Mushroom Council

Redwood Shores, CA – Big bowl. Small bowl. Rice bowl. Grain bowl. No matter the preferred bowl, you can always make it a better bowl with mushrooms.

For Mushroom Month, the Mushroom Council will be devoting September to reminding consumers and chefs about the health and taste benefits of making mushrooms the main ingredient in your favorite bowl build.

“Bowls are continuously ranking among the most trending foods among both foodservice and consumers, and there are plenty of reasons why,” said Bart Minor, president of the Mushroom Council. “For consumers, it’s the ultimate convergence of convenience and the globalization of cuisine. At foodservice, you couldn’t ask for a less expensive, more filling dish on the menu – after all, it’s mainly grains, veggies, and not a lot of meat.”

“When it comes to great bowls, mushrooms are the answer,” Minor added. “You need umami in a bowl build, and mushrooms will bring that meaty, satisfying umami flavor.”

Throughout Mushroom Month, the council’s “Build a Better Bowl with Mushrooms” campaign will engage with consumers, influencers and menu developers through a variety of activities, including:

  • “Build a Better Bowl” recipes and videos sharing simple ideas for crafting delicious bowls starring mushrooms recipes.
  • A September 26 Facebook Live session featuring Melissa d’Arabian demonstrating how to build a better bowl using mushrooms. Viewers who stay tuned throughout the whole segment will have a chance to answer a secret question to be entered to win special prizes.
  • The Council spotlighting its Top 5 Bowls at Restaurants Nationwide, with chefs sharing why mushrooms are a must in their bowls. Restaurants include Bubu’s Zen Bowl (Denver, CO), Radio Room’s Barley Buddha Bowl (Portland, OR), ediBOL’s Ginger Sesame Bowl (Los Angeles, CA), Nourish Café’s Golden Gate Bowl (San Francisco, CA), and Sweetfin Poké Miso Eggplant & Shimeji Mushroom Bowl (Santa Monica, CA).
  • Media outreach nationwide spotlighting favorite bowls.
  • Social media “bowl polls” allowing audiences to vote for their favorite bowl of the week. Audience members who vote will be entered to win weekly giveaways.

For more information, visit the Mushroom Council’s Build a Better Bowl with Mushrooms feature at

About The Mushroom Council:

The Mushroom Council is composed of fresh market producers or importers who average more than 500,000 pounds of mushrooms produced or imported annually. The mushroom program is authorized by the Mushroom Promotion, Research and Consumer Information Act of 1990 and is administered by the Mushroom Council under the supervision of the Agricultural Marketing Service.

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A Shipping Tale of Two Commodities: Lemons and Mangos

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DSCN0819California lemon shipments have been lighter than usual and the situation may continue into October.  Meanwhile, the U.S. is awash in mangos from Mexico.

Pro*Act of Monterey, CA sees lower volume continuing until lemon shipments get underway in Yuma, AZ and Mecca, CA.  F.O.B. prices have hit $57 per carton compared to $42 two years ago.

Because of lighter domestic shipments, there have been lemon imports from Chile and Mexico, but it is still not enough to make a dent in the high market.

If you are loading domestic lemons use caution.  Soft rot has plagued some lots and quality has been described as only “fair” at best.

While more Chilean and Mexican lemons may be imported, Coast Citrus of San Diego has expressed concerns that due to the fruit travel by boat to the U.S. for weeks, if the product is not repacked after arrival, there may be quality problems.
Mexican Mangos
While lemon shipments are lighter than usual, handles of mangoes are trying to figure out how to deal with excessive volumes.

North American mango importers continue to buy large volume to place into an overflowing market.  Splendid by Porvenir LLC of San Bruno, CA has a huge packinghouse in Los Mochis, Sinaloa,  and continues to pack at full speed and will continue packing through September.

However, rains has adversely affected the quality of Los Mochis mangos, which as resulted in anthracnose to scar the fruit.  Anthracnose is caused by fungi that creates diseases on many plant species.

Los Mochis began shipping mangos in late June. There was a slow start on shipping volume, but now the market can’t handle the volume.


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Truck Rates 20% Higher than Last Year, After Being at Historic Levels

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DSCN0845Trucking produce rates set some historic highs during the summer.  While rates have declined since then they still remain will above the level of 2017.

For example, Mexican citrus, watermelons and vegetables crossing into the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas were $4800 to $5000 in mid August compared to $7800 to $8500 in the middle of June.

Salinas-Watsonville vegetables and strawberries were grossing $9100 to $10000 in mid June to Baltimore, but has dropped to mostly $8,100 in mid-August.

Washington’s Yakima Valley apples, pears and stone fruit were grossing about $8200 to Boston in mid-June, off from about $7,800 in mid-August.

While rates have come down from mid- and late June peaks, they have stayed high compared to previous years.

Historically, summer produce rates reach a peak in May or June and start tapering off in July.  This year was no different.  Historic peak rates in June of $2.70 per mile had dropped to $2.59 per mile in July, which includes fuel surcharges. Still the July 2018 produce trucking rates were 25 percent higher than the same period in 2017.

With the close of August no serious truck shortages from major produce shipping areas were being reported.  August rates were averaging $2.50 per mile, which was still higher than any period on record prior to this year.

Close observers of truck rates believe rates will continue to remain higher than in past years with reasons ranging from higher wages for drivers, ever increasing truck regulations, and a soaring economy with low unemployment. Additionally, there’s more competition for trucks from dry freight with the improved economy.

With the arrival of fall comes additional demand for equipment due to back-to-school activities, Halloween and demand for perishables from foodservices entities ranging from restaurant chains to school cafeterias. Fall crops ranging from apples to pumpkins and potatoes also increase demand for trucks.

While truck rates typically decline overall in the fall, some observers believe rates will remain higher, perhaps as much as 20 percent for the same time a year ago.


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Outlook for Mushroom Shipments; Salinas Valley Lettuce Loads are Improving

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DSCN0852U.S. mushroom shipments should be good for the rest of the summer and into the fall season — and perhaps beyond.

The reason is mushroom crop yields this year remain healthy and strong, but similar to many agriculture crops, there are seasonal ebbs and flows in production.

Giorgio Fresh Co. of Temple, PA has observed this year summer mushroom shipments are at a peak, with volume expected to be story through early fall.  However supplies are expected to tighten during the November-December holiday period, which is normal.

Mushrooms a  whole continue to grow in popularity, especially with organics, specialty varieties and brown mushrooms — including crimini/baby bella and portabella.

Kitchen Pride Mushroom Farm Inc. of Gonzales, TX is expecting strong shipments through the summer, with a tighter market going into the fall and winter months.

Although mushrooms are grown indoors, extreme weather and a lack of a steady labor pool can be serious detriments to production because production levels depend greatly on the quality of the growing medium, commonly called compost, which is produced outdoors.

At Monterey Mushrooms Inc. of Watsonville, CA, the mushroom crop outlook is excellent,  in part because the company has 10 farms strategically located around the U.S. and Mexico.  Monterey makes its own compost, which helps the company grow “end to end.”

Ostrom Mushroom Farms of Olympia, WA has noted production and quality problems in the Pacific Northwest during the spring because of compost and mechanical difficulties, but this has improved.

Salinas Lettuce

Salinas Valley head (iceberg) lettuce shipments have been erratic this season due erratic growing conditions.

Additionally, romaine shipments have improved from earlier this year when there was an outbreak of E. coli.  More than 200 people were sickened and five people died.

Coastline Family Farms of Salinas has noted hot stretches followed by cold stretches of weather which replaced what is typically is a consistent, mild climate.  It adversely affected the quality of head lettuce and weight with the product being lighter than normal.  For example, a bin of lettuce in early August weight about 1,000 pounds to only about 700 pounds in mid August, a problem that still exists in late August.  The shortage of head lettuce has helped improve demand for romaine lettuce since the E. coli problem has faded.

Salinas is shipping nearly 1,150 truck loads of head lettuce weekly, while around 850 truck loads of romaine are being shipped a week.

Salinas Valley vegetables – grossing about $8500 to New York City.


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Sun Belle Opens New Miami Distribution Center

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A30By Sun Belle Inc.

Sun Belle Inc., a leading marketer and distributor of conventional and organic berries, has opened an 82,000-square-foot state of the art refrigerated distribution facility in Miami.

Adjoining Miami International Airport, the facility is also 15 minutes from the port of Miami and close to the Palmetto Expressway, Florida Turnpike and I-95. Sun Belle is using the facility for the fresh berries and other produce the company markets and distributes on behalf of its growers and is providing third party handling for perishables on behalf of other importers and distributors.

“Sun Belle has had Miami operations for more than 16 years,” stated Janice Honigberg, the company founder and president. “This is Sun Belle’s third home in Miami. We bought this facility in early 2017 and built it out to our specifications so we would have enough room for our growing berry business as well as to provide handling services for others.

“Sun Belle Miami operates seven days a week,” Janice added. “We take pride in fulfilling deliveries completely and on time and being responsive to truckers, suppliers and customers alike.”

The facility features a total of nine docks, including 7 refrigerated docks, 4 precoolers, 7 independent coolers, two large refrigerated work rooms, an ample refrigerated dock and dry storage. Access to the docks is off 25th Street; the office and parking is off 72nd Avenue.

Sun Belle’s new facility is Primus Global Food Safety (GFS), Organic and Demeter Biodynamic® certified and operates around the clock. Sun Belle is exploring the efficacy of installing automated blueberry sorting equipment in order to pack bulk berries.

Sun Belle Inc. was established in Washington, DC in 1986. In addition to the Miami facility, Sun Belle operates a 63,000 square foot facility in Jessup, Maryland; a 52,000 square foot facility in Schiller Park, Illinois; and 14,000 square feet of dedicated space within a 50,000 square foot facility in Oxnard, California. The company markets conventional and organic berries, including blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, golden berries, cranberries and red currants, under the Sun Belle® and Green Belle® brands.

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Florida Orange Shipping Rebound is Seen by Some Observers this Season

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DSCN0844It appears Florida’s orange growers are finally getting a break after surviving pestilence and a deadly hurricane.

With season kicking off October 1st, the state may ship 70 million boxes of the fruit, according to the average estimate of four traders and analysts in a Bloomberg survey. That compares with 44.95 million the prior year, the smallest crop since 1945, government data show. The survey response range was 65 million to 80 million.

Florida orange shipments for the nation’s number one producing state has seen the growers leaving the business due to the the Asian citrus psyllid, a tiny winged insect that spreads the bacterial disease known as citrus greening.  Greening has decimated groves and increased costs for crop maintenance.  A year ago, the industry was clobbered by Hurricane Irma after the storm smashed into trees in September and damaged fruit.

Improved weather conditions has helped the crop to start coming back and as more growers develop methods to fight the greening disease.  Output of 70 million boxes would be the biggest since 2015, according to statistics from the USDA.  The agency will issue its first estimate for the upcoming season on October 11th.  The citrus is shipped in 90-pound boxes.

The Highlands County Citrus Growers Association of Sebring, FL reports many citrus trees very good with the turn around.  Tree leaves are reported having good structure and growers are placing emphasis on the nutrition of trees to fight greening.

The association members account for about 13 percent of the state’s shipments, will probably have up to 9 million boxes in the upcoming season.  That compares with 5.5 million boxes a year earlier.

Hunt Brothers Cooperative in Lake Wales, FL report the battle with greening has increased costs at a time when American demand for orange juice is on the decline. Growers are estimated to be spending about $2,100 per acre today, up from $700 10 to 12 years ago.

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