Posts Tagged “feature”

Imports: Shelf Life of Okra is Extended; The First Shipment of Sweet Sapphire Grapes

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AA7New technology extending okra shelf life should help reduce waste and claims.  Also, Shappire grapes from Peru are now arriving at U.S. Ports.

A company specializing in products to enhance the shelf life of fresh produce has a partnership with a company that grows specialty produce in the Dominican Republic and Honduras.

The partnership initially is on a product from Hazel Technologies Inc. to extend the shelf life of okra grown by Agritrade Farms LLC. The postharvest technology, Hazel Okra, will be used on shipments of the vegetable from Honduras shipped to North America and Europe.

Okra is a difficult item to ship at peak quality, according to a news release, but trials with Hazel products and okra shipments have had positive results. The first commercial shipment of okra with the technology was in December.

Hazel Technologies has a line of packaging inserts designed for different items including tomatoes, melons, tree fruit, avocados and some specialty vegetables.

Sapphire Grapes

by Melissa’s Produce

Los Angeles, California – Melissa’s announces the first shipment of the season of fresh Peruvian Sweet Sapphire Grapes! The unusual two-inch tubular shape is not the only unique characteristic of this sweet table grape.  Sweet Sapphires have a dark purple, almost black, skin that protects its translucent green and seedless fruit. With a sugar content that exceeds all other fresh grape varieties, the grape has an extremely sweet flavor balance reminiscent of a delicate dessert wine. Surprisingly, each grape is so firm it can be snapped in half and large enough to be stuffed!

Through natural cross-pollination, a tedious process done by hand over many generations of grape seasons, the variety offers both taste and versatility like no other. Serve Sweet Sapphire grapes stuffed as an interesting party platter finger food, as the base for a full-bodied reduction sauce or simply as a tasty sweet out-of-hand snack fruit. Available for a short time during the months of late January – March, Sweet Sapphires are great with cheese, crackers and wine.

Melissa’s Produce is the leading U.S. variety distributor of specialty and organic fresh produce.  The company imports exotic fruits and vegetables from around the world.

 

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California Avocado Shipments May Nearly Double Those of 2017 Despite Fire, Wind

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AA1By The California Avocado Commission

IRVINE, Calif. – After weeks of reviewing the impact of wind and fire to California avocado groves, the California Avocado Commission (CAC) announced a 2018 crop forecast: 374.6 million pounds of avocados. The total, despite the ravages of Mother Nature in California’s avocado growing regions, is nearly double the yield of last year’s crop and considerably better than some had feared.

“The CAC 2018 pre-season crop estimate of 374.6 million pounds of California avocados means there will be solid volume…,” said Tom Bellamore, California Avocado Commission president. “Despite some harsh blows from Mother Nature, California avocado growers are resilient, and the industry is expecting a good year.”

The shipping forecast comes after a series of weather events, including the Lilac fire in Riverside county and the Thomas fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. The Thomas fire, which began on December 4 and burned more than 280,000 acres over more than a month, was the largest wildfire in recorded California history. Wind and mudslides also have taken a serious toll on the region. However, the impact on California avocados was relatively limited.

“Many California avocado growers experienced loss, both personal and professional, and our hearts go out to them. Across the industry, though, only about 5 percent of the crop was damaged,” said Bellamore.

To support the 2018 crop, the California Avocado Commission will continue its Made of California marketing campaign with new creative executions. Customized marketing plans for targeted customers will be a focus, and CAC has a full slate of innovative programs in development.

About the California Avocado Commission

Created in 1978, the California Avocado Commission strives to enhance the premium positioning of California avocados through advertising, promotion and public relations, and engages in related industry activities. California avocados are commercially cultivated with uncompromising dedication to quality and freshness, by more than 2,000 growers in the Golden State. The California Avocado Commission serves as the official information source for California avocados and the California avocado industry.

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Tangerine, Mandarin Shipping; Truck Demand, Rates, and Fuel; Plus the Top 10 Potato States

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AA2There will be fewer tangerine and mandarin shipments from the top producing states this season…A look is taken at truck demand, rates and fuel costs…Plus, here is a glimpse at the top 10 potato shipping states.

California is expected to ship 21 million boxes of tangerines and mandarins this season, down from 23.9 million in 2016-17.

Florida is projected to have 860,000 boxes, down from 1.62 million last season, with the dramatic decrease due to the adverse affects of Hurricane Irma.

The Wonderful Co. of Los Angeles and Sun Pacific of Pasadena, CA are two of the larger shippers of the citrus.

Truck Demand and Rates

While demand for refrigerated equipment and qualified drivers has been getting a lot of attention, diesel fuel price are nearly a three-year high, adding the costs of trucking operations.  According to DAT Trendlines diesel fuel nationally average $3.02 per gallon in December 2017, which was 16 percent more than in December 2016.

The Allen Lund Company of LaCanada, CA, like many other companies, have noticed the economy really taking off.  The transportation firm is seeing 280,000 truck loads a year, a 17 percent increase from the previous year.

Another sign things are looking up for the U.S. economy is the increase in Class 8 truck sales.   Over 300,000 Class 8 tractors were sold in 2017.  When those trucks are delivered throughout the coming year, trucking capacity will be better.

The Wall Street Journal recently reported analysts are expecting long-term contract rates which shippers negotiate with carriers should increase between 5 percent and 8 percent this year.

Top 10 Fall Potato Producers for 2017

Total U.S. fall potato crop 399,840,000 cwt.    Total U.S. Crop 441,310,000 cwt.

 

RANK State Production  (hundredweight) Percent of Total 

U.S. Fall Crop

1 Idaho 131,330,000 32.8%
2 Washington 99,000,000 24.8%
3 Wisconsin 29,150,000 7.3%
4 North Dakota 25,160,000 6.3%
5 Colorado 21,530,000 5.4%
6 Oregon 21,400,000 5.4%
7 Minnesota 18,430,000 4.6%
8 Michigan 18,000,000 4.5%
9 Maine 15,040,000 3.8%
10 Nebraska 9,070,000 2.3%
All others 11,750,000 2.9%

Source: USDA-NASS 

2017 Minnesota Crop Production Report 

Fall potato production in Minnesota was 18.4 million hundredweight (cwt.) according to the USDA,  National Agricultural Statistics Service. That is a 9.7 percent increase over 2016.  Planted acres at 46,000 was up 3,000 and harvested acres were up 3,500.

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Hamburg Süd Achieves Success With Carrier Transicold’s XtendFRESH Atmosphere Control System

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ABy Carrier Transcold

AMSTERDAM — Reflecting the growing use of controlled-atmosphere (CA) technologies to maintain quality of fruits and vegetables over extended shipping times, Hamburg SÃ has transported more than 7,000 container shipments of perishable goods using Carrier Transicold’s innovative XtendFRESH atmosphere control system. Carrier Transicold is a part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, a unit of United Technologies Corp. (NYSE: UTX).

At Intermodal Europe, held here this week, Carrier Transicold and Hamburg SÃ, one of the leading ocean carriers in the South American segment, discussed the shipping line’s increased application of the XtendFRESH system for avocados and bananas. Hamburg SÃ’s shipments using XtendFRESH technology increased in 2017, and the shipping line expects to use it with an even broader range of perishables in 2018.

“There is a great deal of enthusiasm on the part of exporters to use controlled-atmosphere technologies to reach new regions for their perishable goods,” said Stefan Duhring, global head of logistics at Hamburg SÃ.  “The number of shipments using XtendFRESH technology represents a significant and growing segment of our refrigerated shipments.”

The XtendFRESH system simultaneously controls carbon dioxide (CO2) and oxygen (O2) levels in multiple combinations within a refrigerated shipping container to reduce respiration and the ripening of fruits and vegetables. This enables a shipping line to transport exported perishable goods over longer times than with refrigeration alone, helping to reach new destinations. Preserving perishables is further enhanced by the XtendFRESH system’s ability to remove ethylene, a hormone released by produce that can accelerate ripening if left unchecked. The system is the only CA solution with an integral ethylene removal capability.

Hamburg SÃ, which collaborated with Carrier Transicold on system capabilities and testing during the development of the XtendFRESH system, began acquiring Carrier Transicold PrimeLINE units equipped with XtendFRESH technology in 2014.

“We’ve  had success using the XtendFRESH system for avocados and bananas in many of our key refrigerated trade lanes,”  said Durhring.  “Our confidence in using XtendFRESH technology with higher-respiring perishables has led us to initiate plans to trial the system with shipments of South America-grown blueberries, a lower respiring fruit.”

Shipping lines appreciate that the XtendFRESH system offers a wider range of independent settings for CO2 and O2 levels than are possible with other systems.

“The wider range of settings, along with ethylene control, provide advantages for shipping lines in meeting the needs of exporters,” said Jim Taeckens, senior product manager, Carrier Transicold. “Additionally, the XtendFRESH system has no membrane filter to replace, as is common with some other systems, reducing maintenance requirements for fleets that offer it as an option for their customers.”

Responding to shipping line concerns about the learning curve with using CA technologies, Carrier Transicold provides training in the proper use of the XtendFRESH system and how to prepare a container prior to shipment. Taeckens added that to ensure optimal performance, containers must be in good condition with potential air leaks minimized through the use of a curtain wall at the door end of the container.

Helping to further boost performance, Carrier has worked with shipping lines on enhancements to the XtendFRESH system, including improved gaskets, advanced control software and a sensor to monitor operation of the ethylene and CO2 scrubber motor.

For more information about the XtendFRESH system or to conduct a trial, turn to the experts at Carrier Transicold or visit//www.carrier.com/container.

 

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Chilean Grape Imports are now in Volume; Chinese New Year Specialty Item Shipments

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01152018_0001The coming months should be good for hauling imported Chilean grapes arriving at U.S. ports on both coasts….Meanwhile, a number of specialty produce items are popular for the Chinese New Year celebrated in February.

Imported Chilean grapes are expected to be arriving at U.S. ports with more volume than in recent years, although arrivals this winter started about a week or two later than a year ago, when arrivals were earlier than normal.

Imports to North America from Chile continues to increase accounting for a larger share of the volume.  About 39,000 tons had been shipped this season from Chile through early January, down from 79,000 at the same time last year.  But as mentioned, the grapes matured later this season in Chile.

Observers believe the overall grape volume will exceed 90-million cartons, which would be slightly more than average.  Arrivals are now coming in good volume, with a steady flow of produce continuing through April.  For several years, North American imports have accounted for about 45 percent of the Chilean grapes, that number has been approach 50 percent more recently.

Chinese New Year items

Specialty produce items popular for Chinese New Year promotions should be in good supply for the weeks surrounding the February 16 holiday.  The holiday festival itself lasts for two weeks celebrating the Year of the Dog.

Among the items that will be shipped are ginger, bok choy, gai lan and other Asian vegetables, as well as citrus items such as pummelo, kumquats and Buddha’s hand, dragonfruit and young coconut, as well as Snow peas and snap peas.  Other items sometimes connected to the holiday are Turmeric, Chinese long beans, daikon, starfruit, jackfruit, yu choy and lokam oranges.

World Variety Produce of Los Angeles markets under the Melissa’s brand and is one of the largest shippers of specialty produce items in the U.S.   The company is sourcing leafy greens from California, other vegetables from Mexico and fruit from tropical areas.

Thomas Fresh of Calgary, Alberta is a produce repacker who handles produce specialty an other fresh items.

(Photo was taken by Bill Martin during an 11-day trip Chile in January 1992.)

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New Study Estimates up to 7.8 Million Could Live Longer with Higher Produce Consumption

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producepix1By Alliance for Food and Farming

A new peer-reviewed study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that if we consumed diets higher in fruits and vegetables, an estimated 5.6 and 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide could be prevented.  Further the study concludes:

Fruit and vegetable intakes were associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and all-cause mortality. These results support public health recommendations to increase fruit and vegetable intake for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and premature mortality.

This study is yet another example of the decades of nutritional research that overwhelmingly show the benefits of all genders and all age groups eating more fruits and veggies for better health and a longer life.  For children, specifically, there are also numerous studies that show the benefits of fruit and veggie consumption on cognitive health too as their young brains develop.

Ironically this study was published at the same time that the Centers for Disease Control released a new report which showed only one in 10 Americans are eating enough fruits and vegetables each day. 

While there are often cited reasons that we aren’t eating enough fruits and veggies, it is becoming quite clear that public health initiatives to increase consumption are being undermined by groups who use fear to promote eating only certain types of produce grown in certain ways.  This fear-based messaging used by these groups often disparages the more affordable and accessible produce available to most Americans and may result in low income consumers being less likely to purchase any produce organically or conventionally grown, according to perry-reviewed studies.

But, at the AFF we believe supporting consumer choice also promotes increased consumption. Whether you prefer organic, conventional or local produce or if you like to shop at warehouse stores, traditional grocery stores, farmer’s markets or via online home delivery services, these are all good choices.  Just choose what’s best for you and your family and be confident knowing that the right choice is always to eat more fruits and veggies.

And, now there is yet another new study that shows the dramatic impact fruits and vegetables can have on health and longevity.  Millions can live longer, healthier lives simply by eating more apples or spinach or strawberries or pears or broccoli.  Listen to the science,  it supports your choice whenever you eat a fruit or veggie.

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Mexican Asparagus Entering Arizona; December’s Record Freight Rates

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AA1During the next couple of months Mexican asparagus will be crossing the border at someplace besides Nogales….Also, 2017 closed out the year with some record setting trucking freight rates in the U.S.

Asparagus out of the Mexico’s Caborca region in northern Sonora, Mexico will be crossing the U.S. during February and March.  Volume is expected to increase 15 percent over last year. Quality is reported to be good.

“The weather in the Caborca region has been excellent and pending continued good weather, we anticipate promotable quantities in February and March in a full range of sizes,” said Katiana Valdes of Crystal Valley Foods of Miami in a news release.  The company is a grower/shipper and importer.  Mexican asparagus is imported as product from Peru comes to a seasonal low. The Mexcian “grass” crosses the border into the U.S. through San Luis, AZ, located just south of Yuma.

Yuma vegetables – grossing about $8700 to New York City.

Record December Freight Rates are Reported
According to a press release by DAT, a load board, freight rate and trucking trends company, the average reefer rate for December was $2.46 per mile, 3 cents higher than the November average and another all-time high.  Spot truckload van rates averaged $2.11 per mile nationally, up 4 cents compared to November and the highest monthly average since DAT started tracking freight rates in 2010.

Truckload freight availability in December was cushioned by retail shipments, demand for fresh and frozen foods, and e-commerce fulfillment.  Available truckload freight was 25 percent higher than in December 2016.

However, overall freight volume in December fell 3 percent compared to a strong November, according to the release. Some of the factors in that decline were inclement weather in parts of the U.S and the December 18th electronic logging device mandate.  That combination of strains on equipment and drivers meant that shippers and freight brokers paid premiums for available trucks.

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Citrus Shipments from the Nation’s Top Three States Expected to be Down

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AA1Overall citrus shipments from the nation’s three leading states are expected to be lower this season for various reasons.

California citrus shipments of navel oranges and lemons will be down this season.  It also means lighter than normal loadings towards the end of the season, and perhaps shipments ending sooner than usual.

California is expected to ship 35 million boxes of navel oranges, down 11 percent from the 2016-17 season.   While California lemon volume should remain about this same this season at about 20.5 million boxes, it will be lower than normal.

Southern California citrus – grossing about $8000 to New York City.

Florida Citrus Shipments

In Texas, grapefruit has received a lot of interest after Hurricane Irma significantly reduced volume from Florida.   Florida will probably ship about 4.65 million boxes of grapefruit, down more than 40 percent from the 2016-17 season.  Florida grower-shippers have had a tough time, with Hurricane Irma estimated to have caused at least $760 million in losses to the citrus industry there.

Shipments are down 40 percent to 55 percent depending on grove location.  Quality also has been an issue due the hurricane winds that really beat up the fruit, as well as weakening the trees.

Imports from Mexico and Morocco have resulted in Seald Sweet of Vero Beach, FL filling gaps left by Florida citrus, and the company has been bringing imported fruit into its Florida packinghouse.

Duda Farm Fresh Foods of Oviedo, FL reports its orange volume is down an estimated 29 percent, grapefruit off by 65 percent and tangerines and mandarins plunging by 80 percent.  Duda’s grapefruit shipments that usually continue into March, ended in early January.

Duda has an import program as well, including clementines from Morocco.

Texas Citrus Shipments

Texas grapefruit shipping estimates have been lowered from 5.3 million boxes to 4.1 million boxes.  Shipments are ahead of estimates, with about 56 percent of the overall crop remaining to be shipped, compared to 68 percent the same time in 2017.    Loadings by truck, however, should stay strong through the spring.

Lower Rio Grande Valley citrus – grossing about $3400 to Chicago.

 

 

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New Study Estimates Millions Could Live Longer By Eating More Produce

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ProduceAisles1By Alliance for Food and Farming

A new peer-reviewed study published in the International Journal of Epidemiology found that by eating more fruits and veggies, an estimated 5.6 and 7.8 million premature deaths worldwide could be prevented.  Further the study concludes:

Fruit and vegetable intakes were associated with reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and all-cause mortality. These results support public health recommendations to increase fruit and vegetable intake for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and premature mortality.

This study is yet another example of the decades of  nutritional research that overwhelmingly show the benefits of all genders and all age groups eating more fruits and veggies for better health and a longer life.  For children, specifically, there are also numerous studies showing the benefits of fruit and veggie consumption on cognitive health too as their young brains develop.

Ironically this study was published at the same time that the Centers for Disease Control released a new report which showed only only one in 10 Americans are eating enough fruits and veggies each day. 

While there are often cited reasons that we aren’t eating enough fruits and veggies, it is becoming quite clear public health initiatives to increase consumption are being undermined by groups who use fear to promote eating only certain types of produce grown in certain ways.  This fear-based messaging used by these groups often disparages the more affordable and accessible produce available to most Americans and may result in low income consumers being less likely to purchase any produce — organically or conventionally grown.

But, at the AFF we believe supporting consumer choice also promotes increased consumption. Whether you prefer organic, conventional or local produce or if you like to shop at warehouse stores, traditional grocery stores, farmers markets or via online home delivery services – these are all good choices.  Just choose what is best for you and your family and be confident knowing that the right choice is always to eat more fruits and veggies.

And, now there is yet another new study that shows the dramatic impact fruits and veggies can have on health and longevity.  Millions can live longer, healthier lives simply by eating more apples or spinach or strawberries or pears or broccoli.  Listen to the science – it supports your choice whenever you eat a fruit or veggie.

Read more »

What is Behind These Soaring Freight Rates on Fresh Produce Hauls

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TAAAAhere’s a lot of talk about soaring truck rates, including produce, and how long these levels will last, considering January is typically one of the poorest months for decent rates. Nobody really knows, so it is going to be very interesting once spring produce volume starts kicking in with March.

In January, some truck rates exceeded $10,000 from the Imperial Valley of California to New York City.  This compares to a $6,000 to $6,200 rate in January 2017. Two years ago, the rates were $5,800 to $6,000 to New York.

Florida has a similar situation where produce rates from central and south Florida to Baltimore were up 30 percent a week ago compared with the previous week, grossing $2,700 to$2,900.  The same time a year ago those rates were $1,900 to $2,200, and $2,100 to $2,200 two years ago.

While Florida volume is seasonally low compared to what it will be in April and May, product is moving fast partly because the Sunshine State has a significant freight advantage over Mexican vegetable shipments to many eastern seaboard markets.

In the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota a bumper red potato crop is 46 percent larger than a year ago.  Yet some observers believe potato shipments could be up to 20 percent more if the trucks were available.

Potato rates from Grand Forks, MN are $3 per hundred weight (cwt) higher than last year to South Florida, putting the gross freight rate at $6000. Rates to Boston from the valley are up $2 per cwt. and $2.50 to Chicago.

Significant credit has to be given President Trump cutting regulations, as well as the recent tax bill which is helping spur the economy.  Business is booming for many. This has increased demands for transportation services, plus there is a scarcity of qualified drivers, leaving many shippers scrambling to ship sold product.  There also are the adverse consequences of the electronic logging device mandate, making it difficult if not impossible to fudge on hours of service.

Many see a need for changes in hours of service.  For example, time spent waiting at loading docks counts against operating hours.  Produce is a supply and demand business and demand simply is outstripping the supply of available drivers.

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