Posts Tagged “Florida produce shipments”

Florida’s Citrus, Vegetables and Melons Take Biggest Hits from Hurricane Ian

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Florida’s citrus, vegetable and melon production suffered the greatest financial losses in Hurricane Ian, according to Christa Court, director of the program and assistant professor in the UF/IFAS food and resource economics department. IFAS is the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences at the University of Florida.

Court spoke recently on a virtual press conference. At the same time, IFAS released a new document, “Preliminary Assessment of Agricultural Losses and Damages resulting from Hurricane Ian,” from the UF/IFAS Economic Impact Analysis Program. This summarizes losses from Ian, which struck Florida’s southwest coast on Sept. 29, then slowly crossed the peninsula, with winds as high category 4 and 20 or more inches of rainfall in some areas.

University of Florida economists predict the combination of seasonal crops, livestock, nursery and aquaculture products potentially lost as a result of category 4 Hurricane Ian will likely be valued between $787 million and $1.56 billion. 

Preliminary IFAS estimates are that losses to Florida citrus due to Ian will be in the range of $147- to $304 million. The variance depends on the level of fruit drop, damage to branches, and impacts due to heavy precipitation and flooding.

Vegetable and melon losses are estimated to sustain significant production total between $208- and $394 million. Vegetable and melon impacts are heavily dependent on the ability (or inability) to replant damaged or destroyed crops.

Horticultural crop losses may fall in the range of $154- to $297 million. Field and row crops face as much as $160 million in losses and animals and animal products losses could be as high as $222 million. The estimated top level of cumulative losses for these categories is $1.56 billion.

“Even though the coast – an area with comparatively less agricultural production than inland areas – bore some of the worst impacts of the storm, the strong winds and heavy rains battered a wide swath of the peninsula that includes over five million acres of agricultural land,” IFAS’ Court indicates. “This estimate only accounts for production losses, or changes in expected revenues for the current calendar or market year; citrus, for example, had not yet begun harvesting, and some fall vegetables, like tomatoes and peppers, were already planted.”

Some commodities were already looking at lower expected production due to a hard freeze event in January that affected much of the same acreage, she added. 

“Southwest counties that got hit the hardest by Hurricane Ian have remained in rescue and recovery mode; we anticipate our assessments will not be complete for several weeks,” Court indicates in IFAS’ release. “Our preliminary estimate is a range, a wide range, to account for many of these unknowns. What isn’t destroyed might have diminished yield or quality, which will not be apparent for weeks or months, and then even more effects can appear in the long-term.” 

Court said the survey will remain open for an undefined amount of time. The program will release a full report once analyses are completed.

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Eastern Shipping Points: A Look at Loadings

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It certainly isn’t that good, but here are your best bets for fresh produce loading opportunities in the Eastern Time Zone.


It is Florida hands down, but even here you are looking at multiple pickups and multiple drops in most cases.

Nearly 750 truckload equivalents of Florida tomatoes are being shipped weekly. This is mostly the mature greens, with much smaller volumes found with grape (cherry) and plum tomatoes.

Strawberries from the Plant City, FL area are averaging about 575 truckload equivalents a week. There are modest amounts of fresh grapefruit and oranges, with even smaller amounts of other citrus amounting to around 475 truckload equivalents weekly.

There also are lesser amounts of cabbage, sweet corn as well as a new crop of red potatoes just getting underway.

Florida produce shipments primarily from central and southern areas – grossing about $3200 to New York City.

Port of Philadelphia

Chilean fruit arrivals by boat at Philadelphia are averaging around 750 truckloads a week. This consists mostly of table grapes although there are some peaches, plums and nectarines.


Not much here except apples from the Grand Rapids area in the western part of the state, as well as some onions.

North Carolina

Sweet potatoes by shippers mostly in the Eastern part of the state are averaging over 200 truckloads a week.

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California Rains Hit Produce Shipments; Florida Shipping Update

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DSCN8999Everyone is aware of the five-year drought in California.  While the drought may not be officially over, those rains are reducing produce shipments on some items and will have an effect of loadings heading into spring.

California strawberry shipments have been hit hardest by the rains, while citrus loadings have also been affected, but not as much.

The rains post phoned the strawberry harvest along the Central and Southern Coast areas of Santa Maria and Oxnard, due to waterlogged fields  A significant amount of strawberries were damaged and had to be dumped or sent to the processors.

The good news is more spring like weather is expected for the next 10 days or so.

There is a big bloom in California strawberries in Santa Maria and Oxnard, which should result in good shipments within a few weeks.  At Watsonville, the heaviest production area for strawberries, the new season likely will be delayed to the end of March or early April, a couple of weeks later than last year.

Both Florida and Mexico are at the end of their strawberry season, but trying to extend shipments later than normal to help cover the losses in California volume.  Caution is urged loading strawberries from any of these three areas as high market prices resulting from low volume sometimes tempt shippers to load product they normally would not otherwise send to the fresh market.  Just make sure the receiver of this fruit knows what they are getting.

Ventura County strawberries and vegetables – grossing about $3300 to Dallas.

Florida Produce Shipments

The Plant City area of Florida is shipping over 600 truck loads of strawberries a week, but as mentioned in the previous paragraph, watch for late season quality issues….Likewise, the light Mexcian strawberry volume is mostly crossing the border in South Texas and averaging about 125 truck loads as its season in winding down.

Back in Florida, perhaps the heaviest shipments are occurring with tomatoes with over 600 truckloads being shipped weekly.  Other leading items such as cabbage and grapefruit have much smaller volume.  Florida vegetable shipments in general will be increasing as we get further into March.

Florida tomatoes, and vegetables – grossing about $2600 to New York City.



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Hurricane Clobbers North Carolina Sweet Potatoes

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dscn4297Produce trucking sweet potato loads could be affected significantly for the 2016-17 shipping season due to damage caused by Hurricane Matthew.   Loading opportunities this fall for Florida, Georgia and South Carolina will be impacted much less, although volume from these three states is limited this time of year.

Southeast produce growers are estimating damage from Hurricane Matthew which hugged coastal Florida and Georgia before slamming into South Carolina and North Carolina, where it flooded fields and caused evacuations

North Carolina Sweet Potato Shipments

Around 40 to 45 percent of the sweet potato harvest had been dug when the storm dumped up to 18 inches of rain October 6 – 9 during the middle of the North Carolina harvest.

There is little doubt North Carolina sweet potato shipments were hit pretty hard, and significant losses will occur, but the bottom line is  it will take days, if not week to assess the damage.  Earlier this week many roads remained impassible with a lot of farmland remaining underwater  as river levels were still rising in some areas.

Besides sweet potatoes, the Tar Heel state also grows and ships cabbage, greens and a variety of fall vegetables including bell peppers, cucumbers and squash.

South Carolina Vegetable Shipments

The South Carolina received 8-18 inches of rain and growers and state officials are assessing damages.  However, South Carolina isn’t a significant player in vegetable shipments this time of the year, although it does have leafy greens are grown in small acreage in the flooded areas east of Columbia.  There also are crops grown in sandy soils of the interior growing regions that should fair okay.

South Carolina’s peach shipments were completed in September,  but there are cucumbers, squash, tomatoes and watermelons grown closer to the Atlantic Coast.  There are expected to have damage.

Georgia Vegetable Shipments

Most of Georgia’s southern vegetables are grown in the south-central part of the state, but are believe to have escaped serious damage.  As for the 2017 Vidalia onion crop that starting shipping in April, the area had up to six inches of rain resulting in minor damage to Vidalia onion seed beds, which are planted for the spring harvest.

Some Vidalia onion shippers lost power for about 10 hours.  The electricity runs coolers for their imported Peruvian onions but no damage was reported.

Florida Produce Shipments

Little or no damage was reported with Florida vegetables or citrus.

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Florida Spring Produce Shipments are Getting Back on Track

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ADSCN7341re Florida spring produce shipments finally getting back on track?  It’s been a lousy year for Florida growers and shippers, not to mention produce truckers.

After an unseasonably warm fall, the region was hit by severe storms and record-breaking rains.  Rainfall was 139 percent above average in November, 199 percent above average in December, and nearly 350 percent above average for the month of January.  Planting, spraying and harvesting schedules were delay for many of the area’s signature crops, including sweet corn, green beans, lettuce and leafy greens, parsley, radishes and sugar cane.

While produce shipments are late for some crops because of some delays in planting, loadings should become more steady heading on into spring.

Over the next couple of months, there should be good volume with items ranging from tomatoes, to green beans, blueberries, cabbage, celery, sweet corn, melons, lettuce, cucumbers, eggplant, peppers, potatoes, radishes and squash.   However, the strawberry season is drawing to a close.

Florida produce shipments ranks number one in the U.S. with a number of  fresh fruits and vegetables including grapefruit, snap beans, squash, sugar cane, cucumbers, oranges, tomatoes and watermelons.

By mid-April, new-crop shipments of tomatoes and other items should start coming out of the Palmetto/Ruskin area of Florida.

Florida vegetables – grossing about $1900 to Chicago.

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Florida Vegetable Shipments are Trailing Last Year

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DSCN7164Record heat and above-normal rainfall have played havoc with Florida produce shipments, making tighter supplies likely for at least the next couple of months.

Florida cabbage shipments are particularly lacking, with some of the vegetables growing to the size of footballs, while other heads are maturing too slowly, risking they won’t be ready by the prime shipping time leading up to St. Patrick’s Day – March 17th.

The situation is really serious in South Florida, which was deluged by nearly eight inches of rain in four days in early December.  Afterward, shipments of cucumbers, endive, escarole, radishes, squash, grape and Roma tomatoes plummeted.

At the end of January, 14 of 15 shipments of different Florida vegetable crops were running behind, with celery, squash, cabbage, broccoli, strawberries, sweet corn and avocados among the hardest hit.

 The Florida Department of Agriculture predicts shortages will continue through late March or early April.
April and May are typically the months for heaviest Florida produce shipments during the year.  How long the peak shipping season lasts usually depends upon when summer heat starts taking its toll.
Florida produce shipments – grossing about $2100 to New York City.

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Florida’s Light Winter Produce Shipments, Take a Big Hit

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DSCN7036Normally light Florida produce shipments are much lighter this season due to excessive rains.  If the weather trend continues it soon will be threatening the Florida spring shipping season that typically peaks in April and May.

Up to 8 inches  of rain last week soaked fields of sweet corn, green beans, celery, radishes, leafy greens and other vegetables and flooded some areas, leaving crops underwater.  Damage to crops is estimated to be 25 to 50 percent.  Losses of crops and even lighter than normal shipments is a given.  Now it’s a wait to see how bad the situation is.

The heavy rains mean vegetable shipments in general will probably be much lighter than usual through February and March.  Belle Glade is the hub of Florida sweet corn and green bean shipments.

It’s been a crazy winter for produce shipments, not only in Florida, but elsewhere.

Mexican volume of bell peppers, strawberries and other items have been lowered by cold weather.  California strawberry volume is down due to weather factors.

Meanwhile, Florida strawberry volume have suffered from heat; Florida avocado loadings are down due to a fruit fly quarantine; Florida tomatoes are off due to rains; Florida cabbage shipments are down as much as 40 percent from weather; Florida citrus volume is drastically off due to citrus greening disease.


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Mexican Grape Shipments in Heavy Volume; Heat Hitting FL Produce

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DSCN1828+1Mexican table grapes ramp up crossing the border in Arizona, while the Florida heat is starting to take its toll on spring produce shipments.

Mexican grape shipments are forecast to hit 16.05 million boxes this season, slightly less than last year’s final total of 16.27 million boxes.  Peak shipments, mostly crossing the border at Nogales, are now in progress.  Heavy volume should continue well into June before loadings decline towards the latter part of the month with the end of the season. Overall Mexican produce movement through Nogales is well below what it was in the first quarter of the year, with grapes now leading the pack in volume.

Mexican grapes  – grossing about $2200 to San Francisco.


Florida produce shipments are starting to feel the heat as temperatures rise in the Sunshine State.  There’s probably no better example than with sweet corn as shipments could come to a screeching halt this week.  That is about two weeks earlier than the last two years.

Since the first week of April, the start of Florida’s spring shipments, packinghouses shipped about a million crates a week and so far have packed 6.2 million crates.  This season, shippers should load about 7.5 million crates, similar to last season, which marked record production for the two weeks leading up to Memorial Day,

While Florida corn in coming to an end, Georgia sweet corn shipments are now underway.

Florida trucks have been in tight supply with mixed vegetables, tomatoes and watermelons – grossing about $3700 to Philadelphia.

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Strong Demand for Trucks Hauling Florida Spring Vegetables

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DSCN4899There is strong demand for refrigerated trucks for Florida produce shipments, although there appears to be no shortages.

Florida tomatoes are providing the heaviest volume averaging about 750 truck loads weekly.  There also is good, but increasing volume with sweet corn, cucumbers, bell peppers and potatoes.  A number of other mixed vegetables also are being shipped.

Spring growing conditions in Florida is resulting in mostly good quality product for hauling for items originating out of central and southern areas of the state.

Blueberries shipments have become a big item in Florida and growers expect to harvest between to 21 million-22 million pounds, up from the 17 million shipped last year.   Volume will be increasing through mid-April.    Steady shipments are now expected through May, overlapping an expected later than normal start in Georgia.

Growers in northern Florida began harvesting the week of April 6th with much higher shipments seen this week.  Florida typically finishes blueberry shipments by Mid May, but due to excellent growing weather, loadings are expected to continue further into May.

Because of February freezes, Georgia is expected to increase harvests in early May, later than the typical mid- to late-April start.

Central Florida blueberries – grossing about $2800 to Chicago.

Southern and Central tomatoes and vegetables – grossing about $3200 to New York City.

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Spring FL Produce Shipments Shaping Up to be Good

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DSCN5279Spring Florida produce shipments are shifting towards high gear!

Florida produce shipments for this spring are shaping up to be a good one for produce haulers because of excellent weather and growing conditions.

Vegetables being harvested in the Sunshine State range from tomatoes to snap beans, sweet corn, cabbage, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, celery, squash, lettuce and other leaf vegetables.  Florida citrus shipments continue, while the strawberry harvest has concluded, but blueberry loadings are ramping up.

The state grows and ships over 350 commodities.

Weather didn’t pose any significant obstacles to growers this season as the state has experienced a mild winter.

Tomato shipments for both grape and cherry tomatoes from the Palmetto/Ruskin areas of Florida should get underway about April 10th, while romas and rounds should follow around April 17-20.

Tomato shipments should reach seasonal norms the week of April 6 or the week of April 13.

South Florida fresh potato shipments commenced in early February and will continue until early to mid-May.  Peak Florida potato shipments are occuring during March and April.

Florida red, yellow and white potatoes – grossing about $2975 to Dallas.

Florida mixed vegetables  – grossing about $3400 to New York City and about $3100 to Chicago.




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