Posts Tagged “Florida strawberry shipments”

Florida Strawberry Loadings Picking Up; Vegetables Remain Light

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DSCN6953Here’s an update on light to moderate Florida produce loading opportunities.

Florida strawberry shipments this season will come from product off of 11,000 acres in the Plant City area.  Those plantings are expected to yield about 42 million flats of eight 1-pound clamshells, up from last season’s 38 million to 40 million flats.

Although a few farmers harvest through mid-April, most grower-shippers finish packing by mid- to late March.

More normal supplies and shipments of Florida strawberries are expected anytime now.  In mid- and late December, shipments were only about two-thirds of normal due to warmer than normal weather.

Strawberry shipments are hitting about 200 truckloads per week now, but this number should increase significantly in the days ahead.

Florida Vegetable Shipments

Meanwhile, tomato shipments easily lead the pack when looking a vegetable loadings.  About 400 truckloads of tomatoes are being shipped per week from central and southern Florida locations.

There are a number other vegetables in Florida being shipped in light volume ranging from bell peppers to radishes and eggplant, among others.  However, Florida certainly isn’t a panacea for finding produce loads this time of the year.  But loadings overall in the Eastern time zone of the U.S. this time of year, prompts us to give you as much information as possible.   At best, Florida loadings most likely will involve multiple pick ups and drops.

Florida produce – grossing about $2600 to New York City.



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Weather Woes Reducing Shipments in California and Florida

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FloridaFloodGrowing and shipping fruits and vegetables in winter is risky business and weather conditions too often play havoc.  For example, cold weather in the California and Arizona deserts are disrupting vegetable shipments.  In Florida, southern vegetables have been pounded by heavy rains, literally wiping out crops.  Strawberry shipments further north in Florida are being hurt by heat.

Desert Vegetable Shipments

Cold weather in the early season and variable weather since then has slowed vegetable growth – and shipments of  cauliflower, broccoli, Iceberg lettuce, leaf items or Brussels sprouts.  With temperature highs varying as much as 20 degrees from day to day, problems happen.  Then there are nightly lows around freezing, that curtail early morning harvests.  The result is volume running 25 to 50 percent below normal, which will continue through the end of the year.  Farming operations are having to remove the outer leaves of lettuce with ice damage.

California, Arizona desert vegetables grossing about $3800 to Dallas.

Florida Vegetable Shipments

South Florida’s Redlands growing region was hit with torrential rains in early December, resulting in severe damage to winter yellow squash, zucchini and green beans.

The 15 inches of rain that pounded Florida City and Homestead, Fla.,  also hurt tomatoes and sweet corn, but the squash and beans sustained the most severe damage with losses in the 60 to 70 percent range.  The excessive water  killed many plants and caused serious quality issues that prevented vegetables from being shipped for the Christmas holidays.

The region grows product primarily mid-November through mid-April, similar to Belle Glade, Fla., and Immokalee.

Belle Glade ships corn and beans while Immokalee ships beans, tomatoes and squash.

Florida Strawberry Shipments

Higher than normal temperatures in the Plant City, FL area has resulted in strawberry shipments facing shipping gaps.  Volume is less than normal due to the heat.  Although volume is starting to increase, it will probably be the second full week of January before loadings are up to where they should be.

Florida vegetables and strawberries – grossing about $2000 to Chicago.


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Strawberry Shipments to Increase, But It’s Taking Time

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004If you’ve noticed sky high strawberry prices in your local supermarket, there’s a reason.  Shipments from California, Mexico and Florida are all low, but things are starting change.

November rains excellerated already seasonally lower volumes for California strawberry shipments, and volumes also have been below the three-year average.  Volume will improve, but it’s going to take some time.  El Niño predictions are still showing the strong probability of continuous rains and occasional heavy down pours in the west.

Some California shippers will rely on Florida and Mexico production to supplement California loadings, though bad weather in central Mexico in mid-November was complicating that crop.

This time of year California volume is unpredictable due to cold weather and number of daylight hours. With short days, cold nights and the threat of rain, volume is difficult to predict.

Florida strawberry shipments are increasing and should hit decent volume by next week from the Plant City, Fla. area.  However, it will be the first of the year before peak volumes occur.

By the week of November 23rd, shipments from Watsonville, CA had mostly wound down for the year, as production shifted to Southern California.  Ventura County is ramping up and Orange County will get underway soon.

Southern California citrus shipments – grossing about $4200 to Chicago.

Central and Southern Florida tomatoes, vegetables – grossing about $2300 to New York City.

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California Date Shipments Pick Up; Florida Berry Shipper Expands

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Now is the heaviest time of the year for shipments of California dates….Plus here’s news on an expansion of a major Florida strawberry shipper.

With the harvest in storage, California has a bumper date crop this year.  Although dates are shipped year around, the November-December holiday season is the heaviest.  Dates are a great fall item and common on holiday menus.  A significant change has occurred in recent years with date shipments.  Retailers used to order a heavier volume in early November, stack up the date cartons in their warehouse and keep an inventory for the two end-of-the-year holiday months.   Now many retailers want weekly shipments on date and many other items as they seek to cut warehousing costs.

SunDate LLC of Coachella, CA is a major date shipper in the Coachella Valley where most of the product is grown and shipped.

Florida Strawberry Sipments

PLANT CITY, FL – Family-owned and operated Astin Farms, is continuing to expand its operations on the heels of a recent 200-acre farmland acquisition in Plant City, FL.

Astin, which was formed in 2001, has begun to make its mark in the produce industry.  Recently the company added 10,000 square-feet of refrigerated old storage space and two new cooling units to address the growth of Astin’s conventional and organic strawberry program.

New expansion will now allow the company to pre-cool about 13,000 cases at a time.   The new cooling space is slated to be in operation by mid-December.

In addition, Astin will have 160 acres of blueberries this spring and just recently planted another 100 acres.     Astin produces over 40 million pounds of fruit each season which is shipped across and to Canada.


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Berries to Ramp Up for Valentine’s Day; Plus other Loading Opportunities

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DSCN2856Valentine’s Day (February 14th) is the one of the most popular days of the year for strawberries and shipments soon will be ramping up for the occasion.

Florida strawberry shipments are steady with adequate volume expected.  About 90 percent of some shipper’s supplies from the Plant City, FL have already been pre-sold.

Still, the strawberry industry says there are never enough berries for Valentine’s Day, especially stem berries.  These are always popular as a Valentine’s Day gift.   Both Florida, as well as Mexican strawberry shipments are running ahead of last year’s totals, while California strawberry shipments are down a bit.  Mexican strawberries are crossing the border in south Texas, as well as border crossings into California.

California reached the 1 million tray-per-week level in mid-January, but by the end of the month supplies had dropped below that threshold.   However, California berry loadings are expected to increase each week in February as volume builds from Orange and Ventura counties.

Meanwhile, Southern California also has lettuce shipments as well as some other vegetables from the Coachella and Imperial valleys, plus from the nearby Yuma (AZ) district.

In south Texas, besides Mexican strawberries, there are a number of other items available ranging from vegetables, tomatoes, citrus and tropical fruit.

While Florida strawberries are coming out of the growing area just west of Tampa, Central Florida also is shipping in light volume vegetables, tomatoes and citrus.

Southern California berries – grossing about $4000 to Dallas.

South Texas/Mexican produce – grossing about $2400 to Atlanta.

Central Florida berries, veggies – grossing about $2200 to Chicago.

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Loadings Picking Up for FL Strawberries, Chilean Stone Fruit

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DSCN4351Increased loading opportunities are taking place for Florida strawberries from the Plant City area, while arrivals of Chilean imported stone fruit are occurring on both coasts of the United States.

Florida strawberry shipments got off to a show start this season but good volume finally arrived the week of December 22nd.  While volume in late December and early January was high, produce haulers should expect a significant slowing of shipments to begin in mid-January.   Volume for Florida strawberry shipments could be off for a couple of weeks before picking back up towards the end of January.   Heading into Valentine’s Day (February 14th),  truckers should expect bigger volume.

Florida strawberries, vegetables and tomatoes – grossing about $2800 to New York City.

Chilean Fruit

Importers of Chilean stone fruit expect a strong rebound from last season’s freeze-damaged crops.  Break bulk shipments of Chilean peaches, nectarines and plums began arriving early the week of December 29th at the Port of Long Beach.

Shipments were running seven days ahead of last year. Volumes this season should be at least in line with the 5-year average but much higher than last season, when fruit was hard hit by freezes.

Philadelphia received its first shipments for Chilean peaches, nectarines and plums the weekend of Jan. 3rd.  Early varieties of Chilean peaches would start arriving at East Coast ports this week, with nectarine volumes following in early February and plum volumes in mid-February.

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Florida Spring Produce Shipments to Hit Stride in April

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HP0325Florida vegetable shipments are gearing up, but will it be record loading opportunties?  It certainly does not appear likely.

Light volume and later shipments have marked many produce shipments from Florida, but as we progress into spring it is gradually improving.

Following a disappointing winter, grower-shippers are seeing improved supplies as Florida’s vegetable growers transition to the new spring crop. Florida produce shippers are eyeing improved supplies of bell peppers as the Sunshine State transitions to the new spring crop. Unfavorable winter weather has delayed bigger spring volume by a week the first half of March.

However, you can expect a lot more April and May vegetable loadings. This will also be spurred by the fact Mexican vegetable shipments will be finishing earlier than normal due to unusually warm weather. This will increase demand for Florida green beans, cucumbers, bell peppers and cucumbers, which are just starting in very light volume. You can also look for shipments of tomatoes, celery, sweet corn, lettuce, radish, cabbage and watermelon.  Good volume will arrive in early to mid-April. However, some shippers predicting their volume will be down as much as 30 to 40 percent on some items.

While Florida spring vegetable loading opportunties will be good, I’m not expecting it to be great this season.  Few, if any, bumper crops are seen.

Florida blueberry shipments have recently started and are moving into volume.  Peak loading oppportunties will be around the third or fourth week of April.

Florida strawberry shipments from the Plant City area are winding down and should be finished by early April.

Florida produce – grossing about $2800 to Chicago.


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Most Florida Winter Produce Shipments are Lighter, Later Than A Year Ago

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TkFlThere’s been plenty of cold weather in Florida this winter, but the bottom line is it has mostly dodged the wrap of Mother Nature and any wide spread deadly freezes (knock on wood).   But the cold has often meant Florida produce shipments being lighter than normal and later than normal for this time of the year.

Heaviest volume out of Florida is from the central and southern regions with tomatoes, which are averaging around 750 truck loads per week.  There’s also a number of mixed vegetable items being shipped in light volume, but are behind normal shipping schedules.

An example is cabbage, which is available in areas from northern to southern Florida.  The further north in the state cabbage is grown and shipped, the further behind it is in maturing and being harvested.   One example is at Bunnell in nothern Florida where loadings are running a full month behind schedule.  About four hours to the south in Central Florida the product is only a couple of weeks late.  Cabbage is a big item for St. Patrick’s Day, which is March 17th.

Florida grapefruit shipments are down siginificantly this year, but more so from a disease called citrus greening than due to the weather.  One major shipper is reporting pack out at only 50 to 60 percent of normal, when it would normally pack out at about 90 pecent.

Another item trailing is Florida strawberry shipments from the Plant City area.

Central Florida produce items – grossing about $2300 to Chicago.




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Florida Strawberry Shipments Ahead of Schedule; Grapes Arriving from Peru at Miami Port

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IMG_6053Florida strawberry shipments have started a little earlier than usual, and good volume shipments for the pre-Christmas deliveries are expected.

The season typically builds through December, with the decent volume hitting right after Christmas.

In early December,  at least one Florida strawberry shipper had truckload quantities.

 The quality of berries truckers were loading early in the season left something to be desire, but with the last two cold snaps  received the strawberries were sweetening.

Florida strawberries – grossing about  $2700 to New York City.

Peruvian Grapes

The Port of Miami received  its first ever shipment of Peruvian grapes  last month, it is believed to the first of the product to arrive at a Florida port for distribution directly to Southeastern states.

Prior to this shipment, Peruvian grapes could only be imported to the U.S. through ports in Los Angeles and New York. Each shipment must go through cold treatment before entering U.S. borders.

 By importing directly to Miami it saves the shipper  the cost of freight in having to bring the grapes from New York to Miami.  This should translate into  providing e consumers with fresher product at a lower cost.

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Florida and Georgia Produce Loadings are There, But with Light Volume

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DSCN0485We’re entering that time of the year when overall produce volume is declining and it will only get worse during the first few months or so in  the New Year.  For example, Florida is nothing to get excited about for produce haulers, and will remain that way until spring vegetable  shipments take off in April.

Still there are some loading opportunities in the Sunshine state, with vegetables, strawberries and citrus.

Florida Vegetable Shipments

Grape tomatoes and cherry tomato shipments started in mid October from the Palmetto-Ruskin area.

Mature green tomatos should get underway from Central Florida in early November.

Bell peppers, grean beans and cucumbers should begin in light volume in early November from Homestead and Belle Glade.

Sweet corn is running late and is not expected to kick off until about a week before  Thanksgiving, which is November 28th.

Georgia Vegetable Shipments

 Southern Georgia has light supplies of sweet corn,  and bell peppers.  Loading should continue until about a week before Thanksgiving.  It is around this time, the items will get started in Florida.

Florida Strawberry Shipments

Looking ahead, we’re only about five weeks or so away from the intial Florida strawberries coming on in late November, primarily around the Plant City area.  Loadings will gradually build in December and January befor peak shipments hit in February.

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