Posts Tagged “hail”

Eastern Apple Shipments will be down This Season

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There will be fewer apples for hauling in two of four of the leading eastern states this fall.  New York got hit the hardest by frost related weather earlier this year, but there also will be fewer loads available for produce haulers in North Carolina.  Pennsylvania and Virginia will be up in volume only slightly.

New York state’s Western and Central apple shipping areas were hit the hardest, with less frost damage occuring in the eastern part of the state, home of the Hudson Valley.  Still, New York’s volume will be down 52 percent from last apple season ( 590 million pounds compared to 1.2 billion pound a year ago). 

In Pennsylvania, apples are forecast to be at 481 million pounds.  It shipped 458 million pounds last year. 

North Carolina took a beating.  This year it expects to load 40 million pounds of apples compared to 140 million pounds in 2011.

The leading apple shipper in the mid-west, Michigan will ship 85 percent fewer apples this season.

Ironically, Washington state, which normally ships about half of the nation’s apples every year, is expected to account for 77 percent of the nation’s apple loads for 2012-13.  This is despite suffering some hail damage.  The state was on track for historic volume, until the fowl weather hit.  Still, Washington state is expected to have its second largest amount of apple shipments on record.

One difference produce haulers can expect out of the Northwest this season is for Washington shippers to be packing more apples than normal in the smaller, consumer bags.  This is because Michigan normally is heavy with bagged apples, and Washington packers will be looking to help fill this void.

Produce truckers should always watch what is being loaded, not only for proper count, but for quality and appearance of the product being loaded.  This is especially true if you are hauling apples from most shipping areas this season.  Expect shippers to be loading some fruit with pits or hail damage marks on it.  Just make sure whom you are hauling for is aware of this situation to help reduce changes of claims or rejected loads.   Also, be sure and note it on the bill of lading.

Washington state apples grossing – about $5600 to New York City.

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Late Summer Produce Shipments are Steady

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Late summer shipments of fresh fruits and vegetables continue in steady volume from around the country.

In New York state, onions have started from Orange County, while cabbage is coming from several areas in both the central and western parts of the state.

Michigan shippers continue to load a variety of vegetables, led by cucumbers and squash, particularly from the western half of the state.

It is a relatively short shipping season for red potatoes from the Big Lake, MN area.  Those loadings will soon be giving away to the Red River Valley, which should move into volume shipments after Labor Day.

In California, stone fruit, grape  and vegetables loads remain steady for the most part.  A similar situation exits for vegetables from the Salinas Valley.

Tabulations for the outlook of national apple shipments have been issued at a  recent  outlook and marketing conference.   The forecast predicts the smallest apple crop since 1986.  This would amount to 192 million bushels, ranking it as the 31st biggest crop that will be shipped.

While the forecasts for the East and Midwest regions declined this year, the forecast for the West increased by 6 percent. And although some of its crop was damaged by hail, Washington state is still forecast to produce 135.7 million bushels, 5 percent above its 2011 production.

Washington state apples and pears – grossing about $5600 to New York City.

Michigan vegetables – about $900 to Chicago.

San Joaquin Valley produce – about $6000 to Atlanta.

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Loading Opportunities Around the Country

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While I’ve written some reports suggesting caution when loading Washington state apples from the Wenachee Valley due to damage from a July 20 hail storm, information is now starting to come out relating to the pears from the same area.  Expect pear shippers to be loading some “hail grade” pears.  Appearance is affected, but eating quality should be fine.  Just make sure the parties with whom you are working to deliver the load are aware of this condition to the fruit and it is noted on the bill of lading.  Washington state pear shipments are expected to set a record this season volume wise.

In Michigan, produce shipments have been running early this season, not only for vegetables, but blueberries.  Expect both to complete shipping a week or two ahead of schedule this summer.  Michigan blueberry volume will drop significantly beginning the week of August 27th…..Expect a similar situation with “blues” coming out of Oregon and British Columbia.

In the San Luis Valley of Colorado, potato hauls should be ramping up by the end of August…Virtually all USA potato shipping areas are expecting to load more spuds during the 2012-13 shipping season.

On the East Coast, watermelon shipments have increased significantly over the past three years from Maryland and Delaware.  Virginia also is shipping melons…..Expect increased loading opportunities on watermelons for the upcoming Labor Day weekend from areas ranging from West Texas to Indiana and North Carolina.

Delaware watermelons – grossing about $1100 to New York City.


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National Apple Hauling Outlook

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Looking across the USA, there will be a lot of loading opportunities for apples, particularly in the west, although fewer than a several months ago before weather factors hit some orchards.

In the East, there actually should be a few more loads available for the 2012-13 season from both Pennsylvania and Virginia.  No word on the New England states, but volume from there is relatively light even in good years.

New York state, particularly the central and western shipping areas took a significant hit from freezing weather earlier in the year.  The Hudson Valley apparently escaped pretty much unscathed.  Overall, New York state apple shipments will be down around 50 percent, estimated to be about 590 million pounds.  Before the freeze, the state was looking at about 1.2 billion pounds of apples.

Poor ole Michigan took the biggest hit from freezing temperatures this year.  At one time is was looking to ship 985 million pounds.  Apple tonnage now is forecast at only 105 million pounds.

Washington state, which on any given year shipments about as many apples as the rest of the other states combined, also lost tonnage a few weeks ago from hail storms.  However, it was on course to have record shipments.  Even though that will not now happen, it still will be loading as much fruit on average, as it has over the past five seasons.

Washington’s Yakima and Wenatchee Valley apples – grossing about $5300 to New York City and Hunts Point.


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Good Retail Buys: Berries, Grapes and Apples

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Some of the most reasonably price fruit items in local supermarkets now are strawberries, raspberries and grapes.   Apples will be an interesting item to watch this fall.

Strawberries have been a frustrating item at best this summer.  No one likes to waste their hard earned dollars on something that doesn’t have the taste or durability (shelf life).  My purchase of strawsberries have been all over the board, ranging from good (not great) to very disappointing.  I tend to think labels or brands can be a bit over rated.  A top brand may or may not be better than a generic fruit or even a lesser known brand.  However, this year I have found Discroll brand strawberries have been more consistently good.  My big disappointement has been with the Red Blossom brand.  More often than not, it has left me wishing I’d left it on the supermarket shelf.

The fall strawberry crop out of California is projected to stronger this year, and growers are predicting improved quality and flavor through August and September.  I hope they are right!

Another favorite of mine are raspberries.  Even with the Driscoll brand, “razz” is so perishable you really need to check the clamshell package for excessive moisture from the berries — and for mold.  Still, no one does a better job with raspberries than Driscoll.

Table grapes from California’s San Joaquin Valley are available and a possible record setting crop is translating into attractive retail prices.  Just bought some red grapes and the high sugar content makes them oh so sweet!

Finally, apple lovers are looking forward to the new crop which is now arriving at stores.  On July 20 hail storms did some significant damage to some orchards in Washington state.  Still, there will be plenty of apples because Washington was poised to have a historic crop.  Even though the weather damage may reduce the crop by as much as 25 percent, it was so huge, that there will still be plenty of the fruit.

Something to keep in mind.  Some orchards were hit much harder than others.  To save as much of their crop as possible, you could be seeing some “high grade” bags of apples in your stores.  This is simply a fancy name for some fruit that is less than fancy.  It is apples that have some “dimples” from minor hits by hail.  These dimples will turn brown and have a russetted look.  They should have a lower price because they aren’t as “pretty,” although the eating quality should still be fine.


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Use Caution Hauling Washington State Apples

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While Washington state apple shippers are wringing their hands over the crop and profits that could have been, apple haulers probably won’t notice a lot of difference this 2012-13 season, since even after a hail reduced crop, shipments will be right in there with the average for the past five years.

One difference however, are the possibilities truckers may face with claims, unless you make sure the buyers know what is being delivered.  There could be some hail damaged apples shipped to market this year; ones that look a little roughed up on the outside, but the quality is supposed to be good on the inside.

The apples with damage from hail will have “dimples” that turn brown and have a russetted look.

Some orchards totally escaped damage from the July 20 hail storm, while others were hit with varying amounts of damage.  Much of the hits were taken by the Red Delicious variety.

The five-year average for Washington state apple shipments has been 100 to 110 million cartons.   Before the hail storm, shippers were looking to move as much as 120 million cartons of apples this season.  Loading opportunities are still expected to be good, despite the predictions of 10 to 25 percent of the crop being lost.

Updates on the amount of damage to apples from the hail storm are expected to come out within the next week.



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Washington State Apple Shipments to Take Hit

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Golf ball sized hail hit some Wenachee Valley apple orchards July 20 causing severe damage, while other orchards escaped, or received only minor damage.  The bottom line for apple haulers is what was expected to be bumper apple shipments for the 2012-13 season will be reduced.  It is a matter of how much.  This really won’t be known for several weeks.

Also keep in mind when you are loading new season apples from this area, some fruit could have minor “dings” and other damage.  Just make sure appropriate parties with whom you are working that are associated with the haul are aware of it. 

Hail storms often are pretty localized, so hopefully the overall damage won’t severely affect shipments for the new season.  Washingon state has a huge apple crop, and loadings are expected to be brisk because of significant weather damage to Michigan and Ontario apples, and to a lesser extent some orchards in New York state….Meanwhile apples from the old crop continue to be shipped.

Washington state apples – grossing about $6000 to New York City and Hunts Point.


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Georgia Produce Loadings Take a Hit

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On Tuesday, May 22nd, Tifton County vegetables were clobbered by a major hail storm, which apparently will wipe out most loading opportunities there for truckers.  The county’s 2,525 acres of watermelons, some of which were within 10 days of harvest, also were devasted.  Tifton County ships about 10 percent of the state’s watermelons.  Veggies receiving severe damage ranged from cantaloupe to sweet corn, peas, squash, peppers and cucumbers.

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