Posts Tagged “Idaho potato shipments”

Eagle Eye Produce Now Shipping New-Crop of Idaho Potatoes

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A new crop of russets is now being shipped by Eagle Eye Produce of Idaho Falls, ID. These will be followed shortly by the harvesting of red and yellow potatoes.

Eagle Eye is introducing new pack styles with the new season, according to a news release, including Harvest Select half-and-half bags for russet, red and yellow potatoes. The company has a range of retail and foodservice packs under several brand names, with the option of private-label packs.

“Growing conditions for this upcoming crop have been excellent,” Coleman Oswald, director of sales, said in the release. “We are enthusiastic about what we are seeing in the fields at this point, and we are eager to get this new season underway.”

Eagle Eye Produce owns and operates warehouses and packing facilities in Idaho, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Arizona and California, according to the release.

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A Round up of Better Loading Opportunities in Western States

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January and February are two of the slowest months for fresh produce shipments, and while March begins to give hope of things to come it often is not much better.

Still, here is a round up of some of the best loading opportunities from the western states.


West Mexico vegetable shipments through Nogales, AZ are typically one of the best locations for produce loads in the winter, but this year it’s not quite up to speed, thanks to weather factors in growing areas south of the border. Produce trucking rates are down 8 to 10 percent to most destinations, at least in part to the lower volume.

Multiple rains in November followed by another round about New Year’s hit vegetables such as cucumbers, squash, tomatoes and green bell peppers pretty hard. These weather events are reported to be more serious than damaging freezes in 2011-12-13. Currently around 850 truckload equivalents of cukes are being shipped weekly and nearly 600 truckload equivalents of bell peppers.

In the Yuma area of western Arizona, most of the nation’s lettuce is coming from here now. There are about 375 truckload equivalents of head lettuce and romaine a week being shipped from Yuma.

Mexican vegetables crossing through Nogales – grossing about $3600 to Chicago.

Lettuce and other veggies from Yuma as well as the nearby Imperial Valley and Coachella Valley (the later two in the California desert) – grossing about $6200 to New York City.


California certainly is less than exciting from a produce hauling stand point right now. There is the previously mentioned desert areas, plus Oxnard is shipping some veggies, most notably celery, averaging about 400 truckload equivalents per week. The Bakersfield area is led by carrots with around 450 truckload equivalents a week.

Perhaps the most promising loads in the weeks ahead are with strawberries. South California volume now is very light, but there is the potential for record setting shipments from Easter (April 12) through the Fourth of July. Right now the primary strawberry loads are from Mexico through South Texas which are double the volume of California .

Carrots from the Bakersfield area – grossing about $3700 to Dallas.


Heaviest volume from the Pacific Time Zone is easily with apples, averaging about 2,750 truckloads each week. Storage sheds are mostly in the Yakima and Wenatchee valleys. Otherwise, there are onions and potatoes from Washington’s Columbia Basin and the adjacent Umatilla Basin in Oregon. There are over 800 truckloads of onions and about 360 truckloads of potatoes moving weekly from this area.

Yakima Valley apples – grossing about $6600 to New York City. 


The state’s upper valley and Twin Falls areas are shipping about 1,750 truckloads of potatoes a week.

Idaho potatoes grossing – about $4500 to Atlanta.

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Union Pacific is Making Largest Equipment Acquistion in its History

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A30Union Pacific will be acquiring 1,000 new high-tech refrigerated boxcars and may increase that total to 1,600 if needed.   The purchase will result in the largest equipment acquisition in company history, costing $250,000 per car.  The announcement was made recently at the Idaho Grower Shipper Association’s 90th annual convention in Sun Valley, ID.

It was pointed out the Idaho potato industry has historically relied heavily on rail transportation for shipments destined to major markets such as Chicago or the Northeast.  For regions such as these, the additional reefers are greatly needed.  Union Pacific has a fleet of aging, antiquated reefers that are woefully unable to meet existing demand.  Current equipment is at least 40 years old, and Idaho potato shipments have increased dramatically in the past four decades.

Thrasher was one of seven panelists participating in the workshop that addressed some of the major transportation challenges faced by the Idaho potato industry. The panel was moderated by Derek Peterson of Wilcox Fresh, who is a member of the IGSA board of directors.

During the convention other companies aired concerns for serious problems facing the trucking industry and its inability to hire enough drivers.  It was pointed out nationwide trucking industry is 50,000 drivers short.  A major factor is drivers approaching retirement age.  The average age of long-haul truck drivers is now 65 and the industry is not being successful in either attracting or retaining younger drivers.

Contributing to the decline is the current robust economy is providing more attractive options to younger drivers or to younger workers who might otherwise have considered long-haul trucking.  There also are higher paying jobs in construction or in the oil fields, which often offer workers the advantage of going home to their families at night rather than being on the road for a week or more at a stretch.

A panel at the convention rehashed many age old ways to make truck driving a more attractive option for new drivers as well as ways to reduce turnover.  It was pointed out shippers could make life easier for drivers hauling fresh produce by treating the drivers with more respect, providing clean, comfortable facilities for them while they are waiting to be loaded or unloaded, reducing wait times, compensating them for long waits and providing adequate truck parking.

It also was suggest that reducing the age for interstate commercial truck drivers to 18 would help.

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A Trifecta of Produce Shipments: Kishu Mandarins; Idaho Potatoes; Georgia Broccoli

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A2Here is a trifecta of produce loading opportunities.  Granted two of the three will be limited volume (mandarins and broccoli), but Idaho potatoes always have big time shipments.

In another week or so Kishu mandarin loadings will get underway from California’s Orange Cove growing region.

The delicate, hand-picked item has relatively overall light volume and provides partial loads at best.

Kishu mandarins are a golf ball-sized mandarin that are sweet and easy to peel and sold for Ripe to You under the Lil’ Ninja Mandarins label.  Harvest begins in mid-November.

“We’re still competing with our retail partner’s inventory of citrus from the Southern Hemisphere,” says Madalyn McCracken of Ripe to You, based in Reedley, CAs.

That said, she adds that the Kishus are a variety sought after by higher-end grocery stores. “We’ve had great feedback on our 1 lb. bag with a new Giro design and we look forward to the consumer’s reaction to it,” she says.

Idaho Potato Shipments

Shipments of Idaho potatoes through early October have been running ahead of a year ago, according to USDA statistics.  As of October 6th, truck shipments of Idaho potatoes were 61.9 million pounds, up 9 percent from the same week a year ago.

Season-to-date truck shipments of Idaho potatoes through October 6th totaled 458.7 million pounds, up 14 percent compared with the season.

Rail shipments were also up, with season-to-date movement of 28.5 million pounds, up 6 percent compared with year-ago levels.

Fresh potato loadings are expected to ramp up as the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays approach.

Idaho potatoes – grossing about $4700 to Atlanta.

Georgia Broccoli Shipments

While Maine broccoli shipments are finishing, shipper Fresh from the Start is launching its second season in Georgia with broccoli shipments starting in  mid-November.

The company dodged the bullet with Hurricane Michael and is  expecting good volume this season. Once its Georgia season is finished it will begin shipping out of Florida in January.

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A Western U.S. Produce Shipping Round Up

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DSCN8988Western produce shipments may not be setting many records right now, but in general provide the best loading opportunities in the U.S.

Vegetables are in good volume from Arizona, where it be the Yuma district or Mexican product crossing the border at Nogales.  Head lettuce and romaine lettuce account for the heaviest volume with about 2000 truck loads a week from Yuma and to a lesser extent the Phoenix area.  Much fewer shipments of broccoli and cauliflower also are available.

Yuma, AZ vegetables – grossing about $7100 to New York City.

Mexican vegetables coming into Nogales distribution centers are led by bell peppers and other peppers totaling about  900 truck loads weekly, and various squash at around 750 truck loads of sweet corn.  There’s also decent volume with tomatoes and squash.

Mexican vegetables from Nogales – grossing about $5800 to Miami.

In the Pacific Northwest apple growers and shippers not only know how to produce great product, they’ve developed keen marketing skills over the decades.  Apples easily provide the single heaviest domestic fresh produce volume this year.  Over 3000 truck load equivalents are being shipped from Washington state’s Yakima and Wenatchee valleys.  They also are shipping much lighter volumes of pears.

Washington apples – grossing about $5100 to Chicago.

Southern Washington’s Columbia Basin along with the adjacent Umatilla Basin in Northern Oregon are shipping moderate amounts of onions and potatoes.  Combined the two products are averaging 1000 truck loads a week, although the biggest volume is with onions.

Idaho potato shipments are averaging over 1800 truck load equivalents, although similar to Washington apples, a significant amount is moving by rail.  Western Idaho and Malheur County Oregon are loading about 650 truck loads of onions weekly.

Twin Falls, ID potatoes – grossing about $5900 to Orlando.

Colorado russet potato shipments from the San Luis Valley are amounting to around 575 truck loads per week.

San Luis Valley potatoes – grossing about $1700 to Dallas.




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Shipping Outlooks: Hurricane Damaged FL; ID Spuds, WA Apples and Imported Mangoes

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DSCN0043Here’s a shipping outlook for different areas and commodities ranging from Florida after Hurricane Irma, to Idaho potatoes, Washington apples and imported mangoes.

Florida’s projected 75 million-box orange crop may have been slashed by 40 percent or more due to Hurricane Irma, depending on where the groves are located.  Heavy losses are also are expected with grapefruit and other items.

This is the off season for many Florida vegetable shipments, but products such as tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and strawberries in South Florida took a big hit and replantings will result in shipments being at least a month or two if not more later than normal.

Idaho Potato Shipments

Idaho potato shipments from the season that recently ended was 12 percent over that of two years ago.  The diggings for the current crop are underway off of  308,000 acres, which is 15,000 acres less than last year.  However, Idaho will still have plenty of potatoes to haul.

Idaho potatoes – grossing about $3000 to Chicago.

Apple Shipments

Red delicious will soon lose its status as the volume leader in the Washington apple industry as the variety will amount to 25 percent of the 2017-18 crop, off about 5 percent from recent years.

Gala apples should account for 23 percent of the new crop, and is on track to surpass red delicious this season or next.  Red Delicious popularity has declined because of a number of new varieties that are considered to taste better.  Growers have been planting proprietary varieties or improved versions of varieties such as gala, Fuji, Honeycrisp and Cosmic Crisp.

Over 600,000 Honey Crisp trees were planted this year, and about 5.5 million more will go in the ground next year.  A significant reason for more Honey Crisp planting is it has a harvest window very similar to that of the Red Delicious.

Yakima Valley apples – grossing about $6600 to New York City.

Mango Imports

As Mexican mango imports seasonally decline the slack its being picked up by imports from Brazil.  Brazil’s season is expected to continue through November with a projection of approximately 8.2 million boxes  Peak imports are expected mid-September to mid-October.

As Brazilian imports wind down, imports will be available from Ecuador followed by Peru, which will take production into the new year with the return to volume from Mexico coming in March.

Mexican mangoes through Nogales – grossing about $4000 to Chicago.



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Idaho Farmers Gearing up for Potato Harvest; Michigan Apple Shipping Outlook is Updated

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DSCN9804Idaho farmers are ramping up to start harvesting potatoes soon.  Plus, an updated report on how Michigan apple shipments will be in the wake of that spring freeze.

The 2017 Idaho potato harvest commences with days coming off of 308,000 acres.  Over 700 farmers will be preparing to dig about 13 billion pounds of potatoes in a short six-week window.

This year’s crop, which will produce approximately one-third of all potatoes shipped in the United States, will contribute more than $4.5 billion to Idaho’s economy and provide more than 30,000 jobs.  Idaho potato shipments are easily the largest volume in the country.  Heres some more interesting facts:

When fall potatoes are harvested, approximately 62 percent will be used as processed products; 29 percent will be sold as fresh potatoes to retailers and foodservice operators; and 9 percent are grown for certified seed

  • More than 25 potato varieties are grown in Idaho
  • The average American eats about 113 pounds of potatoes each year
  • Idaho potatoes are certified by the American Heart Association as a heart-healthy food
  • A 5.3-ounce potato provides 110 calories, 45 percent daily value of vitamin C, nearly twice the potassium of a banana, three grams of fiber, and are fat-, sodium-, cholesterol- and gluten-free.
  • The potato is the world’s fourth-largest food crop.
  • At a White House dinner in 1803, President Thomas Jefferson was the first person to serve French fries in the United States
  • New York consumes more Idaho potatoes than any other state, followed by Ohio, Florida and Texas
  • The first potato was grown in Peru between 7,000 and 10,000 years ago.

Michigan Apple Shipments

Following a hard frost on May 8-9 apple buds were damaged in certain Michigan production areas.  However, opinions vary on how much fresh apple shipments will be affected this season..

Still, the majority opinion sees volume at about 75 to 80 of normal.  In 2017 there was a huge crop that totaled 30 million bushels.  Another difference this season will be timing. Crops of 2015 and 2016 were about three weeks earlier than normal.  This season, the harvest and shipments will start on a more normal pattern, any day now with the Sweet Tango, Gala and McIntosh varieties.

The Ridge, which produces the majority of Michigan’s fresh apples, fared a little better, which is why the crop is not down more. The northern part of the state pretty much will have a full crop. Southern Michigan growers may be off 20 to 30 percent.


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National Produce Shipping Outlook as We Wait for Spring Volume Increases

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DSCN7302If you thought produce hauling was bad in January, you’ve probably not found February to be any better.  But it’s that time of the year.  Hang in there, March is coming and volume on many items will be picking up as we head into spring.  In the meantime, here’s a national outlook for some of the better loading opportunities.

Apple Shipments

Washington state’s Yakima and Wenatchee valleys are providing the lion’s share of apple shipments, and the single biggest volume for any fruit or vegetable right now, moving around 3100 truck load equivalents per week.  Michigan and New York state are loading some apples, but nothing close to Washington.

Washington apples and pears – grossing about $6200 to New York City.

Potato Shipments

As has been the case for months, one of the heaviest volume produce item is with Idaho potato shipments.  Originating primarily from the Burley and Twin Falls areas, the state is averaging around 1900 truck load equivalents per week.  However, keep in mind with a big crop and low f.o.b. prices, shippers are looking for the cheapest transportation available, and often that is with the railroad….Colorado’s San Luis Valley is shipping about 600 truck loads of potatoes, while Central Wisconsin is moving about half that volume.

Idaho potato shipments – grossing about $5100 to New York City.

Imported Produce

Mexican imported  produce continues crossing the border near McAllen, Tx.  Avocados last week amounted to around 875 truck loads and volume is expected to increase.  Mexican tomatoes are around 500 truck loads per week.  There’s many other items in much smaller volume ranging from limes to watermelon crossing the South Texas border.

Imported cantaloupes are in good volume primarily from Guatemala and Honduras arriving mostly at Southern Florida ports and ports in Southern California…..Peruvian grape arrivals are pretty much finished.  Problems with Chilean grape quality are supposed to be improving now, but still keep an eye on what’s being loaded.  But Chile’s the only game in town now with grapes, with most arriving at Ports in the Philadelphia area.



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U.S. Potato Shipping Update; Imports of Argentina Lemons Gets Okay

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dscn8596Two-thirds of the nation’s potatoes have yet to be shipped for the 2016-17 season.  Meanwhile, Argentina lemons will be permitted to enter the U.S., with first arrivals next spring.

About 34 percent of the U.S. potato crop has been shipped thus far this season as of December 1st.  The 13 major potato shipping states had 269 million cwt. of potatoes in storage at the beginning of the month, up 2 percent from a year ago.

The nation’s largest potato shipper, Idaho, had 72 percent of its fall crop — 100 million cwt. — remaining in storage on December 1st.  Washington state, which is a distant second to Idaho in volume, had 57 million cwt. of potatoes in storage December 1st, which was 54 percent of its crop.

Idaho potato shipments – grossing about $5100 to New York City.

San Luis Valley, Colorado potatoes – grossing about $4300 to Chicago.

Argentina Lemon Imports

The USDA has ruled fresh lemons from Argentina will be permitted to be imported into the U.S., which has greatly upset California citrus leaders.   The rule is the result of 10 years of study on pest risks.  The agriculture department projects  Argentina may export between 15,000 and 20,000 metric tons of fresh lemons to the U.S. annually, or about 4 percent of the average total U.S. lemon volume (based on shipments from 2008 to 2014) of 535,244 metric tons.

Most Argentina lemons are expected to be arriving at U.S. ports between April 1st and August 31st.  Based on imports of 18,000 metric tons, the USDA estimates that the effect of Argentina lemon exports to the U.S. will be a lemon price reduction of about 4 percent. This is not the first time Argentina has been approved to ship lemons to the U.S.  Argentina had shipped close to 1.5 million cartons of lemons to the U.S. in 2000-01 before U.S. grower concerns about pest and disease threats — including canker — were upheld in a California court.



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Where’s the Biggest Demand for Produce Trucks?, Plus Lots More

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dscn8594Check out where in the nation the biggest demand for produce truckers is….Also, there are reasons South Texas is becoming a bigger player for hauling Mexican imported produce. Plus, what’s up with pomegranates.

Idaho Potato Shipments

The biggest demand for produce trucking in the country is coming out of the Twin Falls, ID area.  Easily, the largest potato shipping state, Idaho is currently averaging about 2000 truck load equivalents of mostly russet potatoes per week.

Idaho potatoes – grossing about $2200 to Atlanta.

California Pomegranate Shipments

 Most pomegranates for the holiday season have already been shipped because of a short crop due to heavy October rains.  The USDA reports only 120,000 pounds of U.S. pomegranates shipped between November 6 – 12, off from 660,000 between November  8 – 14 a year ago.  The year-to-date total for U.S. pomegranate shipments is 7.56 million pounds, down from 9.17 million pounds at the same point last year.

California’s Pom Wonderful accounts for about 60 percent of the pomegranate shipments, which normally lasts through January.

Crown Jewels Produce, of Fresno, normally ships through the second week of December, but finished its season a month early.  Its volume is down about 30 percent.

Simonian Fruit of Fowler, CA typically ships pomegranates into January, or February, but will wrap up its season by Christmas if not sooner.

Mexican Import Growth

Mexico continues to play a pivotal role in the Texas produce industry.
“We’ve seen tremendous growth in our Texas ports of entry on the import side,” Bret Erickson, president and CEO of the Texas International Produce Association, said recently. “It’s important to recognize also that many of our largest producers in Texas are also some of our largest importers, so the import industry plays a real critical role in the overall success of the produce industry in Texas.”
Import volumes were up nearly 25 percent in 2015 from the previous year, and a significant volume of fresh produce coming from Mexico now goes through Texas.
This has resulted in volumes of fresh produce coming through Pharr, TX just about equaling tonnage in Nogales, AZ.
Reasons for the increase in import volume include a new highway system in Mexico, which serves as a pipeline from the main production area of Mexico straight to south Texas.
Weather and labor issues in the U.S. have also contributed.  However, the import growth rate is expected to slow in the coming years as the infrastructure in the area expands to handle the volume now being transported.
The boom in infrastructure in south Texas is certainly a positive economic impact to the state of Texas in terms of jobs and construction companies getting bids to build cold storage facilities, with some being as large as 100,000 square feet.
Mexcian imports through South Texas – grossing bout $3100 to Miami.


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