Posts Tagged “Kern County”
California is now shipping an astounding 7 million trays of strawberries per week, which should set another record for loadings by the time the season ends. Most loadings are taking place from the Santa Maria area and the Watsonville district.
The Salinas Valley continues to ship a wide variety of vegetables. Head lettuce loadings are providing the heaviest volume, averaging about 1,500 truckloads per week. However, there’s lots of other items ranging from various types of lettuce, to cauliflower, broccoli, etc.
This week most potato sheds should be hitting full production. Shipments of fresh potatoes from the southern region of the San Joaquin Valley should continue into early July.
There has been a 10%-plus drop in acreage of reds, whites and yellow spuds. More specifically: whites are down 13%; reds, as well as yellows are off 12%. The nationally over produced (thanks primarily to Idaho) russet acreage in Kern County is down a whopping 65 percent.
Russet acreage in Kern County has dropped to about 1,000 acres from a high of 12,000 to 14,000 acres about 20 years ago.
While Kern County shippers are predicting enough transportation with trucks, rail, intermodal and Railex, they say it will be expensive.
Kern County potatoes and carrots – grossing about $5200 to Chicago.
Salinas Valley veggies – about $7300 to New York City.
Not only are we nearing the peak shipping season from California, which accounts for about half of the nation’s fresh produce, but other areas, particularly in the upper mid-west and east are providing competition for trucks.
Caution Hauling Desert Items
Before I get into the Salinas and San Joaquin Valley shipments, use caution loading desert vegetables such as bell peppers and corn as temperatures well above 100 degrees have been occurring. It’s been really hot in the Coachella and Imperial valleys, as well as Arizona’s Yuma district. Little or no report of heat damage has yet been reported but keep your eyes peeled for scalding and other heat symptoms in the days ahead. Even watermelons can suffer if prolonged heat occurs.
Dozens of different kinds of vegetables are being shipped from the Salinas area. But the big volume items are various types of lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower. There also is decent volume with brussel sprouts and celery. Nearby Castroville is the artichoke capital of the world, while nearby Watsonville is ground zero for strawberry shipments.
San Joaquin Valley
This report will focus primarily on summer from from the SJV. We’ll soon cover the many vegetables coming into volume.
Stone fruit, led by peaches, plums and nectarines, are just getting underway from the southern part of the valley.
The consensus appear to be that around 40 to 43 million boxes of stone fruit will be shipped this year from the San Joaquin Valley, which would be pretty average when looking at the volume for the past five years.
California cherry shipments are building and hitting good volume just prior to the Memorial weekend (May 25-27). However, winds damaged 40 to 50% of the early variety Rainier cherries around Bakersfield on May 5th.
There also was some wind damage to almond trees in the Bakersfield area.
Last year, California shipped a record 101.5 milion boxes of grapes. The Coachella Valley, which is shipping now, accounts for 10 percent or less of this volume. The rest comes from the San Joaquin Valley, starting with the Arvin District in late June.
Apple shipments, which took at 30 percent hit last year, are expected to return to normal this year. Beginning in July, California apple shipments get underway, but this is minor (2 million boxes) compared to Washington state (129 million boxes predicted).
Located near Bakersfield, Kern County ships a lot carrots and potatoes, althouigh this time of the year you will get a better freight rate hauling more perishable items ranging from lettuce to stone fruit, grapes and berries.
Kern County potatoes shipments started about a week ago. Due to so much over production of russet potatoes around the country, this variety has been reduced by up to 75 percent. Russets have been replaced primarily with red, yellow and white potatoes.
When Kern County growers are not planting carrots or potatoes in their fields, they use bell peppers as a rotation crop. Bell peppers loadings are just starting and building in volume, continuing until November.
Salinas vegetables – grossing about $5200 to Chicago.
California desert vegetables – about $7300 to New York City.
Produce shipments from the Huron District in the San Joaquin Valley, as well as loads out of the Salinas Valley have returned to normal following disruptions due to rain. The seasonal transition of the lettuce harvest and loadings out of Huron are quickly shifting from Huron to Salinas. Volume is building from the Salinas Valley, not only with lettuce, but other vegetables, and should become heavy in May.
Here’s an update on San Joaquin Valley stone fruit shipments that get underway soon. Both peaches and nectarines usally start by late April, with plums coming on in May. Expect peach and nectarine loading opportunities this season to be off 20 percent due to hail. There was a 20-mile-long swath of the storm cutting through from Southwest of Kingsburg going east to south of Dinuba and Reedly. Shippers with stone fruit orchards you may load with in this area were adversely affected the most.
Looking ahead to the Bakersfield, Kern County shipping area, potato shipping will get underway the second week of May with red, yellow and russet spuds. This will be followed by watermelon loads becoming available in early June, while table grape shipments get started in early July…..Meanwhile steady shipments of carrots are continuing from this area.
Salinas Valley vegetables – grossing about $7000 to New York City.