Posts Tagged “leafy greens”
Fewer plantings of California leafy greens are expected to result in less shipments during the next few months. This is because of declines in foodservice demand related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
RaboResearch conversations with vegetable shippers reveal they are likely to cut acreage by 10 to 15 percent over the next 60 days.
Because of reduced demand over the past six weeks, growers for foodservice have walked away from fields. Many are hoping to redirect shipments to retailers.
The acreage not being used now represents 50 to 85 percent of the land normally planted for product destined to restaurants, schools and other foodservice accounts. Vegetables generally are directed to foodservice accounts more than fruits. Tomatoes and lettuce are two of the higher volume vegetables going to foodservice.
About 15 percent of fresh fruit is shipped for foodservice.
Increased shipments to retail have helped compensate for lagging foodservice demand.
Retail statistics for the four weeks ending April 12 reveal fresh produce sales increased 17 percent compared with the same period last year.
Fresh fruit sales were up about 9 percent for the four-week period, while fresh vegetable sales were up 25 percent.
Orange sales for the period were up 55 percent, but sales of grapes, melons and pears were down.
The 25 percent overall increase in vegetables was highlighted by gains in potatoes and sweet potatoes, at 80 percent and 55 increases, respectively.
Packaged salad sales for the four-week period ending April 12 were up only 7 percent.
On the plus side foodservice shipments are likely to increase when states end lockdowns.
Coast-to-coast there have been weather and natural disasters which have greatly reduced shipments of collard greens in the holiday season.
There have been hurricanes in the southeast and wildfires and Santa winds in California, as well as rain in Texas.
WP Rawl of Pelion, S.C., is a grower, processor and shipper of leafy greens and notes hurricanes Florence and Michael had the indirect effect of heavy rains and winds during a three-week period in the east and southeast. This resulted in trying growing season and stunted crops, including collard greens.
Growers in different regions of the country harvested fields earlier than usual because of the weather and high demand for Thanksgiving, leading to a lack of shipments for the holiday season.
“After the Thanksgiving holiday and unseasonable weather, our crops did not recover to the level we had in years prior,” Ashley Rawl, vice president of sales, marketing and product development, said in a press release. “Our team made a collective decision to delay harvesting for a few weeks to allow our crops the opportunity to grow.”
San Miguel Produce of Oxnard, CA., reported this is only the second time in two decades that the greens industry has seen such a national shortage.
“Most times shortages are regional and there are options to work with colleagues around the country to help fill gaps,” Jan Berk, owner and chief operations officer of San Miguel Produce, said in a news release. “Unfortunately, we have called other growers the past few weeks hoping someone might have extra or recovered sooner than expected … only to hear they are short too and looking to source collards.”
Growers have been pushing crops with additional fertilizer to spur growth for Christmas demand, according to San Miguel Produce, but there is still concern about availability to meet demand. It is peak season for the dark leafy greens category, according to the release, and many growers have invested in crops for many months to prepare for the season’s harvest.
Collards are sometimes associated with comfort and prosperity, according to the release, making them high in demand around the holidays. As a result some growers and shippers are promoting other greens in the place of collards.
“We consider this a great opportunity to encourage consumers to try other types of leafy greens,” Rawl said in the release. “With similar nutritional profiles, kale, mustard greens, and turnip greens are just as good for you and have similar tastes.”
Maybe Popeye had it right: Spinach makes you stronger. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found the high nitrate content in the leafy greens like spinach, as well as beets, improves muscle performance.
In a new study, published in the journal Circulation: Heart Failure, investigators found drinking concentrated vegetable juice – in this case made from beets – increased muscle power in nine patients with heart failure.
“It’s a small study, but we see robust changes in muscle power about two hours after patients drink the beet juice,” said Linda R. Peterson, M.D., associate professor of medicine. “A lot of the activities of daily living are power-based – getting out of a chair, lifting groceries, climbing stairs. And they have a major impact on quality of life.
Nitrates in beet juice, spinach, and other leafy green vegetables such as arugula and celery are processed by the body into nitric oxide, which is known to relax blood vessels and have other beneficial effects on metabolism.
The results of the study found that two hours after the treatment, patients demonstrated a 13 percent increase in power in muscles that extend the knee. The researchers also pointed out that participants experienced no major side effects from the beet juice, including no increase in heart rates or drops in blood pressure, which is important in patients with heart failure.