Posts Tagged “lettuce shipments”
Produce shipments should start returning to more normal movement now that we are past the holidays and receivers are starting to replenish their stocks. Here’s a look at produce shipping from several areas around the country.
Western Lettuce Shipments
Lettuce shipments, led by Iceberg and romaine are originating primarily out of the Yuma district of Arizona. Other leading items are celery, broccoli and cauliflower, although cold weather has cut into volume. Loadings are much lighter from the California desert, primarily from the Imperial Valley, Coachella Valley and Palo Verde.
Washington’s Yakima and Wenatchee valleys are averaging bout 2500 truckloads per week. New York state, led by the Hudson Valley, is shipping about 250 truckloads weekly. Michigan is third in volume about 175 trucks per week.
Washington apple shipments – grossing about $4500 to Dallas.
Texas Produce Shipments
Overall, it’s still relatively light for produce items here. This is light to moderate shipments of grapefruit and oranges from the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The is better volume of Mexican tropical fruits and vegetables crossing the border.
South Texas citrus and Mexican produce freight rates were up 15 to 20 percent during the holidays, depending on the destination; for example, grossing about $2900 to Atlanta. Rates could drop with the holidays past us.
East Coast Produce Shipments
Pretty slim pickin’s over all. If you’re coming out of Florida with a partial load, there’s very light volume of cabbage and greens being shipped from Southern Georgia…Eastern North Carolinas is loading sweet potatoes in moderate volume….Dry onion shipments are coming out of Orange County, NY. Partial loads of cabbage are coming out of central and western New York. Apples are available from the Hudson Valley, Champlain Valley, plus central and western areas….Aroostrock County, Maine has light volume with potatoes.
North Carolina sweet potato shipments – grossing about $3000 to Boston.
Taking a look at Salinas Valley vegetable shipments this summer and you get a good hint at one reason why California produce have been less than stellar.
California’s coastal valleys near Santa Maria and Salinas have experienced unusually warm nights all summer long, which has resulted in some hollow hearts and other issues that basically reduced Iceberg and other varieties of lettuce volume and the weight of each head. Less tonnage per acre has resulted in a demand-exceeds-supply situation, with Iceberg lettuce prices topping $20 per carton.
The lack of lettuce quality is closer to what you normally find in late September or October. The lighter amount of lettuce shipments could continue until the end of the coastal valley deals in mid- to late October. In fact, improvements may not come until the transition to Huron in the San Joaquin Valley in the fall. However, many grower-shippers won’t be planting lettuce in Huron this fall because of the California drought.
The shortage appears to be mostly with various types of lettuce category, while supplies of broccoli, cauliflower and most of the other staple vegetable volumes are adequate.
Something else to consider is El Niño. Meteorologists studying the Pacific Ocean say the warm water patterns are surfacing from the equator to much farther north off the California coast which may mean very heavy fall and winter rains. If this weather pattern becomes a reality many low lying produce fields could become flooded, cutting into acreage and shipments.
Most are predicting that if the El Niño conditions that currently exist do bring huge amounts of rain, they will probably start in late September, with the brunt of the storms hitting from December through February. If that occurs, produce shipments could get cut short, and next season growers would have to delay planting in many fields. Enough speculation. We’ll have to wait and see.
Salinas Valley vegetables – grossing about $4600 to Chicago; $6700 to New York City.
California produce shipments
With the Huron shipping district in the San Joaquin Valley finished, the primary suppliers of the nation’s vegetable row crops are the Salinas and Santa Maria valleys.
These two areas on California’s coast are shipping Iceberg lettuce, all the mixed and specialty lettuces, cauliflower, broccoli and celery, plus dozens of other items in smaller volumes. California now has over 500 truckloads of head lettuce shipments weekly, mostly out of Salinas.
About the best thing for produce truckers this time of the year in California is fewer production areas, making it easier to get full loads due to the increased volume, plus a lot of product typically is loaded at one dock. This certainly beats wintertime when mulitple pick ups can start in Central or Southern California and extend to Coachella, the Imperial Valley and Yuma – and perhaps even Nogales. Not good.
Over the next two to three months California will be in its peak strawberry shipping period with 6 million to 7 million trays or more being shipped each week.
While Ventura County strawberries are in a seasonal decline, the Santa Maria district is shipping over 500 truckloads per week. Strawberry shipments are building from the Watsonville district, and will soon surpass Santa Maria in volume.
Salinas Valley vegetables and berries – grossing about $4300 to Dallas; $7100 to New York City.
Desert vegetable shipping gaps have been expected for several weeks, and recent freezes appears to be making it even more of a sure thing.
Light freezes started December 26th, but the heaviest frosts started hitting vegetable fields in the Imperial Valley of California and the Yuma, AZ area December 29th.
Frost conditions are tightening lettuce shipments in January. Growers are losing up to 40 percent of their harvests each day as long as they wait for the fields to thaw out.
The cold snap is affecting lettuce and leaf items including romaine and iceberg; green leaf and red leaf lettuce; butter lettuce; and spinach.
It is difficult to predict whether loadings will be available from one day to the next as shipping gaps have started.
It will be a few more weeks before California citrus shipments really get cranked up from the San Joaquin Valley and Southern California.
About 88 million cartons of California navels should be loaded this season, down slightly at 2 percent from last season. A few growers started harvest the week of October 7. Limited shipments will be underway at the end of October, with good loading opportunities coming the second week of November, just in time for the Thanksgiving holidays.
Table grapes continue to provide heavy volume from the San Joaquin Valley, and it is little wonder if you’ve tasted the fruit this season. With high sugar levels, consumers, including me, keep going back to the store for more. About 1,800 truck loads of grapes per week are being loaded in California.
There is steady movement of carrots out of the Kern District in the Bakersfield area, averaging over 300 truck load equivalents per week.
Huron Lettuce Shipments
It’s only about a 30-day window for head lettuce loadings coming out of the Westside of the San Joaquin Valley, known as the Huron district. Harvest has just started, but it will be the week of October 28th before significant loadings occur….Meanwhile lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower continue out of the Salinas Valley in light to moderate volume.
The forecast pegs shipments amounting to 460 million pounds, off from 550 million pounds a year ago. Expect substantially higher prices in your local supermarkets.
Lettuce shipments from the Salinas Valley are expected to decline in coming weeks as the seasonal transition gradually shifts to the Imperial Valley in the California desert, as well as just to the East in the Yuma, AZ district. However, it will probably be around Thanksgiving before the change is completed. Sandwiched in between this the Huron district on the westside of the San Joaquin Valley. Lettuce shipments from Huron should get underway about the third week of October and last about a month.
The Watsonville area adjancent to Salinas is loading about 500 truck loads of strawberries weekly. There is much lighter volume coming out of the Santa Maria district, with Ventura County have very light movment as its fall season has just started.
Imports of kiwi from Chile and New Zealand are in a rapid decline, while California kiwi shipments are just gearing up. The California produce loads are predicted to hit about 6.5 million trays this season, down from 9-plus million trays last season.
No we’re not talking about California Gov. Jerry Brown, or the state’s assembly. California expects to load about 495,000 tons of walnuts this season, slightly below a year ago.
California is the largest shipper of dates, with shipments forecast to be up about 20 percent this year, primarily from the California desert and Yuma, AZ.