Posts Tagged “Michigan apple shipments”

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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Spring Frost will Mean Fewer Apple Shipments from Michigan This Season

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DSCN9658A visit by “Jack Frost” last spring suckered punch Michigan apple growers and the result will be fewer loading opportunities in the new season set to start soon.

Michigan apple shipments for the upcoming season have taken a significant hit due to a frost last May.  It is expected to result in nearly 30 percent fewer truck loads from the from 2016 17-shipping season.

While the official USDA forecast will come out August 10th, the industry’s Premier 2017 Apple Production Estimate pegs the Michigan crop at 20 million (42-pound) cartons, off 29 percent from a year ago and 8 percent less than the five-year average.

Among the biggest losers from the spring cold were jonagolds and McIntosh, which suffered significant frost damage on May 8.  Having much better luck were galas, Honeycrisp and fuji apples.

Riveridge Produce Marketing Inc. of Sparta, MI is among the state’s largest apple shippers.  The company expects about three-quarters of a full crop.

Initially, the USDA estimates 27.98 million cartons of fresh and processed fruit for Michigan apples.

Total fresh Michigan apple shipments through early July were nearly 9 million cartons, with most of the fresh apples from the old  shipped by mid-July.

First harvest of paulareds and gingergold apples is expected around the third week of August.

U.S. Apple Shipments

The USDA in its June forecast — the final one for the 2016-17 — the agency raised its 2016 estimate for Washington apple shipments by 8 percent compared with the August 2016 estimate.  The USDA also raised its estimate for 2016 U.S. apple production from 248 million (42-pound) cartons in August 2016 to its final estimate of 268 million cartons.

The Premier estimate shows the 2017 U.S. apple crop at 255.57 million cartons, which is down 5 percent from the final USDA estimate for the 2016 crop of 268.4 million cartons.

The 2017 Premier production estimate for Washington state calls for production of 165 million cartons in 2017, down 5.3 percent from 174.3 million cartons produced in 2016 but 9 percent higher than the five-year average. About 80 percent of Washington apples are shipped fresh.

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California Strawberry Shipments are Strong; Michigan Freeze Has Asparagus Down, but Not Out

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Asparagus freezeHeavy California strawberry shipments should continue for the foreseeable future.  Meanwhile, Michigan asparagus was clobbered by a hard freeze, but good volume is returning soon.

While fresh strawberry shipments from Oxnard are over with only berries for processing being picked, fresh loadings have moved northward to  Santa Maria and Watsonville. A significant increase in volume took place last week and will the trend will continue.  Watsonville will experience its heaviest strawberry shipments the last week of May through the first week of June.  Santa Maria strawberry shipments are currently peaking.

Additionally, raspberry loadings are now coming out of Watsonville and are expected to have significant volume increases during the next weeks, which will continue through Summer and into the Fall.

Grower report that the four year drought in California resulted in a build up of salt in the soil, but this season’s heavy rains leeched most of that salt out of the ground.  This is making for prime growing conditions, and crop quality.

California strawberry shipments have been heavy since right after Easter with good loading opportunities expected for upcoming holidays in the weeks ahead from the Northern districts.

Santa Maria strawberriy and vegetable shipments – grossing about $4300 to Chicago.

Salinas Valley strawberry and vegetable shipments – grossing about $6600 to New York City.

Michigan Asparagus Shipments

Asparagus is one of the most unusual produce crops I am familiar with.  I was once visiting an asparagus farm in California and the owner told me that under excellent conditions the vegetable grew so fast at night you could literally hear it growing.  It can grow as much as four to six inches a day!

I was reminded of this with the May 8th hard freeze in Michigan that severely hit the asparagus crop (see photo).  Despite temperatures plunging to 23 degrees F. for two to three hours, resulting in  a loss of an estimated 5 to 8 percent of the total crop, the season is far from lost.  Decent volume will be returning this week, with peak volume shipments out of Michigan coming next week.

Typically, the heaviest asparagus shipments occur early in the season.  That won’t happen in Michigan this year.  Even though  all the asparagus that was above ground froze, it will quickly rebound.

Michigan apple shipments – grossing about $2700 to Atlanta.


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Michigan is Experiencing Record Apple Shipments

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appleSalesby The Michigan Apple Committee

LANSING, Mich. — The Michigan Apple industry set new shipment records eleven weeks in a row in from October 15 through Christmas, according to the USDA Specialty Crop Market News Service.

“These record numbers come as no surprise after the Michigan Apple industry reported an estimated record crop of 31 million bushels for 2016. Growers, packers and shippers have been working very hard to continue to move the apple crop,” said Diane Smith, executive director of the Michigan Apple Committee. “These numbers illustrate not only that we have a large crop, but also that there is great retail and consumer demand for Michigan-grown apples.”

According to the USDA Specialty Crop Market News Service, the organization that tracks shipment numbers, the Michigan apple shipments totaled 330,150 boxes of apples the week of October 15. The weeks of October 22, 29, and November 5 each recorded more than 300,000 boxes. The week of December 24 saw shipments at 153,787 boxes, more than 1,200 higher than that week in 2013. Comprehensive shipment data for Michigan and the entire U.S. can be found at the USDA Specialty Crop Market News Service website, at ttp://

“With the adoption of high-density orchard plantings, more trees in the ground and new technology from the orchard, to the packing line, to the retailer, this is a trend that will continue,” said Smith. “Michigan is poised to increase apple production into the future, and the Michigan Apple Committee is prepared to support that growth through retail programs, consumer education and research funding.”

With 11.3 million total apple trees in commercial production on 35,500 acres, Michigan is the second largest producer of apples in the United States, and distributes apples to 27 states and 18 countries.

The Michigan Apple Committee is a grower-funded nonprofit organization devoted to marketing, education and research activities to distinguish the Michigan apple and encourage its consumption in Michigan and around the world. For more information, visit

Western Michigan apples – grossing about $2700 to Atlanta.

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13% More U.S. Apples Remain to be Shipped over Previous Season

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dscn8591Good apple loading opportunities for produce truckers should remain throughout the season which normally continues into August.  This will be particularly true for Washington state, the nation’s leading apple shipper.

There are significant differences in U.S. apple shipments by region, but fresh market apples remaining in storages stood at 120.3 million bushels on December 1st.  This is an increase of 13 percent over a year earlier and 12 percent more than the five-year average of 107.5 million bushels.

New York state easily leads apple shipments in the Northeast and was particularly hit hard by cold weather at blossom time.  Plus a persistent drought during the growing season didn’t help New York or other Northeastern apple shippers.

New York apples in storage as of last November 1st were down 28 percent from the same date a year earlier.

Also of interest is Michigan apple shipments now rank number 2 in the nation, having surpassed New York.  Michigan apples in storages were 17 percent higher last November than the previous season, thanks primarily to good growing conditions.

Apples remaining in storage in the Western states, led by Washington, were 17 percent higher on November 1st than a year earlier.

Nationally, the total number of apples in storage was 179 million bushels, 11 percent more than the previous year total of 161 million bushels.

Apples are big business.  The fruit had totaled $2.9 billion in total sales as of October 29th, or 7.3 percent more than the same period in 2015.

Gala was the dominant variety, with $670.5 million in sales, followed by Honeycrisp, $541.5 million; fuji, $386.6 million; granny smith, $330.9 million; red delicious, $311.3 million; Pink Lady, $157.5 million; golden delicious, $129.2 million; mcintosh, $80.5 million; and Ambrosia, $60.9 million.

Apple growers in Michigan harvested an estimated 31 million bushels in 2016, compared to New York’s total of an estimated 28 million bushels.

Washington had its second-largest apple crop in history — 137.4 million bushels as of November.  The record is the 2014 crop of 142 million bushels.  There are 7 million more cartons of red delicious and 5 million more of galas remaining in Washington storages, compared to 2015.

Apple shipments from Eastern growing areas hasn’t been as fortunate.  There was a record cold snap in mid-April in Pennsylvania and other states, which may have reduced the New York and Pennsylvania crops by up to a third.

Yakima Valley (WA) apples and pears – grossing about $6400 to New York City.

Western Michigan apples – grossing about $3100 to Dallas.


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Double Digit Increase in Apple Shipments Seen

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dscn8461There should be good loading opportunities for produce truckers hauling apples during the 2016-17 shipping season.
National Apple Shipments
Fresh apples in storage as of November 1 totaled 134.8 million bushel (42-pound) cartons, up 14 percent from last season’s levels and 13 percent greater than the five-year average.
The first storage report from the U.S. Apple Association, shows total apple inventories were 179.1 million cartons, up 11 percent from a year ago and from the five-year average.
Northeast Apple Shipments
November 1 total fresh holdings were 8.1 million cartons in the Northeast U.S., down from 11.4 million cartons a year ago and 10.5 million two years ago.  New York state’s fresh holdings were pegged at 5.82 million cartons, or more than 70 percent of remaining fresh supply.
Midwest Apple Shipments
In the Midwest, the  storage report showed 7.7 million cartons of fresh apples on hand, up from 6.9 million cartons in 2015 and 6.7 million cartons in 2014.  Within the Midwest region, the storage report showed Michigan accounted for 7.54 million cartons, or 98 percent of the Midwest fresh supply.
Northwest Apple Shipments
Northwest U.S. fresh apple holdings on were 117.6 million cartons, up from 98.4 million cartons a year ago but off from 127 million cartons in 2014.
For the Northwest region, Washington’s  apple inventories were 116.3 million cartons, or 99 percent of remaining fresh apples in the Northwest states.
Variety breakdown
The leading U.S. fresh varieties on hand Nov. 1 were red delicious (39 million cartons), gala (25.9 million), fuji (14.7 million), granny smith (13.7 million), golden delicious (8.1 million), Honeycrisp (7 million cartons) and cripps pink/Pink Lady (5.5 million cartons).
The Washington State Tree Fruit Association on Nov. 9 raised its estimate of the Washington fresh apple crop to 137.4 million cartons, up 3.4% from the August estimate of 132.9 million 40-pound cartons.
The Washington apple harvest is still ongoing for some varieties, but based on volumes harvested so far observers  are expecting an increase to 137.4 million boxes.  An estimated total may be revised in December.   However, observers still see a high-quality crop with good storage potential, with plenty of loading opportunities for produce haulers.
Washington apple shipments – grossing about $5300 to Atlanta.
Michigan apple shipments – grossing about $2700 to Atlanta.

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A Smorgasbord of Loading Opportunities

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dscn01101Here is a look at a number of different produce loading opportunities from around the United States.

Washington Fruit Shipments

Both of the new crops from apples and pears are increasing in volume from the Yakima and Wenatchee valleys.  Over 2,000 truck load equivalents of apples are being shipped weekly.

Washington fruit – grossing about $4300 to Dallas.

Michigan Apples

Michigan apple shipments are moving in steady volume from week to week, averaging about 250 truck loads — mostly from Western Michigan.

Melon Shipments

Cantaloupe and honeydew loads, primarily from the Westside district in the San Joaquin Valley of California have been very good this year, although a seasonal decline is now underway.  Still, something like 1,000 loads of cantaloupe should be shipped this week.  Meanwhile, the new season harvest has just got underway from Central Arizona for both cantaloupe and honeydew.  The new season from the Yuma should be starting the second week of October.

San Joaquin Valley melons and grapes – grossing about $5100 to Atlanta.

Texas Grapefruit

In South Texas with the fall season, comes grapefruit shipments.  The harvest has just got underway and it will be the last half of October before there are volume loadings.  Literally dozens of different tropical fruits and vegetables from Mexico are crossing into the Lower Rio Grand Valley for distribution mostly to the Midwest and eastern portions of the U.S. and Canada.  However, volume is pretty light on most items.  Mexican limes are averaging about 375 truck loads weekly, while vine ripe tomatoes account for around 500 truck loads per week.

Mexican fruit and vegetables through South Texas – grossing about $3600 to New York City.

Colorado Produce Shipments

San Luis Valley potato loadings are amounting to about 750 truck loads per week.  Northeast Colorado has a sizeable dry onion crop each year.  There is currently very light movement that will be increasing in the weeks ahead.

Colorado potatoes – grossing about $2100 to Chicago.

South Georgia Vegetable Shipments

Harvest has just started, or will get underway shortly for fall vegetables ranging from sweet corn, to cucumbers, greens, bell peppers and squash.  Even when volume kicks in later this month, this is fall volume, and typically involves multiple pick ups.





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U.S. Apples and WI Spud Shipments – Both Normal

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024Fairly normal shipments of U.S. apples is predicted this season, with the exception of one state that is expecting volume to rise by nearly one-third.  Also, here’s a look at what to expect with potato shipments from Wisconsin.

Apple shipments in the U.S. this coming season should hit nearly 246 million bushels (42 pounds boxes) this fall, which is slightly over the five-year average.  However, Michigan might edge out New York state as the second-leading apple producer and shipper for the first time, assuming the U.S. Apple Association’s annual forecast holds true to the end of the season.

The projection for U.S. apple shipments is 3 percent over the 2015 crop and the five-year average.  This would make it the 11th-largest crop overall (with the USDA’s 248-million-bushel estimate). The estimate for Michigan apple shipments, at 31 million bushels, is 31 percent over its 2015 harvest, and exactly 1 million bushels higher than the apple association’s New York estimate for 2016.
The association’s Washington crop estimate of 149 million bushels (USDA’s is 152.4 million) is a 5 percent increase from last season’s shipments and 1 percent less than the state’s five-year average.
While production has been increasing in recent years, bearing acreage has dropped significantly in recent years due to higher yields per acre.
“We’re still growing the same sized crops, in fact, in the last five or six years we’ve had some of the bigger crops in history, with the 2014 crop of 272 (million bushels) just a shade below the record crop of 1998,” the apple association said.  In four of the past five years, the association’s estimates have been closer than the USDA’s, which is released in the month before the annual Outlook conference.

Wisconsin Potato Shipments

This is a more normal year.  Last year, Wisconsin had very high yields and a bumper crop.

In each of the last two seasons, Wisconsin growers have produced about 63,000 acres of potatoes. But in the booming production of 2015, there was an average of 460 bags per acre. This year the average will still be strong at 430 100-pound bags per acre. The total production for 2015 was 28.98 million hundredweight. This year this number is expected to be 27 million.

The vast majority of the acreage is harvested in September.

U.S. potato crop will be close to last year in shipments, or down no more than 1 or 2 percent.

Central Wisconsin potatoes – grossing about $1000 to Chicago.

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Produce Shipments Near for MI “Grass,” GA Onions and Mexican Grapes

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DSCN0472+1Produce shipments will be starting soon involving Michigan asparagus, Vidalia onions, and grapes from Mexico.

Michigan asparagus shipments will get underway within the next week or so.  While the Great Lakes State’s asparagus has traditionally been more of a local crop, Chicago has historically been a big market.  Now, loadings are destined to markets in Indiana, Ohio, Illinois, Iowa, Tennessee and even to Georgia.  Another change is the crop used to go mainly to processors, but now keeps shifting more to fresh.  For the first time last year Michigan shipped 12 million pounds of “grass” for fresh markets, compared to 10 million pounds for processing.  This year fresh shipments are projected to increase by another five to 10 percent.

Michigan apple shipments – grossing about $3000 to Dallas.

Vidalia Onion Shipments

Concerning more produce shipments, while the Georgia Department of Agriculture has set April 25th as the official date Vidalia onions can be packed and shipped, in truth, every year the sweet onion is shipped prior to this date.  The catch is it cannot be legally shipped under the Vidalia name prior to the official starting date.  Shipping prior to official date increases the chances of the onions being “hot” and doesn’t help the image of the brand.  Much of that is because early onion pungency levels are too high, making them taste hot instead of sweet.

Vidalia onions can only be grown in parts of a 20-county area in the southeastern part of Georgia.  Last season, farmers harvested 268 million pounds of Vidalia onions from 11,200 acres. Value of production for last year’s crop exceeded $120 million.

Southern Georgia produce shipments – greens, carrots – grossing about $2200 to New York City.

Mexican Grape Shipments

As most Mexican vegetables crossing the U.S. border at Nogales wind down this time of year, an exception is grapes.  The harvest in Mexico begins the first week of May.  Mexican grape shipments soon follow, with volume increasing as Memorial Day approaches.  Peak Mexican grape shipments will occur during June, then quickly wind down in early July.  Estimates are sketchy right now, but early indications are that a  good, but not record crop will be available for hauling.

Mexican melons, mangoes, veggies through Nogales – grossing about $3200 to Chicago.

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Updates on Shipments of Mich. Apples, Calif. Avocados

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DSCN2911+1The number of loads for the new season Michigan apple shipments will be down from original estimates, but still good…Meanwhile, here’s an update on shipping opportunities for California avocados.

Depending you who you ask, Michigan apple shipments will be somewhere between 22.5 and 25 million bushels.  Last season, crop finished at 27 million bushels.

The Michigan apple industry is still collecting data for the final 2014-15 estimate.

Heading into the 2015 harvest, Michigan growers are expecting similar volumes from the Ridge area, higher volumes from the Southwest, similar volumes from the East and lighter volumes from the Northwest part of Michigan.

Michigan blueberry shipments have just started.  We hope to have more info on loading opportunities soon.

Avocado Shipments

Over 70 percent of the California avocado shipments have been completed, with much of the volume now coming out of the Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo areas.  California could ship up to 10 million pounds a week through mid-July before volumes begin a gradual decline.

Mexico’s 2014-15 crop is finishing up.  However new crop loadings for Mexican avocado shipments are just starting.

Imports of Peruvian avocados began arriving at US ports within the last week or so.

Southern California avocados, tomatoes, vegetables – grossing about $5400 to Cleveland.

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