Posts Tagged “onions”

Northwest Produce Shipments are Significant

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IMG_6909Northwest cherry growers expect a 2013 crop of 18 million boxes to be shipped, well short of last year’s record 23 million boxes.

Shippers from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah released their crop estimate last week.  Washington is the largest shipper fresh cherries, with an expected crop of 14 million boxes.  A box of cherries weighs 20 pounds.

Shipment of cherries should get underway in early June around the Columbia River, with peak loadings taking place in the Northwest prior to the Fourth of July.

Northwest cherry shipments are expected to be similar to 2011 when the five states shipped about 18 million boxes.

Apples

Before the 2012-13 Washington state apple shipping season ends in July or August, 132,245,000 truckload equivalents of apples should have been hauled.  Sure, some of that fruit will go by rail, but it is trucks carrying the bulk of the loads.

On average, the Yakima and Wentachee Valleys are currently shipping about 3,000 truckload equivalents of apples each week.

Potatoes continue to be a big mover, especially out of Idaho, which has more russet potatoes this season than it knows what to do with.  Idaho is loading around 1,800 truckload equivlents of spuds each week.

Washington’s Columbia Basin and the adjacent Umitilla Basin in Oregon are providing loads of potatoes and onions.  However, both spuds and onions combined, do not come even near the volume of potatoes being shipped out of Idaho.

Idaho potatoes – grossing about $3500 to Cleveland.

Washington apples – about $6300 to Orlando.

 

 

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Pelvis Bates: Delivers His First Produce Load on a Flatbed

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It’s often observed you can haul onions on practically anything and driver Pelvis Bates of Newberry, SC is proof.  HaulProduce.com met Pelvis several weeks ago as he was unstrapping a flatbed trailer with a load of onions.

He had delivered a load of steel from North Carolina to San Antonio.  From there he deadheaded to south Texas where he picked up the onions around 10 p.m. on a Tuesday and was preparing to have them unloaded on the Atlanta State Farmers Market on the following Thursday afternoon.

His onion load was grossing 71,000 pounds, with the product on pallets on a 48-foot Great Dane flatbed.  He was driving an International Pro Star Premium.

Pelvis drives for  Senn Freight Lines Inc. of Augusta, GA, a company he says is owned by two brothers running 102 trucks.

This was the 45-year-old trucker’s first produce load in his relatively short career in trucking.

“They (shipper) told me to  leave the front and back of the load open (with the rest of the load covered by strap held tarps) so the air could flow through it.  This was to help prevent the onions from going bad,” he said.

Before entering trucking three years ago, Pelvis worked for a screen printing company.  When that business folded, he received a severance pay and used some of the money to enroll in truck driving school.

His first job in trucking was with Swift Transportation pulling dry vans.  He has been with Senn Freight about a year.

As Pelvis was unstrapping his load after the 1,300-mile haul, he says this is the first job he has had pulling a flatbed trailer.

“It is extra work unstringing the straps and and removing the tarps.  When I first started doing this it took me two hours to strap a load.   It now takes me about 45 minutes to an hour.  That’s a lot of strapping.  These tarps weigh 180 pounds each.  If it’s 100 degress out here, that is hard work,” states the 45-year-old.

Pelvis says one of the best things about trucking is it affords the opportunity to see a lot of the country.  Becoming an owner operator has crossed his mind, but he quickly adds, “it’s too expensive.  I don’t see how those guys do it.”

 

 

 

 

 

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Best Bets for Produce Loads in the Western States

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Talking with a hauler of oversized loads and he was lamenting how rates on the moving the big stuff has dropped in recent weeks.  Well, the same holds true for loads of fresh fruits and vegetables, although this is fairly predictable this time of the year when total praoduce volume across the country is much lower than during it’s summer peak.

Still, if you haul perishables, the western states are the place to be doing it — especially with this being the last full week before Christmas.

Washington state apples continue to be shipped in record amounts with about 3,200 truckload equivalents being loaded per week from the Yakima and Wenatchee valleys…..A little further south in Washington’s Columbia Basin and the nearby Umatilla Basin in Oregon, both potatoes and onions are being shipped, although in much lesser volume than with Washington’s apples.

The Columbia and Umatilla basins are loading about 400 truckloads of potatoes and around 750 truckloads of onions  per week.

The Yuma district in Arizona is likely your best bet when it comes to winter vegetables.  This desert area is shipping Iceberg lettuce, romaine, broccoli and cauliflower, among other items.  Between these four veggies, the total truck loads are around 2,500 of per week.

Idaho potatoes are another big mover from the Western states.  There are about 1,750 truckload equivalents of spuds being shipped on a weekly basis.  The state needs to sell a lot of potatoes to pay for their sponsorship and ads related to the recent Famous Idaho Potato Bowl!

 

 

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Eastern Produce Shipments from Florida to Maine

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Strawberry shipments from the Plant City, FL area have been underway for more than a month, but only in very light volume.  This is changing as available loads will show significant increases by December 10, and be in big volume around December  15-20.  Central Florida also has very light volume with cherry, grape, roma and green tomatoes.  The area also is shipping variety of vegetables.  However, this overall is seasonally a very light volume period for Florida.  Expect multiple pickups to involved with most loads.

You may even have to fill out the trailer from those Florida pick ups with a few pallets of  cabbage, greens or broccoli from Southern Georgia.  In fact, the whole Eastern seaboard extending into the Northeast and New England doesn’t hold a lot of volume, but sometimes something is better than nothing.

In eastern growing areas of North Carolina, the biggest volume is with sweet potatoes, not necessarily known for paying the best freight rates…..In upstate New York, Orange County is shipping storage onions, while central and western areas are loading cabbage.  New York apples were hit pretty hard by freezing weather earlier this year, especially from western and central shipping points.  Even the Hudson Valley did not escape the freeze, although it came out better than the rest of the state.

In northern Maine, Aroostoock County is shipping around 150 truck loads of potatoes a week.

Maine potatoes – grossing about $1700 to New York City.

North Carolina sweet potatoes – about $1500 to Atlanta.

Florida vegetables and strawberries – about $2600 to Boston.

 

 

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Washington State Has Loads of Fruit, Potatoes, Onions…

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This is Thanksgiving week and transportation needs and availability tend to get a little funky, or unpreditable.  Thanksgiving shipments have pretty much taken place, so the greatest need for trucks is expected to come as receivers relpinsh stocks following the long holidayweekend. 

The New York and Michigan apple industries got clobbered this season by bad weather, and shipments are expected to remain at record levels from both the Yakima Valley and Wenachee Valley.  The 2012-13 crop year – 121.5 million boxes could be shipped.

A breakdown by apple variety, also shows in millions of boxes, the following: Red Delicious/32.986; Golden Delicious/11.384; Granny Smith/11.163; Fuji/14.796; Gala/19.915; Braeburn/2.031; Jonagold/0.79; Cameo/0.618; Cripps Pink/2.81; Honeycrisp/2.95; and others/2.982.

As of November 1st, approximately 19.1 million boxes of apples had been shipped.   As of the same date in 2011, approximately 14.6 million boxes had been loaded.  During 2010, that number was 14.2 million boxes.

Pears

Through early November, Northwest growers had shipped 31 percent of the 2012-13 crop, up from 25% at the same time last year.

The 19.2 million boxes expected this year are down from last year’s 20.5 million-box record crop, but overall shipments should be right at the five-year average.

Potatoes and Onions

Washington state also is a major shipper of potatoes and onions, with the vast majority of loads originating from the Columbia Basin and extending into the Umatilla Basin of Oregon.

This area combined is accounting for nearly 750 truck load equivalents of onions on a weekly basis, and another 500 truck load equivalents of potatoes each week.

Washington state potatoes and onions – grossing about $6200 to Atlanta.

Washington state apples and pears – about $5400 to New York City.

 

 

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Western Potato and Onion Shipments Increasing

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Potatoes and onions, commonly known as “hardware items” because they are less perishable and generally pose fewer problems when hauling, also normally do not pay as good a freight as most more perishable items.  However, the further into fall and the closer to winter, overall fresh fruit and vegetable volume declines, and so do freight rates — and loading opportunties.  Therefore, if nothing more than out of necessity potatoes and onions begin looking more attractive if you want or need  to haul produce.

Oregon Onions

In the Snake River area of Oregon there is good demand heading into winter for trucks. An early start of the shipping season combined with fewer onions means less product is left for shipping than normal.   Truck loads could be down 15-20% for Treasure Valley growers, due to the fourth-hottest summer on record and other weather-related issues.   Fewer onions  mean shippers are having less difficulty finding enough trucks to move product.

Idaho-Oregon Onions

Around the border area of Western Idaho and Malheur County, OR, nearly 700 truckloads of storage onions are being shipped weekly.

Washington-Oregon Onions and Potatoes

Similar volume with onion shipments are available from the border area of the Columbia Basin in Washington and the Umatilla Basin of Oregon.   In Northwest Washington, just north of Seattle is light volume with red and white potatoes from the Skagit Valley.

Idaho Potatoes

The nation’s largest volume potato shipper has another huge crop this year.  The state is averaging around 1500 truck load equivalents per week, although a significant amount of these potatoes are loaded in rail cars.

Colorado Potatoes and Onions

Storage onions are being shipped from Colorado’s Western Slope, near Olathe, and will continue well into January.  Excellent quality is reported.  Loads have been moving out of the area at a brisk pace in part because of Colorado’s freight advantage over western shippers….In south-central Colorado is the San Luis Valley, which is shipping around 750 truck loads of spuds per week.

Colorado potatoes – grossing about $1800 to Dallas.

Idaho potatoes – about $5500 to New York City.

Columbia Basin/Umatilla Basin (Washington and Oregon) potatoes and onions – about $4200 to Chicago.

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Some Obvious, Not So Obvious Loading Opportunities

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Produce shipments from the Western half of the USA offer perishable haulers some obvious and not-so-obvious choices for obtaining loads.

Here’s some places you may not have considered.  New crops of potatoes are now available in some upper mid-western states.  The Big Lake, MN area is shipping both red potatoes and russets.  New crops of spuds have recently got underway from Central Wisconsin, Nebraska and Northern Colorado.

In Idaho and Malheur County, OR., loading opportunities have recently become available with a new crop of storage onions.  While the area is known for its onions, a few shippers are starting to offer sweet onions.  Just be aware that these shippers are new at this game and still may be on a learning curve relating to quality.  Sweet onions often do not store well.

In California, the heaviest volume from the Salinas Valley is with head lettuce, averaging about 1,100 truck load equivalents per week.  Many other vegetable items are also being shipped…..In the nearby Watsonville District, about 750 truckload equivalents of strawberriers are being loaded weekly.

Plenty of loading opportunities are coming from the San Joaquin Valley of California with stone fruit, veggies and grapes.  Heaviest table grape movement is from the southern valley area known as the Kern District, but volume is rapidly increasing from more northern areas of the valley.

An update on apple shipments from Washington state, shows it will account for 77 percent of the nation’as apple shipments during the 2012-13 shipping season.  Washington always leads the nation in this category, but with heavy weather related losses to apples in Michigan and New York state, the northwest will provide an even more than normal percentage of the country’s apple loads.  Washington expects to ship its second largest amount of apples in history; and this is despite a 10 to 15 percent crop loss due to hail storms earlier this year.

Salinas Valley produce – grossing about $7500 to New York City.

Big Lake MN potatoes – about $1300 to Chicago.

Central Wisconsin potatoes – about $2500 to Atlanta.

 

 

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Potato, Onion Rates will Appear More Attractive Soon

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Most fruit and vegetable rates are paying significantly more than rates on potatoes and onions right now, but the difference in rates will be shrinking in the next several weeks as overall fruit and veggie volume seasonally declines and the spud and onion volume rises with the new crops.

There is over 1 million acres of potatoes planted in the USA for the crop that is now  being harvested.  That is 46,000 more acres than at this time a year ago!  Translation:  There’s a huge crop that will need to be transported to market – and the railroads can only haul a relatively small amount of it.  That means plenty of hauling opportunties this fall, winter and next spring for truckers with refrigerated equipment. 

The top nine states with the most potatoes in order of size are:  Idaho, Washington, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Maine, Colorado, Minnesota, Michigan and Oregon.

Idaho, the USA’s biggest potato producer,  will have a lot more potatoes for hauling this season.

Potato shipments from Washington and Oregon get underway in early August, with volume expected to be normal and about the same as a year ago.  Washington has about 25,000 acres of spuds for the fresh market.  The Umatilla-Hermiston potato volume may be down a little from last season.  No big deal though.

In central Wisconsin, red, white, yellow and russet potato diggings have been underway and shipments begin when the old crop is all sold, or customers begin demanding fresh potatoes from the new season, over the old ones which have been in storages forever.  The spuds becoming available will be more abundant than on average from the past five years.

Onions

Helping Western onion shipments was the early demise of the Vidalia, GA onion season.  It has created bigger demand for onions in the West and demand for trucks from places such as Bakersfield, CA and from Southern New Mexico and the Pasco area of Washington state.  Also, imported onions from Peru will begin arriving at USA ports in early August.

Idaho potatoes are grossing – about $4800 to New York City’s Hunts Point.

 

 

 

 

 

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Look for New Season Pears, Potatoes, Grapes, Sweet Onions

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Here’s some items that are now available in your local supermarket, or will be available soon.

Starkrimson pears are among the first to be harvested early in the season and have a crimson red color that brightens as its ripens. They have a juicy texture and sweet flavor. Starkrimson pears are recognizable by their unique color and thick, stocky stem with a neck that appears to be growing up and around it.

Bosc pears are large with an elongated neck and have a distinct bronze/yellow color.

Bartlett is among the top pears in the U.S.   Bartlett pears are bell-shaped with a classic sweet pear flavor and smooth, buttery texture. Bartlett pears are excellent for fresh eating and are a common pear used for canning.

Bartlett pears are the most popular of the pear varieties.  They are picked at full mataurity in August and will ripen from green to yellow by the time they reach your supermarket shelves.  The Bartlett is a classic pear for canning and is great for fresh eating, pies and sauce.

Sweet onions from the Vidalia, GA area are pretty much history because of a smaller crop and the season ending earlier than normal.  While it may be the most famous of the sweet onions, a number of other states have established themselves in the past decade or so as providing consumers with some pretty tasty sweet onions themselves.  South Texas also grows a good sweet onions, but it has ended like Vidalia.

California is now providing sweet onions and will do so into August.

One alleged “sweet onion” I would avoid are those from Colorado.  Every year the Rocky Mountain state has bags of onions in my local supermarket labeled “sweet” and they never fail to disappoint, much less set my mouth on fire.

One of the best sweet onions coming on before long I’ve been pleased with from year to year is from the Skagit Valley in Washington state.

One of the better imported sweet onions that should be in your stores by early August are from Peru.  Sometimes, they are lacking a little sweetness at the start of the season, but get better as we move closer to fall.

You should also be seeing some good reasonable retail prices on table grapes from California, especially with the red grapes right now.  Soon to follow will be  the yellow seedless grapes.  With a good chance for a record crop from California, there should be some good prices on grapes this summer.

Another good buy in the coming weeks and months should be on potatoes with the new crop set to start.  The USA has over one million acres of spuds planted, which is 46,000 more acres than at this time last year.

 

 

   

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More New York State Vegetable Loads are Starting

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New York ranks among the top five states in shipments of fresh fruits and vegetables.   Produce shippers are located in many different regions of the state.  Since New York is over 300 miles wide from East to West this covers a lot of territory.  We’ll be covering apples soon, but right now we’ll focus on vegetable shipments, which are underway.

For example items are available for hauling such as cabbage, beans, squash, cucumbers and potatoes from shippers in the Rochester, as well as Buffalo, NY areas.  Such operations are located near small agriculture communities such as Elba located just west of Rochester, as well as Marion just east of Rochester,  and Eden found south of Buffalo. 

Cabbage is a big item near the towns of  Holley and Stanley, NY.

Orange County New York has a number of large onion shippers.  Shipments are expected to get underway around the third week of August.

A primary destination for New York produce shipments, of course, is the Hunts Point Terminal Wholesale Market in New York City, although loads are also destined to a number of other major cities ranging from Boston to Philadelphia and Atlanta, among others.

 

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