Posts Tagged “peach”

Eastern Produce Loadings will Soon Arrive

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While California is the top shipper of peaches, South Carolina and Georgia usually rank second and third, and not necessarily in that order, depending upon the season.

Peach shipments from South Carolina will get started by early June, usually a few days later than nearby Georgia.  However, it won’t be until good shipments come on several weeks later, you’ll have decent loading opporunities.  Peak loadings should come just in time for the Fourth of July.


An unseasonably cold March and disease could very well slash watermelon shipments from Central and South Florida by 50%.


Western Michigan apple shippers apparently dodged the proverbial bullet last week, avoiding significant freeze damage, which would have been a scary repeat of a year ago, when most shipments were wiped out by the cold.  It appears there will be be good apple shipments when movement starts this summer.

Similar to 2012, Michigan growers have 36,500 acres in apple production this season.


Asparagus growers in Southern Ontario have taken a hit as freezing temperatures took their toll on the crop recently.  Frozen asparagus has a clear appearance and spears will droop as it warms up and should not be shipped.  However, these plants will grow more spears.

Avocados from Mexic0Produce truckers this season have already picked up a lot of avocado at ports of entry along the Southern border.  Trucks have delivered nearly a million pounds of Mexican avocados to markets across the USA and Canada.  However, this is only the beginning.  Before the season ends later this year, a billion pounds of Mexican avocadoes will have been hauled to markets a cross North America.


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Updates on Spring Shipments from Florida, Georgia and S.C.

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Here’s a round up of some loading and coming loading opportunities in Florida, Georgia and South Carolina, where produce shipments have been slower gaining momentum due to temperatures below normal.


Tomato shipments have pretty much finished in the Immokalee area and have shifted to the Palmetto-Ruskin district.  Loadings were very light at the beginning of May, but now volume is picking up.  Due to weather conditions some disease problems have appeared, so be watchful what you are putting on the truck.

Florida watermelons like it hot and cool weather has put shipments behind schedule.  Watermelon loadings should be hitting good volume by the end of May.

Mixed vegetables also continue to be shipped.


Blueberry shipments continue to increase from Georgia as new acreage comes into production each year.  In fact, the state is now one of the leading shippers of “blues.”  Georgia should have about 70 million pounds of blueberries, which equals about 1,750 truckload equivalents.

Georgia has about 22,000 acres of blueberries.   Shipments, which have been underway a couple of weeks, are now moving into volume.

Like other produce items, a cool spring has delayed Georgia peach shipments.  There should be  around 1.8 to 2 million, 25 pound cartons of peaches for hauling this season.    Good quality and normal volume is predicted.  Shipments should continue into mid-August.

Vidalia onion shipments are lower due to weather and disease, but moderate volume continues from Southeastern Georgia.  Mixed veggies from Central and Southern Georgia also continue.

South Carolina

Despite cold and wet weather prections for South Carolina strawberries, shipments are good.  Strawberry loadings usually end in May, but this year are expected to continue through June.

South Carolina peach loadings also look promising.  Light shipments get underway in a few weeks.  Florida mixed vegetable loads – grossing about $3200 to Chicago.


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In-Transit Issues Pt. I – Maintaining Peach Quality

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Peach season is upon us and that means a lot of produce truckers will be hauling this perishable fruit over the next few months.

Too many receivers, and consumers  are dissatisfied with the quality of this stone fruit and much of the fault may lie with what has happened prior to the produce trucker picking up the fruit.

Rich Macleod of TransFresh Corp., Salinas, CA created the Fresh Produce Mixer & Loading Guide about 30 years ago and it still remains in demand from brokers, retailers and carriers needing accurate information regarding in- transit temperature settings and proper mixing of produce items in the same load.

For example, the guide recommends peaches be transported at 34 to 36 degrees F. and can be effectively shipped with many other fruit items and some vegetables.

“The temperature killing range for peaches is roughly 38 to 50 degrees F.  Realistically, that is the (temperature) range where everything (in produce) is transported,” Macleod says.

He cites four specific factors which can hinder a good, quality arrival for peaches, even if the trucker maintains the proper temperature, has his reefer unit calibrated and trailer has features ranging from bulkhead, seals, and doors in good condition, among other things.

(1)  Growers should not cross subliminal,or inadequate varieties of peaches and expect a good product.

(2)  The peaches should not be harvested before they mature.

(3)  After the peaches are harvested, there should be “intermitent” warming, where the fruit sets in a temperature range of 60 to 70 degrees F. for a day or so.

(4) Then the peaches should be cooled and packed with a pulp temperature of 36 degrees F.

“If you do all of these steps together, the probability is the quality is going to  be pretty good,” Macleod states. 

He says the peach growing and shipping industry is working to address these issues, but it often is easier said than done.

Obstacles or issues too often can waylay the best made plains.  For example, due to weather factors, early variety peaches may end up overlapping with a later variety fruit.  Another example deals with markets.  A “hot” or high priced market for peach sellers may result in the product being picked before it is mature.  Then suddenly there may be too many peaches on the market, the prices collapse and the product is held back with sellers hoping for better profits to be made.

Stone fruit  held in storage or transported at the wrong temperature becomes “mealy or flavorless,” and turns brown on the inside, even though the outside of the fruit may look good.

“It’s called internal breakdown,” Macleod says.

About the time a produce operation may get all of the issues figured out, something may happen such as new managment coming in and the same old problems start all over gain.  Meanwhile, the produce trucker may end up in the middle of a problem at destination that  may not even be his or her fault.

(This is Part 1 0f 5, featuring an interview with Rich Macleod, vice president, pallet division North America for TransFresh Corp., Salinas, CA.  He has been with company since 1976, and has a masters degree in post harvest science from the University of California, Davis.)





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