Posts Tagged “Santa Maria”

Santa Maria Vegetable Loadings to Have Shipping Gaps

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DSCN9015While the Salinas Valley to the north and Ventura County to the south often get more attention when it comes to produce shipments, the Santa Maria area also has significant volume.  But like Salinas, Santa Maria is having shipping issues.

By late March, the incessant rain that pounded the Santa Maria region and most of California this winter seemed to be subsiding, but the effects of the storms will be felt for some time.

In similar fashion to the Salinas Valley, there are going to be shipping gaps this year.  The gaps in availability of certain vegetables will continue until the middle of May.

Around 40 different vegetable items, Similar to Salinas, are grown in Santa Maria including organic and conventional iceberg lettuce, cauliflower, broccoli, celery, leaf lettuce, spinach, cilantro, parsley, kale, green onions and Brussels sprouts.

Quality problems have hit cauliflower and broccoli due to excessive rains.  While drier weather has occurred recently, you should still use caution when loading looking for possible quality issues.

Santa Maria actually stretches about 40 miles from Lompoc in the south to Oceano in the north. Most of the Santa Maria district is located in northern Santa Barbara County with the city and valley of Santa Maria being its epicenter.  The most northern reaches of the district is found in San Luis Obispo County.  The city of Santa Maria is found about 170 miles north of Los Angeles and 270 miles south of San Francisco.  Much closer is Santa Barbara — 60 miles to the south — and San Luis Obispo — 30 miles to the north.  The Pacific Ocean is about 15 miles west of Santa Maria.  Several major grower-shippers are located in Guadalupe, which also is located between the Pacific Ocean and Santa Maria.

Santa Barbara County’s top 10 crops are strawberries, broccoli, wine grapes, cut flowers, nursery products, head lettuce, cauliflower, raspberries, avocados and celery.  In 2015, each of these crops accounted for more than $43 million in sales led by strawberries at $438 million, which far outpaces the second place finisher, which is broccoli at $164 million. Santa Maria Valley strawberry acreage has seen a big increase in the past decade.

Vegetable shipments remain an important part of agriculture representing over 30 percent of revenues at about $540 million in 2015.  Staple vegetable crops, including broccoli and lettuce, are the mainstays, but the Santa Maria area growers produce virtually every vegetable shipped from specialty baby vegetables to kale to Swiss chard to brussels sprouts.

Santa Maria, Ventura County and Salinas vegetables – all grossing about $4800 to Atlanta.


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California Produce Loads Continue to Crank Up

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IMG_5643California’s Santa Maria district currently leads the state in strawberry volume with nearly 800 truck loads being shipped a week, but the Watsonville district will be catching up – and surpassing  Santa Maria very soon.  Meanwhile, Salinas Valley vegetables are continuing to increase is volume led by lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower.   The San Joaquin Valley in cranking up with everything from stone fruit to vegetables.

The Imperial and Coachella valleys are shipping melons and mixed veggies, plus Coachella table grapes are now being shipped in volume.

Some produce loads, particularly from more northern Calilforna shipping areas, are already exceeding a rate of $9,000 to the East Coast.

Mexican tomatoes are being shipped in volume from Baja peninsula via distribution centers around San Diego.  Product ranges from romas to grape, cherry and vine ripe tomatoes.

Looking ahead, warm April temperatures have pushed the California pear crop about 10 days ahead of last year.  Early variety pears from the Sacramento River district should get underway around July 2-3, followed by bartletts about July 5.

The projected California almond crop is expected to reach 2 billion pounds this year.  This would fall short only to 2011’s 2.03 billion pound crop and is 6% higher than 2012’s output, which was about 1.89 billion pounds.   Almonds are the state’s largest agricultural export, with California alone producing 80 percent of the world’s supply.

California almond shipments come from over 810,000 acres.

Salinas vegetables – grossing about $9000 to Boston.

San Joaquin Valley stone fruit – about $6,000 to Chicago.

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California’s Salinas Valley, Kern County are Providing Loads

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IMG_6576California is now shipping an astounding 7 million trays of strawberries per week, which should set another record for loadings by the time the season ends.  Most loadings are taking place from the Santa Maria area and the Watsonville district.

The Salinas Valley continues to ship a wide variety of vegetables.  Head lettuce loadings are providing the heaviest volume, averaging about 1,500 truckloads per week.  However, there’s lots of other items ranging from various types of lettuce, to cauliflower, broccoli, etc.

Kern County

This week most potato sheds should be hitting full production.   Shipments of fresh potatoes from the southern region of the San Joaquin Valley should continue into early July.

There has been a 10%-plus drop in acreage of reds, whites and yellow spuds.  More specifically:  whites are down 13%;  reds, as well as yellows are off 12%.  The nationally over produced (thanks primarily to Idaho)  russet acreage in Kern County is down a whopping 65 percent.

Russet acreage in Kern County has dropped to about 1,000 acres from a high of 12,000 to 14,000 acres about 20 years ago.

While Kern County shippers are predicting  enough transportation with trucks, rail, intermodal and Railex, they say it will be expensive.

Kern County potatoes and carrots – grossing about $5200 to Chicago.

Salinas Valley veggies – about $7300 to New York City.


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California Seasonal Shipping Areas to Change

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The California coastal valleys of Salinas and Santa Maria typically remain the major sources of supply of lettuce through mid-October.   Huron, which is located on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley, usually fills the lettuce supply gap in late October through much of November before harvest switches to the desert in California and Arizona. Some of the hardier items, such as broccoli and cauliflower, will continue in the Salinas area until the shift to the desert (California’s Imperial Valley and the Yuma, AZ area) around Thanksgiving.

There has been strong shipments of California vegetables since early summer.  A primary reason is the extreme drought in the Midwest and the upper Midwest, which knocked out some  home-grown crops.

Additionally, there was the hurricane that hit New Orleans and continued on through the South hitting Kentucky and Tennessee and knocking out some of those local tomato harvests. It all helped to benefit shipments of  California tomatoes.


Blackberry shipments are winding down on California’s Central Coast, but raspberries could go through the end of October.

Blackberries loadings tend to decline by the end of September and are finished by mid-October as the shipments out of Mexico pick up.

California strawberry and raspberry shipments have provided some problems for haulers over the summer. Both are more delicate fruit, especially raspberries.  Much of this can be blamed on the horrendous summer heatthan began in June and continued through most of August.  Good quality fruit results in more shipments (due to consumer demand), plus truckers deal with  fewer rejections. Obviously the quality of the fruit has improved since the heat has subsided.  The fruit holds up better when shipped.

Salinas area vegetables and berries – grossing about $4700 to Chicago.




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California Shipments Continue Heavy Summer Volume

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The Salinas and San Joaquin Valleys  continue to provide your best loading opportunities in California.

Head lettuce may be producing the biggest volume from Salinas and is averaging around 1700 to 1800 truckload equivalents a week.  However, there remains significant tonnage coming with other types of lettuce, as well broccoli, cauliflower, celery and many other items….The nearby Watsonville area is shipping a lot of strawberries….

The relentless heat baking much of the USA this summer makes it paramount you take precautions to protect your load  (check out the TransFresh ad on this website that provides “in-transit warming” information).

The Santa Maria district has much lighter volume than Salinas, but it also is shipping many of the same vegetables.

The San Joaquin Valley has both fruits and vegetable loadings occurring from many areas.  In the central valley around 500 to 600 truckload equivalents of mature green tomatoes are being shipped each week….Table grape loadings continue on pace to what could be record shipments this year, with heaviest volume currently coming from the Arvin and Delano areas.

Shipments from the California desert of cantaloupe (and some other items) has mercifully come to an end as some product was looking pretty rough at the end of the season.

California supplies for refrigerated equipment generally remain adequate, but you shouldn’t face signficant delays for loads in most cases because of the seasonal volume.

Salinas vegetables are grossing – about $7700 to Hunts Point in New York City.

San Joaquin Valley fruits and vegetables – about $5000 to Chicago.

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Many California Districts are Shipping

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Whether talking the desert areas of the Imperial or Coachella Valleys, or Southern California to Ventura County, Bakersfield, and on to Santa Maria and Salinas, produce is being shipped.  Granted, not all the areas are in full harvest, but shipping areas are abundant.  It will only get better for produce haulers in the weeks ahead as demand for refrigerated equipment increases and rates climb accordingly.

In the desert, you’ll find bell peppers, beans and sweet corn in both the Imperial Valley and the Coachella Valley.  Cantaloupe loadings begin in a couple of weeks or so.  Also, the Coachella Valley ships the first domestic grapes in the U.S. each year.  Coachella grape loadings will begin a week to 10 days earlier than normal this year — around the first week of May.  Loadings should continue through June, with about 9 million cartons forecast.

California cherry shipments begin from the central and south areas of the San Joaquin Valley the first half of May, but expect shipments to be lighter than normal.  Heaviest cherry loading opportunities come with the later bing cherry variety from the Stockton-Linden-Lodi area.  Overall, unless Mother Nature does a whack job on these perishable beauties, California should ship 8.5 to 9 million boxes of cherries, the most in a decade!

California desert vegetables – grossing about $7200 to New York City.


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A Look at National Produce Shipments

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Supplies of refrigerated a equipment are tightening some as we get further into spring.   How big a shortage of trucks for hauling produce will be this year will start to reveal itself in the weeks ahead and should be really interesting by late May and onward through the summer.

In Florida, blueberry loadings from Central and North Florida are now in good volume and hauls are available into June….Meanwhile, Georgia “blues” are right behind Florida.  Good Georgia blueberry shipments should be available by next week….Back to Florida, rates for hauling watermelons out of the southern part of the state have jumped 20 percent in recent days.  Vegetable volume from Florida continues to be heavy.

In South Texas, vegetables continue to be loaded, combined with a lot of veggies and tropical fruit from Mexico crossing the border into Texas.  Cantaloupe shipments have started from the Rio Grande Valley.  There’s still no overall damage reports on storm-hit watermelons in South Texas.  There will be fewer loads, but who knows how much less?  Loadings are light, but will be increasing and continue into mid-June.

In California, the Imperial Valley is quieter with the seasonal end of vegetable shipments.  However, cantaloupe shipments will start in mid-May….About 300 truckload equivalents of carrots are being shipped weekly from the Bakersfield area.

Southern California continues to ship good volumes of avocados, strawberries and citrus…..The Santa Maria district, along with the Salinas Valley will become more active with produce shipments in the weeks ahead.

In Washington state, there are steady loadings of apples and pears from the Yakima and Wenatchee valleys.

Washington state apples and pears – grossing about $4200 to Chicago.

Southern California produce – grossing about $5000 to Chicago.

South Texas produce  – about $4800 to New York City.

South Florida veggies – about $3600 to New York City.



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Southern California Still has Best Volume

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Southern California continues to provide the best loading opportunities
although this will be gradually changing in the weeks ahead as volume from the San Joaquin and Salinas valleys continue to increase.  Helping to bridge the transition is the Santa Maria area found between Ventura County and Salinas.

Although about three-fourths of  California navel oranges have been shipped, loadings will continue until early July….Strawberry volume is building from Oxnard to Orange County and the San Diego areas.   Much ligher strawberry volume is now coming out of Santa Maria.  This district also is shipping light to moderate amounts of broccoli, cauliflower and a host of other vegetables.

Looking ahead, California peach shipments, as with so many other produce commodities, should get underway earlier than usual this year due to the mild winter and favorable spring.  Initial San Joaquin Valley peach shipments should start in mid-May, but volume loadings are not expected until early June.

Southern California produce – grossing about $6800 to New York City.  Rates often tend to show strength towards the end of the week as truck supplies are depleted.


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