Posts Tagged “shipments”

As Florida Veggies Wind Down, Other Eastern Areas are Starting

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DSCN0394While total Florida spring produce volume is winding down, some other areas in the East are shipping, or will be soon.

Florida red potato shipments are about two weeks later than usual as a series of winter freezes and heavy spring rains damaged the crop and could cut yields by as much as 50% on the front end of the red potato season.  Shipments got underway around Palatka, Fla. about the second week of May.  South Florida red spud loadings finished up in mid-May around Lake Wales.

Watermelons shipments got off to a shaky start from Southern Florida, but quality has improved and product is coming in steady volume out of the Ft. Meyers and Arcadia areas.  The harvest gradually moves northward over the next few weeks, before shifting to Georgia around June 15-20, about two weeks later than usual.

As Florida  veggie loadings decline, the transition from central Florida to southern Georgia is bringing lighter-than-normal volume on some vegetables. which are behind two weeks or more due to weather.

Georgia bell peppers and cucumbers are still moving in light volume and decent shipments are not expected  until early to mid-June.  Squash and bean shipments from south Georgia are now ending.

Vidalia onions

While it was rough start for Vidalia onion shipments this year, with seed stem problems, better weather is making life easier for both shippers and truckers.

While no official crop estimates have been made, observers see total Vidalia onion loadings at around 4.5 million boxes this season.

Seed stem has adversely about 30% to 40% of Vidalia crops this year.

North Carolina

Sweet corn shipments should get under way in mid-June,   at least two weeks later than normal.   A similar situation exists with lettuce……Currently, cilantro and kale are being shipped.

South Georgia vegetables – grossing about $2600 to New York City.


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Blueberry Popularity Continues to Soar with Health News

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117_1771Florida blueberry growers and shippers remain optimistic despite two consecutive years of weather challenges.  Those in the industry call it the ‘blue wave.’   Shipments are continuing the increase each year.

In 1995, annual per capita consumption of blueberries in North America was just 15.5 ounces.  Then in the late 1990s “blues” were labeled a super food followingresearch by the late Jim Joseph, a human nutrition researcher at Tufts University in Boston.  The study revealed blueberries having the highest antioxidant levels among 40 common fruits and vegetables. Anti-oxidants inhibit cell damage related to aging and diseases in the human body.

By the year 2000, per capita blueberry consumption had jumped 15 percent to 17.8 ounces, and soared through the rest of the decade, reaching 39.5 ounces in 2011.

Then scientist Paul Lyrene, a horticulture professor at the University of Florida, developed new blueberry varieties suitable for Florida’s warmer climate based on native bushes he found in the Winter Haven area,.

The USDA reports over the past 20 years Florida commercial blueberry shipments have grown from 2.1 million pounds on 1,200 acres in 1992 to 17.1 million pounds on 4.500 acres in 2012.

The Florida blueberry shipments occur generally from late March to early May, depending upon weather and market conditions. During that time, Florida is the nation’s only source of domestic blueberries.



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Georgia and Michigan Spring Produce Shipments

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Georgia shipments should start from the Fort Valley area in mid-May, about a week or two later than in recent years.  Loadings should be more normal this season, with peak movement occurring in July and continuing until about August 10.   The season then should conclude a week or so later.

Looking at Vidalia onions, too much rain, mostly in March, is resulting in a disease known as seed stems.   This results in bolts, flower stalks and seeds showing up on the plants in the field.   Seed stems cause the core of an onion to become hollow, which results in rapid deterioration of the entire onion.  Most of this is problem is removed at the packing shed with grading, but keep an extra eye out for it when loading.  A significant reduction in loading opportunities is expected because of the problem.

South Carolina peach shipments typically follow Georgia shipments, with only a few days or a week separating when the two areas start and finish.


Michigan ranks third in the nation for asparagus shipments, annually producing 25 million pounds.  The harvest is usually underway by May 1st, but cold weather has the crop behind schedule.  Asparagus should finally be getting underway anytime now.

Michigan also is one of the leading shippers of blueberries., with loading opportunities normally from June to September, with the most volume occurring in July and August.

 “Blues” shipments from Michigan totaled only 72 million pounds in 2011 and 87 million pounds in 2012.  This year, it may return to a more normal loading amount at over 100 million pounds of blueberries.


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California Produce Spring Shipments are Increasing

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Light shipments of cherries from California’s Arvin district near Bakersfield have gotten underway within the past week.    Decent volume should be occuring within the next week or two.  Excellent quality with good volume are being forecast for both California and Washington state this season, despite a mid April freeze in Washington that will reduce some loading opportunties.

Apricots are among the most perishable of stone fruits, but optimism abounds this year the product won’t get taken out by Mother Nature as it pretty much has been the past four years.

Most apricots are grown, packed and shipped in the San Joaquin Valley.  Loadings should be hitting stride now and continue through May.  About 90 percent of the apricots grown in the United States come from California. Production in 2011 was nearly 69,000 tons.

Meanwhile, there are much better loading opportunities with California items ranging from strawberries to mixed vegetables.

Strawberry shipments are heavy and will continue to heavy for another month.

Overall, the Salinas Valley is becoming the most active area for produce shipments.  Lettuce, broccoli and cauliflower, plus dozens of other mixed vegetables are being shipped and volume will increase in the weeks ahead.

The nearby Watsonville district is shipping some strawberries, but but there also are berries and some mixed veggies coming out of the Santa Maria district to the south.

The Coachella Valley is expected to start harvesting desert grapes any day now, but good volume shipments are not expected until the week of May 20. Normal volume is expected.

Southern Californa strawberries, vegetables – grossing about $5400 to Chicago.

Salinas Valley mixed veggies – about $7400 to New York City.

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Grapes are Among Best California Fall Produce Loads

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California fall produce shipments are in full mode, although this certainly does not mean the volume is there you normally find during the late spring and summer.

One of the best hauls continues to be table grapes out of the San Joaquin Valley.  It is providing big volume and is one the finest quality crops in recent memory.  That  shouldstranslate into a reduction of claims and rejected loads.  Grapes are averaging about 2,000 truck loads per week.  Good volume also continues from the San Joaqun Valley with peaches, plums and nectarines although shipments are now in a seasonal decline.

If there is one segment of the produce industry capable of over producing on a scale of the potato industry, it is the growers of tomatoes.  Vine ripe tomatoes abound in California with shipments coming out of Ventura County, the San Diego area, as well as Mexican product originating from Baja California.  However, the biggest tomato volume is with mature greens grown in the San Joaquin Valley as well as areas located between the valley and the San Francisco Bay area (such as Tracy).

In the Salinas Valley, vegetable loads remain pretty consistent, led by head lettuce, then celery, plus broccoli and cauliflower.  Plenty of other vegetables help fill partial loads as well….Although strawberry shipments are lower from the Watsonsville District, they are still accounting for over 600 truck loads per week.

Salinas Valley strawberries and vegetables – grossing about $7000 to New York City.

San Joaquin Valley grapes – about $4800 to Chicago.

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