Posts Tagged “South Carolina”

An Eastern Produce Shipping Round Up

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VidaliaOnion1Photo:  Courtesy Vidalia® Onion Committee

Shipments of  New Jersey-grown peaches should get underway in early July, a little later than last year.  Good quality and quantity are being predicted, with loadings lasting through mid-September.  More volume is seen this season since some trees planted three to five years ago are coming into production. (more…)

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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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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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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. 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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Midwest “Frying Pan” Helps California Shipments

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California continues to work its way through the peak summer shipping season as much of the middle part of the country stays in the weather’s frying pan.  While this may not be good for crops and livestock in the Mid-west, it is contributing to strong, steady shipments off of the West Coast.

For example, tomato shipments from USA areas such as Arkansas, Tennessee and South Carolina have been hit hard by the heat wave.  This is resulting in more demand and better California loadings, whether it is tomatoes from the San Joaquin Valley, Ventura County, San Diego County, or even from Mexico’s Baja California.

Meanwhile, California should be shipping  4 to 5 million trays of strawberries weekly right on through August — mostly from the Watsonville District.  During September, loading are still expected to remain strong — in the 3.5 to 4 million-tray range.  While quality of strawberries has been a little up and down this year, some observers are predicing the berries will be much better the latter part of the season.  That would be great not only for strawberry lovers, but for the guys and gals hauling them.  Better quality should mean fewer claims or rejected loads.

There also remains mostly steady shipments of Salinas Valley vegetables, plus fruits and vegetables from throughout much of the San Joaquin Valley.

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


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Nationally Produce Rates are Remaining Relatively Steady

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Since a significant rise in early June of rates for hauling fresh produce from some major shipping areas — particuarly the west coast, it has been a pretty quiet summer as rates have remained relatively stable, and few serious truck shortages have occurred.

While some produce items may have record shipments this year, such as California grapes and Washington state cherries, other areas ranging from Michigan fruit to South Texas vegetables, as well as California stone fruit, have taken some hits from the weather.  I’m sure there may be other factors involved ranging from more contract rates, which tend to provide more rate stability on a seasonal, if not a year around basis.  The struggling economy, with a lot of pitfully low rates for dry freight, may have more carriers seeking higher paying produce loads, particularly this time of the year.

Nationally, here’s a glimpse at loading opportunities for fresh fruits and vegetables.

South Carolina peaches are still being shipped , primarily in an area located south and southeast of Columbia stretching to the Georgia state line.  Speaking of Georgia, peach loadings are on their last leg and should be finished within a week as the latter part of the season had exceptionally light production.  South Carolina won’t be far behind.

In South Texas, various citrus, tropical fruits and vegetables from Mexico continue crossing the border into the Lone Star State.  They join lesser amounts of produce grown and shipped from the Lower Rio Grande Valley.

Southern New Mexico continues to ship onions…..In Michigan, blueberries and various vegetables such as cucumbers and squash are providing loads. 

In Idaho, the country’s largest potato shipper continues to provide hauls from the 2011-12 harvest.  New product should become available for hauling next month.

In the Columbia Basin of Washington state, potato and onion loads remain available.  An excellent crop of sweet cherries are now coming out of Washington’s Yakima and Wenachee valleys, along with late season apples.  Shipments of Washington pears are virtually finished.

In California, the vast majority of produce shipments are now coming from shipping areas north of Interstate 10.

Salinas Valley vegetables are generally grossing – about $7700 to New York City.

Washington states potatoes and onions from the Columbia Basin – about $3000 to Chicago.

South Carolina peaches – about $3400 to Boston.

Georgia peaches – $3300 to New York City.





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Eastern Produce Loadings are Moving North

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Produce loadings have seasonally moved northward, some by as much as three weeks earlier than normal.

A case in point is New Jersey where southern area vegetables have been ahead of schedule for weeks.  Now it is peach loadings taking center stage.  Jersey peaches started the third week of June, but do not normally get underway until around July 10th.  The Garden State ranks fourth nationally in peach volume behind California, South Carolina and Georgia….New Jersey also is a leading shipper of blueberries, which are now moving in volume.

Watermelon loadings are available from the Charleston-Beaufort area of South Carolina…..North Carolina continues to ship sweet potatoes.

Florida has entered its deadest part of the year as far as produce is concerned, while the state of Georgia isn’t a whole lot better.  Weather problems really hurt Georgia vegetable, blueberry and watermelon shipments this year.  Vidalia onion volume has dwindled and the latter end of the Georgia peach shipping season is lighter than normal.

New Jersey blueberries – grossing about $2600 to Orlando.

North Carolina sweet potatoes – about $1750 to Philadelphia.



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Peaches Disappointing Thus Far

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Remember when Wal-Mart introduced produce departments to their stores a number of years ago.   They did an excellent job!  You can thank a guy named Bruce Peterson for that.  Anyway, Bruce left the huge chain a while back and Wal-Mart produce departments, at least in many stores, have went down hill.  My local Wal-Mart often has substandard produce, and definately not enough staff to keep the shelves stocked properly, not only in produce, but in the grocery and other departments as well.

Anyway, I just bought my first peaches of the season at my local Wal-Mart.  I purposely bought peaches from California, as well as – honestly I’m not sure where the 2nd peaches are from.  The shipper is based in South Carolina, but he may be selling some peaches for growers in Georgia.  The label didn’t say in which state the peaches were grown.

I would give the California peaches a “C” and the Eastern peaches a “C-minus.”  The West Coast peaches had excess juice, which really tasted more like water.  The East Coast peaches were seriously lacking in juice.  Peaches from both California and South Carolina, or is it Georgia, were dry.

Looking at the photograph I took of  a peach from California (on the right) and the East Coast peach (on the left), both have nice color, although both are lacking in size.  Just goes to show, as Bo Diddley once sang, you can’t always judge a book by looking at the cover.  Hopefully, both  coasts will have better peach quality in coming days.


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Loading Opportunities Around the USA

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Supplies of refrigerated trucking equipment continue to tighten as spring produce volume continues to increase, and is being reflected in rates, which are rising.

The pressure to increased rates on produce loads, as usual, is being led by California.   More specifically, the San Joaquin and Salinas valleys continue to build in volume.  In the San Joqauin Valley, even though an April hail storm knocked out about 15 percent of the stone fruit crop, there will still be around 40 million boxes of peaches, plums and nectarines for hauling this season.  The valley also has a lot of vegetables, which doesn’t even include grape shipments that won’t begin until July.

In New Mexico, one normally doesn’t think of produce loads.  But if you are in the area, onion shipments are in light volume the Hatch (Las Cruces) area.

Peach shipments from the Ft. Valley, GA area are moving in decent volume, although loadings for the overall season are forecast to be down about one-third.  Shipments are expected to finish in late July, a couple of weeks earlier than normal…..South Carolina peach shipments have started and should continue into August.

Georgia peaches  – grossing about $2600 to Baltimore.

$8000-plus loads from Salinas to New York City are becoming more common.



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