Posts Tagged “strawberry shipments”

Florida Strawberry, Veggie Shipments Good – for this Time of Year

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dscn8613Florida strawberries and tomatoes are leading produce shipments from the Sunshine state this month.

Florida has over 11,000 acres of strawberries are grown in the Plant City area each year, with Hillsborough County shipping about 15 percent of the nation’s strawberries and virtually all the berries grown during the winter.

Since late spring, the weather was good and the state has been leading the nation in strawberry shipments now for a number of weeks.  Although small compared to California’s total strawberry shipments, Florida ships about 20 million flats each year.

Florida is loading about 1,000 truck loads of strawberries per week.

Florida Vegetable Shipments

Unlike some winters, Florida growing conditions also have generally been favorable for vegetables, leading to fairly stable shipments from week to week.   Mature greens provide Florida’s heaviest tomato volume, with much less amounts coming from plum and grape tomatoes.  However, if you add the three types of tomatoes together, they are averaging about the same amount of volume as Florida strawberries.

However, a major difference between hauling strawberries and tomatoes relates to geography.  Florida’s strawberry shipments are concentrated in a relatively small growing area just west of Tampa.  By contrast, Florida tomato shipments are spread throughout much of the state, with some areas being more active depending on the season.

At the same time, Florida also is shipping a number of other winter vegetables.  However, volume with Florida vegetable shipments are much lighter this time of the year.  While Florida may be shipping around 1,000 truckloads of mature green, plum and grape tomatoes each week, the next closest item is bell peppers, averaging only 250 truck loads weekly.  Other leading Florida vegetables range from cabbage, to sweet corn, cucumbers, and beans, but the volume this time of year is only 50 percent or less that of bell peppers.

This will remain so until the last half of March, or April, depending upon weather conditions.  All of this means mixed loads and only partial loads for the most part in the winter.  Even during the heaviest Florida produce shipping season in the spring, multiple picks and drops are very common.

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A Look at U.S. domestic and Imported Berries

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112_12851Blueberry shipments have definitely hit the big time with increases in plantings on both a domestic and imported basis.  Shipments also remain strong for strawberries and raspberries. Here’s a closer look at shipments for domestic and imported berries.

Fresh blueberry loadings are now occurring virtually the year around whether it is from domestic production or from imports involving other countries.

Native to North America, blueberries are in good volume here from April through October.   Likewise, with farmers in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasonal swap brings blueberries from South America from November through March.

The U.S. is the world’s largest grower and shipper of berries. In 2014, 667.6 million pounds of blueberries were shipped.

However, the U.S. is also a net importer of fresh and frozen blueberries.  Canada supplies nearly 20 percent of fresh product into the U.S., but South America has a very strong U.S. import program.

In 2014, the U.S. imported 234.7 million pounds of fresh blueberries valued at nearly $530.5 million.  Over 60 percent of this product came from Chile, which supplies the U.S. market from mid-November through January.

In 2014 the U.S. imported 124.7 million pounds of fresh blackberries.

Mexico supplied nearly all U.S. imported fresh blackberry volumes, representing a four-year annual average market share of 96 percent from 2011 to 2014.

Strawberry Shipments

While the U.S. is the world’s largest strawberry grower and shipper, it is also a big importer.  In 2014, the nation imported 355.9 million pounds of fresh strawberries.  The majority of all U.S. strawberry imports come from Mexico, with Canada supplying less than one percent.

Mexican strawberries have overlapping shipping seasons with Florida, but typically fresh strawberries from Mexico are only a supplement to the U.S. domestic supply. Most Mexican strawberries being produced and imported to the U.S. are shipped during the winter.

Raspberry Shipments

The U.S. also imports raspberries from October through May, with most imports originating from Mexico, which ships about 96 percent of the total imports.

In 2014, the U.S. imported a total of almost 96.8 million pounds of fresh raspberries from Mexico, Canada and Chile.


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Good Shipments for the 4th of July

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DSCN1324+1Good volume and produce loading opportunities are expected leading into celebrating our nation’s independence.   Here’s a look at a number of fruits and vegetables that are popular Fourth of July items.

Cherry Shipments

A 4 percent drop in cherry shipments is estimated from the previous 19.8 million boxes.   Loadings now appear to be more like 18.4 million boxes.   About 10 million boxes of cherries will be shipped during June and almost 8 million in July.

The decline is due to a compression with the bloom period, so there will be compression in harvest.  This will translate into fewer days for shipments.

Loadings for the East Coast should be especially heavy the week of Father’s Day for July 4 and Canada Day on July 1.  Heavy volume will continue the first half of  July.

Berry Shipments

Northwest blueberry shipments will be heavy, especially for the Fourth of July.  This also in the time with initial loadings will start for Michigan blueberries.

In California’s Watsonville and Salinas district, strawberry shipments were not hurt by the cool weather that resulted in quality issues with some vegetables.

Peak Watsonville strawberry shipments and other berries are occurring and will continue into mid-July.  Weekly fresh strawberry volumes exceeded 7 million trays in May, roughly on par with last year.

Blueberry, blackberry and raspberry shipments are a little early out of the Pacific Northwest.

Sweet Corn Shipments

Georgia sweet corn volume should be light through mid-June but begin increasing significantly by June 17th through the Fourth of July.  Normal shipments are seen leading into the Fourth of July.

The majority of the nation’s  sweet corn shipments leading up the Fourth, originate from Georgia

Watermelon Shipments

Georgia should begin shipping watermelons in big volume by June 15th.

Rain-caused losses in Texas, the end of Nogales, Ariz., (Mexican) season and the tail end of central Florida shipments.  All of these factors will mean excellent loading opportunities for Georgia watermelon shipments.

South Carolina should start watermelon loadings by June 24th, while North Carolina will get underway by June 29th.





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El Nino is Adversely Affecting Many Produce Shipments

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003El Nino is adversely affecting many produce shipments in North America.

Unseasonable heat brought on an early, heavier-than-normal shipments for the Florida strawberry season, which started before Thanksgiving and lasted through Christmas.  Now strawberry shipments are in a lull and are not expected reach decent volume by Valentine’s Day, February 14th, which is a popular event for the fruit.  Assuming shipments ever get on “normal” track this season, loadings should continue through March.

Changing weather patterns are impacting fruit and vegetable production across North and South America, and it is not just field-grown produce that is being affected.

The El Niño  phenomenon has played a major role in the various weather patterns and is affecting production on all items ranging from beefsteak, cluster, heirloom and roma tomatoes as well as grape tomatoes, mini roma grape tomatoes and medley tomatoes.   Additionally, there are long sweet peppers, mini sweet peppers, bell peppers, seedless cucumbers, mini seedless cucumbers and baby eggplant, among others.
Lower than normal temperatures in combination with lower light levels reduce yields across the board for greenhouse grown produce during the spring and summer out of Canada, and during the winter in Mexico.
Mexican vegetables through Nogales – grossing about $3000 to Chicago.

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El Niño Arrival in California Is Not Good for Produce Shipments

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DSCN6950Wintertime any year can pose it own set of problems relating to shipping volume, gaps, and quality for California produce shipments.  But this year is becoming even more unpredictable with the California El Niño storm season underway, which can translate into weeks of frequent rain, resulting in harvest delays or damage to strawberries, citrus and vegetables.

Rain is predicted through the end of January, which can affect late March and early April produce shipments after the seasonal transition from the California and Arizona deserts.

The Yuma, AZ shipping area has already been experiencing much lighter shipments of cauliflower, broccoli and celery.

Central California plantings (San Joaquin Valley), including the Huron district, is already a concern to many produce growers who hope to plant on the schedule.  Huron often prevents or lessens a shipping gap between the desert and Salinas for items such as lettuce.

Concerning citrus shipments, California packinghouses have been stepping up harvest in anticipation of coming rains.  Thus far, shipping gaps have pretty much been avoided.

Citrus is more resistant than vegetables to rain damage, so growers work to increase picking and packing during storm breaks.

Luckily for strawberry shipments in the months ahead, the Watsonville and Salinas districts completed planting before any storms.  However, drops in strawberry shipping volume is expected from Ventura and Orange counties.

Over 2016 California strawberry shipments are expected to have decreased volumes.

Above average rainfall is forecast through March in California, Texas and Florida by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Based on NASA satellite imagery, climatologists say the warming trend in the Pacific Ocean equals that of the same months in 1998, when heavy rains and flooding rolled through the regions. It was one of the two strongest El Niño’s on record.

The Salinas Valley had extensive flooding in 1998.

BOTTOM LINE….There’s a pretty good chance lighter than normal western vegetable shipments will be with us for a while.

California and Arizona desert vegetable shipments, grossing about $3800 to Chicago.


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Report Highlights Monterey County Produce Shipments

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DSCN5435Produce shipments are big business out of the Salinas Valley, according to a new report.

Agriculture pumped $8.1 billion into the economy of California’s Monterey County in 2014.  The report, Economic Contributions of Monterey County Agriculture was prepared by Agricultural Impact Associates for Eric Lauritzen, the county’s agricultural commissioner.    The last such analysis was for 2011.

California’s drought is now in its fourth year, but has had little effect thus far on total production in the county, compared to the Central San Joaquin Valley and its dependence on federal and state water projects.  Agriculture’s share of Monterey’s direct economic output was unchanged from 2011 at 18.5 percent, but rose from $5.1 billion to $5.7 billion.

The $8.1 billion in 2014 impacts amounts to nearly $1 million every hour – $926,757, to be exact – according to the report.  Farm production totaled about $7 billion; value-added food processing, $1.1 billion. Wineries accounted for nearly half of value-added.

Crop diversity has slowly declined since 2005, the report finds, making the region more vulnerable to fluctuations in the strawberry market, for one. That’s so even though as many crop types are grown in the area as ever.

“It means that a small number of crops have grown to represent larger pieces of the economic pie,” the report says. “Strawberry shipments for example, accounted for 10.7 percent  of the county’s overall production value in 2004, but expanded to 19.9 percent a decade later.”

Nevertheless, Monterey’s diversity was rated higher than three other coastal counties: Santa Cruz, San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara.

The agriculture industry employed 55,702 in 2014, or 23.7 percent  of all local jobs, up from 45,140 and 20 percent.

Salinas Valley vegetables and strawberries – grossing about $5500 to Atlanta.


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Post Memorial Day Produce Loading Opportunities Across America

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DSCN1335As we get back in the groove following the long Memorial weekend, here are some of the better produce loading opportunities at various shipping points across America.

Western Produce Shipping Areas

Washington state easily provides the most loading opportunities in the Northwest with apples averaging over 3200 truck loads per week.  The Yakima and Wenatchee Valleys also have pears in much smaller volume.

Washington apples – grossing about $5000 to Dallas.

Idaho potato shipments continue as we approach the last few months of the 2014-15 shipping season.  About 1300 truck load equivalents are being handled weekly, although rails account for a larger percentage than with most produce items.  However, trucks still rule!

Idaho potatoes – grossing about $4700 to New York City.

In California, strawberry shipments remain in heavy volume, with about equal movement coming out of the Watsonville area and the Santa Maria District.  Nearly 1200 truck loads per week are being shipped from these two areas…Also, big volume with mixed vegetables continue from the Salinas Valley.

Salinas/Watsonville vegetables and strawberries – grossing about $6300 to Orlando.

At Nogales, AZ, about 2500 truck loads of watermelons are crossing the border from Mexico each week.   Mexican grape shipments also are increasing.

Nogales produce – grossing about $2600 to Dallas.

Central Produce Shipping Areas

San Luis Valley potato shipments from Southern Colorado continue on a steady pace averaging about 600 truck loads per week…..Central Wisconsin potato loadings are much lighter heading towards the end of its season.

Colorado potatoes – grossing about $2200 to Chicago.

In South Texas, about 1000 truck loads of Mexican avocados are crossing the border each week at McAllen.  There also are a number of tropical fruits and limes crossing in moderate volumes.  Texas sweet onion shipments are just about finished for the season.

South Texas produce – grossing about $2600 to Atlanta.

Eastern Produce Shipments

While Florida is headed towards a seasonal end to its spring produce shipping season, more of the focus moves to Georgia.  As Florida blueberry shipments rapidly decline, “blues” are gaining in volume from Southern Georgia.  The state also has moderate volume with vegetables ranging from cabbage to beans and Vidalia onions.

North Carolina sweet potatoes continue to be shipped in moderate volume, mostly from eastern areas of the state.



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Volume Continues to Build from California’s Coastal Areas

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California produce shipments

DSCN4408+1With the Huron shipping district in the San Joaquin Valley finished, the primary suppliers of the nation’s vegetable row crops are the Salinas and Santa Maria valleys.

These two areas on California’s coast are shipping  Iceberg lettuce, all the mixed and specialty lettuces, cauliflower, broccoli and celery, plus dozens of other items in smaller volumes.  California now has over 500 truckloads of head lettuce shipments weekly, mostly out of Salinas.

About the best thing for produce truckers this time of the year in California is fewer production areas, making it easier to get full loads due to the increased volume, plus a lot of product typically is loaded at one dock.  This certainly beats wintertime when mulitple pick ups can start in Central or Southern California and extend to Coachella, the Imperial Valley and Yuma – and perhaps even Nogales.  Not good.

Over the next two to three months California will be in its peak strawberry shipping period with 6 million to 7 million trays or more being shipped each week.

While Ventura County strawberries are in a seasonal decline, the Santa Maria district is shipping over 500 truckloads per week.  Strawberry shipments are building from the Watsonville district, and will soon surpass Santa Maria in volume.

Produce Rates

Salinas Valley vegetables and berries – grossing about $4300 to Dallas; $7100 to New York City.

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Florida Spring Produce Shipments are Increasing

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DSCN4430We’re rapidly approaching the prime shipping season for Florida spring vegetables.

Growing conditions have mostly been favorable and if anything crops tend to be maturing a little earlier than normal.  Peak shipments will occur during April and May.

Overall, Florida should have normal volume this spring.   Shipments are increasing on items from Southern Florida ranging from bell peppers to cucumbers, squash, sweet corn, beans, cabbage and eggplant.  Shipments of red potatoes continue.

Brisk movement entering April will be pushed even more since Easter is early this year – April 5th….Cabbage shipments had been heavy leading up to St. Patrick’s Day (yesterday), but good volumes will continue.

An exception to normal supplies are Florida tomatoes.  Cold February weather has reduced supplies and shipments of tomatoes, but are now starting to rebound and will be back to normal by late March.

Citrus shipments continue to be good and volume is steady from week to week from Central and Southern areas.

Florida blueberry shipments are just getting underway from Central Florida, with good volume by early April.   South Florida watermelon loads should become available by the end of March.

Strawberry shipments from the Plant City area continue in good volume, but shipments will soon decline with the season ending in early April.

South Florida produce shipments – grossing about $3200 to New York City.

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Looking at a Few Western Produce Shipping Areas

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DSCN4470Here we take look at Washington apple shipments, Idaho and Oregon onion loads, Idaho potatoes, plus the outlook for California strawberry shipments coming for Easter.

Washington state ships approximately 60 percent of the apples in the United States, but it is responsible for over 90 percent of the apple exports.  In a typical year, Washington exports one-third of its production outside of the United States.  Needless to say, exporters were relieved to see the port labor dispute on the West Coast settled.

Yakima Valley apples – grossing about $1000 to Seattle, $5000 to Dallas.

Idaho Potato Shipments

Looking at the Twin Falls, ID area, potato shipments remain pretty steady from week to week and are averaging around 1800 truck load equivalents per week….Moving to western Idaho and eastern Oregon, there are about 300 truck loads of dry onions moving from storages per week.

Idaho potatoes – grossing about $5600 to New York City.

Western Idaho and Malheur County, OR onions – grossing about $4700 to Atlanta.

California Strawberries

Easter Sunday is April 5th, and all three California berry growing regions will be up and running, and shipments should be good.  Also, keep in mind the primary California strawberry shipping areas are cranking up a couple of weeks early this year because of excellent growing conditions.

Oxnard, which typically peaks from mid-March to mid-April is starting shipments about two weeks early.  Santa Maria will also will have strawberry shipments  for Easter, while Watsonville will play a supplemental role with light strawberry volume for the holiday…..Currently Oxnard not only has light volume with berries, but other items ranging from celery to romaine and leaf lettuce, as well as cabbage.

Ventura County (Oxnard) produce – grossing about $4500 to Chicago.



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