Posts Tagged “sweet potato shipments”

NC Sweet Potato Shipping Update; Inaugural U.S. Arrival of Avocados from Colombia

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ColumbiaAdequate supplies of sweet potatoes shipments to U.S. markets are seen in the coming weeks.  Meanwhile, the first ever avocados from Columbia have arrived in the U.S.

North Carolina, the nation’s leading producer and shipper of sweet potatoes should have good supplies the remainder the year, including the important Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.

The Tar Heel State has only 83,000 acres, which is 15,000 fewer acres than last season, which is significant considering the state produces over half of the sweet potatoes in the U.S. The loss of acreage is expected to be partially offset by a five percent increase in yields.  The harvest continues, but should be mostly completed by Thanksgiving.

Some of the major NC sweet potato shippers are:

Tull Hill Farms Inc., Kinston, N.C.,

Southern Produce Distributors Inc., Faison, N.C.,

Burch Farms, Faison, N.C

Nash Produce LLC, Nashville, N.C.,

Imported Columbian Avocados

The first containers of Colombian avocados destined for the United States were loaded onto vessels at the Port of Cartagena on Thursday, November 2, during a ceremony that included Colombian avocado growers and packers, and Colombian Secretary of Agriculture Juan Guillermo Zuluaga, Instituto Colombiano Agropecuario (ICA) officials.

This shipment, on a Hapag Lloyd service, sailed on Friday, November 3, and was delivered on Monday, November 6 to Port Everglades, Florida. Once the shipment clears inspections it will be moved directly to Mission’s Atlanta forward distribution center for further inspection before being delivered to the final customer.

Brent Scattini, Mission’s Vice President of Sales & Marketing, indicated that there is strong interest in Colombian fruit from a retailer perspective. “Since the announcement about Colombia being allowed into the U.S., we’ve had customers asking about it, and several wanting to be the first to receive the fruit. We expect volume to build throughout the season, as well as in years to come. Having an additional source, another option, is good for our customer base.”

Cartama is the leading producer and distributor of Hass avocados in Colombia. The company produces avocados on nearly 1,000 hectares in Colombia, with a packing plant in Pereira.

Mission Produce  of Oxnard, CA operates state-of-the-art avocado packing facilities in California, Mexico, Peru and Chile.


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Sweet Potato Shipments for New Season are Just Getting Started

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DSCN9997U.S. domestic sweet potato shipments of the new crop started recently from two of the leading states, North Carolina and Louisiana.

Loading opportunities for sweet potatoes should be similar this season compared to a year ago from the top volume state of North Carolina, as well as from Louisiana.   The harvest got underway in late August by some companies, while getting started in early September with others.  Assuming the product is cured before shipping, this mean the hauling season has barely started.

Observers believe there are around 3.1 billion pounds of sweet potatoes to be shipped during the season that lasts about a year from approximately August to August.

SMP Southeast/Edmonson Farms, Vardaman, MS has added 350-400 acres this season with its beauregard, bellevue and orleans varieties.

Wayne E. Bailey Produce Co., Chadbourn, N.C., began its harvest the latter part of  August, about a week earlier than last year and hopes to wrap up digging by the end of October.

Some sweet potatoes from this past season are still being shipped from storage as is the case with Ham Produce Co. Inc., Snow Hill, N.C.  It should complete shipments of the old crop by the end of  September, while transiting to its 2017 crop.

Potato and sweet potato shipper Wada Farms Marketing Group LLC, of Idaho Falls, ID markets sweet potatoes for some growers in sweet potato producing states.  Its growers started harvesting around the start of September.

Kornegay Family Produce, Princeton, N.C., began harvesting around Labor Day.

Meanwhile, Southern Produce Distributors Inc., Faison, N.C., launched its harvest the first week of September with the covington variety and planned to start digging murasakis, an increasingly popular purple-skin, white-flesh Asian variety, three weeks later.

Garber Farms, Iota, LA., was on a similar path to getting its season underway and like other areas, was reporting good, quality sweet potatoes.



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Sweet Potato Popularity is Soaring

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003Between 2009 and 2014, per capita sweet potato consumption grew 60 percent in the United States to 7.5 pounds, according to U.S. Department of Agriculture data.

North Carolina easily leads sweet potato shipments, where about half of all domestic sweet potatoes are grown.

Sweet potato popularity has taken off with a 400 percent increase in sales since 2009 and a 30 percent increase in 2015 alone.  Already this year the dollar value of shipments is tracking 30 percent ahead of 2015’s record year, which exceeded $100 million for the first time. The United Kingdom receives over half of all exports from North Carolina, followed by the Netherlands and Canada. Belgium and Germany have seen big bumps in recent years and new markets like Norway are taking off.  The Tar Heel State has also been investing to develop export markets, particularly in Europe, where sweet potatoes are not a traditional part of the diet.

North Carolina sweet potatoes are an unfamiliar food for many Europeans, but their sweet flavor, healthy profile and versatility are quickly winning over new consumers. The North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission has partnered with the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services’ International Trade Office to run education and promotion campaigns to introduce sweet potatoes to Europeans and show how to prepare and enjoy them.  Current NCSPC Executive Director Kelly McIver came from NDACS’ marketing division and managed those programs.

“Introducing sweet potatoes to Europe gave us an opportunity to build our story for this ‘exotic’ vegetable,” McIver said in a press release. “We executed an integrated campaign that reached the trade, media and consumers to make N.C. sweet potatoes part of their diet.”

Europeans have adopted sweet potatoes in meal preparation throughout the year. While popular for holiday tables, sweet potatoes are also being grilled or added to salads in the summer, while being roasted or added to soups and stews in colder months. Their extensive nutrition benefits, delicious taste, and versatility are making sweet potatoes a regular part of meals at home and in restaurants.

Sweet potato shipments from  the Benson, NC area to Miami, FL – grossing about $2000;$1500 to Philadelphia; and $1000 to Atlanta.

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Thanksgiving Shipping Update: Normal Volume Depends Upon the Items

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001Normal Thanksgiving produce shipments are occurring for such favorites as sweet potatoes and cranberries, but green bean volume will be light.

North Carolina sweet potatoes shipments for the new crop got underway in mid August this year, a couple of week earlier than usual.  Fortunately, there was great weather for about six weeks that allowed harvesting to go pretty much uninterrupted.

It could have been a real disaster for North Carolina sweet potato shippers if Hurricane Joaquin hadn’t taken a right turn into the Atlantic.  Otherwise North Carolina may have been pounded with rains and flooding like South Carolina.

Eastern North Carolina sweet potatoes – grossing $3000 to Boston and Chicago.

Cranberry Shipments

Wisconsin continues to the be leading state for fresh cranberry shipments, with Tomah, Wis.-based Habelman Bros. Co., of Tomah, WI being the largest grower/shipper.  The Wisconsin cranberry harvest has been in full swing as it gears up for Thanksgiving shipments.

Green Bean Shipments

Green bean shipments for Thanksgiving out of the Southeast are expected to be very light due to heavy September rains.  Some bean shippers will be down as much as 60 percent compared to last year.  Excessive rains washed a lot of plantings out.  Green bean shipments are not expected to rebound until after Thanksgiving.

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Some Loading Opportunities in Arkansas and New Mexico

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DSCN5453Tomato shipments have started from Arkansas, as the state’s sweet potato loadings continue.  Additionally, New Mexico is now shipping onions.

Arkansas tomato shipments got underway in early June from the Hermitage area in the southern part of the state.  Loadings will include a majority of vine ripe tomatoes, with much smaller volumes in romas and grape tomatoes.  Despite a lot rain this spring, and less acreage due to the wet fields preventing some plantings, growers are predicting over all better tomato shipments than the past two years.

Arkansas may not be known for its sweet potato shipments, but Matthews Ridgeview Farms at Wynne in the Northeastern part of the state has been increasing volume significantly in recent years. It is still shipping sweet potatoes from the 2014-15 season.  Matthews is looking to increase production 15 -20 percent for the 2015-16 season. It ships sweet potatoes through much of the Midwest and to a few receivers in Canada.

New Mexico Onion Shipments

A normal start with New Mexico onion shipments kicked off in late May and  run through late August, with some sheds shipping through mid-September.  New Mexico growers planted about 5,200 acres of dry onions in 2014, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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Central USA Produce Shipments from Texas to North Dakota

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From the South Texas-Mexican border to the Canadian border, here is a look at produce shipments originating out of the central United States.

Lower Rio Grand Valley Produce Shipments

There are steady Texas grapefruit shipments, amounting to around 200 truck loads weekly, with about one-fourth this volume in oranges.  Just south of San Antonio, cabbage shipments are increasing…..However, the biggest volume comes with Mexican produce shipments.  There is everything from such tropical as mangos, papayas, and pineapples to watermelon, peppers, roma tomatoes, broccoli and carrots.

A word of caution.  Although volume is very light with Mexican tomatillos and chayote, some quality problems are being reported.

Lower Rio Grand Valley/Mexican produce – grossing about $4800 to New York City.

Sweet Potato Shipments

Both Louisiana and Mississippi are shipping sweet potatoes, but volume is light.

Michigan Produce Shipments

Heaviest produce volume in Michigan remains with apples, primarily out of the Western area of the state, averaging about 175 truck loads per week…There are about 125 truck loads of potato loadings a week….Finally, there are still some storage onions left, but it is in a seasonal decline.

Michigan apples – grossing about $2400 to Atlanta.

Wisconsin Potato Shipments

Central Wisconsin is shipping over 300 truck loads of primarily russet potatoes weekly.

Wisconsin potatoes – grossing about $2200 to Houston.

Red River Valley Potato Shipments

Eastern North Dakota and Western Minnesota are shipping red potatoes in similar volume to that of Wisconsin.

Red River Valley potatoes – grossing about $1950 to Chicago.




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Where to Find Potato and Sweet Potato Loadings

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DSCN5087Here’s a round up of major active potato and sweet potato shipping areas around the U.S.

Sweet Potato Shipments

Louisiana sweet potato shipments are expected to continue through June.   The fresh crop is larger this year due to an increase in acreage and higher yields.  Nearby Mississippi has a similar situation.  Both states are loading anywhere from 375 to 500 truck loads weekly….In California, a little less volume is coming out of the Atwater/Livingston district….However, as usual, Eastern North Carolina continues to be the big player, averaging more volume than the other three states combined.

Louisiana sweet potatoes – grossing about $1800 to Chicago.

Eastern North Carolina sweet potatoes – grossing about $2500 to New York City.

Potato Shipments

Idaho is to potatoes what North Carolina is to sweet potatoes.  Idaho is averaging around 1,750 truck load equivalents a week, although rail plays a larger role than with most commodities and shipping areas….Colorado potato shipments rank second at about  750 truck loads a week, with all of it being by truck….Central Wisconsin potato shipments come in third with volume…. Surprisingly, Nebraska is loading about 200 truck loads weekly, although volume is divided between two shipping areas — Imperial in the southwestern part of the state, and O’Neill in the northeastern region.

Western Michigan potato shipments, as well as spuds originating out of Presque Isle, Me are providing light, but steady volume.

Idaho potatoes – grossing about $5800 to Orlando.

San Luis Valley, CO potatoes – grossing about $2900 to Atlanta.



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Moderate Produce Shipments from Eastern U.S. Shipping Areas

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DSCN4359Here are some of the better loading opportunities occurring in the Eastern United States, although volume from most areas is modest at best.

Florida produce shipments and truck rates tend to get a little funky during the holidays as there is a rush to deliver product for Christmas, then reorder between Christmas and New Year’s.  Rates tend to fluctuate more than normal during this time.

Tomato shipments in Florida’s Homestead region should kick off in January, but overall Florida volume will likely fall off as Mexican tomato shipments ramp up.  Many Florida tomato growers simply don’t grow as heavily for winter as they do for fall and spring.  Shipments in the Ruskin/Palmetto growing region of Florida pretty much finished  last week, with Immokalee taking over the lion’s share of the Sunshine State’s tomato volume.

Florida strawberry shipments were slow to pick up thanks to cool weather,  but that began changing last week.  Volume should hit, good, normal levels in early January.

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

Sweet Potato Shipments

Domestic shipments in the USA for sweet potatoes has risen by 40 percent since 2008, with exports rising exponentially during the same period.   North Carolina is the leading state in sweet potato shipments.

North Carolina sweet potatoes – grossing about $3000 to Chicago.

New York Produce Shipments

Apple shipments are originating out of Western and Central New York, as well as the Champlain Valley, but the biggest volume is from the Hudson Valley.  Cabbage loadings continue from Central and western areas, while most onion shipments are coming out of Orange County.

Hudson Valley apples – grossing about $2000 to Atlanta.



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Holiday Shipping Preview is Here for berries, Sweet Potatoes, Nogales Veggies

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DSCN4482Here’s a shipping round up for deliveries in time for Thanksgiving, ranging from various shipping areas handling everything from strawberries to sweet potatoes, melons and veggies.

Strawberry Shipments from CA, FL, and Mexico

California is shipping about 2 million trays of strawberries per week, primarily out of Ventura County.  However, this is expected to decline over the next few weeks.

Early October hot weather and cooler weather in November are two factors blamed for reducing California strawberry shipments.  However, by December, Southern California, Florida and Mexico will be ramping up for holiday shipments including Christmas and New Year’s.

Mexican strawberry shipments are now moving into good volume.  Florida berries should hit decent volume by the week of November 24th and hit heavy loadings by mid December.

Oxnard, CA strawberry shipments – grossing about $7000 to Boston.

Sweet Potato Shipments

Four states ship the vast majority of the nation’s sweet potatoes.  However, North Carolina is shipping as many as Mississippi, Louisiana and California (Atwood/Livingston district) combined.  However, volume from all of these states are increasing as we approach Thanksgiving.  North Carolina is averaging around 250 truck loads per week.

Eastern North Carolina sweet potatoes – grossing about $3000 to Chicago.

Nogales Produce Shipments

While Nogales, AZ will not hit peak produce shipments with product from Mexico until the end of the year, or January, decent supplies are currently available on some items.  Watermelons are averaging about 625 truck loads weekly, with honeydew being about one-half this volume.  A number vegetables ranging from various types of peppers to zuchnni and butternut squash are available in light volume, but seasonally increasing.

Unfortunately, there are too many mixed loads this time of year, due to limited volume.  It’s not uncommon for produce haulers to start out in Central or Southern California and making several pick ups before filling out the truck in Nogales.

Mexican melons and vegetables through Nogales – grossing about $6000 to New York City.


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Looking Ahead for Thanksgiving Produce Shipments

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DSCN4657Thanksgiving produce shipments  should be in good supply in the weeks ahead, with the exception of green beans.

Bean loadings will be about half of normal for the holidays this year due to excessive rains in the Belle Glade, Fla., growing area over the past two months.  Additionally,  other shipping areas are not expected to pick up much of the slack.   This time of year Northern Florida is too cool, while there are not as many growers in Homestead as there used to be.

Sweet Potato Shipments

The 2013 storage  sweet potato crop ended early, creating a strong demand and shipments right out of the gate for the new season.  However, it also resulted in a tremendous amount of sweet potatoes being shipped green early in the season.  That’s okay if the receiver is aware before what he is being delivered.  However,  Thanksgiving shipments of sweet potatoe should be another story, because North Carolina will have good-quality cured product in time  for the holidays.   Sweet potato shipments from North Carolina, Louisiana, Mississippi and California should remain steady  into November, until shipments start picking up for Thanksgiving, which is November 27th.

Eastern North Carolina sweet potatoes – grossing about $3000 to Chicago.

Apple Shipments

The two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving are the biggest weeks of the year for granny smith shipments.    Granny smith loadings typically double in some cases because the apple variety is so popular in making pies and other baked goods for Thanksgiving.  However, the apple category as a whole typically dips in shipments running up to Thanksgiving, as consumers are focused more on their big meals and less on snacking.

Michigan apples – grossing about $4400 to Miami.

Washington apples – grossing about $7100 to New York City.


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