Posts Tagged “vegetable shipments”
Fall vegetable shipments from Georgia are not typically as heavy as those of summer, but those in the ground were hit hard by Hurricane Michael. Just how hard will not be known for awhile.
The Category 4 hurricane hit near Mexico Beach in the Florida Panhandle and weakened to a tropical storm before sweeping across Georgia and the Carolinas. The fast moving storm moved out of Georgia on the morning of October 11th. The storm tracked across Georgia at a northeast bearing, moving from Bainbridge to Cordele and then Warner Robins, GA.
Wind was the primary cause of damage to crop with 75-mph winds taking a heavy toll. Near the path of the storm, cucumber, green bean and squash plants were broken by the wind.
Many of Georgia’s vegetable growers also grow cotton, which was devastated by the storm. Heavy damage to Georgia’s pecan crop also is expected. A good portion of Georgia’s vegetable growing areas, such as Lake Park, were south of the storm’s path.
Here is a glimpse of some produce loading opportunities found east of the Rocky Mountains, stretching to the East Coast.
Florida is entering its last few weeks of spring vegetable shipments. Sweet corn is averaging 700 – plus truck loads per week primarily from central and southern areas of the state, while just under 700 truck loads of mature green tomatoes are being shipped weekly. There also is decent volume coming from red potatoes and cabbage, with lighter volume on cabbages and dozens of other vegetables. A biggie when it comes to shipments is yet to arrive. Watermelon loadings are in light volume but rapidly increasing.
Florida vegetables – grossing about $3300 to New York City.
Chilean imported grapes totaled around 1200 truck loads arriving by boat last week, primarily at the Ports of Philadelphia and Long Beach, CA. However, expected is a significant decline in volume as Chilean grapes come to a seasonal end.
Sweet potato shipments are pretty steady from the Eastern part of North Carolina averaging around 400 truck loads per week. This is triple the amount of volume coming out of California, Louisiana and Mississippi combined.
New York state is shipping light amounts of apples, but they are coming from scattered areas across much of the states. There also is light volume with cabbage and onions.
Michigan is moving about 100 truck loads of apples from the western half of the state, plus light amounts of potatoes and onions, many which are being brought in from other growing areas for repacking and distribution.
Michigan apples – grossing about $3800 to Boston.
The Red River Valley of eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota have light volume with red potatoes averaging about 200 truck loads weekly, while shippers in the Central area of Wisconsin are shipping similar amounts of russets.
In the Southeastern part of Colorado, around 625 truck loads of russet potatoes are being loaded each week.
Colorado and Wisconsin potatoes – both averaging about $3000 to Atlanta.
A shipping gap appears likely in the West as vegetables from the desert shipping areas of California and Arizona are seasonally winding down. At the same time the seasonal transition of the products from the desert to Huron in the San Joaquin Valley and to the Salinas Valley probably won’t be that smooth. Light vegetable shipments at best are seen in the coming weeks.
There seems to be more years than not, when a smooth transition from the desert areas to those to the north in California fail to materialize.
Refrigerated truck loadings out of the desert are wrapping up one to two weeks early this season, aided primarily by warmer weather, at least by winter standards there, even though there has been enough winter weather to cause quality problems with lettuce. This is has been primarily with California desert head lettuce showing blistering and having problems with peel.
Vegetables out Salinas and Huron were scheduled to start shipping a week or two earlier, but cooler weather pushed back the growing schedule. As a result of the desert ending early combined with delays in Salinas and Huron, vegetable shipments will be lighter well into March. Unless the weather cooperates, the situation could extend into the middle of April.
Truck loadings in Salinas and Santa Maria with cauliflower and broccoli are just starting in very light volume.
Vegetable shipments in the desert typically extends through March, but the season is expected to finish as much as two weeks earlier than that.
Head lettuce shipments from the Huron district in the San Joaquin Valley should get underway in light fashion during the last half of March. Volume loadings of Salinas Valley lettuce should occur during the first half of April, about one to two weeks later than normal.
Vegetable shipments from El Centro, CA and Yuma, AZ are grossing about $6700 to New York City.
Produce trucking can be frustrating this time of year as spring is still a month away (March 20th), rates are down from earlier in the year, and spring vegetable shipments have yet to seasonally take off.
An interesting note is imported truck loads that include everything from Nogales and South Texas, as well as ports on both coasts, there were 7000 fewer truck loads shipped than during the same week in 2017. Part of the explanation is many imported produce items are maturing on a more normal schedule this year, compared to last year when warmer weather resulted in a lot of early crops.
Florida spring shipments won’t hit volume for several weeks, but there are signs of life. The new season for red potatoes out of Southern areas is underway, and we are seeing light but increasing volume with vegetables such as beans and cabbage. Tomatoes (mostly mature greens) are averaging around 750 truck loads weekly, although most loads out of the state involve multiple pick ups. Plant City area strawberries are averaging around 500 truck loads a week.
Florida produce – grossing around $3000 to New York City.
Port of Philadelphia
Chilean fruit arrivals are growing in volume. Early season Chilean grapes haven’t been that impressive quality-wise, but it’s good enough you shouldn’t face claims issues over it. There also is increasing volume with peaches, plums and nectarines. However, the biggest single volume item may be pineapples from Costa Rica and other Central American countries.
Otherwise, it is pretty much slim pickings from the Eastern time zone. You’ve got light volume out of New York state with apples, cabbage and storage onions. Eastern North Carolina is shipping around 250 truck loads of sweet potatoes each week, which is more than double the other leading states of California, Mississippi and Louisiana combined.
Michigan is moving about 150 truck loads of apples weekly, primarily from the Grand Rapids region. Some shippers buy items such as potatoes and onions from Western states, repack them, and then ship it out.
There’s a lot of talk about soaring truck rates, including produce, and how long these levels will last, considering January is typically one of the poorest months for decent rates. Nobody really knows, so it is going to be very interesting once spring produce volume starts kicking in with March.
In January, some truck rates exceeded $10,000 from the Imperial Valley of California to New York City. This compares to a $6,000 to $6,200 rate in January 2017. Two years ago, the rates were $5,800 to $6,000 to New York.
Florida has a similar situation where produce rates from central and south Florida to Baltimore were up 30 percent a week ago compared with the previous week, grossing $2,700 to$2,900. The same time a year ago those rates were $1,900 to $2,200, and $2,100 to $2,200 two years ago.
While Florida volume is seasonally low compared to what it will be in April and May, product is moving fast partly because the Sunshine State has a significant freight advantage over Mexican vegetable shipments to many eastern seaboard markets.
In the Red River Valley of North Dakota and Minnesota a bumper red potato crop is 46 percent larger than a year ago. Yet some observers believe potato shipments could be up to 20 percent more if the trucks were available.
Potato rates from Grand Forks, MN are $3 per hundred weight (cwt) higher than last year to South Florida, putting the gross freight rate at $6000. Rates to Boston from the valley are up $2 per cwt. and $2.50 to Chicago.
Significant credit has to be given President Trump cutting regulations, as well as the recent tax bill which is helping spur the economy. Business is booming for many. This has increased demands for transportation services, plus there is a scarcity of qualified drivers, leaving many shippers scrambling to ship sold product. There also are the adverse consequences of the electronic logging device mandate, making it difficult if not impossible to fudge on hours of service.
Many see a need for changes in hours of service. For example, time spent waiting at loading docks counts against operating hours. Produce is a supply and demand business and demand simply is outstripping the supply of available drivers.
There’s probably no single California produce item having more truck loads per week than table grapes, although this should be changing soon as volume is headed towards a season ending slide. Still, San Joaquin Valley shippers loaded about 975 truck loads last week. The first Chilean grapes to arrive at Philadelphia by boat are expected the week of December 18th.
In the Southern San Joaquin Valley in the Bakersfield area, there is pretty steady movement of carrots averaging around 375 truck loads weekly.
As the seasonal shift of vegetable shipments is nearly completed from the Salinas Valley, light volume of items ranging from broccoli to cauliflower has started from Central and Western Arizona. Heavier volume already is underway, particularly from the Yuma area with lettuce. The combination of head lettuce, as well as romaine and leaf lettuce totaled nearly 2500 truck loads last week and volume is still increasing.
Low Tomato Shipments
Thanks to Hurricane Irma last September, Florida tomato shipments this season are down 54 percent compared to the same time a year ago. Florida, as of December 9th has shipped 3.44 million cartons, down 54 percent from 7.4 million cartons in 2106. For example, Florida tomato shipments the week of December. 3-9 totaled 500,000 cartons, down over 65 percent compared with 1.492 million cartons the same week last year.
The USDA reports total supply of domestic and imported tomatoes the week of Dec. 3-9 was 1.9 million cartons, down 25 percent from 2.56 million cartons the same week a year ago.
Tomato prices at shipping point had hit $35 in mid-December resulting in high prices at retail stores and resulting in fewer sales as consumers balked at the high prices. The f.o.b. (shipping point) price for central and south Florida tomatoes on Dec. 12 was $37.95 per carton for some mature green tomatoes, four times higher than the $8.95 per carton the same time a year ago.
Cold weather in central and eastern parts of the country limited some Mexican tomato shipments coming through south Texas in early December. For imports coming in through Nogales, tomato shipments from Sinaloa, Mexico should experience significant volume increases in January.
Florida may not have normal tomato shipments until mid-January.
Wanting to spend the Fourth of July with family and friends instead of on the road? Here are some of the better opportunities for produce shipments leading up to the celebration of our nation’s 241st celebration of independence.
Avocado loadings will be good, but certainly not great. When you take Mexico pretty out of the mix, because this time of year shipments are at a seasonal low, you are pretty much left with Southern California, as well as imports from Peru arriving at various ports. Still there will be 40 to 45 million pounds of avocado across the U.S. being shipped weekly. We’ll also mention Southern Florida avocado shipments. Florida’s biggest avocado shipper, Brooks Tropical of Homestead will be having its heaviest loadings in two years.
New Jersey blueberries will be in peak season, mostly from the Southern part of the state.
If you loaded British Columbia blueberries last season in time for Fourth of July activities that won’t happen this year. BC blues are a month later, which is more normal, and shipments won’t get underway until the first week of July. The region should ship about 170 million pounds this season, lasting into mid September.
On the West Coast, Mother Nature has been kind to strawberries from the Watsonville area. Heavy shipments are now occurring and will remain that way through mid July. There also will be much lighter loadings of raspberries, blueberries and blackberries, which will start hitting stride around the Fourth of July.
Salinas Valley berries and vegetables – grossing abut $7900 to New York City.
Early season watermelons from Texas have probably been the best quality in a few years and that hopefully will continue with maturing fruit coming on in Oklahoma…..Meanwhile, Northern Florida and Georgia are looking to have a decent amount of shipments, although volume has been heavier in some other years.
Central Florida watermelons – grossing about $2800 to New York City.
Decent supplies of vegetables are coming out of Southern Georgia. For example, the Moultrie area is loading items ranging from sweet corn to squash, cabbage and green beans……North Carolina vegetable shipments are ranging from bell peppers, hot peppers and eggplant….Moving to California, the Gilroy area has some of the state’s largest shipments of sweet corn…..The roller coast ride for Salinas Valley head lettuce has continued since last spring. Shipments should be a little more steady now, with volume better than last year time, but still not heavy.
Southern Georgia vegetable shipments – grossing about $2000 to New York City.
There’s been some adjustments in the shipping forecast for some Georgia produce shipments since a March freeze. Also, Port Manatee in Florida is looking to expand business with South America.
An update on Georgia produce shipments has been made after the USDA declare nearly two dozen counties a disaster as a result of a March freeze.
Georgia blueberry shipments will be 75 percent less this season. Loading are taking place and will continue through June. Georgia had originally estimated a total of 80 million pounds for the fresh and processed markets. 2016 blueberry shipments totaled a little over 70 million pounds, with about 45 million pounds going to the fresh market. Georgia’s record year of blueberry production was 96 million pounds total volume in 2014, 58 million pounds of which went to the fresh market.
Georgia peach shipments are starting any day now. While the original estimate for losses from the freeze were in the 40 to 50 percent range, the losses have now improved. Recently some growers was talking peach shipments should be down about 25 to 35 percent. Last year, Georgia shipped 43,000 tons of peaches.
There is good supply, quality and steady shipments of Vidalia onions occurring, averaging about 500 truck loads per week. Vidalia onions were the only Georgia produce crop not affected by that March freeze.
Vidalia onions – grossing about $2000 to Chicago.
Georgia green bean shipments have been underway since the first week of May and should continue through mid-July. Sweet corn is just getting underway, but good volume won’t occur until June and continuing through July Fourth. Georgia squash and zucchini loadings started a couple weeks early this season and will run through June.
Port Manatee, Palmetto, Fla., is planning to expand commercial ties with Colombia and Chile.
“We see significant opportunity for growing trade between our nation and Port Manatee,” Juan C. Barrera, general deputy director for the United States of ProColombia USA, said in a news release. “Both import and export opportunities exist for businesses in Manatee County and beyond, and we look forward to exploring these mutually beneficial possibilities,”
“We are enthused about fortifying the business relationship between Manatee County interests, including our port, and our counterparts in Colombia and are committed to growing such ties,” Carlos Buqueras, executive director of Port Manatee, said in the release.
“We have the largest dock side refrigerated facility in Florida,” Buqueras said. “We have such capacity, it’s a shame not to utilize it.”
A deal with Chile is still in negotiations, Buqueras said.
“It’ll start with test shipments,” he said. “That will give us the opportunity to make corrections or enhance speed to market,”
Produce currently represents 30% of Port Manatee’s import business, according to Buqueras. He said it is too early in negotiations to say how much produce imports would increase because of expanded ties.
Heavy California strawberry shipments should continue for the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, Michigan asparagus was clobbered by a hard freeze, but good volume is returning soon.
While fresh strawberry shipments from Oxnard are over with only berries for processing being picked, fresh loadings have moved northward to Santa Maria and Watsonville. A significant increase in volume took place last week and will the trend will continue. Watsonville will experience its heaviest strawberry shipments the last week of May through the first week of June. Santa Maria strawberry shipments are currently peaking.
Additionally, raspberry loadings are now coming out of Watsonville and are expected to have significant volume increases during the next weeks, which will continue through Summer and into the Fall.
Grower report that the four year drought in California resulted in a build up of salt in the soil, but this season’s heavy rains leeched most of that salt out of the ground. This is making for prime growing conditions, and crop quality.
California strawberry shipments have been heavy since right after Easter with good loading opportunities expected for upcoming holidays in the weeks ahead from the Northern districts.
Santa Maria strawberriy and vegetable shipments – grossing about $4300 to Chicago.
Salinas Valley strawberry and vegetable shipments – grossing about $6600 to New York City.
Michigan Asparagus Shipments
Asparagus is one of the most unusual produce crops I am familiar with. I was once visiting an asparagus farm in California and the owner told me that under excellent conditions the vegetable grew so fast at night you could literally hear it growing. It can grow as much as four to six inches a day!
I was reminded of this with the May 8th hard freeze in Michigan that severely hit the asparagus crop (see photo). Despite temperatures plunging to 23 degrees F. for two to three hours, resulting in a loss of an estimated 5 to 8 percent of the total crop, the season is far from lost. Decent volume will be returning this week, with peak volume shipments out of Michigan coming next week.
Typically, the heaviest asparagus shipments occur early in the season. That won’t happen in Michigan this year. Even though all the asparagus that was above ground froze, it will quickly rebound.
Michigan apple shipments – grossing about $2700 to Atlanta.
While 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.