Posts Tagged “Washington state”

Northwest Potato Shipments Look Favorable for September Start

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It is still a month away, but Northwest potato shipments are expected to be good this season, following last year when the growing season was plagued by adverse weather.

Earlier this year when weather delayed plantings nearly a month, Mother Nature changed her tune and now the season looks to be pretty much on schedule starting during the first half of September.

Although Washington state acreage is up this season, it is due mostly for processing potatoes.

Skagit Valley’s Best Produce of Mount Vernon, WA completed its 20th shipping season in early May. It now has all of its red, yellow, white and purple potatoes in the ground, and the crop is progressing nicely.

Norm Nelson Inc. of Mount Vernon finished its plantings in early June and should start potato shipments in mid September with a bumper crop.

Bouchey Potato of Harrah, WA started harvesting conventional potatoes in July, plus will be shipping organic reds, yellows, russets and fingerlings this season.

Oregon Potato Shipments

Oregon’s upcoming season appears to be following a similar pattern.

Botsford & Goodfellow Inc. of Clackamas, Ore. reports a similar weather pattern experienced by the Washington potato industry, with crops progressing in a similar manner. The company, which is a shipper and broker of potatoes, is just starting its new season.

Riverside Potato of Klamath falls, Ore. reports it is about two to three weeks late this year, overall. It ships reds, yellows and russets. 

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First Loads of Washington state Cherries are Shipped

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IMG_6043I was in Chicago early Friday (June 14) when the first two loads of cherries arrived at the Chicago International Produce Market (CIPM) from Washington state. Cherry shipments have gotten off to a slow start, but should really be picking up in the days ahead.

The truckers were paid a gross freight of $4,500 for the run originating out of the Yakima Valley.  The f.o.b. worth of the load of cherries was approximately $125,000!

There have been some concerns relating to weather factors causing cracks in Washington cherries this season. However, these loads of early variety Chelan cherries had decent quality.  The more popular Bing variety of cherries should start shipments the week of June 24th.

If you haul produce and plan on loading Washington cherries, continue to check what’s being put into the truck.  Just because this stone fruit had good quality, there’s not guarantee this cracking will not show up in future loads.

Volume on Washington cherries in increasing and should hit a peak around June 26 -28, just in time for Fourth of July deliveries.

Shipments should continue into August.

Washington also continues to ship late season apples and pears from both the Yakima and Wenachee valleys.  Although not as attractive an item, the state’s Columbia Basin is still loading potatoes.

Columbia Basin potatoes – grossing about $4100 to Chicago.

Yakima valley apples and pears – about $6500 to New York City.

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Western Produce Shipments are Gearing Up; Rates Soar

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Grower/shippers in California’s San Joaquin Valley report good shipments of quality California stone fruit in the last half of May and it should pick up even more with the month of June.



Yellow and white peaches, as well as yellow and white nectarines have been moving for the past month.

Peak stone fruit shipments will be occurring the last half of June and July, with about average shipments seen for the season.

PEARS – California pear shipments will start the earlier than at least the past couple of years.  Loadings are expected to get underway around July 9th.

Washington state

Northwest cherry shippers, for the first time in six years, expect good volume shipments for cherries in June.   The first shipments of cherries in the state could start from June 1 through June 3.

Barring some bad weather (which would probably be rain),  full bore cherry shipments should be occurring in time  for the Fourth of the July for the first time since 2007.

The record shipments of 23 million 20-pound boxes of Northwest cherries last year was a 23% increase over the 2011 crop.

The Northwest will likely harvest a cherry crop in the 18 million to 20 million carton range in 2013.

San Joaquin Valley stone fruit – grossing about $8,800 to Boston.

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Huge Northwest Apple Shipments Should Continue in Coming Years

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DSCN0393Only a few weeks ago if someone predicted there would be 21% more USA fresh-market apples in storage than the year before, you’d been considered a little nuts.  The same goes are anyone predicted there would be nearly 130 million boxes of apples shipped this season, especially after year’s damage to apple crops in Michigan and New York.

Washington state is  on pace to ship 129.6 million boxes this season, shattering the previous record by more than 20 million boxes.

Consider this.  Washington could ship 132,245 truckload equivalents of apples this season, which ends this summer.  (divide 129.6 million boxes by 1,980 boxes of apples that make up a truck load.)

Washington grower-shippers and officials knew they’d have a big crop, but not this big.  Following  July hailstorms, the estimate was in the 100 million to 110 million box range.  

Apparently the 2012 crop is no fluke.  It seems every five to seven years, apple shipments have jumped to another level.  In recent years loadings were in the 100- million to 109-million box range.  Prior to this there were years where shipments settled into the 80-million box volume.

For the 2013-13 season, observers are already talking about shipments being in the 120-million box range.  In other words, loadings hitting 120-million boxes is expected to become the new standard.

Michigan and New York apples

Apple shippers in Michigan and New York are expressing optimism about a big comeback from a disastrous freeze killing 2012-13 season that  wiped out about 85% of Michigan’s crop and 52% of New York’s.

Early variety apple shipments are expected to get underway around the third week of August. 

Washington state apples – grossing about $6600 to New York City.


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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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Washington State Has Loads of Fruit, Potatoes, Onions…

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This is Thanksgiving week and transportation needs and availability tend to get a little funky, or unpreditable.  Thanksgiving shipments have pretty much taken place, so the greatest need for trucks is expected to come as receivers relpinsh stocks following the long holidayweekend. 

The New York and Michigan apple industries got clobbered this season by bad weather, and shipments are expected to remain at record levels from both the Yakima Valley and Wenachee Valley.  The 2012-13 crop year – 121.5 million boxes could be shipped.

A breakdown by apple variety, also shows in millions of boxes, the following: Red Delicious/32.986; Golden Delicious/11.384; Granny Smith/11.163; Fuji/14.796; Gala/19.915; Braeburn/2.031; Jonagold/0.79; Cameo/0.618; Cripps Pink/2.81; Honeycrisp/2.95; and others/2.982.

As of November 1st, approximately 19.1 million boxes of apples had been shipped.   As of the same date in 2011, approximately 14.6 million boxes had been loaded.  During 2010, that number was 14.2 million boxes.


Through early November, Northwest growers had shipped 31 percent of the 2012-13 crop, up from 25% at the same time last year.

The 19.2 million boxes expected this year are down from last year’s 20.5 million-box record crop, but overall shipments should be right at the five-year average.

Potatoes and Onions

Washington state also is a major shipper of potatoes and onions, with the vast majority of loads originating from the Columbia Basin and extending into the Umatilla Basin of Oregon.

This area combined is accounting for nearly 750 truck load equivalents of onions on a weekly basis, and another 500 truck load equivalents of potatoes each week.

Washington state potatoes and onions – grossing about $6200 to Atlanta.

Washington state apples and pears – about $5400 to New York City.



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Eastern Apple Shipments will be down This Season

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There will be fewer apples for hauling in two of four of the leading eastern states this fall.  New York got hit the hardest by frost related weather earlier this year, but there also will be fewer loads available for produce haulers in North Carolina.  Pennsylvania and Virginia will be up in volume only slightly.

New York state’s Western and Central apple shipping areas were hit the hardest, with less frost damage occuring in the eastern part of the state, home of the Hudson Valley.  Still, New York’s volume will be down 52 percent from last apple season ( 590 million pounds compared to 1.2 billion pound a year ago). 

In Pennsylvania, apples are forecast to be at 481 million pounds.  It shipped 458 million pounds last year. 

North Carolina took a beating.  This year it expects to load 40 million pounds of apples compared to 140 million pounds in 2011.

The leading apple shipper in the mid-west, Michigan will ship 85 percent fewer apples this season.

Ironically, Washington state, which normally ships about half of the nation’s apples every year, is expected to account for 77 percent of the nation’s apple loads for 2012-13.  This is despite suffering some hail damage.  The state was on track for historic volume, until the fowl weather hit.  Still, Washington state is expected to have its second largest amount of apple shipments on record.

One difference produce haulers can expect out of the Northwest this season is for Washington shippers to be packing more apples than normal in the smaller, consumer bags.  This is because Michigan normally is heavy with bagged apples, and Washington packers will be looking to help fill this void.

Produce truckers should always watch what is being loaded, not only for proper count, but for quality and appearance of the product being loaded.  This is especially true if you are hauling apples from most shipping areas this season.  Expect shippers to be loading some fruit with pits or hail damage marks on it.  Just make sure whom you are hauling for is aware of this situation to help reduce changes of claims or rejected loads.   Also, be sure and note it on the bill of lading.

Washington state apples grossing – about $5600 to New York City.

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Fall Loads: Cranberries and California Apples

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Triple digit heat in much of the country has finally broken and fall shipments of fresh produce are coming.  Two such items are fresh cranberries, that will be shipped from a handful of states, plus California apples that fill a niche between loadings of Chilean fruit and apples out of Washington state.

The third largest cranberry crop on record is being forecast by the USDA, amounting to 7.6 million 100-pound barrels.   While Massachuetts will be down slightly from last fall, increases are seen in Wisconsin, Washington state, Oregon and New Jersey (the latter being virtually all processed fruit).

Expect Wisconsin cranberry shipments to get started around the week of September 17th, with Massachusetts starting around that same time as well. Oregon and Washington state seasonally start later.

While loadings begin in September, cranberries are still closely associated with the Thanksgiving holiday.  Thus, the big volume is moved in the first half of November leading up to the holiday.  With this big a crop, some loads will be moving after Thanksgiving (which is November 22nd) for the Christmas holidays.

California Apples

A lot more California apples used to be shipped than are today.  This situation reminds me a bit of vegetables shipped from the Eastern Shore area of Delaware, Maryland and Viriginia.  This region is sandwiched in between harvests to its south such as the Carolinas and Georgia, and to the north in shipping areas such as New Jersey and New York.  If the Eastern shore veggies are too early or too late they are up against shipments from competing areas to the north and south of them.  As a result of many “misses” compared to “hits” for the Eastern Shore,  shippers have hurt.  The result is fewer shippers and less volume than a decade or two ago.

If you are a veteran trucker who has hauled apples from California, you may remember in the mid 1990s there were around 10 million boxes of fruit being shipped for the season.  Today, that number has dwindled to about 2.5 to 3 million boxes.  Most of the loads originate out the Central San Joaquin Valley including San Joaquin County, Sonoma County and Santa Cruz County.

Shipments will continue through December.  Leading apple varieties are fujis, galas and granny smiths.

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Loading Opportunities Around the Country

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While I’ve written some reports suggesting caution when loading Washington state apples from the Wenachee Valley due to damage from a July 20 hail storm, information is now starting to come out relating to the pears from the same area.  Expect pear shippers to be loading some “hail grade” pears.  Appearance is affected, but eating quality should be fine.  Just make sure the parties with whom you are working to deliver the load are aware of this condition to the fruit and it is noted on the bill of lading.  Washington state pear shipments are expected to set a record this season volume wise.

In Michigan, produce shipments have been running early this season, not only for vegetables, but blueberries.  Expect both to complete shipping a week or two ahead of schedule this summer.  Michigan blueberry volume will drop significantly beginning the week of August 27th…..Expect a similar situation with “blues” coming out of Oregon and British Columbia.

In the San Luis Valley of Colorado, potato hauls should be ramping up by the end of August…Virtually all USA potato shipping areas are expecting to load more spuds during the 2012-13 shipping season.

On the East Coast, watermelon shipments have increased significantly over the past three years from Maryland and Delaware.  Virginia also is shipping melons…..Expect increased loading opportunities on watermelons for the upcoming Labor Day weekend from areas ranging from West Texas to Indiana and North Carolina.

Delaware watermelons – grossing about $1100 to New York City.


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National Apple Hauling Outlook

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Looking across the USA, there will be a lot of loading opportunities for apples, particularly in the west, although fewer than a several months ago before weather factors hit some orchards.

In the East, there actually should be a few more loads available for the 2012-13 season from both Pennsylvania and Virginia.  No word on the New England states, but volume from there is relatively light even in good years.

New York state, particularly the central and western shipping areas took a significant hit from freezing weather earlier in the year.  The Hudson Valley apparently escaped pretty much unscathed.  Overall, New York state apple shipments will be down around 50 percent, estimated to be about 590 million pounds.  Before the freeze, the state was looking at about 1.2 billion pounds of apples.

Poor ole Michigan took the biggest hit from freezing temperatures this year.  At one time is was looking to ship 985 million pounds.  Apple tonnage now is forecast at only 105 million pounds.

Washington state, which on any given year shipments about as many apples as the rest of the other states combined, also lost tonnage a few weeks ago from hail storms.  However, it was on course to have record shipments.  Even though that will not now happen, it still will be loading as much fruit on average, as it has over the past five seasons.

Washington’s Yakima and Wenatchee Valley apples – grossing about $5300 to New York City and Hunts Point.


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