Posts Tagged “watermelon shipments”

A Look at Loading Opportunities in the Weeks Ahead

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Here’s a glimpse at hauling availability now and in coming weeks for cherries, watermelons and berries

California cherry volume is low. Although this gorgeous looking and tasting fruit makes up only one percent of total volume in produce shipments, it’s one of the highest paying freight items for produce haulers.

The cost for a 16-pound case of cherries started the season in California at a whopping $58 per case, the highest in 7 years. U.S. cherry shipments get underway in late April and wraps up at the end of August. Traditionally, peak loadings occur in July before gradually decreasing. The United States is the 2nd largest producer of cherries in the world after Turkey.

The California cherry season is just the warm up for an action-packed 16 weeks, and is a prelude to big time shipper, the state of Washington.

Lime, Lemon Shipments

Mexico has experienced an abnormally wet and cold winter in Tabasco, the leading lime growing region. Shippers also report high freight rates also is contributing to the availability of limes. Lime volume is expected to remain lower than normal at least through June.

While cherry volume is limited right now, watermelons are in plentiful supply.

As an example, a 40,000-pound truckload of cherries is valued at $174,000. The same weight in watermelons is only worth $4,800!

Blueberry shipments are finally increasing as domestic U.S. production rises and are less reliant on imports to meet blueberry demand. Domestic blueberry shipping regions are ramping up as they head toward peak loadings from June to August.

Blackberry volumes also are on the upswing with increasing production in the Baja California, Mexico, and California. While raspberries are coming out of those same regions volume remains relatively low.

As for strawberries, volume and quality have been all over the board in recent weeks. Shipments are expected to be building and should continue through June.

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California Cantaloupe Volume is Similar to Last Year

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California watermelon shipments should be up for the 2020 season, while cantaloupe and honeydew volume should be similar to last year.

The San Joaquin Valley’s westside district is the heart of California’s melon loadings. There should be 16 million 40-pound cartons of cantaloupe this season.

Honey shipments should mirror 2019’s 7.6 million 30-pound cartons.

California growers are expected to ship about 529 million pounds of watermelons in 2020, up from 450 million pounds last year.

Turlock Fruit Co. Inc. of Turlock, CA., had all of its melons, including cantaloupe and honeydew, ready by the Fourth of July.

Turlock’s cantaloupes and the company’s proprietary Orangedew melons got underway June 25, with honeydews started July 1.

Industry wide, cantaloupe volume exceeds honeydews, but Turlock Fruit Co. grows more honeydews.

Pacific Trellis Fruit of Los Angeles ships organic and conventional Pure Heart mini watermelons, conventional and some organic Tuscan-style cantaloupes and conventional Sunny Gold yellow seedless watermelonsWestside Produce of Firebaugh, CA., started shipping cantaloupes and honeydews from Arizona in mid-May and should have consistent supplies through October,

Cantaloupe and honeydew volume will be similar to past years, although the company has changed its mix of varieties and sizes.

Couture Farms of Huron, CA, which specializes in mixed melons and honeydews, has reduced its acreage of specialty melons and decided not to grow honeydews this year because of uncertainties in the marketplace during the planting season.

Industry wide, cantaloupes to account for 70 percent of the three categories, honeydews 25 percent and specialty melons 5 percent.

Del Mar Farms of Westley, CA began shipping cantaloupes, honeydews, seedless watermelons and mini watermelons the first week of July.

The company will have cantaloupes and honeydews through October and possibly into November.

Turlock Fruit Co., where three generations are actively involved in management, is a bit different in the cantaloupe world because the company still ships the traditional Western-shipper type cantaloupe, which has the full color and aroma of a full-slip melon.

When a full-slip melon is ready for harvest, it is pulled off the vine, unlike the widely used harper variety, which must be cut from the vine.

The newer varieties have the shelf life but not the flavor component of the Western shipper cantaloupes.

Watermelons should finish by early October.

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Watermelon Shipments Increase as Summer Approaches

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Cooler growing conditions and other factors resulted in watermelon shipments, both domestic and imports, being 13 percent lower in late March than a year ago, but volume now is on the rise.

Peak shipments for seedless watermelons typically occur during June. The latest USDA statistics are for 2017, when in June of that year 28 percent of the US. domestic seedless watermelon loadings took place, followed closely by July with 25 percent and August with 22 percent. May accounted for 16 percent of the volume.

Georgia was the nation’s leading domestic shipper of seedless watermelons in 2017, accounting for 22 percent of the total volume.

Other leading shippers by state for 2017 were:

  • Florida, 18 percent;
  • California, Indiana and Texas, all 12 percent each;
  • Missouri, 5 percent;
  • North Carolina, 4 percent;
  • Delaware and South Carolina, both at 3 percent.

Imported watermelon supplies are shipped to the U.S. the year around, but are mainly concentrated in a few months. Representing about one third the total of annual domestic shipments, import volume of watermelons peaks in April (36 percent of annual imported volume), followed by May (21 percent), March (12 percent), October (11 percent) and February (7 percent).

Mexico accounts for the vast majority of imported seedless watermelons, representing 79 percent of total annual imports in 2017. Other important suppliers to the U.S. market are Guatemala (12 percent) and Honduras (7 percent).

Mexican crossings through south Texas are just wrapping up, and are followed by shipments from south Florida near Immokalee and then moving north through other growing districts.

Pacific Trellis Fruit/Dulcinea, of Reedley, CA reports its mini seedless watermelons transitioned from Mexico into Arizona in late April and early May, to be followed by shipments from California’s Central San Joaquin Valley.

While the company’s primary shipments originate from the West Coast, it also grows melons in Texas, Colorado, Florida and North Carolina.

Southern and central Florida vegetable and watermelon shipments – grossing about $3800 to New York City.

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Shipping Reports for: Ohio Vegetables, NW Cherries, and Arkansas Produce

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DSCN0794Another normal volume shipping season is seen for Ohio vegetables, while a double digit decline is seen for Northwest cherries. Meanwhile, Arkansas produce shipments get underway in July.

Ohio Vegetable Shipments

Michael Farms of Urbana, Ohio will begin shipping cabbage and green beans in by late June, sweet corn in mid-July and potatoes in early August.

Holthouse Farms of Willard, Ohio has been shipping radishes and cilantro since late May, lettuces since early June,  and just started squash.  Chili peppers will come on in early July. The company also ships bell peppers and eggplant and will have hard squash in the fall.

Buurma Farms of Willard, Ohio has been loading radishes since Memorial Day, and has since added mustard greens, collard greens, kale, dill, cilantro and other items.  The company has just started shipping red leaf, green leaf and romaine.

NatureFresh Farms of Leamington, Ontario starts shipping from its Delta, Ohio, greenhouse at the end of September and goes through the beginning of July 2019.

NatureFresh grows beefsteak, cherry, grape, roma and cocktail tomatoes, as well as tomatoes on the vine.

Northwest Cherry Shipments

The crop estimate for Northwest cherries is for 22.6 million 20-pound cartons, down 15 percent from a year ago.

In 2017 there were shipments of 26.5 million cartons.  An average crop size is 22 million boxes.

Stemilt Growers Inc. of Wenatchee, WA picked its first cherries about a week ago.

California is wrapping up cherry shipments and the crop will be down significantly from last year — about 3 million boxes compared to a record 9.6 million boxes last year. Normal is about 6 million boxes.

Arkansas Produce Shipments

H.C. Schmieding Produce Co. LLC of Springdale, AR expects to start watermelon shipments around the 4th of July and go through the first week of August. The company expects to have light volumes of corn the first week of July, running through the end of the month.

Gem Tomato & Vegetable Sales of Boca Raton, FL is now shipping Arkansas tomatoes and will continue for another month.

Arkansas has roughly 1,200 acres of watermelons, 800 acres of tomatoes.

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Carolinas See Better Year for Fruit and Vegetables Shipments

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A37Both of the Carolinas are looking for improved volume with produce shipments through the summer.

Despite a strange start for spring weather in South Carolina, shipments of fruits and vegetables are looking favorable as we progress into June.

Some of the best news regard South Carolina peach shipments which should be much better than the past two seasons.  While peach volume early in the season will be lighter than normal, once we get into mid June loadings should be good through July and into August.

A similar scenario is seen for South Carolina watermelon shipments.  Growers have increased acreage for 2018 as the harvest kicks off in mid June and runs through August.

Cantaloupe shipments are very similar, starting around June 10, with good volume expected through the month right on into July.    A couple of growers also have started growing some honeydew, which hasn’t been done in a number of years.

South Carolina has 22,000 acres of the product that should be shipping through the summer.  Three decades South Carolinas had 40,000 acres of melons.

There also are good crops being reported with sweet corn, broccoli, and peppers.

Titan Farms of Ridge Spring, SC started very light peach shipments May 7th with loadings continuing  until around Labor Day.

The company started its broccoli season the week of April 30th and will be wrapping up its season in the week or so.  Bell pepper and eggplant shipments are just getting started and will continue until about the third week of July.

North Carolina Produce Shipments

Jackson Farming Co. of Autryville, N.C. is just winding down its strawberry shipments.  Jackson has been shipping broccoli since early May that will continue through June.  The company will kick off its cantaloupe season about June 15th and going through August; seedless watermelons starting June 30th and running through September; and eastern honeydews starting around July 5 and finishing the first week in August.

North Carolina also has a number of other items ranging from colored potatoes, to onions, sweet potatoes, green bell peppers, open-field colored bell peppers, cucumbers, squash, cabbage, chili peppers, tomatoes and eggplant.

Ham Farms of Snow Hill, N.C. started its harvest of red and green cabbage the week of May 21st.

Ham Farms also expects to begin watermelons the first week of July and hard squash in mid to late July. Sweet potatoes will be underway in late August or early September.

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Summertime Shipping Update for Garlic, Watermelons and Walla Walla Onions

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It’s summertime in overdrive and here are some loading opportunities you might not have thought of including garlic, watermelons and sweet onions.

Watermelon Shipments

Nationally summertime watermelon shipments have been decent so far this season, with heavy volume available for shipments arriving at destinations in time for the Fourth of July holiday.  Strong shipments will continue in the weeks ahead as several states are just starting, or will be soon getting underway.

Georgia is leading U.S. shipments averaging around 5,000 truck loads per week.  Volume will start declining in a few weeks.  However, South Carolina’s watermelons shipment are underway and increasing.  Carolina moved nearly 400 truck loads in the past week, but volume will be higher with each passing week.

Texas is in a similar situation, particularly in the eastern part of the state.  It shipped about 400 truck loads last week, but volume is rapidly picking up….While the desert areas of California are winding down with watermelon loadings, the San Joaquin Valley, particularly in the southern area around Bakersfield, is building.  Around 500 truck loads were shipped a week ago.

Onion Shipments

Sweet onions shipments out of Walla Walla, WA started in mid June and this season there should be more normal conditions in terms of volume and and timing, at least compared to 2016.

Last year, Walla Walla sweet onions had an early start and finish to the season

Garlic Shipments

California garlic shipments got underway in mid June and will continue until mid September.  Christopher Ranch of Gilroy, CA, as well as other operations were off in volume 15 to 20 percent last year.  However, shipments this year are expected to be more normal with fewer quality issues.

Christopher Ranch is celebrating its family owned farming heritage with colorful, new boxes for its 2 lb. and 3 lb. fresh garlic bags. The new box is in full color using custom artwork representing a California garlic field.

It is hoped by the shipper that the new  look will make it easy for consumers to find fresh California Heirloom Garlic in the midst of all the other shipping boxes.

The company has the only garlic in the U.S. commercially grown from heirloom seed, the same seed discovered by Don Christopher in the 1960’s.

Salinas Valley vegetables – grossing about $5400 to Chicago.




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What to Look for with Produce Shipments for the Fourth of July

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DSCN9472Wanting 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 Shipments

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.

Blueberry Shipments

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.

Strawberry Shipments

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.

Watermelon Shipments

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.

Vegetable Shipments

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.





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Stemilt Artisan Organics Apricot Harvest Set; Texas Onion Shipping Wrap Up

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DSCN0509+1by Stemilt Growers

WENATCHEE, Wash. –  Stemilt and their marketing partner, Douglas Fruit, are gearing up for another successful Artisan Organics® apricot season, which is predicted to start two weeks later than normal. Stemilt expects their organic apricots to begin harvest in late June, with volumes ramping up quickly for promotable volumes throughout July….Meanwhile, here’s a summary of the just finished Texas 1015 onion shipping season.

With a historic early start last year, it is only fitting to experience a late start for crops up and down the West Coast this year.

The Douglas family tree fruit growing roots date back to the 1890s and today, the fourth generation is hands-on when it involves the family’s growing and packing business, which includes apricots, peaches, nectarines, apples, and cherries.  In 2007, the Douglas family started the transition process to move the majority of its apricot orchards to organic production, as well as their entire crop of peaches and nectarines, viewing the move to organic as an opportunity to differentiate the flavors of its stone fruits.

“We’ve found a great niche in growing apricots organically that matches well with our flavor focus,” said Jill Douglas, co-president of Douglas Fruit. “We farm in the best locale, Washington’s Columbia Basin, where warm days and cool nights create beautifully colored fruits with exceptional flavors. Artisan Organics® apricots really exceed standards thanks to the climate and organic farming practices.”

Stemilt accounts for approximately 40 percent of Washington State’s apricot crop taking the leading position in apricot production. Stemilt is also the leader in organic cots, with 60 percent of its entire apricot crop grown and certified as organic.  The leading variety that Stemilt produces is Robada.

The peak of organic apricot shipping season should start in early July and continue through the first three weeks of July.  Organic food sales are growing by double-digits annually.


Yakima Valley apple shipments – grossing about $5700 to New York City.


Texas Onion Shipments

Texas onion shipments were down early in the season, but finished strong where shipments for the overall season were about average.  The Lower Rio Grande Valley was hit by excessive rains and insect damage by thrips. Thrips are a minute black winged insect that sucks plant sap and can be serious pest to ornamental and food plants when present in large numbers. Texas 1015 onion shipments got underway in early March about a month earlier than normal.   Typically Texas will ship about 350 to 400 truck loads of 800 bags (40,000 pounds) daily, but during the period for Easter loadings shipments rose to around 480 to525 loads per day.

Lower Rio Grande Valley watermelon shipments – grossing about $4400 to New York City.


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Loading Imported Mexican Produce Continues to Increase

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PeppersLoading opportunities for produce haulers for imported Mexican fresh fruits and vegetables have been rising for the past two decades or more, and this trend is expected to continue.

The reasons range from favoritable climates (with the emphasis on the plural) south of the border, cheaper labor and growing costs, not to mention the outrageous political and regulatory climate in crazy California that is makes it ever more difficult to do business there.

For example, A.M. Farms, Stockton, CA., had grown asparagus there since the 1930s, but no longer farms the product.  Dole Fresh Vegetables of Monterey, CA no longer markets asparagus from California and is concentrating its efforts with Mexican grown asparagus.

It used to be Mexican imports by U.S. businesses got underway around Thanksgiving and continued through March or maybe mid-April.  Now some produce items are still crossing the border in late spring and early summer.  For example, watermelon shipments are now available through most of June.  Table grape, mangos and some leafy items go well into summer.

Peak loading opportunities of Mexican produce imports for the winter season, used to be January or February, but now it is closer to being March and April.

Some produce growers are moving farther south into Mexico building greenhouse operations, allowing a longer growing and shipping season.  This helps them bridge the supply gap for the U.S. crops in May and June that are hitting big volume.

Just as some product from west Mexico now is imported through McAllen, TX, during the fall and winter to offer a freight advantages for the Midwest and Eastern markets, some product from Jalisco now comes through Nogales during the spring and summer to offer freight advantages to West Coast receivers.

Some U.S. tomato growers now ship from Mexico year-round by sourcing from new growing areas during what traditionally has been the off season.  Sonora is a huge area for Mexican grown produce and it continues to expand.  It used to be the state of Sinaloa was where the main volume originated.

Virtually all of Mexico’s grapes come from the Caborca and Hermosillo regions of Sonora, with shipments starting in April and continuing into July.

Imported Mexican melons, tomatoes and vegetables from Nogales – grossing about $2800 to Chicago.


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Loading Updates: Melons, Grapes, Avocados, Onions

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DSCN7612A seasonal shift in watermelon shipments is taking place, plus here’s an update on loadings for California grapes, Florida avocados and Western onion shipments.

Watermelon Shipments Shift

Volume watermelon shipments are making a seasonal shift to new production areas.  Loadings are now taking place from fields west of Lubbock, TX.   Shipping will continue through September.  Both Indiana and Delaware should have watermelon shipments moving into good volume this week….Mexican watermelon shipments through Nogales, AZ are expected by mid October.

Delaware, Maryland and Virginia watermelon shipments – grossing about $1100 to New York City.

California Grape Shipments

In the week ending July 30, about 67 million pounds of California grapes were shipped in the U.S., down from 72.7 million pounds in the same week in 2015.  The July 30 total, was however, more than the 61.9 million pounds that shipped in 2014.  Year-to-date as of July 30, about 1.47 billion pounds of grapes had shipped in the U.S., down from 1.59 billion pounds last year.

San Joaquin Valley grape shipments – grossing about $6200 to New York City.

Florida Avocado Shipments

Florida avocado grower-shippers expect to ship about one-third less fruit compared to previous seasons.  Initially, about 1 million bushels of the green-skinned avocados were expected to be moved.   However, that estimate was later reduced to about 800,000 bushels.  Following an unfavorable growing season, grower-shippers are now eying 600,000-700,000 bushels, about 35 percent smaller than normal.  Typically, shippers such as New Limeco LLC in Princeton, FL as well as Unity Groves Corp. and Brooks Tropicals, both based in Homestead, FL, have peak loadings  in July, August and September.  Most shipments will be finished in December, although very light volume will extend through March.

Onion Shipments

Washington, Idaho and Oregon account for one-third of the nation’s onion shipments.  The primary Pacific Northwest shipping locations for storage onions are in the Treasure Valley in western Idaho and eastern Oregon and in the Columbia Basin in Central Washington and North Central Oregon.   Three years ago Northwest onion shipments exceeded 32 million hundredweight.

Northwest onion volume is currently very light, but gradually increasing.  Much heavier shipments are taking place from southern New Mexico, averaging about 750 truckloads a week.  California’s San Joaquin Valley has over 650 truck loads being shipped weekly.

Southern New Mexico onion shipments – grossing about $3100 to Chicago.


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