Posts Tagged “watermelons”

Nogales Winter Produce Loads will be Increasing

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Entering the lightest season volume wise for produce loads, it’s not uncommon for multiple pick ups and drops to fill out the trailer.  Pick ups starting in southern California may extend to the California desert, Yuma and perhaps even Nogales.  Changes for the better are occuring at the Arizona, Mexico border that should improve produce crossings in the USA and reduce delays for loadings at the many Nogales warehouses.

The Mariposa port was built in the 1970s, designed to handled 400 trucks crossing into Arizona daily.  Over the years changes have increased the truck count to around 1600 to 1800 a day.  In the past an estimated 25 percent of the trucks crossing the border into Arizona were delayed because of gridlock on the Mariposa Road (State Route 189), which connects the port to I-19.  Numerous stop lights on the state route often contribute to the delays.

In 2009 a $220 million expansion of the port was started and is scheduled for completion in 2014.  This should increase traffic capabilities to 4,000 to 5,000 trucks a day crossing the border in Nogales.

Meanwhile, there is light volume of watermelon, honeydew, squash, bell peppers, tomatoes and other items crossing the border from Mexico, it will be another month of so before the volume really improves.

Nogales produce is grossing about $3400 to Chicago, about $5800 to New York.

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Western USA Produce Shipments are Steady

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California Navel  orange shipments for the 2012-13 season is estimated at 93 million cartons (40-pound equivalent) statewide and 90 million cartons for the  San Joaquin Valley, according to the  USDA.

While shipments for California Navels should be heavy, it will probably be short of a record.   The record was hit in the 2010-11 season, when the Central Valley alone produced 93 million cartons, and up 6 percent from the 2011-12 loads.

The first shipments took place in early November.

 Red potato shipments out of North Dakota and Minnesota are nearly 35 percent head of loadings through October than they were during he same fall period a year ago.  Red River Valley fresh potato shipments are expected to be the largest since 2008.

The total USA potato volume is estimated to be at least 12 million hundredweight larger than a year ago.

The North American Potato Market news is reporting that average daily shipments of russets has dropped 0.6 percent compared to last year while daily red shipments increased 18 percent.

Texas citrus season is in full swing, and shipping has begun for grapefruit and oranges.  The USDA forecast for the 2012 – 2013 Texas citrus season is 2.8 million cartons of oranges and 10.6 million cartons of grapefruit.

Moderate shipments of watermelons from Mexico will continue crossing the border into Nogales, AZ through the end of the year.  Overall Mexican fruit and vegetable crossing at Nogales are seasonally light, but the will change in Janaury as a host of produce items will be increasing in volume.

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Great Buys: Watermelons, Cherries and Grapes

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Pictured here is a seeded watermelon.  Don’t see ’em near as much as you used to.  They have kind of gone the way of “plucking” a watermelon before you buy it.  Remember that?  Try plucking one today, and you just might be arrested (plucking is using a knife to cut a triangular piece out of the watermelon to taste to see if it’s worth buying).  I never was very good at thumping melons to see if they were ripe.  I generally just go by color and making sure they don’t have any soft spots.  Anyway, I’ve had bought my share of watermelons over the 10 weeks or so.  Some were good and others not so good.

This is first seeded watermelon I’ve purchased this year.  Seedless melons are just about all the produce departments in stores sell anymore.  They assume we consumers are simply too lazy to be bothered with spitting out seeds.  Anyway, the seeded melon was as good as any watermelon I’ve had this summer – and was better than most.  It was shipped out of Edinburg, TX.  Enjoy watermelons while you can, supplies and quality often diminshed after Labor Day.

Another item that has had fantastic quality this summer are cherries – first out of California and now they are coming out of Washington state and Oregon.  A record crop has resulted in reasonable retail prices.  Like watermelons, enjoy the Northwest cherries while you can.  They will be vanishing from your local supermarket by Labor Day.

Another great buy now in retail stores are California grapes, both red and green.  They will typically be available through the end of the year, although supplies in the fall drop and prices trend up.  But right now, a record crop is being harvested, quality is excellent and prices good.  Let’s hope the heat in the San Joaquin Valley subsides some and doesn’t take a toll of the quality of what is a fruit that has excellent eating.


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West Coast, Texas and New York Produce Loads

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As expected, there will be a  record number of cherries shipped from Washington state this season by produce haulers.

Washington state had shipped 18.7 million boxes of cherries as of August 22nd.  If you include the Northwest, in other words, mostly Oregon,  as of Aug. 22, 22.8 million boxes of cherries had been shipped, which also is a record.  By the end of August most of the fruit will have been packed and shipped, and  total volume will likely top a record 23 million boxes.

California table grape shipments are ahead of schedule this season due to the warmer-than-normal weather.  The primary concern is if the San Joaquin Valley heat eventually starts taking a toll of the vineyards, which could lead to quality problems, something we’ll watch out for as it could impact claims or rejected loads for produce truckers.

It appears this year will be the first time California  hits 100 million or more boxes of grapes.

In the Lower Rio Grande Valley of Texas, watermelon shipments continue.  Quality appears good enough that you should be able to avoid unfair claims or rejected loads – depending of course, upon whom you are delivering to.  There also are steady shipments of Mexican citrus, tropical fruit and vegetables crossing the border into South Texas.

In the Hudson Valley of New York, various vegetables such as sweet corn are being loaded in light to moderate volume.  The new apple harvest has just started and volume is very light, but increasing.

South Texas produce loads – grossing about $220o to Atlanta.

San Joaquin Valley grapes – grossing about $4300 to Chicago.

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Central USA Loading Opportunities

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Truckers wanting to find a load in the mid-west for delivery to the West Coast in order to take advantage of attractive eastbound produce rates are finding it difficult.  Even when a load is obtained, the westbound freight rates are horribly low.

Obtaining produce loads in the Central USA somewhere between the Canadian and Mexican borders isn’t necessarily easy, but here’s some of the best opportunities.

Watermelons may not be your favorite items for hauling, particularly if you’re stuck alongside some field waiting for enough product to be harvested to fill your trailer.  Additionally unloading charges are something you have to be keenly aware of, because they can be pretty darn steep, especially if the melons are loaded in bulk, and not in bins placed on pallets.

Watermelons shipments are occuring everywhere from South Texas, to Western Oklahoma, the bootheel of Southeastern Missouri, and from Southwest Indiana and Southeastern Illinois.

Mississippi is still shipping sweet potatoes, although loadings out of Louisiana are pretty done for the season.

In Michigan, blueberry shipments are gearing up, joining a number of vegetables which are already available.

Missouri watermelons are grossing – about $1500 to Atlanta.

Mississippi sweet potatoes, about $1200 to Atlanta.

Texas watermelons, about $1400 to Oklahoma City.

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Eastern Produce Loadings are Moving North

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Produce loadings have seasonally moved northward, some by as much as three weeks earlier than normal.

A case in point is New Jersey where southern area vegetables have been ahead of schedule for weeks.  Now it is peach loadings taking center stage.  Jersey peaches started the third week of June, but do not normally get underway until around July 10th.  The Garden State ranks fourth nationally in peach volume behind California, South Carolina and Georgia….New Jersey also is a leading shipper of blueberries, which are now moving in volume.

Watermelon loadings are available from the Charleston-Beaufort area of South Carolina…..North Carolina continues to ship sweet potatoes.

Florida has entered its deadest part of the year as far as produce is concerned, while the state of Georgia isn’t a whole lot better.  Weather problems really hurt Georgia vegetable, blueberry and watermelon shipments this year.  Vidalia onion volume has dwindled and the latter end of the Georgia peach shipping season is lighter than normal.

New Jersey blueberries – grossing about $2600 to Orlando.

North Carolina sweet potatoes – about $1750 to Philadelphia.



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Cantaloupe, Strawberries and Watermelons

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Buying two of my favorite fruits with any good taste has been a real challenge this year — until this week.

Finally had some cantaloupe from Costa Rica that was out of sight!  I know when my cantaloupe is tasting as it should when I don’t have to sprinkle salt on it.

My next pleasant surprise came with California strawberries.  I had began to think I’d just grown tired of eating strawberries, until this week.  What finally hit me was I’d just grown weary of fruit lacking in taste.  You’d cut one open and it there was more white color than red.  This quart of clamshell strawberries also wasn’t detriorating.  Lately it seemed I have to eat the whole quart at once because the next day, the fruit was be going to “crap.”  I’ve had these strawberries at the house three days and they remain firm, tasty, with a beautiful red color — and no decay.

Maybe, they finally realized they should have been shipping it protected by Tectrol, which slows the aging process.

Another one of my favorites are watermelons.  I often find it difficult to buy great tasting melons until around the 4th of July.  You get all the early season stuff out of the way, and warmer, more consistent weather helps produce better watermelons. 

Expect watermelon retail prices to be pretty stiff, especially in the eastern half of the USA.  For various reasons, melon crops have been hit pretty hard and supplies will be much tighter than normal.  Out West, supplies are much better and you may not face as much stick shock.

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Georgia Produce Loadings Take a Hit

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On Tuesday, May 22nd, Tifton County vegetables were clobbered by a major hail storm, which apparently will wipe out most loading opportunities there for truckers.  The county’s 2,525 acres of watermelons, some of which were within 10 days of harvest, also were devasted.  Tifton County ships about 10 percent of the state’s watermelons.  Veggies receiving severe damage ranged from cantaloupe to sweet corn, peas, squash, peppers and cucumbers.

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Southeastern Produce Shipments

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While many Florida veggies, such as pepper and squash shipments are seasonally finished, items ranging from potatoes to tomatoes and watermelons are moving in good volume.   Heaviest volume out of Florida is now with central area watermelons, which is approaching 2,000 loads per week.  There’s moderate volume with tomatoes, followed by potatoes.  But in the overall scheme of things, Florida produce volume is in a seasonal decline.

Georgia is entering perhaps its most active time of the year for produce loads.  There’s light volume in the Southern part of the state with blueberries, and heavier tonnage coming from mixed vegetables….About 400 truckloads of Vidalia sweet onions are being shipped weekly.  In the Ft. Valley area, Georgia peach hauls are limited, resulting in a lot of multi drop loads as the season hasn’t really kicked in yet and shippers are trying to please as many customers as possible..  But come June that will change rapidly and more straight loads of peaches will become available. 

South Carolina peach loadings are only a few days behind those in Georgia.

Georgia vegetables – grossing about $2600 to Chicago.

Florida watermelons – about $4200 to New York City.


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Central USA Produce Loading Opportunities

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We’re not talking huge volumes of loads involving fresh produce in the Midwest, or Central USA, but there are quite a few areas shipping this time of the year.  Even a partial load may allow you to get to another destination to fill out the trailer, or deliver and get a full haul.

Texas –  There are 350 to 400 truckloads of Mexican avocados crossing the border into the Lower Rio Grande Valley each week.  There’s also a significant amount of Mexican watermelons moving into Texas as well.  The valley itself continues to ship various vegetables.

New Mexico — It may not be big volume, but onions are being shipped from the Las Cruces area.

Michigan — Light to moderate volumes of apples are available from Western Michigan.  In about a month vegetable shipments will get underway.

Wisconsin — Potato loadings continue from the Stevens Point (central Wisconsin) area in moderate volume.

Colorado — The San Luis Valley is averaging around 500 truckloads of potatoes a week.

Nebraska — The Cornhusker state is certainly no Idaho, or even a Colorado or Wisconsin, when it comes to potato shipments.  However, there are spuds in limited amounts coming out the Southwestern (Imperial) and Northeastern (O’Neill) parts of the state.

 Wisconsin potatoes – grossing about $2000 to Houston.

South Texas produce – about $4600 to New York City.




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