Archive For The “Trucking Reports” Category

Improved Northwest Cherry Shipments are Seen by Shipper

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Washington Fruit Growers’s of Yakima, WA began cherry shipments in early June and will continue through most of July and possibly into early August.

Good volume with cherries is expected this season as the company packs both organic and conventional fruit, with packing locations at its main plant at Washington Fruit & Produce in Yakima and the other being at Dallesport, WA., closer to Oregon on the Columbia River.

Washington Fruit Growers expects to pack a larger volume of cherries compared with a year ago.

Market conditions caused fruit to be diverted from the fresh market in 2023.

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Arkansas Tomatoes are Among the 1st Domestic Vine Ripes Shipped Each Year

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Gem Tomato & Vegetable Sales of Hamburg, Ark has some of the first domestic vine-ripe tomatoes available for the summer season.

Shipments from Arkansas typically start in early June when the Florida season, which is mostly mature-green tomatoes, is winding down. The California crop usually doesn’t begin until later.

Loadings for Arkansas tomatoes typically last about six week and wrap up around the middle of July or so. It results in a nice window between Florida and California.

Triple M Farms in Hamburg, Ark has a similar season ships tomatoes through out the Midwest, including St. Louis, Iowa and as far east as Pittsburgh, PA. The company grows round, roma, grape and cherry tomatoes with excellent flavor, quality and shelf life.

About 80% of the company’s crop is pre-sold or committed to buyers who have been customers for decades.

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Westside Melon Shipments Expected to Increase this Season

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California’s Westside melon season should get underway by early July, right on schedule, and growers expect ample supplies of melons this summer.

Cantaloupe volume should reach 14 million 40-pound cartons, up from just over 13 million cartons last year, according to the California Cantaloupe Advisory Board of Dinuba, CA.

Del Mar Packing in Westley, Calif., has a full line of conventional and organic melons. This year, the company has added organic seedless and seeded watermelons.

Harvesting of conventional honeydew and cantaloupe melons will start first week of July for Del Mar Packing the company expects to be shipping nationwide through October.

Because of the large number of watermelon growers throughout the nation, the company concentrates on West Coast customers for its watermelon program.

Volume will be the same as last year for many items, but there will be added supplies of organic and conventional hami melons and a few more conventional honeydews at Del Mar Packing.

Classic Fruit Co. of Fresno, CA is in the second year of an alliance with Westside Produce of Firebaugh, CA.

The alliance provides the companies with more opportunities to supply fruit to customers on a year-round basis.

The two companies had worked together for more than 25 years before forming an official partnership. Now they have an integrated sales, growing, harvesting, crewing and shipping operation that combines Classic Fruit Co.’s offshore program and Westside’s operations.

The companies will transition from Yuma, AZ, and start shipping cantaloupes and honeydews from the Firebaugh area July 1.

Turlock Fruit Co. Inc. of Turlock, CA grows cantaloupes, honeydews and several kinds of mixed melons.

Cantaloupes are just starting with honeydews following the first week of July. Specialty melons should be underway by July 10.

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U.S. Apple Exports to Mexico Show Significant Increase

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U.S. apple exports to Mexico had a big increase the during the first quarter of 2024 compared to the same time frame a year ago, according to the latest data from the USDA.

Mexico accounts for 35% of the total share of U.S. fresh apple exports, reaching a volume of over 440 million pounds during Q1 of 2024, up from nearly 298 million pounds during the same period in 2023.

In 2023, U.S. apple exports to all destinations grew 6% in value compared to 2022, reaching $926 million. 

That year, exports to Canada, the second-largest market for the product, dropped to $166 million in value, an 18% drop. This trend seems to remain in the present season as volumes to the country in Q1 dropped from over $204 million in 2022-23 to just about $190 million in 2023-24. 

However, in these two destinations, the U.S. enjoys the largest share of apple imports, with 84% in Canada, above Chile and New Zealand, and 96% in Mexico, with limited competition from Chile.

The U.S. Apple Association, reports an “exceptional” harvest had led to an unprecedented amount of apples remaining in storage level.

Earlier this year, apple growers reported they were struggling with oversupply, saying they were finding it increasingly difficult to secure buyers for their surplus.

Experts have reported this may be the biggest year for U.S. apple production on record.

The USDA’s latest Non-citrus Fruits and Nuts reports estimated a total of 270 million bushels of apple production with Washington leading national production reaching 181 million bushels.

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Good Volume Shaping Up for Summer Georgia Produce Loadings

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Georgia growers expect a strong spring/summer season despite a late start in some regions caused by heavier-than-usual spring rains.

“This year, growing conditions have been generally favorable,” said Matthew Kulinski, director of marketing for the Georgia Department of Agriculture. “We anticipate a robust season.”

Georgia produces an extensive assortment of fruits and vegetables at this time of year, including peaches, Vidalia onions, blueberries, watermelons, tomatoes, cucumbers and sweet corn.

Volume statewide should be up slightly compared to last year, with a substantial improvement for peaches and blueberries, Kulinski said.

Baker Farms in Norman Park, Ga., will market collards, kale, turnips, mustard, broccoli, beets, chard, cilantro, parsley, cabbages, zucchini and several kinds of squashes, said Heath Wetherington, chief operating officer.

The area received more rainfall than usual, but the storms were spaced out and temperatures were mostly normal.

Volume should be similar to last year at Baker Farms.

Beet sales should be up in response to increased demand, but the cabbage market has been tough, Wetherington said, probably because of oversupply in the Southeast.

“The market has been strong on some items, such as broccoli and beets, but very weak in others,” he said.

Prices of greens have been consistent, which allows the company “to plan ahead pretty accurately for the year without taking many hard, unexpected losses.”

Reidsville, Ga.-based Shuman Farms began shipping Vidalia onions in mid-April and will continue through Labor Day, said John Shuman, president and CEO.

The company has expanded its Vidalia onion program by 30% after acquiring the assets of Vidalia, Ga.-based Generation Farms, he said.

Packing capabilities also have been bolstered, and capital improvements to existing facilities have increased the firm’s storage capacity by nearly 25%, Shuman added.

Bland Farms, Glennville, Ga., will offer Vidalia sweet onions in a variety of sizes until early August then switch to its Peruvian program followed by Mexico, said CEO Troy Bland.

“We harvested a fantastic crop this year,” he said. “We are packing and shipping high-quality Vidalia sweet onions.”

Bland Farms accounts for about 25% of Vidalia sweet onion volume and plants more crops every year, he said. 

The sweet onion market should be similar or slightly higher than the past two years, Bland said.

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California, Peru, and Colombia Avocado Volumes are Ramping up; Mexico Declining

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Volumes from California are ramping up, reaching 15.5 million pounds in week 20. In terms of imports, Colombia is second to Mexico, with 3.3 million pounds imported into the U.S. during week 20. Peru earned third place for imports with 2.4 million pounds. 

The latest report from Avobook shows that in week 20, Mexican avocado exports to the U.S. dropped below 40 million pounds for the first time since 2023, reaching 33.4 million pounds.

Projections from the Hass Avocado Board show that volumes from Peru should peak between weeks 29 and 31, reaching 18 million pounds. 

Colombia is currently at its peak season, and volumes are expected to remain above 1 million pounds per week until August. 

In week 20, Mexican avocado exports to the U.S. were lower than in 2023, when the country exported around 45 million pounds.

California’s Avocado Commission report they expect good volumes through the July 4th holiday, after which shipments will decrease. 

“Demand in April was quite strong and the percentage of the crop harvested this year is ahead of last year. In early May, about 25% of the California avocado crop has been picked,” said Terry Splane, vice president of marketing for the California Avocado Commission.

The report shows outside the U.S., Canada is the main destination of Mexican avocados. The state of Michoacan has sent 58% of its exports (excluding the U.S.) to Canada.

Jalisco exported over 60% of its avocados to the U.S. between weeks 1 and 15 of 2024, followed by Canada with just over 17%. 

For Michoacan, Asia is its second-largest export market, with almost 25% of its exports (excluding the U.S.).

The total inventory of conventional and organic Hass avocados registered in the U.S. on week 20 was 67.7 million pounds of which 37 million pounds came from Mexico, 24 million from California, and 4.7 million from Colombia. The remainder came from the Dominican Republic and Peru. 

Sales in week 20 rose to 53.2 million pounds. 


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Good Volume of Almonds are Forecast in California with 21% Increase

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The 2024 California Almond Forecast published May 10 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (USDA-NASS) estimates the crop harvested in 2024 will come in at 3 billion pounds, 21% higher than last year’s 2.47 billion pounds. 

The forecasted yield is 2,170 pounds per acre, up 380 pounds from the 2023 harvest.

“This larger crop estimate is what the industry expected after a productive bloom this spring, but it is also a testament to the hard work done by almond farmers throughout California during difficult times,” said Clarice Turner, president and CEO of the Almond Board of California. “Demand for California almonds around the globe continues to grow and our almond farmers constantly deliver on producing high-quality California almonds to meet that demand.”

The report said, “The 2024 almond crop experienced fluctuating, but mostly favorable weather for the first half of the growing season. The bloom began the second week in February for the early varieties. There were a handful of storms that brought rain, wind, and hail to some areas, but overall mild temperatures and excellent weather from the end of February into early March helped boost pollination. Bee hours were reported to be significantly higher than last year … There was minimal to no threat of frost damage and water allocation is not an issue for the second year in a row.

This Subjective Forecast is the first of two production reports from USDA-NASS for the coming crop year. It is an estimate based on opinions from a survey conducted from April 19 to May 5 of 500 randomly selected California almond growers. The sample of growers, which changes every year, is spread across regions and different-sized operations, and they had the option to report their data by mail, online, or phone. 

On July 10, USDA-NASS will release its second production estimate, the 2024 California Almond Objective Report, which will be based on actual almond counts in approximately 1,000 orchards using a more statistically rigorous methodology to determine yield. If the 3.0 billion pounds holds, it would be the second largest crop on record.

This Subjective Forecast comes two weeks after Land IQ’s 2024 Standing Acreage Initial Estimate found that bearing almond acreage in California has decreased about 600 acres from the previous year to 1.373 million acres. 

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Washington Cherry Loadings Ramping Up as California Season Comes to an End

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Stemilt Growers of Wenatchee, WA is completing its transition from California cherry shipments to Washington cherry loadings.

As one of the nation’s largest suppliers of sweet cherries and a leader in Washington cherries, Stemilt grows conventional and organic cherries and three main types of sweet cherries that include dark-sweet, rainiers and proprietary Skylar Rae cherries. The marketer also is a leader in organic cherries.

Washington began loading cherries in early June and have a good supply in June and July. Washington’s cherry volume will taper off significantly in August because of a reduced late-season crop.

Stemilt says it has the longest season in the industry, with continuous supply daily that starts with its California cherry crop in late April and goes all the way through high-elevation cherries in Washington in August.

Last year’s cherry crop was difficult because of an overlap between California and Washington and compressed harvest windows in Washington, but 2024 crop is different.

California had a strong crop last year and returned with another one. The crop is currently estimated at 10.2 million 18-pound equivalent boxes. The first-round industry estimate in the Northwest was 20.9 million 20-pound equivalent boxes, which is an increase over last year.  

The main difference is that the two states should see less overlap and retailers will have more shipping weeks in the season.

July will see good supplies of cherries, but volume will taper off quickly by August.

This is because high altitude orchards experienced a freeze in January that led to winter damage and significantly reduced crops. Excellent fruit quality and size is expected.

Washington’s late-cherry season is short, so the season will wrap earlier than normal. Sizing should be strong with average crop loads on the tree. Stemilt will harvest fewer Washington cherries this year because of the late-season loss.

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Good Volume Seen for California Grape Shipments Through the end of the Year

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The California Table Grape Commission sees no reason why there shouild be good volume grape shipments though the end of the year. The season started in the Coachella Valley the week of May 13.

Hurricane Hilary hammered the grape crop last season, the industry during the peak harvest period, which caused a loss of about 30% of the initial projection for the crop. It was the smallest crop on record since 1994 for the state. 

This year, the industry expects good volumes from June through the beginning of January. 

The grape commission expects harvesting is to begin in the San Joaquin Valley in late June or early July, lasting into early December. Shipments of table grapes typically peak between August and November.

The initial estimate for the 2024 California table grape season is 94.4 million 19-pound boxes, down slightly from the 2020-2022 average of 96.6 million 19-pound boxes. 

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Another Year of Good Volume is Seen for Florida Avocados

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Florida avocado growers are predicting for the new season volume similar are slightly above a year ago as they gear up for the 2024-25 harvest.

The Avocado Administrative Committee of Florida estimate final production totals for the 2023-24 season will total 21,235 metric tons, down 6.6% from the 2022-23 season.

Florida’s avocado season typically runs from June through December, with some available in January, said Peter Leifermann, vice president of sales and marketing for Homestead, Fla.-based Brooks Tropicals.

Brooks Tropicals of Homestead, FL begins harvest this week and expects a good crop.

The offseason has been abnormally dry and hot, but no wind damage has occurred and this should result in excellent quality.

Brooks Tropicals grows about 30 different varieties of tropical avocados in about 1,200 acres of groves.

J&C Tropicals of Doral, FLexpects to start harvesting around the Fourth of July, which would be a normal start. The company also expects great quality for this season.

J&C Tropicals sources green-skin avocados from a number of local farmers and will have Florida avocados until January.

New Limeco of Homestead, FL expects to be shipping avocados through March. It grows several varieties of green-skin avocados in Florida.

Florida growers say they produce a distinctive avocado, with the primary difference between Florida avocados and avocados from California or Mexico is the fat content.

Florida avocados have about 3 grams compared to 4.6 grams of fat for hass avocados.

The size, taste and productivity also are different.

The average Florida avocado weighs over 1 pound per piece and has a milder taste than other avocados.

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