Posts Tagged “lettuce shipments”

West Coast Heat Wave Affecting Lettuce, Vegetable Quality

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(The following press release was issued July 9 by Markon of Salinas, CA. Lettuce and vegetable haulers are urged to use caution in loading to help reduce chances of claims at destination, by working closely with your brokers and receivers.)

Much of the West Coast, including California’s Salinas and Santa Maria Valleys, have been experiencing an extended heat spike over the past week with temperatures ranging from the 70°s to 80°s near the coast to as high as 110° in the southern end of the Salinas Valley.

All row crop vegetables that have been exposed to these temperatures are expected to exhibit varying levels of heat-related quality and shelf-life concerns over the next two weeks.

In general, most commodity and value-added supplies have faired better than expected thus far, but some lettuce and tender leaf crops are showing defects such as:

• Dehydration
• Increased insect pressure
• Internal burn/tip burn
• Reduced shelf-life potential
• Weakened texture
• Yellowing leaves

Markon inspectors are aggressively monitoring quality through pre-harvest inspections and finished product evaluations of commodity and value-added items. Fields that are exhibiting elevated issues are being rejected and harvesting/processing crews are taking steps to remove damaged leaves and minimize defects.

Ordering for quick turns is recommended. It remains critical to adhere to strict cold chain management throughout distribution to the end-user level in order to maximize quality and shelf-life of perishable produce items.

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Desert Lettuce Shipments are Becoming More Steady

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It appears lettuce shipments out of the Yuma, AZ area and California’s near by Imperial Valley are getting back on track following a few weeks of inclement weather including snow and cold temperatures, plus a slow down from the holidays.

dCoastline Family Farms Inc. of Salinas, CA, which has an operation in Brawley, CA has noted three separate delays in harvesting, packing and shipper because of icy weather, plus an additional two days harvest was reduced due to light rain. However, business is now returning to normal.

Still, if you are hauling lettuce be aware of some possible quality issues relating to epidermal peeling and discoloration, although the core of the lettuce should be in good condition. The main concern now is possible rain in the forecast.

Suppliers observe the market has regained some momentum after the holidays. Prices are steadying as producers ship more stable volume again. Hope is that the steady market will continue, but growers will be keeping an eye on forecast rain in the growing regions later this week.

While snow in the desert regions of California and Arizona are a bit unusual, it does happen. However, much the leafy green shipments in the United States occurs here during the winter months. Some observers note the desert areas generally have less disruption of shipments than coastal California areas such as Ventura County and Santa Maria.

Desert lettuce and other vegetables – grossing about $5400 to Atlanta.

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Lettuce Shipping Updates: Salinas, Huron and Desert Areas; Navel Orange Volume to Increase

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DSCN0842Lettuce cuttings have just got underway in the Huron district on the Westside of the San Joaquin Valley, while Salinas Valley lettuce shipments will continue for a few more weeks….Meanwhile, a double digit increase in navel shipments is forecast for California oranges.

In fact, Salinas lettuce is expected to continue until mid November.  Mid November also is when initial lettuce shipments will get underway from the desert areas of California and Arizona, within a week of Thanksgiving (November 22nd).

The Nunes Co.  of Salinas reports there has been an oversupply of lettuce and organic vegetables this past summer.

Church Bros. LLC of Salinas expects reduced lettuce shipments in late October until Huron moves into volume.

Salinas Valley vegetables – grossing about $7800 to New York City.

Navel Shipments

California navel orange shipments for the 2018-19 season are forecast to be  11 percent larger than last season, rebounding from a short crop a year ago.

The initial 2018-19 navel orange forecast from the USDA and the California Department of Food and Agriculture is 80 million cartons, up 11 percent from the previous year.  Government survey data shows a statewide fruit set per tree of 426, well above the five-year average of 333.

Of the total navel orange forecast, 77 million cartons are estimated to be in the Central Valley, according to the forecast.

Central San Joaquin Valley citrus – grossing about $5100 to Chicago.

Import concerns

While the forecast for increase navel shipments is good news, there are some concerns about declining navel orange acres in California.

Navel orange bearing acreage in California’s Central Valley has dropped from a peak of about 135,000 acres in 2009 to just 113,000 acres for 2018-19, according to the California Citrus Mutual of Exeter, CA.

Inexpensive Southern Hemisphere imports have arrived early and stayed late, squeezing returns for California growers and contributing to a long-term decline in acreage.

While this year’s California navel crop will be higher than the short crop of a year ago, there is continuing concern about long-term acreage declines related to imports.

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Outlook for Mushroom Shipments; Salinas Valley Lettuce Loads are Improving

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DSCN0852U.S. mushroom shipments should be good for the rest of the summer and into the fall season — and perhaps beyond.

The reason is mushroom crop yields this year remain healthy and strong, but similar to many agriculture crops, there are seasonal ebbs and flows in production.

Giorgio Fresh Co. of Temple, PA has observed this year summer mushroom shipments are at a peak, with volume expected to be story through early fall.  However supplies are expected to tighten during the November-December holiday period, which is normal.

Mushrooms a  whole continue to grow in popularity, especially with organics, specialty varieties and brown mushrooms — including crimini/baby bella and portabella.

Kitchen Pride Mushroom Farm Inc. of Gonzales, TX is expecting strong shipments through the summer, with a tighter market going into the fall and winter months.

Although mushrooms are grown indoors, extreme weather and a lack of a steady labor pool can be serious detriments to production because production levels depend greatly on the quality of the growing medium, commonly called compost, which is produced outdoors.

At Monterey Mushrooms Inc. of Watsonville, CA, the mushroom crop outlook is excellent,  in part because the company has 10 farms strategically located around the U.S. and Mexico.  Monterey makes its own compost, which helps the company grow “end to end.”

Ostrom Mushroom Farms of Olympia, WA has noted production and quality problems in the Pacific Northwest during the spring because of compost and mechanical difficulties, but this has improved.

Salinas Lettuce

Salinas Valley head (iceberg) lettuce shipments have been erratic this season due erratic growing conditions.

Additionally, romaine shipments have improved from earlier this year when there was an outbreak of E. coli.  More than 200 people were sickened and five people died.

Coastline Family Farms of Salinas has noted hot stretches followed by cold stretches of weather which replaced what is typically is a consistent, mild climate.  It adversely affected the quality of head lettuce and weight with the product being lighter than normal.  For example, a bin of lettuce in early August weight about 1,000 pounds to only about 700 pounds in mid August, a problem that still exists in late August.  The shortage of head lettuce has helped improve demand for romaine lettuce since the E. coli problem has faded.

Salinas is shipping nearly 1,150 truck loads of head lettuce weekly, while around 850 truck loads of romaine are being shipped a week.

Salinas Valley vegetables – grossing about $8500 to New York City.


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Western Vegetable Shipments to be Light as a Transition from the Desert Takes Place

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DSCN0449A 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.

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Study:  Arizona is 2nd in Shipments of Leaf, Iceberg and Romaine Lettuce

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DSCN0306Although there are lettuce shipments towards the end of the seasons from the Salinas Valley and the Huron area of the San Joaquin Valley, light loadings of the product started late last week from the Yuma district of Arizona as the annual fall transition is underway.

Lettuce volume from the desert is very light and will be increasing right up to Thanksgiving  (November 23rd).

Doubling previous informal estimates, a new study says Arizona’s leafy greens industry delivers $2 billion in annual sales.  The study, by researchers at the University of Arizona’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, estimated a sales contribution of $2 billion for the Arizona leafy greens industry.

“We examined the whole value chain, including on-farm and post-harvest activities to understand the broad scope of the industry’s contribution to the Arizona economy,”Ashley Kerna Bickel, key researcher and contributor to the report, said in a news release.

Called “Arizona Leafy Greens: Economic Contributions of the Industry Cluster,”  the study examined 2015 agricultural cash receipts for on-farm production and post-harvest activities.

The release said the report was funded by the Arizona Leafy Greens Food Safety Committee. Authors included Kerna Bickel, Dari Duval and George Frisvold.

For purposes of the study, the leafy greens industry was defined to include on-farm activities and also cooling, cutting, washing, packing, processing, storing and shipping.

In addition to the $2 billion sales figure, the study found:

  • Arizona is the No. 2 producer of lettuce (iceberg, leaf and romaine) nationally;
  • The state’s Yuma County ranks second among U.S. counties in harvested lettuce and spinach acreage;
  • From late November to mid-March, Arizona supplies 80 percent of the nation’s lettuce, with an average of 1 billion pounds of lettuce shipped per month;
  • Leafy greens have accounted for an average of 17 percent of the state’s total agricultural receipts each year since 2010;
  • Nearly 27,000 individuals were employed either directly or indirectly by the Arizona leafy greens industry in 2015, with 16.9 million hired labor hours needed for on-farm operations alone; and
  • The leafy greens industry’s total contribution to Arizona’s gross state product was nearly $1.2 billion in 2015.

While Yuma vegetable shipments are too few to count right now, Arizona melon shipments (cantaloupe and honeydew) are totalling over 250 loads per week.


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Western Produce Shipments: Here’s Several Loading Opportunties

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FDSCN9022rom Nogales to California, the Northwest and Colorado, here are some springtime loading opportunities with fresh fruits and vegetables.

Nogales Crossings

While springtime crossings of imported Mexican vegetables is past its peak, there are about 1500 truck loads of watermelons being loaded per week, with around 500 truck loads of vine ripe tomatoes available.  There’s much less volume with squash, peppers and some other vegetables.  Mexican grape loadings should be available in very light volume starting next week, with decent loading opportunities not coming until around the second week of May.

Mexican watermelon and tomato shipments – grossing about $3200 to Chicago.

California Produce Shipments

With lettuce volume crashing in the Imperial Valley and the Yuma area, lettuce loadings have made the seasonal shift to the Huron district on the Westside of the San Joaquin Valley.  Huron is moving around 650 loads of head lettuce a week, accounting for nearly 87 percent of the state’s lettuce shipments right now.  Huron will continue well into May before giving away to California coastal shipping areas.

In fact, Santa Maria Valley has very light  loadings of lettuce, celery, cauliflower, broccoli and other vegetables.  Heaviest Santa Maria volume is with strawberries,  a little over 300 loads per week.  Strawberry loadings in California are heaviest out of Ventura County, around 500 loads a week.  Santa Maria could be a little frustrating this season. Although new crops are just starting, weather related shipping gaps are seen.

In Kern County around Bakersfield, about 375 truck load equivalents are being loaded weekly.  The new crop of stone fruit should have its first pickings the week of April 24th.

Huron lettuce – grossing about $6000 to New York City.

Potato Shipments

As always, Idaho leads potato volume accounting for nearly 1900 truck load equivalents a week, although a substantial amount of this is moving by rail…..Colorado’s San Luis Valley come next in volume averaging around 750 loads a week.  The Columbia Basin in southern Washington and adjacent Umatillin Basin in Northern Oregon are shipping about 60 percent of Colorado’s volume.

Twin Falls, ID area potatoes – grossing about $5100 to Atlanta.



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California Spring Produce Shipments will be Erratic for Weeks

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DSCN8983As the month of March progresses, produce shippers will be transitioning to the coastal valleys of California as well as the Huron district on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley.  However, for now primary vegetables shipments continue from the desert regions of California and Arizona.  But shipping gapes in the weeks ahead are certain.

Loadings for some early season cauliflower and broccoli should start from the Salinas Valley in mid-March.  Meanwhile desert lettuce shipments will shift to Huron (San Joaquin Valley) by the end of March.  However it be early April before lettuce and leaf items are shipped from Salinas.  This is when the shipping gaps will start and the issues will continue at least until May.

A couple of hours drive to the south a very similar scenario is seen in Santa Maria.  The broccoli and cauliflower currently being harvested has quality issues due to relentless recent rains.

Quality is expected to gradually improve along with volume throughout March, but yields and loadings will be down along with supply gaps.

Vegetable shipments from the California and Arizona deserts should finish during the third week of  March.

In Southern California, rains hit strawberry fields and volume is slowly improving, but still struggling to get back to normal.  Decent strawberry shipments are expected by the third week of March from Ventura County.  While Southern California strawberries are working to regain good volume, shipments from Florida and Mexico are starting to decline.  Both those areas of origin are well above their shipping levels compared to the same time in 2016.

Florida and Mexico had a combined volume of about 36 million cartons compared to about half that in late February 2016.  For the past two years, those two production areas have combined to ship around 50 million trays to U.S. markets.

In late February, California had shipped just 3 million crates compared to the close to 200 million it typically ships in a calendar year.

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California Shipments: An Update from Citrus to Vegetables

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DSCN7470California navel orange shipments are winding down for the season as loadings of Valencias are on the horizon.  Meanwhile, Salinas Valley inconsistent vegetable shipments are enough to drive one nuts!

Shipments of California navel oranges from the San Joaquin Valley are is entering its home stretch, and volume is great than originally expected.  Meanwhile, shipping gaps with Salinas Valley lettuce are occurring as predicted.

Orange shipments could surpass the 86 million cartons the National Agricultural Statistics Service predicted for the 2015-16 season.

As it is, an 86-million carton haul would be a more than 8 percent increase from last year’s 76 million cartons harvested.  This would come with at least 2,000 fewer acres of bearing trees in the ground.

The amount of fruit that has been shipped as fresh and not diverted to juice — have consistently scored above 80 percent all season.

Shipments should continue through June.

Meanwhile, some Valencia orange shippers are beginning to pick what is expected to be a 21 million-carton crop as packing houses are shipping exports.  Most shipments will begin after navels are completed.  California had about 20 million cartons of Valencias last year.  This was a little more than half the 39 million cartons produced in 2001-02 season.

Southern California orange shipments from grossing about $5300 to Atlanta.

Bell Pepper Shipments

Meanwhile bell pepper shipments have hit stride in the California desert from the Coachella Valley.  Red, green and yellow peppers should be shipping into June, before loadings will shift to the Selma, CA area.

Lettuce Shipments

Just when really good vegetable volume should be building in the Salinas Valley, the leading items  — various types of lettuce — are experiencing serious shipping gaps.  The cause is weather, ranging from heat in the mid 90s, to ice on the product due to cold nights, plus winds up to 40 mph.

The only sure thing from now until we get into June, is much lighter volume than normal, plus quality issues.  Just make sure you and your receiver know what’s being placed in the truck.

California Cherry Shipments

Reports are coming in from heavy rains that hit the California cherry crop a week ago.  Anywhere from 20 to 50 percent of the of the remaining shipments will be knocked out.

The good news is loadings  were actually up over last year in California through May 7th.   Around 23 million pounds were shipped the week ending May 7th, up from 10.9 million pounds from last year in the same week.

Season-to-date, about 32 million pounds had been shipped, up from 15.5 million pounds in 2015.

California cherry shipments are expected to be finished by around May 20th.

San Joaquin Valley cherries and vegetables – grossing about $4500 to Chicago.

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Strawberry Shipping Update; Group Urges 8 Berries a Day

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DSCN7169A handful of storms that have hit drought-stricken California this winter has put a damper on overall California strawberry shipments to date.

With the week ending March 5, 6.7 million trays of strawberries had been shipped.  That was down significantly from the 12.9 million trays shipped at the same time last year.  However, this year’s volume for that week was about 1 million trays more than the projected.

Despite the slow shipments in January, volume is increasing fast, particularly out of Oxnard.  Those Ventura County loadings should continue until about mid-May.

Ventura County celery, berries, and lettuce shipments – grossing about $4000 to Chicago.

Strawberry Health Benefits Promoted

The California Strawberry Commission is promoting consumption of eight strawberries a day, citing research that finds it may aid cognitive function, among other health benefits.

The MIND diet — short for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay — lowered the risk of Alzheimer’s as much as 53% in rigorous adherents and about 35% in those who follow it moderately well, according to a Rush University Medical Center study.

Berries are the only fruit specified for inclusion in the MIND diet, and the study’s authors have noted cognitive benefits from consumption of strawberries and blueberries.

The study results were published last September in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Separately, strawberries and other berries have been named by the American Diabetes Association as among the top 10 superfoods for a diabetes meal plan because of their low-sugar, vitamin, antioxidant and fiber content.

Eight medium strawberries equal about one cup a day and total 45 calories. Vitamin C content per serving exceeds that of oranges, according to the commission, and the fruit provides folate, potassium, three grams of fiber and seven grams of sugar.


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