The Arizona/California desert growing region has experienced three separate heat spikes throughout March with daytime highs in the low 80°s to mid-90°s. The most recent heat event has just tapered off due to an upper level trough that could bring light showers this afternoon through tomorrow morning, Tuesday, March 29.
Markon inspectors have not observed as many serious heat-related defects as expected, but sun scalding and sunburn are present on lettuce items and some hit-and-miss shelf-life performance is expected in value-added items. We also expect to continue seeing varying amounts of insect pressure in commodity and lightly-prepped value-added items being grown and packed in the Arizona and California desert regions. Quality-alert flyers are currently being used in lightly prepped items, and will remain in use until the Salinas Valley growing season ramps up in mid-April.
Although the warmer weather is aiding plant growth, low case weights are anticipated for 24-count iceberg lettuce; Markon First Crop pack outs will remain limited.
The forecast calls for temperatures to remain just above seasonal averages through at least April 5. Markon inspectors will continue monitoring fields and working with growers to select the best supplies for Markon orders. Maintaining the cold chain throughout distribution is critical for maximizing quality and shelf-life. Ordering for quick turns is recommended.
Please contact your Markon customer service representative for more information.
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