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January 23, 2024

The Arizona/California desert growing region received upwards of ¾” to over an inch of rainfall between Sunday evening and Monday night with periods of heavy downpours and thunderstorms. Some suppliers of desert row crop vegetables have canceled harvests. Those who must attempt harvesting will struggle in extremely muddy fields. Morning fog has also lowered visibility and made the conditions more dangerous.

Some Markon First Crop (MFC) items such as Butter Lettuce, Iceberg Lettuce, Artisan Romaine, and Romaine Hearts will temporarily switched into Markon Best Available or packer label due to a higher propensity to develop bruising and/or pinking when harvested in wet conditions, as well as elevated dirt/mud on the product.

Markon inspectors are actively monitoring field conditions and quality/shelf-life challenges that are developing after recent ice events and now this significant rainfall. Lettuce and tender leaf items in particular will be most impacted by the following issues:

  • Bottom rot
  • Decreased case weights for commodity lettuce items
  • Discoloration and/or decay on epidermal blistering and peeling
  • Dirt/mud on the product
  • Increased mildew pressure
  • Premature pinking in some value-added salads or Washed & Trimmed leaf lettuce packs
  • Reduced shelf-life potential
  • Yellowing leaves/discoloration

Harvesting and processing crews will work to keep boxes as clean and dry as possible and will take steps to minimize defects but can’t avoid all of these issues completely. Ordering for quick turns is recommended and as always, maintaining the cold chain is critical for maximizing quality and shelf-life.

Please contact your Markon customer service representative for more information.

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