California’s Salinas and Santa Maria Valleys’ warmer than normal summer is having a dramatic effect on both quality and supplies. The most recent extreme heat spike pushed temperatures into the 90s to low 100s and will prolong existing challenges with leaf, lettuce, and tender leaf crops.
Markon inspectors have been reporting the following industrywide issues:
- Elevated insect pressure
- Internal burn
- Long core/seeder
- Other issues such as dehydration, increased growth crack, and sunburn are now being observed as well
Iceberg lettuce sizing and overall supply is also expected to decrease as a result of the extreme heat which causes plants to shut down and stop growing. Processor demand will also increase as more acreage will be needed to fulfill raw product needs. Markets are expected to remain well above-normal levels throughout the duration of the Salinas season, which typically ends in mid-November.
All signs are pointing to an extremely difficult supply and quality situation for the entire industry which will carry over into the winter desert growing season. Markon inspectors will continue to monitor all key growing regions in order to provide information that will make the upcoming transition as smooth as possible. Markon recommends preparing operators to expect sustained high prices, average quality, at best, and limited supplies for most West Coast produce items.
Attached are pictures of some of the quality issues currently being observed by Markon inspectors.
Please contact your Markon customer support representative for more information.
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