Some value-added salads and tender leaf items that are grown and packed in the Arizona/California desert growing region are exhibiting sporadic quality and shelf-life issues stemming from rainfall received in early March and followed by above-normal temperatures thereafter. Daytime highs have been in the mid- to upper 80s over the last few days and may climb into the low 90s over the weekend.
Tender leaf items such as arugula, cilantro, and spring mix are more sensitive to the erratic weather experienced recently and are expected to have inconsistent or reduced shelf-life performance through the duration of the desert growing season that ends in early April.
Recent quality evaluations performed by Markon inspectors showed that arugula has been holding up well, but may begin to exhibit flowering leaves, yellowing, and/or early breakdown. Mildew and other issues that developed in spring mix varieties after the rain storm have caused significant breakdown as early as day seven to nine of shelf-life.
Raw product iceberg and romaine quality has been very good in most fields, but harvesting and processing crews will continue watching for dehydration, insect pressure, sunburn, mildew damage, and inconsistent/dense texture that may cause iceberg wads or chunks in next week’s salad blend lots.
The attached pictures taken by Markon inspectors during recent field inspections and quality evaluations illustrate some of the weather-related issues that are developing. Markon recommends ordering for quick turns and maintaining the cold chain throughout distribution to maximize quality and shelf-life of both commodity and value-added items. This is especially important during heat spikes and growing region transitions, which are both currently in progress.
Please contact your Markon customer service representative for more information.
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