Markon First Crop (MFC) Premium Iceberg and Romaine lettuce packs are unavailable in the desert growing region; Markon Best Available is being substituted as needed due to significant heat-related quality issues.
MFC Premium Green Leaf and Romaine packs are now available in Salinas, California. Supplies are limited, but harvesting will reach full production levels by next week.
The Arizona/California desert growing region received temperatures in the 90s over the last five days; weather will cool down into the upper 80s by Thursday, April 3.
Most commodity lettuce growers have moved production to the Huron or Salinas, California growing regions. Other commodity and value-added suppliers will remain in Yuma, Arizona for another one to two weeks; the excessively warm temperatures have created significant quality and shelf-life challenges in most of the remaining commodity and value-added lettuce and tender leaf items. These quality issues include, but are not limited to the following:
- Elevated insect pressure
- Growth cracking
- Higher respiration rates
- Inconsistent texture/chunks/wads
- Increased mildew pressure
- Internal burn
- Mildew damage
- Rib blight, varnish, or decay
- Seeder/core material in finished packs
- Shortened shelf-life
The Huron and Salinas regions have also experienced above-normal temperatures resulting in increased insect pressure and sporadic seeder/long core. The impact has not been as severe as it has been in desert supplies, but value-added salads and tender leaf items from Salinas are also expected to have intermittent quality and/or shelf-life challenges for the first two to three weeks of the season.
The attached pictures illustrate quality and shelf-life concerns from the desert growing region as well as some examples of current or upcoming Salinas product.
Markon inspectors are monitoring supplies in all major transitional growing regions and will continue to work with suppliers to select the best available product for Markon orders. Maintaining the cold chain throughout distribution is a critical part of maximizing the quality and shelf-life of perishable produce items, particularly during periods of volatile weather and transitions from one growing region to another, which are both currently taking place. Ordering for quick turns is recommended.
Please contact your Markon customer service representative for more information.
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