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April 17, 2023

Bell Peppers

Bell pepper supplies are tight due to a reduced labor force over Holy Week; volume will recover over the next few days. Markon First Crop (MFC) and Markon Essentials (ESS) Green and Red Bell Peppers are available.

Green Bells

  • Mexican stocks are adequate; however, they will generally decrease through April
  • The California desert is experiencing warm weather this week which will increase growth
    • Previous storms during planting have delayed crops by two weeks
    • Light harvesting will begin in late April
  • Florida volume is lower due to recent rains; production will start next week in the Plant City region
  • Expect markets to increase over the next two week

Red Bells

  • Stocks are fairly snug in Western Mexico and will diminish over the next month
  • Quality is improving in Central Mexico as some new spring crops come into play
  • Canadian greenhouse supplies will ramp up over the next week; expect excellent quality
  • Markets are poised to increase in April


  • Industry supplies will not sufficiently meet demand through the month of April; expect elevated prices the entire month
  • The desert season is wrapping up; decreased quality has reduced yields at the field level, elevating prices
  • Production in Santa Maria is expected to be delayed by two to three weeks due to heavy rains, flooding, and cool weather
  • Salinas Valley fields have been opened but are not expected to meet demand until late April or early May


  • Markets have escalated; the Arizona/California desert season is ending
  • Most suppliers will complete harvesting in Yuma, Arizona and Imperial, California by the end of this week
  • The shift to the Salinas and Santa Maria Valleys has begun and will continue through April 21; the majority of new plantings remain behind schedule
  • Limited West Coast supplies will keep markets elevated until production ramps up in late April to early May


Cilantro markets are active as desert growing regions wind down and production shifts to central coast and southern California

  • Ready-Set-Serve (RSS) Washed & Trimmed Cilantro is available; packer label may be substituted due to quality defects over the next 10 to 14 days
  • Moderate early breakdown issues have eased, and primary issue now is fragile/thin stalks and leaves (younger plantings).
    • Bruising and yellowing leaves can be issues with more delicate product, but overall flavor and usability is high.
  • High demand will keep markets elevated but expect to level off by early May

From the Fields: Desert Region Temperatures

As the Arizona/California desert season comes to an end, temperatures are warming up. The forecast calls for daytime highs mostly in the mid- to high 90°s moving forward.

Markon inspectors are starting to see leafy green items impacted by heat stress, prompting the following challenges to develop:

  • Bolting/seeder
  • Dehydration
  • Internal burn
  • Insect pressure
  • Mildew pressure
  • Inconsistent growth/fluctuating density
  • Shortened shelf-life
  • Sun scald/sun burn

Maintaining the cold chain throughout distribution is critical for maximizing quality and shelf-life.

Markon inspectors will be monitoring quality and working with suppliers to select the best product available.

Green Leaf Iceberg and Romaine Lettuce

Harvesting in the Arizona/California desert growing region continues to wind down for the season. Supplies will be depleted by late April. Green leaf, iceberg, and romaine markets have moved upward over the past two weeks, but have stabilized as growers transition to Huron, Oxnard, and Salinas, California.

  • MFC Premium Green Leaf and Romaine are readily available; Markon Best Available (MBA) Iceberg is being substituted as needed due to low case weights
  • Huron and Oxnard California harvests are underway; Salinas Valley production has started in a light way and will continue ramping up next week
  • Supplies will vary from week to week in the early part of the Salinas season, as growers navigate delayed or missed plantings caused by excessive rainfall and colder-than-normal temperatures
  • Expect active markets through April; prices will be lower in May as industry supplies strengthen


Elevated lime prices are finally easing. MFC and ESS Limes are sporadic.

  • Demand is weakening, resulting in lower prices
  • Growers harvested extra fruit in anticipation of strong demand following Holy Week, creating additional supplies for this week
  • Larger sizes (110- and 150-count fruit) remain in short supply; availability is dominated by 200- to 250-count sizes
  • Overall quality remains good; expect to see increased oil-spotting and scarring over the next several weeks following persistent rains in the growing region
  • Expect size to increase once new crop supplies become available in over the next five to six weeks
  • Markets are expected to inch down over the next 10 days


The Northwest storage onion supply continues to diminish. Fresh-run, Texas-grown onion yields have been hampered by recent rains. California onions will hit the market the week of April 24.

Storage Crop

  • Idaho/Oregon-grown MFC Onions are expected to be available through the week of April 24
    • Supply will be extremely limited the week of the April 24, as it will be the last week of the season
    • Red and yellow onion stocks are adequate; white onion supplies will be sporadic
  • Washington-grown MFC Onions will ship through the end of April  
    • Like Idaho/Oregon, sufficient supplies of red and yellow onions are available; white onion volume is tapering off
  • Although stocks are tightening, pricing remains steady

New Crop

South Texas

  • Rain at the end of last week curtailed production of Texas-grown MFC Red and Yellow Onions
  • The Mexican season is winding down and will wrap up early next week
  • Prices have inched up


  • Limited quantities of MFC Onions are anticipated to become available in the Southern California desert the week of April 24  
  • Central and Northern California production is slated for early June

New Mexico

  • MFC Onion harvesting will begin in early June


Large-size California Navels remain tight, while smaller sizes are also becoming limited; prices are rising. Florida Valenica season is ending this week while new crop California Valencias are expected to enter the market the first week of May.


  • MFC and ESS Navel Oranges are available
  • Large sizes (48- to 72-count fruit) remain limited; smaller sizes will become progressively tighter as mid-season varieties finish up this month
  • Late Navel varieties are expected to begin early May with availability into June
  • Quality is very good; Brix levels are high
  • As temperatures increase, puffing and creasing will become quality concerns; these problems occur in late season Navels when temperatures rise causing rinds to separate and creating soft, puffy fruit


  • The Florida Valencia season will end this week
  • Texas domestic Valencias will wind down the last week of April
  • California Valencias are expected to enter the market the first week of May
    • The overall crop is down six percent from last year
    • Samples gathered indicate this crop has the smallest diameter in the last 10 years
    • Early production will require no gassing as color is ideal
    • Gassing will most likely be required in July/August when Valencias start to regreen from heat

Organic Tender Leaf (Arugula, Spinach, Spring Mix and Baby Kale)

Supplies of organic tender leaf items are extremely limited. RSS availability is limited; packer label and conventional product will be substituted as needed to fill orders.

Organic Arugula

  • Cooler temperatures in the desert region slowed plant maturity and reduced yields; suppliers were forced to cut ahead of schedule, reducing availability at the end of the season
  • Recent heat spike will lead to bolting and yellowing of leaves
  • Expect extremely tight supplies and elevated prices for the next two weeks as a few growers have experienced complete crop failure
  • Packer label and conventional product is being substituted when needed

Organic Spinach

  • Expect tight supplies and high prices for the next two weeks
  • Larger size spinach, such as clipped/stemless/teen varieties, sizing has drastically reduced
  • Packer label, conventional, and baby spinach may be substituted as needed

Organic Spring Mix

  • Expect tight supplies and elevated markets for the next two weeks
  • Most suppliers are holding to averages; packer label, conventional supplies, and different varieties are being substituted as needed


Costa Rican and Mexican pineapple supplies continue to tighten, especially over the next two to three weeks.

  • Supplies from the West Coast and Texas will remain limited through late April
  • East Coast volume will remain low through late April
  • Multiple cold fronts triggered plants to flower early, causing shortages and smaller size distribution
  • The industry is in a demand-exceeds-supply situation
  • Expect increased pricing until volume starts to climb in late April


Sufficient supplies of MFC Idaho Burbank and Norkotah Potatoes are available.

Storage Crop

  • Large sizes (40- through 70-count stocks) are extremely tight; 90- through 100-count sizes are meeting demand
  • Quality remains excellent for both varieties; pack-outs favor No. 1 quality, with limited No. 2 availability
  • Prices are expected to climb as Norkotah stocks wind down through May; Burbanks will be the sole variety for the rest of the season
  • Limited Burbank stocks are expected to ship through mid- to late July

New Crop

  • Growers will begin planting in the western region near Boise later this week (planting is on schedule)
  • The southern area near Twin Falls will begin at the end of this week (planting is on schedule)
  • The eastern side is expected to start production the first week of May (one week later than their normal start date in late April)
  • Growers still hope to see spring-like weather throughout the month of April in order to get the crop completely planted by May
  • Norkotah harvesting and packing would normally begin in early to mid-August

Chipping potato storage supplies are tightening. New crop harvesting typically begins early June.

Storage crop

  • To extend storage stocks, suppliers are filling orders based on six-week averages
  • Quality continues to weaken in finished pack-outs
    • External defects exceeding the USDA standard tolerance of 10 percent will be seen
    • Internal defects surpassing 5 percent the USDA tolerance will also be present
  • Suppliers are sorting through product that would normally be culled out in order to fill orders
  • Prices will increase as demand strengthens
  • Some operators may consider shifting to gold/yellow or Russet potatoes until new crop chipping potatoes become available
  • Remaining stocks will exhibit multiple quality concerns:
    • Discoloration
    • Thin skins
    • Pressure and shoulder bruising
    • Mixed sizing

New Crop

  • California is expected to begin harvesting in early June
  • Arizona’s production will start by early July
  • New Mexico will harvest in mid-August


Strawberry supplies are increasing. Production has ended in Mexico and Florida. Expect steady markets for the next three to five days.

Santa Maria/Oxnard, California 

  • MFC Strawberries are available  
  • Yields are expected to increase daily as a warming trend hits these growing areas
  • Quality is good; green shoulders are occasional issues
  • Size is dominated by medium berries (14 to 18 pieces per one-pound clamshell)
  • Expect steady markets for the next three to five days

Central Mexico (Loading in South Texas)

  • Supplies are extremely limited; most growers have ended their season
  • Quality is fair: heat-related issues are being reported
  • Most growers have shifted to their California growing programs


  • The season has come to an end as heat-related quality issues persist
  • All fruit being harvested is being sold to local markets


Tomato markets are low; supplies are abundant. MFC Tomatoes are readily available.

  • Mexican round, Roma, cherry and grape tomato volume is high this week
    • All sizes are available with new and older fields in play; quality is improving
    • Growers increased production to cover a two-day labor gap due to Holy Week; expect snug supplies April 10-11
  • Florida’s Ruskin/Palmetto region will start early production this weekend due to favorable weather conditions over the last two months; new crop quality is excellent
  • Northern California harvests are delayed; expect the season to start approximately July 5 due to severe weather on the West Coast in February/March
  • Expect the early spring starts in Florida combined with the late California season to impact supply/markets during the month of June
  • Current prices are low—it’s a great time to promote this item

Please contact your Markon customer service representative for more information.

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