UPDATE SUMMARY: WEEK OF APRIL 11, 2022

April 15, 2022

Avocados

Large-size avocados are becoming limited as Mexico’s current crop is dominated by small-size fruit. Recent rain has lowered volume in California.

Mexico

  • Large sizes are extremely tight
  • More shortages are forecast due to reduced harvesting during Holy Week (April 13 through April 17)  
  • Expect elevated markets and tight supplies through summer

California

  • Harvests were interrupted during last week’s rain
  • Quality is good
    • Large sizes are limited
    • Shortages are forecast due to decreased production during Holy Week
  • Expect elevated markets and tight supplies through summer

Bell Peppers

Prices remain elevated. Harvesting transitions to new growing regions in Florida and California will begin in late April/early May. Markon First Crop (MFC) and Markon Essentials (ESS) Green and Red Bell Peppers are available.

Green Bells

  • Mexican supplies are tight; spring crops were slow to mature due to cold evenings
    • Small sizes are dominant; extra-large and large sizes are commanding high prices
    • Quality is erratic; limited scarring and bruising are still evident after grading
  • Florida volume remains low due to previous inclement weather
    • Choice-grade quality is average
    • Extra-large and large sizes are limited
    • Plant City production will start this week, increasing overall supply to the region
    • The state of Georgia is expected to start harvesting in mid- to late May
  • Light green bell harvesting has begun in California’s Imperial Valley region; significant volume isn’t expected until late April
  • Expect prices to remain elevated until California crops ramp up later this month

Red Bells

  • Mexican supplies are fairly tight in the western and central regions as growers transition to spring acreage
    • Quality is good
    • The best lots are being shipped from high-tech greenhouses
  • Florida grows very few colored bell peppers
  • The spring Canadian greenhouse season is fully underway
  • Expect prices to lower slightly this week

Brussels Sprouts

Prices are rising. Production is limited as a result of lower yields and reduced harvesting capacity.

  • Temperatures in Mexicali, Mexico registered in the mid-90s to low 100s last week; this heat spike stalled plant growth and slowed sprout production
  • Harvests have also been sporadic due to limited labor during Holy Week
  • Size is dominated by small and medium sprouts; jumbo sizes are tighter but remain readily available
  • A limited supply of sprouts are being harvested domestically in Santa Maria, California
    • Oxnard, California production is scheduled to start mid-May
    • Salinas Valley harvests will follow in early to mid-June
  • Prices are expected to remain elevated for the next two to three weeks until yields in Mexicali rebound

Idaho Potatoes

MFC Idaho Burbank Potatoes are available. Storage crop MFC Norkotah Potatoes are expected to be depleted by early May.  

Storage Crop

  • Overall supplies have tightened as remaining Norkotah stocks begin to wind down
  • Prices will strengthen through the end of the Norkotah season
  • Quality is good: pressure and shoulder bruising, along with hollow heart, will be seen sporadically in remaining storage supplies (both Norkotahs and Burbanks)
  • Pressure and shoulder bruising (soft, external indents) results from constant contact with adjacent potatoes, or the floor, while raw product sits in storage piles
  • Hollow heart (small, irregularly shaped internal craters) develops internally during the season when potatoes grow faster than normal due to adverse weather

2022-2023 Season

  • 2022/2023 new crop potato planting will begin in April
  • New crop Norkotah harvesting is expected to start in early August

From The Fields: Heat-Related Defects

Recent high temperatures have started to impact lettuce row crop and value-added items in the Arizona/California growing region. Markon Inspectors are working closely with suppliers to pack the highest quality available, however with temperatures currently reaching daytime highs of 95-100 F, the following defects are expected:

  • Sun scalding
  • Sun burn
  • Internal burn
  • Rib-blight
  • Growth crack
  • Bolting
  • Seeder
  • Increased insect pressure

Harvesting crews are doing the most to minimize or avoid present defects from the finished packs. Maintaining the cold chain throughout distribution is critical for maximizing quality and shelf-life.

From The Fields: Salinas Valley Disease Pressure

Salinas Valley is experiencing an early wave of Impatience Necrotic Spot Virus (INSV) that is affecting green leaf, iceberg, and romaine crops, causing some yield losses. Plant scientists have attributed this early INSV to Salinas Valley’s dry winter season combined with higher-than-normal temperatures. Farmers need freezing temperatures to reduce insect populations. Without this natural kill step this past winter, a higher percentage of the thrip population has survived. Not all fields are impacted, but Markon inspectors have observed yield losses up to 30% in some fields scheduled to harvest in the next two to three weeks.

Growers anticipate a decline of INSV activity with cooler weather and rain in forecast later this week and next week.

Harvesting crews can detect INSV and cull from commodity packs. Markon inspectors will continue to work closely with suppliers and provide the best available quality.

Limes

MFC and ESS Limes remain limited; packer label is being substituted as needed.

  • Reduced harvesting later this week due to Holy Week will keep supplies extremely tight through the week following Easter (week of April 18)
  • The issue is now being compounded by Texas border crossing delays causing Mexican lime growers to halt harvesting earlier than expected as they cannot get fruit across the border in a timely manner
  • The lime market will further tighten as a result; prices are poised to rise
    • Medium to large sizes (110- through 200-count limes) are extremely limited
    • 230-count limes may be substituted as needed
  • Overall quality is good: stylar is occasionally present in some lots
  • Lime juice remains sufficient; juice processors are sourcing from all regions as needed to ensure steady supply
  • Expect high prices and limited Mexican stocks through April 22

Onions

The Northwest storage onion season continues to wind down. Sufficient supplies of Texas-grown onions are available.

Northwest

  • Idaho/Oregon-grown MFC Onions will be depleted by April 15
  • MFC Washington Onions will ship through the end of April
  • Markets have eased as demand has shifted to new crop onions
  • Please note that quality has deteriorated in remaining supplies; internal defects such as translucency, as well as dry and watery scale, are common

Texas

  • Texas-grown MFC Red and Yellow Onions are readily available
  • The Mexican onion season will wrap up by early next week
  • Texas onion pricing will increase with the Mexico season wrapping up; the end of the Idaho/Oregon season will also boost Texas onion demand
  • Fresh-run onions will have feathery skins and light color/exterior compared to Northwest storage onions

California

  • Imperial Valley onions will hit the market the week of April 25

New Mexico

  • The New Mexico season is scheduled to open in early June

Red and Yellow Potatoes

MFC Red and Yellow Potatoes are being shipped out of Idaho and North Dakota. 

Idaho

  • Most suppliers will deplete storage stocks this month and begin to transfer potatoes from other regions to continue to ship out of Idaho
  • The Idaho market will increase through the transition from storage to new crop potatoes
  • MFC Red and Yellow Idaho Potato supplies will last through July; volume is adequate
  • New crop Idaho potatoes will become available the first week of August

North Dakota

  • MFC Red Potatoes will be available through late June
  • New crop red and yellow potatoes will begin to ship the first week of August

California

  • California red and yellow potatoes will start shipping in June and continue through early August

Florida

  • Florida colored potatoes will ship through June

Washington

  • The Washington storage season will run through the end of April
  • The new crop season is expected to get underway in September

Wisconsin

  • New crop harvesting of MFC Potatoes will begin in early August

Strawberries

Prices will remain elevated through this week; California supplies are limited due to recent warm weather.

Oxnard and Santa Maria

  • MFC Strawberries are available
  • Production is down due last week’s high temperatures
  • Quality is good: some heat-damaged fruit is being reported
  • Volume is anticipated to decrease this week but quickly rebound through the month
  • Expect elevated markets and tight supplies for the next 3-5 days

Salinas/Watsonville

  • Volume is low as the season is just starting to come into play
  • Supplies willl ramp up in late April, barring any unusual weather events

South Texas Border Delays

Texas/Mexico border delays persist. Holy Week will further delay produce shipments this weekend. Commercial traffic has dropped over 60%, significantly impacting the produce supply chain.

  • The Governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, advised late Wednesday that he would end the heightened inspections at one entry point in Laredo because Mexican state governor of Nuevo Leon agreed to increased border security
  • All other border crossings, including the Pharr International Bridge, continue to experience extensive security checks
  • Although many protests and blockades have cleared as of late yesterday, it is expected to take days before held up trucks are processed through the border
  • The delays are creating a backlog and interrupting the entire supply chain; growers are slowing harvests due to lack of trucks
  • Some produce companies are diverting shipments to Arizona or California ports of entry, which are not affected
  • Markon will continue to update as more information becomes available

Please contact your Markon customer service representative for more information.

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