UPDATE SUMMARY: WEEK OF AUGUST 15, 2022

August 18, 2022

Bell Peppers
There is strong demand for green bell peppers this week, with many local summer growing regions in play. Markon First Crop (MFC) and Markon Essentials (ESS) Green and Red Bell Peppers are available.

Green Bells

  • California has new fields starting in Arroyo Grande this week, complimenting the existing production in Gilroy/Hollister region
    • Peppers have strong walls and excellent quality
    • All sizes are available; choice grade is tight
  • The East Coast has a steady supply from New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan
    • Overall quality is good; some Michigan crop requires extra grading due to rain-related issues
    • Pennsylvania has new crops; volume is dominated by jumbo sizes
  • Canadian bell pepper production (out of the provinces of Quebec and Ontario) is supplementing East Coast demand
  • Expect lower markets over the next two weeks

Red Bells

  • California volume is rising in the Fresno growing region
    • Overall quality is very good
    • All sizes and grades are available
    • The Gilroy/Hollister region will begin harvesting in late August
  • Production is lighter during August in Central Mexico production (crossing into South Texas); stocks will ramp up in September
  • Canadian greenhouse harvesting has increased; extra-large sizes are readily available
  • Expect prices to increase slightly this week

California Strawberries

Supplies continue to tighten; markets are rising. Expect stocks to continue to decline over the next two to three weeks with the Salinas/Watsonville season past peak production.

Salinas/Watsonville

  • MFC Strawberries are available
  • Stocks continue to diminish as the season moves past its peak
  • Size currently ranges from small to medium (20- to 24-count per one-pound clamshell)
  • Quality is good: some green shoulders and soft fruit have been reported
  • Suppliers will begin transitioning to the Santa Maria growing region in late September
  • Expect markets to continue rising over the next 7 to 10 days

Santa Maria

  • MFC Strawberries are expected to become available the week of August 29
  • Stocks are declining as fields move past peak production and into the summer season over the next two weeks
  • Size currently ranges from small to medium (20- to 24-count per one-pound clamshell)
  • Quality is good: some green shoulders and soft fruit have been reported
  • Summer production is expected to begin the week of September 19
  • Expect markets to continue climbing over the next 7 to 10 days

Green Leaf, Iceberg, and Romaine

California green leaf, iceberg, and romaine supplies have been impacted by disease pressure and high temperatures, particularly in South Salinas Valley. Prices are climbing.

  • MFC Premium Green Leaf is available
    • Case weights are high despite the warm weather
    • Quality is average: dense heads, fringe burn, and occasional weak tip have been prevalent, but these issues are being avoided by harvesting crews
    • Markets are forecast to climb over the next 10 to 14 days; no major gaps or shortages are predicted
  • MFC Premium Iceberg and Romaine are available; Markon Best Available is being substituted due to low case weights and quality concerns
    • Recent heat and humidity, will continue to cause varying levels of internal burn, growth crack, seeder, salt and pepper, mildew, and thrip damage in both commodities
    • Iceberg and romaine prices will rise through the month of August; regional/local deals are winding down, increasing demand on West Coast supplies

Green Onions

The market continues to rise rapidly. Persistently elevated temperatures are leading to low yields in the primary growing region of Mexicali, Mexico.

  • Ready-Set-Serve (RSS) Green Onions are available
  • Hot weather without nighttime cooling relief has led to warmer-than-normal ground temperatures, increasing thrip/pest pressure
  • Labor has been difficult to source, with harvesting made more complicated by the recent heat and reduced trucking capacity
    • Increased inspections at the Southern U.S. border have caused delays in border crossing times, further hampering inbound supplies
    • Rapid growth combined with lower yields have limited harvestable onions
  • Expect elevated markets for the next three to four weeks

Live From the Fields: Salinas Valley Soil & Crop Health

Please click here to view a Markon Live from the Fields video regarding soil and crop health concerns in California’s Salinas Valley.

  • In recent years, the Salinas Valley has experienced extremely high yield losses in late summer/early fall lettuce crops due to elevated soil disease and plant viruses
  • Impatiens Necrotic Spot Virus (INSV) has been noted sporadically throughout the season, but it is now flaring up
  • Other diseases/pathogens such as Sclerotinia, Fusarium Wilt, and Verticillium Wilt have also started to increase and cause severe damage or die-off
  • Field forecasters are already warning of worsening conditions in upcoming lots over the next two to six weeks
  • Yields and case weights are expected to decrease significantly as crews cull damaged heads and enter younger fields in hopes of limiting the spread of these issues
  • Supplies of iceberg and romaine, in particular, are expected to become tighter as the season winds down into late October, causing sustained elevated markets

Limes

Prices are rising due to tight supplies and low yields caused by poor weather conditions in Mexico. MFC and ESS Limes are available.

  • Mexican supplies are tight due to inclement weather from recent tropical storms
  • All sizes are available; 110-to 150- count cartons are limited
  • High-quality stocks will remain tight until weather improves in late September; rain and thunderstorms are typical in Mexico this time of year
    • For the safety of their workers, growers must limit harvesting time
    • Quality issues will persist through September
  • Light color, stylar, and oil spotting are being reported by suppliers during the grading process
  • Expect prices to continue to increase steadily throughout August with potential for relief in mid-September

Onions

Heavy rain has been falling in the Idaho/Oregon growing region this week.

  • New crop onions are fresh-run, meaning they come straight from the fields into production
  • Growers will require extra time to allow onions to dry
  • Expect limited availability through next week

Onions

The new crop onion season is beginning to form. California and New Mexico onions near the end of their respective seasons. Expect steady markets through next week.

New Crop

  • Washington stocks are on the market; size is small in early yields, with limited availability of colossal and super colossal
  • Rain last week halted scheduled Idaho/Oregon harvests
    • Volume has been low but is should increase next week
    • Size will be on the smaller end to start (mainly medium and jumbo onions)
  • Washington onions are being shipped into Utah for consolidation and loading; Utah-grown onions will hit the market in early September
  • Colorado production will begin next week

New Mexico

  • Yellow onion sizing is small in remaining lots; colossal and super colossal sizes are limited
  • Red onion supplies are sufficient; prices continue to decrease
  • White onion volume is tight; markets are elevated
  • The New Mexico season will run through this weekend, with limited availability the week of August 22

California

  • Several growers have depleted supply; others will have onions through the first part of next week
  • Yellow onion pricing has eased with demand shifting to the Northwest
  • Red onion demand is weak; markets continue to diminish

Oranges

California Valencia supplies are tightening; most California growers anticipate supplies to be depleted by the end of September. Imported volume will rise over the next two to three weeks as shipments from Chile and South Africa increase. Harvesting will start in Mexico, Florida, and Texas between late October and early November.

California  

  • MFC and ESS California Valencia Oranges are available
  • Supplies are dominated by large sizes (56- to 88-count packs); smaller sizes (113- to 138-count packs) are tightening
  • Valencia quality is falling with concerns around re-greening and softness
  • The California Valencia crop is down 16%-20% in volume compared to the previous year
  • Initial reports project California Navels will begin shipping in mid- to late October

Chile

  • Chilean fruit is currently being imported into both coasts; most shipments are arriving in western ports
  • Volume is expected to rise week after week
  • Supplies are dominated by 113-count and larger packs
  • Fancy grade fruit is plentiful
  • Quality is excellent

South Africa

  • South African fruit is currently being imported into the East Coast
  • Volume is expected to increase week after week
  • There is limited availability of 88- to 113-count packs
  • Quality is excellent

Mexico

  • Oranges will begin shipping in mid- to late October
  • The Early orange variety will be available in both McAllen, Texas and Nogales, Arizona

Florida

  • New crop fruit will start shipping in late October and run through June
  • Supplies are expected to be dominated by 100- to 125-count and larger packs
  • The majority of fruit will be choice and standard grades

Texas

  • Oranges will begin shipping in early November
  • Navels will be the predominate variety available, but Early oranges will also be on the market
  • Supplies are forecast to be 70% of normal as orchards are still recovering from the freeze two years ago

Potatoes- Idaho Storage Supple Will Be Depleted This Week

The next few weeks will continue to be the most challenging for order fulfillment. Expect highly elevated markets and supply struggles to persist into September.

Remaining Storage Stocks

  • Final storage facilities will be depleted this week for the few remaining Idaho shippers with available supply
  • Many Idaho suppliers are already experiencing a supply gap between their storage and new crop
  • Sheds with product will continue to significantly slow production and limit daily shipments to stretch volume out the remainder of the week
  • Size substitutions will be required for best order fulfillment; expect requested ship dates to be adjusted for allocation
  • 40- to 80-count stocks remain extremely limited; 90- to 120-count supplies continue to tighten

New Crop Potatoes

  • Idaho:
    • Central Idaho growers have begun to harvest in a limited manner
    • The first set of Eastern Idaho shippers have begun to harvest this week, but also in a limited way
    • The bulk of Idaho production will not begin until the week of August 30
    • Early pack-outs will be on the small side; heavy to 70- to 90-counts
  • Washington:
    • Supply has improved; early season volume remains dominated by 70- to 90-count potatoes
    • Washington may supplement supply shortages in Idaho; however, due to the small sizing this has not been a viable option
  • U.S. No. 2 production will be tight until potatoes are shipped out of storage, as supplies look their best straight out of the field
  • Limited quantities of Texas potatoes are now being gathered; early harvests are also inadequate in size
  • Colorado and Wisconsin production will begin in September

Potatoes- New Crop Appearance

Supply challenges persist at historical levels. Be aware of potato characteristics as new crop supplies begin to hit the market.

  • As new crop potato harvests start, suppliers will begin to fill storage sheds as well as send product straight to packing facilities for fresh-run orders
  • Fresh-run quality will be good, with occasional skinning; excess moisture may be observed in fresh-run potatoes
    • Potatoes may release moisture as they cool resulting in light white surface residue that can easily be brushed off
    • The white residue will dissipate as potatoes dry, and does not pose any quality problems
  • New crop potatoes have not gone through the ‘sweat’ process yet; the ‘sweat’ process allows field heat to leave potatoes, putting them in dormancy and preventing sprouting during early months of storage
  • U.S. No. 2 production will be very limited, as potatoes that would normally meet No. 1 grade are being packed to meet demand for No. 2 grade orders
    • No. 2 supplies will increase once potatoes are shipped out of storage
    • Prices will be elevated
  • Norkotahs will be shipped out of storage in mid-October
  • New crop Burbank harvesting is expected to begin in late September/early October and begin to ship out of storage in late October/early November

RSS Orange Juice

RSS Orange Juice sugar levels have been lowered for orders produced out of the Arizona facility starting August 12, 2022.

  • The minimum sugar level for not-from-concentrate (NFC) orange juice produced out of the Arizona facility has been lowered from 11.8 to 11.2 Brix
  • Extended periods of excessive heat have caused re-regreening in this year’s Valencia crop
    • Re-greening occurs during the ripening process as warm temperatures cause the rind to re-absorb chlorophyll
    • The extended warm temperatures cause lower brix levels in Valencia also known as the summertime orange
  • According to the USDA Citrus Crop Estimates, overall orange supplies are down 1.8 million boxes
  • This recipe change (brix content) will be in effect until quality and supply conditions are re-evaluated in January 2023
  • Sugar levels for NFC orange juice produced at the Florida facility remain unchanged at a minimum of 11 Brix
  • Non-RSS retail orange juice requirements range from 10.5 to 10.9 Brix

RSS Peeled Garlic

The new crop domestic season is underway. RSS Peeled Garlic from California will be very limited for the next two weeks. Due to quality concerns, packer label peeled garlic is being substituted as needed.

  • The 2022 California fresh-run harvest is fully underway; supplies have begun shipping
    • New crop supplies have strong odor, bruising, and more moisture than storage crop stocks
    • Freshly harvested garlic will take several weeks to cure before odor and quality issues subside
    • Packer label peeled garlic will be substituted for the next two weeks due to product not being 100% cured
  • Tight supplies and strong demand are limiting cure time, resulting in the differences between new crop and storage crop stocks
  • Markon recommends ordering for quick turns over the next two weeks until raw product has fully cured

Stone Fruit

The California stone fruit season is winding down. Unseasonal August rains have brought an abrupt end to peaches and nectarines.

Apricots

  • Supplies are tight
  • Size is dominated by small fruit (volume-filled 12- and 14-count packs)
  • Quality is good: sugar levels range between 12 and 14 Brix
  • The season is expected to end the week of August 22

Nectarines

  • Supplies are limited; the season will wrap up the week of August 22
  • Size is dominated by larger sizes (54- and 56-count fruit)
  • August rains have brought the season to an early end, forcing growers to walk away from the orchards due to heavy rot
  • Quality is good; growers are sorting during pack outs

Peaches

  • Supplies are tight; the season will wrap up the week of August 29
  • Size is dominated by larger sizes (54- and 56-count fruit)
  • Production is coming to an early end because of unseasonal August rains, forcing growers to walk away from orchards due to heavy rot
  • Quality is good; growers are sorting during pack outs

Plums

  • The California season is at its peak
  • California supplies are expected to run through the first week of October
  • Size is dominated by smaller fruit (60- and 64-count fruit)
  • Expect good quality; sugar levels typically range from 14 to 17 Brix
  • Thereafter, plums will be sourced from Chile until mid-January

Tomatoes

High temperatures have tightened supplies in many East Coast areas. Demand for California tomatoes is strong; prices are up substantially. MFC Tomatoes are available.

  • East Coast round and Roma stocks will remain limited until the first week of September
    • High temperatures and rain have caused low yields in the Tennessee and Alabama growing regions
    • Michigan round tomato production started late; however, grape tomatoes are up and running with excellent supply and quality
    • Heat waves affected many local regional deals this summer season, shifting demand to the West Coast
  • Limited California Roma and mature green tomato acreage planted this year has kept volume low
    • The drought created water restrictions for growers and reduced the ability for California growers to handle gaps from other growing regions
    • Mature green tomatoes have average quality; Roma quality is better
  • Mexican Roma, cherry, and grape tomatoes are tight this week as the monsoon season is starting
    • Quality is average
    • Expect supplies to increase in September
  • Expect prices to continue rising over the next two weeks

Please contact your Markon customer service representative for more information.

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