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December 14, 2023


Prices for all sizes have risen this week. Peruvian imports shipping into Miami, Florida are limited; pressure on Mexico supplies has increased as they undergo transition from the coast to Central/Northern Mexico.


  • Supplies are being harvested in Baja and Sonora
  • Sizing is dominated by small-diameter stalks as new fields are being harvested; cooler weather and shorter days have limited maturation
  • Large and jumbo sizes are tighter than previous weeks; quality is down
  • Feathery tips and inconsistent size are being reported; harvesters are having to sort through fields, causing poor yield and failure to meet specifications


  • The season is winding down in Southern Peru as temperatures climb
  • Most production is moving to fields in Northern Peru; overcast conditions in the region has delayed production
  • Newer fields are yielding smaller diameter stocks, increasing demand for larger sizes
  • Australian and European seasons have come to an end, further increasing global demand
  • FOB remains comparable from both regions; some freight savings are available for Eastern DC’s


East Coast cucumber supplies are light as the Florida (domestic) season winds down. Overall demand is shifting towards Mexico, pushing markets up.

  • Markon First Crop (MFC) Cucumbers are available
  • Cooler temperatures and rain have drastically slowed the Florida domestic season; expect very limited supply going forward
  • The import Honduras season (landing in Florida) will start this week; full volume is anticipated by late December
  • Mexico supply is moderate due to cooler weather in Sonora; quality is excellent with firm, dark fruit
  • Expect higher prices over the next two weeks

From the Fields: Desert Region Cold Snap

Widespread lettuce ice will be causing continued harvesting and loading delays for leafy green items in the Arizona/California desert growing region. Temperatures have dipped into the low-to upper 30°s in many production areas after winds subsided overnight. Similar icing conditions expected for Thursday, December 14 before dissipating by Saturday, December 16.

After multiple mornings of freezing temperatures this week, Markon inspectors will be watching for the following ice-related challenges in lettuce and tender leaf items in the days ahead:

  • Dehydration and/or loss of vibrancy
  • Epidermal blistering and peeling
  • Stalled plant growth and decreased case weights for some lettuce packs
  • Yellowing leaves, especially in Arugula and other tender leaf items
  • Weakened texture and shortened shelf-life

Weather has been mild up to this point in the desert season and supplies are plentiful, but if the cold trend continues beyond this week and plant growth slows significantly, the industry may be heading toward a supply gap sometime in January.

Please click here to view a Markon Live from the Fields video regarding cold temperatures and lettuce ice developing in the Arizona-California desert growing region.

From the Fields: Desert Weather Update

The Arizona/California desert region has avoided significantly low temperatures and icy conditions so far this season, but a dry cold front is moving into the area late today, threatening to change that. Cool winds with gusts up to 30 mph are expected Saturday, December 9. Once they subside, we can expect to see morning temperatures dip into the low to mid-30s with light-to-moderate lettuce ice possible Sunday, December 10 through Thursday, December 14.

Production and loading delays may occur for desert row crop commodities and value-added items over the next several days. Markon inspectors are monitoring conditions and will update further as needed.

From the Fields: Lettuce Ice In the Desert Region

Morning temperatures in the Arizona/California desert growing region have dipped into low-to upper 30°s for the 2nd consecutive morning, causing light-to heavy ice to form on lettuce and tender leaf items depending on the location. Harvesting delays of 2-4 hours are expected today as harvesting crews wait for product to thaw sufficiently.

The current forecast calls for brief warming tomorrow before ice conditions return on Wednesday, December 13 and Thursday, December 14. Production and loading delays can be expected over the next several days.

Markon inspectors will continue monitoring weather and product quality closely and will update further as needed.


Grape prices are climbing. The California season is ending; offshore fruit from Chile and Peru is entering the market.

  • Packer label green seedless grapes are forecast to begin shipping week of December 18, 2023
  • Packer label red seedless grapes will enter the market the week of January 1, 2024, followed by Markon Essentials (ESS)  Green/Red Seedless Grapes in mid-February
  • Packer label Lunch Bunch Grapes will begin shipping January 10, 2024; MFC Lunch Bunch Grapes will become available the second week of February

Green Leaf, Iceberg, and Romaine Lettuces

Green leaf, iceberg, and romaine lettuce supplies are abundant in the Arizona and California desert growing regions. Markets remain depressed despite holiday demand and lettuce ice events.

  • MFC Premium Green Leaf, Iceberg, and Romaine are readily available in the Arizona and California desert
  • Quality is very good; shape, size, and texture are meeting MFC brand specifications
  • Yesterday’s low temperatures resulted in moderate lettuce ice in most of desert growing areas
    • Harvests were delayed one to four hours to allow heads to thaw
    • Minor to moderate lettuce ice is forecast again later this week
    • Epidermal blistering and peeling are not expected to develop as of now
  • Markets will remain relatively flat at low levels through December


Guatemalan melons are now arriving by ship into domestic ports; prices are rising.


  • The Arizona-California desert season is ending; remaining supplies will ship over the next week
  • Offshore cantaloupe is shipping from Guatemala
    • Quality is good
    • Sugar levels range from 13 to 16 Brix
    • Supplies are dominated by 9-and 12-count sizes; jumbo-size melons are limited
  • Cool, cloudy weather is slowing early production in Guatemala
  • Markets are climbing


  • The Arizona-California desert season has finished
  • Offshore honeydew has begun shipping from Guatemala
    • Quality is good
    • Sugar levels range from 12 to 15 Brix
    • Size is dominated by 5-and 6-count fruit
  • Mexican melon supplies (crossing into Nogales, Arizona) are tightening
  • Prices are rising

Mixed Berries

Low temperatures and rain have slowed mixed berry production in Mexico. California supplies will continue to tighten as the season winds down.


  • Chilean volume is increasing
    • Production will peak in early January
    • Quality is good
  • Peruvian supplies are ample; the season will end in mid-January
  • Mexican yields are low
  • The California season is ending
  • Demand is moderate; overall supplies are abundant


  • Yields are low in Central Mexico
    • Cool weather and rain have hindered harvests
    • Supplies will increase as weather improves
  • California’s season is past its peak; stocks are limited
  • Quality is good in both regions
  • Weak demand and sufficient stocks will keep prices steady


  • Mexican supplies are limited
  • California’s season is past its peak; volume is low
  • Quality is good in all areas
  • Expect rising markets


Prices continue to rise for red, white, and yellow onions; demand is extremely active. Volatile markets are expected over the next six weeks.

  • MFC Onions are available out of storage from Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Colorado, and Washington
  • Strong demand for white onions has shifted orders into the yellow and red markets, increasing prices in all growing regions
  • Demand will remain active well into January
  • Pacific Northwest quality is excellent
  • Mexican onions will begin crossing into South Texas by late January/early February


MFC Norkotah and Burbank Potatoes are currently being shipped out of Idaho and Washington.


  • Norkotahs will be the primary variety shipped until spring
  • More Norkotahs have been harvested this season than in the past
  • Over the past several years, Idaho Norkotah performance has improved and is now comparable to Burbank variety, exhibiting higher solid content and less moisture
  • Many growers favor Norkotahs over Burbanks as they have a shorter growing cycle and also exhibit higher yields, stronger quality, and a better size profile


  • Burbanks are better suited for late-season storage; however, growers continue to plant fewer each year
  • In 2022, Idaho suppliers packed over 60% Norkotahs and less than 40% Burbanks
  • Below is data compiled by the Idaho and Eastern Oregon Potato Committee showing Burbank and Norkotah shipment comparisons since 1992
  • Expect Burbanks to be $1.00-$2.00 higher than Norkotahs, depending on pack size


The California fall crop is winding down. Mexican-grown strawberries (crossing into South Texas) are tight due to cold weather and rain. Florida supplies will increase over the next three to four weeks.

Santa Maria/Oxnard

  • MFC Strawberries are available
  • Some pin rot and uneven ripening have been reported
  • Shelf-life is limited; Markon recommends ordering for quick turns
  • Expect prices to remain elevated for the rest of the season

Mexico (into South Texas)

  • Production is increasing
  • Mexican fruit will be used to supplement the California and Florida shortages next week
  • The industry will be in a demand-exceeds-supply situation
  • Quality is good; white shoulders and occasional overripening are issues


  • MFC Strawberries are available
  • Multiple rain events are forecast over the weekend; harvesting delays or cancelations are expected
  • Packer label will be shipped as needed; plastic clamshells will be substituted for corrugated packs
  • Quality is good; issues include white shoulders and occasional overripening
  • Expect elevated markets and short supplies through next week

Please contact your Markon customer service representative for more information.

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