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December 21, 2023


Supplies remain extremely scarce; prices will continue climbing this week. Markon First Crop (MFC) Asparagus is sporadic; packer label is being substituted as necessary to meet demand.


  • Limited quantities are being harvested in Baja and Sonora; many growers stopped harvesting earlier this month due to weak demand
  • Small-diameter stalks dominate yields
    • Cooler weather/shorter days and elevated markets have hindered maturation needed to pack larger sizes
    • Large and jumbo sizes are in very high demand
  • Overall quality has diminished; feathery tips and inconsistent stalk size are being reported
  • Expect supplies to increase and prices to ease by the first week of January


  • Production is focused in Northern Peru after temperatures in the south accelerated and yields declined
    • Minimal volume is being imported to the U.S. (via Miami, Florida)
    • Many Peruvian growers are prioritizing the more lucrative European market
  • FOB costs remain comparable from both regions, though some freight savings are available for Eastern DCs
  • Expect high prices and extremely tight supplies into early February

Bell Peppers

Red bell peppers are extremely limited as domestic crops wind down and the Mexican season is delayed. Green bell supplies are ample; production is underway in California, Florida, and Mexico.

Red Bells

  • MFC and Markon Essentials (ESS) Red Bell Peppers are extremely limited; packer label is being substituted as needed
  • Low temperatures in the California desert region are delaying the ripening process
    • Yields will remain extremely low through the end of the season in late December
    • Quality is average; achieving full red color has become an issue as growers are forced to harvest fields earlier than normal to fill orders
  • Cold weather has tightened supplies in Mexico
    • The Sinaloa season is getting a slow start due to effects of past hurricanes and rain
    • The crop typically begins in late December but supplies will not be ready until early January
  • Expect elevated prices and tight supplies through January 6

Green Bells

  • MFC and ESS Green Bell Peppers are available
  • Mexican volume is rising
    • Quality is very good
    • All sizes are available
  • The California desert supplies remain tight; the season is winding down
  • Florida has adequate stocks despite cooler weather and recent rain
    • Quality is very good; walls are thick
    • All sizes are available
  • Expect steady markets for the next 7-10 days

Berries (mixed)

The Mexican-grown blackberry, blueberry, and raspberry seasons are getting underway, but supplies are limited due to cold weather and prior rain. The California season is winding down.


  • Chilean volume is increasing
  • Peru is finishing its growing season
  • Mexican stocks are limited
  • California’s season is winding down
  • Supply is meeting demand


  • Central Mexico’s yields are below normal due to cool weather and rain; quality is good
  • California’s season is past its peak; volume is low
  • Expect limited supplies and rising prices


  • Mexican volume is low
  • The California season is past its peak; stocks are diminishing
  • Quality is good in both regions
  • Expect markets to climb

Broccoli and Cauliflower

Broccoli and cauliflower prices are rising in the Arizona-California desert region. Markets for both commodities are set to climb through this week. Volume will fall due to rain and low temperatures.


  • MFC Premium Broccoli Crowns are available in Yuma, Arizona and Mexico (into South Texas)  
  • Quality ranges from fair to good, but is poised to get worse due to poor weather; cat eye, brown bead, and yellowing will increase in orders shipping on or near the new year
  • Mexican-grown product is available for loading in South Texas at slightly lower FOB costs
    • Quality is better than in domestic stocks
    • Both Northern and Central Mexican regions are producing ample supplies
  • Overall markets are expected to climb through the next two to three weeks
  • Barring any heavy storm activity, Mexico should maintain a price advantage through at least late December, if not into January


  • ESS Cauliflower is available in Yuma, Arizona
  • Quality is diminishing; reports of discoloration/spotting, ricing, and early breakdown will increase through the new year due to precipitation and low temperatures
  • Prices will continue to climb this week but stabilize amid stagnant demand next week

Please contact your Markon customer service representative for more information.


  • Ready-Set-Serve (RSS) Washed & Trimmed Cilantro is available
  • Yields are high as cool, dry conditions have prevailed in Markon’s primary sourcing region near Oxnard, California
  • Most fields are mature with high foliage, causing more yellow leaves due to lack of sunlight reaching the inside of plants
    • Growers have increased sorting on value-added production lines
    • This is mostly an aesthetic issue but can lead to premature breakdown in some lots
  • Markets are expected to remain relatively steady and supplies will be ample through the rest of the year


California’s San Joaquin Valley and Southern California citrus growing districts are forecast to receive a series of rain events starting Monday, December 18 through Friday December 22. Expect harvesting delays, tight supplies, and higher markets next week.

  • MFC and ESS Lemons and Oranges are available
  • Growers cannot harvest fruit when orchards are wet
    • If picked when wet, the rind will break down and discoloration will develop
    • Mud and standing water may limit crews’ ability to get equipment into orchards
    • Markon has requested that suppliers pack ahead of this rain event
  • Current quality is excellent and supplies are adequate

From the Fields: California/Arizona Rain Event

A pair of low-pressure systems is bringing widespread rain to key growing areas in California and Arizona this week.

Oxnard, CA

  • Light-to-moderate rain has been recorded over the past two days
  • Heavier rain arrives today through Thursday, December 21, before tapering off on Friday evening, December 22
  • Upwards of four to four and half inches of total rainfall may be recorded over the course of the week
  • Markon is actively working with suppliers to pack orders ahead to minimize disruptions
  • The following rain-related challenges are expected in Oxnard:
    • Water damage, soft texture, decreased volume, and reduced shelf-life in strawberries
    • Ready-Set-Serve (RSS) Cilantro and Parsley will see reduced shelf-life due excessive moisture on the crops

California/Arizona Desert Region

  • Light rain is expected in Coachella and Imperial Valley, California on Thursday afternoon, December 21, which will move into Yuma, Arizona early evening
  • Increasing rainfall is expected on Friday, December 22
  • Upwards of one to one and half inches of rain is forecasted for both the Arizona and California desert regions
  • Markon is actively working with suppliers to pack all orders ahead to minimize disruptions
  • The following rain-related challenges are expected in the desert region:
    • Elevated dirt/mud in commodity and some value-added lettuce and tender leaf items
    • Elevated mechanical damage
    • Extended systemic mildew concerns in broccoli items
    • Premature pinking and/or reduced shelf-life with early breakdown/decay in value-added lettuce, romaine, and tender leaf items

From the Fields: Downy Mildew in Value Added Broccoli

The Arizona/California desert growing region has experienced low temperatures and high humidity in the wake of a minor rain event last month, creating conditions that have been favorable for downy mildew to develop in some broccoli supplies. Harvesting and processing crews are working to detect and cull affected product, but it can’t be avoided completely.

Systemic infection has occurred, in which spores are spread from the roots up through the vascular tissue, leaving dark discoloration and streaks that can cause shortened shelf-life.

Our supplier is allocating their best raw product for Markon orders and Markon inspectors are monitoring raw and finished product supplies closely. We are in the process of evaluating upcoming lots to determine how long we might expect to see this issue, but according to preliminary estimates, we may see varying levels for two to three weeks.

Florida – Severe Weekend Storm (12/16-12/18)

Florida experienced a major storm on Saturday that brought heavy winds and rain to the state. The weather system continues to track north, along the East Coast, early this week which will cause flooding and logistical delays. The state of Florida has winter production on bell peppers, cabbage, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, oranges, squash, strawberries, and tomatoes.


  • Florida experienced high wind gusts (over 60 MPH) and heavy rain (two to five inches) which led to flooding and production disruptions this past weekend
  • Harvest delays will occur over the next few days; some replanting is expected on recently sowed crops
  • Current fields in production will experience bloom drop and reduced yields; potential supply gaps for late January/early February harvest are expected
  • Expect tight supplies and higher prices over the next two weeks

Green Leaf Iceberg, and Romaine Lettuces

Green leaf, iceberg, and romaine lettuce supplies remain abundant in the Arizona and California desert growing regions. Markets continue to be depressed despite rain events and the Christmas holiday curtailing or cancelling harvests.

  • MFC Premium Green Leaf, Iceberg, and Romaine are readily available in the Arizona and California desert
  • Quality is very good; epidermal blistering and peeling are minimal following recent ice events
    • Mechanical damage and pinking may increase following forecast rain in the AZ/CA desert Thursday evening into Friday
  • Markon is working with grower shippers to pack ahead of the forecast rain and the holiday to ensure coverage
  • Holiday demand has subsided and will continue to decrease next week
  • Markets will remain relatively flat at low levels through December


Demand exceeds supply in California, Florida, and Mexico (into South Texas). Markon DCs are advised to talk with their Markon representative about loading out of South Texas.

Santa Maria/Oxnard, California

  • MFC Strawberries are available
  • The industry is in a demand-exceeds-supply situation
  • The forecast calls for rain Monday, December 18 into Friday, December 22
  • Expect strong demand and elevated markets through the month of December
  • Plastic clamshells may need to be substituted for corrugated packs due to rain


  • MFC Strawberries are available
  • The region received upwards of 1.00-1.50” of precipitation this past weekend
  • Growers are culling rain-damaged fruit; as a result, production is down over 80% in some fields
  • Expect elevated markets and short supplies through next week

Central Mexico (loading in South Texas)

  • Markon DCs are advised to load out of South Texas due to limited domestic supplies from Wednesday, December 20 through December 23
  • Quality is good; issues include white shoulders and occasional overripening
  • Size ranges from small to medium (22 to 25 berries per one-pound clamshell)
  • Expect to see pricing increase as Mexico fills shortages from California and Florida

Please contact your Markon customer service representative for more information.

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