Skip to main content


January 25, 2024

Arugula and Tender Leaf Varieties

Supplies of tender leaf/spring mix varieties are limited in the Arizona and California growing regions.

  • Freezing temperatures in California’s Imperial Valley and Yuma, Arizona the past two weeks has taken a toll on tender leaf items
  • Abnormally low temperatures have slowed plant maturity; yellowing leaves and product breakdown are main quality challenges
  • Markon brand suppliers are meeting Ready-Set-Serve (RSS) Spring Mix and RSS Heritage Blend demand but are struggling to cover 100% of RSS Arugula orders
  • Arugula supplies are the tightest within the tender leaf category due to sensitivity to abnormally low temperatures


Supplies remain tight, but will increase through the month. After weeks of elevated levels, prices are starting to inch down. Markon First Crop (MFC) Asparagus is available.


  • Northern Baja, Sonora, and Caborca are the primary growing regions
  • Small-diameter stalks continue to dominate yields, but jumbo and extra-large sizes are increasingly obtainable
  • Expect supplies to increase and prices to ease further through the rest January as more Caborca growers begin harvesting


  • Minimal volume is being imported into the U.S. (via Miami, Florida)
  • 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

Broccoli and Cauliflower

MFC Broccoli and Essentials (ESS) Cauliflower are available. Prices are steady to slightly lower in the Arizona-California desert and Mexican growing regions amid weak demand.


  • Domestic quality ranges from fair to good
    • A period of freezing temperatures followed by rain is creating conditions that can degrade quality and generally slow maturation, but ample supplies will keep prices from moving much higher, if at all
    • Expect increased occurrences of pin rot/brown bead, yellowing, and smaller crown size
  • Mexican-grown product is available for loading in South Texas at slightly lower FOB costs; ample supplies are shipping from both Northern and Central Mexico and exhibiting strong quality due to dry, temperate weather
  • Expect markets to remain relatively steady as both demand and yields begin to increase in February


  • Ample supplies are available despite cooler temperatures and rain reducing yields slightly
  • Large sizes may tighten as mature fields “bunch together” with weeks of alternating cold and warmth
  • Expect markets to continue to slide through this week before turning around within 7-10 days


  • RSS Washed & Trimmed Cilantro is available
  • Several low-pressure systems in both the Oxnard, California and the Yuma, Arizona growing regions have brought frequent low temperatures and precipitation
  • Stocks are exhibiting minimal issues at time of harvest, but cumulative stress over the growth cycle is reducing shelf-life
    • Growers have increased sorting on value-added production lines to combat early breakdown and yellowing
    • Ordering for quick turns is recommended for the next two to three weeks
  • Markets are expected to remain relatively steady but quality challenges will continue as additional precipitation is in the forecast

From the Fields: Desert Region Rain, Poor Field Conditions, and Quality Challenges

The Arizona/California desert growing region received rainfall Sunday, January 21, totaling under .25”. The forecast is calling for more rain today and Tuesday, January 23, with possible totals up to .75”.

Suppliers have packed orders ahead to minimize disruptions. Harvesting, production, and loading delays are being reported morning with several suppliers canceling harvest(s).

Some Markon First Crop (MFC) items such as Butter Lettuce, Iceberg Lettuce, Artisan Romaine, and Romaine Hearts will temporarily switched into Markon Best Available or packer label due to a higher propensity to develop bruising and/or pinking when harvested in wet conditions, as well as elevated dirt/mud on the product.

Markon inspectors are actively monitoring field conditions and quality/shelf-life challenges that are developing after recent ice events and now this significant rainfall. Lettuce and tender leaf items in particular will be most impacted by the following issues:

Harvesting and processing crews will work to keep boxes as clean and dry as possible and will take steps to minimize defects but can’t avoid all of these issues completely. Ordering for quick turns is recommended and as always, maintaining the cold chain is critical for maximizing quality and shelf-life.

From the Fields: Poor Field Conditions in the Desert Region

Please click here to view a Markon Live from the Fields video regarding current weather and quality challenges in the Arizona/California desert growing region.

  • Some MFC Iceberg and Leaf Lettuce items are not available; Markon Best Available (MBA) or packer brand are being substituted as needed
  • The desert region received ¾” – 1+” of rain between Sunday, January 21 and Monday, January 22
  • Many growers were forced to cancel harvesting operations due to extremely muddy field conditions
  • Over the past three weeks, the region has experienced freezing morning temperatures followed by above-normal humidity, and now significant rainfall
  • The erratic weather has caused many quality and shelf-life concerns to develop which will last for two to three weeks at minimum
  • Markon inspectors are working with suppliers to minimize some of the following issues in lettuce and tender leaf items, but many cannot be avoided completely:
    • Bottom rot
    • Decreased case weights for commodity lettuce items
    • Discoloration and/or decay on epidermal blistering and peeling
    • Dirt/mud on the product
    • Increased mildew pressure
    • Premature pinking in some commodity and/or value-added salads or Washed & Trimmed leaf lettuce packs
    • Reduced shelf-life potential
    • Yellowing leaves/discoloration
  • Ordering for quick turns is highly recommended


The California season has ended. Off loading delays are being reported in offshore arrivals; expect elevated markets and tight supplies through the month of January.


  • Peruvian/Chilean green, red, and portioned grapes have begun shipping
  • Delays at the Panama Canal are impacting East Coast arrivals
  • Delays at the Los Angeles port are being caused by longer fumigation times due to cooler weather
  • Expect elevated markets and tight supplies through January

Green leaf, Iceberg, and Romaine Lettuces

Green leaf, iceberg, and romaine markets are inching higher following heavy rainfall in the Arizona and California desert regions.

  • MFC Premium Green Leaf, Iceberg, and Romaine are available; MBA is being substituted as needed due to low weights and diminished quality
  • Bottom rot, dirt/mud, epidermal blistering/peeling with discoloration, mechanical damage, mildew, and pinking are more prevalent after heavy rainfall
  • Production crews are working slowly through poor field conditions, reducing overall output and pushing markets higher
  • Expect markets to continue rising this week, before leveling off next week once production returns to normal

Green onions

Green onion volume remains low. Freezing temperatures and rains have hindered growth and limited the ability to harvest in Mexicali, Mexico.

  • RSS Washed & Trimmed Green Onions are available; packer label may be substituted as needed to fill orders
  • Prices have tapered off this week but are expected to rebound upwards
    • This week’s heavy rains have wiped out some currently mature lots
    • Muddy field conditions are preventing harvesting crews from accessing certain hard-hit fields
    • Increased dirt is expected in some final packs
  • Ordering for quick turns is recommended through the rest of January as stressed plants will have decreased shelf-life potential
  • Expect markets to escalate over the next 7-10 days as supplies diminish, then rebound by mid- to late next week


Current supplies are plentiful, but small sizes (165- through 200-count fruit) are expected to become tight in February. Domestic growers are currently harvesting in all three major growing districts.

  • MFC Lemons are available  
  • District 1 (San Joaquin Valley)
    • Large sizes (95- through 140-count fruit) dominate crops
    • Quality is excellent
  • District 2 (Southern California)
    • Currently peaking on 140- and 165-count fruit
    • Quality is excellent
  • The District 3 season (California/Arizona desert region) will run through January
  • Expect a slow and steady price climb as demand increases over the next six to eight weeks


Lime markets remain active. Markon First Crop (MFC) and Markon Essentials (ESS) Limes are available.

  • Cool, wet weather in November caused bloom drop resulting in lower yields
  • Supplies remain dominated by 110-and 150-count size limes
  • Rain is forecast this weekend in the main growing region of Veracruz, Mexico
    • Expect lighter supplies for the beginning of next week
  • Quality is good; oil spotting, scarring, and light-colored limes are occasional issues
  • Expect rising markets through the remainder of January and into February

Mixed Berries

Temperatures in Central Mexico are starting to rise; yields are increasing.


  • Peruvian and Chilean imports are ample
  • Mexican yields are increasing
  • Demand is steady
  • Expect stable markets


  • Central Mexico’s temperatures are climbing
  • Quality is good; colder mornings are preventing soft fruit
  • Demand is steady
  • Expect pricing to decline


  • Mexican production has been slowed by low temperatures
  • Quality is good
  • Demand exceeds supply
  • Expect higher markets and limited supplies

Navel Oranges

The California Navel crop is dominated by large sizes; small fruit (113- and 138-count oranges) are becoming extremely limited. Size and grade substitutions will soon be requested to fill orders; the Cara Cara and Mandarin varieties are options.


  • MFC and ESS Navel Oranges are available
  • Overall supplies of 113- and 138-count sizes will be extremely limited through the Navel season and into the Valencia season that starts in May
  • California Cara Cara oranges and Mandarins are viable substitution options
  • Expect elevated markets and tight supplies

South Texas

  • This domestic crop is currently dominated by large-size oranges (56- through 88-count fruit)
  • The Early Sweet orange variety is available in Mission, Texas
  • Recent freezing temperatures have affected the upcoming Valencia season
    • Growers estimate a 20% crop loss
    • Harvesting is expected to begin in early February
  • High prices and limited stocks are forecast, as Texas oranges will be used fill California shortages


  • This crop is currently dominated by small-size oranges (113- through 138-count fruit)
  • The Early Sweet orange variety is available (crossing in Nogales, Arizona)
  • Growers will begin shipping the Valencia variety in February
  • Expect elevated markets and tight supplies, as Mexican oranges will be used fill California shortages


  • Supplies are expected to be dominated by 80- to 100-count and larger packs
  • The Mid-Sweet variety is currently available
  • The Valencia variety will begin shipping in March
  • High prices and limited stocks are forecast, as Florida oranges will be used fill California shortages on the East Coast


Onion prices are rising due to tightening supplies and increasing export demand. Expect elevated markets over the next three to four weeks until Mexico begins shipping into South Texas. White onions remain extremely scarce throughout the industry.

  • MFC Onions are available out of storage from Idaho, Oregon, Utah, Colorado, and Washington
  • Pack-outs in the Northwest are declining and storage supplies are diminishing rapidly; some smaller sheds could potentially finish in March
  • Export demand from Mexico remains active; Canadian demand is increasing
  • Canadian supplies are quickly diminishing; pack-outs are low due to poor quality
  • Georgia experienced freezing temperatures that will delay April’s Vidalia onion season by about two weeks
  • Mexican-grown onions are expected to begin crossing into South Texas by early to mid-February; expect overall volume to be 30% to 40% lower due to water shortages
  • The Texas domestic season is slated to start the first week of March; a normal crop is expected but demand will be stronger due to Mexican onion shortages


Tomato supplies are extremely tight due to recent cold, rainy weather in Florida and Mexico. Markets are elevated. MFC Tomatoes are available.

  • Florida’s consistently poor weather has decreased supplies of round, Roma, cherry, and grape tomatoes
    • This past weekend’s low evening temperatures slowed plant growth and fruit yields
    • Small round tomatoes (6x7s) are limited
    • Expect extremely low volume for the month of February due to bloom drops and fewer acres planted
  • Mexican tomato production was hampered by rain in Sinaloa this week, further tightening stocks
    • Demand for Mexican fruit has increased due to poor conditions on the East Coast
    • New crop Culiacan fruit quality is good
    • Improved round and Roma volume is expected in early February
  • Grape and cherry varieties are extremely scarce; prices are elevated
  • Expect persistently high prices over the next week

Please contact your Markon customer service representative for more information.

©2024 Markon Cooperative, Inc. All rights reserved.