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January 15, 2024

Bell Peppers

Green bell pepper supplies are tight due to cooler weather in Florida and Mexico. Red bell volume is slowly increasing in Mexico. Markon First Crop (MFC) and Markon Essentials (ESS) Green and Red Bell Peppers are available.

Green Bells

  • Florida stocks are limited
    • Recent cool weather and rain disrupted harvest schedules and reduced yields
    • Quality is average
  • Production is moderate in Culiacan, Mexico due to cool evenings (mid-40s)
    • Overall quality is good
    • All are sizes available
    • Demand has shifted to Mexico
  • Expect slightly higher markets over the next two weeks

Red Bells

  • The California desert season has come to an end
  • Supplies are gradually increasing in Culiacan, Mexico
    • New fields are being harvested
    • Quality is very good
    • All sizes are available
  • Expect pricing to remain steady this week due to cooler weather, but begin easing the following week

Berries (Mixed)

Low temperatures have reduced mixed berry volume in Central Mexico. Prices are climbing.


  • Peruvian import shipments have been delayed; supplies are expected to increase over the next month
  • Mexican production is being hindered by cold weather in Central Mexico
  • Demand is steady
  • Expect high markets until the weather warms in Central Mexico and offshore shipments arrive more regularly


  • Central Mexico’s yields are lower due to the cold weather
  • Quality is good; some softness and red cell has been reported
  • Demand is moderate
  • Expect higher prices until Central Mexico’s temperatures rise


  • The California season has ended
  • Mexican production has been slowed by low temperatures
  • Quality is good; no issues have been reported at this time
  • Demand exceeds supply
  • Expect higher markets and limited supplies

Broccoli and Cauliflower

Broccoli and cauliflower prices are low, but set to rise in the Arizona-California desert region by mid- to late next week as volume decreases due to lower temperatures and potential rain. Expect great quality and a wide range of sizes in Mexican-grown product (into South Texas) for the next three weeks.


  • MFC Premium Broccoli Crowns are available in Yuma, Arizona and Mexico (into South Texas)
  • Quality ranges from fair to good; freezing nighttime temperatures will slow maturation and diminish head 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
  • Expect markets to climb as frost and limited daylight hours hinder growth and cause harvesting delays


  • ESS Cauliflower is available in Yuma, Arizona
  • Quality ranges from fair to good
  • Availability of large sizes will become an issue due to cold weather; the 16-count pack size can be substituted to maximize fill rates
  • Volume will fall through the next two weeks amid unfavorable weather and limited harvesting hours

From the Fields: Lettuce Ice in the Desert Region / Freeze Related Quality Challenges

A strong winter low-pressure system brought cold, gusty winds and trace amounts of rain to the Arizona/California desert region on Sunday, January 7. Now that winds have subsided, temperatures have dropped to the low 30°s this morning and widespread moderate-to heavy lettuce ice will cause 3-5 hour harvest delays and will impact loading times throughout the industry. Markon has been working with suppliers to pack orders ahead to minimize any disruption.

More widespread ice is forecast through Saturday, January 13 with the exception of Thursday, January 11 due to increased cloud cover. Apart from production and loading delays, the following short and long-term challenges in lettuce and tender leaf items will develop in the days ahead:

  • Dehydration and/or loss of vibrancy
  • Decreased case weights for commodity lettuce items
  • Epidermal blister and peeling
  • Reduced shelf-life potential
  • Slowed plant growth
  • Yellowing leaves/discoloration

Markon inspectors are monitoring conditions and working with growers to secure the best product for Markon orders.

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.

The Arizona/California desert growing region recorded freezing temperatures and heavy lettuce ice on five of the last six days. Temperatures will warm up gradually this week but lettuce ice will still be possible in cold-prone areas through Tuesday, January 16.

Markon inspectors are already seeing the effects from this extended cold snap in lettuce and some tender leaf items. Many of the issues listed below will worsen in the coming days and may linger for three weeks or longer.

  • Dehydration and/or loss of vibrancy
  • Decreased case weights for commodity lettuce items
  • Epidermal blister and peeling
  • Reduced shelf-life potential
  • Slowed plant growth
  • Yellowing leaves/discoloration

Harvesting and processing crews will work to remove damaged leaves but cannot eliminate them completely from finished packs.


The California season is wrapping up. Loading delays are being reported in offshore arrivals; expect elevated markets and tight supplies through the month of January.


  • Green and red grape harvesting has ended for the season
  • Portioned grapes are forecast to ship until January 22
  • Quality is good; some early decay has been reported
  • Expect pricing to increase as the industry transitions out of California and into offshore product


  • Peruvian/Chilean green and red grapes are now available
  • Portioned grapes are expected to start shipping the week of January 22
  • Loading delays have been reportedly caused by the fumigation process
  • Expect elevated markets and tight supplies through January

Green Beans

Green bean supplies are snug due to cold weather in Florida and Mexico; markets are high. Ready-Set-Serve (RSS) Trimmed Green Beans are available.

  • Florida supply is light; sub-tropical storms in December affected plant growth
    • Recent rains and cool weather have reduced flower sets and overall yields
    • Quality has been mixed
  • Mexican volume is limited due to cold temperatures and frost warnings this week
    • Beans have lighter color but overall good quality
    • Many growers are taking extra precautions by covering crops
  • Expect prices to remain elevated over the next two weeks

Green onions

Green onion volume has fallen. Low temperatures have hindered growth and limited production in Mexicali, Mexico.

  • RSS Washed & Trimmed Green Onions are available; packer label is being substituted as needed to fill orders
  • A seasonally reduced labor force is further decreasing yields
    • Expect markets to escalate next week
    • Large pack sizes (15-pound cartons) will tighten further over the next 7 to 10 days as growers attempt to extend supplies
  • Labor availability should return to normal in mid-January, easing some markets but persistently cold weather will keep stocks tight
  • Expect active/elevated markets over the next 10 to 14 days

Green Leaf, Iceberg, and Romaine Lettuces

Iceberg markets are higher; supplies are tightening following multiple lettuce ice events last week. Green leaf and romaine prices are fairly steady; stocks remain ample.

  • MFC Premium Green Leaf, Iceberg, and Romaine are available in the Arizona-California desert region; Markon Best Available (MBA) is being substituted as needed due to low weights
  • Average field weights have decreased after several days of severe lettuce ice; epidermal blistering and peeling are becoming more widespread
  • Warmer weather is forecast this week; lettuce ice is not anticipated
  • Production crews are trimming damaged outer leaves as much as possible during harvests; however, some heads in the final pack may exhibit epidermal blistering and peeling
  • Iceberg markets will remain moderately active for the next 7 to 10 days, pending additional ice events; green leaf and romaine markets are expected to remain fairly steady through January


Central American cantaloupe and honeydew supplies are limited; prices are climbing.


  • Imported supplies are shipping out of Guatemala and Honduras; the Costa Rican season will start soon
  • Yields are lower than normal as a result of cool, wet weather in October
  • Overall quality is good; bruising, green casts, and softness are occasional issues
  • Supplies are dominated by jumbo and regular 9-count sizes
    • Smaller 12- and 15-count sizes are extremely limited
    • Substituting with larger melons may be necessary to avoid supply gaps
  • Expect tight supplies and elevated markets for the next three to four weeks


  • Import shipments are now coming out of Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico
  • Quality ranges from fair to good; ground spotting, discoloration, and bruising are concerns in some lots
  • Supplies are dominated by jumbo and regular 5- and 6-count sizes
    • Smaller 8- and 9-count fruit is extremely limited
    • Substituting with larger melons may be necessary to avoid supply gaps
  • Markets are elevated; expect limited stocks over the next three to four weeks

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; substituting the Cara Cara variety is also an option.


  • MFC and ESS Navel Oranges are available
  • Overall supplies of 113- and 138-count sizes will be extremely limited during the next two months
  • California Cara Cara oranges are a viable substitution option (update attached)
  • Expect elevated markets and tight supplies


  • This crop is currently dominated by small-size oranges (113- through 138-count fruit)
  • The Early orange variety is available in both McAllen, Texas and Nogales, Arizona
  • Growers will begin shipping the Valencia variety in February
  • Expect elevated markets and tight supplies, as Mexican oranges will 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
  • The majority of fruit is choice and standard grades


The weather forecast calls for falling temperatures and snowfall in Eastern Idaho through early next week. If temperatures drop enough, the weather will hinder potato production and delay loading times. Other concerns include potential road closures and packed ice on trailers leading to smaller payloads in order to maintain legal weights.

  • Temperatures need to be 18°F or higher for five to seven hours to haul potatoes from cellars to packing sheds
  • Growers do not ship potatoes to packing sheds when temperatures are below 18°F because that can cause internal and external bruising as well as black skins and flesh (located on the outer edges of potatoes and just under their skins)
  • Loading delays are likely due to short production windows; advanced lead-time is highly recommended for order fulfillment
  • Many suppliers will utilize onsite storage to cover orders; some sizes may become limited


Zucchini and yellow squash markets are escalating due to cold weather on both coasts. MFC Zucchini and Yellow Squash are available.

  • Florida supplies remain limited due to recent inclement weather
    • Quality varies
    • Scarring is a concern in yellow squash yields
  • Mexico is experiencing a cold front that is hindering production and diminishing yields
    • Quality is average
    • Scarring and odd shape are being reported in some lots
  • Expect elevated prices over the next two weeks


Demand exceeds supply in California, Florida, and Mexico (into South Texas). Markon members are advised to load 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 more low temperatures that will extend the supply gap
  • Expect strong demand and elevated markets through the month of January
  • Plastic clamshells may need to be substituted for corrugated packs due to rain


  • MFC Strawberries are available
  • Rain is forecast for Tuesday, Jan 9 through Friday Jan 12
  • Yields will fall due to poor weather
  • Expect elevated markets and limited supplies over the next two weeks

Central Mexico (loading in South Texas)

  • Markon members are advised to load out of South Texas due to the cold weather Jan 8 through Jan 13. Colder temperatures in California and Central Mexico are making it tough getting Strawberries out of the field.
  • Quality is good; minor issues include white shoulders and over ripening
  • Expect elevated pricing and tight stocks as Mexico helps fill orders from California and Florida


Tomato growing regions in Florida and Mexico have been impacted by poor weather this week. Markets remain firm. MFC Tomatoes are available.

  • Florida round, Roma, cherry, and grape tomatoes are limited this due to overlapping rain events and low temperatures that slowed production
    • Production is winding down in Labelle, making Naples the primary growing region
    • Expect snug supplies through February
      • Fewer acres were planted for the winter season
      • Many plants experienced bloom drop, further reducing yields
  • Cold weather is slowing production in the new crop region of Sinaloa, Mexico
    • Large sizes (4×5 rounds and extra-large Romas) are the most abundant; quality is very good
    • Mexico planted fewer round tomatoes this season which could cause higher-than-normal prices in February
    • Production is wrapping up in Eastern Mexico and Baja
  • The elevated grape tomato market is slowly falling as the Western Mexico season gets started
  • Expect slightly higher round and Roma prices over the next week as growing regions rebound from cold weather conditions

Please contact your Markon customer service representative for more information.

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