UPDATE SUMMARY: WEEK OF JULY 4, 2022

July 7, 2022

Brussels Sprouts

The market remains elevated, but availability is slowly increasing.

  • Size is dominated by small and medium sprouts; jumbo-size stocks are increasing, yet behind schedule due to the June heatwave and lack of frost hours
  • The Salinas season is starting, slowly increasing supplies and easing markets
  • Overall quality is good, although bolting (fluffy texture) and bitter flavor are concerns with recent variable weather; discoloration and early breakdown are minimal
  • Expect high prices to persist until Salinas Valley crops have time to mature (approximately 10 to 14 days)

Cabbage

Markets are elevated; supplies are tight.

  • The Salinas Valley growing season is off to a slow start
    • The heatwaves experienced in June reduced yields as disease/insect pressure and more seeder core developed
    • Lower yields per acre have significantly reduced availability for processors, driving carton markets higher
  • Central Coast California suppliers harvested ahead of schedule last month to avoid quality issues, causing a supply gap until second plantings mature
  • East Coast cabbage stocks remain limited
    • The Eastern North Carolina season is finished, while Western North Carolina volume is low
    • Production is getting underway in Ohio, Michigan, New Jersey, and New York
    • Large and jumbo sizes are scarce; stocks are dominated by medium heads
  • Expect limited supplies and elevated prices over the next 10-14 days

California Strawberries

Supplies are tightening; prices are poised to climb. Expect volume to continue declining in early July as the Salinas/Watsonville season moves past peak production.

Salinas/Watsonville

  • Markon First Crop (MFC) Strawberries are available
  • Stocks will diminish as the season moves past its peak
  • High humidity is forecast for the next 7-10 days; fruit quality will be affected
  • Expect markets to rise as production falls and demand strengthens

Santa Maria

  • Fields are entering the back half of the season
  • Steady volume is anticipated as ideal growing weather is forecast
  • Fruit size is medium/small (23-25 per 1-pound clamshell)
  • High humidity could affect overall fruit quality for the next 7-10 days

Oxnard

  • Supplies are extremely limited; most growers are finished harvesting for the season
  • Quality is fair at best

Cilantro

Prices are elevated due to tight supplies.

  • Ready-Set-Serve (RSS) Cilantro is available
  • Above-average temperatures and humidity are forecast across California through next week
  • Volume fell following recent high temperatures in Oxnard, Salinas, and Santa Maria, California; burn, disease pressure, seeder, and yellowing are reducing harvestable yields at the field level
  • RSS Cilantro is currently achieving specified quality and shelf-life, with potential for early breakdown due to heat-related stress  
  • Expect high markets through July, at minimum, until younger plantings reach harvest maturity

Large-Size Potatoes

Supplies of 40- through 70-count potatoes are extremely limited in remaining storage stocks from Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. Prices will continue rising.

  • 40- and 50- count supplies are currently the tightest
  • Demand is now shifting to 60- and 70- count sizes, putting strain on remaining stocks of these sizes
  • Size substitutions may be required for order fulfillments
  • Many Northwest suppliers have already depleted their storage volume; several others expect to experience a 7- to 14-day supply gap in late July and early August
  • The overall shortage has pushed demand toward those growers with any remaining potatoes
  • Remaining supplies also exceed demand in other regions such as Colorado, Texas, and Wisconsin

New Crop Norkotahs

  • New crop harvesting will begin in early August
  • Growers anticipate early harvests to yield predominantly 70- to 90-count sizes
  • Size is not expected to increase until late August
  • Expect elevated markets to persist until early September

Onions

Scattered showers and thunderstorms are forecast through next week in the growing regions of New Mexico.

New Mexico

  • Markets are elevated
  • Forecasts call for a 25% chance of rain
  • Muddy, wet fields will slow harvesting
  • Suppliers are adding extra dry time before sending onions to production and culling any stocks exhibiting quality concerns
  • Loading times may be affected, as result
  • The New Mexico season will run through mid-August

California

  • Summer heat persists in the San Joaquin Valley; daily temperature highs will range from 95° to 105° F
  • Onions may exhibit occasional sun scalding, due to intense sunlight and heat; supplies exhibiting any excessive defects will be culled
  • Stocks are sufficient; markets will remain steady
  • The season is currently scheduled to run through late August

Northwest

  • Idaho growers experienced unseasonably cold weather during the planting phase in April; weather has turned warmer and drier in recent weeks, conducive for growing
  • The Idaho season is expected to get underway in mid-August
  • Washington has had more favorable growing weather than Idaho; growers currently report a strong crop
  • Washington shipments will begin in mid-August

Oranges

Higher-than-normal temperatures are causing San Joaquin Valley Valencia oranges to soften and re-green.

  • MFC and Markon Essentials Valencia Oranges are available
  • Valencia quality concerns include re-greening and softness due to above-normal temperatures
    • Extreme heat is causing Valencia supplies to re-absorb chlorophyll, resulting in a green tint on rinds
    • Fruit is still very ripe, sweet, and juicy
    • Packinghouses are exposing fruit to naturally occurring ethylene gas 48 to 56 hours longer than usual to brighten color
    • Soft fruit can result in pressure compression/misshapen fruit and stem-end aging spots
  • The crop is dominated by large sizes (48, 56-, and 72-count fruit) this season; as a result, small sizes (88, 113-, 138-, and 163-count oranges) will remain snug through the 2022 season
  • Overall Valencia volume is lower than normal

Potatoes

Idaho, Oregon, and Washington storage potato supplies continue to tighten. Demand is outpacing available stocks. Prices are climbing.

  • Some Northwest suppliers have depleted their storage stocks; several others expect to experience a 7- to 14-day supply gap in late July and early August
  • The shortage of available supplies will push demand toward those growers with remaining volume
  • MFC suppliers have implemented a six-week average for shipping that will persist through mid-August
  • 40- through 80–count stocks are limited; 90- through 120-count potatoes are sufficient
  • Quality remains fair: hollow heart, along with pressure and shoulder bruising, will be seen
  • Pressure and shoulder bruising (soft, external indents) result from constant contact with adjacent potatoes, or the floor, while raw product sits in storage piles
  • Hollow heart (small, irregularly shaped internal craters) develops internally during the season when potatoes grow faster than normal due to adverse weather

2022-2023 Season

  • New crop Norkotah harvesting and packing will begin in early to mid-August
  • Burbank production will start in late September/early October

Salinas Valley Weather and Quality

Temperatures in the Salinas Valley have cooled after a very warm June. However, humidity levels have been well-above normal all week and high pressure is building again, setting us up for heatwave conditions to return through the weekend and into next week. The high humidity and returning heat is compounding the quality and shelf-life issues that Markon inspectors have been observing in various commodity and value-added items. MFC Lettuce and Romaine items are sporadic; Markon Best Available is being substituted as needed.

Below is a list of quality and shelf-life concerns that are currently being noted in commodity and value-added packs:

Baby Leaf and Other Lettuces:  

  • Bolting/seeder
  • Growth cracks
  • Inconsistent growth/fluctuating density
  • Increased insect pressure
  • Internal burn/tip burn
  • Shortened shelf-life
  • Sun burn/sun scalding

Broccoli:

  • Accelerated growth/oversized crowns
  • Dehydration
  • Hollow core
  • Pin rot
  • Shortened shelf-life
  • Yellowing

Strawberries:

  • Decreased size
  • Lower volume
  • Increased bruising
  • Soft texture
  • Shortened shelf-life

Markon inspectors continue to work with suppliers to allocate the best product for our orders. Maintaining the cold chain throughout distribution is critical for maximizing quality and shelf-life.

Squash

Prices are climbing due to diminishing supplies and quality. Recent hot weather and rain have been factors on the East Coast.

  • East Coast volume is tightening
    • Recent weather has accelerated crop transitions
    • Quality in the Carolinas is average; yellow squash stocks are experiencing discoloration issues
    • Supplies are expected to increase in New Jersey and Virginia over the Fourth of July weekend
    • Additional harvesting has started in Kentucky and Michigan (along with other smaller regional deals)
  • The West Coast has steady volume from the Baja Peninsula, Santa Maria, and the San Joaquin Valley; however, increased demand has pushed up prices
  • Expect markets to ease over the next two weeks as production begins in new growing regions

Please contact your Markon customer service representative for more information.

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