UPDATE SUMMARY: WEEK OF JUNE 6, 2022

June 9, 2022

Bell Peppers

Red bell peppers prices remain elevated due to low volume. Green bell pepper harvesting transitions are occurring in California and along the East Coast during the month of June.

Red Bells

  • Markon First Crop (MFC) and Markon Essentials (ESS) Red Bell Peppers are limited; packer label will be substituted as needed over the next two weeks
  • The California desert supply is low due
    • Fluctuating temperatures are causing crop failures/blossom end rot for some growers
    • Expect extremely tight stocks until the San Joaquin Valley (Bakersfield) season starts in late June/early July
  • Limited production will start in Central Mexico in two weeks
  • Canadian greenhouse yields have increased; quality is very good
  • Orange bell peppers may be substituted on a case-by-case basis through June
  • Expect elevated markets through this month

Green Bells

  • MFC and ESS Green Bell Peppers are available
  • California supplies are adequate
    • The transition from the Imperial Valley to Bakersfield occurs this week
    • Jumbo/extra-large sizes are most prevalent
    • Quality is excellent out of Bakersfield
  • East Coast production is steady in Georgia with all sizes and grades available; quality is good
  • The Carolinas are expected to start harvests at the end of June followed by local summer programs (including Kentucky, Virginia, New Jersey etc.) in mid-July
  • Markets will ease over the next two weeks

California Strawberries  

Supplies are ample; demand is steady. Expect low prices for the next two to three weeks.

Salinas/Watsonville

  • MFC Strawberries are available
  • Volume is anticipated to climb as favorable weather is forecast
  • Temperatures have been in the 70 to 80 degree range
  • The forecast calls for abnormally high temperatures through Sunday
  • Extended high temperatures could affect overall fruit quality
  • Quality is excellent: firm fruit with 90%-95% color
  • Demand remains steady, but higher temperatures are expected this weekend which should aid growth
    • Supplies are forecast to increase slightly over the next five to seven days
    • Markets are poised to make a gradual decline

Santa Maria

  • Fields are entering the back half of the season
  • Warm weather has increased stocks
  • Fruit size is medium (18-20 per 1-pound clamshell)
  • Quality is good: some green shoulders have been reported

Oxnard

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

Chipping Potatoes

Storage supplies continue to diminish. New crop harvesting has begun in California.

Storage Crop

  • Due to the Northwest’s record heatwave this past summer, this year’s storage crop did not produce enough stocks to ship through the transition to new crop spring/summer potatoes
  • To extend storage supplies over the next few weeks, suppliers who still have potatoes on hand will be allocating or filling orders based on six-week averages
  • Suppliers are sorting through product that would normally be culled out in order to fulfill orders
  • Remaining stocks will exhibit multiple quality concerns:
    • Discoloration
    • Thin skins
    • Pressure and shoulder bruising
    • Mixed sizing

New Crop

  • New crop, fresh-run potato harvesting is underway in California
    • Early yields are thin-skinned, resulting in mechanical damage in pack-outs
    • The mechanical damage can develop into decay or mold, particularly when the potatoes ride on cold trucks
    • Skin sets will improve over the next few weeks
  • Other growing regions such as Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas will start production over the next few weeks

From The Fields: Salinas Valley Heat Spike

California’s Salinas Valley is experiencing elevated temperatures that are expected to last today through Sunday, June 12. Morning lows as high as the upper 50s° to low 60°s will be recorded and daytime highs will reach into the low-to-mid 80°s in coastal areas and as high as upper 90°s to low 100°s with heat advisories in affect further inland.

Markon inspectors are closely monitoring commodity and value-added items for heat-related quality and/or shelf-life challenges such as:

  • Dehydration
  • Decreased shelf-life potential
  • Elevated insect pressure
  • Erratic plant growth
  • Growth crack in lettuce
  • Internal burn in all lettuce items
  • Hollow core and/or pin rot in broccoli
  • Soft texture in strawberries
  • Sun scald or sun burn in iceberg and romaine

Markon suppliers are starting crews earlier in the morning to limit packing during peak temperatures and focusing on quick cut-to-cool times. Harvesting and processing crews will also be slowing down to look for and avoid any serious defects, but some may not be visible or completely avoidable. As always, maintaining the cold chain and ordering for quick turns will be critical for maximizing shelf-life, particularly in the aftermath of a heat event. The graphs below illustrate temperature ranges from coastal to inland areas of the Salinas Valley:

Salinas Valley Coastal Temperatures:

Salinas Valley Inland Temperatures:

Idaho Potatoes

Storage supplies continue tighten. Norkotahs will be depleted by June 10.

Storage Crop

  • Burbanks will be the sole variety on the market until new crop Norkotahs become available in August
  • Prices have strengthened as suppliers continue to work to extend remaining stocks

Quality

  • Pressure and shoulder bruising, along with hollow heart, will be seen sporadically in remaining storage supplies
  • 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
  • 40- and 50-count stocks are adequate
  • 60- through 80-count supplies are limited
  • 90– through 120-count potatoes are readily available

2022-2023 Season

  • 2022/2023 new crop potato planting has been completed
  • New crop Norkotah harvesting is expected to begin in early August

Onions

MFC Onions continue to increase in New Mexico. The Imperial Valley, California season has ended. California MFC Onions are now being shipped out of the San Joaquin Valley.

  • Expect markets to remain steady through next week, then ease once the San Joaquin Valley, California and New Mexico seasons ramp up
  • Fresh-run onions have dry, thin skins and light-colored exteriors; size is currently small, favoring medium and jumbo sizes, with few super colossals
  • Daytime temperatures vary from 80 to over 100 degrees (°F) in California and New Mexico
  • Transit and storage temperatures should currently be in the 60 to 70 degree range (°F), with sufficient airflow to insure best quality
  • Both the California and New Mexico seasons will run through mid-August
  • Northwest onion harvesting will begin in early August

Red and Yellow Potatoes

Storage crop MFC Red and Yellow Potato supplies are beginning to wind down. Markets have increased.

Idaho

  • Many suppliers have depleted storage stocks and are hauling potatoes from other regions to continue shipping out of Idaho
  • MFC Red and Yellow Idaho Colored Potatoes will ship through July; volume is adequate 
  • New crop Idaho potatoes will become available the first week of August

North Dakota

  • MFC Red Potatoes will be available through the end of June
  • Remaining yellow potato supplies has been depleted
  • New crop red and yellow potatoes will begin to ship the first week of August

Florida

  • Florida colored potato stocks are winding down (with approximately two weeks remaining in the season)

California

  • California red and yellow potato harvesting has begun
  • Potatoes will ship through early August
  • Early yields are thin-skinned, resulting in mechanical damage in pack-outs

Washington

  • The Washington storage season has ended
  • The new crop season is expected to get underway in September

Wisconsin

  • New crop harvesting of MFC Wisconsin Potatoes will begin in early August

Squash

Overall supplies are increasing due to favorable weather. New summer production along the East Coast is starting up this week.

  • California harvesting is increasing due to favorable weather in the San Joaquin Valley and Santa Maria; quality is very good
  • The East Coast has steady supplies of zucchini and yellow squash from Georgia
    • Overall quality is good with no major issues
    • New crops are starting in multiple summer regions this week including North Carolina, New Jersey, and Kentucky
  • Mexican supplies have shifted to the Baja Peninsula; quality is very good
  • Expect markets to ease over the next two weeks

Stone Fruit 

The California stone fruit season is underway. Volume will continue to ramp up quickly through the month of June.

Apricots

  • Supplies are limited, but increasing daily
  • Size is dominated by small fruit (volume-filled 12- and 14-count packs); larger sizes will be available by the end of next week
  • Quality is good: sugar levels range between 12 and 16 Brix

Peaches/Nectarines

  • Supplies have increased
  • Size is dominated by small fruit (60-count); larger sizes are available (54- and 56-count)
  • The season will run from June through mid-September
  • Good quality is forecast: sugar levels typically range from 10 to 12 Brix

Plums

  • The California season will run from mid-June to mid-October
  • Fruit will begin shipping June 13
  • Size is dominated by small fruit (60-count); larger sizes are available (50- and 56-count)
  • Expect good quality: sugar levels typically range from 12 to 14 Brix
  • Plums will be sourced from Chile until mid-May

Cherries

  • Limited supplies of cherries are available out of California’s Central Valley; volume will ramp up through the month of June
  • The California season will run through early July
  • Washington cherries will be available in June and ship through August

Please contact your Markon customer service representative for more information.

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