UPDATE SUMMARY: WEEK OF MAY 15, 2022

May 26, 2022

Bell Peppers

Demand for red bell peppers exceeds supply; expect low yields and high prices through the month of June. Green bell pepper stockss are meeting demand despite elevated markets.

Red Bells

  • Markon First Crop (MFC) and Markon Essentials (ESS) Red Bell Peppers are limited; packer label will be substituted as needed for the next four weeks
  • The California desert season is underway
    • Some growers are reporting potential crop failures
    • A combination of temperature fluctuations, water management, and strong winds are causing blossom end rot in some lots
  • The Mexican spring season (crossing into Nogales, Arizona) has ended; summer production will start in Central Mexico (crossing into South Texas) in late June
  • Canadian greenhouse volume is down due to cool/overcast weather last week
  • Expect extremely limited supplies and elevated prices through June until the California crop transitions north to Bakersfield in late June/early July
  • The substitution of orange bell peppers may be needed on a case by case basis through June

Green Bells

  • MFC and ESS Green Bell Peppers are available
  • California’s Imperial Valley season will wind down over the next few weeks; recent heat is affecting quality
    • Medium and large sizes are most prevalent
    • The Bakersfield, California growing season is set to start the week of June 6
  • East Coast production is transitioning from Florida to Georgia over the next two weeks; quality is good
  • Mexico’s spring season (crossing into Nogales, Arizona) has ended
  • Expect high markets over the next two to three weeks until supplies ramp up early June

California Oranges

California’s Valencia orange season is in full production. Supplies of 88- through 163-count fruit are tight.

  • MFC and ESS Valencia Oranges are available
  • California Valencia supplies are available; quality is very good
  • The crop is dominated by 48-, 56-, and 72-count fruit this season; as a result, 88-, 113-, 138-, and 163-count sizes will remain snug through the 2022 season
  • Valencia quality concerns include re-greening and softness due to above-normal temperatures
    • The Valencia variety occasionally re-absorbs chlorophyll resulting in a green tint, but the fruit is still very ripe, sweet, and juicy
    • Packinghouses will gas fruit between 24 and 56 hours to brighten color
  • Sugar levels range from 12 to 13 Brix

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; favorable weather is forecast
  • Fruit size is large (14-18 per 1-pound clamshell)
  • Quality is excellent: berries are firm with 90%-95% color
  • Expect lower markets and ample stocks for the next two to three weeks

Santa Maria

  • Production is nearing its peak 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 harvesting for the season
  • Remaining quality is fair at best

Cilantro

Prices are rising due to seasonal weather tendencies that are affecting plant health.

  • Ready-Set-Serve (RSS) Cilantro is available
  • Volume is trending down as summer brings high temperatures and humidity to California’s Oxnard, Lompoc, and Salinas Valley growing regions
  • Challenges that cilantro will face during the summer months, including burn, decay, seeder, and yellowing, will reduce harvestable yields
  • RSS Cilantro is currently achieving specified quality and shelf-life
  • Expect markets to continue climbing over the next week at minimum

Green Leaf, Iceberg, and Romaine

Supplies are steady in the Salinas Valley region of California following this week’s warm weather. Demand is strong, keeping inventory moving.

  • MFC Premium Green Leaf is available
    • Though case weights are high, overall yields are being impacted due to lower-than-average quality
    • Problems include minimal fringe burn and weak tip
    • Insect pressure and dirt in the packs have not been an issue so far in Salinas
  • MFC Premium Iceberg and Romaine are available; Markon Best Available is being substituted as needed due to low case weights
    • Romaine lots are being affected with minimal levels of epidermal blistering and peeling, internal burn, and while INSV is present in many lots, it is easily avoided by harvesting crews
    • Iceberg markets will likely rebound a bit after a heavy slump, but ideal weather should help prices stabilize in the low teens through mid-June

 

Memorial Day Schedule

Markon’s buying office will be closed for Memorial Day (Monday, May 30); many processors will adjust loading and production schedules due to the holiday.

  • Markon’s Salinas consolidation dock will have regular hours for orders loading on Memorial Day (Monday, May 30)
  • Taylor Farms’ loading dock will have regular loading hours on Memorial Day (Monday, May 30)
  • 4Earth’s consolidation dock will have regular loading hours on Memorial Day (Monday, May 30)

o    The Los Angeles Produce Market will be closed

o    4Earth will not be able to purchase off the market

  • Northwest potato shippers’ sales offices and loading docks will be closed Memorial Day (Monday, May 30)
  • California onions sheds will be open for loading, by appointment only, on Memorial Day (Monday, May 30)

Idaho Potatoes

Idaho storage potato supplies have tightened, as the remaining Norkotah crop will be depleted the first week of June.

Storage Crop

  • Idaho Norkotah potatoes are expected to be depleted by June 3
  • Burbanks will be the sole variety on the market until new crop, field run, Norkotahs become available in early August
  • Expect prices to strengthen as suppliers work to extend remaining stocks
  • Sizing:
  • 40- and 50-count stocks are adequate
  • 60- through 80-count supplies are limited
  • 90– through 120-count potatoes are readily available

Quality

  • Pressure and shoulder bruising, along with hollow heart, will be seen sporadically in remaining storage supplies (both Norkotahs and Burbanks)
  • 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

Potatoes – Memorial Day Schedule

Northwest potato shippers will be closed on Memorial Day (Monday, May 30).

  • Trucks may experience extensive loading delays on Tuesday, May 31 as shippers will not produce over the weekend
  • Sheds will be open limited hours to load on Saturday, May 28
  • Scheduling appointments in advance is strongly recommended

Squash

Volume is being affected by inclement weather this week as new crops come online on both coasts.

  • The Mexican spring season is quickly winding down
    • Average quality is reported during grading
    • Scuffing and mechanical damage are the main issues
  • California production is underway in the San Joaquin Valley and Santa Maria
    • Cool temperatures (65˚F) in Santa Maria are slowing plant growth/reducing yields
    • Quality is good
  • East Coast growers are harvesting in both Florida and Georgia
    • Overall quality is good, but there have been some reports of scuffing/discoloration concerns in yellow squash
    • Rain showers will delay harvest today in Georgia
  • Expect slightly higher markets over the next two weeks

Tomatoes

Prices are up. Supplies are snug as harvests are transitioning on both coasts. MFC Tomatoes are available.

 

  • East Coast production has slowed in Florida’s Ruskin/Palmetto region; the season is winding down
    • Roma, round, cherry, and grape tomato quality is good
    • Large sizes are limited; growers are harvesting second and third picks
    • Supplies will tighten over the next two weeks as the Quincy, Florida region is behind schedule
  • Mexican growers are transitioning from the mainland to their summer season in Baja
    • Overall volume and size profile are down; quality is good
    • Grape tomato harvesting is expected to increase to seasonal levels by the first week of June
  • The California desert region is harvesting limited mature green supplies; San Joaquin Valley production will start approximately June 20
  • Expect markets to increase over the next two weeks

Please contact your Markon customer service representative for more information.

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