UPDATE SUMMARY: WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 5, 2022

September 8, 2022

Asparagus

Markets remain elevated as growers transition production from Central Mexico to Northern Baja. Peruvian supplies (into Florida) are increasing.

Mexican Asparagus

  • Supplies are limited
    • Central Mexico’s season will wind down over the next two to three weeks
    • Harvesting is underway in Northern Baja
  • Excessive rainfall from Hurricane Kay is curtailing harvestable hours in Northern Baja; poor field conditions are restricting machine access
  • Continued heavy rainfall is expected to push production forward in the coming weeks
  • Spear production will increase in the near-term although a demand-exceeds-supply situation may occur in December as a result
  • Expect prices to remain elevated through September as the Northern Baja season continues to ramp up

Peruvian Asparagus

  • Peruvian asparagus (shipped into Florida) is supplementing the East Coast market
  • Volume is steadily increasing as Peruvian growers enter peak production (September through December)
  • Market pricing is slightly lower than Mexican-grown product; however, aging is a concern as the majority of imports are arriving by boat due to limited air freight
  • Expect prices to remain steady through September

Basil

West Coast basil supplies are expected to tighten over the next two weeks as a result of the approaching Southern California heatwave.

  • Reduced shelf-life is expected as extreme heat stresses plants in the field
    • Tip burn is a quality concern
    • Markon recommends ordering for quick turnaround
  • East Coast stocks are ample; quality is good

Cucumbers

Supplies are tight as northern summer growing regions start to wind down. Markets are strong.

  • Markon First Crop (MFC) and Markon Essentials (ESS) Cucumbers are limited; packer label may be substituted as necessary
  • The summer growing regions of Michigan, Ohio, and New York are past peak production; overall quality and supply levels have diminished
  • Growers in North Carolina are starting early fall crops this week; good quality is being reported
  • Mexican quality is good, but volume is low due to recent monsoon weather
  • Expect prices to remain elevated over the next two weeks

Excessive California Heat

Most major California growing regions, including the Salinas Valley, reached the peak of the current heat wave yesterday, September 5, with daytime highs that reached well into the 90°s near the coast to over 110° inland. These temperatures are 15°-30° above seasonal averages and will absolutely have a negative effect on quality and shelf-life of row crops such as broccoli, lettuce, strawberries, and tender leaf items.

The heat is forecast to continue through Thursday, September 8 before the arrival of some tropical moisture that brings with it the chance of showers and possible thunderstorms on Saturday, September 10.

Maintaining the cold chain throughout distribution is critical for maximizing quality and shelf-life. Markon inspectors are currently assessing fields and will update further as the effects of the heat start to present themselves.

Green Leaf, Iceberg, and Romaine

California supplies have been impacted by disease pressure and higher-than-normal temperatures, particularly in South Salinas Valley. Prices are rising.

  • MFC Premium Green Leaf is available; Markon Best Available (MBA) is being substituted due to low case weights and quality concerns
    • Warm weather, particularly in southern Salinas Valley, has resulted in dense heads, fringe burn, pest pressure, and weak tip, reducing harvestable yields and shelf-life
    • Mildew pressure has forced suppliers to cut ahead of their scheduled harvests, lowering case weights and overall yields
    • Markets are forecast to climb over the next 7 to 14 days
  • MFC Premium Iceberg and Romaine are available; MBA is being substituted due to low case weights and quality concerns
    • Abnormal humidity has continued to cause varying levels of internal burn, growth crack, seeder, and salt and pepper; mildew and thrip damage are also prevalent due to persistently warm soil temperatures
    • INSV and Sclerotinia are of special concern, affecting romaine hearts especially
    • Regional/local deals forecast a rise in romaine prices through September; expect strong demand for West Coast supplies
    • The iceberg market is gearing up for another increase this week; prices will remain elevated for at least the next 10-14 days

Green Onions

Demand remains strong, far exceeding supply. Persistently high temperatures in Mexicali, Mexico, ranging from high 90s to mid-110s, continue to slow plant maturity, reduce yields, and limit harvestable hours.

  • Hot weather without nighttime cooling relief has led to warmer-than-normal ground temperatures, increasing thrip/pest pressure, and reducing yields
  • Sustained excessive heat has slowed onion growth, resulting in persistently lower yields
  • Harvestable hours have been reduced as harvesting crews are primarily running at night to avoid harmful daytime temperatures; harvesting crews are working five hours or less
  • Increased inspections at the Southern U.S. border due to elevated pest pressure have resulted in longer border crossing times, further reducing availability
  • Expect markets to remain elevated through mid-October at minimum, pending additional extreme conditions

Limes

The market is tightening this week due to storms moving through the primary growing region in Veracruz, Mexico; prices are higher. MFC and ESS Limes are available.

  • Rain in the growing region is limiting production, lowering yields, and causing occasional delays in transportation
  • All sizes are available; larger size (110-to 150-count sizes) are tight
  • Sizing is expected to increase as new crop matures
  • Light color, stylar, and oil spotting are still being reported by suppliers during the grading process; quality is average
  • Markon recommends ordering for quick turns to maximize shelf life
  • Expect two weeks of elevated pricing until weather improves and production returns to normal

Onions

MFC Onions are being shipped out of Idaho, Oregon, Utah, and Washington.

  • Early pack-out size is dominated by medium and jumbo sizes; colossal and super colossal onions are limited
  • Sizing is gradually beginning to increase as harvesting progresses and suppliers move into onions planted at later dates
  • Growers will begin to pack and ship onions out of storage in early October
  • New crop onions will have a rounder, more globe-like shape than supplies shipped during the spring and summer months; early season supplies will still exhibit thin, light-colored skins until shipped out of storage

Oranges

California Valencia supplies are tightening further as a result of the current heatwave.

  • MFC and ESS Valencia Oranges are available
  • Valencia quality concerns include re-greening and softness due to above-normal temperatures
    • Soft fruit can result in pressure compression/misshapen fruit and stem-end aging spots
    • Extreme heat is causing Valencia supplies to re-absorb chlorophyll, resulting in a green tint on rinds
  • Supplies of smaller size (113- and 138-count packs) are expected to continue to tighten until the new crop Navel harvest begins in late October/early November
  • Remaining supplies are dominated by 88-count and larger sizes

Tomatoes

Current weather challenges in all major growing regions are affecting overall tomato supply levels as well as quality. MFC Tomatoes are available; packer label may be substituted as needed.

  • The current heatwave in California (with temperatures as high as 115 degrees) will affect fruit yields as plants conserve energy for survival
    • Growers are anticipating a shorter season this year due to heat and water restrictions, ending in early October (two weeks before scheduled)
    • All sizes are available; volume is dominated by medium to large sizes
    • Round and Roma tomato quality is good; expect average quality later in September
  • Mexican late summer supplies will be tight this weekend as Hurricane Kay heads towards tomato fields on the Baja Peninsula
    • Roma, cherry, and grape tomatoes are expected to face heavy winds, rain, and potential flooding
    • Logistic routes through Baja and up to the border crossing of Otay Mesa, California will see delays
    • Round and Roma supplies are tight in the Eastern Mexico regions of Jalisco/San Luis Potosi
  • East Coast growers will ship limited round and Roma stocks until the Florida season starts in late September/early October
    • Tennessee and the Northeast region experienced extreme heat and rain this past summer, affecting overall quality and reducing yields
    • Grape and cherry tomato quality remains very good in Virginia
    • Many local summer deals will wrap up over the next few weeks
  • Expect prices to rise through the month of September

Please contact your Markon customer service representative for more information.

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