UPDATE: WEEK OF MARCH 28, 2002

March 31, 2022

UPDATE: WEEK OF MARCH 28, 2020

March 31, 2022

Bell Peppers

Bell pepper volume is low due to seasonal decline and past weather conditions. Markon First Crop (MFC) and Markon Essentials (ESS) Green and Red Bell Peppers are available.

Green Bells

  • Mexican fields are past peak production
    • Yields are light
    • Extra-large and large sizes are snug
    • Quality is average
  • Florida supplies are tight due to past weather conditions
    • New spring production has begun on Florida’s East Coast
    • Jumbo sizes are more readily available; small sizes are limited as older fields are phased out
    • Additional acreage in Immokalee and Plant City will be harvested in mid-April, boosting overall volume
  • California’s desert region will experience start-up delays (late April/early May) as fewer acres were planted due to limited water availability and labor shortages
  • Expect prices to remain elevated over the next two weeks

Red Bells

  • Mexican production remains low as some growers picked fields early in order to capitalize on the elevate green bell markets
    • Quality is hit and miss; scarring and color issues are the main concerns
    • Volume should increase over the next couple of weeks
  • Florida only harvests a limited amount of colored bells
  • Canadian greenhouse volume is increasing; jumbo and extra-large sizes dominate early availability
  • Expect prices to remain steady this week

Broccoli

Markets are elevated; production is winding down in Arizona/California desert and Central Mexico regions. MFC Broccoli is extremely limited; packer label is being substituted as needed.

  • Demand for domestic broccoli is strong as Mexican volume has dropped
  • Cool evening weather has prevented Salinas Valley new crop stocks from reaching head size potential
  • Quality has taken a downturn in the desert growing regions; head size inconsistency, long stems, and extra leaf material after trimming are issues
  • Overall industry supplies are adequate to meet demand, but will become tighter
  • Expect elevated prices through the end of seasonal transition to the Salinas and Santa Maria Valleys (late April)

Desert Weather

The Arizona/California desert growing region has experienced three separate heat spikes throughout March with daytime highs in the low 80°s to mid-90°s. The most recent heat event has just tapered off due to an upper level trough that could bring light showers this afternoon through tomorrow morning, Tuesday, March 29.

Markon inspectors have not observed as many serious heat-related defects as expected, but sun scalding and sunburn are present on lettuce items and some hit-and-miss shelf-life performance is expected in value-added items. We also expect to continue seeing varying amounts of insect pressure in commodity and lightly-prepped value-added items being grown and packed in the Arizona and California desert regions. Quality-alert flyers are currently being used in lightly prepped items, and will remain in use until the Salinas Valley growing season ramps up in mid-April.

Although the warmer weather is aiding plant growth, low case weights are anticipated for 24-count iceberg lettuce; Markon First Crop pack outs will remain limited.

The forecast calls for temperatures to remain just above seasonal averages through at least April 5. Markon inspectors will continue monitoring fields and working with growers to select the best supplies for Markon orders. Maintaining the cold chain throughout distribution is critical for maximizing quality and shelf-life. Ordering for quick turns is recommended.

Iceberg Lettuce

Industry supplies of iceberg are increasing with favorable growing conditions in all regions.

  • Huron and Arizona/California desert are the primary growing regions this week; Salinas production will begin next week
  • Supplies in the Arizona/California desert are winding down and will be fully depleted by mid-April
  • Expect markets to continue inching down over the next two to three weeks

Melons

Cantaloupe and honeydew prices are rising. Demand is strong; supplies are limited.

  • Offshore arrivals from Central America into the West Coast are light; Mexico is helping to meet demand
    • Limited supplies of Mexican honeydew are crossing into Nogales, Arizona primarily for West Coast markets
    • Mexican cantaloupes will not be available for one to two more weeks
    • Expect limited availability of cantaloupe and honeydew from the West Coast until the Mexican new crop season ramps up in 7-10 days
  • Offshore arrivals from Central America into the East Coast remain steady; demand is strong
    • Prices are higher; the crop is dominated by large sizes; small-size fruit is limited
    • Offshore stocks will remain on the market through late May
  • The Arizona/California domestic cantaloupe season will kick off in early May; honeydew production will start in mid-May
  • Expect elevated melon prices on both coasts for the next several weeks

Onions

Northwest storage onion supplies will wind down over the next few weeks. Abundant supplies of Texas-grown onions are available.

Northwest

  • Idaho/Oregon-grown MFC Onions will ship through April 15
  • MFC Washington Onions will be depleted the week of April 18
  • Markets have eased as demand has shifted to new crop onions
  • Please note that quality has deteriorated in remaining supplies; internal defects such as translucency, as well as dry and watery scale are common

Texas

  • Texas-grown MFC Red and Yellow Onions are readily available
  • The Mexican onion season will wrap up next week
  • Markets have eased, but pricing will level off once the Mexican season ends
  • Fresh-run onions will have feathery skins and light color/exterior compared to Northwest storage onions

California

  • Imperial Valley onions will hit the market the week of April 25

New Mexico

  • The New Mexico season is scheduled to open in early June

Romaine

Warm weather in Arizona/California desert growing region continues to promote growth and increase supplies.

  • The short Huron, California season is in full swing
  • Production in the Salinas Valley will begin next week
  • Expect slightly lower prices as growers continue to transition from the Arizona/California desert to the Salinas Valley; desert supplies will be depleted by mid- April

Strawberries

Oxnard and Santa Maria, California received heavy rain yesterday. Harvesting is expected in both regions today with dramatically lower yields. Expect strong markets and tight supplies over the next 7-10 days.

Santa Maria

  • The region received 0.70” of rain over the past 24 hours
  • Harvesting is scheduled today but growers expect reduced yields
  • Plastic clamshells will to be substituted for the corrugated packs
  • The industry is in a demand-exceeds-supply situation
  • Quality is good, but light bruising is a problem due to heavy rainfall

Oxnard

  • The region received 1.00-1.50” of rain over the past 24 hours
  • Harvesting is scheduled today but growers expect reduced yields
  • Plastic clamshells will to be substituted for the corrugated packs
  • The industry is in a demand-exceeds-supply situation
  • Quality is good, but light bruising is a problem due to heavy rainfall

Salinas/Watsonville

  • The region received 0.05” of rain over the past 24 hours
  • Volume is low as the season is just starting to come into play
  • Supplies are expected to ramp up in late April, barring any unusual weather events

Strawberry Quality

California strawberry quality is of major concern. Markon inspectors recommend only ordering for very quick turns, or to bypass strawberry purchases altogether this week.

  • California’s two major strawberry producing areas for the month of March and April include  Oxnard and Santa Maria; these areas received one to two inches of rainfall from last Sunday, March 27 through Monday, March 28
  • Due to rain damage/quality concerns, growers have been forced to send between 65%-75% of this week’s harvest to processors/juicers compared to 5% on a normal day
  • Quality challenges include cracked skin, soft tips, and heavy bruising
  • Strawberries that have been harvested for fresh sales are being sold locally (kept within California’s state border), as longer transit times will accelerate arrival problems

Squash 

Mexican zucchini and yellow squash prices have eased. Production is ramping up in the northern growing region of Sonora. MFC Zucchini and Yellow Squash are both available.

  • Mexican supplies have increased in the state of Sonora; new fields are being harvested in Hermosillo
    • Quality is very good
    • The season should run until mid-May
  • Florida volume is increasing; production is getting underway in the Plant City region
    • Zucchini quality is very good
    • Yellow squash quality is average
  • The Santa Maria, California season will start in mid-May
  • Expect prices to decrease over the next two weeks

Please contact your Markon customer service representative for more information.

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