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MARKETS AND TRENDS

Garlic producers upbeat about domestic garlic crop
Hopes were high for the 2016 domestic garlic crop as it followed a 2015 crop that saw numerous El Niño-related weather events, from floods to droughts to tornados, which wreaked havoc on many garlic fields. Unfortunately, the 2016 crop was also down by 15-20 percent of normal, also due to inclement weather condition. Domestic garlic producers tend to... Read more
Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Market Specialist, Butch Nottingham, told The Produce News that the Eastern Shore’s potato harvest would be earlier than normal this year. “The Eastern Shore has enjoyed ideal weather, and it’s warmer than it was this time last year,” Nottingham said. “By June 20, all sheds... Read more
Tomato market settles in as supplies start to increase
With the California mature green deal not expected to start until the week of June 19 and rain continuing to pepper the Southeast, in early June the tomato market was fairly strong and it is expected to last at least throughout the month. “We have a very good market right now for everyone involved,” said Joe Bernardi on June 6. “At the current... Read more
For the past couple of weeks, tomato prices have been rising as supplies from Mexico and Florida decline. But as the price hit $20 per carton for some sizes and varieties, demand has waned. "As supplies dwindle, the price goes up and that tends to lessen demand, just as it is supposed to," Joe Bernardi told The Produce News May 26. "I expect it to continue to... Read more
Other than a mild February, which forced apricots and some plum varieties to bloom early, most New Jersey peaches experienced a cool and relatively normal winter, with growers expecting a large crop in 2017. "While our peaches and nectarines bloomed about 10 days early, we have not had sub-freezing temperatures to injure peach flowers and fruit," said Santo... Read more
Today, May 18, shippers throughout California are getting $52-$56 per carton on any size celery that they can ship, and the expectation is that this strong market will continue for at least four more weeks. Russell Widerburg, sales manager for Boskovich Farms Inc. in Oxnard, CA, said the market has been strong since early April and he sees no chance for change... Read more
With a bit less acreage than last year and an expected rain-related supply gap in late May, the new crop of potatoes from Kern County in California should have a relatively strong marketing position even as they hit their peak in June. The season typically lasts around two months beginning in late April or early May. This year, the first potatoes were dug and... Read more
California stone fruit on target for good season
California does not appear to have an especially big crop of stone fruits this year, and combined with production problems in the Southeast, that very well could make for a tighter-than-usual marketing situation. It has been reported that 90 percent of the South Carolina peach crop was destroyed by a devastating freeze, and other production areas in the Southeast... Read more
The number of potato acres that will be planted in North Dakota in 2017 is more difficult to project than in most years as several factors figure into making it the tough call. “Coming off a difficult year when 30 percent of the fresh crop was lost to over-land flooding, the fresh potato landscape looks much different this spring,” Ted Kreis, marketing... Read more
Texas onion deal should have strong finish
The Texas sweet onion deal hasn’t gotten started yet but it appears to be poised for a very good second half. Acreage is down an estimated 10 percent and the crop is trending two weeks to three weeks early, with a mid-March start expected. That could mean that by mid- to late April, supplies will be short and a very good market could be the result. Don... Read more
Consumers in northern Europe are seeing extremely limited availability of a number of vegetables, according to a Feb. 8 story in The Wall Street Journal. The shortages started in December, when severe flooding and snow hit Spain’s Murcia region along the Mediterranean Sea, damaging crops and preventing farmers from planting. Spain is the primary source... Read more
After a three-year trend of declining acreage, the California Strawberry Commission Acreage Survey for 2017 showed that, at least for this year, the trend for decreased acreage has abated, with an estimate of a bit more than 36,000, on par with 2016 numbers. The acreage report is published two times annually with acreage information voluntarily provided by California... Read more
Treasure Valley storm losses continue to mount
Severe winter weather continues to grip a significant swath of the West, with Idaho-Eastern Oregon’s Treasure Valley seemingly at the epicenter. A series of structure collapses from heavy snow and ice started rolling across the region on Sunday, Jan. 8, and by Thursday, Jan. 19, the count was in the dozens, affecting the onion industry to a large degree... Read more
The Michigan Apple industry set new shipment records 11 weeks in a row in from Oct. 15 through Christmas, according to the USDA Specialty Crop Market News Service. “These record numbers come as no surprise after the Michigan Apple industry reported an estimated record crop of 31 million bushels for 2016. Growers, packers and shippers have been working... Read more
Florida strawberries remain a hot commodity for the winter
Plant City, FL, is the self-proclaimed “Winter Strawberry Capital of the World,” a moniker that was thrust upon the city more than a century ago, when innovator Henry Plant decided to build a railroad to Tampa, which allowed growers the perfect opportunity to market their strawberries to the East Coast. Today, strawberries from Plant City go from... Read more
Cold weather blanketed California's Central Valley this weekend, but for local citrus growers sub-freezing temperatures were a welcomed change from the unseasonably warm December weather to-date. Temperatures ranged in the high 20s to low 30s on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, which is ideal for most citrus varieties at this point in the season. Navel oranges... Read more
Texas citrus moving into prime marketing season
The Texas citrus season usually gets under way in early October and can linger through the winter, but its prime marketing season is a 70-day window encompassing both fall holidays and blasting into the new year. Led by its famous grapefruit and true to form, Texas fruit started hitting the market during the first few days of October. Trent Bishop, who is vice... Read more
Record-setting summer temperatures that continue into the fall have affected mushroom yields, resulting in shortages across the country. With the main impact being felt by growers in southeastern Pennsylvania, where 64 percent of the nation’s mushrooms are grown, it is likely that every region of the country will be affected. Shortages are already being... Read more
Vegetable production shifts to Western deserts
A couple of good late October storms helped hasten the shift of vegetable production from coastal California to the deserts of Arizona and California, with a stop in the San Joaquin Valley along the way. The Huron district on the Westside of California’s Central Valley was in full swing in early November just as desert production was getting under way.... Read more
With a final production of about 94 million cartons, the 2015/16 California navel crop was the second largest on record. This year’s crop is expected to be 10-15 percent smaller topping out near the 84 million carton mark. “With a smaller crop, we are expecting the market structure to be better with better returns to the grower,” said Joel... Read more