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Market Madness: Magical May sharing some not so magical moments

A magical May is sharing some not so magical moments with lower-than-normal temperatures and light rain.

CHERRIES: Light rainfall is expected May 8-9 in some, but not all, early cherry-growing regions. This may slow down production volume end of this week with growers worried that rain causes come cracking of the cherries. May 7 was the first rain forecast that could possibly affect predicted pack out at the end of this week. Being optimistic, we are sticking with our May forecast where we start getting numbers gearing up for loading week of May 20 for first major ads breaking week of May 27 with high power volume on the East Coast. Then June 3 pull for front-page ads with mostly Bing variety cherries dominating to a California season ending June 22 with outstanding quality.

MELONS: Nogales is the place to go for mini melons, watermelons, honeydews and cantaloupes. Back-page ad mini melons pulling right now and feature front-page ad mini melons pulling the week of May 20 and May 27. Honeydews are good loading out of Nogi right now with enough volume for back page ad on five and six sizing. Cantaloupes are available out of Nogi and only two times higher value per carton than honeydews down from three times higher last week. Desert cantaloupes from Yuma, Phoenix and El Centro areas will be available the week of May 20, where there will be a struggle filling orders for nine size cantaloupes as the first set will peak on 12s. Then desert honeydews start the week of May 27. Start shifting the ad gear to feature ad pulling May 27 for cantaloupes until week of June 17, when transitioning toward Bakersfield and Central California.

TREE FRUIT: Warm up your tree fruit dancing shoes. Elvis is alive, but still warming up his band of peaches, nectarine, apricots and plums to "Heartbreak Hotel." The cooler temperatures are holding back just slightly on yellow and white nectarines. Here is what is shipping right now: apricots 88/84s, yellow and white peaches mostly 64 size and smaller with 56s starting to come along hopefully by week's end. Yellow and white nectarines will finally start materializing next week and plums will not be harvested until the end of the Month. Any May ads will have to be on smaller apricots, peaches (both yellow and white) for pulling May 13, then week of May 20 yellow and white nectarines will be in the mix. Week of May 27 will show a few plums finally coming to the show. Elvis will start June with "Ready Set Go Man Go."

STRAWBERRIES: Strawberries should be on front-page ad status right through Memorial Day. This is "Katie Bar the Door Strawberry Month," with adequate supplies, excellent quality and a gift to all mothers and warriors. Do not be conservative, rock the market with priority feature strawberry ads. Availability, quality, color and size have all come together nicely for this berry good month.

DRISCOLL ROUNDUP: This week blackberries are trending down after peaking the past week and will be a tight item by mid-May. Raspberries are producing at a steady pace but not enough production to promote with an ad yet. Blueberries continue to be packed on the East Coast and North Carolina as well as Baja California in Mexico again this week with fairly good supplies. Blueberry ad time will start pulling mid-May when Central California harvesting cranks up then followed by Pacific Northwest. Strawberries for this entire month has had big time harvest delighting mothers and Memorial Day warriors with feature ads having outstanding quality and magical May supplies.

NAVELS: Feature ads on 72s and larger Navel oranges where growers' supplies are peaking and looking to move. Size 88 and 113 are less plentiful, especially 113s and smaller, where values have risen the past two weeks. Navels are such a sweet and juicy orange with limited time left for this season that started last November with some shippers pulling the plug at the end of May and while some growers will continue into the end of June. There are some Valencia variety oranges available and will be California's gift of orange production, with volume loading June until September.

LEMONS: The only new for lemons is that nothing has changed, as 115s and larger are promotable with feature ads and having outstanding quality and big time supplies. Size 140 are also promotable, but the box value is in 115s and larger. As for 165s, 200s and smaller, there is a 10 dollar bill separating them from 115s and larger. Warmer weather will affect quality by a small margin, but with California lemon production easing down make "Big Is Beautiful" bargains while you can, as California lemons will tail off next month with imports knocking on late June's door.

GRAPES: Imported globes are the last best bargain grape with home run status and Red Seedless are two runs behind. Imported green grapes are few and available with the bank co-signing the note. Help is on the way first from Mexico loading in Nogales but the Green Sweets and Perlettes still have a sugar problem and won't be sweet to eat until May 15. Red Seedless out of Nogales will cross May 20 along with California starting Flames at the same time. At the same time, black seedless will hit the streets. Sugraones out of Coachella will start with fair volume May 27. Globes will make an entry June 10 when the pull starts for red, green and black seedless with back page promotion. Then promote grapes loading the week of June 17 when Grape-O-Rama volume with "knock your door down" supplies of all color seedless grapes.

JJ Jackson began his fresh produce career in 1965 with Central Coast Packing, where he delivered potatoes and onions to wholesalers in the San Francisco Bay. The following year, he went to work for Best Produce, owned by Joe Carcione, where he learned about selling fresh fruits and vegetable in the South City Produce Terminal. In 1969, he went to Salinas and worked for several different companies before starting his own produce brokerage company, JJ & Son Marketing Inc. In all, he has been a produce broker for 48 years buying and selling all fruits and vegetables loading out of California, Arizona, Washington, Texas and Mexico. In 2017, he joined CFG Produce, where he handles buying and selling.