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MARKETS AND TRENDS

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
Though the shipping of Mexican avocados began in a big way in mid-October after about a two-week supply stoppage over in-the-grove prices, there was still a lot of uncertainty as U.S. distributors discussed the situation within several days of the resumption of picking and shipments. In early October, growers and others in a handful of Michoacán avocado... Read more
Red River Valley has plenty of potatoes this fall
ORLANDO, FL — Mother Nature took a while, but she smiled upon the Red River Valley this fall. Rain in the growing months and at the start of harvest hurt production for Red River Valley red potato growers, but on Oct. 15, as Ted Kreis worked from the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association booth at the PMA Fresh Summit, he indicated that the valley’s... Read more
2016 Red River Valley red potato crop looks red on paper too
The 2016 red potato crop damage may be the greatest suffered by the Red River Valley industry since 2001, according to Ted Kreis, marketing director of the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association. The association is based in E. Grand Forks, MN. “I think we possibly lost a third, if not more of the crop,” Kreis estimated as his growers began harvesting... Read more
Blackville, SC — In 2015, heavy rains and flooding hit low country South Carolina at peanut harvest-time in October, ruining peanuts already dug and spread out to dry, and making many other fields too muddy to harvest. The “1,000-year flood” left 19 dead, caused almost $1.5 billion in damages and closed 400 roads and bridges. Nathan Smith,... Read more
Summer Citrus from South Africa season finishing strong
Summer Citrus from South Africa approaches the end of a strong growing season with steady volumes of navels and Midknights available until the end of October. The last conventional vessel will arrive to the port of Philadelphia the week of Sept. 26, concluding this season’s shipments for SCSA. “Each year, our goal is to provide superior quality citrus... Read more
In 2015, the U.S. imported more than 431 million pounds of fresh-market asparagus, of which Peruvian asparagus represented more than 46 percent of the Total World Supply, according to the Peruvian Asparagus Importer’s Association’s 2016-17 Fresh Asparagus Category Statistics & Trends report. “Peru remains to be the consistent, quality supplier... Read more
Growing consumer demand supports increasing berry imports
The U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council, based in Folsom, CA, reports that consumers who crave the taste of fresh blueberries in winter are in luck. Nowadays, fresh blueberries are in the market almost every day of the year. Native to North America, blueberries flourish here from April through October. Thanks to industrious farmers in the Southern Hemisphere, the... Read more
California date shippers have reported that this year’s timing is back to normal after last year’s early start, and they are expecting a significant bump in volume. In fact, several shippers indicated that there could be as much as 20 percent more volume this year as the result of increased production from previously planted date palm trees. Most... Read more