PROMOTIONAL LOADING DATES UPDATE - Volume will hit by the 28th of April.
4/28 - 5/1 - Volume ramps up with Brooks and Corals
5/2 - 5/14 - Peak early volume with Brooks, Corals, Tulares, Royal Hazels, Garnets and Rainiers
5/18 - 6/1 - Volume for Memorial Day ads with Bings and Rainiers.
EARLY CROP SIZE - With a larger crop estimated, sizing will be peaking smaller than it has in the past few years. Peak size for the season could be more in the 10.5/11 row range. Farmers are thinning right now to ensure largest fruit possible.
BINGS - The Bing crop is still being assessed as it transitions out of bloom. We are still optimistic that the Bing crop will be above the 12 year average of 3.4 million cartons.
EFFECTS OF THE RAIN - California received a lot of rain during the week of March 6th. The majority of the Bing crop bloomed during this week and growers have reported that, although bees still were working, there were some fields that they are concerned did not get the pollination needed.
Garlic - Chinese Supply Update
EXPORT INVENTORY UPDATE - Last year, the Chinese kicked off the new season with 200,000 MT from the 'old' harvest, which is mainly used and consumed by the processing sector and the local market. But now the Chinese report that, at the moment, there is almost no longer any supply. So when the new harvest arrives in June/July, the stocks will be completely empty. The Chinese are only selling small amounts to exporters and packers and prices are growing every hour, making it very difficult for exporters/packers to get their hands on the garlic. European stocks are not expected to last until the new harvest. It's a situation our suppliers never seen before.
NEW CROP OUTLOOK - Garlic growers talk about a 30-40% smaller harvest due to the extremely bad weather conditions. Local news channels have actually reported up to 60-70% losses in the Laiwu region, while in the Henan region they amount to 30% and in Jinxiang to 20%. The fields which were now supposed to show a beautiful green are looking brown and withered.
Garlic - Domestic Shortage Update
LIMITED SUPPLY - The domestic garlic shortage continues and following the end of Chinese New Year, the supplies of Chinese Garlic continue to be very limited on both coasts. Supplies from China look to be better by the end of this month. California supplies remain the same with suppliers only covering current averages.
NEXT CROP - The current new crop that has already been planted for the season is looking excellent. Shippers are hoping for increased supplies this up incoming year due to the new crop. The weather has been extremely favorable. The current El Nino rains have helped. The only thing that remains the extremely important question is will there be rain in May and June. If this does happen it could potentially jeopardize the new crop.
BACKGROUND ON CALIFORNIA SHORTAGE - This year two issues affected amount of usable garlic by the California Garlic Growers/Shippers:
•Garlic staining from muddy waters during the drying phase in June & July from hurricanes off Baja Mexico. The rains happened later than usual and the staining that resulted were much worse than prior years. Staining is purely an appearance attribute, and does not affect the quality or flavor of the garlic cloves inside the skins.
•Poor bulb/clove quality from bulbs not fully developing during the growing year (9 month crop cycle). During the garlic growing season, the weather was too warm at night resulting in the undeveloped bulbs and cloves. This has severely impacted the peeled garlic quality with some field lots achieving a 30% usable pack-out.
Mangoes - Mexican Weather Update
WEATHER UPDATE- In the recent days, there has been a tremendous amount of rain and even hail in the Nayarit and Southern Sinaloa areas. A lot of mango crops have been affected by the rain and hail.
AVAILABILITY UPDATE - Our suppliers will not be able to assess the extent of the damage until 15 days from today; this would affect the production months of May-July. Originally, our suppliers were anticipating heavy volume to start hitting in April, but now it appears that April will be quite light. Running promos in April may be a bit dangerous until we receive an update.
Photo: Area north of mango growing area, a reflection of how cold it got.
Blackberries - Mexican Weather Update
WEATHER UDPATE - Rain, wind, hail and thunderstorms affected production in Central Mexico last week. This is a big concern for un-hooped acreage as it will cause significant setbacks, estimates have dropped by 50%. Cold weather has hit over the weekend and snow has fallen in some of the higher elevation. Transfers from Mexico have been significantly affected and cancellations/pushed orders will be very likely. Supply will be tight for the next 2-3 weeks.
In general, we will see the weather in Central Mexico beginning to affect all berries this week. Some of the larger growers have maintained their strawberry production up until this point while many others have pulled out of the Mexico deal for the season. The biggest issues today will be with blacks and blues but raspberries and strawberries are likely to follow soon with the cold temperatures.
Potatoes - Season Transition
SEASON TRANSITIONING - We’re coming into the transition time for colored potatoes as we do every year and supplies are light.
•California is finished packing its own whites until April, bringing in Washington reds & golds in to supplement.
•Some Washington & North Dakota shippers are packing through April, but supplies are already light and North Dakota is showing quality issues.
•One shipper in Idaho will finish at the end of the month. Wisconsin continues to bring in red and gold bulk from North Dakota and repack it to cover regular business
•South Florida yields have been very low especially on whites, and are rumored to have better yields in April, but it's too early to be certain. Florida is currently booked out of all whites and is only covering regular business.
NEW CROPS - California will start packing new-crop desert red & white potatoes as early as March 28, but this could be pushed back. Golds will start in California approximately 10 days later. It’s too early to determine what type of production north Florida will have when they start packing new-crop potatoes in early May.
SHORT-TERM AVAILABILITY - Expect only light availability for all colors through the end of March and then we will at least have new-crop California potatoes at the beginning of April. If the South Florida yields improve in April that will help with eastern business. For the next three to four weeks stay ahead on inventories particularly on Baker/Premiums and C-size cartons, as they have are in all colors from all areas for the entire season.
Blueberries - Inventory Update
INVENTORY UPDATE - Supply will continue to tighten significantly over the next few weeks as Chilean production finishes up for the season. Mexico and Baja are still producing but their volume is a much smaller fraction of the overall supply and will not be able to cover all demand. FL and CA production have started in a light way as well but not significant volumes. Market has moved up again this week and will be active for the next several weeks until supply is more balanced.
Strawberries - California Weather Update
WEEKEND WEATHER UPDATE - Rain forecasted for the strawberry growing regions of California did indeed materialize over the weekend and throughout Monday, with areas receiving between 1.50” and 5.00” of precipitation. In addition, thunderstorms brought heavy winds and pea sized hail. Cooler temperatures also followed the front and remain in all areas as of Monday.
HARVEST ESTIMATES reportedly fell between 30-50% in the southern growing districts of Oxnard and Santa Maria. Damaged fruit is being reported from the rain and strong winds.
QUALITY ISSUES - As a result of the rain and cooler winds, our suppliers will start to see dehydration in the fruit as well as rain damage. They are already seeing visible affects including pin rot, cracks in the fruit, decay, dehydration and botrytis. The quality issues will likely linger into the following weeks as well.
WEATHER FORECASTS are calling for brief periods of warming/clearing after today only to welcome the next system into California by late this week/weekend.