Market Alert – Lettuce, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Potatoes

The transition of crops from Salinas, CA to Yuma, AZ is completed and unfortunately, September hail storms and heavy rain in Yuma caused major damage to lettuce crops. With the hail wiping out a majority of the acreage, Yuma is struggling to supply normal volumes. Suppliers harvested longer than usual in Salinas in an attempt to stretch the supply until we got to Yuma, but it wasn’t enough when considering the weather experience in Yuma.

Iceberg, Romaine, Leaf lettuces, Broccoli, and Cauliflower markets are reacting to this lower supply. We anticipate this shortage of supply to continue through the end of November.   Growers of these commodities have called an Act of God and elevated pricing is in effect for both bulk and value-added leafy green commodities.

Iceberg Lettuce –  Prices are spiking into extreme levels and will remain elevated for the next few weeks. A significant number of acres were damaged by the Sept 23 storm which will affect harvest supplies from Nov 12 through Dec 8. This is an industry-wide condition.

Romaine / Romaine Hearts – Hail damaged the crop. Failures are anticipated for harvest week of Nov 17-23. Prices are spiking at a similar pace to iceberg.

Butter Lettuce, Red and Green Leaf Lettuce – Lighter supplies on red and green leaf should be the norm and we expect the size and weight challenges over the coming few weeks. Prices are trending much higher. Fields damaged by the Sept 23 storm will create low supplies for the harvest week beginning Nov 17.

Broccoli – Prices are trending higher. The industry continues to battle a lot of hollow core and brown bead which is affecting yields. Stand issues created by the heat will affect supply for harvest in late November. Crop failures from the Sept 23 storm have affected supplies beginning Nov 14. The industry was severely affected by the storm which could lead to supply shortages through mid-December.

Cauliflower – Quality and condition are good, but light supplies are expected over the coming weeks due to heat-related delays at the time of planting.  We might run into a gap during the week of November 17th. There are reports of some harvest yields being down 50% due to storm damage. Prices are increasing almost daily.

Potatoes – Meanwhile in Idaho and other mid-western potato producing regions growers are approaching the end of harvesting the 2019 crops.  An early series of snowstorms and colder than normal temperatures have made getting products from the field to storage facilities a challenge.  It is estimated that approximately 20-30% of this year’s crop may be lost due to the inability to harvest in cold and snowy conditions.  In the short term, suppliers are left with few options.  The new crop potatoes have not had a chance to cure yet and this has created a bottleneck at the distribution points.  While it is bad now, the long term outlook into the spring and summer is even worse.

As always, please contact your Royal representative for the most up to date information regarding these situations and be sure to sign up for our newsletter!