Market Alert – Winter Weather Woes Continue

The weather in the southern desert / Mexico growing regions is expected to warm up this week. Day time temps will range in the mid to high 70’s and night time temps will drop to low to mid 50’s. We expect this to help push most row crop commodities along and promote growth. Although it will not be an overnight turn around, we do anticipate better production and quality over the next 2-3 weeks. In the Southeastern US, extended periods of rain followed by cold temperatures have impacted multiple commodities and both yield and quality are suffering.

Alert Items:

Arugula is at the top of the list on short supplies. This is an industry-wide issue and is effecting supply and quality. Discoloration, mildew, and decay are creating enormous challenges on production. As we look toward the end of this week and beyond, we expect supplies to gradually improve. We anticipate this week being the last major setback and hope to see improvements moving forward.

Cauliflower is expected to remain limited all this week. Markets remain very active and supplies are short industry-wide. With the warmer weather in Yuma, we hope to see improvements by mid to late next week. We are watching averages daily and we should not see any major disruptions, but supplies will remain tight. If the weather cooperates and ground temps rise, we should see slightly better yields by the weekend. This holds true for value-added products as well.

Green Onions continue to be limited. Again, this is all weather-related. Most of the industry’s production is coming from Mexico. As we are all aware, the weather patterns in Yuma and Mexico have been very sporadic and have had detrimental effects on quality and yield. We expect supplies to remain limited for another 2-3 weeks as shippers struggle to play catch up every week.

Squash/Zucchini are harvesting in all FL districts, but the rain slowed growth and harvests are yielding less than normal. Cooler weather has tightened supply now that California is season over.

Tomato supply continues to drive prices higher due to the weather issues experienced earlier in the year. Weather patterns in Mexico and Florida resulted in light early plantings. Supplies hurt by the weather-related light planting are also being affected by some of the Florida growers that are going out of business due to increased regulations and downward market pressure from Mexican tomato imports. The lower acreage planted in Florida, accompanied by a disastrous growing season in Mexico has resulted in the shortage that is expected to last through most of January.

We need favorable, sustained weather in both Florida and Mexico to bring the tomato market back to normal.

Limited but improving:

Red and green leaf markets are still high, but we are expecting better availability as the week moves on. Shippers are still watching allocations, but expect to be at budgeted numbers by end of the week. Markets will start to decline slowly and we will be keeping a close eye on changes.
Iceberg is improving slowly. Markets are gradually coming down and we will see supplies increase as the weather warms up. Quality, however, continues to be the biggest challenge as we navigate through the residual freeze damage. We are still getting reports of epidermal peel, blister, light mildew, and lighter weights. As we move into warmer weather and new crops, we expect to see better quality and production. We will be watching markets closely.
Broccoli is moving in the right direction. Again, markets are still elevated and supplies are not plentiful, but we are hearing talk of improved supplies as the week moves forward. Value-added production has been affected as well and florets have been a daily challenge. Our expectation is to see better production and availability by next week.

Asparagus is ramping up. Mexico is starting harvest and quality is looking solid. Markets are strong but will adjust as more product arrives. Peruvian supplies will slowly taper off on the east coast. We will be looking to build some momentum and gain traction on asparagus as we look toward future growth.

Good supplies:
Romaine Hearts
Celery Hearts