Market Alert – The Heat Is On

Leafy Greens
A very strong high-pressure system out west brought numerous record high temperatures to California over the weekend. Tropical moisture from the south will add scattered thunderstorms to the high elevations. The extreme heat remains in place into Wednesday along with very warm over-night temperatures. These growing conditions will increase mold, mildew, and disease pressure in the fields along with of course heat-related damage.
Insect populations that were already beginning to become problematic are also sure to rise in the very hot temperatures. The extreme heat will also affect the quality and shelf life of the spring mix, baby leaf, and processed leaf items. Other issues likely to arise include fringe burn, internal burn, discoloration, seeders, and weaker texture. This is an industry-wide problem affecting most of the growers and shippers.

We are experiencing an extreme heat event in the Strawberry growing regions of Salinas, Watsonville and Santa Maria which will last 5 to 8 days. Coastal regions are expected to reach the mid-80s to low 90s while inland areas will easily reach triple digits. With the end of the Salinas/ Watsonville season approaching the plants are in their last growth phase. We expect to see full red fruit, but please adjust your pars as shelf life will be shorter than usual. Santa Maria Fall crop has just begun and is expected to pick up in numbers as we move into the end of the month. Strawberry supplies are sure to take a hit in these hot temperatures.

Overall, the market is tight with several regions being done for the season. The San Joaquin Valley is
experiencing extremely high temperatures (highs in the 110-112) and packinghouses will shut down early this week for their employees’ well-being and fruit to change from a firmness standpoint. Citrus, in general,
is trending on the smaller side.

August is here and the California Valencia markets continue to be very strong. Demand exceeds supply and
prices are higher. We expect this trend to continue until the end of the season in October and transition to CA
Navels. Quality is looking good, but we can still expect to see some green on the shoulders known as the “de-greening” period, which
typically occurs when the weather exceeds the high 90s/low 100s in the Central Valley.

The coastal region is in full swing. The current ratio is 60/40 fancy to choice and we can expect to see more wind scar and cosmetic defects still from that region.

Current lime market is firming up & pricing is rapidly increasing. Large fruit is expected to continue to become scarce. Fruit from new production cycles is being harvested, which consists of predominately small sizes (i.e. 200’s & 230’s). Little rain in Mexico will keep the crop small for an extended time period. Overall, quality is beginning to improve, however, the climate is still extremely hot & humid which
ultimately impacts overall shelf life. High temperatures paired with low precipitation slows down the growing process in the groves and
ultimately impacts yields. The quality caused by heat damage on the limes continues to be an issue. Suppliers are seeing cosmetic defects on the exterior skin with signs of blanching and stylar. The market will continue to tighten up throughout the month of August. Based on current projections, these trends will likely subside in September.

Supplies out of Riverside, CA are very tight. Demand is strong and market prices are active and firm. Texas grapefruit is suffering right now with all the storms, some reports show a 30-40% loss to the entire crop. When weather subsides we’ll know more, but don’t plan on Texas supplies for the season just yet.