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Spain: Tomato prices rising for the first time since April

Average tomato prices have increased for first time since mid-April, reaching close to 0.26 €/kg. Sales volumes are down by about 30% compared to the previous week, with the smooth, ribbed and on the vine varieties dropping the most in volume and experiencing the greater price increases.

The low prices received by growers since late April due to the market’s saturation has led to an early end of the campaign for many plantations. The month of May has left a very unfavourable balance for tomato growers, with sales volumes down by 20-30% compared to the same month of the 2012/13 campaign, and the average monthly price of the product approaching 0.22 €/kg, compared to the 0.42 €/kg obtained during the month of May last season.

Moroccan quota period

During week 22, Morocco exported a total of 2,305 tonnes of tomatoes to the EU at an average price of 33,40 €/100kg. Exports fell by 32% in volume and 19% in value compared to the previous period.

31 May marked the end of Morocco’s quota period for the export of tomatoes to the EU. The volume exported amounted to 95% of the available quota for the 2013/14 campaign, with a total of 66 days with a price below the minimum established in the EU-Morocco Trade Agreement.

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Continuing tradition, South Carolina hosts April EPC meeting

PATERSON, NJ — South Carolina hosted the Eastern Produce Council’s April 22 dinner meeting, the 43rd time the state has done so. “We thank them for their continued support,” EPC President Paul Kneeland, vice president of produce, floral, seafood and meat at Kings Food Markets and Balducci’s Food Lovers Markets, said in his introductory remarks at the meeting, held here at The Brownstone.

South Carolina’s delegation was led by Martin Eubanks, the state’s assistant commissioner of agriculture, who has represented his state for many, many years at its annual journey north to host the EPC’s April meeting.EPC916 Brian Sewall and Scott Knospe of Wakefern Food Corp. with Brendan Keating of Bozzuto’s Inc.

In giving updates on the crop situation in their state, all of the host speakers touched on the late March freeze that hit parts of the South, including South Carolina.

Noting that “no two years are the same” regarding weather, Lynne Chappell, president of the South Carolina Peach Council, said that early varieties of peaches in some parts of her state were lost in the March 25 freeze. There will be “limited supplies of the early crop” from those affected areas, and production will be “later than normal.”

In light of this situation, Eubanks stated, “Communication is vital in a year like this.”

Angela O’Neal Chappell, president of the South Carolina Watermelon Association, said that some watermelons had to be replanted after the late March freeze but that for the most part, they “should be on time.” That means retailers and other distributors should see plenty of South Carolina watermelons for the Fourth of July holiday period, as usual.

In EPC business, four directors were re-elected to three-year terms: Matthew D’Arrigo of D’Arrigo Bros. Company of New York Inc., Marianne Santo of Wakefern Food Corp., Greg Veneziano of Bozzuto’s Inc. and Wendell Hahn of Four Seasons Produce Inc. The officers continue in their posts: Kneeland as president, Vic Savanello of Allegiance Retail Services as first vice president, Terry Murphy of Wakefern as second vice president, Rob Goldstein of Genpro Inc. as secretary and Sal Zacchia of RDD Associates as treasurer.

Kneeland stated that the council’s dinner dance April 5 had been a great success and that the next two months will see a variety of events as the council wraps up its 2014 season.

On May 13, the council will hold its second meeting ever at the Philadelphia Wholesale Produce Market, followed one week later when its May 20 meeting — dubbed the Jersey Fresh cookout — will take place at Demarest Farms in Hillsdale, NJ. Its 39th annual golf outing will take place June 7 at Royce Brook Golf Club in Hillsborough, NJ. The council’s final dinner meeting before its traditional summer break will take place June 24 at The Brownstone, hosted by Earthbound Farm and House Foods.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Onion harvest in state’s Imperial Valley expected to start late April

With favorable weather during the growing season, onion growers in California’s Imperial Valley are expecting good yields, good size and good quality this year. Anticipating start dates for harvest in truckload volumes range from April 21 to May 1, although some early harvesting had already begun as of the second week of April.

“As you drive through the valley right now, you can really smell the onions,” said Kay Pricola, executive director of the Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association, April 11. “It smells wonderful.”

The Imperial Valley, one of California’s major onion growing districts and the earliest to harvest, is located at the southern tip of California, about 130 miles inland from San Diego. “This was a former sea,” said Pricola. “We are below sea level.” It is a desert area irrigated with water from the Colorado River “thanks to some brilliant pioneers.”

02-CalOnions-displayA retail display in a California supermarket. (Photo by Rand Green)When the current water contracts and agreements were made in the 1930s, “no one wanted the water, because at that point it was not considered great water. Now everyone wants it,” she said. “All things are relative.”

Although California is in its third year of a severe drought, onion growers in the Imperial Valley say they have sufficient water for this year’s crop. However, they are concerned about the water situation should the drought continue for another year.

From a soil perspective, the valley is well suited to onions. “Our soil is fairly unique, because it is an old ocean bed,” Pricola said. “There is high salinity to our soil, and there are a lot of soil types. Farmers around here have creatively figured out how to get high production on those varieties of soil” with crops that will tolerate the salt content of the soil, and onions are among the crops that do well in those soils.

“All types of onions” are grown in the valley, she said. That includes red, yellow and white storage onions, sweet onions and even green onions.

The total acreage planted to onions in the Imperial Valley in 2012, the most recent year for which final data are available, was around 8,500 acres. Roughly half of the production grown is for the fresh or fresh-cut market and a similar amount for processing. Seed onions are also an important crop.

Statewide in 2013, total bulb onion production in California was about 50,000 acres, a figure that normally doesn’t fluctuate much from year to year, according to Robert C. (Bob) Ehn, chief executive officer and technical manager of the California Garlic & Onion Research Advisory Board, which represents processed onion producers in the state.

According to a publication from the University of California Research & Information Center entitled “Fresh-Market Bulb Onion Production in California,” the main production areas for onions in California are “the low desert (Imperial and Riverside Counties), the San Joaquin Valley (Fresno, Kern and San Joaquin Counties), the Southern and Central Coast (Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara and Ventura counties) and the high desert (eastern Los Angeles County). Bulb onions are planted September through May. Harvest begins in April or May and is usually completed in September.”

Fresh market and fresh-cut onions make up about 45 percent of total bulb onion acreage in the state, according to the UC publication. California ranks among the top fresh-bulb-producing states in the United States.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

April watermelon movement higher than last season

On April 8, the Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported on daily shipments and crossings in the United States for watermelons for the first week of April. The report broke down movement for seeded and seedless watermelon and also provided some data on imports. Units are comprised of a total of 40,000 pounds each.

This season, a total of 7,154 units were imported into the United States through ports in Arizona, Texas, Mississippi, California, Delaware and Florida.CrosdfpOVThis season, a total of 7,154 units of watermelon were imported into the United States through ports in Arizona, Texas, Mississippi, California, Delaware and Florida. Countries exporting watermelons to the United States were Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. This figure compares to 7,555 units imported at the same time last season. Of this total, 30 units were during the first week of April. This volume represents an increase over the 16 units moved during the same time frame in 2013.

AMS reported 74 units of seeded watermelons entered the United States at Nogales, AZ, during the first week of April. Guatemala exported 94 containers of seedless watermelons during the first week of April. Volume of seedless watermelons from Honduras was 94 units, and Mexico exported 9,699 units for that same week.

Florida districts had moved 49 units of seeded watermelons by truck as of April 7, surpassing the 15 units moved from Florida at the same time during 2013. Florida also moved another 107 units of seedless watermelons, an increase over the 55 units moved at the same time in 2013.

Weather has been a factor during the 2014 domestic growing season. Matt Solana, vice president of operations/supply chain with Jackson Farming Co., said rainy conditions made it difficult for growers to get into the field and get soil prepared in North Florida and Georgia.

Jackson Farming expected production to begin in Sarasota, FL, at the beginning of May. Production in McAlpin, FL was anticipated to begin in June. Soldana said retailers could expect good volume for the July 4 holiday coming from Florida and Georgia.  Watermelons are also produced in Autryville, NC, with production beginning around July 4 and running through September.

If dry, sunny days are coupled with some occasional rain showers, Soldana expects a good season in 2014.

The Agricultural Marketing Resource Center provided some historic data about the dynamics of watermelon production during 2012. “U.S. watermelon production in 2012 totaled more than 39 million hundredweight, up from 2011,” the center stated. “The value of fresh market watermelons that year was nearly $ 520.8 billion, also up from the previous year.”

According to AgMRC, Florida and Georgia led in domestic production followed by California and Texas.

Most watermelon is consumed fresh, and AgMRC noted that per capita consumption was 15.5 pounds in 2010. “About 85 percent of watermelons are purchased at the retail level for home consumption,” the center stated in its report. “Other processed products include roasted seeds, pickled rind and watermelon juice.”

On June 28, 2012, USDA’s Economic Research Service issued its Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook, further discussing production and consumption trends. According to ERS, the United States ranked fifth among the world’s top watermelon producers. “Over the past 10 years, watermelon was consistently the third-most-produced [commodity] by weight for the fresh market in the United States, behind onions and head lettuce,” the report stated. “Between 1990 and 2010, while the number of acres harvested contracted 3.5 percent, production rose 29 percent to a record high of 4.1 billion pounds.”

Data concerning seeded vs. seedless varieties is revealing. “In the past decade, the share of seedless watermelon of total U.S. watermelon shipments jumped from 51 percent in 2003 to 83 percent in 2011,” the report stated. “Rising demand for watermelon has been mostly due to the production of varieties that are seedless or are smaller in size combined with increased marketing of pre-cut half or quarter-melons, offering value-added convenience to consumers.”

And consumers are becoming increasingly familiar with the nutritional qualities associated with watermelon consumption. “As watermelon is 92 percent water, many people eat it to help quench their thirst,” ERS wrote. “Watermelon juice is even now available at some retailers. Lycopene, found in other produce such as tomatoes, is present in watermelon at higher concentrations than any other fruit or vegetable and is believed to reduce the risk for heart disease and some cancers.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

April watermelon movement higher than last season

On April 8, the Agricultural Marketing Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture reported on daily shipments and crossings in the United States for watermelons for the first week of April. The report broke down movement for seeded and seedless watermelon and also provided some data on imports. Units are comprised of a total of 40,000 pounds each.

This season, a total of 7,154 units were imported into the United States through ports in Arizona, Texas, Mississippi, California, Delaware and Florida.CrosdfpOVThis season, a total of 7,154 units of watermelon were imported into the United States through ports in Arizona, Texas, Mississippi, California, Delaware and Florida. Countries exporting watermelons to the United States were Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama. This figure compares to 7,555 units imported at the same time last season. Of this total, 30 units were during the first week of April. This volume represents an increase over the 16 units moved during the same time frame in 2013.

AMS reported 74 units of seeded watermelons entered the United States at Nogales, AZ, during the first week of April. Guatemala exported 94 containers of seedless watermelons during the first week of April. Volume of seedless watermelons from Honduras was 94 units, and Mexico exported 9,699 units for that same week.

Florida districts had moved 49 units of seeded watermelons by truck as of April 7, surpassing the 15 units moved from Florida at the same time during 2013. Florida also moved another 107 units of seedless watermelons, an increase over the 55 units moved at the same time in 2013.

Weather has been a factor during the 2014 domestic growing season. Matt Solana, vice president of operations/supply chain with Jackson Farming Co., said rainy conditions made it difficult for growers to get into the field and get soil prepared in North Florida and Georgia.

Jackson Farming expected production to begin in Sarasota, FL, at the beginning of May. Production in McAlpin, FL was anticipated to begin in June. Soldana said retailers could expect good volume for the July 4 holiday coming from Florida and Georgia.  Watermelons are also produced in Autryville, NC, with production beginning around July 4 and running through September.

If dry, sunny days are coupled with some occasional rain showers, Soldana expects a good season in 2014.

The Agricultural Marketing Resource Center provided some historic data about the dynamics of watermelon production during 2012. “U.S. watermelon production in 2012 totaled more than 39 million hundredweight, up from 2011,” the center stated. “The value of fresh market watermelons that year was nearly $ 520.8 billion, also up from the previous year.”

According to AgMRC, Florida and Georgia led in domestic production followed by California and Texas.

Most watermelon is consumed fresh, and AgMRC noted that per capita consumption was 15.5 pounds in 2010. “About 85 percent of watermelons are purchased at the retail level for home consumption,” the center stated in its report. “Other processed products include roasted seeds, pickled rind and watermelon juice.”

On June 28, 2012, USDA’s Economic Research Service issued its Fruit and Tree Nuts Outlook, further discussing production and consumption trends. According to ERS, the United States ranked fifth among the world’s top watermelon producers. “Over the past 10 years, watermelon was consistently the third-most-produced [commodity] by weight for the fresh market in the United States, behind onions and head lettuce,” the report stated. “Between 1990 and 2010, while the number of acres harvested contracted 3.5 percent, production rose 29 percent to a record high of 4.1 billion pounds.”

Data concerning seeded vs. seedless varieties is revealing. “In the past decade, the share of seedless watermelon of total U.S. watermelon shipments jumped from 51 percent in 2003 to 83 percent in 2011,” the report stated. “Rising demand for watermelon has been mostly due to the production of varieties that are seedless or are smaller in size combined with increased marketing of pre-cut half or quarter-melons, offering value-added convenience to consumers.”

And consumers are becoming increasingly familiar with the nutritional qualities associated with watermelon consumption. “As watermelon is 92 percent water, many people eat it to help quench their thirst,” ERS wrote. “Watermelon juice is even now available at some retailers. Lycopene, found in other produce such as tomatoes, is present in watermelon at higher concentrations than any other fruit or vegetable and is believed to reduce the risk for heart disease and some cancers.”

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines – The Produce News – Covering fresh produce around the globe since 1897.

Organic Alexander Lucas pears coming to market in April

Organic Alexander Lucas pears coming to market in April

Organic Alexander Lucas pears are back this spring, brought to the North American market by Viva Tierra Organic, Inc. This little-known heirloom variety has a dedicated following among pear connoisseurs who look forward to its brief season.  

The Alexander Lucas, known as Alex Lucas among friends, is a venerable variety which originated in the famed European monastic orchards along the Loire river. It was first described as a distinct variety in the mid 1800′s. Today they are grown in the fertile Rio Negro river valley of Argentina, another region famed for its orchards.

“The Alexander Lucas is a superior pear that deserves more attention in the market,” said Paul McCaffrey, Sales Representative for Viva Tierra Organic.  “They are great to round out a spring pear display at retail with their distinctive appearance, something special to add variety to the standard d’Anjou and Bosc offerings.”

The Alexander Lucas is a top quality fresh eating pear. The white flesh is dense, juicy, and buttery-smooth. It is sweet with a wonderfully complex yet delicate flavour and a lovely aroma. The pears are green and distinctly short and rounded, with long sturdy stems.

Addie Pobst, Viva Tierra Organic’s Import Coordinator, was blunt. “Alex Lucas is hands down my favourite pear.  It simply can’t be beat for flavour or texture.”

The Alexander Lucas pears will be packed in 10 kg “Viva Tierra Organic” boxes. The volume is limited, with fewer than 45 pallets expected for the season. They will be arriving in the US the last week of April, and will be exclusively available from Viva Tierra Organic.

The Produce Mom, official blog and consumer brand of the Indianapolis Fruit Company, managed by marketing manager Lori Taylor, recently announced the addition of Viva Tierra Organic to her family of trusted produce partners.

“We’re thrilled to partner with The Produce Mom. We really admire the work Lori has done to reach out to consumers to promote fresh produce choices and healthy eating, especially for moms and kids,” said Addie Pobst, Organic Integrity & Logistics Coordinator for Viva Tierra.

Viva Tierra and The Produce Mom will work together to provide consumers with resources about how to select, store and serve fresh produce.

For more information:
Addie Pobst
Viva Tierra
Tel: +1 360-855-3195
Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 4/15/2014


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