Blog Archives

US (GA): Late start to watermelon season

US (GA): Late start to watermelon season

Unusual weather during the growing season delayed the start of Georgia’s watermelon harvest this month. While growers typically begin harvesting fruit at the beginning of the month, growers reported delays of up to two weeks.

“Harvesting started about two weeks later than in the past,” said Greg Leger, owner of Leger and Son, Inc. He cited cold weather that delayed planting as the reason for the late start, and further delays came as a result of rain and cold temperatures throughout the Spring. In addition to delaying this year’s harvest, the weather disrupted pollination, which could result in less fruit this year.

“Volume is not going to be as heavy as it has been the last few years,” said Leger. “Volume will likely be moderate, and we’re probably not going to have fruit as large as we’ve had in the past.” Aside from that, Leger anticipates quality fruit with high sugar content.

A delayed start has brought less fruit to the market. Last week, as harvesting began, prices were higher than usual due to low volumes of fruit. While prices are usually around 17 cents per pound, noted Border Melons East’s Mark Paulk, the start of this season has brought prices closer to 22 cents per pound.

“The market is above-average right now,” said Paulk. “It’s been a slow start in Georgia.” Leger said that the slow start has made for high prices, but, more worrisome, it will likely mean that less of this year’s crop will be in stores before the Fourth of July. That could be a problem for growers because prices for watermelons typically drop after the holiday.

“Normally, Georgia is about 80 percent done with watermelons after the Fourth of July,” said Leger. “But this year, I’m looking at about 60 percent done by that time.” But Leger also noted that prices tend to drop after the holiday because the market has been saturated by that point. With volumes of fruit being slow to come in this year, he hopes summer demand will remain strong throughout the prolonged season. While the season started late, it’s also expected to last a little longer than usual, and Leger believes consumers will still buy melons as long as it’s warm out.

“It seems demand follows the weather,” said Leger, “because people like to go out and picnic when it’s nice out, and they’ll buy watermelons. So if the weather’s good, demand will be good.”

Publication date: 6/28/2013
Author: Carlos Nunez
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com

Western winter vegetable supplies — late, light and expensive

It appears as if the winter vegetable deal from the California and Arizona desert may be one for the ages. Decreased production in the shoulder deal from Huron in California’s San Joaquin Valley promises to get the winter deal off to a fast start in terms of pricing. Throw in weather issues that have generally decreased winter vegetable volume across the board and “demand exceeds supply” could well be the mantra for the next couple of months.

Salinas, CA-based Tanimura & Antle, one of the nation’s leading vegetable suppliers, puts out a newsletter every few weeks forecasting supplies for the following three weeks. The firm’s forecast for the three weeks prior to Thanksgiving succinctly echoes the comments that are being uttered by growers and shippers throughout the West.

broccoli-side1Cauliflower, broccoli and celery are some of the myriad of winter desert vegetables grown in California and Arizona each year.“Salinas is melting and rain is forecasted for this weekend,” said the newsletter released on the last day of October. “Shippers expecting their desert deals to come in early and save the day will be quickly disappointed.”

There were several late summer storms that came roaring up from the Pacific Ocean through Baja California and into the California and Arizona deserts. These heavy rains during the planting season have caused the winter deal to be a bit late and with lighter supplies than usual. The T&A newsletter warns that “customers are going to have to be flexible and accept less than perfect product or run the risk of being short this Thanksgiving season.”

Mike Aiton, marketing manager for Prime Time Sales in Coachella, CA, which has winter deals in Baja California, mainland Mexico and Coachella, confirmed that supplies of the company’s top product — colored peppers — as well as tomatoes and a number of vegetable items are going to be short throughout November and even deep into December.

While he expected green Bell peppers to reach normal supply levels in early December, Aiton said the colored peppers and the popular minis won’t see volume return until early January.

Douglas Schaefer, president of EJ’s Produce Sales Inc. in Phoenix, told The Produce News on Wednesday, Oct. 29, that a very difficult situation was brewing.

“Salinas is about finished. Yields from Huron are off and Yuma is late. Strap on your boots and fasten your seat belts,” he said, indicating that a wild ride is in the works.

Schaefer said the August and September rains in Arizona greatly affected planting schedules and threw everyone off. “It’s all because of H20.”

T&A had a similar assessment.

“The California drought is a reality and we are only starting to see the challenges associated with it,” reported the T&A Straight Talk newsletter. “Whether it is the lack of water or the quality of water is diminished, our sizing and plant population in Huron is subpar, but at least we have a deal there.”

The last comment was in reference to the significant decrease in production that has occurred in Huron in recent years, largely because of lack of water. It is this lack of lettuce and other vegetable production during the pre-Thanksgiving period when demand is high that is setting the winter deal up for a very hot market.

On Monday, Oct. 27, the Iceberg lettuce market hit $ 20 f.o.b. Four days later, the federal Market News report put the Iceberg lettuce price at about $ 25 per carton and heading north. This year, the Thanksgiving demand was expected to kick in around Nov. 11 and last for 10-12 days.

Forecasting that time period, T&A believes Huron will be winding down and Yuma will be just getting under way. The company expects about 90 percent of its budgeted volume. In a very understated way, the newsletter states that the “market will remain strong.”

Mark McBride of Coastline in Salinas called the next couple of months “a very challenging situation.” He acknowledged being “old school” and said he is fearful that short supplies could lead to very high prices that would then choke off demand. But he said the short supply situation on lettuce is not going away until after Thanksgiving and possibly after Christmas.

Some other crops, such as broccoli and cauliflower, appear to be in better shape, but celery is also expected to be in short supply.

Come Thanksgiving, tables will be set and vegetables will be served. So whatever is in relatively good supply with reasonable prices will see big demand, which will also affect the post-Thanksgiving period.

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

Western winter vegetable supplies — late, light and expensive

It appears as if the winter vegetable deal from the California and Arizona desert may be one for the ages. Decreased production in the shoulder deal from Huron in California’s San Joaquin Valley promises to get the winter deal off to a fast start in terms of pricing. Throw in weather issues that have generally decreased winter vegetable volume across the board and “demand exceeds supply” could well be the mantra for the next couple of months.

Salinas, CA-based Tanimura & Antle, one of the nation’s leading vegetable suppliers, puts out a newsletter every few weeks forecasting supplies for the following three weeks. The firm’s forecast for the three weeks prior to Thanksgiving succinctly echoes the comments that are being uttered by growers and shippers throughout the West.

broccoli-side1Cauliflower, broccoli and celery are some of the myriad of winter desert vegetables grown in California and Arizona each year.“Salinas is melting and rain is forecasted for this weekend,” said the newsletter released on the last day of October. “Shippers expecting their desert deals to come in early and save the day will be quickly disappointed.”

There were several late summer storms that came roaring up from the Pacific Ocean through Baja California and into the California and Arizona deserts. These heavy rains during the planting season have caused the winter deal to be a bit late and with lighter supplies than usual. The T&A newsletter warns that “customers are going to have to be flexible and accept less than perfect product or run the risk of being short this Thanksgiving season.”

Mike Aiton, marketing manager for Prime Time Sales in Coachella, CA, which has winter deals in Baja California, mainland Mexico and Coachella, confirmed that supplies of the company’s top product — colored peppers — as well as tomatoes and a number of vegetable items are going to be short throughout November and even deep into December.

While he expected green Bell peppers to reach normal supply levels in early December, Aiton said the colored peppers and the popular minis won’t see volume return until early January.

Douglas Schaefer, president of EJ’s Produce Sales Inc. in Phoenix, told The Produce News on Wednesday, Oct. 29, that a very difficult situation was brewing.

“Salinas is about finished. Yields from Huron are off and Yuma is late. Strap on your boots and fasten your seat belts,” he said, indicating that a wild ride is in the works.

Schaefer said the August and September rains in Arizona greatly affected planting schedules and threw everyone off. “It’s all because of H20.”

T&A had a similar assessment.

“The California drought is a reality and we are only starting to see the challenges associated with it,” reported the T&A Straight Talk newsletter. “Whether it is the lack of water or the quality of water is diminished, our sizing and plant population in Huron is subpar, but at least we have a deal there.”

The last comment was in reference to the significant decrease in production that has occurred in Huron in recent years, largely because of lack of water. It is this lack of lettuce and other vegetable production during the pre-Thanksgiving period when demand is high that is setting the winter deal up for a very hot market.

On Monday, Oct. 27, the Iceberg lettuce market hit $ 20 f.o.b. Four days later, the federal Market News report put the Iceberg lettuce price at about $ 25 per carton and heading north. This year, the Thanksgiving demand was expected to kick in around Nov. 11 and last for 10-12 days.

Forecasting that time period, T&A believes Huron will be winding down and Yuma will be just getting under way. The company expects about 90 percent of its budgeted volume. In a very understated way, the newsletter states that the “market will remain strong.”

Mark McBride of Coastline in Salinas called the next couple of months “a very challenging situation.” He acknowledged being “old school” and said he is fearful that short supplies could lead to very high prices that would then choke off demand. But he said the short supply situation on lettuce is not going away until after Thanksgiving and possibly after Christmas.

Some other crops, such as broccoli and cauliflower, appear to be in better shape, but celery is also expected to be in short supply.

Come Thanksgiving, tables will be set and vegetables will be served. So whatever is in relatively good supply with reasonable prices will see big demand, which will also affect the post-Thanksgiving period.

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

How being too late and selling too little will help Kroger win, again

Sell to you? I hardly even know you.

In so many words, that’s been Kroger’s posture when it comes to e-commerce. While the Cincinnati-based grocery giant has spent a decade separating itself from peers with leading strategies around supermarket basics like loyalty, pricing and service, it was a seeming laggard in the e-commerce world: Beyond a rarely-discussed Internet shopping experiment in Denver and off-and-on flirtations with partners like Peapod over the years, it seemed as though Kroger was content winning sales in the physical world and leaving the digital battlefield to the more intrepid.

Turns out that was the plan all along.

While Kroger still isn’t doing a whole lot of sales on the Internet, the foundation upon which it could build sales might surprise you.

“Maybe we were unconventional a bit in our thinking on this, but rather than focusing on e-commerce as the core of a digital strategy, we really thought it was critical to first establish what we call a digital relationship with our customers,” Kevin Dougherty, Kroger’s group vice president of digital, said in a presentation at Kroger’s analyst meeting this week. “And that is a basic concept that we thought would, over time, enable us to have millions of unique communications with each of our customers.”

These communications cover things like shopping lists, recommendations and presentations of weekly store specials reflecting a customer’s shopping habits as determined by loyalty data. Because these things have proven value for shoppers in the real world, Kroger reasons, customers are more willing to accept them in the virtual world. And Kroger doesn’t come off quite as desperate as some of its e-retailing peers.

“In a day when most of the email that is sent by retailers is typically ignored and usually quickly deleted, we really … are focused on making each of these touch points more relevant,” explained Matt Thompson, director of digital and ecommerce for Kroger. As a result, Thompson said, response rates to Kroger’s virtual offers are three to five times greater than industry averages.


CONNECT WITH SN ON TWITTER

Follow @SN_News for updates throughout the day.


As Kroger finally turns its attention to digital sales — with eyes on expanding both the Express Lane click-and-collect model it reeled in with Harris Teeter, as well as newly acquired vitamin and supplement e-tailer Vitacost — Doughtery says Kroger has “a late arriver advantage.”

“We get to lever the investments and learnings of lots and lots of other people,” he said. “And we’ve gone to school pretty heavily in the last several years on this regard.”

Your move, Internet.

Suggested Categories More from Supermarketnews

Supermarket News

Michigan crops looking good, despite being late due to cold weather

Like so much of the United States, the winter and spring in Michigan was long, cold and wet. These factors have delayed production in the state, but fruit and vegetable growers alike indicated that their fresh products will be in good condition.

Some vegetables, such as radishes, were shipped as early as May and early June. As the calendar turns to July, Michigan vegetable shipping will be gearing up toward full production.FruitOverviewJohn Schaefer, Jr., president of Jack Brown Produce Inc., in Sparta, MI, said his firm will be shipping storage apples into July. Schaefer said the early indications for the 2014 crop are for an ‘excellent season.’

Buurma Farms, Inc. has vegetable farms in Gregory, MI, and Willard, OH. Loren Buurma, company treasurer, told The Produce News that the two locations provide supply security for the firm, should one of these locations endure bad weather.

“The key is to keep the chain business” through consistent supplies, he said. Buurma ships from Georgia farms from February to June.

Normally, vegetable harvest dates on the Michigan farm are 10 to 14 days behind the Ohio operation. But it was Ohio this spring that experienced a relatively colder spring growing season. Thus, Buurma’s Michigan farm is only three or four days behind Ohio.

Buurma said that radishes started in early June. His shipments of Michigan celery began the week of June 9. This was followed by collards, kale, flat parsley, cilantro and other such crops.

In Byron Center, MI, Nick Huizinga, general manager, of Hearty Fresh Inc., indicated that Michigan cabbage harvest will be a week late, starting about July 10 this year. Michigan cucumbers and squash are “on pace as usual and will be on the market in August.”

Bruce Heeren, marketing director for Michigan Fresh Marketing in Comstock Park, MI, said his company started shipping squash June 10 and cucumbers June 20-25. Tomatoes will be on the market in mid-July. “Those are three of our bigger items,” Heeren said.

In Michigan’s apple business, John Schaefer, Jr., president of Jack Brown Produce Inc., in Sparta, MI, said his firm will be shipping storage apples into July. Schaefer said the early indications for the 2014 crop are for an “excellent season.”

Up the road from Jack Brown at Riveridge Produce Marketing, Inc., Don Armock indicated that on the ridge of Michigan’s apple country, bloom is “seven to ten days later than normal.” While marketers like early production, Armock said “it is really better if the crop is later because the apples are harvested in later ‘apple weather.’” This means cooler temperatures at harvest time in mid-September. Apple varieties like Gala, McIntosh and Honeycrisp have the best flavor when they gain color with those late summer dropping temperatures.

The 2013 crop “had the potential for a full crop but it didn’t quite become a full crop. This year it has the potential to be a full crop” and may very well meet that potential, Armock said.

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

Spain: 80% of Huelva’s late orange still unharvested

Andalusia
Spain: 80% of Huelva’s late orange still unharvested

80% of Huelva’s late oranges are still on the tree, as “the price paid at origin is so low that producers are considering whether or not it is worth harvesting them.” 

This was stated by the president of the Citrus Growers Association of Huelva, Lorenzo Reyes, who explained that the situation is not final. “Much of it will be harvested gradually, depending on how the market evolves.” However, Reyes describes the current campaign as “terrible, because prices have remained at rock bottom prices.” In fact, orange prices at origin have oscillated between 0.16 and 0.17 Euro / kilo, and in recent weeks they have dropped even lower, down to between 0.11 and 0.12 Euro / kilo; well below the production costs, which according to growers, stand at around 0.18-0.20 Euro / kilo.” The average profitable price to be able to face the next season is of about 0.30 Euro / kilo.

“These prices will cause many growers to have serious funding problems next season,” lamented Lorenzo Reyes. And this despite having achieved a good production in the province, with 295,000 tonnes; 2.5% more than last year, but consumption levels have remained very low, which has led to a sharp drop in prices. 

The quality of the production this campaign has suffered because calibres have been slightly smaller and the fruit’s external appearance has been affected by issues such as the ‘clareta’, ie white spots caused by the weather conditions, which does not have an impact on the fruit’s taste. Both factors have contributed to lower prices. However, there has also been fruit “of optimum quality that has not reached the market value of other years,” said Reyes.

In this context, the president of Huelva’s growers association stressed that “production costs such as fertilisers, labour, etc. continue to increase, making the situation very difficult for growers.”

The positive note has been that the mandarin campaign “has gone well,” affirmed Reyes. Most citrus growers have managed to diversify their production, and as such those who grow oranges also cultivate mandarins. The fact that the results in recent seasons have been better for mandarins than for oranges is leading producers to expand the acreage of the former. Right now, from the 16,600 hectares of citrus plantations in the province of Huelva, 56% correspond to oranges and 44% to mandarins, with a clear trend of the latter to continue expanding. In fact, the province of Huelva is the leading mandarin producer in Andalusia.

Fuente: diariodehuelva.es

Publication date: 5/29/2014


FreshPlaza.com

Early start for California new potatoes collides with late storage

“The market is slow to come to California,” but all signs indicate customers “will be buying here” shortly, Dennis Johnston, a partner in Johnston Farms in Edison, CA, said May 13 as the shipping season for California red, yellow and white new potatoes got under way.

The russet harvest in California had not yet started.

Dennis-JohnstonDennis JohnstonTwo factors accounted for the slow markets at the beginning of the season, according to Johnston and other growers: Other growing areas are shipping storage potatoes later than usual, and the California harvest is starting earlier than normal.

Top Brass Marketing Inc. in Bakersfield, CA, exclusive marketing agent for Vignolo Farms in Shafter, CA, started harvesting potatoes in the Bakersfield area April 28 this year, which is “really earlier than ever,” Brett Dixon, president of Top Brass, told The Produce News May 13.

Vignolo grows “a lot of red and yellow potatoes and just a few whites,” as well as specialty varieties such as red, yellow and purple fingerlings, but not russets.

“We also do organics” on everything but the whites, he said.

With conventional potatoes, the market “started off a little difficult, especially on the yellows,” Dixon continued. “There are too many late storage yellows with cheap prices, and questionable quality, really.” What is left in storage is not of a quality that people would normally want, but “they are out there with cheap prices, and that is affecting the market.”

California producers are also growing more of the non-russet varieties this year, particularly the reds and yellows, he said. That could also be a factor in the current market, but “I don’t think it would be an issue if we didn’t have the storage crop to deal with in addition to that.”

Last year was a good season for California new potato growers, so this year “it seems like there was more acreage planted, in general, out here, especially in yellow potatoes,” Dixon said. That increase “seems to be having its effect especially early on.” But once growers from elsewhere finish with their storage products, markets should strengthen.

“We are probably at the bottom now,” Dixon said. “We will probably see a rise in prices here in another three or four weeks.”

Many customers are “anxious and ready for the California fresh local potatoes,” he added.

Top Brass expects to continue shipping into the beginning of August.

Favorable growing conditions have produced a clean, high-quality crop, Dixon said. “I think the quality will eventually win back the customers that are pulling storage supplies of lesser quality.” More business should be “coming this way” by the end of May, and prices should increase toward the second week of June, he said.

Lehr Bros. Inc. in Edison, CA, which grows and ships potatoes under the “Big L” label, has been shipping potatoes out of the California desert since March and started in the Bakersfield area May 5, according to Tom Drulias, proprietor of T.D. Produce Sales in Bakersfield, which handles sales for Lehr Bros.

“Quality out of Big L and out of the area this year has been very good” and yields have been strong, he said. “The market is not starting out as strong as it was last year, but we do look for the market to pick up on the reds and yellows as the storage crops finish up.”

Storage deals are running later than usual, “and the volume is coming on faster out of Kern County” than usual, he said.

Lehr Bros.’ potato acreage is “up a little bit,” particularly in reds and Norkotah russets, compared to last year, Drulias said. The company also grows white and yellow varieties, but white potato production has declined over the years “to the point where now the red acreage and the yellow acreage out of Kern County exceeds the white acreage for the spring deal.”

“We stated packing last Monday [May 5],” said Johnston. “Quality is very nice. Tonnage is a little light, lighter than we expected,” for the early harvest, “but that will change as time goes on here, and it will be a normal crop, I think.”

Johnston Farms is currently harvesting reds and yellows, and Johnston expects to start russets around the first of June. The company expected to continue shipping into July.

“With slight increases in red and yellow acreage, Johnston Farms is now one-third red, one-third gold and one-third russet,” he said.

The new potatoes offered by Johnston Farms and other California growers “are definitely better to eat, they taste better, they are fresher,” Johnston said. But even so, when storage potatoes are in the market at cheap prices and the price differential is considerable, many buyers will buy on price.

California new potatoes are marketed in “all major markets” throughout the United States and into Canada, according to Ken Gilliland, director of international trade and transportation for Western Growers Association in Irvine, CA. Transportation is “a combination of rail and truck, but there is a large reliance on rail car shipments” because of the lower cost “compared to over the highway.”

California growers, who harvest new potatoes each season earlier than nearly every other growing area, have a marketing window “as the buyers start looking for the new vs. the storage,” Gilliland said.

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.

Red River Valley potato harvest running late in 2013

A delayed Red River Valley red potato crop was very late in revealing itself. But by Oct. 3, about 50 percent of the shipping district’s crop had been harvested, according to Ted Kreis, the marketing director of the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association in East Grand Forks, MN.

The most optimistic hopes for the crop were being fulfilled, Kreis said. “The quality is looking very good. The yields vary from 120 hundredweight to 240 hundredweight per acre. OpenerShotpulledA potato field in blossom in the Red River Valley. The 2013 season was running late, with about half of the crop harvested at press time.We will have less product” because of the low side of the yields, compared to the 2012 crop, “but we will make up for it with higher packout rates. We will have better quality and we will ship as many as last year.”

Kreis indicated that the valley received gentle rain over a wide region Sept. 27-28. This softened the dry soil for critical harvest dates. He said product harvested in dry soil faces dirt clumps with sharp edges that harm the spuds. More rain — with perhaps a few harmless snowflakes — was forecast for Oct. 4-5.

“A lot of damage was down to production early,” with too much rain and a late spring. Then, Kreis said, “The growing season progressed very well. July and August were very dry, which trimmed yields further. But we’re salvaging a good crop and the rain helps.”

Coleen Vincent, the sales manager of Northern Valley Growers LLC in Hoople, ND, said Oct. 3, “The potatoes in the bin now all look good. The growers told me the crop is better than they expected. Considering how the year started, we are very happy with the crop. We seem fine. We are happy with what we are putting in the bins.”

Steve Tweten, president of NoKota Packers Inc. in Buxton, ND, said Oct. 3 that NoKota’s harvesting was about 35-40 percent complete. “The quality is very nice. The tonnage is variable, which is what we expected. Overall, NoKota has average yields. For others, yields are good to below average.” An average yield, he said, is about 200 hundredweight per acre.

Fresh-market red potato prices will “need to rise to be OK,” Tweten said. “The prices are better than last year. The outlook is that there is a good chance the market should improve, based on the national position. There is OK tonnage, which should match nicely to demand.”

When the Red River Valley potato crop is normally 50 percent to 60 percent harvested, it was only 11 percent complete in 2013, Chuck Gunnerson, president of the Northern Plains Potato Growers told The Produce News.

Gunnerson indicated the crop was planted two or three weeks late in the spring and has been running behind since that time.

Heading into October, the Red River Valley potato industry was still trying to grasp the nature of its crop, Gunnerson said. “There are many variables. Some areas had an excess of rain. Some had a lack of rainfall.”

That picture would not clearly reveal itself until the harvest was into October this year.

Red River Valley growers all had virtually the same message: There have been mixed reviews in early field sampling. There has been a difference in yields within one field. A cold spring delayed planting in the valley and the timing has remained out of sync since.

The good news is that early indications are that the quality of the 2013 Red River Valley red potato crop is good.

According to Gunnerson, there was less than an inch of rain recorded in nearly all weather stations in North Dakota in the first 25 days of August. September had some rain but was still inadequate for the growers’ needs.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

Red River Valley potato harvest running late in 2013

A delayed Red River Valley red potato crop was very late in revealing itself. But by Oct. 3, about 50 percent of the shipping district’s crop had been harvested, according to Ted Kreis, the marketing director of the Northern Plains Potato Growers Association in East Grand Forks, MN.

The most optimistic hopes for the crop were being fulfilled, Kreis said. “The quality is looking very good. The yields vary from 120 hundredweight to 240 hundredweight per acre. OpenerShotpulledA potato field in blossom in the Red River Valley. The 2013 season was running late, with about half of the crop harvested at press time.We will have less product” because of the low side of the yields, compared to the 2012 crop, “but we will make up for it with higher packout rates. We will have better quality and we will ship as many as last year.”

Kreis indicated that the valley received gentle rain over a wide region Sept. 27-28. This softened the dry soil for critical harvest dates. He said product harvested in dry soil faces dirt clumps with sharp edges that harm the spuds. More rain — with perhaps a few harmless snowflakes — was forecast for Oct. 4-5.

“A lot of damage was down to production early,” with too much rain and a late spring. Then, Kreis said, “The growing season progressed very well. July and August were very dry, which trimmed yields further. But we’re salvaging a good crop and the rain helps.”

Coleen Vincent, the sales manager of Northern Valley Growers LLC in Hoople, ND, said Oct. 3, “The potatoes in the bin now all look good. The growers told me the crop is better than they expected. Considering how the year started, we are very happy with the crop. We seem fine. We are happy with what we are putting in the bins.”

Steve Tweten, president of NoKota Packers Inc. in Buxton, ND, said Oct. 3 that NoKota’s harvesting was about 35-40 percent complete. “The quality is very nice. The tonnage is variable, which is what we expected. Overall, NoKota has average yields. For others, yields are good to below average.” An average yield, he said, is about 200 hundredweight per acre.

Fresh-market red potato prices will “need to rise to be OK,” Tweten said. “The prices are better than last year. The outlook is that there is a good chance the market should improve, based on the national position. There is OK tonnage, which should match nicely to demand.”

When the Red River Valley potato crop is normally 50 percent to 60 percent harvested, it was only 11 percent complete in 2013, Chuck Gunnerson, president of the Northern Plains Potato Growers told The Produce News.

Gunnerson indicated the crop was planted two or three weeks late in the spring and has been running behind since that time.

Heading into October, the Red River Valley potato industry was still trying to grasp the nature of its crop, Gunnerson said. “There are many variables. Some areas had an excess of rain. Some had a lack of rainfall.”

That picture would not clearly reveal itself until the harvest was into October this year.

Red River Valley growers all had virtually the same message: There have been mixed reviews in early field sampling. There has been a difference in yields within one field. A cold spring delayed planting in the valley and the timing has remained out of sync since.

The good news is that early indications are that the quality of the 2013 Red River Valley red potato crop is good.

According to Gunnerson, there was less than an inch of rain recorded in nearly all weather stations in North Dakota in the first 25 days of August. September had some rain but was still inadequate for the growers’ needs.

The Produce News | Today’s Headlines

Californian Grape season promotions expanded due to late season

Californian Grape season promotions expanded due to late season

Promotions with retailers are being expanded to support the late season (October through January) volume in export markets around the world. Retailer promotions such as in-store activities with California grape samplings, and point-of-purchase materials to create eye-catching displays help to move California grapes to the consumer more quickly. Newspaper advertising will also run in many Asian export markets to boost awareness and movement of California grapes.

The late season period sees large volumes of California grapes exported and October through December is typically when the largest volumes of California grapes of all three colors (green, red and black) are in retail stores in foreign markets. Last season, California grapes shipped after October 1, 2012 represented 35 percent of total exports for the entire season, which is May through January each year.

To meet the late season export demand, there are plentiful supplies of green, red and black California grapes. Shipments in 2013 are running slightly ahead of last year’s timing, plus a larger crop is projected this year than last. In 2012, from a total crop of 100.3 million 19-pound box equivalents, a total of 22.3 million 19-pound box equivalents was shipped after November 1 with 21 percent of that total being green varieties, 70 percent red varieties and 9 percent black varieties. A similar ratio of color availability is expected this season.

For more information:
Jeff Klitz
Grapes from California
Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 10/8/2013


FreshPlaza.com

France: Apple season late, volumes back to normal

Marc Peyres, Blue Whale
France: Apple season late, volumes back to normal

The French apple season is finally getting underway, Marc Peyres from Blue Whale said this is latest in history! “We are more than two weeks late this year, this is due to a lot of rain in Spring which we never really caught up from. However volumes will be back to normal after last year’s smaller amounts.” The estimate for France is 1.5 million tonnes, of which Blue Whale will market 200,000 tonnes, the company has increased orchard size in recent years, these new orchards are now coming into fruition.

 

The estimated French volumes is around 10% down on two years ago, this is consistent with volumes throughout Europe. The European market is looking very strong at the moment and according to Peyres, the markets outside Europe – some are good and some are not. “There is still apples from Chile on the market, some of which has quality issues, I expect this to be clear in around two weeks.”

Blue Whale who already sell apples in around 70 countries try open a new market every year, “This keeps our options open for varieties and sizes that we have. We try to sell our fruit in the best places, everyone is talking about Asia at the moment, for us it is not an idea market as our fruit would hit the market at the peak of the Chinese season and European apples are expensive in comparison. Asia is at the end a small export market for Europe. There is some opportunities there especially for Gala and Grannys, the Gala has had good success in Asia also the Fuji. The Granny has a small market, because it is different from local taste. At end , it is a small and difficult market for Europe as we are far away and transit time quite long  for most destinations”

Peyres explains that the US sends fresh apples  to India in the second part of the Northern Hemisphere season. “The Indian market is only really good for Europe after the domestic crop is finished,so many times after European export is finished as well. People will pay a little extra for something different, but it remains a difficult market because of the fluctuation of the Rupee.

Pink Lady was launched into Asia few years ago, but last year Blue Whale had to cut supply because the European production was so short. This year it is looking more positive and supply will increase, “Price is an issue in Asia and consumers only want sweet apples. Countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore are promising as people want to try something different. It will be small volumes but lots of small volumes add up to big volumes.”

In summary Peyres predicts a good year, the may be some difficulties in early October, he is not sure what influences the Chilean and Washington crops will have on the market.

For more information:
Marc Peyres
Blue Whale
Tel +33 5.63.21.56.56
[email protected]
www.blue-whale.com

Publication date: 9/19/2013
Author: Nichola Watson
Copyright: www.freshplaza.com


FreshPlaza.com