California: Strong Santa Ana winds will continue across Southern California and Southwestern Deserts, sustaining winds of 20-45mph over the next few days and diminishing by the weekend. Long range forecasts keep California and local deserts dry as we move through December.
Mexico: Slight cooling into the weekend, followed by gradual warming and dry conditions next week.
Florida: A cold front moves into Florida, spreading rain southward across the state into Saturday. Cold air associated with this system will bring temperatures down to the mid-30s for the northern regions into Monday.
Florida: Virtually no production this week. Harvest may potentially begin in a light way by next week. Evening temperatures are only reaching into the high 30s, which is exacerbating an already difficult supply situation. Harvest volume should return to normal levels by the first week of January, weather permitting.
Mexico: The first week of January will be the earliest any tomato volume is expected to start being packed.
Heirloom Tomatoes: Steady supplies out of California and Mexico. Volume is declining against smaller sized tomatoes with no relief for another two weeks. Cooler daytime temperatures and shorter days is delaying growth.
Grape Tomatoes: Production is improving from eastern Mexico and Baja. However, like all other categories driven by exceeding demand, prices are being pushed upward.
Cherry Tomatoes: Volume is gradually building as winter crops get underway and additional product becomes available out of Nogales in the next two weeks, though they remain oversold at this time.
Outlook: We are in the period of tomato supplies devastated by Hurricane Irma two months prior. There is EXTREME pressure being placed upon too few tomato supplies to fill demand. This is predicted to be the case for the next several weeks into the first or second week of January. By then, Florida will be harvesting tomatoes planted post Hurricane Irma and Mexico will begin its 2018 winter tomato production.
Organic Heirloom Tomatoes: Our current inventory consists of full green heirloom tomatoes. Supplies are expected to gap through December to the first of the year. There is only one grower currently in production for the next two weeks against pallet volume.
Organic Hot House Tomatoes: Production is limited and the market has elevated.
Organic Cluster Tomatoes: The market is elevated.
Organic Cherry Tomatoes: Supplies will be gapping until the new crop out of Mexico starts production.
Organic Grape Tomatoes: Supplies remain limited out of Mexico.
Organic Vine-Ripe Tomatoes: Production is limited and the market has elevated.
Strawberries: California continues with harvest in Santa Maria and Oxnard. Santa Maria has maintained the majority of harvest, but supplies will start to taper off as Oxnard picks up production. Quality is marginal, arrival issues being reported include soft fruit, mold and decay. Oxnard’s winter crop volume will gradually increase moving forward, barring any major distributions with the current fires in the area. Florida is increasing production volume, exhibiting good quality. Demand has been gradually increasing and market prices are firm.
Blueberries: Multiple regions are currently in production, however supplies remain light. Peruvian harvest is down trending each week, generating small sized berries. This growing area is expected to improve again late December for early January arrivals. Argentina is anticipated to have another two weeks of arrivals with the majority of fruit arriving in Miami. Chilean production is increasing slowly and should gain momentum at the end of this month. Central Mexico continue with consistent production which is helping fill the pipeline on the west coast. Demand remains strong and markets steady.
Eastern Bells: Green bell pepper supplies remain tight as most Georgia shippers are finished for the season, and Florida growers are still not generating sufficient volume. Even with light supplies, the market seems to be peaking with increased supplies in the west and Florida growers are set to hit more volume next week. Demand is off after the Thanksgiving holiday. Excellent quality being reported.
Western Bells: Volume has passed its peak on green bell peppers out of Coachella. Supplies are gradually starting to increase from Mexico, and elevated temperatures are affecting sizing. Peppers are maturing at a smaller size than normal. Red and yellow bell pepper supplies remain extremely tight. Coachella has low production with some growers expecting elevated volume in the coming days. The market is anticipated to remain strong until Coachella reaches peak volume in early December.
Mexico: Volume remains steady into the U.S. but supplies are expected to tighten by the beginning of next week. Prices are weak, particularly on 60-count and smaller sizes. Good quality being reported, including high oil content, creating a creamy texture and nutty flavor.
Lemons: The market is extremely active. This year’s desert crop is significantly reduced and shippers are seeing production start to fall off. The Central Valley has just begun harvest, packing limited volume consisting of mostly fancy grade. Demand remains strong and exceeds supplies.
Limes: Demand remains steady, though shippers are expecting a push through the holidays. Good quality being reported with consistent sizing. With improving supplies expected over the next 2-3 weeks, the market could potentially become more active.
Idaho: Prices are expected to remain steady through December, with no weather events forecasted during the upcoming weeks. Supplies are dominated by medium and jumbo sizes; colossal and super colossal onions will be limited through the storage crop season. Transportation has slightly improved this week, though will tighten right back up as we get closer to the next set of holidays.
TidBits is a blog by Veg-Fresh Farms, a place to find training, trends, recipes, and more. Check back weekly for retail and food service insights, as well as what's happening in the Veg-Fresh Farms Test Kitchen.