October 15, 2013

A bumpy ride south
to new growing areas

The Northwest row crop continues to wind down fast. The transition to the southern growing areas is always a little bumpy – it may be that way for the next few weeks. Demand is exceeding supply in row crops like lettuce, beans, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, cabbage, eggplant, etc., because California is also approaching the end of its season and the winter growing area around Yuma, Ariz., is behind by a couple of weeks.

We also are seeing unusually wet weather hitting growing areas in Mexico, which only compounds the problem.  The good news is that in general, fresh produce is very forgiving when the weather comes back on line and a region comes into production. So, it will be bumpy for the next few weeks but we hope – and expect – to see improvement as we move into November.

Other vegetables that are in transition from our summer sources are the tomatoes, English cucumbers and peppers. Canada is all but done on these hot house products and mainland Mexico is now expecting yet another tropical rain storm to hit this week. So again, supply is falling short of demand, but I do not expect this to hold for long. If the weather will settle down, these markets will correct quickly.

Hass avocados have not had the record-setting start that we saw in the fall of 2012. Last year, we had a very dry weather pattern well into October.  This year, our Northwest weather is much wetter, but we look like the desert when you compare our weather to recent weeks in Mexico! We rely on Mexico to provide those incredibly flavorful Hass avocados through the winter months, but all that heavy rain means the fruit is challenged to make minimum oil content. What makes the Hass so rich and creamy is the high level of oil in the fruit. Mexico and California grow the most flavorful Hass avocados in the world. But, time takes care of everything …  we are seeing supply slowly improve and this should create promotional opportunities in the near future.

(Above:  Florida and Texas grapefruit have started to
arrive – supply and flavor will increase in the coming weeks.)


For the winter months

Keitt mangos are done! We had a great season, but all good things must come to an end. We are looking forward to the return of this particular variety – in August 2014.

The good news is that Florida and Texas grapefruit have started and will continue to increase in supply and flavor over the coming weeks.

A new crop of California navel oranges are available, but we are holding off on bringing them in, choosing to stick with the Australian-grown navel oranges for flavor. The early variety navels from California just do not eat well. The same goes for satsuma Mandarin oranges. They are available, and do meet minimum sugar levels to be legally harvested and marketed, but this does not mean they are up to our standards as far as eating well.  We are choosing to sit on the sidelines and wait for better fruit.

Cameo apples arrive in the Markets this week. This is a variety that has flavor characteristics of the old-world Red Delicious apples we remember from back in the day. It even has the tell-tale five lumps on the crown. This is a very nice eating apple! Have a great day!

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