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Markon Crops Report: Vegetable markets tighten

Some bad weather in California has limited supplies on some vegetables, such as lettuce varieties, and that’s causing prices to rise.

Other annual staples, such as potatoes and onions, are nearing crop transitions from storage to fresh supplies.

In this week’s crop analysis from Markon, Mark Shaw, vice president of operations for Markon Cooperative, BB #:123315 Salinas, CA, gives his view on a handful of vegetables.

Bell peppers -The market for Green Bell Peppers will begin a slow rise this week.

  • California’s Coachella Valley is starting to wind down, and California’s Southern San Joaquin Valley/Bakersfield new crop will begin harvesting within the week. Supplies will be limited through next week.
  • Demand will shift toward the East Coast, Georgia, keeping demand strong and supplies limited on the East Coast. Overall quality is good in on both Coasts.
  • Red bell pepper prices are expected to remain steady. Overall supplies are ample, and quality is good out of California

Onions – The California desert season will end over the next 10 days and is currently transitioning into California’s Central Valley.

  • We see that strong demand for medium sized onions is keeping the market elevated, but the overall crop profile is leaning toward the jumbo/colossal sizes.
  • Prices are expected to remain stable through the transition.
  • The Texas season is winding down, although crossings of Mexican grown product is still available. Prices will be similar to New Mexico and offer a freight savings to Texas based operators.
  • Mexican grown onions will available for those that are able to accept imported onions.
  • New Mexico’s supplies are ramping up. Initial prices were elevated due to limited shippers in the market but will decline and remain steady through the balance of the season (mid-end of August) barring any unforeseen weather events. New Mexico onion season typically coincides with the monsoon season, which can create challenges to the crop.

Tomatoes -The Vine-ripe market will move higher this week and will remain active until California’s Central Valley ramps up their season by mid- to late June.

  • Mexico volume is light for this time of year, helping keep the market strong. Quality reports currently favor Florida grown product.
  • The Roma market will adjust down as Baja California and Central Mexico supplies are on the rise. Quality is very nice out of Baja.
  • Grape Tomato market was still elevated but will adjust down this week as Carolina and Georgia’s volume will be on the rise. Supplies our slowing out of Baja California, but quality is very nice out of Baja.

Broccoli -Prices are elevated due to strong demand and inconsistent supply.

  • Warm weather received on the Californian Central Coast over the past few weeks has accelerated plant maturity and pushing us into gap in supply.
  • Mexico’s broccoli season is typically challenged this time of year with weather (rain, humidity, insect pressure) which reduces harvestable yields.
  • Strong demand mixed with this decreased supply will keep markets elevated through June.

Potatoes -Idaho Russet Potato market is expected to remain stable through the remainder of the storage crop season, estimated for July 31.

  • 40s – 70s are less available than recent weeks with Burbank’s being the primary variety being shipped; 90 – 100s are readily available.
  • The Burbank crop suffered through last October’s frost event, but quality has been above average through this point in the season.
  • Washington Russet Potato supplies remain abundant, and prices will remain steady through the remainder of the 2019-20 season.
  • Quality is very nice and plentiful supplies available in all sizes, except retail bales, due the larger crop profile.
  • New crop is expected to enter the market in mid-July.

Lettuce –California’s Iceberg market is elevated but has peaked and expected to decline this week.

  • Quality is average, at best, which is reducing yields, keeping supplies limited. Prices are expected to rise again by the mid- to end of this week.
  • Romaine and Green Leaf markets are depressed and not expected to change through June. Quality is average, as with Iceberg, the heat over the past few weeks has taken its toll on quality.

Blue Book has partnered with Markon to provide crop analysis from Markon’s Fresh Crop Report.

Greg Johnson is Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services