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Markon Crops Report: Salinas heat raises prices

The heat in the Salinas, CA, area is affecting crops there, lowering volumes and causing prices to rise.

While strawberries, cauliflower and broccoli are seeing higher prices, the heat is harming quality for leafy vegetables, causing those markets to soften in mid-June, says Mark Shaw, vice president of operations for Markon Cooperative, BB #:123315 Salinas.

Shaw went into more detail on some crops that are covered in this week’s Fresh Crop Report.

Strawberries -Prices are inching up; demand is strong. The Santa Maria crop is past peak production. California harvesting is centered in the Salinas/Watsonville growing areas.
• Salinas/Watsonville: Supplies are ample; Quality is good
• Santa Maria: Production is past peak levels; Stocks are diminishing; Quality is good

Cauliflower -The market is on the rise, and supplies will be very limited over the next several weeks.
• Recent warm weather has accelerated maturity which is creating a gap in supply
• Harvest crews are having to sort for optimal size, which is slowing production and reducing yields
• Quality is average

Broccoli -Prices continue to rise, and supplies are tightening up quickly
• California’s Salinas and Santa Maria Valleys have experienced volatile weather in late May and early June including heat spikes and late season showers which have taken their toll on broccoli quality. Hollow core is also present in broccoli crown supplies as well as occasional brown or yellow beads; Respiration rates have increased, causing increased oxidation on the cut ends in floret packs
• Managing the cold chain throughout shipping will help maximize quality and overall shelf life, but we can expect to see quality concerns for the next week

Iceberg -Prices are sliding into the week, but supplies are plentiful
• Market will be weak early this week but should begin to turn by late this week as supplies will begin to tighten again
• Quality has been good, some challenges we are currently facing, growth crack, mildew and fringe burn

Romaine -Prices remain depressed
• Quality is a struggle due to the heat the Salinas and Santa Maria Valleys of California have received over the past few weeks
• Main challenge has been fringe burn and mildew

Cantaloupes -Jumbo and large sizes dominate the crop
• Domestic 6- and 9-count cantaloupes are available; supplies are adequate. 12-count melons are extremely limited; prices are elevated; 15- and 18-count cantaloupes are even virtually non existent
• Small sizes 15- and 18-count will remain scarce through June until production in California’s San Joaquin Valley begins July 6
• Limited quantities of cantaloupes are available on the East Coast out of Florida and Georgia
• Quality and flavor out of California has been very good

Greg Johnson is Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services