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Markon Crops Report: Vegetable prices remain high as cantaloupes transition

Weather problems continue to affect California vegetables, and increasing foodservice demand is causing some prices to rise.

Meanwhile, the cantaloupe season in the California desert is ending and moving to the Westside of Central California and East Coast supplies are coming on, says Mark Shaw, vice president of operations for Markon Cooperative, BB #:123315 Salinas, CA.

Shaw elaborated on some crops that are covered in this week’s Fresh Crop Report.

Cantaloupes – Market is on the rise
• The California desert season is winding down. Production will transition from the desert to the Westside of California’s San Joaquin Valley over the next two weeks. The Westside is having a slower start than normal this year due to cooler temperatures.
• Domestic 6-count cantaloupes dominate the desert crop; jumbo sizes are the most plentiful. 9 and 12-count melons are limited; prices are elevated. 15- and 18-count cantaloupes are in even shorter supply.
• Small sizes will remain scarce through July 6; substituting larger sizes may be required until then.
• Limited quantities of bin cantaloupes are available on the East Coast (Florida and Georgia)

Asparagus – Market is on the rise

Supplies are tightening. Production is winding down in California and Michigan. Limited quantities are currently being shipped from Mexico and Peru
• Harvesting is now focused in Central Mexico and will run through October. Markets will stabilize once Mexican harvests hit peak production in early to mid-July.
• Peruvian supplies are projected to increase rapidly in September and October, creating a downward pressure on the market this Fall.

Broccoli – Market remains very active
• Demand continues to rise. Retail demand is steady, but foodservice demand is on the rise as more and more restaurants open up across North America.
• Supply remains short. California supplies remain limited due to volatile weather in late May and early June including heat spikes and late season showers, and growers pulling back on planted acres due to COVID concerns.
• Mexican volume is down. Growers pulling back planted acres due to the COVID disruption, and Mexico moving into their rainy season. Managing the cold chain throughout shipping will help maximize quality and overall shelf life

Cauliflower – Market is showing some weakness.
California supplies are on the rise, and demand has steadied out.
Quality is improving

Celery – Prices are on the rise as California’s Ventura County’s season is basically finished.
• Salinas, CA is the primary growing area until Michigan’s celery season begins.
• Michigan’s season is on schedule to being shipping by mid-July.
• Quality is very nice in Salinas, and current projections for Michigan are very good.

Salads – Supplies have been readily available.
• Quality is up and down depending on the variety of lettuce being utilized for the salads.
• Tender Leaf quality has been very nice.
• Romaine quality has been challenged due to mildew and internal burn.
• Iceberg quality has struggled, but not to the extent of romaine. Quality challenges have been growth crack, mildew, rib blight, internal burn and premature pinking (at times)
• Managing the cold chain throughout shipping and storage will help maximize quality and overall shelf life

Greg Johnson is Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services