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ProduceIQ: Summertime sadness strikes produce markets


Produce markets repeat history with a week defined by declining prices. This week marks the beginning of the summer doldrums—a six-week period in which produce prices wilt along with the rest of us in the summer heat.

The ProduceIQ price index is down -3 percent from the previous week. Decreases in heavily weighted commodities like strawberries, cherries, and avocados are dragging the average price, albeit a bit begrudgingly, back toward earth. Only 2022 surpassed this year in produce prices.

ProduceIQ Index:  $1.27/pound, up -3.1 percent over prior week

Week #27, ending July 7th

Blue Book has teamed with ProduceIQ BB #:368175 to bring the ProduceIQ Index to its readers. The index provides a produce industry price benchmark using 40 top commodities to provide data for decision making.

Extreme heat in Mexico and Peru is pushing asparagus prices to a ten-year high. On average, prices are up +9 percent over the previous week in the West.

Reported import volumes from Mexico and Peru have been below average for the last few weeks. However, Eastern shipping point prices are falling. Subsequently, supply is divided and isn’t forecasted to improve materially until August.

Asparagus prices with Eastern shipping points plummet after an unprecedented spike.

Strawberry prices are de-escalating after a few weeks of intense price increases. The transition from Santa Maria, CA, to the Salinas-Watsonville growing area is calming down due to warmer weather and increasing yields.

Fruit sizing is leaning larger, and the quality is good. Expect opportunities for promotion as the new growing region reaches peak production over the next two weeks.

Strawberry prices under $12 are reasonable for the season and a win for consumers.

Round tomato prices dip slightly but hold tight to their ten-year high. Supply in the East should improve significantly over the next ten days. However, heavy rain is currently holding North Carolina and Tennessee growers at bay. Anticipate a rough transition as growers in Quincy, FL, wind down, and growers in the Southeast work to pick up production.

Down another -7 percent over the previous week, table grape prices are hovering just above the historical average for week #27. Green and red supply is reportedly strong and only going to get better. While we aren’t in cheap territory yet, I’m sure buyers and consumers appreciate seeing prices back in a more affordable range.

Broccoli prices soar to a ten-year high as cauliflower markets trail closely behind. At $27, broccoli prices are concerningly above the historical average for week #27. Supply out of Salinas, CA, is considerably below average, and supply out of Mexico is about half what it is typically.

A comparatively cool June stunted the growth of more than a few crops in the Salinas Valley and Santa Maria. But warmer weather is in the forecast and should increase supply in the next two-three weeks. Salinas is forecast with highs in the mid-seventies and night lows in the mid-fifties. With Mexican production declining, buyers should expect lean supply and high prices.

Broccoli prices are at historical highs, similar to the year 2020

Up another +8 percent over the previous week, limes continue to defy the usual summer trend of lower prices. Heat, heavy rain, and previous drought may force bars and restaurants all over the US to up the price on summer’s favorite cocktail garnish. Supply will likely stain very thin through July.

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ProduceIQ Index

The ProduceIQ Index is the fresh produce industry’s only shipping point price index. It represents the industry-wide price per pound at the location of packing for domestic produce, and at the port of U.S. entry for imported produce. 

ProduceIQ uses 40 top commodities to represent the industry. The Index weights each commodity dynamically, by season, as a function of the weekly 5-year rolling average Sales. Sales are calculated using the USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service for movement and price data. The Index serves as a fair benchmark for industry price performance.


Mark Campbell was introduced to the fresh produce industry as a lender for Farm Credit. After earning his MBA from Columbia Business School, he spent seven years as CFO for J&J Family of Farms and later served as CFO advisor to several produce growers, shippers, and distributors. In this role, Mark saw the impediments that prevent produce growers and buyers to trade with greater access and efficiency. This led him to cofound ProduceIQ.