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ProduceIQ: Someone, please turn on the heat


After over a week and a half of arctic air in North America, a reprieve is in the forecast.

As you can imagine, crops like tomatoes and cucumbers that fled South with the rest of Florida’s snowbirds wonder if the driver was using Apple Maps and missed a turn somewhere. By mid-week, the highs should be in the 40s in Buffalo, NY, and the 70s in Houston, TX, sweltering right…  

Just reading about the rain in California and Arizona makes me want to call in sick. 1-2 inches is expected to fall across the region. Welcome news for remaining parts of the Southwest still mired in extreme drought.

ProduceIQ Index:  $1.32/pound, flat over prior week

Week #3, ending January 19th  

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.

Berry supply is finally improving, albeit slowly. However, grape supply is constricting at a time usually marked by declining prices. Peruvian production is on the decline, while Chile is just beginning.

In addition, ships from South America are taking longer to get to the U.S. due to drought-related delays in the Panama Canal and the MLK holiday. At an average of $35, grape prices are at a ten-year high and may climb higher over the next three weeks.

Red Grapes in the East exceed $35; historically, prices descend over the next ten weeks.

Cucumber prices spike to a ten-year high. Cold weather in Mexico and light yields from growers in Honduras are sending cucumber prices to new peaks. Markets are up +38 percent over the previous week and may explode further as growth slows due to the recent cold weather in Mexico. 

Cucumber prices in the East (and West) are spiking as the U.S. pivots to imported product from “warmer” growing regions.

Hate to squash your dreams buyers, but at $30, squash prices have a long way to fall before they are anywhere near average prices for mid-January. With plenty of upward momentum left in the tank, be prepared for severe price volatility over the next few weeks.

Zucchini, medium, from Mexico, surpasses $30 during a time of regular price spikes.

Just when we thought tomatoes were out of the woods… Across varieties, tomato prices are rising rapidly due to, all together now, cold weather, specifically in Mexico and Florida.

Florida’s weather forecast remains chilly, keeping plant growth slow. Supply will likely stay lean for a couple more weeks as fields need to warm up and dry out.

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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.