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ProduceIQ: Power is out, heat is on


Relentless heat from Mexico seeps into Southern U.S. Governors in Texas and Florida blame Democrats and threaten to bus heat to blue states.

Here’s the latest on the temperature extremes. A high-pressure ridge is bringing dangerous heat to parts of Florida and Texas. In both states, the heat wave is forecasted to continue through Memorial Day. Most cities will be consistently in the 90s throughout the week, a rarity for the end of May.

The unusual mid-May weather is a foretaste of what NOAA anticipates will be a sweltering summer and highly active hurricane season.

ProduceIQ Index:  $1.52/pound, up +36.9 percent over prior week  

Week #20, ending May 17th

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.

Although harvesting of the most produce crops has moved northward, these heat patterns tend to be a harbinger and drift northward as well.

In addition, persistent drought in Mexico is fueling consistently lower than average yields. Growers face difficult decisions as they decide what crops to allocate water to. The unseasonably warm weather affects a wide variety of commodities, including, but not limited to, red onions, tomatoes, peppers, cantaloupes, blueberries, and asparagus.

If there is one commodity that doesn’t mind a little extra heat, it is watermelon. In time for Memorial Day, supply is up considerably, and quality is only sweetening. Prices are considerably above average for week #20 but feel relatively affordable compared to last year’s historic prices.

Seedless watermelon prices flatten out at $0.24, which is still respectable for this time of year.


Although white and yellow onion supply has rebounded from historic lows, red onion supply is still scarce. At $28, red onion prices are at a ten-year high by a significant margin. USDA reports volume from Mexico is about half the norm for week #20, and supply is forecasted to stay the same for another two weeks.

Red onion (25lb from West) prices reach $28, significantly above any prior year.


Like an awakened sleeping giant, the beginning of domestic cherry season looms large over the ProduceIQ Index. The seasonal weight of cherries as a commodity causes a spike in the index value. Growers are optimistic this year’s harvest will be as strong, if not stronger than last year. Week #20 prices are starting well below average and may reflect optimistic grower sentiments about summer 2024’s supply prospects.

Cherry prices, $43, are starting low and typically decline as supply increases through the short season.


Cantaloupe supply is tight. Prices are up +26 percent over the previous week and may climb higher as heat brings an early end to offshore season. Arizona is forecasted to come online later than usual, so prices are expected to climb higher over the next two weeks.

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ProduceIQ is an online toolset designed to improve the produce trading process for buyers and suppliers. We save you time, expand your opportunities, and provide valuable information to increase your profits.

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 is an industry veteran with over 20 years of produce experience. After earning his MBA from Columbia Business School, he spent seven years as CFO for J&J Family of Farms. He 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 from trading with greater access and efficiency. This led him to cofound ProduceIQ.